KHRT ND News – 07/19/21

KHRT NEWS – MONDAY – 071921 – 1200
 
FARGO, N.D. (PNS) – North Dakota is reaching out to those who have fallen behind on their rent due to the pandemic and may not know there’s help. Application counselors are seen as a bridge in getting funds to those who need it. Most of the $352 million the state received this year in federal emergency rental aid is still unclaimed. The nation’s eviction moratorium expires July 31, creating concerns about a wave of people being forced from their homes.
 
Carmel Froemke, statewide outreach coordinator for the Community Action Partnership of North Dakota (CAP-ND), said her staff is getting new training to handle urgent cases, and those who still might see their situation worsen. “We know that the effects of COVID aren’t just going to go away. There’s long-term effects of that,” Froemke explained. “And so, we’re hoping to be able to provide a more sustainable assistance over the course of time.”
 
CAP-ND is contracted with the state through next February to carry out application assistance, with 30 counselors to provide one-on-one help from agency offices, to those unsure about navigating the online portal. They can help vulnerable populations who don’t have access or experience with technology. State officials say eligibility has been expanded to ensure program recipients have a less-rocky recovery from their hardship. Eligibility was boosted to 80% of area median income, and a person can now receive rental aid for up to 12 months.
 
Andrea Olson, executive director of the Community Action Partnership of North Dakota, said it suggests part of the issue in reaching households is people who have never relied on aid programs before may now need it, but do not know they exist. “They make just enough to survive,” Olson explained. “But when there’s something that happens like a global pandemic, they don’t have sufficient savings to carry them through.”
 
Froemke added once people get through the initial application stage, there is a lot of information to submit, including details from the landlord. “Once the rent is approved, the landlord will be paid directly through a vendor service process,” Froemke confirmed. She added that is why counselors will follow up with applicants, so aid is not pulled back over a key detail. They can also assist if a recipient is renewed for more funds.
 
Nationwide, Census Pulse Survey data show more than 6 million households are behind on rent. It is estimated the updated North Dakota program could serve up to 25,000 households.
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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – A soon-to-be-vacant South Central District judgeship will stay in Mandan. The North Dakota Supreme Court made that decision following Judge John Grinsteiner plans to retire Aug. 20. When a district judge leaves, the Supreme Court determines whether to keep the judgeship in the present location, move it elsewhere or abolish it. The decision is based on statewide caseload data and comments from interested parties including attorneys and judges.
 
Justices said the district has experienced a 23% population growth since 2000, and more than 80% of the population lives in Burleigh-Morton counties, the Bismarck Tribune reported. Caseload trends project felony filings to increase significantly this year. “This Court determines the office is necessary for effective judicial administration in the South Central Judicial District,” justices said in their order.
 
The South Central Judicial District includes Burleigh, Emmons, Grant, McLean, Mercer, Morton, Oliver, Sioux and Sheridan counties. It has seven judges chambered in Bismarck, two judges in Mandan, and one judge in Washburn.
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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – With nearly half the cattle in North Dakota in extreme drought locations, ranchers are making some tough decisions on thinning their herds. At Kist Livestock Auction in Mandan, weekly sales are up by 1,000 head over a normal year, an increase of one-third.
 
Some cattle stay in the state, said Matt Lachenmeier, the auction barn’s field representative. But, there’s demand for cattle in nearby states as well, including Minnesota. “Now we’re starting to run out of homes for them,” he said. “There’s a lot of cattle moving.” Lachenmeier said ranchers are selling replacement heifers or older cows first and trying to hang on to younger cows. He said it’s hard to lose animals that have been part of a long-term breeding program, the Bismarck Tribune reported. “That’s been their life and their livelihood,” he said. “Selling feeder cattle is easy. You don’t fall in love with them.”
 
The span from October 2020 to March 2021 is the driest on record, said Janna Block, extension livestock systems specialist at North Dakota State University’s Hettinger research center. “We came into spring with no soil moisture,” she said. “Things haven’t picked up.”
 
It’s almost impossible to buy cattle back for the same price, Block said. Some more productive cows are worth more than their sale price.
The rancher loses the genetics along with the time and effort it took to build the herd. There could be income tax implications too, and other financial issues still exist after the sale. “They still have their fixed costs but fewer cattle,” Block said.
 
(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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KHRT NEWS – MONDAY – 071921 – 0700
 
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – A change to the state constitution that would place term limits on the governor and members of the Legislature is a step closer to bringing the matter to a public vote. Secretary of State Al Jaeger on Friday announced he approved for circulation a petition for the proposed measure. Supporters have one year to gather 31,164 signatures to put the measure to voters next year. The initiative would add a new article to the state constitution imposing term limits of eight cumulative years each in the House and Senate. The governor could not be elected more than twice.
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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – Authorities say thousands of North Dakota landowners have electronically posted millions of acres of private land in what is believed to be the first system of its kind in the nation. The 2021 North Dakota Legislature passed a law making electronic posting equal to physical posting and penalties and also defines a fence. It allows only lawful hunters and anglers to access fenced, unposted land for hunting and fishing activities only. The law takes effect Aug. 1. North Dakota’s Game and Fish Department opened the system for electronic posting in May. The deadline to post was Thursday, in advance of fall hunting. The Bismarck Tribune reports that about 7,000 landowners posted 3.75 million acres around North Dakota. That it about 8.3% of the state’s total area.
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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – Mothers may breastfeed their children in public without having to do so discreetly. Citizens can stand their ground and use whatever force necessary to protect themselves or their home. Booze will be allowed to be sold much earlier on Sunday mornings and state officials may not mandate face coverings. These changes are among hundreds of new state laws that take effect Aug. 1, representing the work of the 2021 Republican-led Legislature.
 
Lawmakers passed legislation in 2009 that exempted breastfeeding from the state’s indecent exposure laws, as long as “the woman acts in a discreet and modest manner.” Bipartisan legislation signed by GOP Gov. Doug Burgum removed that language that backers argued was outdated. A nearly identical bill was rebuffed by the Legislature two years ago, even after a small army of moms with babies in arms descended on the Capitol to push for reform.
 
Beginning next month, legislation takes effect that eases restrictions on citizens’ rights to use deadly force in self-defense and allows someone to use deadly force without retreating in certain circumstances. Backers of the legislation said criminals have had an advantage over potential victims, who should not have to retreat in a life-threatening situation. The legislation doesn’t apply to someone who provokes someone and then uses deadly force.
 
Another new law allows alcohol to be sold beginning at 8 a.m. on Sundays. Currently, bars and restaurants can’t serve alcohol from 2 a.m. to 11 a.m. Sundays. And liquor stores can’t sell alcohol until noon on Sundays. Budget-writers estimate Sunday morning alcohol sales could raise $312,000 over the next two-year budget cycle in tax revenue for the state.
 
The Legislature overrode Burgum’s veto of a bill that would prohibit state officials from mandating face coverings beginning in August. Burgum called the legislation irresponsible. Backers of the legislation argued there was no proof that masks work to slow the spread of the coronavirus and they questioned the government’s role in mandating them.
 
Also beginning next month, underage booze drinkers will no longer face the prospect of jail time. Under current law, anyone under 21 who “consumes, purchases or possesses an alcoholic beverage” may be charged with a class B misdemeanor, carrying up to a $1,500 fine and up to 30 days in jail. The law makes it an infraction, that carries up to a $1,000 fine with no possibility of jail time.
 
People will also soon be barred from suing over asbestos exposure unless they’ve already been sickened by it. Backers argued the legislation was needed to guard against fraudulent claims. Labor unions and veterans groups are urged North Dakotans who may have been exposed to asbestos to get screened before a new law takes effect.
 
Another new law is aimed at shielding schools and teachers from lawsuits arising from posting the Ten Commandments in classrooms. Burgum signed the legislation despite warnings from attorneys and school officials that the legislation is unconstitutional and would spur costly and unwinnable legal fights.
 
Industry-backed legislation signed by Burgum reduces the amount of interest and penalties the state can charge companies for unpaid oil and gas royalties, from 30% to 15% beginning Aug. 1. The law, which sailed through the Legislature, also does not allow the state to collect unpaid royalties before August 2013. Officials estimate the legislation will cost the state about $70 million in royalty reimbursements, the bulk of which is meant to support public education.
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TOWNER, N.D. (AP) – A California man rode his bike to North Dakota to celebrate his mother-in-law’s 90th birthday. Brian Gonsalves, who lives in the San Diego area, isn’t new to long-distance bike rides. The X-ray technician rode to Georgia in 2018, a trip totalling 2,709 miles. The Minot Daily News reports he used that to celebrate his 50th birthday and raise money for Scripps trauma services, as a survivor of a 2016 bicycle accident. With his wife, Dorreen Drader-Gonsalves, providing his mobile support, he started the 2,143-mile trip from California on June 18 and made it to the International Peace Garden on July 11. From there, they drove the 65 miles to Towner for Beverly Lynch’s birthday party.
 
 
(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
 

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