KHRT ND News – 12/21/21

KHRT NEWS – TUESDAY – 122121 – 1200
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – A federal judge in Missouri has issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors from being enforced in 10 states that sued. The suit was filed in November by attorneys general in Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, Wyoming, Alaska, South Dakota, North Dakota, and New Hampshire. The order Monday comes on top of a nationwide injunction against the mandate issued earlier this month by a federal judge in Georgia. Under orders from President Joe Biden’s administration, all new, renewed or extended federal contracts were to include the clause requiring employees to be fully vaccinated Jan. 18. The contractor requirement is separate from vaccine mandates that Biden also has issued for health care workers and for businesses with more than 100 employees. All face legal challenges.
FARGO, ND – The North Dakota Highway Patrol has identified a man struck in an accident in Fargo as a Minot man. Troopers initially reported that the accident between a vehicle an an unidentified pedestrian occurred in south Fargo the evening of December 13th. The pedestrian was transported to the hospital with life threatening injuries, but the Patrol said no identifying information was found on the man. In the days that followed troopers asked for the public’s help, including releasing information on social media. They say thanks to numerous tips, and sending fingerprints through the FBI database they were able to identify the man as 45-year old Robert Powers of Minot. No update on his condition was given. The Patrol says the incident remains under investigation.
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – A Mercer County man has been sentenced to three months in jail for denying animals water and feeding them moldy hay. The Bismarck Tribune reports that Shanan Weigum of Zap was sentenced Monday after pleading guilty to felony animal cruelty. South Central District Judge Cynthia Feland also ordered Weigum to pay more than $76,000 in restitution and fees. According to court documents, sheriff’s deputies in February found 15 dead horses and 11 dead foals and fetuses on Weigum’s property. They also found a donkey and 39 horses in poor condition along with four dead lambs.
WEST FARGO, N.D. (AP) – West Fargo officials have authorized city staff to research putting a half-cent sales tax on the 2022 ballot. KFGO radio reports that City Administrator Tina Fisk told city commissioners the new tax would generate revenue for the fire and police departments and spare residents big property tax increases. Fisk says the city anticipates higher demand for police and fire service as the population grows. Census data projects the city’s population will grow to 45,000 people in 2027. If city commissioners vote to put the tax on the ballot voters would see it in June or November.
MINOT, ND – The City of Minot will offer free dumping at the City Landfill between Dec. 27 and Jan. 8 to help Minot residents dispose of household waste that could accumulate during the holidays. City of Minot Sanitation Superintendent Josh Kraft said residents receiving City sanitation services can dispose of trash at the landfill free of charge during the holidays by bringing a current water bill for verification. The landfill will be open on Dec. 24 and Dec. 31 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., but will be closed on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. The landfill will resume normal hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Jan. 3. There will be no residential garbage collection on Dec. 24 and Dec. 31. All other regularly
scheduled collections will run as scheduled.
Much of the anticipated extra trash during the holidays will likely be wrapping paper. Kraft offered some suggestions on how to dispose of that paper. “We want to remind residents to condense the wrapping paper down as much as possible before they bag it and place it into the containers,” Kraft said. “Also, by placing bags of household trash in the bottom of the container and the bags of paper near the top, the bags of paper are less likely to become stuck at the bottom of the container.”
Between Dec. 23 and Jan. 14, the City will provide dumpsters at two locations to help residents dispose of Christmas trees. The dumpsters will be at Site # 7 located at 16th Street SW and 16th Avenue SW (near KMOT) and at Site #3 located at 11th Street NW and 4th Avenue NW (Oak Park). The City will also pick up Christmas trees that are placed near residential garbage carts.
“We ask residents to remove all lights, decorations, bags, and stands from the trees before dropping them off or placing them for collection,” Kraft said. “These trees are shredded for mulch, so we don’t want anything left on them that would interfere with the shredding process.”
(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
KHRT NEWS – TUESDAY – 122121 – 0700
MOORHEAD, Minn. (AP) – Wreaths for each of the seven people whose bodies were discovered inside a Minnesota home over the weekend were left outside the residence Monday, where friends and relatives wept in below-freezing weather and wondered what happened to their loved ones. Preliminary autopsy results showed the victims who lived together in Moorhead did not die from “any obvious trauma,” but a cause of death has not been determined, police said. Relatives said they have more questions than answers.
Moorhead police identified the victims as 37-year-old Belin Hernandez, 34-year-old Marleny Pinto, 32-year-old Eldor Hernandez Castillo, 19-year-old Mariela Guzman Pinto, 16-year-old Breylin Hernandez, 7-year-old Mike Hernandez and 5-year-old Marbely Hernandez.
Alan Pinto, 14, a cousin who on Monday served as translator for his Spanish-speaking relatives, most of whom immigrated from Honduras, said the family was happy to be in America and to escape the turmoil of their home country. But they said their lives will never be the same after such a tragic loss. “I’m trying,” Pinto said, when asked how he was holding up. “It’s hard.”
Autopsies were conducted over the weekend by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office in St. Paul. Police said blood samples from the victims have been sent to a lab for further examination. “I know there is a lot of speculation in the community but our job is to look at all the facts,” Moorhead Capt. Deric Swenson told The Associated Press. “We have ideas about what happened but we don’t have that specific answer.”
The victims were found just before 8 p.m. Saturday by family members conducting a welfare check at the home in south Moorhead. Neighbors said the children were last seen Friday. There were no signs of violence or forced entry, police said. Authorities were not seeking suspects.
Moorhead is on the Minnesota border next to Fargo, North Dakota, in a metropolitan area of about 230,000 people.
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – The first known cases of the highly contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus have been confirmed in North Dakota, health officials said Monday. The state Health Department said two of the cases were in Ward County and one each in Burleigh and Cass counties. No hospitalizations have been reported due to the variant. All four cases are of people younger than 50. Two people had traveled together to another state and the other two did not have any travel noted, the department said. Three of the four people had completed two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, but had not received booster shots. One person was unvaccinated.
“The nature of two of these cases indicates that local or community transmission of the omicron variant is occurring within our state,” department spokesman Kirby Kruger. State Health Officer Dr. Nizar Wehbi encouraged people to get tested for COVID before and after holiday gatherings and to practice proper virus protocols such as masking, social distancing and good hygiene. “As individuals are planning travel and hold holiday gatherings, it is of increased importance to take precautions to protect the health of those in our communities and of those we love,” Wehbi said.
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. The state’s emergency fund is at nearly $750 million, a near record. The fund is for offsetting revenue shortfalls. It’s funded from excess general fund money every two years.
The finance committee also got an update on money North Dakota could receive from the $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure bill over the next five years. Preliminary estimates total $2.5 billion of potential funding available for North Dakota, including $2 billion for transportation. Many spending deadlines are unknown. That money could be used for improvements to drinking water infrastructure, air quality and highway safety.
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.
“We weren’t all that surprised that the number went down,” state Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms said Friday. “I think we were surprised how much the number went down.” The wells drilled into the rock formations have produced 4 billion barrels of oil to date. Helms said he anticipates the future output of those wells will consist of another 4 billion barrels, The Bismarck Tribune reported. Helms said about 80% of what’s considered the best mineral acreage in the Bakken oil patch has already been drilled and companies are looking to innovate in parts of the region farther from the center.
The USGS also revised down its expectations for natural gas production. The 2013 estimate anticipated 6.7 trillion cubic feet per day of additional recoverable gas. The latest estimate puts the figure at 4.9 trillion cubic feet per day.
(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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