Local Stories

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The developer of a wind farm in McHenry County near Velva has been fined $60,000 because a handful of its wind turbines do not comply with a setback provision negotiated between the company and the North Dakota Public Service Commission.

It concerns the Meadowlark wind farm.

The settlement required a 1400 foot setback from occupied homes, as well as roads and power lines.  Two of the turbines were too close to homes, two were too close to a state highway, and one is near a power line. In the case of the homes, the homeowners have signed waivers.

Drayton to soon receive natural gas service

3 hours ago
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Drayton will soon receive natural gas service.

Dakota Natural Gas will be bringing gas from the Viking Pipeline in Minnesota to that city. It’s a $3.2 million project. And the Public Service Commission says that will give residents a choice to stay with propane or sign up for natural gas.

The PSC has set rates for the new gas service.

The project was driven by American Crystal Sugar, who will convert from Powder River coal, shipped in from Wyoming, to natural gas for its sugar beet processing.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Gov. Doug Burgum has recommended a one percent funding increase for North Dakota's nursing homes and other long term care facilities.

But the North Dakota Long Term Care Association will be asking the 2019 Legislature for a three percent increase.

The association said while it appreciates Burgum's recommendation of a one percent increase in funding for nursing homes – after three years of no increases – it isn’t enough to retain and attract staff. Association president Shelly Peterson told reporters the 1 percent is a starting point.

The North Dakota department of Human Services has been granted a temporary waiver concerning regulations on background checks for people hired by child care providers – specifically, fingerprints.

Prior to October first, the child care providers could put new hires to work while results from a fingerprint check were pending. Those new employees would work under direct supervision. But the new federal regulations said those fingerprint checks had to be completed before the hires could start their jobs.

Reclamation change at Falkirk mine

Dec 11, 2018
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

There’s been a change in reclamation plans for a portion of the Falkirk Mine.

It involves 387 acres of land. Falkirk ended mining on that acreage in 1994. A portion of the area was developed as a “fly-ash” disposal facility, to be used by Great River Energy’s Coal Creek Station power plant. Another part of the land would have been developed as fish and wildlife habitat, as a buffer between the fly ash pit and farmland.

But something changed.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

An announcement by the South Dakota Board of Regents has some North Dakota colleges and universities worried.

South Dakota has announced that it will charge new students and transfers from North Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, and Colorado “in-state” tuition rates.  And the North Dakota Board of Higher Education is being asked to do the same for South Dakota students, as well as the other 5 states.

The matter came before the state Board of Higher Education, which met in Bismarck Thursday.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Board of Higher Education has endorsed an idea to help fund some infrastructure projects on the state’s college campuses.

UND proposed legislation to allow the campuses to access a “revolving loan fund” in the Bank of North Dakota for such things as roads, sidewalls, curb and gutter, and water mains. That revolving loan fund is made available to cities, counties and townships. The money is available at a low interest rate.

The Board’s Budget and Finance Committee recommended it. And the full Board passed it on a 5 to 2 vote.

(Note: Story will be updated with action of the Board of Higher Education.)

The University of North Dakota wants to see if it can tap into a “revolving loan fund” set up for cities, counties and other political subdivisions to help pay for roads, curbs, gutters and similar improvements.

That loan fund is through the Bank of North Dakota.

"Of course, universities are not political subdivisions," UND Vice-President for Finance and Operations Jed Shivers told a subcommittee of the Board of Higher Education.

'Operation Prairie Dog' in motion at the Capitol

Dec 6, 2018

“Operation Prairie Dog” is underway.

That’s the nickname for a proposal to create new “buckets” for oil tax money to fund infrastructure projects outside of the oil patch. It would affect cities, counties, airports and townships.

The bill has been now introduced in the House.

"We wanted to start in the House for a couple of different reasons," said the bill's main sponsor, Rep. Mike Nathe (R-Bismarck). "We think it might be the heavier lift of the two chambers, just because we have a bigger body (than the Senate)."

Gov. Doug Burgum’s executive budget does not include the proposal for $100 million for research at NDSU and UND.

UND president Mark Kennedy and NDSU President Dean Bresciani have been advocating for a $100 million investment in research over the next two-year period. The money would come from interest on the state’s Legacy fund. The two universities would each receive $25 million a year.

Burgum said his budget has $200 million for research – but not specifically for the two big universities.

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News from NPR

The U.S. Department of Education is sending emails to about 15,000 people around the country telling them: You've got money.

A food delivery man in India has been fired after a video that showed him eating a customer's order went viral.

The video shows a balding man dressed in a red T-shirt with a red delivery bag on his motorbike. The T-shirt reads "Zomato," a popular online food delivery company in India.

The man is parked at the side of a road. He uses a spoon to skim a few bites from a container of food he's opened, puts the lid back on, then picks another container and does the same thing. He puts the containers back in a plastic bag and reseals the bag with tape.

I can't imagine a harder act for a filmmaker to follow than Moonlight. That movie, a quietly shattering portrait of a young black man wrestling with his sexuality, held you rapt with its intimacy; it left you feeling as if you'd stared deep into that young man's soul.

A controversial statue of the Indian civil rights leader Mohandas Gandhi has been removed from the The University of Ghana campus, two years after it was installed and faculty promptly began protesting for its removal.

Arizona will soon have another new senator, with Republican Jon Kyl — who accepted a temporary appointment in the wake of GOP Sen. John McCain's death — stepping aside.

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Fargo's Block 9 Project ~ Sue Balcom on Pfeffernusse

Thursday, December 13 – Our Fargo radio studio overlooks the immense Block 9 project. When finished it will be the second tallest building in the state. Here to discuss the complexities and challenges are three representatives of McGough construction: Derek Hoeschen, general manager; and Keith Leier, project manager. ~~~ A Plains Folk essay from Tom Isern, drawing upon his address at a citizenship ceremony in Fargo. ~~~ Sue Balcom of the Root Sellers’ farm near Mandan stops by for this week’s...

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