|Latest North Dakota news, sports, business and entertainment
Fargo police mourning death of longtime officer
FARGO, N.D. (AP) — The Fargo police department is mourning the death of a longtime officer known for his work in community and media relations.
Officials say Lt. Jeff Skuza (SKOO'-zah) died Tuesday morning from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Authorities say Skuza phoned police dispatchers at about 4:30 a.m. and asked them to send officers to the Holy Cross Cemetery south of Fargo, were his body was discovered.
No further details were released.
Skuza joined the force as a patrol officer in October 1991. He was promoted to sergeant in January 2001 and lieutenant in March 2011.
Fargo Police Chief Keith Ternes says Skuza was a consummate professional and his death has impacted everyone in the department. He says a crisis intervention team is available to help employees with counseling and other needs.
Dakotans lag in insurance marketplace enrollment
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Less than 50 percent of people living in North and South Dakota eligible to sign up for health care coverage under the nation's new marketplace have selected a plan.
In North Dakota, where 10,394 people are eligible to pick a plan, slightly more than 5,200 have done so during the marketplace's first five months.
The percentage of enrollees is even smaller in South Dakota. A federal report released Tuesday shows that nearly 7,000 people of the more than 16,000 who qualify have selected a plan.
North and South Dakota are two of 36 states relying on the federal HealthCare.gov website to sign people up for insurance. Technical problems with the website have kept many people from signing up.
But time is running out. The open enrollment period ends March 31.
OIL WASTE DUMPING
Officials: Cache of illegal oil field waste found
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Officials in North Dakota are reporting what may be the state's biggest incident of illegal dumping of radioactive oil filter socks, the nets that strain liquids in the oil production process.
They say hundreds of the tubular filters were found in an abandoned building in Noonan, in northwestern North Dakota. A Divide County sheriff's deputy described waist-deep piles scattered through a 4,000-square-foot building that once housed an auto shop.
State Waste Management Director Scott Radig, who viewed pictures of the scene, said it appeared to be more than twice as large as the state's next-largest dumping incident.
The filter socks can become contaminated with naturally occurring radiation. They are banned for disposal in North Dakota, and oil companies are supposed to haul them to approved facilities in other states.
Students at burned ND school return to classes
DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) — Students at a North Dakota school that was shut down after a fire allegedly set by the school's principal have returned to classes in other buildings.
The 250 students at Trinity High School are spread out among two elementary schools, a junior high school and a church. They had a week off from classes before returning Monday.
Students and staff say they're trying to stay positive. Senior Austin Deichert says the atmosphere "is still like a Trinity family."
Thirty-year-old principal Thomas Sander is due back in court April 21. He could enter pleas then to charges of felony arson and endangering by fire or explosion.
Sander could face as much as 20 years in prison if convicted. He still does not have a listed defense attorney.
ND man pleads not guilty in terrorizing case
(Information in the following story is from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com )
MANDAN, N.D. (AP) — A Mandan man accused of holding a woman against her will and threatening the life of her and her children has pleaded not guilty to felony charges of terrorizing and felonious restraint.
The Bismarck Tribune reports that 43-year-old Timothy Beiers and two others are accused of holding the woman at Beiers' home for more than a day and threatening to kill her and her children if she would not take the blame for drug charges against Beiers.
Beiers later pleaded guilty to the drug charges and is to be sentenced in May. He faces more drug-related charges to which he pleaded not guilty Monday.
The two others charged in the case have not yet entered pleas.
ND oil patch planners push for ferry, less traffic
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A planning group in the North Dakota oil patch says ferrying cars and trucks across Lake Sakakawea could help relieve high traffic and accidents in the area.
The Vision West Consortium voted last week to study whether funding a ferry is a viable option. The group says in recent years increased traffic from the oil boom has led to higher accident and fatality rates on highways in the area.
Vision West members say the ferry will likely be limited to passenger cars and light trucks. They say excluding semi-trucks, oil tankers and other heavy trucks should spread out traffic on the highways.
The ferry would also help bridge the two sides of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.
Devils Lake eliminates 3 sports and cheerleading
(Information in the following story is from: KZZY-FM, http://lrradioworks.com )
DEVILS LAKE, N.D. (AP) — The Devils Lake School Board has voted to eliminate three varsity sports and also cheerleading at the end of the academic year.
KZZY radio reports that the board's Monday night decision to eliminate girls' soccer, boys' and girls' golf and cheerleading came after a failed motion by board member Jeff Frith to put the programs on two years of probation in an effort to increase participation.
The board earlier took that route with wrestling and girls' hockey.
Board President Steve Halldorson says eliminating the three sports and cheerleading isn't an easy decision, but it will save the school district about $40,000 per year.
WATFORD CITY-SCHOOL VOTE
Watford City residents deciding on new high school
WATFORD CITY, N.D. (AP) — Watford City residents are deciding whether to build a high school that could cost up to $50 million.
The vote was being held Tuesday in the western North Dakota oil patch city where the public school enrollment has doubled since 2010. Superintendent Steve Holen says temporary fixes are no longer enough.
The bond measure is for $27 million. About $23 million would come from other sources. The 162,000-square-foot building would be able to house 800 students.
The bonds would be paid off through property tax increases. Holen says taxes would increase about $94 per year for a $100,000 home and about $43 per year for one quarter of land in the school district.
NEWSPAPER LAND DEAL
Ward County, Minot newspaper reach land deal
(Information in the following story is from: KXMC-TV, http://www.kxnet.com )
MINOT, N.D. (AP) — Ward County officials and the owners of the Minot Daily News have negotiated a deal for land the county has sought for years to expand the county jail.
Ogden Newspapers and Ward County came to an agreement late last week gives the county the newspaper's parking lot in exchange for the land where the county library now sits. KMXC-TV reports that the county also will give Ogden an undisclosed amount of money.
The county initially attempted to take the land through eminent domain last year.
Both ND natives drop out of Iditarod in Alaska
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The two North Dakota natives who took part in this year's Iditarod dog sled race in Alaska are no longer running as the leaders cross the finish line in Nome.
Kelly Maixner was in ninth place Monday afternoon but scratched in the last stages of the race. Another North Dakota native, Ellen Halverson, dropped out of the race last week.
Maixner was raised in Golva, and Halverson is formerly of the Thompson area. Both now live in Alaska. It was the fourth Iditarod for Maixner and the fifth for Halverson.
Dallas Seavey of Willow, Alaska, won his second Iditarod early Tuesday.
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