Local Stories

North Dakota medical crew heading to North Carolina

Sep 19, 2018

The Emergency Preparedness and Response section of the North Dakota Department of Health is deploying two Emergency Management Assistance Compact medical response teams to Raleigh, North Carolina this week.

Section Chief Tim Wiedrich says the teams are made of 28 registered nurses, paramedics and EMTs. He says they will assist the hurricane-impacted region in medical shelters currently housing vulnerable populations.

Williston State College reports record enrollment

Sep 19, 2018

Williston State College is reporting record enrollment for its fall semester.

The college has 1,124 registered students. That’s a 2.4 percent increase in headcount over the fall of 2017.

College president Dr. John Miller said one reason is scholarships offered by the WSC Foundation, both for tuition and residence hall costs.

Xcel Energy is proposing to use the money it will be saving because of the federal tax cut to clean up a site of a former manufactured gas plant in Fargo.

The plant operated from the early 1900s to 1960.

"Back in the day, coal used be manufactured into gas that was used to light streetlights and be distributed to homes and businesses, much like natural gas is today," said Xcel Senior Regulatory Consultant Dave Sederquist. "There are some residual materials left underground."

On-line retailers are facing an October first deadline to register with the state of North Dakota to start collecting state sales taxes.

North Dakota Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger said the first reflection of that will come in the taxable sales report for the fourth quarter of 2018. That won’t be available until 2019. Meanwhile, Rauschenberger had to come up with an estimate of tax collections from on-line sales, so that could be built into Gov. Doug Burgum’s executive budget recommendation, that will be given to state lawmakers in December.

Taxable sales and purchases in North Dakota were up 10 percent for the second quarter of 2018, compared to the same period a year ago.

Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger sais taxable sales and purchases for April, May and June were $5.15 billion. Rauschenberger said a lot of the growth is coming from western North Dakota.

"The growth is coming from oil exploration," Rauschenberger said. "If you look at Dickinson, taxable sales and purchases were up 14 percent. In Williston, it was up over 30 percent."

The director of North Dakota’s Housing Finance Agency said there appears to be a shortage of home builders who are willing to build single-family homes at the price point that’s affordable for first-time homebuyers.

"What we're hearing is that if the typical buyer is looking for a $450,000 house, that's what they're building," said HFA director Jolene Kline. "There's less profit in the lower, entry level homes, and they're not willing to target that market today."

Kline said the search is now on for builders willing to take on the more modest priced homes.

Group pushes for more research dollars at NDSU and UND

Sep 18, 2018
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A group called the Valley Prosperity Partnership is supporting legislative efforts to bring more financial support to the state’s two research universities – UND and NDSU.

The Partnership is pushing for the creation of an “emerging technology fund” to support collaborations between the two universities and businesses to commercialize the research. It also wants to give the two universities more decision-making independence on  such items as tuition and recruiting top-notch staff.

The first West Nile Virus related death of the year has been reported to the North Dakota Department of Health.

Jenny Galbraith is an epidemiologist with the health department. She says the patient was a man over the age of 60 who lived in northwestern North Dakota. Galbraith says it may be late in the season, but until there is a hard frost there is still potential to contract West Nile Virus from mosquitoes.

Soybeans may be option for cattle feed

Sep 17, 2018

As soybean prices continue to fall amid deteriorating trade talks and the possibility of more tariffs, farmers may have another option to consider when it comes to moving their crops.

NDSU Extension livestock systems specialist Karl Hoppe says soybeans are an acceptable supplemental feed for beef cattle.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A new record for North Dakota oil production.

State mineral resources director Lynn Helms made that announcement Friday during his monthly "Director's Cut" briefing. The numbers come from July production.

"We're at 1.27 million barrels a day," Helms said. "To be exact, 1,269,366 barrels per day – a new all-time high."

Helms says the state also set a record in natural gas production – up 4.3 percent from the previous record.

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News from NPR

All F-35s fighter jets deployed to the U.S. and its allies have been temporarily grounded following a crash of one of the aircraft in South Carolina last month.

In a statement, the F-35 Joint Program Office said the U.S. and its international partners had suspended flights of the Joint Strike Fighter, also known as the Lightening II, until a fleet-wide inspection of the aircraft's fuel tubes is completed.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

OK, let's go back to that moment when two women confronted Senator Jeff Flake in an elevator on Capitol Hill about the sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi vowed this week to demand President Trump's tax returns if Democrats win control of the House of Representatives next month.

Pelosi, seeking to regain her gavel as House speaker after elections in November, told The San Francisco Chronicle editorial board that the move "is one of the first things we'd do — that's the easiest thing in the world. That's nothing."

Updated at 8:35 p.m. ET

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has a message for Republican voters who are celebrating the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh: Get to the polls in November if you want more conservatives sitting on judicial benches.

The remains of Matthew Shepard, whose death became an important symbol in the fight against homophobia — and whose name is on a key U.S. hate-crime law — will be interred at Washington National Cathedral later this month.

Shepard's parents say they're "proud and relieved to have a final resting place for Matthew's ashes."

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Main Street

WHY Show Preview ~ News Chat ~ Sue Balcom on Apples

Thursday, October 11 – We preview this month’s episode of “Why” Philosophical Discussions About Everyday Life” with host Jack Russell Weinstein, UND professor of philosophy. This month his guest is professor Derek Black as they explore the question, “Is there a right to education and literacy?” ~~~ Dave Thompson joins us a day early for our weekly news chat. ~~~ A Plains Folk essay from Tom Isern titled “The Power of Serving.” ~~~ Sue Balcom’s topic this week is apples. ~~~ Doug and Ashley...

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