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When Jesus was born, the angels sang. When He died, graves opened. He lived to die. He died so we would live.

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Vice President Mike Pence is planning a visit to North Dakota....

     MINOT, N.D. (AP) - Vice President Mike Pence is planning a visit to North Dakota. U.S. Sen. John Hoeven says Pence will visit Minot Air Force Base on Friday. Hoeven is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and co-chairman of the Senate Air Force Caucus. He and Pence will review the Minot base's nuclear missions. The base is home to B-52 bombers and also oversees Intercontinental Ballistic Missile silos throughout the North Dakota countryside. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and Defense Secretary James Mattis visited the Minot base earlier this month.


     VALLEY CITY, N.D. (AP) - A head-on collision on Interstate 94 in southeastern North Dakota has killed both drivers. The Highway Patrol says a 35-year-old Fargo man was driving the wrong direction in the eastbound lanes shortly before 12:30 a.m. Wednesday. His car collided with an eastbound pickup truck driven by a 31-year-old Crane Lake, Minnesota, man, about 12 miles west of Valley City. Both drivers were pronounced dead at a Valley City hospital. A passenger in the pickup was treated there for minor injuries and released. The names of the victims weren't immediately released.


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A Bismarck man is on trial for allegedly firing a shotgun at a law officer during a 15-hour standoff two years ago. Thirty-eight-year-old Brandon Lyon is charged with attempted murder, terrorizing and a weapons count. He could face up to 35 years in prison if convicted. The Bismarck Tribune reports that his trial began Tuesday, with attorneys arguing over whether evidence shows Lyon intended to kill the officer during the October 2015 standoff that eventually ended with Lyon being taken into custody without incident. The trial is scheduled through Thursday.

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - State tax figures show how falling agriculture and energy prices are hitting North Dakotans right in the wallet. Figures released to The Associated Press show reported gross income dropped 7.6 percent in 2016. And the number of people filing dropped by more than 27,000 as oil field workers left the state. An uptick in oil prices has spurred some drilling in western North Dakota, but that's been offset by one of the worst droughts to hit the state in decades. State Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger says the drought likely will contribute to a third straight year of declining average gross income for residents.

     FARGO, N.D. (AP) - The city of Fargo's health insurance premiums for city employees will drop next year by nearly 34 percent. KFGO radio reports that city commissioners voted Tuesday to switch from Sanford Health Insurance to Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota. The estimated cost of premiums will drop from around $10 million annually to about $6.6 million. City employees with family coverage are expected to save around $150 each month. Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney says there will be no change in employee benefits. The new plan takes effect Jan. 1.


     WEST FARGO, N.D. (AP) - Xcel Energy is adding to its wind power. The utility company is partnering with Wanzek Construction of West Fargo to build a wind farm in Dickey County and another in Iowa with some turbines located in Minnesota. Construction of the Foxtail Wind Farm in Dickey County is planned for 2018. The Freeborn Wind Farm, mainly in Iowa, will begin construction in 2020. The 175 wind turbines together will deliver 350 megawatts of power. KVRR-TV reports Xcel Energy hopes to build and acquire 1,850 megawatts of new wind energy in the Upper Midwest by 2022.


     GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) - The first snow of the season could fall in eastern North Dakota this week, and conditions could get nasty. The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for portions of the region from Thursday morning through Friday morning. Forecasters say up to 2 inches of snow is possible, along with winds gusting up to 60 mph. Blizzard conditions are possible, and travel is expected to be difficult if not impossible in some areas.



   (Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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