Health & Environment

Beavers and Winter Finches

Dec 12, 2017


I drive by a few beaver lodges each day on my way to and from work.  When I pass by the lodges, especially now after ice-up, I often wonder what they are doing.  They are probably snoozing.

Beaver lodges are two tiered living quarters with two entrances.  A small lower level functions as an entryway and dining room.  The upper level is used for resting and sleeping.  These lodges are surprisingly well insulated, with the internal temperature hovering slightly above the freezing point even when the outside temperatures are much colder.

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."

TransCanada Corp. said its Keystone pipeline has leaked an estimated 210,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota.

The company said crews shut down the pipeline this Thursday morning after a drop in pressure was detected resulting from an oil leak that's under investigation. The section of pipe near the Ludden pump station in Marshall County, South Dakota, has been isolated and the company says emergency response procedures were activated.

Organic farming growing in ND

Oct 23, 2017

The number of acres becoming certified organic in North Dakota is rising.

Organic farmers say there are many reasons, some relate to health, but others are financial.

Lowell Kaul owns Organic Kaul Farms in Harvey. He’s begun growing a grain variety called ‘Emmer.”

“It’s an ancient grain," Kaul said. "It goes way back.”

Kaul said he began growing it because his grandfather and great-grandfather planted it.

Pheasant season opens early

Sep 26, 2017
ND Game and Fish Dept.

An early opening for North Dakota’s pheasant season.

It opens Oct. 7th. That’s because the Legislature changed the law, saying the season will open no later than Oct. 12th. Normally, the season began the second Saturday in October.

The outlook?

"Pheasant hunters are going to notice a reduction in pheasant numbers," said North Dakota Game and Fish Assistant Wildlife Division chief Casey Anderson. "There's the tough winter, the drought and the reduced number of habitat acres. Those things piled on to each other start to add up."

Sanford Medical Center

Nearly two-months into full operations at Fargo’s new Sanford Medical Center officials are reporting record numbers of patients being served. Prairie Public's Todd McDonald has details...

ND Grain Growers Assoc.

The executive director of the North Dakota Grain Growers Association has this assessment of the drought.

"Oh, goodness sakes -- the drought is devastating in western North Dakota," said Dan Wogsland.

Wogsland said when he was on the crop quality tour at the end of July, what he saw stunned him.

"I went from Mandan to Richardton, up to Halliday and over to Hazen," Wogsland said. "I was astounded at how many wheat fields were bailed up. It's really, really tough."

ND Legislature

An interim legislative committee has begun its study of health insurance for state employees.

The Health Care Reform Review Committee will be looking at the state's current plan -- a hybrid between fully-funded and self -funded -- a full-funded plan, or a self-insurance proposal.

That panel was assigned the study, after the 2017 Legislature debated whether the state should go to a self-funding option. Supporters believe it could be a way to control costs.

Interim Legislative committee talks 'Obamacare'

Aug 4, 2017
ND Legislature

An interim Legislative committee has begun its work on creating a new state plan to meet the mandates of the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare.”

But there’s uncertainty. Congress tried but failed to “repeal and replace” the ACA, and so far hasn’t made any changes to the original act.

"Uncertainty creates problems for the health insurance market," said Rep. George Keiser (R-Bismarck), the chairman of the interim Health Care Reform Review Committee. "It creates uncertainty for consumers. And it certainly is creating a problem for the states."

ND Legislature

The behavioral health division of the state Human Services Department will be undertaking an extensive needs survey – to find out what works in treating behavioral health issues, and where there are gaps.

"The discussion isn't just about what's being done,  but also what needs to be done," Department Behavioral Health Services director Pamela Sagness told the Legislature's interim Health Services Committee. "This will follow on the conversations we've been having over the last two years."