Mike Nowatzki reports for Forum News Service. He can be reached at (701) 255-5607.
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NEAR CANNON BALL – North Dakota’s homeland security director ordered the removal of state-owned trailers and water tanks from the Dakota Access Pipeline protest campsite Monday, citing mounting reports of unlawful activity -- the latest involving lasers -- and the risk of damage. “Based on the scenario down there, we don’t believe that equipment is secure,” Homeland Security Division Director Greg Wilz said.
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 — 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. Board President Kathleen Neset, who chairs the committee, said the review is "in everyone's best interest."
BISMARCK — Abortions performed in North Dakota hit their lowest number last year since recordkeeping began in the 1980s, which the director of the state's lone abortion clinic attributes largely 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 North Dakota Department of Health, which began keeping abortion statistics in 1981. The previous low was 1,182 abortions in 2013, while the high was 3,076 in 1982.
BISMARCK — North Dakotans will vote this fall on whether to legalize marijuana for medical use, one of five measures that will appear on the November ballot, Secretary of State Al Jaeger said Thursday. Sponsors needed 13,452 signatures to get the initiated measure, which they've dubbed the Compassionate Care Act, on the Nov. 8 ballot. They delivered 18,011 signatures to Jaeger on July 11, and 17,217 were accepted as qualified electors.
BISMARCK – The most in-depth audit to date of the computer network that supports North Dakota’s state government found a “fundamental weakness” in the Information Technology Department’s inability to deploy security patches to state-owned computers and software outside of its control.
BISMARCK — North Dakota voters will decide in November whether to raise taxes on tobacco products for the first time since 1993, including a fivefold increase in the cigarette tax that sponsors of the ballot measure hope will motivate adults to quit smoking and prevent young people from starting. Secretary of State Al Jaeger announced Wednesday that 21,698 of the 22,840 signatures that sponsors submitted in early July were accepted as being qualified. Sponsors needed 13,452 signatures to place the proposed change in state law on the Nov. 8 ballot.
BISMARCK — A judge Tuesday threw out criminal charges against the head of North Dakota's largest state agency who was accused of impeding the investigation into the swimming-related death of a 5-year-old girl, but left open the possibility that the charges could be brought back. Northeast District Judge Donovan Foughty dismissed the misdemeanor charges of conspiracy to obstruct a government function and refusing to perform a public duty filed in February against Department of Human Services Executive Director Maggie Anderson.
BISMARCK – Opponents of new rules that allow for disposal of oilfield waste with higher levels of radioactivity in North Dakota made emotional pleas to the State Health Council in a do-over meeting Tuesday, but the council ratified the rules it adopted a year ago while agreeing to study the issue further. About 60 people attended the meeting in the Capitol’s Pioneer Room, many holding up yellow signs stating “Vote NO on the increase” and “Public health over profits.”
BISMARCK — The Democratic candidate for North Dakota's lone U.S. House seat has fired his campaign consultants after racking up more than $50,000 in debt and is "going it alone" until the November election, he said Monday. Chase Iron Eyes, a Fort Yates attorney and American Indian activist who is challenging a two-term incumbent in Republican U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer, reported $30,866 in cash on hand and $53,378 in campaign debt on his April-through-June quarterly report filed with the Federal Election Commission.