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  • Associated Press News Summaries for Saturday
      BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — State Forest Service officials say drought conditions are making many areas of North Dakota vulnerable to fires.    Forest Service spokesman Ryan Melin tells the Bismarck Tribune that indicators that predict the potential for fire and its severity are more serious now than in previous years in June.    North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum declared a drought emergency this week and directed state agencies to coordinate drought response efforts.    The U.S. Drought Monitor shows that 8 percent of the state in extreme drought, 32 percent is in severe drought, 27 percent is in moderate drought and 33 percent is abnormally dry.    Melin says if conditions don't improve, the state could see a threat of "catastrophic wildfires, uncontrollable fires."    The Forest Service has 20 full-time and seasonal firefighters and equipment.WAHPETON, N.D. (AP) — A music-loving orangutan at a zoo in southeastern North Dakota is getting another opportunity to play with a world-traveling band.    Talukan from the Chahinkapa Zoo played a recorder during a performance with the New York Kammermusiker group last year.    The Wahpeton Daily News reports the double-reed chamber music ensemble has three upcoming performances in Wahpeton, with one scheduled at the zoo.    Zoo Director Kathy Diekman says several musicians will be visiting the zoo before the June 27 performance to get acclimated with him.    Diekman says orangutans can show their feelings and emotions through their face. She says zoo staff train with Talukan regularly and they believe he has a love of music.    The music group's director Ilonna Pederson says they're known for their experimental and improvisatory performances.FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Several flour milling executives from Nigeria and South America are coming to North Dakota.    The team is looking to learn more about hard red spring wheat and durum production and quality. They will meet with researchers at North Dakota State University and tour the Northern Crops Institute.    The two countries combine to import an average of 80 million bushels of U.S. wheat annually.    Erica Olson, spokeswoman for the North Dakota Wheat Commission, which is hosting the team, says Nigeria is especially interested in durum because of the growing pasta industry in the country.    The executives are scheduled to be in Fargo on Monday and Tuesday. They also have planned stops in Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Minnesota.WAHPETON, N.D. (AP) — Wahpeton's longtime economic development director is retiring.    Jane Priebe's last day on the job will be Aug. 4, one day shy of her 12th anniversary as director. She says she looks forward to spending more time with family.    The Daily News reports that Priebe has spent nearly four decades working for the city.RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — The Pennington County Public Defender's Office is asking the county for about $350,000 to help defend a man facing the death penalty for the alleged murder of his ex-girlfriend.    The Rapid City Journal reports that the extra costs in Jonathon Klinetobe's case involve expert evaluations, travel expenses and witness fees.    The 27-year-old Klinetobe, of Sturgis, is charged with first-degree murder for the stabbing death of Jessica Rehfeld. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Klinetobe and Richard Hirth, an alleged accomplice.    Eric Whitcher, director of the public defender's office, says it's a complex issue and death penalty cases are "extremely expensive." He could not elaborate because of a judge's gag order.    Authorities say they believe Rehfeld's May 2015 death was a contract killing. Her body was discovered last summer.SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A nonprofit that operates a ranch for troubled boys in South Dakota has joined the local food movement.    The Argus Leader reports that a donation of five cow-calf pairs from the South Dakota Farm Bureau means the McCrossan Boys Ranch will soon be able to feed its approximately 65 boys beef from cattle they've bred and cared for themselves.    The last of the pairs arrived earlier this month. The nonprofit marked the event with a public viewing of the cattle and a competition in which the boys had a burger grill-off.    The animals will serve as the basis of a cattle-breeding program long known for its horse rearing and 4-H programs. Some of the cattle born in coming years will feed the boys, and others will be sold.RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — The property rental market in Rapid City remains tight in spite of ongoing construction of new apartment complexes and renovation of many existing units.    The Rapid City Journal reports that renters working near the minimum wage level are especially impacted by the market.    A recent report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition shows that a full-time worker making minimum wage in Rapid City, and spending no more than 30 percent of income on rent, would fall about $100 short of the price of the average studio apartment.    The coalition says that workers statewide that bring home minimum wage would need to put in a 65-hour week to pay the rent on a basic two-bedroom house.PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The South Dakota State Fire Marshal says it's especially important this year to be careful with fireworks on the Fourth of July.    Fire Marshal Paul Merriman says using fireworks safely is always the main concern, but dry conditions in most of South Dakota this year mean there's a higher risk of starting unintentional fires. He says officials are "really encouraging people to be careful with fireworks."    Fireworks can be legally purchased in South Dakota from Tuesday until July 5. It's legal to light off fireworks through July 9.    Merriman says mishandled fireworks can cause injuries or fires. Individual cities can adopt fireworks limitations that are stricter than the state's rules.LITTLE CANADA, Minn. (AP) — Authorities say three people were shot and injured following an altercation in a Twin Cities suburb.    The Ramsey County Sheriff's Office says the incident happened early Saturday morning near a restaurant and bar in Little Canada. Officers received one call about a report of a disorderly party and another call of a shooting in the area.    Officers arrested one man who they believe is the sole suspect in the shooting.    Authorities say the three people injured were taken to area hospitals. Their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.    Police originally reported that four people were hurt in the shooting.CLOQUET, Minn. (AP) — Community leaders are working to keep an eastern Minnesota city's wood and timber industry legacy alive by luring a new company to take the place of a match factory which will soon close.    Minnesota Public Radio reports that the Diamond Match factory in Cloquet announced last month that it will close sometime between July 28 and August 11.    Newell Brands recently sold the Diamond Match brand to Royal Oak Enterprises. The new owners decided to close the Cloquet factory, putting 85 people out of their jobs.    Wood product manufacturing jobs in Minnesota have declined more than 30 percent over the past 10 years. Paper mill jobs have decreased by more than 20 percent.    Cloquet community development director Holly Hansen says some wood product industry companies are touring the factory.MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The City of Minneapolis will help test a new green housing design developed by two University of Minnesota alumni.    The Minnesota Daily reports that the Minneapolis City Council is receiving a $22,400 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy through the university for studying the nine MonoPath homes.    Steve Schirber and Andy Campbell developed the concept while at the university. They're now trying to bring their idea to market.    Schirber says the homes are designed to be more durable, use less energy, be less expensive and be more environmentally friendly. One of the design's innovations is putting insulation on the exterior of the house.    The city will study two homes this summer in low income neighborhoods. The other seven will be built over the next 18 months.ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton has agreed to continue to fund the Minnesota Legislature until October, while lawmakers' lawsuit over his decision to cut their funding is pending.    A joint stipulation filed Friday by Dayton's attorneys and lawyers for Republican legislative leaders asks the court to continue funding for House and Senate members, their staffs and their operating obligations for 90 days.    Dayton says in a statement that if approved, the agreement will protect legislative employees and Minnesota's credit rating. He says he hopes the agreement signals the resumption of good faith negotiations to resolve differences.
  • Department of Health Warns of Blue-Green Algae Outbreaks
     BISMARCK, N.D. – Hot summer weather can contribute to the production of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) in bodies of water that are used by people, pets and livestock. Blue-green algae discolor the water and can cause foam, scum or mats to appear on the surface. When severe blooms occur, the water can have the appearance of spilled green paint or green pea soup.  Blue-green algae can also produce toxins in the water called cyanotoxins. People and animals that swallow water containing cyanotoxins can become sick. Symptoms include diarrhea and vomiting; numb lips; tingling fingers and toes; dizziness; or rashes, hives or skin blisters. In severe cases, cyanotoxins can result in death. There are no known antidotes for the cyanotoxins produced by blue-green algae. Children are at higher risk than adults for illness because they can ingest a higher dose of toxin relative to their smaller size. The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) can test water for toxins and, if they are detected, issue advisories to the public. However, because it can take time to test the water, people are urged to err on the side of caution and avoid waters that look discolored or scummy, or that have a foul odor.  “This summer we have already had several reports of livestock deaths linked to blue-green algae blooms and cyanotoxin poisoning,” said Mike Ell with the NDDoH Division of Water Quality. Recent reports of blue-green algae blooms in Stanley Pond in Mountrail County and Harvey Reservoir in Wells County have prompted officials to issue exposure advisories at those recreational areas. The NDDoH and North Dakota Department of Agriculture, Animal Health Division, urge the public to avoid contact with or swallowing water contaminated by blue-green algae, and to protect pets and livestock from waters that are affected. According to Ell, “An advisory is issued to remind people that these blooms are most common in North Dakota in late summer, but it only takes a few hot days to trigger a bloom. Exposure can cause people and animals to become ill.” “Whether it’s blue-green algae or toxic water due to increased salts and sulfates, cattle can develop adverse clinical signs, including death,” said Dr. Michelle Mostrom with NDSU’s Veterinary Diagnostic Lab. “A primary factor in these deaths is that cyanobacteria blooms can occur quickly, within a day, and it’s difficult for livestock producers to check water quality daily or every other day, which is very important in cases of cyanotoxin poisoning caused by cyanobacterial blooms. Some of these cyanotoxins are quick neurotoxins and can kill livestock in a few minutes to a few hours; no treatment will be effective after the toxin has been quickly absorbed.”  The NDDoH and the Department of Agriculture, Animal Health Division, recommends these steps to avoid exposure to cyanotoxins: Respect advisories announced by public health authorities. Do not swim, water ski, or boat in areas where the water is discolored or where you see foam, scum or mats of green or blue-green algae on the water. If you accidentally swim in water that might have a cyanobacteria bloom, rinse off with fresh water as soon as possible. Do not let pets or livestock swim in or drink from areas where the water is discolored or where you see foam, scum, or mats of algae. If pets (especially dogs) swim in scummy water, rinse them off immediately – do not let them lick the algae (and toxins) off. Do not irrigate lawns or golf courses with pond water that looks scummy or smells bad. For more information about the effects of blue-green algae blooms on pets and livestock, contact the Animal Health Division, North Dakota Department of Agriculture at 701.328.2655. For more information on public health issues or to report a suspected blue-green algae bloom, visit the NDDoH Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) website at www.tinyurl.com/nodakhabs or contact the North Dakota Department of Health, Division of Water Quality at 701.328.5210.
  • Department of Health Offering Free Suicide, Bullying, Substance Use Prevention Training
     BISMARCK, N.D. –(Jennifer Skjod) - The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) has partnered with Sources of Strength, an evidence-based suicide, bullying, and substance use prevention program, to put on a training event in Bismarck...
  • Drought Worsens in North Dakota
     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Drought conditions have worsened dramatically in North Dakota over the past week.The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map shows about 8 percent of the state in extreme drought. None of the state was in that category a week ago. The areas of extreme drought are in the southwest, central and northwest. Another 40 percent of the state is severe drought and 27 percent is in moderate drought. The rest of the state is rated abnormally dry. The drought conditions are harming crops and also have prompted many ranchers to sell off cattle. Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring is hosting a drought meeting at the Farm Credit Services building in Mandan from 2-4 p.m. on Tuesday, June 27.
  • Crash Damages Garage Units
     JAMESTOWN - A car unexpectedly accelerated on Wednesday night, causing the driver to strike a garage unit in northeast Jamestown.There were no injuries...
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