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SAN FRANCISCO—The online classified advertising site Backpage.com abruptly shut its "adult" section on Monday, Jan. 9, yielding to a campaign by state and federal government officials to close a service they contend promotes prostitution and human trafficking. The unexpected move came hours after a U.S. Senate subcommittee released a report accusing Backpage of actively editing posts on the site to remove evidence of child sex trafficking.
BISMARCK — The leader of the oil-rich Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation threatened to leave the oil tax agreement with North Dakota on Tuesday, Jan. 10, during a legislative hearing that brought up unresolved conflicts over how the state shares oil tax revenue with the tribe. "We are not bluffing. Oil industry, please, take that back," Chairman Mark Fox said during a meeting of the House Finance and Taxation Committee. "We'll roll the dice on what that means for production on Fort Berthold."
BISMARCK — Key cities in North Dakota's Oil Patch are poised for additional growth as oil prices recover and will require more funding to meet the needs of a growing population, according to a new study. The growth, though, is expected to be at a more modest pace compared with recent years, said the study presented to state legislators Monday, Jan. 9.
BISMARCK — As snow continues to pile up across North Dakota, the National Weather Service is monitoring how much water content is in that snow to prepare for the spring flood outlook. This weekend, aircraft from the National Observational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center will fly over parts of the state using high-tech instrumentation to provide data to the Weather Service, said Bismarck hydrologist Allen Schlag. "Not all snow is created equal," Schlag said. "I'm always way more interested in how much water is in the snow as opposed to the depth of the snow."
MORTON COUNTY, N.D. – Animal cruelty charges could be considered after disturbing video surfaced of an apparent deer poaching incident that occurred last fall near the Dakota Access protest camps, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department said. The agency released video to the public in hopes of identifying men who pulled a deer to shore after it was struggling in the Cannonball River, stabbed the animal multiple times and suffocated it by shoving its nose in the mud.
BISMARCK — The likelihood of spring flooding in the area of the Dakota Access resistance camps is creating a new urgency to get pipeline protesters to go home. State officials would like protesters to leave the camps by the end of January so the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can assess damage and perform cleanup ahead of potential flooding of the Cannonball and Missouri rivers, Maj. Gen. Alan Dohrmann of the North Dakota National Guard, said Thursday, Jan. 5.
BISMARCK — Continental Resources has agreed to pay a $7,500 fine to settle a complaint that the oil company couldn't locate underground pipelines in southwest North Dakota, one of three fines issued Wednesday, Jan. 4, by the Public Service Commission. Commissioner Brian Kalk said the fine should serve as a signal to the industry that operators need to be able to locate underground facilities or face violations of the North Dakota One-Call law.
BELCOURT, N.D. — At St. Ann's Catholic School on the Turtle Mountain Reservation, volunteer principal Allen Mehrer also serves as music teacher, evening bus driver, maintenance worker and occasional custodian. The school relies on volunteers and a handful of paid teachers who give new meaning to the word multi-tasking in order to provide a free Catholic education to elementary students on the reservation. "Because of the economics here at Turtle Mountain, we don't want to close the door to any child," Mehrer said. "And we would be by charging people."
BELFIELD, N.D. — A federal agency has ordered Belle Fourche Pipeline to improve leak detection, remediate any pipeline in unstable land areas and take other steps to protect the environment following an oil spill in a Little Missouri River tributary. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued a corrective action order to Belle Fourche, part of True Companies of Wyoming, stemming from its investigation into the spill discovered Dec. 5 by a landowner northwest of Belfield.
WATFORD CITY, N.D. — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued serious safety violations to three companies after an investigation into a flash fire at a North Dakota oil well site last June that killed one worker and severely burned three others near Watford City. OSHA issued citations to the well's operator, XTO Energy, and the two servicing companies, Most Wanted Well Service and Sherwood Enterprises, following the investigation of the June 18 incident.