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North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger says he has received signed petitions for a proposed statewide ballot measure on parental rights that could go before voters in November....

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger says he has received signed petitions for a proposed statewide ballot measure on parental rights that could go before voters in November.
     Advocates of the proposed law giving both parents equal rights and decision-making responsibilities in child custody cases on Monday turned in petitions totaling 13,521 signatures.
     Many supporters of the initiated measure are from Walsh County. Voters there passed a similar law in 2012 but state Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem has challenged the local initiative, saying it usurps state authority.
     Jaeger's office has until July 21 to determine whether the signatures are valid. North Dakota voters would decide the fate of the measure on the Nov. 4 election should Jaeger clear the proposal.  A similar measure failed in 2006.

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A Bismarck woman has been sentenced to six months in jail for assaulting a J.C. Penney employee who tried to stop her from shoplifting.  The Bismarck Tribune reports that 36-year-old Leah Hatzenbuhler pleaded guilty to felony robbery on Monday.
     Judge Bruce Haskell sentenced Hatzenbuhler to two years in custody with all but six months suspended. Hatzenbuhler was also ordered to spend two years on supervised release.  Court records show Hatzenbuhler punched the employee in the face on May 13.
     Hatzenbuhler had already been banned from Kirkwood Mall before the incident happened. The ban came in December after she was charged with theft for stealing items from the sporting goods store Scheels. She pleaded guilty to that charge in February and was ordered to pay $500 in fines.


     FARGO, N.D. (AP) - A 31-year-old Fargo man who authorities accuse of starting a deck fire has been arrested.  Police in Fargo say the man was arrested in Moorhead, Minnesota. An arrest warrant had been issued for the man on charges of arson, terrorizing and criminal trespass.  Authorities say the man started the fire at his ex-wife's apartment on Sunday. They say the blaze did not cause any interior damage, but affected the deck.
     Police say the man had previously told his ex-wife that we would "napalm" her apartment. Police say officers responded to the same address hours after the fire for a report of a possible burglary. The woman told police she saw the man inside the apartment.


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Bismarck Municipal Airport is receiving a nearly $1.5 million federal grant from the Federal Aviation Administration.  The grant will be used to rehabilitate the airport's runway. U.S. Sens. Heidi Heitkamp and John Hoeven announced the grant on Monday.  Bismarck's airport has seen a 70 percent increase enplanements in the past decade.
     Sens. Heitkamp and Hoeven hosted Federal Aviation Administration head Michael Huerta in North Dakota in April to push the case for more federal funding for the state's airports. A number of the state's airports have struggled to keep up with rapid population growth in the state.
     North Dakota airports have secured more than $20 million in federal grants since Huerta's visit.  In early June North Dakota's Land Board granted nearly $9 million to airports in the state's oil patch.

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Soldiers with the North Dakota Army National Guard will conduct training exercises at Kimball Bottoms south of Bismarck.  The Guard says Kimball Bottoms will be closed during 957th Engineer Company's training, which began Monday and ends June 26.
     More than 120 Soldiers will be at the site conducting rafting and bridging operations on the Missouri River. The recreational area, including the off-highway vehicle trails, will be closed.  The Missouri River in the area will remain open, but boaters are urged to use caution.

     FARGO, N.D. (AP) - A group of Red River diversion opponents who have filed a federal lawsuit against the planned flood control project are pleading their case in Minnesota state court as well. The lawsuit says it doesn't make sense for the Red River Diversion Authority to begin construction of a ring dike around communities south of Fargo until Minnesota finishes its review on possible environmental impacts.

     WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - Williston will spend nearly $2 million on a downtown building to house its building and planning departments. Officials say the busy departments need more space and the new building will provide it. The plan is to move staffers into the building at the end of the year.

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


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