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When Jesus invited his disciples to wear his yoke, he was speaking to men who had seen a lot of animals pulling carts and plows. They knew that a yoke was used to bind two oxen together. Thus, to be yoked to Christ is to walk through all of life in union with Him.

- M. Craig Barnes

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North Dakota's top budget writer has announced another round of voluntary buyouts for state employees...

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota's top budget writer has announced another round of voluntary buyouts for state employees. Budget director Joe Morrissette says in a memo to agency heads that employees may begin applying for the buyouts on Monday.
     Republican Gov. Doug Burgum told state agencies in April to identify spending cuts for the next two-year budget. Burgum told agency directors to slash budgets 5 percent or 10 percent, depending on the size of the agency. Burgum also called for agencies to identify an additional 3 percent reduction as a cushion against commodity price swings. Morrissette says voluntary buyouts will count toward an agency's spending cuts.
     Last year, about 160 employees from cabinet-level agencies in state government were approved for voluntary buyouts, at a cost of about $3 million.


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A group that wants to change the North Dakota Constitution to explicitly bar non-U.S. citizens from voting says it has the signatures to get on the ballot. Gary Emineth, a state Senate candidate in Bismarck, submitted more than 35,000 signatures to the secretary of state's office on Friday for review. The amendment's supporters needed almost 27,000 signatures from voters to put the measure on the November ballot. The state constitution already defines a voter as a U.S. citizen, but Emineth says the wording is "ambiguous" and another section is proposed for clarity.


     MINOT, N.D. (AP) - Ward County is preparing to use produced water from the oil field to help control dust on some gravel roads. The Minot Daily News reports that the Ward County Commission approved Highway Engineer Dana Larsen's request Tuesday to purchase a brine storage tank and distribution equipment.
    The county is looking to obtain produced water from a neighboring county's well that the state Health Department says has safe water when used appropriately. Larsen hopes to get the brine facilities in place this year so that the county could start using the produced water next year.


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota's Health Department is warning residents to avoid blue-green algae that can develop in bodies of water. Hot summer weather contributes to the production of the algae that's also known as cyanobacteria. People and animals who ingest affected water can get sick and even die. There's no known antidote for toxins blue-green algae can produce.
     People are urged to avoid water that looks discolored or scummy or has a foul odor. Mike Ell of the department's Division of Water Quality says algae blooms are most common in the late summer in North Dakota.


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota's largest farm group is pushing for adjustments to crop insurance payments to protect farmers from international trade retaliations. The U.S. House and Senate versions of a new Farm Bill are heading to conference committee. The Bismarck Tribune reports that North Dakota Farmers Union sees the bill as an opportunity to raise reference prices for price loss coverage crop insurance plans. Farmers are facing an unfriendly market as negotiations flounder with U.S. trade partners.


   (Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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