NDSU and Fargo Parks team up for art

Aug 13, 2018
T.McDonald / Prairie Public

A new work of public art will be greeting visitors to downtown Fargo. Prairie Public Reporter Todd McDonald was there and files this report...

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The chairman of the North Dakota Public Service Commission said for the PSC to follow Gov. Doug Burgum’s request to find another 10 percent to cut from the PSC budget was a daunting task.

Randy Christmann said much of what the Commission does has a federal funding component to it. So he says if you took those things off the cutting table, there isn’t much “wiggle room.” So Christmann said the Commission made a very tough decision – it has recommended the elimination of the Commission’s grain licensing program.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

MDU natural gas customers will be getting a one-time credit on their monthly bills.

But that will only happen after MDU’s rate increase case is finally settled.

Cases of West Nile Virus increasing in ND

Aug 9, 2018

The North Dakota Health Department is reporting a steep rise in the number of reported West Nile Virus cases over the past week.

"We're actually up to 18 human cases," said epidemiologist Jenny Galbraith. "That's a 14 case increase from the previous week."

Galbraith said three people have been hospitalized so far with the virus. She said the cases are spread across the state.

State share of funding local schools drops slightly

Aug 9, 2018

In the current school year, the state of North Dakota's share of funding K-12 education dropped a bit.

"For '17-'18, it was about 75 percent state and 25 percent local," Department of Public Instruction director of school finance and organization Adam Tescher told the Legislature's interim Education Funding Committee.

The 2017 Legislature did not increase state aid to schools – but held it steady, while other agencies were reducing budgets. But Tescher told the Committee – local costs for schools still went up.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Legislators on an interim committee overseeing the implementation of the Medical Marijuana law say they’re hearing frustration from their constituents about how long the process has been taking.

But the head of the State Health Department’s Medical Marijuana division said other states have experienced this kind of time lag from when the measure was passed to when the product becomes available.

Cell phone use banned in ND state fleet vehicles

Aug 8, 2018

If you’re a state employee who needs to drive a state fleet vehicle, you cannot use your cell phone while you’re behind the wheel.

That’s the policy adopted by the North Dakota Department of Transportation. It took effect July 1.

"We know that it's a factor in crashes much more than it's reported," said NDDOT Safety Division Director Karin Mongeon.

Mongeon said at the national level, it results in about 9 deaths and 100 injuries daily.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The American Conservative Union held an infrastructure forum in Bismarck Monday.

The special guest: Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.  She talked about a number of subjects, including the recent rollback of the Obama-area fuel efficiency standards. Chao told the audience her department and the Environmental Protection Agency will be working on new fuel standards. Chao said the new proposal includes eight options.

ITD working on consolidation plans

Aug 6, 2018

North Dakota’s information technology department is continuing to work toward consolidation of IT services under one umbrella department.

State Chief Information Officer Shawn Riley calls it a work in progress. Riley said his agency is doing a “deep data collection” on IT – who in what state agency is working in IT, what they do and what systems they have.

OMB director: Strategy review meetings successful

Aug 6, 2018

The director of the state’s Office of Management and Budget said OMB has finished a series of “strategy review” meetings with executive branch agencies.

Joe Morrissette said it was no small feat, as agencies met with OMB as they were working on their budget proposals for inclusion in the Gov. Doug Burgum’s executive budget for the 2019 session.

Morrissette called the meetings were very positive, and agencies came with a lot of good ideas.