KHRT ND News – 07/16/21

KHRT NEWS – FRIDAY – 071621 – 1200
 
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – The North Dakota Supreme Court has upheld the murder sentence of a Minot man convicted in a fatal shooting outside a Williston motel. Alex Eggleston was convicted and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 30 years for the murder of Vance Neset, which took place in the Super 8 motel parking lot in 2017.
 
Eggleston appealed his sentence to the state Supreme Court, arguing the law was unconstitutionally vague as applied to him and a violation of his due process. In upholding the sentence, the high court found that Eggleston’s argument was not adequately presented to the district court, so it will not hear the issue for the first time on appeal, KXMB-TV reported.
 
During the trial, Eggleston argued that he acted in self-defense. He testified that he pulled a gun on Neset and another man after they’d threatened him and that he’d only shot Neset because he was afraid for his own life.
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BISMARCK, ND – The weekly COVID-19 report from the North Dakota Department of Health lists a 14-day rolling positivity rate of 1.6%. There were 157 positives from 8,534 tests processed in the last week. Active cases are up 43 to 190. Those hospitalized due to the coronavirus are up two to 10. Four more deaths are reported among those who tested positive increasing the overall total since the pandemic began to 1,536. Vaccination rates among adults include 51.4% (306,717) receiving at least one dose, while 48.7% (290,723) are fully vaccinated.

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BISMARCK, ND – Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem is advising all North Dakotans to be on the alert for unlicensed contractor Stephen Webster Hill, who has pending criminal charges and appears to be continuing to defraud unsuspecting homeowners in Bismarck -Mandan and the surrounding rural areas. Hill was banned from acting as a contractor by court order in 2011 as a result of his fraudulent activities as an unlicensed contractor. At that time, Hill owed restitution to multiple consumers in an amount exceeding $19,000.

 
The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection division learned in July 2020 that Hill was again operating as an unlicensed contractor, in violation of the 2011 court order and state law. The Attorney General had received complaints indicating Hill had failed to pay two of his subcontractors approximately $11,000. Investigators notified Hill to cease his unlawful activities, but Hill has ignored efforts by the Consumer Protection division, which initiated another fraud investigation against him and his businesses, Renovation Solutions, Inc. and Colina Design Systems, Inc.
 
Hill also has been criminally charged in Burleigh County with four counts of “Contracting Without a License,” and on June 16, 2021, the court issued a warrant for Hill’s arrest. “Mr. Hill’s deliberate actions in continuing to operate illegally as an unlicensed contractor creates an unacceptable risk of further harm to North Dakota consumers,” said Stenehjem. “My office will take all necessary steps to hold Hill accountable.” Stenehjem reminds consumers to make sure a contractor is properly licensed before hiring them or giving them any money.
 
Parrell Grossman, director of the Consumer Protection division urged anyone who is aware of any current contracting by Hill to contact the Attorney General’s Office. “Mr. Hill’s past conduct has resulted in many thousands of dollars in unpaid restitution to homeowners,” said Grossman.
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BISMARCK, ND – Heavy rain and hail occurred across central North Dakota this morning. The National Weather Service reports that just over three inches of rain fell 13 miles south of Minot, in the South Prairie area. Two to two and a half inches of rain was reported in Minot along with one inch hail. Most of that rain came over a period of two to three hours and did cause some minor flooding. The storms slowed moved southeast along Highway 83 throughout the morning dropping heavy rain. Forecasters say sunshine and high temps in the mid-90’s are expected today.
 
 
(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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KHRT NEWS – FRIDAY – 071621 – 0700
 
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – The same stronger-than-forecast oil prices that are swelling North Dakota’s treasury also could shrink dollars for road construction next year, officials said Thursday. Oil is used for road construction and making asphalt. The state Department of Transportation already has approved 174 contracts for road, bridge and other projects this year that total $350 million, agency spokesman David Finley said. Bids on those projects came in earlier this year before oil prices began surging, he said. Bids for next year’s construction projects will begin coming in November but most will come in spring 2022, Finley said.
 
Steve Salwei, DOT’s director of transportation programs, said none of the state-funded projects being done this year are affected by higher crude prices. Next year, however, things may be different. “We can only construct with money we have to pay for it,” he said. Contractors appear to be ample at present and bidding competition could lower project costs, Salwei said. The state typically is required to match 20% of federal funding used road construction, Salwei said. North Dakota’s share of the funding won’t be known until a new federal highway bill is passed, he said.
 
Oil prices are a key contributor to the wealth of North Dakota, which is neck-and-neck with New Mexico as the No. 2 oil producer behind Texas. North Dakota budget officials estimate every dollar that a barrel of oil either increases or decreases has a more than $40 million impact on the state treasury annually. Lawmakers this spring assumed oil prices at $50 a barrel when crafting their present two-year budget. Including federal funds, the spending plan is $17 billion, or about $2.1 billion more than the budget cycle that ended June 30. North Dakota oil has been fetching about $65 a barrel in recent weeks.
 
In 2015, slumping oil prices that forced North Dakota’s Legislature to trim some state spending also stretched road construction dollars further due to cheaper petroleum-based asphalt, allowing for more projects to be completed.
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FARGO, N.D. (AP) – Police say an armed man has been arrested after a nearly five-hour standoff with police that started when he barricaded himself inside a Fargo motel room. Authorities say the 59-year-old, Moorhead man was armed with a knife. Other guests at the motel were evacuated and the Red River Valley SWAT team was called to help police during negotiations. The man is facing charges of terrorizing, preventing arrest and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. He was also wanted on two unrelated warrants. No injuries were reported.
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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – A new monthly survey of bankers in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states suggests continued economic growth in the region, even as nonfarm jobs in most of those states remained below pre-pandemic levels. The overall Rural Mainstreet economic index dropped to 65.6 in July from June’s 70.0. Any score above 50 suggests growth. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says federal labor statistics show nonfarm jobs across the region came in at 55,000 fewer jobs than before the COVID-19 pandemic began. But three states – Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota – reported nonfarm employment levels above pre-pandemic levels. √°Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.
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MINOT, ND- The Minot Park District is currently studying their indoor recreation facilities and are looking to the community for their feedback and opinions on the existing facilities and programs as a part of a long-term master planning effort. Ron Merritt, Executive Director of the Minot Park District said, “We believe planning for the future is an integral part of a successful community.” says, Merritt. “Planning for the future allows us to organize our communities wants and needs as well as plan our budget in a fiscally responsible manner.”
 
The Minot Park District is asking their community to take part in planning for the future by completing an indoor facility survey online to help develop future plans for Minot Park District and the community they serve. “Who better to ask about the future of the Minot Park District than our community members, who use our parks and facilities on a daily basis.” says Merritt.
The Minot Park District is working with JLG Architects on an indoor recreation facility study to analyze future uses of the Minot Municipal
 
Auditorium and the land adjacent to the MAYSA Arena. The target date for completion of the study is fall of 2021. “We want everyone to understand this study is part of a long-term master plan.” says, Merritt. “As a Park District this allows for us to plan projects, budgets and fundraising efforts to impact our community’s quality of life in the most efficient way possible.”
 
The survey can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MinotParks or www.minotparks.com under “News”.
 
 
(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
 
 

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