General News | Prairie Public Broadcasting

General News

"JEL" meeting features legislators, Governor

Jun 18, 2019
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Two state Senators say the 2019 Legislature accomplished a lot.

But they say some things were left on the table.

Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson) and Sen. Erin Oban (D-Bismarck) spoke to a group of elected and appointed state officials and employees in Bismarck. The group has the acronym "JEL" -- for "Judicial, Executive and Legislative" branches.

Both agreed that strides were made in education funding, and in raises for state employees.

'Project Tundra' getting closer to fruition

Jun 17, 2019

It’s called “Project Tundra.”

It will retrofit the Milton R. Young power plant, owned by Minnkota Power Cooperative, to capture carbon dioxide. That CO2 would be used for enhanced oil recovery.

It's a $1.2 billion project.

The Energy and Environmental Research Center at UND is partnering with Minnkota.

"The next step is called a "FEED" study, for 'Front End Engineering Design," said EERC director Tom Erickson. "That's the final step before you go out and get financing, and construct the facility.

Interim study looking at Legacy Fund proceeds

Jun 17, 2019

What to do with the proceeds from the Legacy Fund.

That will be one of the interim studies state lawmakers will undertake.

Right now, the proceeds go into the state’s general fund. And the 2019 Legislature considered a number of options for that money – from reinvesting it in the Legacy Fund to an income tax buy-down.

A new study shows that in 2018, opioid prescriptions in North Dakota dropped 14.3 percent from the previous year.

The American Medical Association study shows doctors are also using other tools – such as prescription drug monitoring programs – to help prevent the misuse of opioids.

The chief medical officer for Sanford Health in Bismarck, Dr. Chris Meeker, said Sanford did a number of things starting in 2016 to help curb the epidemic.

Donnell Presky Huschka

Prairie Public's Dave Thompson interviews State Human Services executive director Chris Jones and North Dakota Association of Counties executive director Terry Traynor about "human service zones." The first voice you hear is Traynor's.

Human Service zones focus of a meeting in Bismarck

Jun 13, 2019
Donnell Presky Huschka / ND Association of Counties

Representatives from all 53 counties met in Bismarck this week to talk about forming “human service zones.”

The 2019 Legislature passed a bill to allow for the creation of up to 19 such zones.

"It's not a state take-over of county social services," said North Dakota Department of Human Services executive director Chris Jones. "It's how do we best deliver social services to individuals across the state."

Jones said in an interview it's about removing boundaries, and assuring things are done in a more efficient manner.

PSC denies siting for the proposed Burke Wind project

Jun 13, 2019
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

It may be a first for the North Dakota Public Service Commission.

The PSC has denied the siting permit for a wind farm.

The wind farm in question is the proposed 200 megawatt Burke Wind facility, in Burke and Mountrail Counties.

The reason for the denial: objections from the state Game and Fish Department and the US Fish and Wildlife Service concerning wetlands and other wildlife habitat.

Midwest Kids Fest

Jun 12, 2019
Joshua Hinkemeyer


The Midwest Kids Fest, done in conjunction with Sanford, is an opportunity to get out and enjoy the park with the whole family. Jessica Korynta, Event Specialist with the Park District, says it is a one-day extravaganza that offers everything a kid could want in a single location.

University of North Dakota

The CEO of the UND Energy and Environmental Research Center will become the leader of the new State Energy Research Center of North Dakota.

Tom Erickson has served as the head of EERC for the past five years.

The new research center was created by the 2019 Legislature. Lawmakers are funding it at $5 million for the biennium.

Erickson said he sees the new center as being a tremendous opportunity for North Dakota. He said there are already three great research programs at the EERC, focusing on lignite, oil and gas and renewables.

Dustup over interim committee chairmanships

Jun 11, 2019
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Democrats on the Legislative Management Committee say the committee chair, House Majority Leader Chet Pollert (R-Carrington), did not live up t6o a commitment made that Democrats would be chairing some interim study committees.

But Pollert disputes that.