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BISMARCK – A bill to implement a hiring freeze for state employees received a green light Wednesday, Feb. 1, from North Dakota House lawmakers. House members voted 84-8 in favor of House Bill 1303, which would prohibit state agencies and institutions from filling vacant full-time employee positions until April 30. There can be exceptions granted to the hiring freeze if a position needs to be filled to protect the life and safety of the citizens of the state, said Rep. Mike Brandenburg, R-Edgeley.
CASSELTON, N.D. — A report is expected to be released next week that will provide the probable cause for a major train derailment near Casselton in December 2013. The derailment triggered a massive fireball and highlighted the dangers of moving crude oil by rail. The final report on the investigation into the derailment is expected to be released when the National Transportation Safety Board meets on Tuesday, Feb. 7, according to Eric Weiss, a spokesman for the agency. The crash on Dec. 30, 2013, involved two BNSF trains about a half-mile west of Casselton.
WILLMAR, Minn. — A semi carrying 850 full-grown turkeys tipped over Monday morning on Kandiyohi County Road 5 north of Willmar. The driver, 39-year-old Edgardo Diaz, of Montevideo, was not hurt. But nearly six hours after the 7 a.m. crash, crews were still on the scene removing dead and injured birds. Some turkeys were not injured and were loaded into another truck. According to the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office, the crash happened when Diaz attempted to turn south onto Kandiyohi County Road 25 from Kandiyohi County Road 5.
WATFORD CITY, N.D.—The driver of a pickup died when he lost control while traveling westbound on State Highway 23 in western North Dakota, crossed the centerline and was struck head-on by an eastbound semi. The North Dakota Highway Patrol identified the driver who died in the crash on Saturday, Jan. 28, as Isac Armando Zocarro, 30, of Watford City. The accident happened 14 miles east of Watford City in McKenzie County.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Protesters in both Minneapolis and St. Paul on Friday, Jan. 27, met on the Lake Street-Marshall Bridge to rally against President Donald Trump’s orders earlier this week to advance the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines. Around 4 p.m., the Minneapolis Police Department said in a Twitter post that Lake Street was closed, showing a photo of protesters gathered across all four lanes of the bridge. At 5 p.m. the police department tweeted the group had left the bridge and traffic resumed.
FARGO—A fourth clothing store will soon close in Fargo's West Acres Shopping Center, but an official said it's a sign of the rapidly changing retail industry nationwide more than a hint of problems at the mall.
BISMARCK — GIANT Sunflower Seeds co-founder Jay Schuler will lead the North Dakota Department of Commerce, an appointment announced Friday, Jan. 27, by Gov. Doug Burgum. "Jay Schuler's impressive background of incubating and launching 15 startup companies spanning five continents and deep understanding of value-added agriculture will be highly valuable as we seek to diversify North Dakota's economy and reinvent state government," Burgum said in a statement.
BISMARCK -- North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum has signed a bill that delays parts of the state’s new medical marijuana law. The governor’s spokesman Mike Nowatzki said Senate Bill 2154 was signed Thursday, Jan. 26. It suspends certain parts of the Compassionate Care Act, which was approved by voters in November, to give the state Health Department more time to craft rules for the drug.
THOMPSON, N.D. -- A Thompson man killed after being struck by a train Monday morning, Jan. 23, has been identified. Ron Shannon was pronounced dead at the scene near Fourth Avenue Northeast between Thompson and Reynolds shortly before 7 a.m. Monday. He was 44. Lt. Gary Grove with the Grand Forks Sheriff's Office confirmed Shannon's identity Wednesday. No foul play is suspected in the incident. The incident was reported by officials with BNSF Railway early Monday morning.
BISMARCK — Former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn will testify at a North Dakota legislative committee Feb. 2. Coburn, a Republican who represented Oklahoma in the Senate from 2005 to 2015, will testify on House Concurrent Resolution 3006. That resolution would urge Congress to call a convention of states to propose constitutional amendments "which impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government and limit the terms of office for its officials and for members of Congress."