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 KHRT ND News

KHRT ND NEWS - TUESDAY - 06/10/14 - NOON EDITION

North Dakotans have just one statewide ballot measure to decide today.....

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakotans have just one statewide ballot measure to decide today and turnout is expected to be light.  In cities and counties across the state, voters will pick in North Dakota's primary election who will serve on their local governing boards.
 
     The only statewide vote will be on Measure 1, a proposed constitutional amendment to set an earlier deadline for initiating petitions for ballot - 120 days before the election rather than 90.
 
     Mayoral races in Minot, Fargo and Williston may stir voter interest in those cities but election officials aren't expecting voters statewide to throng to the polls.
 
    Polls in Minot are open until 7 pm.

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     WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - Williston voters are deciding on a proposed $34 million bond issue to help fund a new high school in the growing city.  The proposed school would cost $56.5 million. School officials are asking voters to cover more than half of the cost through higher property taxes. The school district says the bond would result in an annual tax increase of about $14 for the owner of a $200,000 home.
 
     Williston's rapid growth has strained schools. The district says it has added almost 1,000 students over the past five years and anticipates more than 1,300 new students in the next five years. Officials say more than 700 students are currently taught in portable classrooms.

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     DOUGLAS, N.D. (AP) - A district judge has put a stop to plans for a $6 million pipeline to relieve chronic flooding at Rice Lake.  Judge Richard Hagar says the Rice Lake Recreation Service District doesn't have the authority under state law to use eminent domain to obtain land along the proposed 11.5-mile route of the pipeline to transfer excess lake water into Douglas Creek.
 
     A landowner group had opposed the plan. Opponents worried that it could lead to downstream flooding of pasture and hay land.  The Minot Daily News reports that the Rice Lake Board of Directors did not immediately respond to Hagar's ruling.
 
     Rice Lake has risen four straight years, damaging or destroying about 30 homes.

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     MANDAN, N.D. (AP) - Two men facing charges in a Mandan homicide have pleaded not guilty.  Jonathan McKinney is charged with murder and tampering with evidence, and could face life in prison without parole if convicted. Warren Pfetzer is charged with evidence tampering, terrorizing and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He could face up to 20 years if convicted.
 
     The two are charged in the death of Alex Lansdon, who was found dead Jan. 27 at the mobile home he rented in southeast Mandan. Preliminary autopsy results indicate he died of multiple gunshot wounds.  McKinney and Pfetzer are scheduled for trial in late October and early November.

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     MANDAN, N.D. (AP) - A former Mandan High School student accused of bringing a loaded gun to school has pleaded not guilty to four charges.  Eighteen-year-old Todd Miller faces felony counts of accomplice to terrorizing and reckless endangerment, and misdemeanor drug and weapon counts. He could face up to 12 years in prison if convicted. His trial is scheduled for mid-September.  The school was put in lockdown on May 2 when police received a tip that a student had brought a gun to school. Police said they found the gun on Miller.
 
     A 16-year-old boy also was arrested. His case is being handled in juvenile court, where proceedings are not open to the public.

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     WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp says she welcomes a Department of Justice plan that would require state and local officials to place at least one polling place in a location chosen by tribal governments.  Locations chosen by non-tribal members can require Native Americans to travel long distances to vote.
 
     Heitkamp says it is "very upsetting" that there have been coordinated efforts throughout the country's history to hinder the ability of Native Americans to vote.  She made the remarks in a statement on Tuesday.
 
     In May the senator helped introduce legislation that would further help ease restrictions Native American voters face. The Native Voting Rights Act of 2014 calls for translating ballots into Native languages, allowing voters to use tribal identification cards and enhancing election oversight.

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     COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - The head of the Environmental Protection Agency is promoting proposed clean power plant rules to western governors as a way to deal with wildfires and floods.  EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy met today with western governors and emphasized that states will have flexibility in developing plans to reduce carbon output.  She acknowledged that some governors whose states depend heavily on coal expressed concern about the new rules.
 
     The EPA rules announced last week set a goal of cutting emissions of the greenhouse gas by 30 percent nationwide from 2005 levels. The goal's deadline is 2030.
 
     Some governors have blamed increasingly destructive fires on climate change, including Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.  Other governors in the region have decried what they call the administration's job-killing war on coal. Those include Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead.

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     WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama has signed a $12.3 billion water projects bill that finances improvements ranging from a harbor expansion in Boston to flood control in Iowa and North Dakota. The legislation was the result of a rare instance of bipartisan work in the divided Congress.
 
     Obama praised the work of Democrats and Republicans and said he hoped it set a pattern for agreement for more spending on infrastructure projects across the country.
 
     The new law will pay for 34 new projects over the next 10 years. Its price tag is half the amount of the last water projects bill seven years ago. Congressional leaders have praised the bill for containing no pet projects from lawmakers.  All of the projects were recommended by the Army Corps of Engineers.

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   FARGO, N.D. (AP) - The city of Fargo will no longer be auctioning off the homes it acquires through a flood buyout program.  City Engineer Nathan Boerboom tells KFGO radio that there's no longer a market for the home auctions, where prospective homeowners pay to move the structures to new sites.  The properties now will be going straight to demolition contractors, who will have the opportunity to sell or salvage them.
 
     Boerboom says remaining buyout homes likely won't be bought for relocation. He says they'll likely be used for parts.  The city has about 30 homes to sell off now and is not done buying out more homes.
 
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     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Applications are being accepted for a program that helps low-income people pay their cooling bills.  State Health officials say 137 households received assistance last year for cooling under the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.  The so-called LIHEAP program helps eligible families pay for cooling, home heating and home weatherizing.
 
     Funds can be used to purchase and install an air conditioning unit, repair an air conditioning unit, or to purchase fans for qualifying households.  A three-person household earning up to $41,633 per year may qualify for the program.
 
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     MANDAN, N.D. (AP) - Mandan has become the ninth city in North Dakota to have a concrete runway at its airport.  The city used a $6 million federal grant to fund most of the project, which replaced the runway's asphalt surface with concrete.
 
     KXMB-TV reports that the new runway was dedicated over the weekend. The celebration included a plane landing and cutting a ribbon on the runway.  The 4,400-foot main runway serves about 15,000 small plane takeoffs and landings each year.

 

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

 

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