Mike Nowatzki reports for Forum News Service. He can be reached at (701) 255-5607.
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BISMARCK -- The state's top attorney on Tuesday unveiled 2012 statistics that he said are "not a rosy report for crime in North Dakota." Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem released the annual report his office compiled from 52 sheriff's departments and 43 police departments from around the state that found the number of reported crimes increased 7.9 percent from 2011 to 2012. A total 14,866 offenses were reported, up from 13,778 in 2011. The report based the statistics on North Dakota's 2012 population of 699,628 from the U.S.
BISMARCK -- More than $58 million is heading to cities and counties around the Oil Patch to address infrastructure and law enforcement needs. The North Dakota Board of University & School Lands approved a series of grants Thursday through the state Oil and Gas Impact Grant Fund to help sheriff departments and water, sewer and infrastructure projects related to permanent housing growth. The Land Board also approved funding through the Attorney General's office for vehicles and equipment at local police departments and general law enforcement needs.
BISMARCK -- A Bismarck man wants to amend the state constitution so lawmakers can't infringe on the ability of North Dakotans to petition to put an issue up for a statewide vote. Dustin Gawrylow, assistant publisher of the Bismarck-based Great Plains Examiner, is working on an initiated measure that would keep the Legislature from altering the initiated measure process, as it is attempting to do. "The initiated measure process should only be changed through the initiated measure process," he said, arguing that only North Dakota citizens should be able to change it.
BISMARCK -- A report issued Tuesday highlighting the harmful effects coal-powered plants have on natural water resources found that North Dakota's six coal plants do not pose a serious risk to the state's rivers and lakes.
BISMARCK -- The North Dakota Attorney General's Office will ask the state's Board of University and School Lands for $1.3 million in emergency grants to put toward law enforcement efforts in the Oil Patch. During a special meeting Monday, the Drug and Violent Crime Policy Board of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation approved funding recommendations for 11 projects in five counties and three towns. They will seek final approval from the Land Board during its meeting Thursday.
BISMARCK -- A strict new North Dakota anti-abortion law banning abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, or after six weeks pregnancy, will not go into effect Aug. 1. U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland ruled Monday the law "is clearly an invalid and unconstitutional law." Hovland based his ruling on the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that gave women the right to seek an abortion while balancing the state's interest in protecting the woman's health and the potential life of the unborn.
BISMARCK -- North Dakota's top attorney said Friday that when the state's 2012 crime statistics come out July 30, "it's not going to be good." Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said the increase in drug crime statistics alone has his office worried as many different drugs are being pushed around the Oil Patch at a significantly high rate. "We're seeing a lot of people moving in with a lot of money," he said. Stenehjem took part in a roundtable discussion orchestrated by U.S. Sen.
BISMARCK -- A federal wildlife refuge and a deposit of flint once used for making stone tools are among the areas where oil and gas companies are seeking mineral rights at an upcoming state auction. But those areas have been flagged as sensitive by state agencies that are now asked to review the long list of state-owned lands where mineral rights may be leased.
BISMARCK - Two environmental groups say the amount of radioactive material around the Oil Patch is at a threatening level and only increasing as the state lags in enforcing environmental regulations. The newly formed Energy Industry Waste Coalition and the Dakota Resource Council, a nonprofit, grassroots group, met with state health officials Thursday to express their concerns and hear what the state Department of Health is doing to beef up its enforcement.
BISMARCK - What state is the luckiest place on earth, North Dakota or South Dakota? The Myers' Newsletter, a monthly investment publication, published a summer special report on North Dakota and reasons to invest in the state's energy development. But while the newsletter's 19 pages are filled with statistics and photos from the Bakken oil fields, the cover boasts an oil-covered headline of "The luckiest place on earth," and a large photograph of the iconic Mount Rushmore in South Dakota with an oil rig on top of Theodore Roosevelt and headlines about North Dakota millionaires.