MINOT, N.D. -- Jurors took less than three hours Wednesday to find a man guilty in the shooting death of Williston rancher Jack Sjol. Ryan Lee Stensaker, 35, of Williston had sat stone-faced throughout much of the five-day trial, but on Wednesday evening his face was drawn upon hearing the verdict in the Ward County Courthouse in Minot where the trial had been moved. Prosecutors say it was Stensaker who shot Sjol with a .30 caliber rifle in the head and the left upper arm at Sjol’s ranch. The 58-year-old Sjol went missing April 25, 2013, and was found three weeks later in a private dump site east of Williston.RELATED CONTENT
GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Two female University of North Dakota students who were raped at gunpoint by a stranger at their off-campus apartment in Grand Forks last year were not counted in university crime statistics. But those UND students are not the only ones missing from rape statistics, as several factors make it difficult to fully reflect the scope of rape and sexual assault on college students. The issue has thrust itself into public discourse, most recently with the controversy over the November Rolling Stone report that chronicled the alleged gang rape of a University of Virginia student at a fraternity house.
FARGO, N.D. – Consumers shopping for health insurance through the online marketplace have more options but many also are likely to face higher premiums, according to surveys. In North Dakota, the three insurers selling through the marketplace – which is necessary to obtain tax credits for premium subsidies for those who are eligible – have increased the number of insurance plans from 21 last year to 30. Similarly, the numbers of participating insurers dropped in Minnesota from five to four, but consumers still have more insurance plans to choose from.
BISMARCK – A state matching grant created to spur philanthropic gifts for colleges and universities is about to end, setting off a race to claim the leftover dollars. Two years ago, the Legislature approved $29 million for the Higher Education Challenge Fund. For every $2 raised in private donations toward approved academic projects, the state would contribute $1. “It has been a resounding success,” said Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley, who chairs the fund’s committee.
FARGO, N.D. – If North Dakota State University wins Friday night’s FCS football semifinal against Sam Houston State, you can count on a stampede for tickets to Frisco, Texas. But don’t count on seeing superfans like Patrick Thiel in line. Those staunch Bison faithful bought their playoff tickets long ago. Some have even booked hotels and plane tickets, counting on the Herd getting a shot at a title four-peat on Jan. 10. “We got tickets in August. I got a buddy in the (Twin) Cities who said, ‘Anybody interested in investing in some tickets?’ And I said, ‘Yeah. Let’s do it,’ ” said Thiel, who teaches at Fargo’s Carl Ben Eielson Middle School.
BISMARCK, N.D. – State utility regulators approved a permit for a $240 million wind farm in western North Dakota on Wednesday. The state Public Service Commission voted unanimously to grant a permit for Antelope Hills Wind Project LLC of Santa Barbara, Calif., to erect up to 86 wind turbines on 22,000 acres of land northwest of Beulah in Mercer County.
BISMARCK, N.D. -- The FBI has charged a Cannon Ball man with the stabbing murder of his cousin, of Fort Yates, in November. Ryan Keith Ironroad, 26, was charged in U.S. District Court for North Dakota with one count each of felony murder and assault with a dangerous weapon in connection with the Nov. 23 death of 29-year-old Clay Hagel. Ironroad was arrested on Dec. 11 and is in custody at Burleigh County Detention Center as he awaits trial.
DICKINSON, N.D. -- Sales tax revenue in North Dakota -- especially in western North Dakota -- continues to grow. On Wednesday, Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger announced that taxable sales and purchases had increased by $715 million for the third quarter of 2014 compared to the previous year.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- This is exactly the boost needed for Mitchell Technical Institute and South Dakota’s three other technical schools. That's what MTI President Greg Von Wald said about the announced partnership between South Dakota and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford for $50 million in scholarships for workforce development. The announcement was made by Gov. Dennis Daugaard on Wednesday in Sioux Falls. Von Wald said it was too early to know exactly how the funding will impact MTI, but said it will make a key difference for the school.
In a normal year, many Upper Midwest farmers and landlords already would have agreed on 2015 rental rates for cropland and pasture. In a normal year, agricultural producers, bankers and economists would have a pretty good handle on rate trends for the new year. This isn’t a normal year.