KHRT ND News – 11/01/21

KHRT NEWS – MONDAY – 110121 – 1200
WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) – Sheriff’s officials say Williams County deputies and the North Dakota Highway Patrol responded to a report of a shooting at a residence near Williston. The caller reported an individual breaking into the residence was shot shortly before 7 AM today. Authorities arrived and found that the individual suspected of breaking in to the home had died at the scene. According to a statement from Sheriff Verlan Kvande, there is no current danger to the public. No further information was provided.
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – A declining number of employees at the State Crime Lab in Bismarck has limited what evidence can be processed for law enforcement agencies. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says eight of 23 lab employees have left in the last two years, including five in 2021, because they’ve been offered higher salaries elsewhere, including one employee who left for a position in Georgia where the salary was $30,000 more. The lab has eliminated its firearms and latent fingerprint divisions due to the staffing level. Stenehjem says South Dakota was doing firearms analyses for the lab, but is now overwhelmed and unable to help anymore.
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – The North Dakota Department of Transportation is beginning a pilot study to examine the possibility of longer trucks on state roads. Last spring, state lawmakers considered legislation dealing with “road trains” or extra long semi trailers meant to save on fuel costs and other expenses associated with moving goods. But, the idea raised some safety concerns, so legislators decided to pass a bill to study the matter. The department is accepting applications from the transportation industry through the end of November to gather input on possible trucking routes and configurations. Among the ideas considered will be allowing cargo trailers up to 130 feet in length. The existing limit is 100 feet.
BISMARCK, N.D. – Seeking to minimize economic losses from this year’s historic drought, Gov. Doug Burgum has asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to help maintain access at boat ramps on Lake Sakakawea as the lake’s elevation is predicted to remain lower next spring due to this year’s historic drought. In his letter Friday to Col. Mark Himes, Commander of the Corps of Engineers’ Omaha District, Burgum noted that visitors to counties bordering Lake Sakakawea spent more than $290 million in 2020, supporting more than 3,000 jobs, according to the North Dakota Department of Commerce. Many of those jobs are provided by private concessionaries who operate in partnership with the Corps on public lands.
“The long-range forecast for Lake Sakakawea’s elevation next spring is approximately 1,827 feet. At that level, the main boat ramps at 20 of North Dakota’s 36 recreation sites on the lake would be unusable,” Burgum stated in the letter. “Combined with known siltation issues at seven main ramp locations, access to the lake is expected to be significantly constrained.” In past severe droughts, the Corps allocated funding and dedicated staff who facilitated low-lake access in a timely manner, including working with stakeholders to build primitive roads to alternative low-water boat ramps, Burgum noted.
“For the Corps to continue its mission of energizing the economy and reducing risks from disasters, proactive measures are again needed,” Burgum stated. “Specifically, assistance from the Corps is requested to lead coordination efforts, permit improvements and provide funding for access from public lands prior to next spring.” Burgum offered assistance from state agencies as he urged a coordinated approach so contractors can begin addressing access issues immediately after ice-out.
BISMARCK, ND – Active cases of COVID-19 are down in North Dakota since Friday. Today’s information from the Department of Health lists 3,124 active, down 519 from Friday. There have been 1,201 new positives since Friday with 1,545 new recoveries. Hospitalizations are at 170 today, up 17 since Friday and 16 of those were in ICU. There have been six more deaths among those who were positive (1762). For the month of October there were 136 COVID related deaths, the fourth highest monthly total since the pandemic began.
(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
KHRT NEWS – MONDAY – 110121 – 0700
FARGO, N.D. (AP) – Prosecutors in North Dakota’s first and only death penalty case say defense attorneys are wrong by claiming the judge didn’t go far enough in explaining why he threw out the sentence for the man convicted of kidnapping and killing University of North Dakota student Dru Sjodin. Judge Ralph Erickson ruled in September that misleading testimony from the coroner, the failure of lawyers to outline the possibility of an insanity defense, and evidence of severe post-traumatic stress disorder had violated Rodriguez’s constitutional rights. Erickson ordered a new sentencing phase be conducted.
Defense attorneys filed a motion in October questioning Erickson’s contention that Rodriguez’s intellectual disability could not be used as another factor to avoid capital punishment. The motion asks Erickson to reconsider his decision. Prosecutors said in a response filed Friday that Rodriguez’s attorneys “flatly fail to establish the existence of a manifest error or newly discovered evidence” and “cannot satisfy the very stringent standard to warrant alteration or amendment.”
Rodriguez, a convicted sex offender from Crookston, Minnesota, kidnapped the 22-year-old Sjodin from a shopping mall in Grand Forks in 2003 and drove her to Minnesota, where he killed her and left her body in a field near Crookston. Sjodin’s disappearance sparked days of massive searches, reshaped the way Minnesota handled sex offenders and led to the national sex offender registry being renamed for Sjodin. Rodriguez remains locked up at a federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana.
WEST FARGO, N.D. (AP) – A West Fargo police officer is being treated in intensive care after suffering a heart attack while booking two women into jail. Officer Tim Brown collapsed shortly after arriving at the Cass County Jail Sunday morning. Sheriff’s office staff began life-saving measures with CPR and a defibrillator and called 911. Brown was later transported to a local hospital. The two women were arrested on felony warrants for aggravated assault. Police say one of the women resisted arrest and had to be physically moved and placed into the squad car by Brown. Brown began his job with West Fargo police earlier this month.
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – Law enforcement agencies statewide will be cracking down on seat belt violations over the next month and a half. The “Click it or Ticket” enforcement campaign with extra patrols is planned Monday through Dec. 16. The campaign is part of the state’s Vision Zero strategy to eliminate motor vehicle crash fatalities and serious injuries on North Dakota roads. áA similar campaign this summer generated hundreds of citations in North Dakota. According to officials, a person who failed to wear a seat belt was killed in a crash every nine days in North Dakota last year.
MINOT, ND – A decorated World War II veteran and former state legislator has passed away. Minot resident Lynn Aas passed away Thursday at the age of 100. Aas was a decorated veteran who received numerous honors during his service in World War II, including the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. After the war, he earned his law degree from the University of North Dakota. He served in the North Dakota Legislature for four sessions, and was a visible and respected member of the Minot community for decades.
“On behalf of the City of Minot, I want to extend my condolences to Lynn’s family,” Minot Mayor Shaun Sipma said. “Lynn is a true American hero, and we thank him for his exceptional service to his country during World War II. As a member of our nation’s Greatest Generation, Lynn put his life on the line to protect our country and our way of life. Lynn left an indelible mark on our community through his years of dedicated service to making Minot the great city that it is today. He was a friend and mentor to many, and we will carry his memory as an example of what true community service means. Our thoughts and prayers are with Lynn’s family.”
“North Dakota has lost a true hero. U.S. Army Private 1st Class Lynn Aas served with distinction during World War II, fighting in the Battle of the Bulge, and was awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and France’s highest military honor, the Knight of the Legion of Honor medal,” Gov. Doug Burgum said. “In addition to his legendary military service, Aas served the citizens of North Dakota in the state Legislature for four sessions and served the Minot community through various organizations that benefited from his generosity and commitment to public service. As one of the greatest from the Greatest Generation, it was an honor to recognize Aas during the 2018 State of the State Address at Minot State University, which he long supported. He will be missed, and his incredible legacy of service will never be forgotten. Kathryn and I extend our heartfelt prayers to his family and friends.”
(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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