SOCIAL SECURITY: INFORMATION & UPDATES 2015 SSA taxes and taxable earnings base
Q: How much does a person have to earn in 2015 before withholding for Social Security taxes end?
A: In 2015, the maximum amount of earnings subject to Social Security tax is $118,500.In 2014, this am... Posted on 12/8/14 at 2:43 PM
STAFF BLOG OIL PATCH DISPATCH Cash Wise opens in Watford City
WATFORD CITY, N.D. Cash Wise Foods has opened in Watford City, the first tenant in a commercial development by Minneapolis-based Oppidan Investment Co.
The 130,000-square-foot development at highways... Posted on 7/25/13 at 1:06 PM
STAFF BLOG MONKE BUSINESS A look inside Wildcat Pizzeria
I got a first look inside the new Wildcat Pizzeria on March 20 thanks to owner Russell Meads.
What I got out of my im... Posted on 4/2/13 at 4:13 PM
NDAD INSIGHT NDAD adds chief operations officer
Don Santer has joined NDAD as chief operations officer, giving him oversight of the North Dakota nonprofit organizations entrepreneurial efforts.
Don will supervise the charitable gaming activities... Posted on 3/7/13 at 8:41 AM
McConnell: First job for new Senate is to approve controversial pipeline
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The new Republican-controlled U.S. Senate's first act in January will be approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters the bill would be based on a measure that failed in the Senate last month that was co-sponsored by Sens. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Mary Landrieu, D-La.
ST. PAUL -- Two Minnesota environmental groups have filed suit in state district court asking for a broader environmental review for the proposed Enbridge Energy Sandpiper oil pipeline across northern Minnesota.
The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy and Friends of the Headwaters jointly filed the suit in Ramsey County asking for a full-fledged Environmental Impact Statement for the pipeline.
Both the need and the route for the proposed Sandpiper line currently are under review by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. Enbridge is conducting an extensive environmental review as well.
MILNOR, N.D. – Some time back, there was a golf tournament here.
Few people showed up, and that got Wyatt Mund thinking: What would be a good way to spread the word about the goings on in small towns like his hometown of Milnor, population about 700?
The answer Mund came up with was Townnected.com.
The North Dakota State University freshman majoring in marketing and advertising said it took him about a year to create the website using skills he taught himself by going online for information.
PIERRE, S.D. -- South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard announced Tuesday that a total of $56 million in public and private funds will be invested in four rail projects across the state that should provide farmers better access to the marketplace.
Because of the improvements in the railroad system, it also means a new $40 million grain-handling facility in Britton in the northeast part of the state near Aberdeen and a $40 million grain shuttle-loading facility in Kennebec in south-central South Dakota will be opened.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A bill that would allow farmers, ranchers and other small businesses to expense equipment to run their operations is on its way to President Barack Obama's desk.
The Senate passed the one-year Tax Increase Prevention Act 76-16 on Tuesday night. The measure extends Section 179, meaning small businesses, including ranchers and farmers, may expense purchases made in 2014.
"These extensions, and especially the Section 179 expensing and depreciation provision, will provide immediate tax relief and greater certainty to individuals, farmers, ranchers and small businesses for the current tax year," Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said Tuesday evening.
FARGO, N.D. – The U.S. Department of Labor is suing a Fargo-based owner of multiple hotels, arguing he owes $200,000 in back pay and damages for depriving almost 200 employees of fair wages over a two-year period.
Fargo-based businessman Bharat I. Patel is accused of improperly compensating 192 employees at 13 hotels in North Dakota and Montana in violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
Helms: 2015 could be tough for oil; with prices slumping, production could plateau
BISMARCK, N.D. -- With oil prices on a steep downward slump, 2015 could be a tough year for oil producers, North Dakota’s lead regulator for the industry.
“I started talking months ago about soft oil prices in 2015. I had no idea how soft,” said Lynn Helms, director for the state Department of Mineral Resources.
“I honestly did not see them this soft, and that is going to have a significant impact.”
Sweet crude in North Dakota was at $41.75 per barrel on Friday, according to the report, the lowest since March 2009, before the current boom. The price of oil has dropped 40 percent since June. The New York Mercantile closed Friday with 57.81 per barrel.
MINOT, N.D. -- Nick Vaughn earns in two nights what took him two weeks to make in his home state of Tennessee.
The 34-year-old Gallatin, Tenn., man uprooted his family — wife Burgandy and four children — in September in hopes of finding a better life in Minot.
The former automotive factory worker who was earning $9 an hour now tends bar at the Blind Duck Lounge and Casino. His wife quickly found work as a licensed practical nurse in a retirement home, increasing her salary by $3 per hour.
Vaughn said his brother-in-law, a retired Air Force service member who has been working in the Oil Patch since July, coaxed the family to move, saying “There’s a better life here for you.”
Petroleum Council welcomes rules that would allow landfills to accept filter socks, other waste
BISMARCK, N.D. – Critics blasted rules proposed Friday that would permit the disposal of filter socks and other radioactive oilfield waste in North Dakota landfills, saying they don’t go far enough to protect public health and track the waste.
Darrell Dorgan, head of the North Dakota Energy Industry Waste Coalition, said he was “not surprised at all” by the state Department of Health’s proposal to allow special oilfield waste landfills to accept radioactivity levels up to 50 picocuries per gram – 10 times the current limit, which forces companies to ship the waste to other states.
BISMARCK, N.D. – Oilfield waste with elevated levels of radioactivity could be dumped in North Dakota’s landfills instead of having to be trucked out of state, under proposed rules being announced today by the state Department of Health.
The rules strive to set a reasonable standard, based on science, in response to growing concerns about hauling and disposal of radioactive waste generated by oil and gas drilling.
“We don't want to do anything that would put anybody at risk,” Dave Glatt, the department’s environmental health chief, said Thursday. “At the same time, because we're generating this waste, we should take responsibility.”
Several cases of illegal dumping in recent months have spurred activists and local officials in western North Dakota to call for better tracking of radioactive oilfield waste and stiffer penalties for violators.
WILLISTON, N.D. — Oasis Petroleum expects to cut 2015 spending 50 percent amid plunging oil prices.
The company expects to spend about $1.43 billion in 2014, but lowered next year's expectation to $750 million to $850 million, said Oasis CEO Tommy Nusz. The company is downsizing from 16 rigs operating in September to just six in March.
WILLISTON, N.D. -- A Williston-based energy company has plans to roll out at least four plants in the Bakken region that would refine crude into diesel and strip natural gas liquids from oil.
Quantum Energy calls the plants 21st Century Energy Center(s) and has optioned big tracts of land in Stanley and Berthold, about 30 miles apart on Highway 2 west of Minot, and in Montana at Baker and Fairview.
Quantum is teamed up with Bilfinger Westcon, of Bismarck, which is lead contractor on the MDU Resources and Calumet diesel refinery project near Dickinson.
Quantum president Neil Amondson said Thursday they'll focus on developing the Stanley and Berthold plants first because the Dickinson project has created a regulatory template for air quality and other permits.
Sentencing hearing scheduled for March, Johnsons released on recognizance
FARGO, N.D. — A federal jury has found northeast North Dakota potato farming brothers Aaron and Derek Johnson guilty of all felony counts of crop insurance fraud brought against them.
The Fargo jurors got the case at 1:30 p.m. Thursday and announced it had reached a verdict at 6:30 p.m.
Jury members unanimously found the Johnsons guilty of intentionally destroying some of their crops in order to get unfair gains in crop insurance and federal disaster payments. Both Johnson brothers were convicted of conspiracy, false statements to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency, which oversees crop insurance, and to law enforcement on different occasions. Aaron Johnson was also found guilty of lying to the USDA Farm Service Agency, which oversees farm programs.
Weather expert speaks at annual event in ND
GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Though the first half of the growing season next year in the Upper Midwest should be favorable, the second half could bring challenges, including the possibility of “one of the hottest summers on record,” according to an area weather expert.
“We have some encouraging things to look forward to, but there are some things we need to be aware of that could be potential challenges as we move forward,” said Leon Osborne with the Regional Weather Information Center at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.
Osborne spoke at the annual Prairie Grains Conference in Grand Forks, a two-day event that began Wednesday, and was sponsored by eight Minnesota and North Dakota agricultural organizations. It attracted more than 700 people, most from northeast North Dakota and northwest Minnesota.
FARGO, N.D. – Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota continues to operate in the black as it approaches year-end following last year’s financially bruising loss.
The state’s dominant private health insurer, which covers about 515,000 members, finished the quarter ending Sept. 30 with total capital and surplus of $233.1 million, up $34.1 million from the previous quarter.
Blue Cross Blue Shield’s profitability continues to grow as the insurer recovers from last year’s $80.7 million loss, according to the firm’s latest financial disclosure report.
“We are having a much stronger year this year than last year,” Tim Huckle, chief executive officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield, said Thursday in a meeting with the editorial board of The Forum.
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