The coming of the New Year is a great time to bring a fresh focus on financial goals, and 2015 could bring a new option for retirement savings to workers across North Dakota. Research shows that people with a 401k or similar savings plan available at work are much more likely to put money aside, but there are more than 100,000 workers in the state who currently don't have access to such programs.
Lawmakers will be asked to change that in the coming session, says Josh Askvig, associate state director for advocacy with AARP of North Dakota. "We're going to be pushing a piece of legislation that would create what we're calling Save Toward a Retirement Today or a STaRT plan, so that small businesses can offer an affordable option for their employees to start saving for retirement through work," he explains.
Askvig says participation by private sector businesses would be voluntary, and enrollment would also be optional for the employees where a STaRT plan is offered. These basic retirement accounts would be portable, so a person could change jobs and continue to save.
Askvig also notes there would be no ongoing costs or risks for North Dakota. "It won't be commingled with any of the state funds for retirement," he stresses. "So, the state isn't responsible for any participant gains or losses in the market.
"The state gets the benefit of knowing that people start saving for retirement and they'll have less reliance on public safety net services when they have a better retirement nest egg, when they reach that age." t's estimated that nearly half of working households have no retirement savings at all - and among those who do, for most it's nowhere near the amount needed to maintain their standard of living. North Dakota's 2015 Legislature gavels into session Jan. 6.
The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) is reporting widespread
influenza activity for North Dakota. As of December 13, 332 cases of laboratory-confirmed influenza have been reported, with a large increase in the number of cases reported in the last
two weeks. Several community outbreaks have also been reported in recent weeks.
“For the third season in a row, influenza activity is starting earlier than is typical,” said Jill
Baber, influenza surveillance coordinator for NDDoH. “Because the influenza season may very
well continue for weeks, it’s important that everyone take precautions to avoid spreading the flu, including getting the flu vaccine.”
It is common for different types of flu strains to circulate each season. Nationwide, the majority
of flu cases have been caused by Influenza A H3N2 this season. However, this circulating A
H3N2 strain has changed a little (or drifted) from the A H3N2 strain used to make the vaccine.
“At this time, no cases of the drifted strain have been identified in North Dakota, but it is likely
that it is present in the state,” said Baber. “We want to reiterate that vaccination is still advised.”
The vaccine is effective against other influenza strains circulating in the country and may still
provide some protection against the drifted strain.
In years when the circulating influenza viruses differ from the vaccine components, treatment
with influenza antivirals becomes especially important. Treatment with antivirals works best
when begun within 48 hours of getting sick. For this reason, it is important people receive
prompt medical attention if they think they may have the flu. Antivirals may also be given to
people at risk of severe complications of flu if they know they have been exposed to someone
diagnosed with flu.
The Census Bureau is reporting that North Dakota’s population has reached an all-time high of 739,482 residents. The state’s latest population estimate is an increase of 15,625 residents from last year’s count.
“Our economic growth over the last decade continues to keep North Dakotans home, and we are attracting new residents who come for good jobs, a stable economy and a quality of life that is second to none,” Dalrymple said.
North Dakota’s population has increased by 2.2 percent since last year, the largest percent increase in the nation. North Dakota’s population growth was followed by Nevada and Texas, each recording 1.7 percent growth. With the exception of North Dakota, the 10 fastest-growing states are located in the southern or western regions of the United States.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 94,000 residents.
North Dakota’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 35.3 years of age, making North Dakota the fourth youngest state behind Utah, Alaska and Texas. Additional demographic information will be released by the Census Bureau later in 2015.
A class focusing on adapting a marketing plan, understanding grain contracts & risk management will be offered in Devils Lake and Langdon.
The class will be held at Lake Region State College Monday and Wednesday afternoons 1:00 to 4:00 pm January 14th, 21st, 26th 28th, and February 2nd. The classes will be held at the Dakota Precision Ag Center (DPAC) on Highway 20 North in Devils Lake as part of Lake Region State College.
Classes will also be offered at the Langdon Research Extension Center in Langdon, ND on Tuesday & Thursday afternoons from 1:00 to 4:00 pm January 13th, 15th, 20th, 22nd, & 27th.
Allison Noll who is the Farm Business Management Instructor, at Lake Region State College will be instructing the class.
This series of classes will focus on creating a personalized marketing plan for individual operations. They will emphasize goal setting, market planning, contract months, and seasonal trends. They will also focus on stochastic, trend line analysis, cash market alternatives, and basis. Lastly it will focus on the options of agricultural futures, options for price protection, futures market, hedging, and risk management.
The cost of the class is approximately $160.00 equal to one credit offered through Lake Region State College.
Please contact your local Farm Business Management Instructor, Allison Noll at the Langdon Research & Extension Center 9280 107th Ave NE Langdon, ND 58249 or call at her office: (701) 256-2582 or on her cell: (701) 520-4791 to register.
The Grafton Area Chamber of Commerce held the final Big Bucks From Santa drawing on Saturday. Jalene Suda of Grafton was present at Hugo's Family Marketplace when her name was drawn over KXPO. Suda received $300 in Grafton bucks which can be used like cash at Grafton businesses. Suda was the third name drawn on Saturday as the first names selected weren't verified as present at any of the participating stores.
The State Game and Fish Department has decided to not implement its proposal to limit deer hunters to only one license for the 2015 season. While it is still months before the 2015 season is set, that means deer hunters will again be able to apply for deer gun and muzzleloader lottery licenses, and also purchase an archery license.
Game and Fish Director Terry Steinwand said the decision involved several factors, including substantial public input both for and against the proposal, and significant costs needed to put the new system in place. “One of our goals is to increase the deer population statewide, and we can still work toward that under the current system,” Steinwand said. Under the proposal that Game and Fish offered in early November, in 2015 deer hunters who received a lottery deer gun or muzzleloader license, or a gratis license, would not have been able to purchase an additional archery license.
Game and Fish drafted the proposal based on public input and comments following eight special deer meetings held in February 2014. The meetings were set up to encourage public input on options for changing the way deer licenses are distributed, because of a significant reduction in the state’s deer population. In 2014 Game and Fish allocated 48,000 deer gun season licenses, compared to more than 140,000 licenses as recently as 2008. In addition, Game and Fish used the recent fall round of district advisory board meetings to further discuss the resulting proposal. “Over the past year,” Steinwand said, “we’ve had a thorough and healthy discussion on the Department’s role in providing opportunity.” For instance, in 2013 about 10,000 hunters had both gun and bow licenses, while just over 20,000 prospective hunters who applied for a gun license did not receive any type of deer license. “This was a social issue more than it was a biological issue,” Steinwand said, “but it is Game and Fish’s responsibility to address how our policies and regulations affect hunters as well as wildlife. We will continue to look at all feasible alternatives for future years that will provide opportunity for the most hunters possible.”
Before a proposed oil refinery moves forward, the city of Devils Lake is ensuring the project is a good fit for the city.
Eagles Ledge Energy says it's prepared to spend 200 million dollars to build a refinery just west of town. The city is conducting a background check, just to make sure the two sides will be able to work together on the project. Rachel Lindstrom with Forward Devils Lake says the report is bringing back good news. She says the next step in the process is a zoming meeting with the city later this week.
Although the project is moving forward officials say they're still years away from seeing a refinery built. Eagles Ledge plans to file for a permit to build in January, which could take up to eleven months to approve.
The Coyote Catalog, a statewide effort connecting coyote hunters and trappers with landowners who want fewer coyotes in their areas, has been reopened by the North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA) and the North Dakota Game and Fish Department (NDGF).
“I encourage landowners, especially farmers and ranchers who have problems with coyote depredation, to sign up for the Coyote Catalog,” said Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. “Hunting and trapping are valuable tools in managing these predators.”
This past season, 74 landowners signed up for the Coyote Catalog, a more than 50 percent increase over the previous year. Nearly 900 hunters and trappers also signed up.
NDDA officials estimate livestock producers in North Dakota lost more than $1 million last year to coyotes. At the same time, coyotes are a popular furbearer species for hunters and trappers.
“This can be a good way for hunters and trappers to locate new places to go,” said NDGF Director Terry Steinwand. “We’ve also had some positive feedback from landowners as well.”
Goehring and Steinwand said the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services should be the first contact for landowners experiencing coyote depredation of livestock.
Landowners can sign up on the NDDA website at www.nd.gov/ndda/coyote-catalog. Required information includes county and contact information.
Hunters and trappers can sign up at the NDGF website at sign up http://gf.nd.gov/hunting/hunter-contact-form.
Throughout the winter, hunters or trappers will receive information on participating landowners, and they can then contact landowners to make arrangements.
Anyone who registered for the Coyote Catalog in the past must register again to activate their names on the database. The Coyote Catalog will remain active through March 31.
The Grafton Area Chamber of Commerce held its first Big Bucks From Santa drawing on Saturday. Nancy Puppe of Grafton was present at True Value when her name was drawn over KXPO. Puppe received $200 in Grafton bucks which can be uses like cash at Grafton businesses. Another drawing will be held on KXPO this Saturday afternoon (12/20/14) for $300 in Grafton bucks.
You'll have a chance to win $200 in Grafton bucks this weekend during the 2nd annual Big Bucks from Santa giveaway. The event is hosted by the Grafton Area Chamber of Commerce. Shoppers can visit any of the participating Grafton businesses throughout the week where they'll receive a ticket with each purchase. Tickets will then be drawn on KXPO Saturday afternoon at 2 o'clock . Entrants must be present in one of the participating businesses when their name is drawn to win. Chamber Director Todd Morgan says the drawing is back by popular demand. He says the merchants had such a good response from it last year they requested to do it again this year. The Chamber will hold another Big Bucks drawing the following Saturday, December 20th for $300 in Grafton bucks. And Morgan says the winner of the first drawing will remain eligible to enter to win the second as well.
1. Country Smokehouse
2. Home of Economy
3. B&D Flooring
4. C&J treasures
6. Grafton Floral and Greenhouse
7. Embroidery Plus
8. Razzle Dazzle
9. Golden Harvest Jewelry
10. Mary's Ladies Fashions
11. Grafton True Value
12. Second Time Around
13. The Squire Shop
14. Luscious Boutique