KHRT ND News – 10/15/21

KHRT NEWS – FRIDAY – 101521 – 1200
 
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – A former oil company maintenance manager has been sentenced to 1 1/2 years of probation after pleading guilty to obstructing a federal investigation into the 2014 death of an oil field worker. Stephen Reisinger was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland, who said Reisinger has shown remorse. Federal prosecutors had asked that Reisinger be imprisoned for 1 1/2 years. Reisinger was working for Nabors Completion and Production Services Co. in Williston when a welder, 28-year-old Dustin Payne, died after an explosion. Prosecutors say Reisinger deceived the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration during its investigation.
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BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum announced today the state will launch a search for a new executive director for Job Service North Dakota (JSND). The governor expressed his gratitude to North Dakota Workforce Safety & Insurance (WSI) Director Bryan Klipfel, who has served as interim executive director of JSND since 2019 and will return to leading WSI full time.
 
“Bryan has done a tremendous job as Job Service North Dakota executive director, stepping up in a huge way when the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the economy and created once-in-a-generation workforce and unemployment challenges for our citizens and businesses,” Burgum said. “We are deeply grateful for the leadership and continuity he provided at Job Service and for the strength of the entire JSND team, whose outstanding work has kept the agency positioned to address the workforce challenges of today and tomorrow.”
Klipfel has served as director of WSI since 2009 and will return to that leadership role full time when his interim role at Job Service ends Dec. 31, 2021.
 
“It has been an incredible privilege serving the citizens of North Dakota as executive director of JSND,” Klipfel said. “I am appreciative of the opportunity given to me by Governor Burgum to work with such a resilient and talented Job Service team. The pandemic put a spotlight on this team, and I am so proud of what they have accomplished over the past three years. I am leaving them in good hands with a strong leadership team who will continue building on their mission of meeting workforce needs.”
 
Under Klipfel’s leadership, JSND went above and beyond in supporting North Dakota’s workforce during the pandemic. Since March 2020, the team has processed more than 280,000 unemployment claims – nearly 14 years’ worth of claims – and paid out more than $1.25 billion to eligible North Dakota workers. Over the past five months, the agency has focused on putting North Dakotans affected by the pandemic back to work, and helping employers fill the state’s more than 17,500 job openings by hosting multiple in-house hiring events, sponsoring multi-industry job fairs, and promoting a digital employment campaign, #JobUpND.
 
Applications will be accepted through November 15, 2021.
 
Job Service North Dakota has 156 full-time team members, 66 temporary employees and a biennial budget of $65.4 million to manage multiple federal grants for workforce and unemployment services. The agency has nine workforce centers across the state staffed with regional workforce experts to remove barriers to employment and to connect employers and job seekers by building partnerships within local communities with employers, schools, local economic development associations and chambers. Unemployment Insurance services are carried out at the central office location in Bismarck. Through this program, the agency stabilizes the workforce and economy by providing income replacement to eligible workers. The agency also provides education and labor market information to businesses and job seekers to make informed decisions.
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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – North Dakota is offering license refunds to nearly 30,000 deer hunters due to an outbreak of disease in the western part of the state. It’s the second straight year that the state’s Game and Fish Department is offering refunds. The department says it has received nearly 1,000 reports of dead deer after epizootic hemorrhagic disease surfaced in late August. It’s transmitted by biting gnats. The heaviest concentration of reported deaths is along the Missouri River, especially to the north and south of Bismarck and Mandan.
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BISMARCK, ND – The North Dakota Department of Health reports seven more deaths among people positive with COVID-19 (1669). Today’s daily positive rate is 6.95%. There are 566 new positives with 708 newly recovered. Active cases drop by 115 to 3,386. Of those active 1,074 are age 19 or under, 1,184 are age 20-39, 858 are age 40-59, and 770 are age 60+. Hospitalizations drop by nine to 193, with 22 of those in ICU.
 
(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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KHRT NEWS – FRIDAY – 101521 – 0700
 
BISMARCK, N.D. (PNS) – The majority of North Dakota’s counties are rural. Opponents of new U.S. Postal Service standards argued it spells trouble for the state, with customers now seeing slower mail delivery. This month, the Postal Service implemented cost-cutting moves, including a longer delivery window for some first-class mail, stretching to up to five days. Rural areas, senior citizens and low-income customers are expected to be hardest hit.
 
Sharyn Stone, central regional coordinator for the American Postal Workers Union, said when broadband connection gaps are factored in, there is a risk of further isolating rural populations. “Sometimes, for the smaller communities, that’s the only way they can get access to information, if it’s mailed to them,” Stone observed. “Also, if they have medications coming and other things that are normally mailed, it’s going to take longer for ’em to get there, and they may have to go further to get ’em.”
 
A reduction in retail hours also is part of the ten-year plan, along with higher fees, some of which are temporary through the holiday season. The Postmaster General claimed without the moves, the organization is looking at $160 billion in losses over the next decade.
Christopher Shaw, an author and historian of the U.S. Postal Service, said there are anecdotal reports of how the changes are affecting small businesses. They often depend on first-class mail and have said the slowdown will impact day-to-day operations. Shaw thinks some may turn to other delivery providers, which could lead to further privatization of the industry.
 
“These changes are part of a trend where the Postal Service is conceived of not as a public service, and instead, more like a for-profit business,” Shaw explained. “Which could very well lead to degradation of the service that Americans have expected and received over the years.”
 
Nearly 20 states recently filed a complaint, asking for a more detailed review of the plan by the Postal Regulatory Commission, which had already questioned some of the changes.
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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – A Canadian energy company has announced a plan to build North Dakota’s first factory designed to turn natural gas into liquid fuels. Officials say it also will help curb the burning of the gas that’s a byproduct of oil production. Cerilon Inc. says the $2.8 billion project in Trenton is intended to convert natural gas to fuels such as diesel. Commerce Commissioner James Leiman says the state approved a $3 million loan for the project Thursday. Leiman says the plant would employ “thousands” during ├íconstruction that would begin in 2023 and about 100 people when completed in 2026.
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BISMARCK, ND – The state Game and Fish Department is allowing hunters with whitetail or “any” deer gun licenses in several units in western North Dakota the option of turning those licenses in for refunds. Casey Anderson, Wildlife Chief, said the decision is based on continuing reports of white-tailed deer mortality caused by epizootic hemorrhagic disease, and evidence of moderate to significant deer losses in some areas that might affect hunting success in those locations. The first confirmed EHD report occurred in early August.
 
Department staff will continue to monitor reports to determine if licenses in additional units should become eligible for refunds due to the EHD outbreak. Hunters and landowners should report any dead deer along with photos, if possible, to the department through the online wildlife mortality reporting system, at gf.nd.gov/mortality-report.
 
(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
 

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