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BISMARCK—The head of the North Dakota Association of Counties will retire at the end of March, the organization said Friday, Feb. 23. Mark Johnson has led the association for 35 years. Terry Traynor, its assistant director of policy and programs, will serve as interim executive director starting in April. Johnson lobbied for counties during legislative sessions and helped "create and protect funding mechanisms for local infrastructure and other county interests," the association said.
FARGO — In 1987, the Rev. Billy Graham spent three days in Fargo as part of his "Peaks to the Plains" crusade. Almost 70,000 people attended the services at North Dakota State University's Dacotah Field. The crusade took Graham to North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. He was in Fargo June 19-21. The crowds were bigger than expected and his stop in North Dakota was a financial success. The three-day event came in nearly $46,000 under budget and took in $107,000 more than anticipated.
BISMARCK—North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger approved the format of a ballot petition seeking personalized vehicle plates for volunteer emergency responders, his office said Wednesday, Feb. 21. Organizers have less than five months to get 13,452 valid signatures to have the initiated measure placed on the November ballot. The measure would add a new section to state law allowing volunteer emergency responders to apply for red personalized plates.
BISMARCK — The Greater North Dakota Chamber named Arik Spencer as its new president and CEO Tuesday, Feb. 20. Spencer, the executive vice president of the North Dakota Motor Carriers Association, succeeds Andy Peterson, who resigned in September. Spencer will start his new job April 1. "GNDC has been the voice of business in North Dakota for over 90 years, and I am grateful for the opportunity lead this vital organization," he said in a statement.
GRAND FORKS - Three Kindred, N.D., residents were injured when the pickup truck they were traveling in drove into the back of a state Department of Transportation snow plow truck on Interstate 29 on Sunday, Feb. 18, the North Dakota Highway Patrol reported. According to the Patrol's report: Gabriel Bouschee, 32, Grand Forks, was driving a 2004 Mack truck southbound, plowing in the left-hand lane and median shoulder about 13 miles south of Grand Forks when the crash occurred about 12:05 p.m.
GRAND FORKS -- The risk for flooding in the Red River Valley because of snowmelt remains low, meteorologists said Thursday. Snowpack for the Valley has been below normal for most of the winter, the National Weather Service meteorologist Greg Gust said in a news release. The soil moisture before freeze-up also was near to below normal, especially near Grand Forks.
DENVER—Joe Rosga poured in a team-high 26 points to lead Denver to a 66-63 victory against North Dakota State on Saturday in Summit League men's basketball at Magness Arena. The Bison (12-14, 4-7 SL) have lost four consecutive games. Tyson Ward paced NDSU with a career-high 28 points on 9-for-16 shooting from the floor. The 6-foot-6 sophomore also grabbed a team-high seven rebounds. Paul Miller added 12 points, five rebounds and four assists for the Bison.
FARGO - File this one under "only in North Dakota." Multiple videos have been circulating on Facebook Thursday, Feb. 8 after a cow broke loose from the Little International Livestock Show on the campus of NDSU. In the video, you can see three people trying to corral the cow near NDSU's Minard Hall, located in the heart of campus. "The cow was on the loose for a little bit," said NDSU Media Relations coordinator Sadie Rudulph.
BISMARCK—North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum named Deputy Tax Commissioner Joe Morrissette the state's new budget director Thursday, Feb. 8. Morrissette will take over as director of the Office of Management and Budget, a Cabinet-level position, March 1. He succeeds Pam Sharp, who retired Nov. 30 but has stayed on in a temporary role through the transition. Morrissette has been the state's deputy tax commissioner since 2014. He previously worked in OMB and Legislative Council, and he has a master's in business administration from the University of Mary in Bismarck.
BISMARCK—The North Dakota Public Service Commission's two rail safety inspectors issued 49 violations last year, the agency said Thursday, Feb. 8. The program was approved by state lawmakers in 2015 after an oil train derailment near Casselton, N.D., sparked an explosion in late 2013. Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak said inspectors issued "multiple violations related to wheel defects, side bearing problems, and switch issues," which "have a direct relation to derailments."