North Dakota's e-file system for taxes is up and running.
Tax Commissioner Corey Fong says the online services can be found on the tax department's website at www.nd.gov/tax . The service is free.
Taxpayers can file their federal and state returns either electronically or on paper, but Fong says the e-file system is much easier and usually results in faster refunds.
About 75 percent of North Dakota taxpayers e-filed returns for 2010.
The deadline's passed and a former securities agent in Grafton has not
come up with two-point-five-million-dollars to make restitution to six Walsh County
Ross O. Haugen had until close of business, Tuesday, January 29th to
come up with the money for being an unregistered agent selling securities in-state.
Haugen pleaded guilty to seven counts on January ninth, in Northeast
District Court in Grafton. He got six people to invest a total of two-point-five-million
dollars inbetween the spring of two-thousand-six and the fall of two-thousand-seven.
Now that the money's not been raised as he promised the court, he'll be
sentenced on March 13th. That sentence will be based on the recommendations
of Walsh County State's Attorney Barbara Whelan and defense attorney
Steven Meshbesher and at the discretion of the sentending judge. Haugen will
not be able to withdraw his guilty pleas to the seven felony charges. He will be
sentenced without the protection of a plea agreement on the penalty to be imposed.
Each of the seven counts is punishable to a maximum of ten-years
in prison and a ten-thousand-dollar fine.
Whelan emailed KXPO late Tuesday afternoon saying she had
confirmation from Haugen's attorney that there was no money in the trust account
to pay restitution to Walsh County victims. So Haugen did not raise the 2.5 million
dollars needed and has he indicated at a court hearing earlier this month. Haugen
won't be able to withdraw those guilty pleas to the seven counts and he'll be sentenced
by Judge Laurie Fontaine.
The US Department of Agriculture says January has been warmer than
usual in North Dakota and snowfall has varied.
Some cattle producers are worried about forage supplies for calving season.
North Dakota's statewide snow depth is just over four-inches. It was just
under two inches one year ago.
USDA thinks February wil be overall colder and wetter. It says there'll be
below-normal temperatures in eastern North Dakota early and near to above normal
precipitation in the second week of the month.
Snow cover protection in North Dakota is rated 34-percent poor, 50-percent
adequate, and 16-percent excellent. Snow cover for winter wheat in North Dakota is
28-percent poor, 44-percent adequate, and 28-percent excellent.
The North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) has issued a statewide Travel Alert through Saturday morning in advance of the National Weather Service (NWS) forecasted winter storm to impact the state.
The NWS has issued a Winter Storm Watch for western and central North Dakota late tonight through Saturday morning and a Freezing Rain Advisory for southeast ND tonight through Friday afternoon, at which time changing to a Winter Storm Watch. NWS forecasts indicate the potential for mixed rain and snow and freezing rain to impact the state tonight which may create hazardous road conditions. The storm system is expected for areas of the state to receive heavy snow, winds, near blizzard conditions, and dangerous wind chills.
Motorists are urged to use caution as this winter weather event intensifies across the state potentially causing road conditions to deteriorate throughout the night into Friday. For road information, call 511 from any type of phone or go to the website:www.dot.nd.gov.
NDDOT reminds motorists to use the following safety tips if traveling during this storm:
· “Know Before You Go” by checking road conditions BEFORE you travel. Check the Travel Information Map or call 511.
· Turn on your lights. This will increase your visibility to other motorists and snowplow operators. Brush snow from your car that could cover your tail lights.
· Slow down and drive according to the conditions. Most winter crashes are caused by driving too fast for conditions. Snowplows typically move at slower speeds.
· Never drive through “white-outs” or “snow fog” caused by cross winds or plowing snow. Wait until you can see.
· Stay back at least five car lengths behind the plow, far from the snow fog and any sanding material being spread; snowplow operators will turn off the sander, pull over, or raise the plow for better visibility when it is safe to do so to allow traffic to pass.
· Be patient. Allow more time to get to your destination. Remember snowplows are working to improve road conditions for your trip.
· Know where the plow is on multi-lane roadways. The plow could be in either lane or on the shoulder.
· Be extremely cautious when passing a snowplow. They can be moved sideways by drifts and hard snow pack.
· Watch for plow trucks on interstate ramps and “authorized vehicle only” cross-overs.
· Don’t assume that you’ll have good traction because the road looks sanded. The sand can sink into the snow pack, leaving a slick surface.
· Never use cruise control on wet or icy roadways.
NDDOT releases information to inform the public about travel conditions throughout the state. The three categories are as follows:
1. TRAVEL ALERT – Motorists can still travel but may encounter areas of challenging winter weather driving conditions on roadways. Motorists should allow extra time to reach their destination and be alert to conditions that may make travel difficult, change rapidly, or cause travel delays. A TRAVEL ALERT has the potential to change to a NO TRAVEL ADVISED if conditions deteriorate.
2. NO TRAVEL ADVISED – Motorists should not travel due to hazardous conditions which may make it unsafe to travel. Snowplows may be pulled from the roads during severe conditions. Motorists should take NO TRAVEL ADVISED seriously as those motorists who choose to travel at their own risk may become stranded and emergency responders may not be able to reach them safely. A NO TRAVEL ADVISED has the potential to change to a ROAD CLOSED OR BLOCKED if conditions deteriorate.
3. ROAD CLOSED OR BLOCKED – Motorists are not allowed to travel on a closed road due to life threatening conditions. The road may be impassible or blocked. Motorists who drive past a road closure device may be fined up to $250.
Please be advised that road condition information on 511 and the travel map is updated daily from 5 a.m. until 9 p.m. CDT. The road report is based upon the information available to the NDDOT at the time of preparation and is provided solely as a public service. Conditions may vary from those reported.
If you become stranded, motorists should stay with their vehicle and call 911 for emergency assistance.
A former securities agent in Grafton has pleaded guilty to seven counts
of selling securities as an unregistered agent in North Dakota.
Ross O. Haugen entered the seven guilty pleas without the aid of a
plea agreement. He did so Wednesday morning in Northeast District Court in
Haugen's attorney, Steven Meshbesher, told the court Haugen intends
to make full restitution to six Walsh County residents who invested a total of
approximately two-point-five-million-dollars sometime between the spring of
two-thousand-six to the fall of two-thousand-seven. Meshbesher told the court
Haugen will have the money raised by January 29th. If those two conditions
are met, a plea agreement will be submitted to Judge Laurie Fontaine. She
will have the option of accepting or rejecting that agreement. If she rejects
the plea agreement, Haugen can withdraw his guilty pleas and the case goes
to trial. If Haugen fails to come up with the money by that date, the open
guilty pleas stand and he'd be sentenced at the discretion of the judge, based
on recommendations by Meshbesher and Walsh County State's Attorney
The sentencing date is March 13th. Fontaine has ordered a pre-sentence
The seven counts of acting as an unregistered broker, dealer, or agent
in North Dakota are each punishable to a maximum of ten-years in prison and
a ten-thousand-dollar fine. Haugen's free on bond.
We wait and see what happens January 29th.
Click it or ticket.
North Dakota law enforcement agencies will conduct a statewide seatbelt
enforcement effort. It'll start this Friday and run through Saturday, January 19th.
The North Dakota Department of Transportation made the announcement.
N-DOT is giving extra money to the North Dakota Highway Patrol, county
sheriff's offices, and local police departments to have additional officers on the
roads and streets to remind you and me to buckle up, every trip, every time.
Safety Director Mark Nelson says two-thirds of fatal crash victims, typically,
were not buckled up. So Nelson says it's important to start a new year's resolution:
Wear your seatbelt, be safer, this month and this year.
Nelson says it's the very first thing you and I should do when we get into
Walsh County's farmland valuation for this year will increase 20-percent.
That's what County Tax Director Mary Wild told Walsh County Commissioners at
their regular meeting Tuesday morning.
The value of one mill will generate more tax dollars for farmland in Walsh
County this year.
Now, Wild tells KXPO the North Dakota Tax Department will allow Walsh
County commissioners to decide if they want to cut that increased rate by up to
ten-percent. Wild says the Walsh County Commission will decide whether to do
that at their next regular meeting, January 22nd.
Wild also tells KXPO the reason for the 20-percent increase in this year's
farmland valuation is the capitalization rate continues to drop. Last year it was
approximately five-point-nine-percent (5.864). This year it's about
five-point-five-percent(5.488). She says as that capitalization rate continues to
drop, the farmland valuation continues to increase.
Representatives from AE-Two-S Engineering of Grand Forks have briefed
the Grafton Public Utilities Committee on Phase Three of the city's water treatment
Grafton's already made pre-treatment improvements and softening
improvements. Those were phase one and phase two respectively. The third
phase is to improve filtration, residuals management, and miscellaneous
improvements. Wayne Gerzewski of AE-Two-S told committee members
two treatment alternatives are ozone and membrane. The ozone treatment
improvements are estimated to cost just over eleven-point-one-million-dollars,
if Grafton decides to do that. The membrane improvements would cost nearly
12-million, if Grafton decided on them. AE-Two-S recommends Grafton continue
with Phase Three and spend just over seven-point-two-million-dollars to improve
water filtration, residual water particle management, and miscellaneous
improvements like adding a chlorine room and redoing the control room,
lab, break room, etcetera.
AE-Two-S is also recommending the city leave room at its water
treatment plant for ozone addition in the future, and leave room for a small
membrane process addition. Grafton's local cost share would be
just over two-point-six-million-dollars, out of that seven-point-two-three-million
The City of Grafton intends to follow that recommendation. AE-Two-S
officials will next meet with water plant manager Ken Miskavige to plan more
The Grafton Public Utilities Committee also is recommending
approval of making the south side of Fifth Street from Kittson Avenue to
McHugh "No Parking."
A Grand Forks man has been sentenced to 14-years in prison for possessing
pornography videos of 119 children. Shane Phillip Peterka pled guilty to 119 counts
of child pornography possession last October and was sentenced Monday morning in
Northeast District Court in Grafton.
Walsh County State's Attorney Barbara Whelan is pleased with the sentence.
Whelan says it is a good deterrent and serves notice when individuals "consume"
child pornography. She told KXPO that "everyone of those images was of a child being
abused. So it's not just the sexual abuse that occurred but then it's the photograph and
the video of that and then the consumption of it by Mr. Peterka wanting to search them out
on the Internet and view them."
Whelan says the magnitude of this case is huge. She says most of these cases
do go through the federal court system. When the search warrant was executed and
discovere that pornography in Walsh County, she decided she'd prosecute the case as
a local offense.
Whelan thinks Peterka's sentence is large enough that federal prosecutors
won't intervene and prosecute it themselves.
Peterka said in court he was ready to undergo treatment and move on with his
Each of the 119 counts was punishable to a maximum of five-years in prison and
a five-thousand-dollar fine. So he could've received a maximum sentence of 595 years in
prison and a 595-thousand-dollar fine.
Peterka's attorney, Clint Morganstern, declined comment after the sentencing.
A Grand Forks man will spend 14-years in prison for possession of child
pornography. Shane Phillip Peterka pled guilty last October to 119 counts of
possession of pornographic videos involving children from ages six to 16. 119
individual children were depicted one separate act of abuse in each video
Judge Richard Geiger emphasized that three different times during Monday
morning's sentencing in Northeast District Court in Grafton.
A psychologist who evaluated Peterka said he was a moderate risk to
reoffend. Doctor Stacey Benson said Peterka has mental abnormalities but
believes he can be successfully treated.
Walsh County State's Attorney Barbara Whelan requested Peterka
serve anywhere between 7.5 years to 12-years in prison and 35-years on
supervised probation. Peterka's attorney Clint Morganstern requested that
whatever incarceration's imposed, Peterka spend five years in jail with the
Geiger said there's some indication Peterka can be successfully
treated and that he's acknowledged his behavior and admits it's wrong. But
Geiger says he won't overlook that 119 individual children were harmed in those
videos Peterka viewed.
So he sentenced Peterka to 14-years in prison and 55-years of supervised
probation. Peterka must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and
enroll in a sex offender treatment program. Peterka gets credit for 305 days
served in the Walsh County Jail in Grafton.
Peterka pleaded guilty by an open plea to 119 counts of child pornography
possession. The open plea meant the judge could impose whatever penalty he
believed as appropriate.
Peterka said in court he was ready to undergo treatment and move on with
Peterka kept the 119 videos on his father's computer in Pisek, ND.
The father did not know the videos were there. They were labelled
"Shane" and were password-protected.