Patrick Springer first joined the reporting staff of The Forum in 1985. He can be reached by calling 701-241-5522.
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WASHINGTON -- Jennifer Klemetsrud Puhl, a federal prosecutor in North Dakota who has been nominated to a seat on a federal appeals court, faced a generally friendly reception when she appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Puhl, an assistant U.S. attorney in Fargo, appeared Tuesday, June 21, before the committee, presided over by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who congratulated her on her testimony. "You did an excellent job and I look forward to moving you through the process," said Graham at the close of the 45-minute hearing.
FARGO -- Doug Burgum has a message for those surprised by the magnitude of what's regarded as his upset victory over Wayne Stenehjem in the Republican gubernatorial primary: You should have paid closer attention to voters. The breadth of Burgum's 20-point margin of victory in the Tuesday primary is widely attributed to crossover votes of Democrats, an explanation Burgum dismissed as "speculation," since it's impossible to measure accurately because North Dakota lacks voter registration.
FARGO -- Jennifer Klemetsrud Puhl, a federal prosecutor who has been nominated to a seat on the federal appeals court, will appear next week before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Puhl, who was nominated by President Barack Obama in January, is scheduled for a hearing Tuesday, June 21, to answer questions from committee members, a crucial step in the judicial nomination process. Both Sens. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., support Puhl's nomination and will introduce her to the judiciary panel.
FARGO—Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem wants to shift money from incarceration to treatment to better address mental health and addiction problems and curb North Dakota's growing inmate population. Outlining the proposal while speaking here on Thursday, May 19, Stenehjem, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor, said the core of his plan is to address what he calls an acute shortage of licensed treatment professionals to make treatment more available.
FARGO -- The cities of Fargo, West Fargo, N.D., and Moorhead, Minn., last year continued to see steady growth, adding a total of 5,026 residents, according to new census estimates. Fargo led population growth with an estimated gain of 2,419, or 2.1 percent, bringing the city's population to 118,523 as of July 1, 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. West Fargo followed by adding 1,846 residents, or a gain of 5.8 percent, bringing its estimated total to 33,597--up from 25,830 counted in the 2010 census.
FARGO—Wayne Stenehjem claimed in a debate that the "original, authentic Doug Burgum" would have acted as he did in trying to protect Medicaid expansion to maintain health coverage for poor North Dakotans. Stenehjem and Burgum, rivals for the Republican nomination for governor in the June 14 primary, clashed on the issue of Medicaid expansion, a provision of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. The debate was held Monday, May 16, and will air on Prairie Public at 7 p.m. Friday, May 20.
FARGO—John Strand is floating an idea in the City Commission race: a possible ban on plastic shopping bags and Styrofoam take-out food containers to curb the clutter around town. Strand is not pushing for an outright ban. Instead, he proposes a community dialogue to bring together various stakeholders, including grocery stores and other merchants, to see if the idea has any support. "I'd want to open the discussion formally," he said. To be successful, he added, "It really takes a community discussion and buy-in."
BISMARCK—A North Dakota woman who traveled to Puerto Rico while pregnant has tested positive for Zika virus—the first confirmed case in the state, state health officials say. Although the virus is associated with microcephaly, an abnormally small head that can affect brain development, and other birth defects, those have not been found in the infant, according to the state Department of Health.
FARGO—Sen. John Hoeven is offering a legislative fix that would grant states the ability to exert some regulatory control over air ambulance services. Hoeven, R-N.D., is working with Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., to offer a bipartisan amendment to a bill reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., also working with Tester, is offering a separate amendment that seeks to study the issue to try to find a solution to the sky-high air ambulance bills patients sometimes are stuck owing.
FARGO—The Daily Bread trucks rumbling through Fargo-Moorhead last year collected enough food to provide 2.45 million meals that fed the equivalent of one of every 10 metro residents. Not all that many years ago, all of those leftovers would have been dumped in landfills instead of being delivered to homeless shelters and soup kitchens, or turned into more than 165,000 food baskets for the needy. The food recovery program, run by the Great Plains Food Bank, is the area's largest and most comprehensive effort to prevent food from going to waste.