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 KHRT ND News

KHRT ND NEWS - FRIDAY - 06/06/14 - MORNING EDITION

The nation's top law enforcement official says the Obama administration is fulfilling federal promises to American Indian tribes.....

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The nation's top law enforcement official says the Obama administration is fulfilling federal promises to American Indian tribes.  U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was the keynote speaker Thursday at a tribal conference on the campus of United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck.
 
     Holder says the Justice Department and the Obama administration have "fought to protect natural resources and water rights on tribal lands ... and prioritized the resolution of longstanding legal disputes."  He says the administration also has helped tribal authorities "combat violence against Native women."
 
     North Dakota U.S. Attorney Timothy Purdon says it's the first time a sitting attorney general has visited Bismarck since Robert F. Kennedy addressed the National Congress of American Indians in September 1963.
 
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     GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) - The University of North Dakota has fired the director of the school's Energy and Environmental Research Center.  WDAY-TV reports the university confirmed the move Thursday.
 
     Gerald Groenewold had been placed on paid administrative leave in early May. He declined a request from the station to comment Thursday.  Groenewold pleaded guilty in 2008 to a misdemeanor assault charge for an incident involving his wife, state Sen. Connie Triplett. He was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to complete 30 hours of community service.
 
     Thomas Erickson is the center's associate director for business, operations and intellectual property and a university spokesman says Erickson will oversee the day-to-day operations of the lab.  The EERC is UND's primary research facility and employs about 300 people, including scientists and engineers.
 
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     WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - The U.S. Department of Transportation is awarding Williston's Sloulin Field International Airport a $1.8 million grant to rehabilitate its taxiway.  U.S. Sens. John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp made the announcement Thursday.
 
     The grant is the latest in a series of federal and state grants to North Dakota airports. The state's Land Board awarded oil patch airports $8.9 million on Wednesday and the Department of Transportation granted North Dakota airports more than $18 million in May.
 
     Sens. Hoeven and Heitkamp hosted Federal Aviation Administration head Michael Huerta in Williston in April to push the case for more federal funding for state airports.
 
     A number of North Dakota airports have struggled to keep up with the sharp rise in demand brought on by the oil boom in recent years.

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     BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - U.S. railroads forced to turn over details of their crude oil shipments are asking states to sign agreements not to disclose the information. Some states are refusing, saying the information should be public.
 
     Federal officials last month ordered railroads to make the disclosures following a string of fiery tank car accidents in North Dakota, Alabama, Virginia and Quebec, where 47 people died.
 
     The information due Saturday includes route details, and train frequency and emergency response information for trains hauling 1 million gallons or more of crude.  BNSF, Union Pacific and CSX are seeking agreements that the information won't be publicly shared. They say the information is security sensitive.
 
     Officials in Wisconsin, Montana, Illinois, North Dakota, Idaho and Washington state have refused to sign, citing open record laws and the need for public awareness.
 
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     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A Texas man who has maintained his innocence while serving 28 years in federal prison for the murder of a man in North Dakota has been released.
 
     Richard LaFuente was convicted in the 1983 death of Edward Peltier of Devils Lake, North Dakota. He has been in a federal prison in Texas since 1986.  He was denied parole for the fourth time last July and the Minnesota Innocence Project appealed on LaFuente's behalf. The U.S. Parole Commission reversed its decision and granted his release.
 
     His conviction has still not been overturned. The Minnesota Innocence Project says it will continue to try to prove his innocence.  The nonprofit legal group says some members of Peltier's family who believe in LaFuente's innocence have testified on his behalf.

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     FARGO, N.D. (AP) - Electioneering charges will not be filed against a Fargo city commission candidate over a controversial campaign sign.  Fargo police had opened a criminal investigation after someone complained that John Strand had violated state election laws with a message that had been projected on a city water tower.
 
     Cass County State's Attorney Birch Burdick says his decision applies only to Strand's case and is not intended to declare a uniform policy on images that are projected on public property.
 
     Strand tells KFGO radio he's relieved that the issue has been resolved. Strand is one of six candidates running for two open spots on the city commission.

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     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Six tourism and recreational facilities in North Dakota have been awarded state grants to help them start operating or expand their services.
 
     The state's Tourism Division announced the matching grants Thursday. The state awarded a total of $100,000 and individual grants ranged between $5,000 and $24,000.
 
     The grants require that the sponsor provide $1 for every $1 of grant money being requested. The attractions must have the ability to retain a visitor for at least three hours in order to qualify for a grant.
 
     The recipients are Crooked Lane Farm Folk School in Colfax, Eastbay Campground in Devils Lake, Dakota Prairie Regional Center for the Arts in New Rockford, Bowbells Hotel in Bowbells, gardendwellersFARM in Esmond and Northeast North Dakota Heritage Foundation in Cavalier.

 

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

 

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