KHRT ND News – 09/02/21

KHRT NEWS – THURSDAY – 090221 – 1200
 
BISMARCK, N.D. – A state lawmaker from Minot has reached a plea agreement in a DUI case. Rep. Scott Louser was charged with DUI in an April 16 traffic stop. According to the plea agreement, Louser agreed to plead guilty to B-misdemeanor driving under the influence. He will avoid jail time but must pay $750 in fines and fees. The agreement indicates the courts will sentence Louser to 10 days in jail, with all 10 days suspended for a year of unsupervised probation. Louser must also submit to a chemical dependency evaluation within 90 days of the judgment and complete any recommended treatment within 180 days. The charge is a first offense.
 
A breath test measured Louser’s blood alcohol level at 0.117%, above the legal limit of 0.08%. Louser’s attorney, Justin Vinje, tells The Bismarck Tribune that his client regrets his decision to drive that night and “takes full responsibility for his actions.” Louser issued a statement the day following his arrest apologizing and said he was taking “the necessary next steps including an evaluation process.”
Louser has served in the North Dakota House of Representatives since 2011.
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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – A former employee of the North Dakota State Penitentiary has been accused of smuggling drugs and electronics into the prison for an inmate in exchange for money. Investigators say Matthew Taylor was working as a correctional officer last year when he received payments from a woman to deliver a cellphone, two SIM cards and a cigarette package to an inmate who later tested positive for methamphetamine. According to officials, the woman provided investigators with text messages between her and the inmate that outlined a payment process for meth. An affidavit says MoneyGram records obtained by the patrol showed Taylor received payments of $240 and $660.
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BISMARCK, ND – The surge of the delta variant of COVID-19 continues in North Dakota. Today’s numbers from the Department of Health list 535 new positives and a daily positive rate of 6.70%. Active cases rise by 321 to 2,763. Cass County has 527 active, Burleigh with 510, Stark at 234, and Ward with 215. Hospitalizations are down by 14 to 121, with 13 of those in ICU. Breakthrough numbers (those fully vaccinated) have 123 positives (1959), two more hospitalizations today (132), and no breakthrough deaths (20).
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BISMARCK, N.D. – As COVID-19 cases grow in North Dakota, state residents may once again begin to experience disruptions at home, at school, at work and in the community. The North Dakota Department of Human Services reminds residents that programs and services launched earlier in the pandemic to address the financial impact on household incomes as well as behavioral health and other human service needs are available to help them through this latest outbreak. The agency has launched a Help is Here website to help connect North Dakotans to these resources and programs.
 
“The rising numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations reported on the North Dakota Department of Health’s dashboard mean that the need for pandemic-related programs and services that we put in place last year will continue and likely increase,” said DHS Executive Director Chris Jones.
Help for Behavioral Health Needs
 
“Over the past year, the department has been able to refine and enhance many of these important services,” he said. “We have Parents Lead resources for parents and educators to support children’s behavioral health, and the Reach for Resilience program continues to be a resource for health care workers who have witnessed so much loss and grief during this pandemic.” “In addition, we’ve enhanced our behavioral health crisis response services to offer 24-hour help and support for North Dakotans experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge. Resources include the 211 statewide crisis line, mobile response and walk-in stabilization services at our regional human service centers,” Jones said.
 
The teams based at the human service centers, North Dakota State Hospital, and Life Skills and Transition Center have continued to provide important in-person services and support throughout the pandemic, using health and safety precautions to protect vulnerable individuals.
 
Help with Financial Needs
 
Health and well-being are also connected to financial stability and DHS has responded with new programs to aid North Dakotans experiencing hardship due to the pandemic. This summer, DHS launched an enhanced rent assistance program, called ND Rent Help, to help North Dakota renters who are struggling to pay rent and have past-due utilities. Its goal is to prevent evictions and to connect participants to other community resources and services to help stabilize their housing and household finances. This program is an important resource for renters as well as rental property owners and utility companies. A companion program for homeowners is planned to roll out later this year.
 
North Dakotans struggling to afford groceries are encouraged to apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) online or at their local human service zone office. In response to the pandemic, the SNAP program has provided maximum allowable benefits to participating households and provided grants to grocers so they could update their point-of-sale systems and websites. This has enabled online and by-phone grocery ordering and delivery to SNAP clients.
 
Help with Child Care
 
Investments in assuring North Dakotans have access to quality, affordable child care, help children reach their potential, enable parents to work or pursue education and training, and strengthen our communities and our state’s economy. To strengthen support for families, DHS has waived the Child Care Assistance Program’s family co-payments and also pays participating child care providers for all authorized care hours, even when children are absent due to quarantine or other approved reasons.
 
During the pandemic, child care enrollments have fluctuated as families have grappled with distance learning, remote work, job loss, quarantine, and other challenges. DHS offered Child Care Emergency Operating Grants to licensed providers, enabling most to continue to care for children. DHS is poised to issue a new round of grants soon to support health and safety and access to quality early childhood services for working parents.
 
Whether it’s our grants to child care providers, Medicaid payments for telehealth services, behavioral health investments and direct services, short-term financial help and other support, DHS is committed to helping North Dakotans during this pandemic, Jones said.
 
DHS encourages individuals to monitor COVID-19 cases in their local community by visiting the Department of Health’s website and to reach out for help by visiting the Help is Here website – https://www.behavioralhealth.nd.gov/helpishere.
 
 
(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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KHRT NEWS – THURSDAY – 090221 – 0700
 
BISMARCK, N.D. – President Joe Biden has approved Gov. Doug Burgum’s request for a presidential major disaster declaration for a series of storms in early June that caused overland flooding and produced damaging winds and hail, resulting in more than $2.3 million in damage to roads and other infrastructure. The declaration covers eight counties: Burke, Divide, Emmons, Grant, Kidder, LaMoure, Sioux and Williams. A copy of Burgum’s letter to the president and Federal Emergency Management Agency requesting the disaster declaration can be viewed here.
 
The presidential declaration unlocks FEMA public assistance to help cities, counties and townships pay for the costs of repairing roads and other infrastructure. Preliminary assessments indicate damage is expected to exceed $2.33 million. The June 7-11 storms produced tornadoes, up to baseball-size hail, damaging winds of up to 93 miles per hour and torrential rainfall that led to overland flooding, which was exacerbated by dried-out, nearly impermeable topsoil.
 
“This declaration will provide critical relief to local governments that incurred substantial costs from the damaging June storms,” Burgum said. “We appreciate President Biden and FEMA granting our request and making assistance available as our local jurisdictions continue to recover from the impacts of this severe weather event.”
 
Burgum noted the impacts occurred at a time when North Dakota is experiencing one of the worst droughts on record, and when the state already has six open presidential disasters totaling over $150 million in costs for which local and tribal jurisdictions are struggling to meet their cost shares. The June storms caused extensive damage to homes and businesses, damaged roads and bridges, and snapped power poles and downed power lines, cutting off service to several communities. In response to the June 7-11 storms, Burgum issued an executive order mobilizing state resources and ensuring a coordinated approach to the needs of citizens and their communities.
 
The federal government also granted the governor’s request for the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to be implemented on a statewide basis to help communities pay for projects that increase resiliency and reduce costs in the long term.
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MINOT, ND – The Rolette County Sheriffs Office reports that they responded to northern Rolette County around 2 PM on Wednesday for a report of an airplane crash. Deputies located a male pilot who was unharmed from the crash. The crash is currently being investigated by the FAA and NTSB. No further information was released.
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FARGO, N.D. (AP) – Gov. Doug Burgum is pleading for citizens to get vaccinated against the coronavirus as North Dakota’s hospitals struggle with an influx of patients infected with the highly contagious delta variant. Burgum brought together health professionals Wednesday in his first COVID-19 briefing in more than five months. The Republican governor says hospital capacity is a “present and looming issue” and “that the risk is real.” North Dakota ranks 42nd in the nation in vaccination rates and Burgum says the trend line for new cases is worse than it was during the outbreak’s winter peak. Doctors say COVID-19 patients are younger and healthier than they were a year ago.
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MINOT, N.D. – State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler has announced finalists for the 2022 North Dakota Teacher of the Year. Baesler joined with students and faculty at John Hoeven Elementary School Tuesday morning to honor one of them, Heather Ell, a first grade teacher.
 
Baesler also visited Harvey to honor another finalist. Bret Dockter, a sixth grade teacher at B.M. Hanson Elementary School, was recognized at an assembly Tuesday afternoon. Dockter has more than two decades of teaching experience and also serves as the head football coach.
 
The other two finalists, Shari Jerde of Grand Forks Community High School, and Natt Nielson of Valley City Jr./Sr. High School, will be honored Monday, Sept. 13.
 
 
(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
 

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