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Growing steadily: Richardton undergoing big changes as oil’s sprawl drives development, growth

RICHARDTON, N.D. — Mayor Frank Kirschenheiter said Richardtonians look at the growth in their town a certain way. “We’d rather move forward than die,” he said. “... You go one direction in life, take your pick: If you’re not gonna go forward, you’re going backward.” That attitude is helping the city thrive as major companies stake out Richardton for various oilfield-related projects, and the city finishes up its new city hall. SBG Energy Services LLC will begin work this construction season on a $50 million rail terminal a half-mile east of town. The Grand Forks (N.D.) based company will offer rail transloading for the agriculture and oil industries.

Study highlights how oil money trickles out of North Dakota

WILLISTON, N.D. – While a new economic impact study shows that the oil and gas industry contributed $43 billion to North Dakota’s economy in 2013, it also highlights that several billion dollars left the state. About half of what the oil industry spends to drill and complete new wells in North Dakota -- about $15 billion in 2013 -- was not captured in the state’s economy, according to the study by North Dakota State University researchers. More than $7 billion generated from North Dakota oil and gas exploration in 2013 went to out-of-state companies that provided goods and services for drilling, fracking or well completion, the study says. A new initiative spearheaded by Williston Economic Development aims to capture more of those dollars in North Dakota.

Williston expands women’s clinic in response to rapid growth

Williston expands women’s clinic in response to rapid growth

WILLISTON, N.D. – As Williston prepares for another year of record births, Mercy Medical Center celebrated Tuesday the completion of a new Women’s Health Clinic. A record 804 babies were born in Williston in 2014, and practice manager Tim Olson said officials project that births could exceed 900 this year. The newly renovated clinic adds two new OB/GYN physicians and a nurse practitioner to serve the rapidly growing community. “It’s greatly needed and it’s going to be a huge asset to this community,” Olson said. Mercy Medical Center recruited physicians Dr. Fareed Kadum, most recently of Atlanta, and Dr. Eugene Meade, most recently of Jamestown, for the new clinic, along with local nurse practitioner Heidi Grondahl.

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N.D. officials clarify when oil companies are exempt from flaring rule

BISMARCK, N.D. -- They always said rules are made to be broken. North Dakota officials on Tuesday clarified when oil companies are exempt from anti-flaring gas capture rules. Qualifying as "extenuating circumstances," they said, were right-of-way delays, safety issues and system upgrades. Oil companies can also avoid production curtailments if flaring is caused by upgrades to improve gas capture in the future, like shutting down a gas plant in order to expand it. In the face of mounting criticism and concern of the runaway gas that companies were flaring as they raced to get more valuable oil, the North Dakota Industrial Commission last year adopted new goals for how much of the gas is captured.The industry captured 78 percent of gas in January, exceeding the 2015 goal of 77 percent. It must next capture 85 percent beginning Jan. 1, 2016, and 90 percent starting Oct. 1, 2020.

North Dakota officials may sue feds over 'overreaching' fracking rule

BISMARCK, N.D. -- The state of North Dakota may sue the federal government over its new rules regulating hydraulic fracturing on federal lands in the state. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, pumps pressured water, chemicals and sand into shale to release oil and gas. The rules -- the federal government's first regulation of fracking -- are unnecessary or inapplicable to North Dakota's geology or duplicate existing state rules, state Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms told the North Dakota Industrial Commission on Tuesday.

Knodel trial delayed to give defense time to prep for handwriting witness

FARGO, N.D. – It could be summer before a jury hears the case of the 2014 North Dakota Teacher of the Year accused of having sex with a student several years ago. The trial was set to start with jury selection today, but Cass County District Court Judge Steven McCullough agreed Monday to give West Fargo English teacher Aaron Knodel’s defense attorney more time to prepare for a new witness prosecutors plan to have testify, a second handwriting analyst. Defense attorney Robert Hoy said he needs time to secure an expert to rebut testimony from the new witness for the state.

Alzheimer’s third-leading cause of death in ND, highest death rate in U.S.

FARGO, N.D. – North Dakota has the nation’s highest death rate from Alzheimer’s disease. The leading cause of dementia among the elderly is the third-leading cause of death in North Dakota, according to figures released Monday by the Alzheimer’s Association. By comparison, Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in Minnesota, which also happens to be the ranking nationally, according to the association. North Dakota’s high proportion of elderly residents – especially those 85 and older – likely explains why the state has such a high death rate from Alzheimer’s.

House committee hears testimony on bill banning discrimination based on sexual orientation

BISMARCK, N.D. – With his husband standing nearby, Bernie Erickson told North Dakota lawmakers on Monday that it was wrong the first two times the Legislature voted down bills to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation. “I think if this fails a third time, you are sending a very clear message that not only are you OK with discrimination in North Dakota, you encourage it,” the Fargo Realtor said. But Alison Grotberg, who traveled from the small town of Wimbledon in east-central North Dakota to testify at the Capitol in Bismarck, said Senate Bill 2279 would create a law “stripping tens of thousands of people of their constitutional right to follow their conscience under God without legal repercussions.”

Minot air base members on ISIS ‘hit list”

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Six military members from Minot Air Force Base are among 100 U.S. airmen, sailors, soldiers and Marines whose personal information and photos were posted on a purported Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) "hit list," although an Air Force press officer said some of those on the list may not even be stationed in Minot any longer. Air Force press officer Lt. Col. Holly Slaughter said, nonetheless, that their top priority is protecting the members on the list that was released over the weekend by a group claiming ties to the Islamic militants and calling themselves the “Islamic State Hacking Division.” “We don’t list the addresses of any of our members,” Slaughter said. “It’s a privacy matter and some of those people on the list don’t live there and there might be wrong addresses for others.”

Man charged with Watford City attempted murder

WATFORD CITY, N.D. – A man faces an attempted murder charge in McKenzie County for a drive-by shooting that stemmed from an ongoing dispute among roommates. Dillon James Reddington, 18, of Spokane, Wash., is charged with attempted murder, a Class A felony, and reckless endangerment, a Class C felony, for allegedly shooting at what he believed was the mobile home where his former roommates lived. No injuries have been reported from the March 7 shooting in a Watford City trailer park, but a man was sleeping in the mobile home when bullets entered the residence, court records say. Watford City police arrested Reddington this week after searching his residence and finding evidence from the shooting.

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