The latest U.S. Census Bureau estimates that show North Dakota’s population reached an all-time high of 723,393 residents, an increase of 22,048 from last year’s count. Last year, North Dakota’s estimated 2012 population of 699,629 residents exceeded the state's record Census count set in 1930. In the early 2000s, North Dakota was one of only a few states with a declining population. The state began to reverse that trend in 2004 with an estimated population of about 645,000 residents. Since then, North Dakota’s population has grown every year, with a total increase of about 78,000 residents. The state's population has also been getting younger. Census data shows that the median age of North Dakota residents continued to climb between 2000 and 2008, reaching about 37.3 years of age. Since 2008, the median age of North Dakota residents has declined to last year’s 36.1 years of age. Additional demographic information will be released by the Census Bureau later in 2014.
For the month of December 2013, colder than normal temperatures increased livestock feed usage across much of the state, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. A few farmers continued to harvest corn, as conditions allowed. Other activities during the month included drying grain, weaning calves, and marketing livestock. Winter wheat condition rated 3 percent very poor, 1 poor, 15 fair, 73 good, and 8 excellent. Livestock, Pasture and Range Report: Cattle and calf conditions rated 0 percent very poor, 2 poor, 11 fair, 75 good, and 12 excellent. Sheep and lamb conditions rated 0 percent very poor, 1 poor, 11 fair, 78 good, and 10 excellent. Stock water supplies rated 0 percent very short, 3 short, 90 adequate, and 7 surplus. Hay and forage supplies rated 0 percent very short, 2 short, 82 adequate, and 16 surplus.
North Dakota Deputy Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger will be taking a $9,200 annual pay cut when he takes over the agency's top post next week. Governor Jack Dalrymple last month appointed Rauschenberger to serve the remainder of term held by elected Tax Commissioner Cory Fong, who is resigning at year's end to work for a Bismarck-based advertising agency. Rauschenberger made $114,252 as deputy commissioner. By taking the top job, he will be paid Fong's annual salary of $105,050. Data shows that Rauschenberger will be one of several department bosses in the state who earn less than their subordinates. Salaries for elected officials who head agencies are set by the Legislature. Agency bosses have some discretion in setting staff salaries.
There are fewer charities in Minnesota than there were seven years ago, but the number of nonprofit employees and service locations are on the rise. Industry experts say those trends are signs of an economic rebound after the recession caused many nonprofits to merge or close. Charitable giving in Minnesota also seems healthier. When hospitals, colleges and universities are excluded, the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits says the number of nonprofit jobs in Minnesota grew 2 percent per year from 2007 to 2012. That's during a time when the for-profit sector lost jobs. In the metro area, nonprofit groups are especially interested in efforts to close the achievement gap and increase access to higher education for low-income and minority students.
A ring thought long gone has been found in Langdon after being missing for twenty years. Michele Anderson says that at first she thought someone was messing with her, but soon realized it was, indeed, her 1993 Edinburg High School Class ring. Anderson exchanged rings with her then-boyfriend but he lost the ring while working. Michele said that hearing it was lost was heartbreaking, because she'd worked hard and saved so she could afford it. Michele thought that was the end of the ring until earlier this week when it was found.
Gary Haugland called KNDK radio and told Mike Walsh he'd found a class ring the night before from 1993 with the name Michele engraved on it. On a hunch, Mike called his friend Michele to ask if she'd lost one. "YES!"
After telling her mom that her long lost ring was found, her mom reminded her what day it was.
Michele’s brother Mike was killed in a car accident when he was eleven years old. The ring was found on the same day as his birthday. She says that Christmas can be tough this time of year for her family but this year she had an amazing day.
Michele is still curious about where the ring was for those twenty years.
The ring has typical wear and tear that a twenty year old ring would have but other than that Michele says the ring is perfect.
USDA Farm Service Agency Administrator Juan Garcia reminds producers that the FSA County Committee Elections began on Dec. 20, with the mailing of ballots to eligible voters. The deadline to return the ballots to local FSA offices is Jan. 17, 2014. Producers have been instructed to destroy the ballots that were mailed on Nov. 4. The new ballots mailed to producers will have the word “corrected” printed on the outside of the mailing, the ballot itself, and the return envelope. Producers must complete and return the corrected ballot to have their vote counted. Eligible voters who do not receive a ballot in the coming week can obtain one from their local USDA Service Center. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than Jan. 17. Newly elected committee members and their alternates will take office Feb. 18, 2014.
The North Dakota State University Extension Services has updated the Crop Compare program, which is a spreadsheet designed to compare cropping alternatives. The program uses the direct costs and yields from the 2014 projected crop budgets for nine regions of North Dakota, but producers are encouraged to enter the expected yields and input costs for their farm. Andy Swenson, NDSU Extension Service farm management specialist says producers can compare the 'break-even' prices to the expected market prices to see which crop is most likely to compete with the reference crop. Swenson says Input costs and
grain prices can move quickly and the program provides a tool for producers to check the changing scenarios until final planting decisions are made.
The Crop Compare program is available on the Web at
Also, the complete 2014 crop budgets are available at
North Dakota's Game and Fish Department is reminding boat owners that 2014 is the first year of a new three-year registration period. With it comes an increase in license fees passed by the 2013 Legislature. Effective Jan. 1, the cost of registering motorboats under 16 feet in length, and all canoes, increases from $12 to $18. Motorboats from 16 feet to less than 20 feet in length go from $24 to $36. And motorboats at least 20 feet in length go from $33 to $45. The new boat registration cycle begins Jan. 1 and runs through Dec. 31, 2016.
Human Resources Generalist from Marvin Windows and Doors in Grafton Jay Haugland says the Marvin Windows employee wellness initiative program now includes a tobacco free health insurance incentive. Employees now have an opportunity to get up to 30% off their monthly premium rates if they choose to participate in up to three categories of wellness. Employees can receive a 10% reduction for participating in an annual online health assessment as well as getting some annual basic medical screenings. They can get another 10% reduction by getting advanced medical screens based on age and gender, and employees can now get an additional 10% off through the non-tobacco user incentive. The tobacco-fee incentive provides that a user must not use any form of tobacco or must be in a "Certified Quit Attempt." Haugland says the company feels that the money spent today on this type of wellness program will likely show cost savings benefits in the future. He says they feel making this inves!
!tment will ultimately help them achieve goals of reducing health care costs and steadily rising health insurance premiums, along with cut down on the use of sick leave while at the same time increase employee productivity.
Hugo's Family Marketplace in Grafton recently held a fundraiser for that city's Domestic Violence and Abuse Center. The event was called "Taste of the Holidays" and store manager Francis Ricard says over twenty vendors participated. Vendors ranged from Old Dutch to Mehl's Gluten Free Products out of Fargo. Ricard says around five hundred people attended and purchased over one hundred plates totaling over $500. He says Hugo's matched that number and brought the total to over $1,000. All of the funds will benefit the center. Ricard says Hugo's is currently taking donations for the Salvation Army at the register. He says Hugo's will be matching a portion of those donations as well.