KHRT ND News – 12/20/21

KHRT NEWS – MONDAY – 122021 – 1200
 
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – North Dakota state revenue is looking good five months into a two-year budget cycle. The Bismarck Tribune reports general fund revenues are 10% ahead of the Legislature’s forecast. That’s about $106 million, according to an update to North Dakota lawmakers last week. State budget director Joe Morrissette told a legislative panel last week that it’s “a very positive story” but said a single negative month could quickly wipe that away. He also noted the forecast was conservative. Oil prices are averaging about 30% above what was forecast. That’s a boost for oil taxes, a big part of the state budget. Sales taxes, the biggest part of general fund revenue, are about 11% ahead of forecast.
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FARGO, ND (PNS) – North Dakota’s Legislature soon will see turnover, as more lawmakers announce they won’t seek re-election. Various reasons are cited, but some mention the heated rhetoric in policy debates. That’s prompting concern from a nonpartisan political group. Sens. Nicole Poolman, R-Bismarck, and Erin Oban, D-Bismarck, separately announced last month they won’t try to reclaim their seats. Both suggested that the erosion of civility in public discourse factored into their decisions.
 
Tammy Patrick, senior adviser for the elections team at the Democracy Fund, said this topic comes up frequently in her conversations with public officials around the United States. “We’re seeing people leave office based on threats to themselves, their families, their staff,” she said, “and also, they’re feeling that they have an inability to truly serve and do the work they were elected to do.”
 
She said conspiracy theories and conjecture around issues such as election fraud are fueling the rhetoric. Poolman and Oban didn’t mention threats, but used words such as “toxic” and “dangerous” to describe the environment. This week, Senate Majority leader Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson, announced retirement plans, saying it was a family decision made awhile ago. But he urged his successor to place an emphasis on respect in the Legislature. Patrick said that if more lawmakers who adhere to respectful debate and facts in crafting policy step down – and they’re replaced by those who lean on hostility and conjecture – democracy will suffer. “We can see a continued increase in legislation being introduced to undermine the will of the people,” she said.
 
She pointed to a wave of bills introduced in several states that would give lawmakers more power to overturn election results. To help quell the tide of harmful rhetoric in public office, she said voters need to do their research and participate in primary elections. She also reminded party leaders to do their part. “Stand up and start telling the truth in public,” she said, “not just to people off the record or when the microphone is turned off.” She suggested people also need to be reminded that the 2020 election was safe and produced no evidence of widespread fraud.
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BISMARCK, ND – Per updated endorsements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) is advising vaccine providers in the state of a clinical preference of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) over the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine.
 
“Both the mRNA and the Janssen COVID-19 vaccines continue to be safer than being unvaccinated and risking COVID-19 illness and associated severe outcomes; however, mRNA vaccines have a better safety profile and should be chosen over the Janssen vaccine,” said Molly Howell, immunization director for the NDDoH.
 
This updated guidance comes from unanimous recommendations made by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) following close monitoring of vaccine effectiveness, safety, and rare side effects. Janssen COVID-19 vaccine is associated with rare blood clots known as thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS). Through August, 54 cases of TTS were reported to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) in the U.S. out of more than 14.1 million doses of Janssen vaccine administered. The U.S. and North Dakota have an abundant supply of mRNA vaccine doses ready to be administered.
 
There are 37,058 Janssen COVID-19 doses that have been administered in North Dakota, accounting for less than four percent of the over 949,000 total COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the state to date. No cases of TTS after receiving the Janssen vaccine have been reported in North Dakota. Individuals who are unable or unwilling to receive an mRNA vaccine will continue to have access to Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine after being counseled about the risks of TTS.
 
“We have made important strides in the year since the COVID-19 vaccination program started,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. “More than 200 million Americans have completed their primary vaccine series, providing protection against COVID-19, preventing millions of cases and hospitalizations, and saving over a million lives. Today’s updated recommendation emphasizes CDC’s commitment to provide real-time scientific information to the American public. I continue to encourage all Americans to get vaccinated and boosted.”
 
The NDDoH encourages those who are not yet vaccinated against COVID-19 to get vaccinated as soon as possible to protect themselves, their families, loved ones and communities. All people ages 5 years and older are eligible to be vaccinated. Additionally, booster shots are strongly recommended for individuals 16 years and older, and are especially important due to the recent emergence of the COVID-19 B.1.1.529 variant known as Omicron. Preliminary data from the United Kingdom indicate that booster doses are likely necessary to provide high protection against the Omicron variant. No Omicron cases have been detected in North Dakota at this time.
For the most updated and timely information and updates related to COVID-19, visit the NDDoH website at health.nd.gov/coronavirus, follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and visit the CDC website at cdc.gov/coronavirus. Residents of North Dakota are encouraged to speak with their health care provider or local pharmacist if they have questions about vaccines or boosters. For more information on vaccine locations, visit health.nd.gov/covid-vaccine-locator.
 
(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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KHRT NEWS – MONDAY – 122021 – 0700
 
MOORHEAD, Minn. (AP) – Authorities say the bodies of seven people were discovered inside a twin home in a northwestern Minnesota city but did not say how they died. Police said the victims included four adults and three children. They were found just before 8 p.m. Saturday by family members conducting a welfare check at the home in Moorhead. Those family members called police. There were no signs of violence or forced entry into the residence, police said. Authorities are not actively seeking any suspects. The bodies were taken to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office in St. Paul, where autopsies will be conducted.
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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – A federal report shows that untapped recoverable oil in western North Dakota has dropped significantly in the last eight years due to the number of new wells. The U.S Geological Survey estimates that the Bakken and Three Forks rock formations contain another 4.3 billion barrels of crude, a 40% drop from the agency’s last estimate in 2013. About 11,000 wells have been drilled into the formations in the last eight years, collectively producing billions of barrels of oil predicted in the earlier estimate. The USGS also revised down its expectations for natural gas production in the region, from 6.7 trillion cubic feet per day of additional recoverable gas to 4.9 trillion cubic feet per day.
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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The president of Planned Parenthood’s affiliate in the upper Midwest says she is stepping down from her position next year. Sarah Stoesz oversaw the organization for nearly 20 years and grew it into one of the largest Planned Parenthood affiliates in the country as it expanded from Minnesota and South Dakota to incorporate North Dakota, Iowa and Nebraska, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported. Stoesz does not plan to step down until October while the organization searches for her replacement.
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MINOT, ND – All City of Minot offices will be closed Friday, Dec. 24, in observance of the Christmas holiday, including City Hall, Public Works, and the Engineering Department.
 
City offices will also be closed Friday, Dec. 31, in observance of the New Year holiday.
 
City buses will not run on Dec. 24 and Dec. 31.
 
The Minot Public Library will be closed Dec. 24 through Dec. 26, along with Dec. 31 through Jan. 2. The Library will be open regular hours all other days. For current hours, visit www.minotlibrary.org.
 
There will be no garbage collection on Dec. 24 and Dec. 31. All other regularly scheduled collections will run as scheduled.
 
The landfill will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 24 and Dec. 31, but will be closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.
 
For water service emergencies, residents are urged to call 701-852-0111.
 
 
(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
 

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