Jack Dura / Bismarck Tribune
BISMARCK — Nathan Phillips' birthday fell on the same day of the eviction of the Dakota Access protest camps last year. "The snow was flying, the camp was on fire — oh, I didn't get no birthday cake," the 64-year-old Omaha tribal member said Thursday, Feb. 22. Phillips was among the last of the protesters encamped near the Cannonball River in southern Morton County when law enforcement evicted the camps from Feb. 22-23, 2017, effectively ending the monthslong protests against the controversial pipeline that's now been flowing oil since June.
BISMARCK—One of four men charged in connection to deer poaching at the Dakota Access protest camps is the first to resolve his case. Danny LeClaire, of Pocatello, Idaho, was charged a year ago with misdemeanor unlawful taking of a big game animal. On Wednesday, Feb. 22, South Central District Judge Bruce Romanick approved a pretrial diversion agreement filed by Morton County State's Attorney Al Koppy.
BISMARCK — Following state Sen. Kelly Armstrong's resignation Tuesday as state Republican party chair, the party will hold a special election to fill the remainder of his term. According to the party's bylaws, NDGOP first vice chair Jim Poolman is now acting chair, he confirmed Thursday. "We will set up a special election to permanently fill that role within the next month," he said of the timing, which will take place before the party's convention in April in Grand Forks.
BISMARCK—Critics of Marsy's Law say its ambiguity for prosecutors is leading to withheld public information, while those attorneys say they want more clarity on the victim rights law. While Marsy's Law enshrines victim's rights in the state constitution, representatives of the North Dakota Newspaper Association say its transparency issues have "chipped away" at North Dakota's "thoughtfully devised" laws and rules on open meetings and public records.
BISMARCK — In response to a "C" grade for election security from the Center for American Progress, North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger said this week that he stands by the state's protective measures at the polls, also disputing concerns the CAP raised in its analysis. "We don't have systems that can be penetrated to change the results," Jaeger said Tuesday, Feb. 13. "We don't have voter registration, so there's nothing in that system that they can change, and our records are behind a firewall or a protection of the state."
ALEXANDER, N.D.—A school resource officer arrested a teacher at the Alexander Public School this week for allegedly having marijuana and related items in employee housing around her children. Regie Hill, 32, of Alexander, is held at the McKenzie County Correctional Facility, charged with felony endangerment of a child or vulnerable adult and misdemeanor counts of unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana.
BISMARCK—Michael Giron told a federal judge that the four months he spent in a pipeline protest camp helped turn his life around from drug addiction. He appeared Thursday in federal court in Bismarck before District of North Dakota Chief Judge Daniel Hovland for his change of plea hearing. Under a plea agreement, Giron, 46, pleaded guilty to civil disorder while prosecutors will move to dismiss his more serious charge of use of fire to commit a federal felony offense.
BISMARCK—Five months after the death of an inmate of the Burleigh-Morton County Detention Center, a state investigation into his death has concluded. Family members of the deceased have varied opinions on the results. Mike Lang, 47, was taken off of life support and died Sept. 13, following a week in the hospital and days of testing after he had a medical event at the jail and subsequently went into a coma. His family said he had diabetes, pneumonia, low blood sugar, a cut on the back of his head, a broken nose, broken cheek bones and broken ribs.
BISMARCK, N.D. — A Minnesota man has been arrested and charged with attempted murder in connection to an attack last week on a priest in Anamoose, N.D. Chad Vincent Legare, 42, of Alexandria, Minn., is charged with felony counts of attempted murder, aggravated assault and burglary for the alleged physical assault on the Rev. Robert Wapenski, 62, at the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church on Jan. 30 in Anamoose, which is about 100 miles northeast of Bismarck. Records describing the nature of Legare' alleged crimes have been sealed.
BISMARCK — A Dakota Access Pipeline protester whose arm was severely injured in a skirmish with law enforcement has filed a federal lawsuit seeking the return of her clothing and shrapnel from her injury. Attorneys for 22-year-old Sophia Wilansky, of New York, filed the lawsuit Friday, Feb. 2, alleging unlawful deprivation of property, lack of due process and unreasonable seizure. Wilansky's arm was injured in a blast as pipeline protesters and law enforcement clashed at the Backwater Bridge in November 2016.