Mike Nowatzki reports for Forum News Service. He can be reached at (701) 255-5607.
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BISMARCK — Gov. Jack Dalrymple and Department of Human Services officials say a recent scathing audit fails to tell the whole story about how the agency deals with child care licensing, but State Auditor Robert Peterson is standing behind his staff and suggested DHS is downplaying the findings because of public outrage. The audit released last month found that DHS didn't properly monitor or suspend providers and notify parents "after confirmed knowledge of activities that jeopardize the health and safety of children."
BISMARCK — A 27-year-old man who was fatally injured last week while working on the Dakota Access Pipeline project in western North Dakota was from Grand Rapids, Minn. Rowe Funeral Home in Grand Rapids posted the death notice for Nicholas Jay Janesich late Monday. Funeral arrangements are pending, funeral home director Dave Huso said. A GoFundMe page set up at www.gofundme.com/nickjay to help his parents pay for medical and funeral expenses had already raised more than $2,700 by late Monday afternoon.
BISMARCK — North Dakota leaders are signaling a growing willingness to use earnings from the state's $3.8 billion Legacy Fund to shore up declining revenues when they craft the budget for next biennium, but just which earnings will be available is still up in the air. "I'll tell you right now, I'm counting on the revenue from the Legacy Fund," Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson, said during a lively panel discussion Thursday as part of the Greater North Dakota Chamber's daylong Policy Summit in Bismarck.
BISMARCK — Last year's economic slowdown in North Dakota didn't put a damper on criminal activity, as the state posted its largest increase in the per-capita crime rate in at least five years and the most homicide deaths in more than two decades, figures released Thursday show. "There's really no good news in there except the DUIs are down," Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said after the annual crime and homicide reports were posted to his office's website.
NEAR CANNON BALL, N.D. -- Construction won’t immediately restart on a $3.8 billion pipeline if a judge rules against the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe after a court hearing Wednesday, Aug. 24. Dakota Access LLC, which temporarily stopped construction last week amid growing tribal protests near the pipeline’s planned crossing of the Missouri River, will wait for law enforcement to determine it’s safe to resume construction, Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said Wednesday morning.
BISMARCK — Barrels of oil aren't the only thing North Dakota is making less of these days. Residents produced fewer bundles of joy last year, too. The number of babies born to North Dakota residents declined in 2015 for the first time in 14 years, according to vital statistics released by the state Department of Health this week.
BISMARCK — A state Board of Higher Education committee voted unanimously Friday to retain an independent third party to investigate whether North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani's handling of media guidelines for athletics coverage violated any board policies. Board President Kathleen Neset of Tioga, who chairs the three-member Audit Committee, said the review is "in everyone's best interest."
BISMARCK -- The state Board of Higher Education’s three-member Audit Committee voted unanimously Friday to hire an independent third party to investigate whether North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani’s handling of media guidelines for athletics coverage violated any board policies. North Dakota University System spokeswoman Linda Donlin said Bresciani spoke with board President Kathleen Neset earlier this week and he said he welcomed the investigation.
BISMARCK — North Dakotans will vote this fall on whether to legalize marijuana for medical use, Secretary of State Al Jaeger announced Thursday, and at least one police chief already is raising concerns about unintended consequences of the proposed law. Sponsors of the initiated measure needed at least 13,452 signatures to put their Compassionate Care Act on the Nov. 8 ballot. They delivered 18,011 signatures to Jaeger last month, and 17,217 were accepted as qualified electors.
BISMARCK — The number of abortions performed in North Dakota last year dropped to the lowest level in at least 35 years, which the director of the state's lone abortion clinic attributes to better availability and insurance coverage of contraceptives. The Red River Women's Clinic in Fargo performed 1,166 abortions last year, down from 1,264 in 2014, according to the state Department of Health, which began tracking abortion statistics in 1981. The previous low was 1,182 abortions in 2013, while the high was 3,076 in 1982.