KHRT ND News – 03/25/22

KHRT NEWS – FRIDAY – 032522 – 1200
MINOT, ND – The Democratic-NPL State Convention is underway in Minot. Delegates at the convention will endorse statewide candidates, vote on the party platform, and connect with others in the party. North Dakota Democrats are discussing adjustments to their party platform going into this year’s election cycle. They want to cut it back to the essentials, and demonstrate unity in the party. The convention is being held at the Clarion Hotel. Party members have the option of joining the proceedings virtually. The convention continues through Sunday.
BISMARCK, N.D. – State School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler on Wednesday invited North Dakotans from two groups of counties to apply for the Board of Public School Education, which plays a crucial oversight role in the North Dakota’s education system. The seven-member board oversees the development of a state learning continuum, which identifies essential skills that students should learn at specific points during their K-12 education. It has charge of the North Dakota K-12 Education Coordination Council, which reviews the effectiveness of state education programs and encourages collaboration among agencies and interest groups.
Board of Public School Education members also are part of the state Board of Career and Technical Education, which oversees North Dakota’s state CTE department and its programs. Last year, the Legislature endorsed a large expansion of the state’s career and technical education system, approving $88.3 million in grants to develop, equip and maintain area career training centers.
Six members of the Board of Public School Education each represent groups of counties that are specified in state law. The governor appoints them to six-year terms. The state school superintendent is the board’s seventh member and its executive secretary. The members whose terms are ending represent:
– Burke, Divide, McKenzie, Mountrail, Ward, and Williams counties; and
– Adams, Billings, Bowman, Dunn, Golden Valley, Grant, Hettinger, Mercer, Morton, Oliver, Sioux, Slope, and Stark counties.
North Dakotans who live in one of the two groups of counties are encouraged to apply through the governor’s website. Under state law, the governor appoints new board members from a list of names submitted by a committee of three people: the presidents of North Dakota United, the state Council of Educational Leaders, and the North Dakota School Boards Association. The application deadline is 5 p.m. on Friday, April 29.
In addition to its other duties, the Board of Public School Education decides school district requests to dissolve, reorganize, or transfer property. Recently, the board reviewed and approved a plan to combine the Williston city school district and a neighboring Williams County district into a single entity, Williston Basin School District No. 7. The union took effect July 1, 2021.
BISMARCK, N.D. – Several oil and gas associations including the North Dakota Petroleum Council are urging President Biden to work with them on addressing domestic energy concerns. In a letter sent out last week, 10 organizations are asking the president to change his stance on oil and gas production in the United States, arguing it has been hostile against businesses and workers. Petroleum Council President Ron Ness said in a statement that President Biden can have an immediate impact on energy prices by announcing a change in the administration’s direction on American energy rather than begging unstable nations to sell more oil.
FARGO, ND – (PNS) – In 2020, North Dakota reached a federal settlement regarding institutionalized care for people with disabilities. As they carve out a newer vision, state officials are getting the word out about programs giving residents with disabilities more pathways to community care. The Department of Human Services (DHS) is highlighting initiatives designed to help people with disabilities make a smoother transition from an institution to a community setting.
Jake Reuter, program administrator for the DHS, acknowledged the state has a long way to go to improve access, but he noted demand for the programs is a good sign they are reaching the people they need to reach. “We’re having many, many referrals for services to help prevent institutional care in the first place,” Reuter reported.
The department hosted a webinar this week to discuss programs like “Money Follows the Person,” which helps eligible Medicaid enrollees shift to community care. Since 2007, the federally funded option has assisted more than 400 North Dakotans with disabilities. The recent settlement followed allegations the state relied too much on placing people in nursing facilities.
To meet future goals, Reuter asserted such issues as a better-trained workforce and affordable housing need to be addressed. He noted having flexibility to offer care in an integrated community setting gives affected individuals more choices in day-to-day life. “They have meals when they want, how they want them,” Reuter outlined. “They get to go out into the community, they spend time with the people they want.”
Department leaders added as part of their response to past issues, they have tried to improve communications with key partners, like hospitals and nursing homes. The Legislature has set aside more funding in this area, including use of American Rescue Plan aid.
In rankings compiled by the Case for Inclusion, North Dakota landed at 46th in the nation for policies such as promoting independence for people with disabilities.
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) – A boxer died a day after he required medical attention following a bout in Rapid City. The boxer was a contender in the Elite Male Division at the South Dakota Golden Gloves boxing show on Saturday. USA Boxing said the boxer required medical attention after his match, and died Sunday at a local hospital. The organization did not identify the boxer. The Rapid City Journal reported he is from North Dakota. North Dakota Local Boxing Committee President Danny Pruneda ordered all affiliated gyms in North Dakota to close for one day in his memory.
MINOT, ND (MINOTND.ORG) – A recent natural gas leak that led to two northwest Minot homes being evacuated serves as a reminder of the potential dangers of gas. There are different ways gas can enter or build up in a structure through a natural gas leak. But even if the leak happens outside, as was the case in the recent incident, gas can seep into a home.
“If you look at a home’s foundation, you’re likely going to find cracks. Maybe it’s an actual crack or maybe it’s a spot where plumbing comes into the home,” said Austin Burns, battalion chief at the Minot Fire Department. “Gas will migrate through any small opening to get to an area of lower pressure. That’s what it does.”
In the recent incident, high levels of natural gas were found inside the home where a garage explosion and fire occurred. Minot Fire Department crews and workers with Montana Dakota Utilities also found elevated natural gas levels in the home’s yard and in nearby storm sewers. The gas leak led to the evacuation of a nearby home as a precaution.
Burns, who was in charge of the scene at the March 15 incident in northwest Minot, said natural gas is a methane-based gas, but only about 70 percent of the total volume of natural gas is methane. Additives make up the remaining 30 percent, including mercaptan, which adds a strong scent to the naturally odorless and colorless gas so it can be detected by humans.
“Natural gas will follow the path of least resistance. If the soil isn’t solid, the gas will migrate through the soil,” Burns said. “When natural gas moves through soil, it naturally filters out the mercaptan, so if the gas then enters your home, you can’t smell it.”
Following the path of least resistance is also how the gas entered storm sewers near the evacuated homes. “We tested multiple storm sewer locations on that block, and we found gas in almost all of them. Again, the gas is following the path inside the piping or through the soil around the piping,” Burns said. “Sometimes, utilities are bored through the storm sewer pipeline, so that gives natural gas another way to enter that pathway.”
Carbon monoxide detectors in your home will help alert you to the presence of carbon monoxide, but they will not detect a natural gas leak. Installing a combustible gas detector provides an additional level of safety.
For firefighters, a natural gas leak isn’t something they deal with on a regular basis. “We don’t come across this a lot, but if this type of gas leak goes undetected, it has the potential to be a high-risk incident,” Burns said. “But I want to stress this: We have all the proper training and equipment to take care of the community if something like this happens. If anyone thinks they’re having a gas leak issue, please call us right away. We work with MDU and other utilities to mitigate these concerns as quickly as possible.”
(Copyright 2022 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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