KHRT ND News – 09/25/21

KHRT NEWS – SATURDAY – 092521 – 0700
 
FARGO, N.D. (AP) – North Dakota’s first and only federal capital punishment case is on hold after a federal judge threw out the death sentence given to Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. in 2006 in the death of college student Dru Sjodin. Judge Ralph Erickson cited what he called misleading testimony from a medical examiner and failures by defense attorneys to say a new sentencing phase would be warranted. Prosecutors have to decide whether they will appeal first. That’s a question that comes as President Joe Biden personally opposes capital punishment and executions nationwide are on hold. Sjodin’s family has said they support the death penalty for Rodriguez.
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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – Fargo’s mayor and health officials have made an urgent appeal for North Dakota residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and wear masks indoors. The plea comes as coronavirus cases surge. Mayor Tim Mahoney says hospitals and medical staffs are overwhelmed. North Dakota has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the U.S. Mahoney and others say 90% of people hospitalized in North Dakota for the virus are not vaccinated. The North Dakota Health Department said Friday that vaccine boosters should be available next week to people 65 and older and others who have existing health problems that make them more at risk for severe illness from the virus.
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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – A panel of lawmakers has substantially completed a draft of North Dakota’s new legislative map that creates three new districts in the state’s fastest-growing areas but erases an equal amount in some rural regions. The preliminary plan unanimously approved Thursday also forces several incumbent lawmakers to run against each other to keep their jobs, including the Democratic Senate minority leader and the GOP House majority leader. Rep. Bill Devlin, chairman of the committee, says the panel will return to the Capitol twice next week to “tweak” the plan that was drafted over the past several weeks.
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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – The company responsible for the largest oil field spill in North Dakota has pleaded guilty to criminal charges after reaching an agreement with the federal government to pay $15 million in fines. Summit Midstream Partners was charged for negligently discharging oil and for failing to immediately report the spill, which occurred north of Williston over a period of five months in 2014 and 2015. A pipeline leaked 700,000 barrels of produced water, which is highly saturated saltwater that comes up in wells along with oil and gas. Produced water can contain oil. Some of the wastewater reached Blacktail Creek, which eventually flows into the Missouri River.
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MINOT, ND – The Minot City Council approved on second reading a 2022 budget of approximately $175.271 million at their meeting this week. The approved budget, which calls for a 121.69 mill levy, includes new positions of two dispatchers, one plumbing inspector, two bus drivers, one computer forensic technician, one mechanic, one property maintenance position, one GIS technician, one recycling coordinator, one water plant operator, and four positions that would transition from part time to full time. The 2022 budget includes funding to continue work on flood control phases, the Northwest Area Water Supply project, and projects through the National Disaster Resilience program. While the funding for those projects already exists, it must be included in the budget in order to be spent in 2022.
 
(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
 

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