KHRT ND News

KHRT NEWS – SATURDAY – 030621 – 0700
 
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – North Dakota legislative leaders say they will work to overhaul a harassment policy after a lawmaker was expelled from the Legislature. The House voted Thursday to expel Republican Rep. Luke Simons for a pattern of behavior they said stretched back to soon after he took office in 2017. The policy adopted by the Legislature contains a requirement that eventually could make a victim’s identity public, something that may have kept some women from coming forward. Forty lawmakers from across the country, including Simons, have resigned or been expelled from office due to sexual harassment or misconduct allegations since 2017.
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ANAMOOSE, N.D. (AP) – Two people have been killed in a head-on crash in McHenry County. The North Dakota Highway Patrol says the accident happened on Highway 52 near Anamoose about 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The patrol says a 29 year-old man from Harvey was trying to pass a semi on the two-lane highway and collided with an oncoming vehicle. A 55-year-old man and 49-year-old woman in the oncoming vehicle died at the scene of the crash. The driver in the other vehicle was flown to Trinity Hospital in Minot for treatment of his injuries.
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GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) – A driver has been arrested after leading Grand Forks police on a chase and crashing into another vehicle. Authorities say officers tried to make a traffic stop about 6 p.m. Thursday and the driver pulled into the parking lot of a Cenex store and then took off with police in pursuit. The 30-year-old Grand Forks man struck another vehicle at a busy intersection and continued to flee. Officers used a maneuver to force the fleeing driver to stop. He was arrested on possible charges of possessing stolen property, reckless endangerment, reckless driving and possession of drug paraphernalia.
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MINOT, ND – A clothes dryer fire was quickly extinguished Thursday evening, limiting fire damage to the appliance itself. The Minot Fire Department responded to 202 7th St SE at 10:17 p.m. for a dryer on fire. Fire-fighters found smoke coming from the basement level of the home. Firefighters entered the basement and quickly extinguished the fire. The residents were home at the time of the fire and exited the home safely. Fire damage was contained to the dryer unit. The fire was caused by mechanical issues.
 
 
(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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KHRT NEWS – FRIDAY – 030521 – 0700
 
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – The North Dakota House has expelled a lawmaker accused of threatening and sexually harassing women at the Capitol. The resolution to expel GOP Rep. Luke Simons was approved 69-25 on Thursday. It was the first time since statehood a lawmaker has been expelled. Simons denied wrongdoing and refused Republican leaders’ calls to resign. The rancher and barber is accused of a pattern of sexually aggressive, lewd, and threatening behavior. GOP Majority Leader Chet Pollert co-sponsored the resolution to expel. He said Simons had been given “multiple chances” to avoid being expelled. Simons said he believed he would have had more support from his fellow lawmakers.
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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – A Dakota Access Pipeline protester who has refused to provide testimony to a federal grand jury is back behind bars. Steve Martinez was held in contempt of court Wednesday for the second time in a month. Jail records show the 46-year-old Martinez is being held in the Burleigh Morton Detention Center. He had been released on a technicality Feb. 22 following 19 days of incarceration, but was given another subpoena. His attorneys say he has refused to testify before a grand jury involved in a lawsuit filed by an injured protester because he believes authorities are trying to suppress the pipeline protest movement.
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BISMARCK, ND – The North Dakota Council on the Arts (NDCA) announces the addition of Erin Belgarde of Belcourt, to its board of directors. She was recently appointed by Governor Burgum to serve on NDCA’s board, effective March, 2020. Erin will serve through July 31, 2023, as she is filling out the term of prior board member, Dr. Tami Jollie-Trottier. NDCA’s board consists of nine members – one from each of the state’s regions, and one member-at-large, each of whom is appointed by the governor for a five-year term.
 
(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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KHRT NEWS – THURSDAY – 030421 – 1200
 
BISMARCK, N.D. (PNS) – North Dakota is rolling out another round of grants to help communities prevent suicides, and state officials say there’s more urgency with this funding, given the pandemic and its added stresses for many. The Department of Human Services’ Behavioral Health Division will award $750,000, to be shared by up to 19 community groups, local and tribal governments and nonprofits – all to develop or increase suicide-prevention strategies.
 
While more people already may have reached out for help, division director Pamela Sagness said history shows that for others, it can take longer for the effects of a crisis to surface. “This is the time for us to be gearing up to really not only support individuals that are already feeling the mental-health impact, but those that will potentially be feeling those impacts for several years,” she said.
 
The deadline for groups to apply for grant funding is March 5. Sagness said the most recent state data, from last spring, found nearly 70% of respondents reported an increase in mental-health struggles. Nationally, the group Mental Health America reported that nearly 180,000 Americans had frequent thoughts of suicide and self-harm last year – the largest number in its reporting history.
 
Mental-health providers and advocates have said lack of access to services has been exacerbated by the crisis. Sagness said that’s why it’s important for grant recipients to build suicide-prevention infrastructure at the local level.
 
“Who are some high-risk groups that we want to be able to ensure that we’re providing services to? For example, survivors of suicide loss, young adults, individuals or service members with military experience,” she said.
 
Prior to the pandemic, the department noted that among North Dakota high-school students, almost 19% reported they had “seriously considered” a suicide attempt in 2019, compared with 12.4% a decade earlier. The National Suicide Prevention Helpline is always available at 800-273-TALK (8255).
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MINOT, ND – The largest infrastructure project in Minot’s history has earned national recognition. Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the Mouse River Enhanced Flood Protection Plan received the 2020 Crown Communities Award from American City & County, a national organization dedicated to recognizing public projects and servants. Projects are judged on uniqueness, short- and long-term value to the community, and effective and innovative financing.
 
“These two phases are vital parts of the overall $1.028 billion project to protect the City of Minot and the entire Mouse River Basin,” said Dan Jonasson, director of Public Works for the City of Minot and a director for the Souris River Joint Board. “These phases are great examples of what can be accomplished when federal, state, and local entities work together to find solutions for funding, permitting, construction, and maintenance.”
 
The City of Minot collaborates with many partners on the overall project, including the Souris River Joint Board, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Emergency Management Administration, the North Dakota State Water Commission, the Minot Park District, and the Ward County Water Board, as well as elected officials at the local, state, and federal levels.
 
Work on Phases 2-3 began in May 2018 and was completed in October 2020 at a cost of $40 million. The projects included more than 8,900 feet of earthen levees, a removable road closure, multiple levee ramps, interior drainage pump stations, and 1,600 feet of stream bank restoration.
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ENDERLIN, N.D. (AP) – A first responder in North Dakota was called to her own home where her 2-year-old son had been severely burned in a fire. It happened in the small community of Enderlin in southeastern North Dakota Tuesday afternoon. Shelby Jankowski was volunteering as a first responder when she heard the call. Jankowski’s son, Royce, had suffered burns after his mattress caught fire. Just how the mattress ignited remains under investigation. By the time Jankowski arrived at her home with a co-worker, crews had rescued Royce and put out the fire. Royce and his mom where flown to a hospital in Minnesota. The boy had suffered third-degree burns over 30% of his body.
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KHRT NEWS – THURSDAY – 030421 – 0700
 
MINOT, ND – First District Health Unit now has COVID-19 vaccine for school personnel and childcare workers. Vaccinations are done by appointment only. School personnel will receive instructions from their school administration for making appointments. Childcare workers can make an appointment with their local First District Health Unit office. In Minot, call (701) 852-1376.
 
First District is also still vaccinating everyone 65 and older, individuals in the Phase 1A priority groups, and anyone 18 – 64 with two or more high risk medical conditions. The qualifying conditions are:
 
Cancer
 
Chronic lung disease, including COPD
 
Serious heart conditions e.g. heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies (also known as heart muscle disease)
 
Obesity with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more
 
Type 2 diabetes
 
Chronic kidney disease
 
Conditions that cause you to be immunocompromised e.g. HIV infection or those with weakened immune systems due to other illnesses or medication. This group should be aware of the potential for reduced immune response to the vaccine and currently limited safety data of vaccine in this population
 
Sickle cell disease
 
Pregnancy
 
Smoking or history of smoking
 
Down Syndrome
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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – Republican and Democratic legislative leaders are finalizing a resolution to expel a North Dakota House member accused of threatening and sexually harassing women at the state Capitol. House Majority Leader Chet Pollert says a resolution to expel GOP Rep. Luke Simons will be introduced on the House floor Thursday. Pollert and Democratic House Minority Leader Josh Boschee said they worked together over the the Legislature’s mid-session break to craft the expulsion resolution. Simons has denied wrongdoing and declined Republican leadership’s requests to resign. He says the allegations have been “totally misconstrued and taken out of context.”

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CHURCHS FERRY, N.D. (AP) – Authorities a man who was delivering a new bus to a school in Canada suffered a minor injury after the bus rolled over several times on a highway in northeastern North Dakota. The North Dakota Highway Patrol says 50-year-old Toronado Watson, of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, fell asleep shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday. He was driving a 2022 Thomas school bus west on U.S. Highway 2 near Churchs Ferry. Watson tried to gain control of the bus after running off the road but overcorrected and wound up rolling it in the north ditch. Authorities say he was the sole occupant of the bus and was wearing his seatbelt.
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BISMARCK, ND – Students from across the state will gather at the 68th North Dakota DECA Conference to be held in Bismarck. March 14th-15th almost 250 high school students from across the state will be competing in 40 specialized events in marketing, finance, hospitality and managements. 50 business people from the local area will be evaluating students on their performance and business presentations (volunteers). All activities are at the Ramkota Hotel, Bismarck. North Dakota is the only DECA Association in the country to hold in-person competition.
 
 
(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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KHRT NEWS – WEDNESDAY – 030321 – 1200
 
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – The North Dakota Legislature reconvenes today after a break that is referred to as “Crossover”. In the second half of the Legislature, the Senate holds hearings and votes on bills that were first introduced in the House, and the House does the same for Senate measures. The first half of the session took 34 days. In recent years, the session has lasted more than 70 days. The North Dakota Legislature meets every other year.
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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – Republican and Democratic legislative leaders are finalizing a resolution today to expel a North Dakota House member accused of threatening and sexually harassing women at the state Capitol.
 
House Majority Leader Chet Pollert told The Associated Press that the resolution to expel GOP Rep. Luke Simons will be introduced on the House floor Thursday. Simons, who has denied wrongdoing and refused Republican leaders’ calls for him to resign, is accused of a pattern of sexually aggressive, lewd, and threatening behavior, dating back to shortly after he took office in 2017.
 
The GOP-controlled Legislature reconvened today after its midsession break known as crossover. Pollert and Democratic House Minority Leader Josh Boschee said they worked together over the recess to craft the expulsion resolution. Legislative officials said there is no record of any lawmaker being expelled since statehood. Pollert said lawmakers today will discuss the process outlining the potential removal of Simons.
 
The resolution could be debated by a yet-to-be formed committee, an existing committee, or by the entire House, the leaders said. Pollert and Boschee said they preferred the latter. “Rep. Simons will have his day and will be able to defend his actions,” Pollert said.
 
A 14-page document compiled by the nonpartisan Legislative Council includes allegations that Simons made “advances” toward female staffers and interns, commented on their appearances and tried to give one staffer an unsolicited shoulder massage. One staffer described his behavior as “really creepy.” The 43-year old Simons said in a statement issued late Tuesday that the allegations “have been totally misconstrued and taken out of context.”
 
“If the Legislature decides to inquire into any of my conduct or any of the allegations made by the director of the Legislative Council, then I look forward to a full and complete public hearing in which witnesses are heard, the true facts are determined, and where I am provided all of my due process rights and afforded the opportunity to require the attendance of witnesses, if necessary by subpoena,” Simons’ statement said.
 
Simons, a barber and rancher, is a member of the loosely organized Bastiat Caucus, a far-right group that supports limited government and gun rights. Simons has insisted on social media that he’s being targeted for his politics. Simons’ attorney, Lynn Boughey, said he believes the House cannot expel Simons, and beyond censure, can only impeach him, which would require a Senate trial.
 
Legislative leaders and their lawyers note the North Dakota Constitution says either chamber can expel a member with two-thirds approval. That would mean 63 members of the House would need to approve. Republicans hold an 80-14 advantage in the chamber.
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MINOT, ND – COVID-19 rapid BinaxNOW Screening in Minot will continue through April 4. The testing is happening at the City of Minot’s Fire Station 1, located at 2111 10th St SW. Times for upcoming testing will be:
 
Mondays – 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Thursdays – 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturdays – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
 
There will be no testing on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, or Sundays.
 
Tests are self-administered with the assistance of the Minot Fire Department and other City of Minot staff and offer results in approximately 15 minutes. Recipients should pre-register before arriving at the test site online at https://testreg.nd.gov/. All motor vehicles should come from the west on 20th Avenue before turning onto 10th street. This will help to avoid any potential traffic jams at that intersection.
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BISMARCK, ND – The total positive cases of COVID-19 in North Dakota since the pandemic began has surpassed 100,000. Today’s report from the Department of Health lists 111 positives from 6,950 tests processed for a daily positive rate of 2.25%. It puts total positives at 100,067 in the state. Active cases rise by 29 to 605 in today’s report. Those hospitalized due to the virus drop by four to 20. The death of a man in Ward County brings total deaths since the pandemic began to 1,448.
Nearly 19% of North Dakota residents (137,039) have received at least one dose to COVID-19 vaccine. Over 10% of residents (77,797) have received both doses of vaccine. Health officials say there are now 405 vaccine provider sites in the state.
 
(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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KHRT NEWS – WEDNESDAY – 030321 – 0700
 
BISMARCK, N.D. – The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) announced Tuesday that the state has integrated the recently approved Janssen/Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine into the state’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization for the Janssen vaccine on Saturday, February 27, making it the third COVID-19 vaccine to receive an EUA from the FDA. Sunday, February 28, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Processes (ACIP) recommended the use of the vaccine in people 18 and older under the EUA.
 
“Some major benefits of the Janssen vaccine include only requiring one dose and being able to be stored in refrigerators,” said Molly Howell, NDDoH Immunization Director. “The vaccine has shown 85% efficacy at preventing severe COVID-19-with complete protection against hospitalizations and death after 28 days.”
 
North Dakota is scheduled to receive an initial allocation of 6,300 doses, which will go to pharmacies and urgent care. The doses are expected to arrive in the state on Friday.
 
In North Dakota, most providers are in Phase 1B of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout with some having moved on to Phase 1C. North Dakotans can find when they will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at http://health.nd.gov/covidvaccinelocator.
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BISMARCK, ND – Wildfire season started early in North Dakota this year. Due to dry and warm conditions, burn bans already are in effect in many counties, including Dunn, Golden Valley, Mercer, Oliver and Stutsman. Plus, the most recent North Dakota drought monitor update shows that 68 percent of the state is in a severe drought, which is a 10 percent increase from only two weeks ago. The North Dakota Forest Service would like to remind you of what you can do to help prevent wildfires.
 
Wildland fires need three conditions – heat, fuel, and oxygen – in order to start. Sources of heat can include fires started by people and their equipment, or rarely lightning. Fuel is plentiful in North Dakota, as we have an abundance of dry prairie grasses and other vegetation. Oxygen is widely available in the air. With these three things, it is possible for wildland fires to start. That is why it is so important that North Dakota residents be careful with fire.
 
In 2020, 518 wildfires burning a total of 9,205 acres were caused by humans in the state of North Dakota and were preventable. The leading causes of preventable wildfires in the state of North Dakota in 2020 were debris burning (294 wildfires started), equipment use (160 wildfires started), and smoking (36 wildfires started).
 
Debris burning was the largest cause of unwanted, human-caused wildfires in the state of North Dakota in 2020. These wildfires were preventable. If you plan to burn debris, be sure that you are aware of the laws in place by the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality regarding open burning. You can learn more about this by visiting their website https://deq.nd.gov/AQ/permitting/OpenBurning.aspx .
If you are towing any kind of a trailer, ensure that your chains are not dragging. Dragging chains cause sparks, which can ignite a wildland fire. Also, be careful when driving on dry brush or grass. Hot exhaust pipes can also ignite wildland fires which you may not notice until it’s too late.
 
Fires should not be started on days with a Red Flag Warning. You can check to see if your county has a Red Flag warning by visiting NOAA’s website at https://www.weather.gov/bis/. To learn more about how you can prevent unwanted, human caused wildfires, visit the Smokey Bear website at https://smokeybear.com/en.
 
In order to learn more about what each burn ban entails and to check current status of your county, please visit the ND Response website at https://ndresponse.gov/burn-ban-restrictions-fire-danger-maps .
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BISMARCK, N.D. – Child Care Aware┬« of North Dakota (CCAoND) is resuming services now that administration and operations have temporarily moved to the North Dakota Department of Human Services. CCAoND’s child care resource and referral service, approved training for child care providers, and related quality and consultation services were temporarily disrupted when Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota (LSSND) ceased operations in mid-January.
 
North Dakota licensed child care providers are required to complete an average of 9-13 hours of approved training annually. CCAoND is the primary source of approved training for North Dakota’s early childhood workforce and the only training vendor in the state that has a mission to develop training specifically for providers. Available training addresses health and safety requirements, child development, child care environments, working with families, professionalism, operating a child care business and other topics.
 
Child care providers who had licenses due in January or February and needed to meet annual training requirements were able to access training from other approved training sponsors. Information about all approved training is online at www.ndgrowingfutures.org.
 
Because operations and administration have temporarily shifted to the state agency, CCAoND provider training will now be available at no cost to early childhood service providers through at least June 30, 2021. CCAoND plans to reopen training events on March 1, 2021.
Providers who had registered through LSSND and were participating in CCAoND’s online, self-paced training can continue to work toward completing their online training.
 
CCAoND offers statewide child care services that are part of the state’s Child Care Development Block Grant program. CCAoND is currently conducting a market rate survey that will be used by the department’s Economic Assistance Division to set Child Care Assistance Program rates. Providers are encouraged to participate.
 
Families seeking information and help finding child care can continue to use CCAoND’s online search tool at ndchildcare.org/parents or can speak to a referral specialist by calling 800-997-8515.
 
(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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KHRT NEWS – TUESDAY – 030221 – 1200
 
 
MINOT, ND – A fire caused significant damage to a vehicle and the garage of a home in northeast Minot on Monday evening. The Minot Fire Department was dispatched at 7:18 p.m. for a vehicle on fire inside a garage at 1119 Roberts Street. The occupants of the home exited the structure safely before fire crews arrived on scene. Firefighters found heavy smoke and fire coming from the attached garage. Crews battled the fire from the garage level and from the floor above and conducted search and rescue operations. Firefighters knocked down the flames and prevented the fire from spreading to other parts of the home. The fire caused major smoke damage to all three floors of the home. No one was injured during the incident. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – An Iowa company is leading a $2 billion effort to capture carbon dioxide from Midwestern ethanol plants and pipe it to North Dakota where it would be buried deep underground. The greenhouse gas is generated during the fermentation process and contributes to climate change when it’s released into the atmosphere. Summit Carbon Solutions says the plan is to gather carbon dioxide from at least 17 ethanol plants and pipe it to North Dakota where it would be injected into wells and stored underground. The carbon dioxide would be compressed into liquid form at the ethanol plants where feeder pipelines would send it to a larger pipeline that would extend across the Upper Midwest to North Dakota.
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JAMESTOWN, N.D. (PNS) – Farmers say timing is everything for successful production, but North Dakota producers said it’s not just changing weather patterns they’re contending with. Declining infrastructure is another barrier, and they hope lawmakers come through with key funding.
 
So far this session, bonding proposals of different sizes have been floated as the Legislature looks to pay for a number of infrastructure projects. But price tags for these plans have come down, and money for county and township-level improvements has been removed.
Matt Perdue, government relations director for the North Dakota Farmers Union, said rural communities need those funds, with roads deteriorating around them. “In North Dakota, in the eastern half of the state, we’ve had wet conditions the last several years that have caused a lot of stress on our roads,” Perdue observed. “And in some cases, [conditions] have even overwhelmed or flooded out some of our rural roads.” At the same time, farm equipment is getting bigger, putting even more stress on roads. The group added transportation delays can be costly during the planting or harvest season.
 
Some state lawmakers said they’re leery of taking on bonding debt and how it would impact future budgets. Meanwhile, the state has seen major oil revenue declines, and money for the bonding package would come from the oil tax savings account, known as the Legacy Fund. But Perdue argued lawmakers need to take advantage of low-interest rates that would make road-improvement projects even more beneficial.
 
With the planting season fast approaching, he noted a wet spring could bring more harm to farmers and ranchers if they encounter delays in gaining access to a field. “You gotta get the crop in the ground or the cattle on grass on the day you need to get it in the ground or the cattle on grass,” Perdue explained.
 
The Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute estimates North Dakota’s county and township infrastructure needs more than $9 billion in upgrades over the next two decades. As for funding alternatives, Perdue said they’re hopeful about a proposed gasoline tax increase, which has seen some movement, or there will be help from a federal stimulus package. In the meantime, the size and scope of a bonding bill will see more debate with new revenue projections due this month.
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BISMARCK, ND – Today’s COVID-19 report from the North Dakota Department of Health list a daily positive rate of 2.3% as 106 positives come from 5,960 tests processed. Active cases are up 5 to 576. Hospitalizations due to the virus are down one to 24. Two more deaths are reported among those who tested positive bringing the total to 1,447. Those receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in the state is at 134,771. Those who have received both doses stands at 92,381.
 
(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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KHRT NEWS – TUESDAY – 030221 – 0700
 
 
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – James Leiman has been appointed North Dakota Commerce Commissioner after serving for three years as one of the agency’s directors. Leiman has been the department’s director of economic development and finance since March 2018. Prior to working for the state, Leiman served as city administrator in Ada, Minnesota from 2015 to 2018 and as chief of integration and synchronization for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs from 2011 to 2015. He replaces Michelle Kommer, who resigned in October to rejoin the private sector. Shawn Kessel filled in as interim commissioner for the last four months. Kessel will continue as the agency’s deputy commissioner and chief operating officer.
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BISMARCK, N.D. – The North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality (NDDEQ) was notified Friday of a produced water spill in McKenzie County at an injection well operated by Samson Oil and Gas USA, Inc. The incident occurred about 6 miles southwest of Alexander on Thursday, Feb. 25. The cause of the spill was a cracked frozen pre-filter pot. Samson Oil and Gas USA, Inc. estimates approximately 1,000 barrels of produced water were released. The produced water escaped through the berm impacting rangeland. Produced water is a by-product of oil production. An injection well is used for enhanced oil recovery. Personnel from the NDDEQ are inspecting the site and will continue to monitor the investigation and remediation.
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BISMARCK, N.D. – Progress is being made in the search for a new president to lead Williston State College. AGB Search, the consultants who are assisting with the search at Williston State, met with several constituents, including faculty, staff, and alumni and community members, in listening sessions last fall. The data gathered was used to develop a profile for what qualities constituents would like to see in the next president. AGB has used the profile to gather interested applicants for the president position.
 
29 candidates met qualifications and were forwarded to the Presidential Search Committee for their initial review. The committee met in executive session on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, to discuss candidates. After thorough discussion and analysis, 11 candidates were identified and have been offered an opportunity for a virtual interview March 15-16.
 
“Our committee was impressed with the admirable backgrounds and myriad of experiences that the candidates displayed in their application materials,” said WSC’s Presidential Search Committee Co-Chair Kathleen Neset. “We are excited to proceed to the next stage of virtual interviews to delve into which applicants will be the best fit to bring to Williston’s campus to speak with the campus community and meet our students, staff and faculty. Through these visits and conversations with the community on and off campus, the committee is confident that we will find the leader best suited for Williston State.”
 
Once the virtual interviews are complete, the search committee will determine which candidates will be invited to participate in on-campus interviews and to meet the Williston State campus community. Once interviews have concluded, the Presidential Search Committee will convene to discuss the finalists and forward three or more names to the State Board of Higher Education for their review and consideration at the April 29, 2021, SBHE meeting taking place on the Williston State College campus. The Board is ultimately responsible for appointment of institution presidents within the North Dakota University System, as outlined in SBHE policy 601.1.
 
The new WSC president will succeed Dr. John Miller, who is scheduled to retire June 2021.
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BISMARCK, N.D. – State School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler is encouraging North Dakota public school students and families to take part in an online survey to describe their K-12 learning experiences during the current school year. The brief survey asks several questions, including whether student participants went to school in-person, via distance learning, or a combination of the two from August 2020 through February 2021. It is intended for public school students and families in grades K-12, and should take no more than 15 minutes to complete, the superintendent said.
 
The survey asks about whether students had reliable internet service and whether their school provided a tablet or similar connection device. It inquires about whether school staff kept in touch with students, whether “more challenging lessons were available, if needed,” and whether class grading and assessment was “clear and consistent.”
 
The survey is a collaborative project between the Department of Public Instruction and the North Dakota University System. It provides students and their families an opportunity to express how North Dakota’s public education system worked for them during the COVID-19 pandemic, Baesler said. “We need to hear the voices of our students and families about the conditions they experienced during the current school year,” Baesler said. “This information is important as we try to pinpoint successes in North Dakota public education, and how and where we need to improve.”
 
A link to the survey is available through the Department of Public Instruction’s social media channels. North Dakota students and families who wish to take the survey are asked to do so by Sunday, March 14.
 
(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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KHRT NEWS – MONDAY – 030121 – 1200
 
MINOT, ND – An unattended candle caused a house fire in southeast Minot on Saturday afternoon. The Minot Fire Department was dispatched to a structure fire at 701 Arbor Avenue at 5:10 p.m. The occupants of the home safely exited the structure after being alerted by smoke detectors. When firefighters arrived on scene they found light smoke coming from the building, and quickly extinguished the fire. A minimal amount of damage was caused to the structure. No one was injured in the incident. Fire department members found one pet and returned it safely to the homeowner. The fire was caused by the improper use of a candle. Nationally, candles cause an estimated 15,600 fires per year, including 150 deaths and 1,270 injuries.
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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – The state of North Dakota seized about $500,000 in forfeited assets from criminal activity in a nearly a year’s time. In the first report compiling statewide data on civil asset forfeitures, nearly $522,000 in cash was seized statewide from August 2019 to June 2020. Of that total, about $34,000 was returned to defendants and $10,000 went to North Dakota Child Support Enforcement. The remaining amount was forfeited and divided among the agencies involved in investigation and prosecution of the criminal cases. In 2019, the law was changed to require a higher standard of proof for forfeitures and a conviction to initiate forfeiture proceedings in court.
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WEST FARGO, N.D. (AP) – The assistant principal at a West Fargo high school who was arrested over the weekend will be back on the job this week. Sheyenne High School Assistant Principal Nathan Schleicher was arrested for driving under the influence and DUI refusal Saturday. West Fargo school district administrators say any decisions regarding any potential action against Schleicher will be made once his case is settled. The Fargo Police Department is handling the criminal investigation related to this arrest.
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BISMARCK, ND – The North Dakota Department of Health reports that 18.2% of residents have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. That equals 133,262 people. Health officials say 10% of residents, or 74,488 people, have received both doses of the vaccine.
Today’s report also lists a daily positive rate of 3.09% as 45 positives come from 1.983 tests processed. Active cases drop by 34 to 571. Those hospitalized due to the virus rises by four to 25. Three deaths reported since Friday bring the total to 1,445.
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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – A new monthly survey shows continued economic improvement in nine Midwest and Plains states, but business leaders expressed concerns about rising inflation and bottlenecks in the supply chain causing delays. The Creighton University Mid-America Business Conditions for February released Monday came in at a strong 69.6 from January’s 67.3. Any score above 50 on the survey’s indexes suggests growth, while a score below 50 suggests recession. But Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey, said more than eight out of 10 supply managers reported supply bottlenecks and delays of up to five months. The monthly survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.
(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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KHRT NEWS – MONDAY – 030121 – 0700
 
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – State data shows nearly 10% of residents in North Dakota have completed both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. According to data from the North Dakota Department of Health, nearly 70,000 people in the state, or 9.5% of the population, have received the full two-dose series. More than 126,000, or 17.3%, have received the first dose.
 
The daily COVID-19 update posted by North Dakota health officials remained largely unchanged since Saturday, with no new deaths or hospitalizations due to the coronavirus. Officials confirmed 31 new cases, increasing the total number of positive tests to 99,809 since the start of the pandemic. The COVID Tracking Project reports that one in every 1,377 people in North Dakota tested positive in the past week. The rolling average number of daily new cases in the state over the last two weeks has remained mostly constant at about 79 per day. Project researchers say North Dakota ranks 46th in the country for new cases per capita in that span.
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MINOT, ND – Minot officials say they will continue rapid COVID-19 testing through the month of March. Testing will be done on Mondays from 8 am to 2 pm, Thursdays from 2 pm to 7 pm, and Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm. Tests are self-administered with the assistance of the Minot Fire Department and other City of Minot staff and offer results in approximately 15 minutes. Testing is done at Minot’s Fire Station #1, 2111 10th St SW. Recipients should pre-register online at https://testreg.nd.gov/ before arriving at the test site.
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BISMARCK, N.D. – The North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality awarded loans for water projects to two communities and a water district through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) Program in January and February.
 
– Cooperstown received an $800,000 DWSRF loan to replace eight blocks of asbestos cement water main that reached the end of its service life and resulted in numerous water main breaks. This project will ensure reliable water service to residents.
 
– Lakota received a $313,000 DWSRF loan to replace a 10″ transmission line from the water treatment plant to the distribution system after a sudden failure in 2020. This project will restore an adequate quantity of water to the system.
 
– North Prairie Regional Water District received a $3,825,000 DWSRF loan to construct 18 miles of transmission line, a new booster station, rehabilitate an existing booster station, and construct approximately 160 miles of water main line serving approximately 140 new users. The project will provide a more reliable source of quality water.
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides part of the DWSRF Program’s funding, which offers below-market interest rate loans to political subdivisions for financing projects authorized under the Safe Drinking Water Act. DWSRF programs operate nationwide to provide funding to maintain and improve the infrastructure that protects our vital water resources. Loans are awarded to projects that are listed on the NDDEQ project priority list based on project eligibility and ability to repay.
 
(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)