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The North Dakota Department of Human Services will be working with the Human Service Research Institute to identify the state’s capacity to meet psychiatric in-patient needs across the state, as well as the needs in other areas of behavioral health.

State human services director Chris Jones said the study came from action in the 2019 Legislature.

"The Governor had budgeted for a new state hospital," Jones said. "And the legislature looked at how we create, on the treatment side, access to in-patient services across the state."

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota’s four Native American tribal nations and the state Department of Human Services have signed updated comprehensive agreements for enhanced child welfare services for Native American children and families.

The agreements were signed at the state Capitol in Bismarck Friday. They update agreements signed in 1983.

Dean Sturn is the foster care administrator for the Department of Human Services. Sturn said one thing the new agreement does is expand the ability of the tribes to license Native foster homes, not only on tribal lands but off of tribal lands.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Gov. Doug Burgum is making a few changes to the budgeting process for state agencies.

Burgum unveiled the changes at what’s been called a “JEL” meeting – “JEL” standing for “Judicial, Executive and Legislative.” He told the agency heads and state employees attending, he wants to start a "strategic planning project."

"Strategy has to drive budget," Burgum said.

A company has started marketing what it calls the first “at home” forensic evidence collection kits, more commonly called “rape kits.”

It’s being marketed as the “MeToo Kit.”

But the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence opposes this. In a statement, the organization said it is “outraged” by the attempt to monetize the Me Too movement.

Janelle Moos is the executive director of North Dakota’s Council on Abused Women’s Services. She said a forensic exam following a rape requires a specially trained medical professional.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Public Service Commission has approved a plan to convert about 20 miles of 8-inch oil pipeline in McKenzie County from a gathering line to a transmission line.

But that approval came after the company – Belle Fourche – already made the conversion.

Gathering lines are less regulated than transmission lines.

Commissioner Julie Fedorchak said PSC staff will be having some conversations with the company about the right way to make these conversions. She said she wants to deter companies from taking this approach. That could lead to financial penalties.

North Dakota Xcel Energy customers will shortly see a credit on their utility bills.

But how much that credit will be isn’t known.

The Public Service Commission approved Xcel’s plan to use the fuel cost rider on the bill.

"That's in order to pass on to customers the financial settlement from General Electric, related to a turbine failure at NSP's Sherco Three generator," said PSC Chairman Brian Kroshus.

The Sherco plant is in Becker, Minnesota.

The failure happened in 2011. Kroshus said it was due to a design flaw.

September is a time for T.R. in Medora

Sep 3, 2019

The official end of summer in terms of tourism may have passed, but officials with the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation say the month of September has some surprises in store for visitors coming to Medora. Reporter Todd McDonald has details...

North Dakota's Agriculture Commissioner said the state's farming and ranching community has felt their fair share of challenges over the last six years.

Goehring said in a normal cycle, the market would likely start turning around. But he said that isn't happening now – because the market is still fraught with challenges.

"There's a trade war with China," Goehring said. "We're still dealing with high tariffs across the entire world, from many countries."

MDU Resources, Inc

MDU has asked the North Dakota Public Service Commission for an “Advanced Determination of Prudence” for a new natural gas power generation facility.

The 88 megawatt unit would be built at the Heskett Station, north of Mandan.

MDU spokesman Mark Hanson said the utility is retiring three aging coal plants -- Heskett One and Two, as well as the Lewis and Clark Station in Sidney, Montana.

If you think it's a 'cool summer' -- you're right

Aug 30, 2019

As we approach the final summer holiday weekend, it seemed to a lot of us to be a cooler than average summer season.

So, we asked Patrick Ayd of the National Weather Service in Bismarck if these perceptions are grounded in reality.

"We are averaging well below normal," Ayd said. "For 90 degree days, Bismarck has had only about six days at or above 90 degrees. The last couple of years, we've had 20 to 30 days."

And Ayd said no place in North Dakota has touched 100 degrees.