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Those traveling to North Dakota by train are finding it difficult....
     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Those traveling to North Dakota by train are finding it difficult.  Trains handling freight and crude from the state's oil patch are displacing Amtrak passenger service.
     The federally funded rail corporation uses BNSF Railway Company lines and says the "severe freight train interference" is causing long delays along its Chicago-to-Pacific Northwest Empire Builder route.
     In North Dakota, Amtrak trains are bypassing Grand Forks, Devils Lake and Rugby. Passengers in those cities are being bused to either Minot or to Fargo to reconnect to westbound or eastbound trains.
     BNSF says in a statement that it has been "disappointed" in its service. The railroad says it's investing records amounts of cash to expand capacity to help alleviate the problem.

     MINOT, N.D. (AP) - BNSF Railway Company is using an area in northeastern Minot to stage crude oil tankers.  BNSF spokeswoman Amy McBeth tells the Minot Daily News that the railroad added two tracks last year to the rail yard.  The area has six tracks now that are being used primarily to stage crude oil trains.
     The average train count in Minot has risen in the past years. The average train count in Minot at present is about 40 trains in a 24-hour period. In 2009, there were about 33 trains.

     NEW TOWN, N.D. (AP) - The Highway Patrol says a crash in involving two semitrailers and two pickups killed a Louisiana man and shut down a highway in the North Dakota oil patch for seven hours.
     The accident happened at 7:45 a.m. Saturday on state Highway 23, about 10 miles west of New Town. The victim was identified as 31-year-old Huan Son of New Iberia, Lousiana.
     Son was driving a 2012 Ford pickup. The patrol says Son tried to pass one semi on the crest of a hill and wound up colliding with both semis. One of the semis spun into another pickup.  There were no other injuries.  Authorities say the road and weather conditions were good at the time of the crash.

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A Missouri man is accused of offering a woman for prostitution in a Bismarck hotel.  Sixty-seven-year-old Marvin Lord was charged Friday with facilitating prostitution. The 41-year-old woman, whom police say may be a victim of human trafficking, was arrested for prostitution.  Authorities say the woman came to the United States on a visa from China. She and Lord claim to be married.
     Police were called after employees at the hotel noticed a man hanging out in the lobby, meeting men and taking them to a room, then waiting in the lobby while the men were in the room.  The Bismarck Tribune reports that Lord told a judge he had been in Bismarck "a little over a week." Authorities say he doesn't appear to have a criminal history.

     WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - A Williston judge has denied a request by an accused sex offender with cancer who asked to have his case dismissed.  The Williston Herald reports that 57-year-old Victor Black is charged with gross sexual imposition. Authorities say he had sexual relations with a 14-year-old girl in the summer of 2013. He has been jailed since June.
     Defense attorney Ben Johnson argued that Black has been incarcerated too long and has often been unable to receive medications. He said that violates his client's right to a speedy trial.
     Judge Paul Jacobson ruled that the April 14th trial date was appropriate and the case should continue on its normal path.  Jacobson said the amount of time before trial is not unusual.

     WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - Officials in the heart of the North Dakota oil patch are continuing their efforts to rid the area of temporary housing.  The Williams County Commission recently denied two conditional use permits for the Williston area, including one for employee housing on agricultural property.
     The Williston Herald reports that the applicant, Basin ET Properties, Incorporated said the property in Stony Creek Township was purchased in 1979 and hasn't been used for agricultural purposes since.
     Commissioner Martin Hanson says he had no qualms with housing on the property but doesn't agree with a business operating on agricultural land. City officials say it would set a bad precedent.  The commission also denied a conditional use permit from Perry Trucking for truck parking on residential property in Williston Township.

     WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - A company known for its crew camps in the western North Dakota oil patch has completed another facility west of Williston.  The Minot Daily News reports that Target Logistics' Judson Lodge has 100 rooms. Officials say Denver, Colorado-based Liberty Oilfield Services will be contracting all 100 rooms.  Boston-based Target Logistics has 12 facilities in North Dakota that have a total of more than 4,000 rooms.

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota has expanded veterans' education program to help more earn college degrees and certifications.  The Bismarck Tribune reports that the federally funded Veterans Upward Bound program has been replaced by the state-funded Veterans Educational Training.
     Project Coordinator Jeri Vaudrin says with state funding, the program has gone from being limited to low-income, first-generation college students to helping almost all veterans who want to attend college.  Vaudrin says only eligibility requirements are that they have served for 180 days or have been deployed if they are in the National Guard.
     The state Legislature gave the program $274,000 over the next two years.  The program has hubs at North Dakota State University, the University of North Dakota, Minot State University and the University of Mary.

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A noted North Dakota historian who was the state's first archivist has died.  The Bismarck Tribune reports that Frank Vyzralek died Friday at St. Alexius Medical Center in Bismarck. He was 75.  Vyzralek was active in researching and publishing state and regional history. He helped found the North Dakota Historical Society of Germans from Russia.
     Vyzralek was born in Alexandria, Minnesota. He attended Fargo public schools. He graduated from North Dakota State University and came to work as a researcher for the State Historical Society of North Dakota in 1969.
     He became an archivist for the agency in 1971 and in 1977 was appointed to a new position of state archivist.  Vyzralek left the historical society in 1981. He owned Great Plains Research, a private research company.

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

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