The recent harvest of a three-acre sweet corn plot at Lincoln-Oakes Nurseries netted approximately 37,162 pounds of produce designated for the Hunger Free ND Garden Project. The produce was donated to the Great Plains Food Bank for distribution across the state; as well as direct donations to organizations located in and around Bismarck/Mandan. "This year's total doubles the amount picked and donated last year," Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said. "I'm thankful to our partners, sponsors and numerous volunteers who came out in force to make this contribution to the Hunger Free ND Garden Project." With a yearly goal of 250,000 pounds of fresh produce wanted for the program, gardeners across the state are invited to donate extra fruits and vegetables from their harvest this year to help meet the needs of hungry North Dakotans. Goehring said information about the Hunger Free ND Garden Project, including drop-off points for garden-grown produce is available on the North Dakota Department of Agriculture website, www.nd.gov/ndda<http://www.nd.gov/ndda>.
The Hunger Free ND Garden Program was started in 2010 through the local foods initiative of the North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA) in partnership with the Great Plains Food Bank. The statewide program encourages home gardeners and commercial growers to plant extra produce each year for donation to charitable organizations across the state. Since its inception, the program has recorded over 1.4 million pounds of fresh produce donations.
New information tonight about a crash near Langon. A woman was hit and killed last night while out running with her dog. The North Dakota Highway patrol says around 9:15 p.m. 31-year-old Stella Brown of Langdon was on North Dakota Highway 5 about a mile outside of Langdon when she was hit by an SUV. 25-year-old Aaron Olson from Langdon was driving the SUV and coming back from work when he hit Brown from behind.She was pronounced dead at the scene. The crash and death are still under investigation.
The Walsh County Sheriff's Department has posted a warning to area farmers. A notice on the department's Facebook page states Within the last month there have been a few rural farmstead burglaries. The suspect or suspects are choosing farmsteads without a primary family dwelling on them that have shops and other out buildings. The department says anyone with property similar to what they describe should secure and remove any property of value; Also alert their neighbors to be on the lookout for any suspicious vehicles. Cavalier County Sheriff’s Office has reported similar style burglaries in their County, with the addition of Farm Machinery being broken into. Anyone with more information is being asked to contact the Walsh County Sheriff’s Office at (701) 352-2041.
Grafton, ND - This spring, a group of Walsh County Master Gardener Interns
have been awarded a $500 grant to plant and maintain a NDSU Master Gardener
Model Pollinator Garden. A garden show-and-tell is planned on September 7th
from 4-7 pm. The garden contains 14 species of native perennials
strategically chosen to bloom in spring, summer and fall to nourish native
pollinators. Native and ornamental grasses, annual flowers and other
ornamental plants, hardy to the area, round out the Model Pollinator
Garden. It is located at the north end of Leistikow Memorial Park in
Grafton, ND. Public is encouraged to visit the site.
The North Dakota Extension Master Gardener Program is working to develop 16
pollinator gardens across the state. The Model Pollinator Garden's purposes
is to provide much needed habitat for native pollinators in our area,
including bumble bees and butterflies and to create a public teaching
garden that can be jointly utilized by Master Gardeners and Extension
Agents to encourage the public to plant home pollinator gardens. Many of
our native pollinators, much like honeybee colonies, have seen numbers and
general health in decline. This decline has a variety of contributing
causes. Plants in the pollinator gardens provide food for pollinators as
well as host plants necessary for many butterfly larvae, including
Grafton-area Master Gardener Interns will host an open house garden
show-and-tell on September 7th from 4-7 pm. Interns will be working in the
Model Pollinator Garden at this time and are available to answer questions
about the plants, pollinators and the pollinator garden program. A number
of educational materials will be available, as well.
A large portion of the garden was planted this spring and many perennials
will need time to establish. A few of the new plantings flowered this
season, but a more exciting showing is expected from this garden in the
coming year. More educational opportunities involving the Model Pollinator
Garden are being planned.
If you are interested in helping to reverse the decline in native
pollinators, consider planting your own pollinator garden or adding
elements to an existing garden that will provide much needed habitat. If
you are unable to attend the garden show and tell, more information is
available at https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/mastergardener/pollinator-garden-
resources or call 520-4594 to schedule a tour of the Model Pollinator
Traffic was backed up on 12th Street in Grafton for a short time on Saturday. The back up was the result of an arrest on the street by the Grafton Police Department. Police Chief Anthony Dumas says At approximately 11 AM Saturday morning, police attempted to arrest a male with seven outstanding warrants. He says the man jumped from a second story window while trying to escape. The man was then pursued on foot and at taser was deployed to subdue him. The name of the suspect has not yet been released.
North Dakota State University potato research will be highlighted during the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association Field Day on Thursday, Aug. 25. This year, the field day tour will travel to three locations. The day will begin at 7 a.m. with breakfast at Hoverson Farms near Larimore. Research presentations will begin at 8:15 a.m. Lunch and research presentations will be at the Forest River Colony near Inkster at noon. Also scheduled is a field tour of the irrigated research trials. The last stop will be at Oberg Farms near Hoople starting at 5 p.m. The final stop will include research poster presentations and an evening meal. Field day topics are: * Aphid alert and Colorado potato beetle update * Plant back of russets that received dicamba and glyphosate the previous year * Psyllid identification, scouting and management * Late blight and Dickeya update * Potato clones at NDSU and the University of Minnesota * Advancing dual-purpose russets and chip processing selections * Screening for tolerance to metribuzin Potato research and NDSU Extension Service activities are occurring throughout North Dakota and Minnesota, according to Andy Robinson, NDSU and University of Minnesota Extension potato agronomist. The work addresses potato breeding, nutrient management, and disease, insect and weed pests. "The research is focused on improving potato production for North Dakota and Minnesota growers," says Robinson. "However, the implications of the research can affect production practices throughout the U.S. and world."
New tests found significant decreases in the use of bee-killing pesticides on "bee-friendly" plants. That's good news for bees.
Friends of the Earth and the Pesticide Research Institute took samples of plants in 13 U.S. cities compared them to samples taken in 2013 and 2014. They were looking for neonicotinoid insecticides in plants sold to gardeners and home owners.
In the previous tests, half of the plants tested positive for the toxins. This time, only 23 percent did. Tiffany Finck-Haynes, food futures campaigner with Friends of the Earth, said big box retailers like Home Depot and Lowe's are starting to sell "bee-friendly" plants.
"Almost 70 retailers across the U.S. have made commitments to stop selling plants - and in some cases, products - that contain bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides," Finck-Haynes said. "And so that's what's really shifting the entire garden industry."
North Dakota is home to at least 220,000 bee colonies, and is the top honey-producing state in the nation. While North Dakota was one of only a few states to add colonies in 2015, according to a recent survey from the Bee Informed Partnership, on average U.S. beekeepers lost about 40 percent of their colonies due to pesticides and parasites.
Bee losses have to stop, Finck-Haynes said. But some retailers are still selling plants pre-treated with pesticides. She said she hopes consumers will put pressure on those companies.
"Over 50 percent of Americans are more likely to shop at a Lowe's or a Home Depot because they've made that commitment to stop selling these bee-killing pesticides," Finck-Haynes said. "So, this really demonstrates to Walmart, Ace and True Value that they could potentially lose their customers if they don't make these formal commitments."
More than 100 businesses, cities, universities, states and countries have restricted use of pesticides that are lethal to bees. According to a survey by Greenhouse Grower magazine, nearly three-quarters of growers who supply mass merchants and home-improvement chains said they will not use neonicotinoids this year.
A list of retailer's and grower's policies on pesticide use is available here.
Extra traffic safety patrols during the month of July resulted in over 2,400 citizen contacts across North Dakota. Forty-eight law enforcement agencies, including the North Dakota Highway Patrol, added extra shifts in July for Click It Or Ticket seat belt enforcement. A total of 2,351 citations were attributed to the added patrols. Of the total, 848 were citations for failure to use a proper safety restraint and 24 were child restraint citations. Tickets for speeding totaled 915. The traffic stops also resulted in eight felony violation arrests, 15 drug arrests and eleven alcohol-related arrests or citations. The purpose of heightened enforcement of seat belt laws is to save lives, because failure to use a seat belt is the most common factor associated with motor vehicle crash injuries and deaths. Last year in North Dakota, 93 percent of uninjured survivors of fatal crashes were wearing a seat belt. Counting only those who were traveling in a seat belt-equipped vehicle, seven out of nine crash fatalities in the 20 days from July 22 through August 10 were not wearing a seat belt. Funding for additional traffic safety enforcement is provided by federal grant money distributed through the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT). Learn more about traffic safety initiatives at ndcodefortheroad.org or join the conversation on the Code for the Road Facebook page or Twitter.
As North Dakota law enforcement agencies announce the annual Labor Day crackdown to prevent impaired driving, they have a new ally: Miss North Dakota, Macy Christianson. After receiving her crown in June, Macy is focused on making a difference during her reign by urging North Dakotans to make the smart decision not to drink and drive. Macy has added the momentum of her platform to the North Dakota Department of Transportation's Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign this month. "About half of the motor vehicle deaths in our state have been alcohol-related-those are lives that could be saved if the driver was sober," said Macy. "Drinking and driving is a decision that can overturn your life-and the life of someone else." Forty-eight law enforcement agencies across the state, including the North Dakota Highway Patrol, will deploy additional patrols for DUI enforcement August 17 through September 5. Along with the North Dakota Highway Patrol (NDHP), the University of North Dakota and Sheriffs' Departments in Grand Forks, Pembina and Walsh counties, and the Grand Forks Police Department are participating in extra DUI enforcement this month. "The Labor Day holiday is busy with traffic as people enjoy one last summer weekend before heading back to school," said University of North Dakota Police Captain Tracy Meidinger. "Please don't get carried away with your celebration-have a sober driver. The right decision is in your hands." Funding for high-intensity impaired driving enforcement is provided by the North Dakota Department of Transportation in order to prevent impaired driving crashes. Learn more about the efforts to reduce roadway deaths and serious injuries at ndcodefortheroad.org<http://www.ndcodefortheroad.org> or join the conversation on the Code for the Road Facebook or Twitter page. Memorials to individuals killed by impaired drivers in North Dakota can be viewed at ndcodefortheroad.org/memorial<http://www.ndcodefortheroad.org/memorial/>.
BISMARCK — The most in-depth audit to date of the computer network that supports North Dakota's state government found a "fundamental weakness" in the Information Technology Department's inability to deploy security patches to state-owned computers and software outside of its control.
Virginia-based ManTech International Corp., the paid consultant that probed the network from January to March, said of greatest concern were its findings of critical risks and high risks on multiple systems when doing a "blacklist" scan, which simulates an attacker scanning the network for vulnerabilities.
"These vulnerabilities present a real risk to the network and should be addressed immediately," said the audit report released this week.
Mike Ressler, chief information officer at ITD, said he values the audit's findings but believes the state network is well-guarded.
"I feel pretty comfortable that we've got some secure systems today. If something happened, I believe we're going to find it," he said Wednesday.
Ressler noted the network hasn't experienced a major breach since June 2015, when an unauthorized user gained access to a state server containing incident and payroll reports made to Workforce Safety & Insurance, the state's workers' compensation agency. The server also held data for the Health Department and the Teachers' Fund for Retirement, but ITD said there was no evidence of personally identifiable information being removed.
"We're spending a lot more money today on detection than we ever have before," Ressler said.
The state auditor's office spent $150,000 on the vulnerability assessment, which is done every two years and funded by the Legislature, said Donald LaFleur, information systems audit manager for the office.
ManTech found that while ITD "seems to be doing an excellent job" ensuring that security patches are deployed to ITD-controlled assets, "a fundamental weakness continues to exist" in ensuring that client systems also are patched.
"The problem here is that ITD, while they have a lot of stuff under their control, the agencies still have their personal computers and their own software under their control," LaFleur said.
ManTech said ITD must be able to create and enforce a patch management policy with all of its clients, or failure to install timely updates could put the entire network at risk. ITD responded that it has a formal patch management program in place, but desktop computers not supported by ITD are the responsibility of the agency that owns them.
Ressler said there are times when consolidating patch management is beneficial, but depending on the application and state agency, it may slow things down.
"I think we've done a lot of consolidating in North Dakota where it makes sense," he said. "What's unfortunate is sometimes when you put a patch on that fixes one thing, it might break three other things."
He said ITD could do more with unlimited resources and dollars but must prioritize.
"We believe it's being done to the level that we can do it," he said.
The audit also found that the encryption used for point-to-point connections was using shared passwords and "no one knew the last time they were changed." ManTech recommended reviewing all of the network's encryption and changing it as required.
Ressler said he believed only a few network security staff shared the password and it didn't pose a big risk, but ITD will implement ManTech's recommendations as best practice.
The Legislature's interim Information Technology Committee will receive the report Aug. 31. It's available on the auditor's website atwww.nd.gov/auditor.