Police are confirming an apparent suicide took place in Grafton over the weekend. Grafton Police Chief Anthony Dumas, the lead investigator in the case, says police responded to the call on School Road on Saturday afternoon. Dumas says 22 year old Charlie Tweten was found at the scene. The Grafton Police Department is the lead agency in the continuing investigation with assistance from the North Dakota Highway Patrol and North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
Congressman Kevin Cramer has joined a majority of his colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the Ratepayer Protection Act, a bill he helped introduce as a cosponsor to the whole House. The legislation is meant to to protect electric consumers from the potential rate increases and reliability risks resulting from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan for existing power plants. Last June, EPA proposed a rule for existing power plants, referred to by the agency as its “Clean Power Plan.” In the rule, EPA interprets a rarely invoked provision of the Clean Air Act, to allow the agency to set mandatory carbon dioxide (CO2) “goals” for each state’s electricity system. Cramer says the bill will stop another unconstitutional power grab by the EPA which ratepayers and the country cannot afford. He says The Clean Power Plan will increase the cost of everything we produce, manufacture and grow in this country, hurting consumers and our competiveness in markets around the world. This rule jeopardizes our electrical transmission and distribution grid with no plans for the replacement of traditional base load generation.
The justification used by the EPA for the implementation of the Clean Power Plan is the purported environmental and health problems associated with greenhouse gases. Pollutants which have known health impacts from industrial plants, including power plants, are already being successfully regulated to protect human health and the
environment. The American Lung Association has scored all North Dakota counties with an A grade in its’ “State of the Air” report card, including those counties with coal power plants.
On Friday and Saturday night, the North Dakota Highway Patrol and Grafton Police Department will conduct DUI saturation patrols in the Grafton area.
DUI saturations are an enforcement and education tool used to reduce alcohol-related crashes. Last year, 47 percent of fatal crash victims died in crashes involving alcohol.
Public education increases the perception of “risk of apprehension” of motorists who would operate a vehicle while impaired. Advanced notification of the saturation, including date, time, and general location, is provided to the public to enhance the deterrent effect. Results will be provided after the saturation’s completion.
The official results are in from the Minto School Board election. The election was held on June 16th. 124 voters elected Helen Zikmund and Anton Gudajtes to three year terms on the board. Zikmund, receiving a total of 74 votes will serve her term in the rural at large position. Also receiving votes as write-ins for the at large position were Gary Slominski with 41, Don Barclay and Kristie Stoltman each with 2 votes and Tammy Ulland with 1. Gudajtes, serving the term for the area East of Highway 81, received 77 votes on election night. Also receiving write-in votes for the area were Gary Slominski with 38, Jason Flanders with 3 and Susan Gudajtes with 1. Voters overwhelmingly agreed to publish school board minutes by a margin of 119-5
The North Dakota State University Extension Service is hosting a training program Aug. 11-13 at Richard H. Barry Hall on the NDSU downtown campus in Fargo for those interested in becoming a certified farm succession coordinator. This training is offered specifically for agricultural professionals, service providers and organizational leaders who work with retiring farmers and ranchers on farm transfer issues. These include attorneys, estate planners, accountants, tax planners, agricultural lenders, adult farm management instructors, financial advisers, retirement planners and anyone who will be working with farmers and ranchers as they transfer their business to the next generation. "We are at a pivotal period in American agriculture, with more than 70 percent of U.S. farms set to transition during the next 15 years and more than 400 million acres of farmland expected to change hands during this time," says Ashley Ueckert, an Extension agent from Golden Valley County who helped coordinate the training. "The economic future of our nation's agriculture depends on next-generation farmers and ranchers' ability to access land and agricultural enterprise."
John Baker, an attorney with the International Farming Transition Network and administrator of the Beginning Farmer Center at Iowa State University, is one of the presenters for the training. Baker has spent most of his professional career working with families on farm and ranch succession. The training draws on his lifetime of experiences, including national and international research on this topic. Other presenters are David Ripplinger, an assistant professor in NDSU's Agribusiness and Applied Economics Department; Russ Tweiten, agribusiness consultant for AgCountry Farm Credit Services; and Kiley Mars, a human resource development specialist from Des Moines, Iowa. "There is a great difference between transferring farm and ranch assets to new owners than it is to transfer a business that is likely to succeed in the future," Baker says. Because of these differences, many farm and ranch operators are realizing the importance of creating a succession plan and the value of a skilled facilitator to lead the process of exploring options, coordinating communication and conflict management, Ueckert says this training will offer participants insight on the barriers to farm/ranch succession, strategies on working with families, facilitation tools to guide the process and opportunities to consider real-life examples of farm transfer conflicts. NDSU Extension is offering this program as a next step to strengthen its Design Your Succession
Plan educational programming offered to producers. "As I work with farm and ranch families to get started with succession plans through our Design Your Succession Plan program, I often am asked who they can turn to for help in finishing the process," Ueckert says. "By hosting this training, NDSU Extension is creating a network of professionals who will be trained to assist the families as they work through issues and conflicts while still providing the services they traditionally would." This is the first time the three-day certification training has been offered in North Dakota. It has been offered in several other states. Participants who complete the training and individually work through recommendations for a farm family as part of a case study that will be assigned following the course will be designated as certified succession coordinators. The NDSU Extension Service will maintain a list of professionals with the certification and will share the list with farm and ranch families across the state. AgCountry Farm Credit Services is co-sponsoring the training program. The registration fee is $750 if paid by July 27. After that, the fee is $850. Registration is limited to the first 30 professionals registered. Visit http://tinyurl.com/prmzc3j for more information and the training agenda.
Hanson's Chevrolet-Buick-GMC in Grafton has teamed with the national Chevrolet Youth Baseball program and the Grafton Booster Club to provide new equipment, a monetary contribution and an opportunity for community members to earn additional donations for their league through a Test Drive Fundraiser. Hanson's will present the Booster club with an equipment kit that includes bags, batting tees, catcher's gear and water bottles. In addition they'll present a check representing a one time monetary contribution. Sponsored leagues across the country will have a chance to earn additional funds as community members take test drives at their partnering dealerships. This year marks the tenth anniversary of Chevy's youth baseball program and since its introduction it's benefited more that 3.5 million young people in communities where Chevrolet customers live. for more information on the program visit www.youthsportswired.com
Senator John Hoeven this week spoke with Admiral Bill Gortney, commander of the U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM), to make the case for using Grand Forks Air Force Base to support his command’s Arctic operations. The senator also offered to host Admiral Gortney on a site visit to the base to see what it has to offer NORTHCOM. NORTHCOM is the joint command responsible for all U.S. military missions in and around North America, including the Arctic region.
“The Department of Defense is working to build the Arctic mission, which is very important because of Russian activity in the Arctic,” Hoeven said. “Clearly Grand Forks can play a major role in this effort, so I’ve spoken with Admiral Gortney and invited him to come see what we’re doing in Grand Forks with the Global Hawk and unmanned aircraft. I think he’ll come join us and see how we can be a big part of the Arctic mission.” Hoeven touted the role reconnaissance aircraft like the Global Hawks based at Grand Forks Air Force Base could play in Arctic operations. The Arctic is a vast region, and a number of world powers are keenly interested in it for commercial and military uses. It is increasingly important to the United States because of its significant energy and natural resources, as well as emerging opportunities for research. The region is also emerging as an important focus for the U.S. military, which means the Northern Command will need the right tools to secure America’s interests and national security in the region.
Because Grand Forks is closer to some parts of the Arctic than even Alaska, the base is well positioned for a role in this new military undertaking, Hoeven said. Possible missions like this underscore why Hoeven fought to get and retain the Global Hawk mission in Grand Forks, to secure the region as one of the six national test sites for UAS integration and to help establish Grand Sky, the county’s new 217-acre technology park on the grounds of the Grand Forks Air Force Base. Grand Sky, with its maintenance facilities and other UAS infrastructure, could eventually provide an ideal way to support Arctic deployments. Similarly, the University of North Dakota’s new Aerospace and UAS Research, Training and Education Building could also strengthen North Dakota’s position for Arctic missions.
Last year Hoeven was briefed by top officials at NORTHCOM headquarters at Peterson Air Force base in Colorado. The senator discussed with them how the UAS mission at Grand Forks Air Force Base can play a role in NORTHCOM’s Arctic operations. That meeting was prompted by an updated Arctic strategy report the Department of Defense released last year in response to changes in the landscape that are providing greater access to the region for a range of uses. Apart from defensive operations, these include energy development, fishing, shipping, tourism and other activities.
304 Valley-Edinburg school district patrons turned out on June 9th and elected Nick Otto, Duane Jonasson and Andrew Gullickson to terms on the school board. There were 283 votes cast for the former Valley area member of the board. Of those, Otto recieved 280 votes, Larry McCollom garnered 2 while Cory Sapa received 1 vote. Having received the highest number of votes, Otto was declared the elected member of the board and will serve a 3 year term for the former Valley area. For the former Edinburg area postition, there were 297 votes cast with Jonasson receiving 184, Linda Thorson 112 and Dale Sondeland receiving 1 vote. 295 votes were cast for the at-large postion. Gullickson was elected to a three year term with 180 votes while Paul O'toole garnered 53, William Nowatzki recieved 40 and Angela DuBois received 22 votes. Patrons also voted to approve publishing the school board minutes in the official paper of the district by a margin of 205 to 81.
Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) warns area consumers to watch out for a scam involving postcards purportedly alerting recipients to ‘a reward of up to $100 in Gas Savings.’ These ‘savings’ are allegedly redeemable at Exxon/Mobil, Shell or Sunoco. However BBB advises people to pass on this offer, as it is designed by unknown parties solely to gather personal and credit card information – or both. The postcards have no return address but urge people to call an 844 number, which is toll-free. “These bogus postcards know no season, but summer seems to lead to a spike in this kind of activity,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota. “In every case like this that we’re aware of, involving nebulous postcards, the legitimate companies cited are not aware of or affiliated with these so-called offers.” Variations of this postcard scam have popped up sporadically nationwide over the last few years, often claiming nonexistent affiliations with Walmart or Target in conjunction with supposed $100 savings or gift cards. Some notifications have been delivered via text message and through email. People may also receive phone calls claiming they’re the recipient of such prizes. Based on previous offers of this nature, those who call the toll-free phone numbers on these postcards are told they must provide a credit or debit card and will be charged a small fee – usually just over $3 – for processing. BBB advises the public to either shred these mailings or report them to the FTC (www.ftc.gov), your local post office or both. Better Business Bureau also reminds consumers to:· Never give out personal or financial information to unknown parties over the phone, through the mail or via the Internet.· Always research offers before making any decisions. Visit bbb.org or call 1-800-646-6222.· Be wary of any deals that sound too good to be true. If you’ve already provided your credit card number to the individuals behind this offer, contact your card issuer or financial institution immediately – as well as your local authorities – and monitor your statements closely.
North Dakota Farmers Union (NDFU) submitted just over 21,000 signatures today to Secretary of State Al Jaeger to refer a newly-passed law that would allow corporations to buy, rent or lease farmland in North Dakota for dairy and swine operations. The law, SB 2351, provides an exemption from the state’s corporate farming ban. “This was truly a grassroots effort. We had more than 250 volunteers collecting signatures around the state in a short 90-day window,” said Mark Watne, NDFU president. He said a number of cooperatives, organizations and businesses supported the farm organization’s effort by allowing petition carriers at storefronts and events. “While some folks want to see changing the Corporate Farming Law as the only real solution to developing animal agriculture in the state, or that this issue is a clear indication that family farms and rural communities are dying, the vast majority of our state’s citizens do not share that opinion,” Watne said. “They not only see family farms as the backbone of North Dakota, but they see in them what this state is all about: hard work, a secure food chain, and ingenuity.” NDFU had until Thursday to submit 13,452 qualified signatures to stop the law from taking effect Aug. 1. If Jaeger approves the petition, voters will weigh in at the ballot box in June 2016.