Xcel Energy to increase reliability in Fargo

Nov 30, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Xcel Energy has been given the go-ahead to build a new 115 kilovolt power line between two Fargo substations.

The North Dakota Public Service Commission has given Xcel the green light.

It would be a five-mile line between the Maple River and Red River substations.

"Essentially, the transmission line will provide for increased reliability in the Fargo area," said Commissioner Brian Kroshus. "It should help prevent overloads on neighboring substations."

Initiative would legalize recreational marijuana in ND

Nov 29, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

In 2016 – North Dakota voters approved medical marijuana.

Now another group wants to legalize “recreational pot.” That group has submitted a proposed initiated measure to Secretary of State Al Jaeger.

"It's time to end prohibition," said steering committee spokesman Josh Dryer of West Fargo. "There's no reason for it to be illegal -- nor should there ever have been a reason."

The West Fargo Police Department and Cass County Sheriff's Office are offering a $1000 cash reward for information regarding a number of recent break-ins that resulted in the theft of three firearms.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Sanford Health – Bismarck is expanding its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Sanford Vice-President Dr. Craig Lambrecht made the announcement. He said the unit will go from 12 to 24 beds – and it will include 18 private rooms. It will be on the sixth floor of Sanford’s Bismarck hospital.

Lambrecht said one of the factors in making this expansion is a growing number of babies affected by opioids and methamphetamines.

"These babies come in premature," Lambercht said. "They come in with complexities -- they're just very irritable, and they're difficult to take care of."

DPI receives $18 million federal literacy grant

Nov 29, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota’s Department of Public Instruction has received an $18 million federal grant.

It’s under the “Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program.” The state's Emergency Commission -- made up of four Legislators, the Secretary of State and the Governor -- unanimously endorsed DPI receiving those funds.

"I would say, universally, in almost all school districts, a need is improving students' reading skills," DPI federal title program director Laurie Matzke told the Emergency Commission. "These funds would go a long way in helping some districts meet that goal."

As wind farms age, companies are working to re-power them – by replacing older turbines with newer, more powerful turbines.

"In some of the older wind facilities, the turbine technology wasn't as good," said North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Brian Kroshus. "In the newer turbines, technology has improved, and they last longer."

"We've already had NextEra talk to our staff pretty extensively about looking at repowering some of their facilities," said Commissioner Julie Fedorchak.

In 2007 NDSU launched a new venture. A technology incubator was added to the existing Research and Technology Park. One decade in, officials are saying it has surpassed initial expectations. President Dean Bresciani says the accomplishments are the incubator has been impressive in terms of what is being done and what pace it is being done at…

North Dakota-specific protocols announced for Dicamba

Nov 28, 2017

The North Dakota Department of Agriculture has developed North Dakota-specific protocols for in-crop use of Dicamba on soybeans.

Dicamba is a broadleaf herbicide that's been used for about fifty years in North Dakota, mostly on small grains like oats, barley, spring wheat, durum, and corn. Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says a new bio-tech trait released by Monsanto last year created Dicamba resistant soybeans, so the herbicide could be used on soybeans to control broadleaves. But the past year has presented a challenge...

The state Board of Higher Education will be asked to approve changes to the “certificate of completion” program.

Under the current program, a student can receive a “Certificate of Completion” after completing a minimum of 16 semester hours in a program. The proposal would drop that to 9 hours.

ND Attorney General's office

There’s been an uptick in the number of scam calls.

This time, the scammers are “spoofing” non-working North Dakota phone numbers.

You see a number pop up on your caller ID with a “701” area code. You answer – and find it’s a robo-call or a live person offering automobile warranties, help with student loans, and the like.

But the numbers aren’t real.