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 KHRT ND News

KHRT ND NEWS - TUESDAY - 08/19/14 - NOON EDITION

The nation's acting drug czar is in North Dakota promoting an update to the White House's northern border strategy....

     MINOT, N.D. (AP) - The nation's acting drug czar is in North Dakota promoting an update to the White House's northern border strategy.  Michael Botticelli says it focuses on fighting crime in the oil patch of North Dakota and Montana.
 
     Botticelli is acting director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. He said during a stop in Minot Tuesday that "significant additions" to the northern border plan include targeting synthetic drugs and working to fight drug trafficking in the Bakken oil fields. He said there will be more information-sharing with Canada and enhanced cooperation with tribal governments.
 
     U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp says it's a struggle in Congress to bring attention to the northern border, but the North Dakota Democrat says there are some unique challenges that need addressing in northern states.

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     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A 41-year-old Bismarck man is facing charges after allegedly fleeing police with two young children in his vehicle.  John Flaska is charged with felony child neglect and misdemeanor reckless endangerment. He could face up to six years in prison if convicted. Court documents do not list an attorney for him.
 
     Police say Flaska was spotted shortly after midnight Sunday driving at a high rate of speed, with his headlights off. They say he abandoned the vehicle after officers gave chase and fled with the 5- and 14-year-old children on foot. They were found hiding behind a garden shed.  The children are in the custody of social services.

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     FARGO, N.D. (AP) - A sushi chef in Fargo accused of stabbing a fellow chef with a foot-long knife has been found not guilty of aggravated assault but sent to the State Hospital in Jamestown for mental health treatment.
 
     WDAY-TV reports that Judge Douglas Herman found Lin Zhong not guilty during a bench trial on Monday. Herman ruled that the 31-year-old chef from Flushing, New York, lacked criminal responsibility for his actions.
 
     Authorities say Zhong stabbed another chef in the hip during a fight at Osaka Sushi and Hibachi in late March.  Prosecutor Leah Viste said in court that an evaluation of Zhong determined that he had "a level of psychosis" that impaired his ability to comprehend his conduct.  Zhong will have a hearing in 90 days to review his mental health treatment.

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     WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - A real estate developer wants to build a $150 million convention center complex in Williston with the help of public money.  KXMC-TV reports that the proposal by The Prime Group is to spend about $115 million on a hotel, retail and office complex, with local or state funds paying for a $35 million convention center that would be the heart of the complex.
 
     John Breugelmans with The Prime Group says the complex would be on a site overlooking the downtown area of the oil patch hub. He says it would include a 16-story, 300-room hotel, underground parking for 1,500 vehicles, retail space and a restaurant.  Breugelmans says Williston is losing business and tax income by not having a world-class convention facility. He wants to open one within two years.
 
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     DEVILS LAKE, N.D. (AP) - A Veterans Affairs clinic has opened in Devils Lake, meaning area military veterans will no longer have to travel to VA headquarters in Fargo for treatment.  The federal government last September awarded Mercy Hospital the contract to house the clinic.
 
     U.S. Sens. John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp took part in the opening celebration on Monday. They say the clinic will provide primary care, along with mental health and specialty services via telemedicine.  Hoeven says bringing a VA clinic to Devils Lake has taken about a decade. The VA system in North Dakota also has clinics in Bismarck, Dickinson, Grafton, Jamestown, Minot and Williston.

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     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The North Dakota Aeronautics Commission is getting a $433,000 federal grant to study airports in the state.  U.S. Sens. John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp say the study will look at the economic impacts of airports, and also at ways to improve aviation throughout the state.
 
     The funding is through the federal Transportation Department. The agency also is providing more than $704,000 for taxiway work at the Grand Forks airport and $38,000 for similar work at the Cavalier airport.
 
     Airline boardings at North Dakota's eight large airports have been booming in recent months, setting records in many cities.

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     DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) - Construction is set to begin on temporary housing for federal workers in western North Dakota.  The U.S. Bureau of Land Management said Monday work will start this week on lodging for bureau and U.S. Agriculture Department Forest Service employees near Dickinson. A U.S. Air Force construction team stationed in Montana will build a site to host up to 10 mobile housing units.
 
     The bureau says the agencies are having trouble attracting qualified new employees who are willing to move to North Dakota. It says its North Dakota field office has had a large increase in its oil and gas workload but difficulties finding housing for employees.  It says the site will be restored to a more natural setting if housing conditions improve enough that workers don't need temporary lodging.

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     GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) - U.S. Sen. John Hoeven is applauding the completion of a 250-mile transmission line from Center to Grand Forks.  The Republican member of the Senate Energy Committee said Monday the $353 million project is "a good example of energy infrastructure investments" the state and nation need.

    The 345-kilovolt line operated by Minnkota Power Cooperative took more than two years to build and is the largest transmission project in the state's history.  The line started service on Aug. 7 and is intended to provide grid reliability and support long-term growth in the region.  Minnkota serves 34,500 square miles in eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota.

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     FARGO, N.D. (AP) - The city of Fargo has advanced in a national competition among cities to reduce America's energy consumption.  Fifty-two cities have been selected to continue for the Georgetown University Energy Prize, which provides a $5 million award for the winning city.  Communities with a population between 5,000 and 250,000 are eligible to compete for the prize, which includes about 8,900 cities.
 
     Fargo City Commissioner Mike Williams says the contest provides a good opportunity for the community to "mobilize innovative people and utilize community expertise and resources."

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     SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Sanford Health says it wants to open more than 300 clinics in Ghana in the next five years.  The Dakotas-based health network has opened five clinics in the African nation since 2012 and broke ground last week for a sixth. The clinics have treated more than 180,000 patients.  Sanford says in a statement that it hopes to serve 4.5 million patients annually by 2020 through a partnership with Ghana's Ministry of Health.
 
     Sanford bills itself as the nation's largest not-for-profit rural health care system, with facilities in 126 communities in nine states. It also is developing clinics in Israel, Mexico and China.
 


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

 

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