Local Stories

Bismarck, ND – The staff of the North Dakota Public Service Commission says Montana Dakota Utilities is making too much money in its electric division...and wants MDU to lower its rates by 11-percent.

The staff report says MDU has exceeded its agreed-to rate of return on electricity. MDU spokesman Dan Sharp says the utility made more money than expected - because it's been able to sell power on the spot market.

Fargo, ND – The American Red Cross is recruiting volunteers with law enforcement backgrounds only to assist with safety and security concerns in New York City and Washington D.C.

Executive Director of the Minn-Kota Chapter of the American Red Cross, Kathy Schons says these volunteers will act as liaisons with the law enforcement community.

Bismarck, ND – Travel agents in North Dakota say commercial air travel will climb again -- perhaps even getting back to more normal levels.

Just how air travelers would react remains to be seen as airlines resumed flights after last week's terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington D.C.

Travel agency owner Katherine Satrom in Bismarck says she is optimistic:

Bismarck, ND – Travel agents in North Dakota say they're optimistic that commercial air travel eventually will climb again.

Dickinson travel agency owner Craig Steve says some people will be leery of flying, but others will gain confidence from increased security measures. He says he's worried about too much government intervention in the airline industry.

Fargo, ND – North Dakota State University will hold a public forum "Perspectives: Attack on America" to discuss the implications of last week's terrorist attacks on the United States.

The forum will start at noon, Wednesday September 19, and be held in the Memorial Union Gallery. Panel members will share their expertise on terrorism.

Panel members will include NDSU professors Robert Wood, associate professor and chair of political science, and John Helgeland, professor of religion and history.

    Bismarck, ND – Most North Dakota Farmers Union members who were in Washington, D.C. last week to lobby for a new farm bill returned home via bus.

    But Dale Enerson of Stanley got home another way.

    "I got a plane ticket and got out of Baltimore Saturday afternoon and got back to Minot Saturday night."

    Enerson was scheduled to return home Wednesday -- but the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington disrupted air service. He says most of the other Farmers Union members chartered a bus to get back to North Dakota.

    Bismarck, ND – North Dakota's Housing Finance Agency is preparing another bond issue -- to supply mortgage money for first-time home buyers.

    Pat Fricke is the agency's director:

    "We have had very good demand for our home mortgage finance program. A lot of first-time homebuyers have been purchasing homes. Our loan demand is on a pace for 100-million dollars in loan volumes for the year. And it is the time of the year where we're now needing to replenish our supply of funds for this fall and going into next winter."

    Bismarck, ND – Boost -- then buckle. That's the message of a statewide campaign that kicked off today (Tuesday) encouraging the use of automobile booster seats for smaller children.

    Carol Holzer of the North Dakota Health Department says the campaign will encourage parents to use booster seats -- along with shoulder and lap belts -- for children who are between 40 and 80 pounds and up to 4 feet eight inches tall.

    Holzer says booster seats should be considered part of the transition in child safety restraints.

    Bismarck, ND – The state Industrial Commission has voted to release a preliminary study of breathing problems among children in Coal Country.

    The study is a work-in-progress -- in that the results need to be subjected to a peer-review before being finalized. The Commission had been asked to release the preliminary study -- and Governor Hoeven was agreeable to that....

    Bismarck, ND – Low-income North Dakota families who signed up for the state's fuel assistance program will see a rebate on last winter's heating costs.

    The state Department of Human Services is distributing one-point-four million dollars in rebates to more than 14-thousand households. The refunds are part of a federal program that helps poor families pay high heating bills. It's called the "Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program" -- and Ron Knutson is the director:

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    News from NPR

    President Trump's executive order to restrict travel to the U.S. from six majority-Muslim countries and suspend the U.S. refugee program has been blocked indefinitely.

    The state of Hawaii sued to stop the travel ban, arguing the president's policy violates the Constitution. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson has extended his nationwide order blocking the executive order while the lawsuit continues.

    They come from places like Vietnam, China, Mexico and Guatemala, lured by promises of better-paying jobs and legal immigration. Instead, they're smuggled into the U.S., forced to work around the clock as bussers, wait staff and cooks, and housed in cramped living quarters. For this, they must pay exorbitant fees that become an insurmountable debt, even as their pay is often withheld, stolen or unfairly docked.

    La Vida Boheme plays upbeat music on somber themes. The Venezuelan rockers' last album, Será, came as student protests were erupting in their home town of Caracas. The band's booking agent was murdered; their tour manager was kidnapped. The four members of the group locked themselves inside their apartments. They would later describe the record, which won a Latin Grammy, as "the soundtrack to an apocalypse."

    Two separate high-profile incidents broadcast this week highlighted the criticism black women regularly face in the workplace and spurred many to share their own experiences on social media.

    For years, a State Department employee allegedly received tens of thousands of dollars in gifts from Chinese intelligence agents and failed to report the repeated contacts to U.S. officials.

    Candace Claiborne pleaded not guilty at a federal court appearance Wednesday to charges of obstructing an official proceeding and making false statements to the FBI, over her relationship with the Chinese agents.

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    Main Street

    UND Writers Conference: Mai Der Vang and Jeff Shotts ~ Drone Film Festival

    The UND Writers’ Conference has wrapped up another successful year. Doug Hamilton visits with two of the visiting writers, Hmong-American poet Mai Der Vang, and the executive editor of Graywolf Press in Minneapolis, Jeff Shotts. ~~~ Another Women’s History Month feature from writer Vicki Leon. Today she shares the story of Grace Sherwood, who was tried and convicted of witchcraft in colonial Virginia. ~~~ NDstrong is a nonprofit that serves as a film resource for the state of North Dakota,...

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