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Associated Press North Dakota News Summary
Thursday, July 31st 2014 
Latest North Dakota news, sports, business and entertainment
SUGAR FIGHT-CRYSTAL

Judge says Crystal CEO should testify in lawsuit

FARGO, N.D. (AP) A federal judge says American Crystal Sugar Company CEO David Berg should testify in a federal lawsuit pitting the refined sugar manufacturer against the corn syrup industry.

Berg challenged a subpoena from corn syrup marketers who want to ask about his role in opposing a campaign by corn refiners claiming sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are nutritionally the same.

American Crystal didn't agree to participate in the lawsuit and Berg says he can't offer relevant information. Lawyers for the corn syrup group say Berg will be a better witness than the plaintiffs because he's a bystander to the suit.

U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson ruled Wednesday that the defendants should be allowed to "explore whether Berg has information relevant to the underlying claim for damages."

NATURAL GAS-NORTH DAKOTA

Oneok plans new North Dakota natural gas factory

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) An Oklahoma energy company says it plans to build another factory in western North Dakota capable of processing 200 million cubic feet of natural gas daily.

Tulsa-based Oneok (ONE'-oak) Incorporated and Governor Jack Dalrymple (DAHL'-rimp-ul) announced the more than $605 million project on Wednesday. The company says the Demicks Lake factory in northeast McKenzie County is expected to be completed in 2016.

The factory would be the seventh the company is operating or building in North Dakota. Oneok says the factory will bring its total investment in North Dakota to about $4 billion.

About a third of the state's natural gas is burned off in a process called flaring and wasted due to lack of infrastructure.

Dalrymple and Oneok officials say the new plant will help curb flaring in the state.

TRAIN SPEED DISPUTE

BNSF puts the breaks Devils Lake speed dispute

DEVILS LAKE, N.D. (AP) U.S. Senator John Hoeven says BNSF Railway has agreed to hold off on a plan to increase speed limits for trains traveling through Devils Lake.

Hoeven says he met with BNSF Railway Executive Chairman Matt Rose on Wednesday. Hoeven says Rose agreed to hold off on increasing speed limits through the community.

BNSF had said it planned to allow faster train speeds on a section of track in Devils Lake, even after hearing city officials' concerns about safety.

BNSF wanted to double the current 30 mile per hour limit on a nearly 1 1/2-mile-long section of upgraded track in the northeastern North Dakota city beginning Friday.

Hoeven says the railroad has pledged to have further discussions with city leaders before proceeding.

SQUAD CAR RAMMED

Squad car rammed during West Fargo incident

WEST FARGO, N.D. (AP) A man is in custody in West Fargo after allegedly leading police on a chase, ramming a squad car and trying to force his way into a home.

Authorities say 25-year-old Jean Roubideaux was charged Wednesday with one misdemeanor and several felonies that include reckless endangerment, fleeing and felon in possession of a firearm.

The incident began as a traffic stop about 1 a.m. Wednesday. After police put the driver in a squad car while they identified him, Roubideaux allegedly slid into the driver's seat of the suspect vehicle and took off, ramming a squad car and crashing into a road sign a few blocks away.

Authorities say he also is wanted on a Minnesota warrant.

No one was hurt in the incident.

HORSE DEATHS-COURT

ND woman charged with horse deaths has seizure

(Information in the following story is from: KOVC-AM, http://www.newsdakota.com)

VALLEY CITY, N.D. (AP) A rural Kathryn woman charged with the deaths of eight horses had a seizure in court and was taken to a hospital.

KOVC Radio reports that Ginger Helland appeared in court on Tuesday. She is awaiting trial on charges of animal neglect, animal abuse and improper disposal of animal carcass.

Judge Jay Schmitz called for emergency workers to assist the woman, who began shaking uncontrollably with a seizure.

Barnes County State's Attorney Carl Martinek says the trial for Helland will be reset and witnesses will be recalled later.

GUN FOR METH

Bond set for ND woman accused of stealing gun

(Information in the following story is from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com)

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) Bond has been set at $1,000 for a Mandan woman accused of stealing a handgun while performing renovation work at a home.

The Bismarck Tribune reports that 23-year-old Cheryln Sarte is charged with theft of property and appeared in court on Wednesday.

Authorities say Sarte was among several employees of interior design business doing renovation work a home in July 2013. Police say the homeowner reported that a firearm had been stolen.

Authorities say all employees were questioned and denied knowledge of its whereabouts.

During a separate drug investigation, a man told authorities that Sarte had given him the revolver to trade for methamphetamine.

INSURANCE FRAUD

ND woman accused of bogus insurance claims

(Information in the following story is from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com)

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) A Mandan woman is accused of submitting more than $7,100 in fraudulent insurance claims.

The Bismarck Tribune reports that 28-year-old Jessi Marie Elmer is charged with felony theft of property and felony forgery.

Elmer made her first appearance in Burleigh County Court on Wednesday with her attorney. She did not enter pleas to the charges.

Authorities allege Elmer billed a total of 148 fraudulent claims for $7,120 worth of chiropractic work from her former employer that never took place.

Elmer also allegedly used facsimile stamp to forge a doctor's signature on several documents.

ND BAR EXAM

78 take North Dakota bar exam

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) The North Dakota Supreme Court says 78 applicants took the state bar exam this week.

Officials say the applicants began writing the bar exam on Tuesday and finished on Wednesday afternoon.

The state Supreme Court says 64 percent of the applicants who took the test are graduates from the University of North Dakota School of Law.

Associated Press North Dakota News Summary
Wednesday, July 30th 2014 
WATFORD CITY DEVELOPMENT

Company plans ND oil patch developments worth $65M

A New York company is planning residential and commercial developments worth at least $65 million in the North Dakota oil patch town of Watford City.

Coltown Properties principal Israel Weinberger says his company is planning two projects on Watford City's Main Street. The Madison Heights development will consist of seven apartment buildings and cost between $45 million and $50 million. The first three buildings will be ready for occupants this fall.

Coltown is also planning a pair of buildings at Watford City's entrance that will house retail space and offices. Weinberger says that project will cost between $20 million and $25 million and will be ready by late 2015 or early 2016.

Watford City's population has grown significantly in recent years as a result of North Dakota's oil boom.

BADLANDS BIKE RACE

Bike race slated in western ND's badlands

A 100-mile bicycle race is being held in western North Dakota's Badlands along the Maah Daah Hey Trail.

The Maah Daah Hey 100 is being held on Saturday. It's the third year for the event.

This year, the race will include options for teams and shorter distances of 25, 50 and 75 miles.

The trail is open to other users during the race.

GRAIN BIN ACCIDENT

North Dakota farmer dies in grain bin accident

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

NAPOLEON, N.D. (AP) A North Dakota farmer has died in a grain bin accident.

A Logan County sheriff tells KXMB-TV (http://bit.ly/1o03RtD ) that Marvin Grenz of Napoleon died Saturday after being buried in grain for nearly 40 minutes.

He was found by family members who called police. Emergency responders say they retrieved his body after eight minutes.

The sheriff says everyone will miss the Grenz's smile.

It's the second grain bin death the town has seen in less than a year.

NEW VA SECRETARY-HEITKAMP

Sen. Heitkamp confident in new VA secretary pick

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp says she thinks Robert McDonald will bring a new outlook as secretary for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

McDonald was confirmed Tuesday by a vote of 97-0.

Heitkamp says the job will be tough because McDonald will have to restore the public's trust in the VA after the recent scandal. But she says his experience in the military and as a CEO of a global company will renew transparency, accountability and reforms within the VA.

She met with McDonald last week to discuss how he would reform the VA, restore trust and focus on reaching out to veterans in rural areas. Heitkamp said he promised to work with her to improve access to services and benefits for North Dakota veterans, including Native Americans.

OPEN RECORDS VIOLATION

Stenehjem: NDSU foundation broke open records law

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) The state attorney general says the North Dakota State University Development Foundation broke the law when it failed to provide a citizen with a copy of the group's expenditures.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says in an opinion that the foundation must release the records that conservative blogger Rob Port requested under the state's open records law.

Stenehjem says the foundation denied the request "on incorrect legal grounds." He says the foundation "delayed its response by months, even after acknowledging that it had responsive records."

The NDSU Development Foundation is a nonprofit. But Stenehjem says the foundation "is a public entity subject to open records laws because it performs governmental functions on behalf of NDSU."

Foundation President and CEO Douglas Mayo was not immediately available for comment on Tuesday.

HOSPITAL AFFILIATION

ND hospital, national nonprofit talk affiliation

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) St. Alexius Medical Center in Bismarck is pursuing an affiliation with the Catholic Health Initiatives nonprofit.

The hospital and nonprofit say the goal would be to enhance services and improve care. Officials say that if a final agreement is reached, the affiliation could occur by the end of the year.

Catholic Health Initiatives is based in Colorado, with a division based in Fargo. It has several facilities in North Dakota, but none in Bismarck.

St. Alexius serves residents of central and western North Dakota, eastern Montana and northern South Dakota through its Bismarck hospital and facilities in several other cities. It is associated with the Benedictine Sisters of the Annunciation Monastery in Bismarck.

METH DEATHS

Man receives 11-plus years for role in drug death

FARGO, N.D. (AP) One of two men accused of supplying methamphetamine that led to the death of a Mandan woman has been sentenced to nearly 12 years in prison.

Fifty-three-year-old Joseph Senger pleaded guilty earlier for the February 2013 overdose death of his girlfriend, 59-year-old Cheri Bettis of Mandan. Brock Fish also has pleaded guilty in Bettis' death and is scheduled for sentencing in October.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland on Monday sentenced Senger to 11 years and seven months in prison.

The federal case involves 13 defendants in North Dakota and South Dakota. Fish and Billie Jo Kirkpatrick also are charged in the December 2012 overdose death of 39-year-old Douglas Peterson, of Pollock, South Dakota.

 
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