KHRT ND News – 07/20/21

KHRT NEWS – TUESDAY – 072021 – 1200
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – A federal appeals court panel has upheld a ruling that orders North Dakota to pay more than $450,000 in plaintiff’s attorneys fees and costs stemming from tribal lawsuits over state voter identification requirements. Last year, the state agreed to settle longstanding legal disputes with Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and the Spirit Lake and Standing Rock Sioux tribes. The tribes sued over North Dakota’s requirement that voters have identification with a street address. The tribes said it creates a disadvantage for Native Americans who live on reservations where street addresses are hard to come by. An 8th U.S. Circuit of Appeals panel has upheld a federal judge’s May 2020 order that the state pay nearly $453,000.
BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum appointed North Dakota Game and Fish Department Deputy Director Scott Peterson to serve as interim director of the department today until a new director is named. Current Game and Fish Director Terry Steinwand is retiring July 31 after more than 15 years as director and nearly 40 years with the department.
Peterson has served as deputy director of Game and Fish since 2014. He joined the department in 1986 as a Garrison Diversion habitat biologist and has also served as a wildlife resource management supervisor and wildlife resource section leader. Peterson earned a bachelor’s degree in wildlife management and zoology from North Dakota State University. Game and Fish has a two-year budget of approximately $92 million and is authorized for 165 full-time team members.
BISMARCK, N.D. – The North Dakota Department of Health will host a live, virtual “Ask a Doctor” Town Hall event at 1 p.m. CT Wednesday with four doctors from across the state to discuss COVID-19 vaccines and fertility. Those participating include:
Nizar Wehbi, MD, MPH, MBA, North Dakota Department of Health
Stephanie Foughty, MD, Altru Health System, Devils Lake
Christina Broadwell, MD, Sanford Health, Fargo
Ana Tobiasz, MD, Sanford Health, Bismarck
People can view the “Ask a Doctor” Town Hall event live Wednesday at and submit questions to the doctors live during the “Q & A” panel on Microsoft Teams. Advance registration is not required to attend.
Vaccination rates in North Dakota have not changed much in the past several weeks. Those adults fully vaccinated stand at 48.9% (291,455), while those who have received at least one dose is at 51.5%
MINOT, ND – The Minot Public Library will no longer charge fines on items returned late, with the exception of items from the Tool Library. The decision by the Minot Public Library Board is intended to remove obstacles that may prevent people from using the Library.
People checking out items still bear responsibility for returning those items and with overdue items they will receive reminders and be unable to use Library services until overdue items are returned. The Library will begin automatically renewing checked out items the day before the due date with the exception of tools. Patrons are still responsible for the cost of lost or damaged items, and fines will be charged for overdue tools.
“The Library hasn’t been charging fines for children since July of 2019 and removed all fines in March of 2020 due to restricted hours caused by the pandemic,” Library Director Janet Anderson said. “Our staff used this time to collect and compare some data before making this recommendation to the Library Board.”
Anderson said the data showed the number of extremely long overdue items (up to three months past due) has decreased since staff first began tracking this information in 2013. In addition, the average length of time items have been overdue has decreased since 2019. “At our July Library Board meeting, we approved a new Mission, Vision, and Strategic Plan,” Anderson said. “Our new mission is to be the center of information and exploration for the community while keeping our core values to connect, enrich, and inspire the people we serve.”
A major part of the Minot Public Library’s new Strategic Plan is to prioritize inclusion and the Library Board agreed that penalizing users does not promote inclusion, Anderson said. “The existence of overdue fines, and the fine payment interaction itself, is one of the most negative aspects of a patron’s relationship with the Library,” Anderson said. “We’re hoping to promote more positive experiences at the Library.”
(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
KHRT NEWS – TUESDAY – 072021 – 0700
TORONTO (AP) – Canada announced Monday it will begin letting fully vaccinated U.S. citizens into Canada on Aug. 9, and those from the rest of the world on Sept. 7. Officials said the 14-day quarantine requirement will be waived as of Aug. 9 for eligible travelers who are currently residing in the United States and have received a full course of a COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in Canada.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, who said he spoke with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Friday, said the U.S. has not yet indicated any plan to change current restrictions at the land border. Canadians are able to fly into the United States with a negative COVID-19 test. Asked in Washington if the U.S. would reciprocate, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, “We are continuing to review our travel restrictions. Any decisions about resuming travel will be guided by our public health and medical experts. … I wouldn’t look at it through a reciprocal intention.”
Canadian officials also announced that children who aren’t vaccinated but are traveling with vaccinated parents won’t have to quarantine, but will have to avoid group activities including schools and daycare centers. Transport Minister Omar Alghabra also said a ban on direct flights from India will be extended to Aug. 21 because of the delta variant. “The situation in India is still very serious,” he said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last week that Canada could start allowing fully vaccinated Americans into the country as of mid-August for nonessential travel and should be in a position to welcome fully vaccinated travelers from all countries by early September. Canada leads G20 countries in vaccination rates, with approximately 80% of eligible Canadians vaccinated with their first dose and over 50% of those eligible fully vaccinated.
“This weekend, we even passed the U,S. in terms of fully vaccinated people,” Trudeau said. “Thanks to the rising vaccination rates and declining COVID-19 cases, we are able to move forward with adjusted border measures.” Reopening to the U.S first is a “recognition of our unique bond, especially between border communities,” Trudeau said.
In the early days of the pandemic, the U.S. and Canadian governments closed the more than 5,500-mile border to nonessential traffic. With increasing vaccination rates and dropping infection rates, some were annoyed the two governments hadn’t laid out plans to fully reopen the border. Canada began easing its restrictions earlier this month, allowing fully vaccinated Canadians or permanent legal residents to return Canada without quarantining. But among the requirements are a negative test for the virus before returning, and another once they get back.
Pressure has been mounting on Canada to continue to ease the restrictions at the border, which have been in effect since March 2020. Providing exemptions for travel into Canada amid the pandemic is politically sensitive and Trudeau is expected to call a federal election next month. Canadian officials have said they would like 75% of eligible Canadian residents to be fully vaccinated before loosening border restrictions for tourists and business travelers. The Canadian government expects to have enough vaccine delivered for 80% of eligible Canadians to be fully vaccinated by the end of July. The U.S. only allowed for exports of vaccines into Canada in early May. Commercial traffic has gone back and forth normally between the two countries since the start of the pandemic.
The U.S. Travel Association estimates that each month the border is closed costs $1.5 billion. Canadian officials say Canada had about 22 million foreign visitors in 2019 – about 15 million of them from the United States.
WYNDMERE, N.D. (AP) – North Dakota authorities are searching for a woman accused of robbing a Wyndmere bank Monday morning. Richland County Chief Deputy Gary Ruehl said the woman came into Lincoln State Bank shortly before 11 a.m. Her face was covered and she demanded money, Ruehl said. The woman left in a tan or beige GMC or Chevrolet pickup with a topper, KFGO radio reported. There were two employees in the bank at the time and no customers. No injuries were immediately reported.
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 say the district has experienced a 23% population growth since 2000, and more than 80% of the population lives in Burleigh-Morton counties. Caseload trends project felony filings to increase significantly this year.
WASHINGTON (AP) – House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy has picked five Republicans to sit on the new select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, signaling that Republicans will participate in the investigation that they have staunchly opposed. McCarthy said Monday that he has selected Indiana Rep. Jim Banks, who recently visited former President Donald Trump on trips to the U.S.-Mexico border and Trump’s New Jersey golf club, to be the top Republican on the panel. The Republican leader also tapped Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis, North Dakota Rep. Kelly Armstrong and Texas Rep. Troy Nehls to serve on the committee.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi must approve the names before they are final, per committee rules. An aide to Pelosi said she has received notification from McCarthy, but it is unclear when or if she will approve the GOP members. The aide was granted anonymity to discuss the Republican picks ahead of an official announcement.
(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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