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Associated Press North Dakota News Summary
Tuesday, July 22nd 2014 
Latest North Dakota news, sports, business and entertainment
SYNTHETIC DRUG OVERDOSES

Texas man receives 11 years in synthetic drug case

FARGO, N.D. (AP) A Texas man has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for his role in a synthetic drug operation traced to the deaths of two North Dakota teenagers.

Twenty-six-year-old John Polinski, of Houston, is the last of 15 people to be convicted in a case that federal authorities dubbed "Operation Stolen Youth." He is the 14th person to be sentenced.

Eighteen-year-old Christian Bjerk, of Grand Forks, and 17-year-old Elijah Stai, of Park Rapids, Minnesota, died within a week of each other in June 2012.

Authorities say Bjerk and Stai ingested hallucinogens that were manufactured from chemicals bought from Houston-based Motion Resources LLC. Prosecutors say Polinski handled information technology and other business operations for Motion Resources.

The owner of Motion Resources, Charles Carlton, is scheduled for sentencing on Aug. 28.

MINOT CITY MANAGER

New Minot city manager to start in mid-September

MINOT, N.D. (AP) Minot City Council President Mark Jantzer says the experience of the incoming city manager will be valuable as the community continues its recovery from the 2011 Souris River flood.

Fifty-seven-year-old Lee Staab graduated with an engineering degree from the West Point military academy and later earned his master's degree in engineering from the University of Illinois.

He worked for the Corps of Engineers for 28 years before spending more than seven years in private industry. He has made more than 50 trips in connection with his work to Iraq, Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates.

The City Council officially hired Staab for the city manager job at a special meeting on Friday. He'll replace the retired David Waind. He starts his duties on Sept. 15.

OBIT-WALL

Governor says Wahpeton lawmaker improved education

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) A Republican state lawmaker from Wahpeton has died.

The North Dakota governor's office says Rep. John Wall died Friday. He was 70.

Wall was elected to the North Dakota House in 2004. That came following his retirement from a 34-year career of teaching high school English and journalism.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple says Wall worked hard on improving education funding for kindergarten through high school and on education policy in general.

Dalrymple says Wall was an "outstanding legislator" and a "kind and thoughtful person."

CROP REPORT

Most crops continue to thrive despite dry week

FARGO, N.D. (AP) Most crops across North Dakota were in good shape despite a week without rainfall.

The Agriculture Department says in its weekly crop report that subsoil moisture is 94 percent adequate or surplus because of abundant precipitation in the spring. Topsoil moisture was rated 86 percent adequate or surplus.

Conditions for durum, spring wheat, barley, oats and canola were all reported to be at least 80 percent good or excellent.

Pasture and range conditions were rated 25 percent excellent, 60 percent good, 12 percent fair, 2 percent poor and 1 percent very poor.

MEDINA BANK ROBBERY

Dickinson man sentenced for Medina bank robbery

FARGO, N.D. (AP) A Dickinson man has been sentenced to more than 12 years in prison for robbing a Medina bank at gunpoint.

Forty-one-year-old Rendell Hardy was charged with bank robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime. He pleaded guilty in April.

Authorities say Hardy and Satrone Boyd were wearing Halloween masks when they held up Northland Financial in Medina on Oct. 25. They were later identified by video at a truck stop near Jamestown, where authorities say they threw the masks and a set of keys into a dumpster.

U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson on Monday sentenced Hardy to 12 years and six months in prison.

Boyd was sentenced earlier to seven years and six months behind bars.

NORTH DAKOTA SALTWATER SPILL

Official: Saltwater spill cleanup could take years

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) A tribal official says the cleanup of a 1 million gallon saltwater spill on Fort Berthold Indian Reservation could take years.

Three Affiliated Tribes natural resources director Claryca Mandan says a precise timeline has yet to be determined. She says secondary contamination is continuing to kill trees as toxic brine finds its way into root systems.

Crestwood Midstream Partners LP says a pipeline near Mandaree spewed 1 million gallons of saltwater into the North Dakota Badlands around the Fourth of July weekend. Crestwood subsidiary Arrow Pipeline LLC owns the pipeline.

Saltwater is a byproduct of oil production that is up to 30 times saltier than seawater. It is considered an environmental hazard by the state.

OBIT-MAY

Man who guided UND to 1st hockey title dies at 87

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) The coach who guided the University of North Dakota to its first NCAA hockey championship has died.

Dr. Robert May was 87.

May coached the program in the 1957-58 and 1958-59 seasons and led UND into the NCAA title game both years. UND defeated Michigan State 4-3 in the 1959 championship.

May's record with UND was 45-17-2.

A former defenseman for UND, May played in 47 games and served as team captain in 1950-51. He received his bachelor's degree from UND in 1951.

May later became a dentist in Minnesota and served a stint as team dentist for the Minnesota North Stars. His hockey coaching career included stops with the Minneapolis Roosevelt boys and the Wayzata, Minnesota, girls.

May is a member of the UND Letterwinners Association Hall of Fame.

FORMER BISON-EUROPE

Former NDSU hoops standouts to play in Europe

FARGO, N.D. (AP) Former North Dakota State University men's basketball standouts Taylor Braun and TrayVonn Wright have signed contracts to play professionally in Europe.

Braun has signed with a team in Belgium's top league, and Wright with a team in Austria's top league.

Braun, of Newberg, Oregon, was the Summit League player of the year this past season and an honorable mention selection for The Associated Press All-America basketball team. Wright, from Waterloo, Iowa, was an All-Summit League second-team selection last season.

PARENTAL RIGHTS MEASURE

Parental rights measure OK'd for November ballot

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger has approved for the ballot an initiated measure on parental rights.

Jaeger says supporters needed to submit 13,452 valid petition signatures, and they submitted 1,000 more than the required amount. He says the measure will appear on the Nov. 4 general election ballot.

The proposed law would give both parents equal rights and decision-making responsibilities in child custody cases. A similar measure failed in 2006.

Many supporters of the initiated measure are from Walsh County, where voters passed a similar law in 2012 that has been challenged by Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem as usurping state authority.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Associated Press North Dakota News Summary
Monday, July 21st 2014 
Latest North Dakota news, sports, business and entertainment
MOBILE HOME FIRE

Fire consumes mobile home west of Burlington

(Information in the following story is from: KXMC-TV, http://www.kxnet.com)

BURLINGTON, N.D. (AP) A fire west of Burlington has claimed one family's home.

KXMC-TV reports Burlington and Minot Rural Fire Departments were called out around 11:30 a.m. Saturday for fire at a mobile home west of Highway 2 and 52.

Minot Rural Fire Assistant Chief Rob Knuth says the family was home at the time but no injuries were reported.

The Mid-Dakota Chapter of the American Red Cross has been contacted to assist the family.

It's unclear how the fire started.

HISTORIC CHURCH-FIRE

Fire damages historic church in West Fargo

WEST FARGO, N.D. (AP) An early morning fire in West Fargo has heavily damaged a historic church on the grounds of Bonanzaville Pioneer Village.

Fire Chief Roy Schatschneider says the fire at St. John's Lutheran Church was reported shortly before 4:30 a.m. Saturday.

Schatschneider says there's "severe fire damage" to the front portion of the church.

Flames were visible on the main floor of the wooden church when crews arrived on scene. The fire eventually spread into the high steeple.

Schatschneider says firefighters found the basement steps destroyed but he says they're not sure if that's where the fire started.

An investigation is underway to determine what started the fire.

OIL FIELDS-WOMEN

More women looking for work in the oil industry

(Information in the following story is from: Williston Herald, http://www.willistonherald.com)

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) North Dakota's workforce agency says a shift in the labor market has drawn more women seeking permanent work in the oil and gas industry of western North Dakota.

Job Service North Dakota kept tabs on gender ratios in the workforce from January to June.

The Williston Herald reports that overall the total number of people walking into the downtown Williston office looking for work increased by 33 percent to 2,264 in June. The number of women seeking jobs in Williston jumped by 65 percent to 804.

Women made up 36 percent of the total walk-ins who registered at Job Service North Dakota in June.

BOMBER TRAINING SITE

Decision near on bomber training area expansion

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) Air Force officials are expected to decide as soon as next month whether to go forward with an expansion of a bomber training area over the Northern Plains that would encompass an area larger than West Virginia.

The Powder River Training Complex over portions of Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas would be used by B-1 and B-52 bombers.

Air Force officials say the expansion of the training airspace to about 28,000 square miles is needed to maintain readiness. It also would save $23 million a year by reducing the number of sorties sent to Utah and Nevada for combat exercises.

Some members of Congress, pilots and others have resisted what one Montana official called a federal government "airspace grab." They want the proposal scaled back to ease impacts on private and commercial flights.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Associated Press North Dakota News Summary
Sunday, July 20th 2014 
POSTMASTER CHARGED

Postmaster plans to plead guilty in postal fraud

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) A North Dakota postmaster accused of collecting emergency salary advances he had authorized for his employees says he will plead guilty.

Edmund Sharp IV is charged in federal court with misappropriation of postal funds and false statements. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Prosecutors say the scheme took place between June 2013 and February 2014 while Sharp was the postmaster at Beulah. The plea agreement says it was an effort to meet the demands of higher costs of living in western North Dakota.

It's not clear how much money was involved, but the charging document says it was more than $1,000.

HEPATITIS CASES

Trinity disputes outbreak claims in response

(Information in the following story is from: KXMC-TV, http://www.kxnet.com)

MINOT, N.D. (AP) A Minot health care provider has filed a legal response that disputes claims made by a nursing home that it's responsible for dozens of residents contracting hepatitis C last year.

Trinity Health filed its response this week to a lawsuit from ManorCare that alleges the health care provider is responsible for the disease outbreak discovered last year in Minot. ManorCare says one Trinity employee who administers phlebotomy services caused the outbreak.

Randy Schwan is the vice president for marketing and community education at Trinity. Scwhan tells KXMC-TV there is no "physiological, statistical or epidemiological" way this large-scale outbreak could be spread through phlebotomy.

Schwan says an investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and the state health department didn't find a link between the outbreak and Trinity.

DAM REHAB

Pembina County getting $300K to rehab Renwick Dam

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) Pembina County is receiving almost $300,000 in grant funding to continue renovations on the Renwick Dam.

The funding comes from the National Resource Conservation Service and its Watershed Rehabilitation program.

The Renwick Dam is on the Tongue River, a tributary of the Pembina River. The money will be used to support the second phase of renovations to the Dam, helping provide a spillway and embankment.

The three members of North Dakota's congressional delegation each announced and praised the funding separately Friday.

The watershed Rehabilitation Program was recently reauthorized by the 2014 farm bill.

TRIBAL GRANT

ND tribes get economic development grant

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) North Dakota's congressional delegation says the Three Affiliated Tribes will receive $48,500 in federal economic development funds.

The grant comes from the federal Economic Development Administration.

Earlier this month, the same funding awards were granted to the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Sioux Tribe, and the Spirit Lake Tribe.

The grants support the development and implementation of a comprehensive economic development strategy for each tribe's region.

OIL FIELD LIGHTNING

Lightning a threat to ND saltwater disposal sites

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) Three fires since the start of June have highlighted the threat that lightning poses in the North Dakota oil patch.

In each case it was the tanks that store the toxic saltwater associated with drilling that were to blame, not the oil wells or drilling rigs.

The silo-like storage tanks are made of or lined with fiberglass because it holds up better against the corrosive liquid than metal-only tanks would. Fiberglass tanks don't release the heat from lightning strikes as well as metal ones would, contributing to the fires.

North Dakota doesn't require companies to install lightning protections at the storage and disposal sites, although many do so anyway. Protections are no guarantee, though, as they were in place at two of the three sites set ablaze since June 1.

 
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