Local Stories

Burgum starting education innovation task force

Sep 13, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Gov. Doug Burgum is creating a task force on Innovation in Education.

Burgum said the current educational system – which has been in place for generations – is at a crossroads.

"The traditional model, which was a 'one-to-many,' classroom-focused, book-centric approach is not really reflective of the tools we have available in the 21st century," Burgum told reporters. "That's not the most effective approach."

Burgum said the task force will look at ways schools can turn out students who are problem solvers. He said it will consist of 11 to 15 members.

ND Attorney General's office

In the wake of the recent disclosure by Equifax that personal information from the credit monitoring company may have been stolen by hackers, North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said North Dakotans should take steps to protect themselves against identity theft.

Equifax says more than 143 million Americans may be at risk – and that includes 248,000 North Dakotans.

Stenehjem said people should take steps now to determine if their information was hacked.

Xcel Energy said it has made very good progress in improving the reliability of its electric service in Fargo.

In the recent past, customers have complained about power outages. And the North Dakota Public Service Commission ordered Xcel to give customers who have had three or more outages in a calendar year a refund.

Xcel’s Mark Nisbet said the Cap-X transmission line – which runs from the Monticello nuclear plant in Minnesota to the Mapleton substation has helped with reliability.

ND University System using "e-transcripts"

Sep 13, 2017
ND University System

North Dakota is one of the few states that utilizes “e-transcripts.”

It’s described as an electronic repository for all things a high school student takes on academically. That includes grades, dual credit coursework, advanced placement classes and ACT scores.

"So the beauty is, when high school students apply to North Dakota colleges and universities, we recognize the 'e-trasnscripts' and all the things ride in on it as official," said University System Director of Academic Affairs Lisa Johnson. "It could be AP scores, ACT scores or dual-credit scores."

Tuesday, September 12 – Fall is upon us. Here for all your late-season gardening questions is horticulturist Ron Smith.  

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

More than 85 firefighters, police officers and others participated in the North Dakota 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb – held at the state Capitol.

"The 9-11 stair climbs are nation-wide events, designed to commemorate the responders in New York City who climbed 110 stories of the World Trade Center," said Mandan firefighter Andrew Beck, one of the event's organizers. "It's a common thing for firefighters to climb stairs into a building where there is a problem and try to rescue people. And that's exactly what they did."

PSC continuing negotiations with DAPL owners

Sep 11, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Negotiations continue between legal staff at the North Dakota Public Service Commission and the owners of the Dakota Access pipeline over what could be violations of the pipeline’s siting permit.

There are two areas of concern. One is the company’s rerouting of a portion of the pipeline to avoid culturally sensitive areas. The other is the company clearing more trees and brush along the pipeline route than it was authorized to do.  Both were done without PSC approval.

A hearing had been scheduled on the re-route – but was postponed to allow the negotiations to take place.

UTTC Pow-Wow honors WWI veterans

Sep 11, 2017
Lisa Johnson / KUMD/Duluth

Native American veterans of World War One were honored at the annual United Tribes Pow-Wow this weekend in Bismarck.

They served even though at the time, they were not recognized as citizens of the United States.

"Native Americans were the largest per-capita in America to serve in the Great War<" said National World War One Centennial Commission member Terry Hamby. "There were 12,000 Native Americans that served. Over 800 gave their lives."

Hamby said he hopes the UTTC event will help tell a story that should be told.

United Tribes Technical College

The Tribal Leaders Summit voted to send a letter to North Dakota’s Congressional delegation concerning the murder of a Fargo woman.

Savanna LaFontaine Greywind was eight months pregnant when she disappeared. Her body was found in the Red River. Her live baby was found in her apartment building – in a different apartment.

"We can only hope that legislation will be created to help Native women more than they're protected right now," said United Tribes Technical College president Leander "Russ" McDonald. United Tribes sponsors the annual Tribal leaders summit.

MDU granted interim natural gas rate increase

Sep 7, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

MDU natural gas customers will soon see an increase on their monthly bills.

The Public Service Commission has approved an interim increase in natural gas rates. MDU had filed for increased revenues of $5.5 million -- a 5.4 percent rate increase. The PSC suspended that. But state law allows a utility to have an interim increase.

"The interim increase is $4.6 million, an overall increase of 4.2 percent," said Commissioner Brian Kroshus. "The monthly increase for a residential customer is approximately $2.44."

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News from NPR

Chancellor Angela Merkel is in position to rule for a fourth term, according to early exit polls in Germany's national election, which also saw voters send the right-wing Alternative for Germany party (AfD) to Germany's parliament, the Bundestag.

Preliminary results show German voters gave Chancellor Angela Merkel a mandate for a fourth term today, but with far fewer votes than needed for her to govern without forming a coalition.

Merkel had campaigned on her record as a highly respected leader not only in Germany, but internationally as well as record low unemployment and strong economic growth. But German unhappiness over her refugee policy that allowed more than a million asylum seekers into the country since 2015 was something she never fully recovered from.

The weekend saw an escalation in the war of words between Washington and Pyongyang, complete with a U.S. show of military might over the waters near North Korea and jitters over what seismologists say was an earthquake near a North Korean nuclear test site.

When it comes to brownie recipes, one would usually expect to hear ingredients such as flour, sugar, eggs and chocolate. But one woman dished out a most unusual addition – a heavy serving of infidelity. It all started when The New York Times published Katharine Hepburn's Brownies Recipe two years ago.

Last week in the Russia imbroglio: Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, got some bad news; members of Congress put social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, under the interrogation lights; and with all these many lawyers now running around — the meter is running too.

Much more below.

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Main Street

The GameChanger Ideas Festival ~ News Chat with Dave ~ Matt Reviews "Mother!"

The GameChanger Ideas Festival gets underway tomorrow in Bismarck. This year’s theme is “In Justice: Rethinking America's Criminal Justice System.” Joining us with a preview are Kayla Schmidt of the North Dakota Humanities Council, and featured speaker Tom Gash, author of Criminal: The Truth About Why People Do Bad Things.” ~~~ Historian and writer Tom Isern shares a Plains Folk essay titled “Prairie Post Offices.” ~~~ Another excerpt from Vietnam Memories as we hear from David Sherzer of...

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