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Gov. Doug Burgum says North Dakota will participate in the newly created Opportunity Zones Program...

    BISMARCK, N.D. - Gov. Doug Burgum says North Dakota will participate in the newly created Opportunity Zones Program, a community development incentive established by the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The program gives each state's governor the authority to designate Opportunity Zones, or areas of populations that are eligible to receive private investments through Opportunity Funds.

    Opportunity Funds allow U.S. investors holding unrealized gains in stocks and mutual funds to pool their resources in projects located in Opportunity Zones, which will be focused on rebuilding low-income communities. Opportunity Zones are defined as low-income census tracts where the poverty rate is 20 percent or greater and/or family income is less than 80 percent of the area's median income.

    "The new federally authorized, state-designated Opportunity Zones create very attractive federal tax relief incentives, which will greatly help attract much-needed private capital investment toward the rebuilding of our low-income communities and regions within North Dakota," Burgum said. "These are powerful new tools to help cities reach their full potential and create healthy, vibrant communities that can attract and retain a 21st century workforce."

    The Opportunity Zone application form and details on the application process will be available at

    Nominations will be made by the governor by March 21. If the application extension is granted by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the governor will make nominations by April 20. When finalized, the Treasury Department will approve the nominated census tracts and administer the Opportunity Zone Program.


     FARGO, N.D. (AP) - Health officials say Fargo's first needle exchange program could be operational within a month. The Fargo/Cass Public Health Department is administering the program aimed at providing addicts not only with clean needles, but with resources for treatment and health care.
     The department's substance abuse prevention coordinator, Robyn Litke Sall, tells KFGO there has been an alarming increase in diseases such as Hepatitis C in the last five years. And, that it's largely attributed to the use of dirty needles by drug addicts. The exchange program will operate in a vacant, city-owned building. State approval is pending.


     MINOT, N.D. (AP) - A Minot woman has been sentenced to three years of probation and restitution for stealing nearly $3,000 worth of items from the Kmart store in the city while working there. Authorities say 21-year-old Kaleiah Murchison operated several schemes including fraudulent gift cards to steal items ranging from a TV to diapers over a three-month span in 2016. Murchison pleaded guilty to a felony theft charge Wednesday.

     FARGO, N.D. (AP) - A formal investiture ceremony is being held in Fargo for new 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Ralph Erickson. The ceremony is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. today at the Sanctuary Event Center.
     President Donald Trump nominated Erickson last June. The Senate in September confirmed him to the St. Louis-based appeals court. He replaced the retired Kermit Bye, starting last October.
     Erickson has served in various judicial positions for nearly a quarter century. In 2003, he was nominated by then-President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as a federal judge in North Dakota.
     The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals handles appeals from federal courts in the Dakotas, Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Nebraska.


     FORT YATES, N.D. (AP) - A group of students from the Standing Rock Indian Reservation will take the stage at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. this weekend to perform in a national talent show. Standing Rock Elementary School and Standing Rock Middle School have been part of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts' national Turnaround Arts program, which helps incorporate the arts into K-12 curriculum. Now 11 students have the opportunity to perform at the program's talent show this Sunday.


   (Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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