News

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Underwater World gallery at the Heritage Center in Bismarck has a new resident.

A plesiosaur.

"The actual name of this animal would be 'styxosaurus,'" said Senior Paleontologist and curator Clint Boyd. "The broader group  they go in is 'plesiosaurus,' which is a little easier to say. So we went with that."

The pleisosaur is big.

"They're just over 50 feet long," Boyd said.

Think "Loch Ness monster" -- with a very long neck.

And that posed a bit of a space problem – the gallery doesn’t have 50 feet of open space.

Members of the state Board of Higher Education aren’t happy with the budget guidelines Governor Burgum issued to state agencies, to help them prepare for the 2019-2021 biennium.

But the chairman of the board is urging some caution in making a response.

Burgum’s budget guidelines call for a 10 percent reduction in state spending for the colleges and universities – a $51 million reduction – plus an additional 3 percent as a contingency cut – another $15 million. That’s on top of the $106 million cut from higher-ed in the 2017 biennium.

Dave Thompson

The North Dakota Public Service Commission has a requirement for tree and shrub replacement when a utility builds infrastructure.

It’s 2 to 1 – for every tree or shrub dug out, the company has to plant two.

When Basin Electric Power Cooperative built a high voltage power line in Mercer, Dunn, McKenzie and Williams Counties, it removed about 17,500 trees and shurbs.

Commissioner Julie Fedorchak saids that means the company had to plant nearly 35,000 trees and shrubs. She says the company worked with landowners along the route.

NDCA

This March, we covered the Poetry Out Loud North Dakota contest and our state winner, Maria Modi Tuya. We are excited that Maria has gone to the national contest and was declared one of nine finalists.  She did not win the top spot in the final rounds, but performed very well, as you could have seen had you watched the live webcast.  Congratulations to Maria.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A representative of a group studying North Dakota’s behavioral health system says the state needs to invest more in prevention programs.

Dr. Bevin Croft of the Human Services Research Institute presented a number of findings and recommendations to the Legislature’s interim Human Services Committee.

"Compared to the resources being spent on treatment services, there's a relative scarcity of funds for both prevention and early intervention," Croft told the committee. "Many stakeholders saw it as a missed opportunity."

The company planning to build the new oil refinery at Belfield has hired an engineering and construction firm to complete the “front end engineering and design” study for the refinery.

It’s being done in anticipation of the state Health Department giving the company the permit to construct the refinery.

"We are fairly certain there will be no substantial changes to that permit from the draft that was issued in December," said Meridian CEO William Prentice.

Prentice said he expects the final permits will be issued soon.

North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread said Congressional inaction on the Affordable Care Act is putting states like North Dakota in a difficult position.

Godfread said it appears Congress has put any “repeal and replace” efforts on Obamacare on the “back burner” – and he doubts anything will happen before the November election.

"That leaves it to the states to come up with some creative solutions on how we address our health care market," Godfread said.

Godfread said there are major challenges in health insurance.

Big gift to help U-Mary Engineering school

Apr 22, 2018

The company that built the Dakota Access Pipeline has given Bismarck’s University of Mary $5 million for its engineering school.

Energy Transfer Partners – and Sunoco – presented the University with the first $3 million check Friday (4-20-18).

"The need for well-educated engineers is only going to increase as our nation's economy continues to change," ETP executive vice-president for Human Resources Chris Curia said at an event announcing the gift. "We see an increased demand for all types of engineers."

USDA looking for veterinarians

Apr 22, 2018

The “Help Wanted” sign is out for veterinarians.

The US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is holding a one-day recruitment event in St. Paul, Minnesota Tuesday (4-24) through Thursday (4-26).

"We home to come in Tuesday and have people with tentative ofer letters in hand by the end of the week," said Acting Deputy Undersecretary for Food Safety Carmen Rottenberg. She said the Service’s role is to insure the safety of the commercial supply of meat, poultry and processed eggs.

April 20th is a widely recognized celebration of marijuana - and on 4/20, the representatives from Legalize ND are hoping to educate North Dakotans on their work to legalize recreational marijuana in the state.

Josh Dryer is campaign manager for Legalize ND.

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