General News

Bismarck middle school wins DPI Innovation Award

Apr 12, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A science class at Simle Middle School in Bismarck is the first winner of the Department of Public Instruction’s Innovation Award.

The eighth grade class is taught by Ryan Townsend. The class has been working on creating a solar-powered mobile phone charging station. It would be specifically designed for homeless people, and would be placed in a city park.

Senate passes refugee study

Mar 30, 2017

The Senate has passed a resolution that would authorize a study of refugee resettlement in North Dakota.

The resolution focuses on studying the economic effects refugees have on the state. Fargo Senator Judy Lee spoke in opposition of the bill. She says she's not sure this is an issue North Dakota needs to take up.

Taxable sales and purchases down 24 percent in 2016

Mar 30, 2017

Taxable sales and purchases were down 24 percent for 2016.

"Movie prop" money stolen in Moorhead

Mar 29, 2017

A stack of "movie prop" one hundred dollar bills was stolen from a National Guard recruiting table on the Minnesota State University Moorhead Campus on Tuesday afternoon.

Moorhead Police Lieutenant Tory Jacobson says the fake money was used by the National Guard to demonstrate cost savings for college to potential recruits. He says area businesses need to be aware that they may turn up in the community.

Senate passes "shared parenting" bill

Mar 29, 2017

The Senate has passed the so-called "shared parenting" bill, which establishes a presumptive 35 to 50 percent of time spent with each parent of children in a custody case.

That means the bill assumes equal parenting time is best for children. Senator Kelly Armstrong of Dickinson supports the bill. He says the bill would not apply to every single custody proceeding, and that each custody proceeding would start from scratch. He says the bill came out of committee on a 5 to 1 do pass recommendation.

Senate defeats Sunday morning retail sales

Mar 14, 2017

A bill that would have allowed retailers to be open on Sunday mornings has failed in the North Dakota Senate.

Current law makes it a Class B misdemeanor to operate a business before noon on Sundays. There are exceptions for businesses like restaurants, hospitals, hotels and gas stations. Opponents of the repeal of most of that law say workers need Sunday mornings to spend with their families - perhaps at church. One such opponent is Senator Robert Erbele. He calls the need for Sunday morning retail sales "selfish consumerism," and says everyone needs a moment to rest.

Carly's Story: Addiction and Prison

Feb 23, 2017
Wendy Kotchian

Journeys Through Justice is a new series of stories and interviews about people caught in North Dakota’s Criminal justice system. A large majority of the people serving time in the state’s prisons and jails are addicted to drugs and or alcohol. Many also suffer from mental health problems. There’s bi-partisan agreement that the cost and the number of people cycling in and out of the system are both way too high.

Journeys Through Justice: Addiction, Treatment and Prisons

Feb 21, 2017

Leann Bertsch has been North Dakota’s director of Corrections since 2005. In this Journeys Through Justice report, she talks about the changes she feels are needed in the state’s criminal justice system.

We are the third fastest growing state in terms of incarceration, which is not a good statistic to have.

This growth is driven largely by people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol. 

Journeys Through Justice: Lessons from Norway

Feb 21, 2017
Ganger Rolf / By GangerRolf (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (

Leann Bertsch has a job that most people would not envy. As the state’s director of corrections and rehabilitation, she oversees the state’s prisons. And since taking the job in 2005 she’s had to oversee a rapid rise in the state’s prison population.

We are the third fastest growing state in terms of incarceration, which is not a good statistic to have.

If you are a driver between the ages of 19 to 59, chances are you have either drove faster than the speed limit, ran a red light or have sent or read a text message on their phone while driving during the past 30-days. The findings are part of a report from the Triple-A Foundation for Traffic Safety. Gene LaDoucer is a spokesman for Triple-A North Dakota…