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Mandan police are treating the death of a man in Lakewood Marina as an accident....

     MANDAN, N.D. (AP) - Mandan police are treating the death of a man in Lakewood Marina as an accident.   Authorities say 23-year-old Blake Allen Johnson jumped off a pontoon while swimming with friends on Saturday night and did not resurface. He was unresponsive when his friends pulled him from the water, and he was later pronounced dead at a Bismarck hospital.
     The medical examiner has determined the cause of death was drowning. Police suspect alcohol may have been a factor in the drowning of the Mandan man.  Lt. Lori Flaten with the Mandan Police Department tells the Bismarck Tribune lab tests could later confirm or dispel the possible influence of alcohol in the incident.


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Police are investigating the shooting death of a man at an apartment.  Bismarck Police Sgt. Mark Buschena says 54-year-old Kelly Carrol Smith entered the apartment Saturday night and allegedly pointed a gun at three children inside. A man living in the apartment confronted Smith. The gun went off during the struggle and the bullet struck Smith in the head, killing him.  Donlin says police believe Smith was a neighbor.  No one else was hurt in the incident. Police did not arrest anyone at the scene.


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota's state tax commissioner has proposed a more than $1.3 billion property tax relief plan.  Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger on Monday said the proposal could give the owners of a $200,000 home an average of $2,000 in annual property tax savings.
     Property tax in North Dakota is assessed based on the estimated value of property. The state's robust economy has spurred rising property values, often leading to increased local tax collections.  Rauschenberger says the plan would increase state funded property tax relief from $857 million to $1.36 billion in the next two years.
     Gov. Jack Dalrymple in December announced a task force to study permanent property tax reform. He said North Dakota has had about $1.5 billion in local property taxes reductions since 2009, but a lasting reform is needed.


     MINOT, N.D. (AP) - A North Dakota lawmaker wants Minot to get help cleaning up so-called "zombie homes" -- the ones left abandoned after the Souris River flooded and swamped the city in 2011. Representative Scott Louser says he drafted a bill for next year's Legislature that calls for $1 million in state money for Minot.

    MINOT, ND - There's a vacancy on the Minot City Council.  Ward 4 Alderman Milt Miller notified Mayor Chuck Barney Monday of his resignation from the Minot City Council effective immediately.  Miller noted his job does not allow him to attend the meetings on a regular basis.


     WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - There are new details in the case of a Williston man who has been charged with human trafficking, gross sexual imposition and a number of other counts. Authorities say Keith Graves recruited a prostitute to work for him, then raped her and forced her to take drugs at gunpoint. Graves was featured in a documentary film that follows a Williston pastor who opened his church to men arriving in town and had nowhere to stay.

     NELIGH, Neb. (AP) - Willie Nelson and Neil Young will headline a concert next month organized by people opposed to the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The concert will be held September 27th on a farm in northeast Nebraska that's in the path of the pipeline that would carry crude from Canada to the Gulf Coast.

   (Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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