KHRT ND News – 11/17/21

KHRT NEWS – WEDNESDAY – 111721 – 1200
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – Climbing U.S. oil prices that have motorists paying more at the gas pumps are adding to North Dakota’s bottom line. The state’s oil production was up slightly in September, but prices for North Dakota crude were 32% higher than the state’s tax revenue forecast. New data shows North Dakota produced 1.1 million barrels of oil per day in September, up 0.5% from August. The state’s natural gas production was stronger, up 1.8% from the previous month. U.S. oil prices have climbed in recent months to around $80 a barrel, hitting highs not seen since 2014.
BISMARCK, ND – A Jamestown man is dead following a car crash at an intersection. The North Dakota Highway Patrol reports that the accident happened around 5:15 PM on Tuesday about two miles north of Jamestown. A 63-year old man from Jamestown was struck in the drivers door as he tried to cross Highway 52. Troopers say he was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the other vehicle, a 35-year old woman from Buchanon, along with two juvenile passengers were injured in the accident. They were transported to Jamestown Regional Medical Center and treated for non-life threatening injuries. The crash remains under investigation by the North Dakota Highway Patrol.
FARGO, ND – A single-vehicle accident in Fargo resulted the death of the driver and serious injuries to a passenger. The Highway Patrol says the crash happened a little past 10 PM on Tuesday. The vehicle exited northbound I-29 and drove through an intersection, striking a traffic signal support post on the north side of 19th Ave. The 41-year old male driver was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. Troopers say he was not wearing a seatbelt. A 14-year old male passenger was belted and suffered serious, non-life threatening injuries. He was transported to the hospital. The crash remains under investigation by the North Dakota Highway Patrol.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Federal regulators have proposed suspending a Trump administration rule that would have allowed railroads to haul liquefied natural gas while they take a closer look at the potential safety risks. The rule, which was backed by both the natural gas and freight rail industries, had already been on hold because several environmental groups and 14 states filed lawsuits challenging it. In their lawsuit, environmental groups argued that those new railcars required by the rule were untested and might not withstand high-speed impacts, increasing the threat of an explosive train derailment along rail lines that cross directly through the heart of most cities.
NEW YORK (AP) – An estimated 100,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in one year, a never-before-seen milestone that health officials say is tied to the COVID-19 pandemic and a more dangerous drug supply. Overdose deaths have been rising for more than two decades, accelerated in the past two years and, according to new data posted Wednesday, jumped nearly 30% in the latest year. Experts believe the top drivers of overdose deaths are the growing prevalence of deadly fentanyl in the illicit drug supply and the COVID-19 pandemic, which left many drug users socially isolated and unable to get treatment or other support. Drug overdoses now surpass deaths from car crashes, guns and even flu and pneumonia. The total is close to that for diabetes, the nation’s No. 7 cause of death.
BISMARCK, ND – The North Dakota Department of Health reports 630 new positive COVID-19 cases today and 485 newly recovered. The daily positive rate is 6.91%. Active cases rise by 157 to 3424. Hospitalizations decrease by 13 to 148, with 24 of those in ICU. There are 8 more deaths reported among those who were positive (1831).
MINOT, ND – All smokers, including those who use electronic nicotine delivery systems or vaping devices, are encouraged to make the Great American Smokeout on Thursday, November 18 their quit date. Quitting tobacco is the single most important thing you can do to improve your health. Smoking or vaping increases the user’s chances of contracting respiratory diseases like COVID-19 and influenza (flu), as well as developing many other smoking-related illnesses and can even lead to death. A thousand North Dakotans die every year from tobacco use.

According to the most recent Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data, North Dakota’s smoking rate, at 17.4%, is higher than the current national average of 15.5%. North Dakotans are invited to join thousands of others across the country who are planning to quit as a part of the American Cancer Society’s annual Great American Smokeout. NDQuits and local public health units provide a wealth of resources to help tobacco and nicotine users quit.

First District Health Unit recognizes the most effective way to quit smoking is to make a quit plan. Our office assists those wanting to quit tobacco and nicotine by providing educational materials and tobacco cessation resources. In addition, the statewide tobacco cessation program, NDQuits, offers free support and coaching. A quit plan may include setting a quit date, listing reasons to quit, identifying smoking triggers, and building a strong support system.

“There are many resources to help you quit, and the Great American Smokeout is a great time to start using those options,” said Bonnie Riely, Tobacco Treatment Specialist at First District. “I can help you make a plan and stick to it with the help of tobacco cessation products and support.”

Tobacco users can get help enrolling in NDQuits by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). TDD users can call toll-free at 1-800-842-4681. Enrollment in NDQuits is also possible online at, or with assistance from First District Health Unit.

(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
KHRT NEWS – WEDNESDAY – 111721 – 0700
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – The Defense Department’s internal watchdog said its investigation into a $400 million border wall contract found it was properly awarded to a North Dakota firm whose owner used multiple appearances on Fox News to push for the job. The Pentagon’s inspector general on Monday released results of the audit, requested last year by House Homeland Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat.
Thompson asked for the review of the contract awarded to Dickinson, North Dakota-based Fisher Sand and Gravel Co. by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to ensure that the company’s bid met standards and that the contract was awarded in accordance with federal procurement regulations. “We reviewed Fisher Sand and Gravel’s proposal, compared it to the solicitation, and agreed with (the Corps’) assessment that it was the LPTA (Lowest Price Technically Acceptable) and was properly awarded the contract,” the audit said.
Company President Tommy Fisher is a GOP supporter and has appeared on conservative media touting his company as the best pick for building the wall that former President Donald Trump made a priority. The company was awarded a contract to build 31 miles of wall in Arizona, part of a series of contracts to push out increased mileage. Fisher had made a number of appearances on Trump’s favorite cable news channel – Fox News – talking about his desire to win a contract. His firm, though, had little experience with such construction and a previous proposal was rejected. The company has long claimed it can build a U.S.-Mexico border wall cheaper and faster than its competitors. North Dakota’s congressional delegation has long touted Fisher’s company as the best pick for the work. Trump repeatedly urged the Army Corps to award contracts to Fisher Sand and Gravel, and Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, also supported the company’s selection.
Thompson, in requesting the audit, wrote, “These actions raise concerns about the possibility of inappropriate influence on (the Corps’) contracting decision.” The inspector general’s report said Corps officials testified that “there was no undue influence,” and that none of the documents reviewed by investigators “provided evidence that there was undue influence from the White House or members of Congress” that affected the award of the contract to Fisher Sand and Gravel. The report, however, noted investigators weren’t able to get answers from some Corps employees because they were instructed by administration lawyers “to not answer our specific questions about communications between the White House and senior (Corps) officials.”
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) – Internal Revenue Service filings show former Sanford Health CEO Kelby Krabbenhoft was paid more than $49 million in salary, severance and other payouts last year. Krabbenhoft left Sanford last year after nearly a quarter century, receiving a combination of salary, incentive-based pay, severance and two lump sum payouts from supplemental executive retirement plans. About $15 million was paid as severance and another $29 million was given through the retirement plan, which was started in 1983 specifically for Sanford’s executives. The Sanford Health Board of Trustees ended the executive plan in November 2020, according to the 990 form.
High profile resignations in 2021 included Executive Vice President Micah Aberson, Chief Marketing Officer Kimber Severson and Chief Philanthropy Officer Bobbie Tibbetts. The amount paid to Krabbenhoft upon his departure is shown on the regional health system’s IRS form 990, which is filed annually.
In an email to Sanford employees sent Monday and obtained by the Argus Leader, CEO and President Bill Gassen said that the information released in the 990 confirms his plan to run a smaller executive team and reduce administrative overhead. Gassen was paid more than $1.6 million in compensation, according to the 2020 filing, after taking the helm for part of the year. “We are making meaningful changes to improve transparency, strengthen culture and better support every member of the Sanford Family,” Gassen said in the email.
Sanford is based in Sioux Falls and has major medical centers in Fargo and Bismarck, North Dakota, and Bemidji, Minnesota.
BISMARCK, N.D. – Denbury Onshore, LLC recently notified the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality of an emulsion spill from a flowline they operate in Bowman County on Nov. 15. The incident occurred about five miles south of Marmarth. The cause of the spill is under investigation. Emulsion is a combination of crude oil and produced water as it comes out of the wellhead. Initial estimates indicate approximately 150 barrels of crude oil and 300 barrels of produced water discharged, impacting drainage area within rangeland. Personnel from Environmental Quality are inspecting the site and will continue to monitor the investigation and remediation.
WASHINGTON – Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and John Hoeven (R-ND) and Congressman Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) have announced that the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) has received a $550,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
“North Dakota’s economy and population have maintained a significant rate of growth for more than ten years, placing an unprecedented burden on our state’s infrastructure, including the State Highway System,” the delegation wrote.”Expanding transportation management for our growing population and its corresponding freight needs is critical to the continued safe movement of goods and people in our state.”
The funding, which comes from the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability & Equity (RAISE) grants program, will support the planning of a statewide transportation management center (TMC) to monitor the state’s transportation network, dispatch maintenance resources and provide coordinated travel information from a central location. The project also includes the development of a Smart Corridor on Interstate 29 from South Dakota to the Canadian border, supporting the deployment of advanced technologies to better manage the monitoring of roadway conditions.
(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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