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KHRT ND News - Friday - 01/11/19 - Morning Edition

A former U.S. attorney from North Dakota who went through a government shutdown in 2013 says the most difficult part of his tenure was sending people home without pay....

     FARGO, N.D. (AP) - A former U.S. attorney from North Dakota who went through a government shutdown in 2013 says the most difficult part of his tenure was sending people home without pay.

    Timothy Purdon, who now works in private practice for the Minneapolis-based Robins Kaplan firm, says employees who are forced on furlough take it as a message that what they do doesn't matter. He says it's devastating for the morale of a U.S attorney's office. Purdon says it can also create hard feelings down the road for people who are kept on the job if Congress decides to award retroactive pay to furloughed employees. He calls it a no-win situation.

    Most employees placed on furlough in the U.S. attorney's office are on the civil side because criminal cases are given priority.


     MINOT, N.D. (AP) - A Fargo man who authorities say led a forgery ring in Minot has been sentenced to three years in prison. The Minot Daily News reports that 28-year-old Ridge Christianson pleaded guilty Wednesday to a felony forgery conspiracy charge. Authorities say Christianson and several others wrote fraudulent checks on the accounts of two Minot businesses. They've been ordered to pay more than $11,000 in restitution.


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - An administrative law judge in North Dakota is recommending that state officials issue a water permit for an oil refinery being developed near Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

    Area landowners had challenged a proposed permit that would allow the Davis Refinery to draw water from an underwater aquifer. Administrative Law Judge Tim Dawson held a hearing in November. On Tuesday he recommended the permit be granted. State Engineer Garland Erbele has the final say. Landowners can appeal his decision to state district court.

    Refinery developer Meridian Energy Group issued a statement Thursday applauding the decision. Meridian is developing the refinery just 3 miles from North Dakota's top tourist attraction. It still needs a wastewater permit, and its state air quality permit is being challenged in court by environmental groups.


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A North Dakota lawmaker wants the public to know the costs of providing security for the governor, lieutenant governor and their families. Republican Rep. Bill Devlin also wants better documentation of their travel.

    Devlin's bill comes after questions from lawmakers, The Associated Press and other media about the level of personal security for Gov. Doug Burgum. It also comes in the wake of a state audit last year that found the wealthy first-term GOP governor inappropriately used state aircraft for personal travel. That's something Burgum has denied.

    Burgum spokesman Mike Nowatzki says that the governor had not seen the measure and likely would not comment.


     MINOT, N.D. (AP) - The first U.S. Navy submarine in a century to carry the name North Dakota is returning from its first deployment later this month. The Minot Daily News reports that the $2.6 billion, 377-foot-long USS North Dakota will return to its home port of Groton, Connecticut, on Jan. 31 after a six-month deployment.

    The submarine is able to launch cruise missiles, deliver special forces and carry out surveillance. Naval Commander Mark Robinson says the deployment included 68 days of operations that required "the most rigorous attention." The USS North Dakota is just the second Navy vessel named for North Dakota. A World War I-era battleship was also named for the state. The submarine was commissioned at Groton in 2014.



   (Copyright 2019 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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