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Dr. Andrew Armacost hired as UND's president

Dec 4, 2019
Courtesy University of North Dakota

Dr. Andrew Armacost has been hired as UND’s new president.

He was chosen by the state Board of Higher Education.

Armacost is the dean of faculty at the Air Force Academy. The Air Force brigadier general served more than 30 years on active duty and spent 20 years as a professor and administrator at the Air Force Academy.

Armacost said he has spent a considerable amount of time on the campus, talking to students, faculty and staff – and he saids he finds there’s a lot of love for North Dakota and for UND.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Burleigh County Commission is being asked to give its okay to resettle refugees in the area.

But because of an overflow crowd at Monday night’s meeting, the Commission delayed any decision until a larger venue could be found. Several people were in a separate room, but had no access to audio or video.

Lutheran Social Services is the agency that handles refugee resettlement. LSS Vice President Shirley Dykshoorn said the reason the county commission was approached is because of a new Trump Administration policy.

Courtesy ND Mineral Resources Dept.

North Dakota’s public fossil dig program remains popular.

State geologist Ed Murphy said the 2019 digs were held in four locations – Medora, Dickinson, Bismarck and the Pembina Gorge.  Murphy said 637 dig spots were offered.

"We had a real nightmare trying to get people registered," Murphy said. "But we went to an on-line registration system, and it works smoothly."

Murphy said the Bismarck dig was the most popular dig -- it filled up in 8 minutes.

A total of 407 people from 21 different states.

Valley City State University is moving ahead with its plans for an “activated carbon” project.

VCSU Vice President for business affairs Wesley Wintch said this will be a project in collaboration with the Energy and Environmental Research Center at UND.  Wintch said “activated carbon” is a carbon char that has been “activated” with steam, and it is used to take impurities and pollutants out of water or air.

"Have you ever seen those Brita water filters with the black, charcoaly things inside?" Wintch said. "That is activated carbon."

OMB director concerned about farm economy

Dec 2, 2019

The director of North Dakota’s Office of Management and Budget said he has a concern about the effect of the downturn in the agriculture economy on state revenues.

Joe Morrissette said agriculture accounts for about 8 to 12 percent of the income tax collections, plus affects sales taxes. He said 2019 has been a tough year for farmers.

"This is a unique situation, with this much unharvested crop," Morrissette said in an interview.

Morrissette said in some situations, farm income could be stabilized through federal payments.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The state Industrial Commission has given its okay to a pilot enhanced oil recovery project in Mountrail County.

The project would use natural gas.

Hess Corporation would be involved in an oil field near Ross.

State mineral resources director Lynn Helms told the Commission Hess was involved in an earlier pilot – that failed because of a lack of natural gas. He said Hess will also be injecting a foam along with the gas.

Governor pardons turkey

Nov 26, 2019
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A tradition for Thanksgiving – the Governor pardons a turkey.

The ceremony was held today at the state Capitol in Bismarck, as Governor Burgum “pardoned” Lilly – a turkey raised by grower Dave Rude of Tolna.

"By the authority invested in me by the state of North Dakota, I hereby grant that Lilly receives a relaxing Thanksgiving back on the farm," Burgum said. "And Lilly, may you live long and healthy, and may you have lots of gobbling without being gobbled."

Construction has begun on a 299 megawatt wind farm in Williams and Mountrail Counties.

The Aurora wind farm is expected to be up and running by the end of 2020. It’s being developed by Enel Green Power. The company is building it near its existing Lindahl wind farm, a 150 megawatt facility that began operating in 2017.

"We have had a good experience from the Lindahl project," said Enel senior project manager Georg Becker-Birck. "And there is continued strong interest from the area."

Becker-Birck said it is an area with a strong wind resource.

A Fargo construction firm has been fined $10,000 for violations of North Dakota’s “one call” excavation law.

The Public Service Commission said Xcel Energy filed seven separate complaints against Master Construction for work done in the city of Fargo. PSC Chairman Brian Kroshus said Xcel reported damage to some of its 5/8 inch natural gas lines.

"The complaint is that Master failed to conduct excavation in a careful and prudent manner," Kroshus said.