Local Stories

Supreme Court considering mineral rights case

Jun 13, 2017

A dispute over ownership of mineral rights under Lake Sakakawea is now before the North Dakota Supreme Court.

Attorneys for the William Wilkinson family believe the state illegally took the family’s mineral rights from property flooded by the closing of the Garrison Dam.

Attorney Josh Swanson told the court the family sold the surface acres, but not the mineral rights.

"This court can decide whether the district court erred as a matter of law in ruling that the state's actions were not an unconstitutional taking of the Wilkinsons' property," Swanson argued.

Lignite Energy Council 'Teachers' Seminar' underway

Jun 13, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Lignite Energy Council is holding its annual Teachers’ Seminar at Bismarck State College.

It’s been holding this summer event for the past 32 years.

"The idea is, people who are teaching will include information about the lignite industry when they're teaching about math. science, the history of North Dakota," said the Council's Steve Van Dyke. "The lignite industry is the 5th largest industry in the state, and it plays a votal role."

Van Dyke was the first speaker at the seminar. He totled his talk, "Lignite -- North Dakota's Best kept Secret."

'Real ID' to be rolled out next spring (2018)

Jun 12, 2017

The state Department of Transportation is getting ready for the rollout of the optional “Real ID” program.

“Real ID” is an enhanced driver’s license. It’s a federal mandate – so you would have to have it to board an airplane or enter a federal building. Without it, you will need to show a passport.

The 2017 Legislature made it “opt in.”

DOT Driver's License Division Director Glenn Jackson said the Department is now working on the technology – and it should be ready by next spring.

'Innovative Education' summit held in Bismarck

Jun 9, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Teachers, principals, school board members, legislators and business-people met in Bismarck for the “Governor’s Summit on Innovate Education.”

The summit was called to look at new and different ways to provide education to school age children. Burgum has said schools have to think outside the traditional 50-minute period, teachers-lecturing and standardized test taking.

ND Agriculture dept.

North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring has set up a new hotline for ranchers affected by drought.

Goehring said the hotline will connect ranchers in need of hay with those who have hay to sell or available pasture land.

"In the last couple of weeks, we've probably heard more concerns about the fact that we didn't have much rain this entire spring season," Goehring said. "Couple that with above average temperatures and wind, we don't have hardly any forage."

With our warmer weather comes an increased number of vehicles on the road, including an increased presence of motorcycles. State Transportation officials say there are easy guidelines to keep in mind to keep the roadways safe for motorists and motorcyclists.  Prairie Public Reporter Todd McDonald has details…

For more about Code For The Road and Rob Keller's story visit;


Drought conditions worsen

Jun 8, 2017

North Dakota is experiencing drought conditions like it hasn't seen in years.

Much of the state is considered to be in moderate drought stage. The southwestern corner, along with a lot of the Red River Valley, is currently classified as abnormally dry. And south central extending a bit into central North Dakota is officially in a severe drought. State climatologist Adnan Akyuz says current models project dry conditions to persist throughout the next several weeks. Akyuz says jet stream patterns are not promising any meaningful rainfall in the future.

'Historic Buffalo Trail Tour' launches Saturday

Jun 8, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A celebration of the buffalo – and the role it has played in the west.

That’s the purpose of a new tour – called the Historic Buffalo Trail Tour. It will be self-guided, and will feature 10 sites in North and South Dakota, near the towns of Hettinger, Reeder and Scranton in North Dakota, and the South Dakota towns of Lemmon, Bison and Buffalo.

Francie Berg of Hettinger has written the self guided tour book.

From 'Oil Can!' to 'Energy of North Dakota'

Jun 8, 2017
Courtesy ND Petroleum Council

Different name – same idea.

The North Dakota Petroleum Council has been using the “Oil Can!” brand for its outreach campaigns. It’s changing that – to “Energy of North Dakota.”

Council spokesperson  Tessa Sandstrom said when people are asked what they think of when they hear “North Dakota,” it’s mainly about agriculture, wide open spaces, NDSU football and UND hockey.

Mn. Lawmakers Recap Recent Session

Jun 7, 2017

Despite the scurry to get things finished at the close of this year’s legislative session, a northwest Minnesota lawmaker say he sees the session as a success. Reporter Todd McDonald has details…


News from NPR

More than 140 people may be buried after a landslide in the town of Xinmo in southwest China Saturday.

Local officials are estimating 46 homes were buried under tons of rubble.

Chinese state news agency Xinhua reports that at least three people had been rescued and taken to a hospital with injuries it said were not life-threatening.

Venezuela's ongoing political and economic crisis has taken a toll on daily life there.

A crash in oil prices and political instability under President Nicolas Maduro have led to food shortages, and that has prompted almost daily street protests by thousands of Venezuelans.

A 35-year-old protester named Carlos tells NPR's Audie Cornish the food situation is "pretty extreme." NPR is using only his first name for his safety.

Arkansas's pesticide regulators have stepped into the middle of an epic battle between weeds and chemicals, which has now morphed into a battle between farmers. Hundreds of farmers say their crops have been damaged by a weedkiller that was sprayed on neighboring fields. Today, the Arkansas Plant Board voted to impose an unprecedented ban on that chemical.

Andy Slavitt understands the inner workings of the U.S. health care system better than most. From 2015 to 2017, he ran the Affordable Care Act, sometimes called Obamacare, as head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Since leaving that post in January, he's been an outspoken critic of the Republican proposals to dismantle it.

Yesterday, shortly after the release of the Senate bill, he tweeted, "It's the ugly step-sibling of the House bill." And this morning his message was, "We must start over. It's too important."

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


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Christopher Jones, ND DHS ~ Mark Trahant Essay ~ News Chat ~ Review: "My Cousin Rachel"

Christopher Jones took the reins earlier this year at the North Dakota Department of Human Services when he was appointed by Governor Burgum as the agency’s executive director. He joins us to discuss the many responsibilities of the agency and the challenges posed by this tough budget period. ~~~ UND professor Mark Trahant shares an essay on the impact the proposed federal budget would have on Indian Country. Mark writes for Native Voice One , a Native American Radio Network. Find his blog at...

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