KHRT ND News – 06/09/21

KHRT NEWS – 060921 – WEDNESDAY – 1200
MINOT, ND – Minot’s water situation is beginning to return to normal. After work on Monday and Tuesday, one of the City’s wells under repair – Well E in the Sundre well field – is back online. The well produces approximately 1 million gallons of raw water per day. The remaining wells undergoing repairs should be back in operation by the end of this week.
 
Last week, The City of Minot issued a mandatory water restriction of all outdoor water use, including any lawn watering, car washing, or other uses. The water restrictions were due to several wells in the raw water system that failed, limiting the amount of water that could be produced at the Minot Water Treatment Plant.
 
“I want to thank the public for reducing their water usage over the past few days,” City of Minot Assistant Public Works Director Jason Sorenson said. “Over the weekend our daily usage dropped to approximately 7.5 million gallons, so we were able to refill our storage facilities, which had been at critically low levels.”
 
Sorenson said the plan is to have all down wells operational by the end of the week, which means the water restrictions could be lifted. But with hot weather continuing and little rain in the forecast, Sorenson is hoping residents continue to monitor their outdoor water usage and follow the City ordinance that allows homes with even numbers to water on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and those with odd numbers to water on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
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FARGO, ND – A North Dakota man has been sentenced to federal prison for preparation of false tax returns. U.S. District Court Chief Judge Peter D. Welte sentenced 43-year old Benjamin Boway of Mapelton to 18 months in federal prison for the charge of Aiding in Preparation of False Tax Returns. Welte also sentenced Boway to 1 year of supervised released, $134,498 in restitution and $500 in special assessment fees.
 
Between 2015 and 2018, Boway, the sole owner and operator of a tax preparation business, Bennie Tax Services, in Mapleton, ND, knowingly filed fraudulent tax returns. Boway charged clients a fee for the preparation and filing with the Internal Revenue Service of federal individual income tax returns for the tax years of 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. Some of the returns he prepared on behalf of clients were false and fraudulent, representing that the taxpayers were entitled to claim credits and deductions that Boway knew were not legitimate. The tax loss attributable to the Boway’s fraudulent conduct was $134,298.
 
“Mr. Boway used his tax return preparer’s knowledge and expertise against his clients and the IRS, but fortunately an IRS CI special agent was able to identify, investigate and recommend prosecution of this abusive return preparer,” said Amanda Prestegard, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation division in the St. Louis Field Office. “IRS Criminal Investigation and the United States Attorney’s Office remain committed to protect the integrity of the tax system and innocent victims that suffer monetary loss.”
 
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations, and Assistant United States Attorney Megan A. Healy prosecuted the case.
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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – City leaders in Bismarck have killed a proposal to allow chickens within city limits. The Bismarck Tribune reports the City Commission denied a request Tuesday from the city Planning and Zoning Commission to hold a public hearing on a potential ordinance that would have allowed city residents to keep up to four chickens. Commissioner Steve Marquardt said he was concerned about disposal of chicken feces and commissioners had received emails from residents opposing the ordinance. He says the city needs a lot of things but chickens aren’t one of them.
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FARGO, N.D. (AP) – Fargo firefighters found themselves battling a string of dumpster fires on the city’s southern edge late Tuesday. The fire department said in a news release the first call came in at 10:50 p.m. A half-hour later firefighters responded to another dumpster fire at a different location. Three minutes later they responded to three dumpster fires at the same location. The department says the fires are considered suspicious given the timing and proximity to one another.
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BISMARCK, ND – The North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) reminds drivers who are traveling the state this summer to watch for Safety Corridors and their enhanced safety features, which may include an increased law enforcement presence.
Corridors are on Highway 85 from Watford City to ND 68, Highway 52 from Brooks Junction to Velva, and Highway 83 from Bismarck to Washburn.
 
Safety Corridors include signage indicating reduced speed, no-passing zones, information about road conditions, and reminders to buckle up, drive sober, and distraction-free. In addition to these signs, Corridors may include pavement markings that are more visible, especially in dark or wet conditions.
 
Safety Corridors were implemented on North Dakota highways as a part of the Vision Zero plan to help reach the goal of zero fatalities on North Dakota roads. Preliminary crash fatalities in 2021 are trending higher than previous years with 32 fatalities as of May 31, 2021.
This reminder is a part of the Summer H.E.A.T. (Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic) strategy and Vision Zero initiative to eliminate motor vehicle crash fatalities and serious injuries on North Dakota roads. Summer H.E.A.T. will take place through August to encourage everyone to wear a seat belt, use appropriate child passenger safety seats, follow all posted speed limits, and drive sober and distraction-free.
 
(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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KHRT NEWS – 060921 – WEDNESDAY – 0700
 
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – State tax revenue exceeded projections in April. The Bismarck Tribune reports April’s general fund revenues outpaced 2019 legislative projections by 1.2%, or more than $2.7 million. Revenues have exceeded projections by 2.2%, or $96.6 million, since mid-2019. May’s revenue numbers aren’t available yet but State Office of Management and Budget Director Joe Morrisette said Monday they looked to be what he called “fairly positive.” Overall sales taxes, the largest source of general fund revenue, are still 2.5% lower than the 2019 forecast, reflecting the disruptive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall oil taxes are 26% under forecasts.
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BISMARCK, N.D. – The North Dakota Department of Human Services, through its eight regional human service centers, has launched a comprehensive behavioral health crisis response system to provide help and support 24-hours a day, seven days a week to North Dakotans who are experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge, or other emotional situation. The initiative also includes crisis response services for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities through the Life Skills and Transition Center (LSTC) in Grafton.
 
“Over the past two years, we have made great strides in strengthening the state’s behavioral health continuum of care by creating a standardized crisis response delivery system,” said department Executive Director Chris Jones. “One of our key priorities is to provide services closer to home and these services ensure people receive the right services, in the right location and at the right time.”
 
The enhanced services include a three-digit crisis line (211) that anyone can call for help, including law enforcement and other first responders who are helping individuals in stressful situations. Some reasons to call could include substance use, depression, suicidal thoughts, trauma, relationship conflict, concerns for loved ones or other challenges.
 
Clinically trained specialists provide confidential support and try to resolve the crisis over the phone. If it requires an in-person response, a team of behavioral health professionals will meet an individual where he or she is to provide stabilization, resolution and other supportive services.
 
The mobile response services are provided within a 45-mile radius of the state’s eight largest cities. The services can be provided in a person’s home, work location or other community setting. For individuals outside the 45-mile radius, the mobile response team connects by phone for support, assessment and crisis psychotherapy, and if the situation is unresolved, recommend treatment at the nearest critical access hospital. The human service centers are actively working to create memorandums of understanding with North Dakota critical access hospitals to provide these services through telehealth in rural communities outside the 45-mile radius.
 
“The focus of these services is to help individuals facing a crisis get help quickly, to meet them where they are comfortable, and to provide support to avoid unnecessary law enforcement involvement, emergency room use or inpatient hospitalization,” said Rosalie Etherington, Ph.D., chief clinic director for the human service centers.
 
In addition, the human service centers are repurposing existing residential units that provide long-term treatment services into 24-hour stabilization facilities that focus on short-term intervention and treatment services. Once fully operational, individuals will be able to walk into a facility, receive an assessment and get services that best meets their needs, which could include a referral to a treatment provider for appropriate services.
 
Efforts are underway to fully develop the stabilization facilities and services in the coming months, as some regions are working to remodel existing buildings to accommodate the new treatment model. All human service centers also offer daytime walk-in assessments Monday through Friday during regular business hours to serve individuals with behavioral health emergencies.
 
“This is a monumental shift in how we best serve people in crisis,” said Jeff Stenseth, field services operations officer. “While some regions have been offering these services for some time, we gradually enhanced them throughout the state over the past year. We are hearing from law enforcement and other first responders that the more robust services are making a difference in their communities.”
 
Also included in the initiative is a specialized developmental disabilities crisis response team who supports individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. “Our team of crisis coordinators and applied behavior analysts work closely with the regional mobile response teams. When someone in crisis has a disability, we are called to provide stabilization, support and service coordination within 24-hours of the initial call to 211,” said Sue Foerster, LSTC superintendent. “We also provide support and training to developmental disability service providers and families throughout the state.”
 
These enhanced services are available 24-hours a day, seven days a week, on weekends and holidays to all North Dakotans, not just individuals who receive services through the human service centers. A sliding fee schedule is available based on an individual’s ability to pay, and insurance is accepted if available.
 
During the 2019 legislative session, North Dakota lawmakers authorized funding and additional full-time positions to enhance 24-hour emergency and crisis services. The enhancements are a result of the 2018 Human Services Research Institute’s report that examined the state’s behavioral health system to prevent and respond to behavioral health challenges and promote the well-being of North Dakotans. In January 2020, the department contracted with FirstLink 211 for the phone support services.
 
The department’s regional human service centers are located in Bismarck, Devils Lake, Dickinson, Fargo, Grand Forks, Jamestown, Minot and Williston with satellite clinics in Grafton, Rolla and Valley City.
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BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum thanked members of the State Water Commission for their service and announced Tuesday that the eight appointed Commission positions are now open for applications. The eight members are appointed to six-year terms by the governor and provide regional representation on the Commission. Under state law, they are considered to have resigned effective Jan. 1 of the first year of each four-year term of the governor.
 
Burgum, who began his second term Dec. 15, accepted the members’ statutorily triggered resignations at the end of today’s Commission meeting and announced the positions would be open for applications, including from current members who wish to continue serving. He similarly opened the Commission positions for applications in 2017.
 
One of the eight members, Commissioner Steven Schneider, who represents the Little Missouri, upper Heart and upper Cannonball river basins, resigned from the Commission on May 13.
 
“We are grateful to these State Water Commission members for their leadership in promoting water resource management and addressing water supply, flood protection and other water issues. This board has engaged deeply in regular meetings and subcommittee meetings throughout their tenure, and we appreciate the positive energy and thoughtful policy ideas they have brought to the Commission,” Burgum said. “Thoroughly reviewing a pool of leadership candidates at the beginning of a new term is always a good board governance practice.”
 
For purposes of continuity, the governor is required to reappoint three of the current members to fill out their terms. Pursuant to statute, all commissioners shall continue to serve until the governor’s appointments or reappointments have been named. All current commissioners are eligible to reapply. The governor will accept applications for the open commission seats until Thursday, July 15. The application form can be found online at https://apps.nd.gov/gov/boards/.
 
In addition, the state will soon begin accepting applications for director of the North Dakota Department of Water Resources, established as the primary state water agency with the passage and signing of House Bill 1353 in April. The new director will hire and oversee the State Engineer and the staff of Department of Water Resources.
 
The 10-member State Water Commission consists of Burgum as chairman, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, and the eight members appointed by the governor to six-year terms, with one member each from the following drainage basins in North Dakota: upper Missouri River basin; the lower Missouri River basin; the James River basin; the upper Red River basin; the lower Red River basin; the Mouse River basin; the Devils Lake basin; and the Little Missouri River, upper Heart River, and upper Cannonball River basin.
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BISMARCK, N.D. – The North Dakota National Guard’s 957th Engineer Company (Multi-Role Bridge) will conduct field training exercises Friday through Sunday in the Kimball Bottoms area near the Missouri River, south of Bismarck. The N.D. National Guard reminds the public to be aware of the training activities and to use extreme caution when in the area, since there will be increased vehicle and boat traffic during unit training operations. The public’s cooperation and understanding is appreciated.
 
For the safety of the public, the off-road vehicle area known as the Desert will be closed to the public from 12 p.m. on Friday, June 11 through 10 a.m. on Sunday, June 13. In addition to land training in the area, approximately 130 Soldiers will conduct boating and bridging operations on the Missouri River. The river will not be closed to the public, but visitors and boaters are asked to use caution while in the area.
 
(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
 
 

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