Local Stories

Boschee running for Secretary of State

Jan 31, 2018
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota Democrats now have a candidate for Secretary of State.

State Rep Joshua Boschee (D-Fargo) is seeking his party’s endorsement for the job. Incumbent Republican Al Jaeger has said he’s seeking re-election, but he faces a challenge within his own party from GOP District Chair Will Gardner of Mandan.

In his campaign kick-off, Boschee talked about the Secretary of State’s role as the state’s chief election officer. Boschee said Jaeger and the Republican Legislature have tried to put up roadblocks to voting – some of which have been thrown out by the courts.

UND has decided to partner with a private firm, as it prepares to replace its aging steam plant.

UND has chosen Johnson Controls as the plant’s operator. UND’s Mike Pieper told a subcommittee of the Board of Higher Education Johnson Controls is partnering with some other engineering and architectural firms. Pieper said UND worked with the partners to come up with some ideas to keep steam rates down when the new plant goes on-line.

ND Agriculture Dept.

North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring expects his department’s mediation service will be busy – working on issues between farmers and their bankers.

Goehring said the big problem in agriculture is low commodity prices. He said in his discussions with the bankers, they believe that most of the debt farmers incurred in 2017 will probably get taken care of. Goehring said the problem is in moving forward – and that’s because of low crop prices.

ND Senate leader keeping an eye on oil prices

Jan 29, 2018

Activity is increasing in the oil patch – as oil prices have rebounded.

But Sen.Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson) said he’s still being very cautious about the recovery in the Bakken.

Wardner said right now, it looks positive.

"However, you never know about the price of oil," Wardner said. "I'm really concerned that we may be over-supplied again, and drive the price down."

Wardner said prices are up because OPEC has decided to to throttle back on oil production.

Student numbers up -- and that means more spending

Jan 26, 2018
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota’s K-12 student population continues to grow.

“Our fall enrollment count was 108,945," said Adam Tescher, the director of school finance and organization for the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction. He told the Legislature’s interim Education Finance Committee that was up more than 2,000 students from the fall of 2017.

Tescher says the projection for the next biennium is an increase of 2,900 students in 2019, and another 3,300 students in 2020.

Christmann running for another 6 year term on the PSC

Jan 26, 2018

The current Chairman of the North Dakota Public Service Commission is running for another six-year term on the PSC.

Randy Christmann (R) was first elected in 2012. He formerly was a state Senator from Hazen. He told reporters and supporters in Bismarck he “loves his job” – and he believes in public service.

"Serving the public means making sure consumers get quality service at the best possible prices from regulated monopoly companies," Christmann said. "They don't have a choice on where to go for those services. I think we're doing that very well."

Industrial Commission denies flaring exemption

Jan 25, 2018
Dave Thompson

The North Dakota Industrial Commission has turned down an oil company’s request for relief from the state’s natural gas flaring restrictions.

Marathon Oil had asked for the exemptions for a number of wells on or near the Fort Berthold Reservation. State mineral resources director Lynn Helms told the Commission Marathon asked for it due to “operational constraints and system design limitations.”

"The pipes are too small," Helms told the Commission. He recommended the Commission deny the request.

"This is exactly counter to your gas capture policy," Helms said.

ND Tax Dept.

A state official has announced he will seek another term. But two long-time satte Legislators are calling it quits.

State Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger (R) will seek a second full term.

Rauschenberger was appointed to the tax commissioner’s office in January, 2014 by then-Governor Jack Dalrymple. He won a full term that November.

Rauschenberger said he’s made a lot of efficiency improvements in his office. And he said he’s hit the fraud issue pretty hard.

ND University System

North Dakota is one of 13 states that have agreed to a program designed to raise the percentage of Americans with a college degree or high-quality certification.

It comes from the Lumina Foundation.

"The economy is rapidly changing," said North Dakota University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott. "Certificates are becoming a key component of that. It may take too long to get a four-year degree for some of the coming changes."

ND Legislature

Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson) said he agrees with Gov. Doug Burgum that there could be other uses for the earnings from the state’s Legacy fund.

But Wardner said that will likely have to happen down-the road, and not immediately.

In his "State of the State" address, Burgum said he wants to see the earnings from the now $4.1 billion Legacy Fund to go toward innovations in government.

The 2017 Legislature used the earnings from the fund to help balance the budget. Wardner said the 2019 Legislature will probably need to use those4 funds again.


News from NPR

When U.S. long track speedskaters Heather Bergsma, Brittany Bowe, Mia Manganello and Carlijn Schoutens won bronze Wednesday in the team pursuit event, they broke a Team USA drought. It was the first long track Olympic medal since the Vancouver Games of 2010.

Donald Trump Jr. says he was impressed by the poor people of India.

During a visit to promote his family's luxury apartments, Trump Jr. had this to say in a television interview with the Indian channel CNBC-TV 18.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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