Patrick Springer first joined the reporting staff of The Forum in 1985. He can be reached by calling 701-241-5522. Have a comment to share about a story? Letters to the editor should include author’s name, address and phone number. Generally, letters should be no longer than 250 words. All letters are subject to editing. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org
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FARGO — A bill to establish a state ethics commission pushed by GOP leaders would shield subjects of ethics complaints in secrecy until final findings are issued and would impose criminal defamation penalties on those who file “knowingly false” complaints. House Bill 1521, legislation to implement an ethics measure passed by North Dakota voters in the November 2018 election, was introduced by Rep. Chet Pollert, R-Carrington, the House majority leader, and Sen. Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson, the Senate majority leader.
FARGO — North Dakota patients who receive air ambulance services outside their health insurance networks will remain liable for bills that can exceed $60,000 because a federal judge has struck down consumer protection provisions under a state law. The decision, by U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland in Bismarck, marks the second time a law passed by the North Dakota Legislature to protect consumers from what officials have called “price gouging” has failed to survive a court challenge.
FARGO — The transfer of the state women’s prison from Bismarck to the farming town of New England was widely seen as a temporary move when it was made in 2003. Now, more than 15 years later, the debate over whether to move the women’s prison back to Bismarck has largely focused on concerns of the economic impact to a struggling rural town of 600.
BISMARCK — Richard Landsberger’s job at a dairy required him to repeatedly lift and stack milk crates. Decades of hefting 40-pound milk cases in a refrigerated storeroom took a toll on his body. He suffered debilitating injuries to both shoulders, both arms, both knees and his back. After more than a decade of struggling to meet the physical demands of his job, Landsberger was let go by his Bismarck employer in August because he no longer met the requirements for a job he’d held for 38 years.
BISMARCK — Burleigh County health providers are by far the heaviest prescribers of narcotic painkillers for injured workers covered by the North Dakota workers’ compensation program. Prescribers in the county, which includes Bismarck, have accounted for half or more of all opioid prescriptions paid for by Workforce Safety and Insurance (WSI) for more than a decade, far surpassing the amounts for other counties, according to reviews of the agency that examined narcotic use.
FARGO — North Dakota’s estimated population climbed to a record 760,077 residents in 2018 — a gain of 4,901 that reversed a dip in population last year. Gov. Doug Burgum ballyhooed the latest estimate from the Census Bureau, issued Wednesday, Dec. 19, as a sign the state’s economy is on the upswing. “We’re excited to see more people moving into North Dakota, and for good reason,” the governor said in a statement. “Our economy is strong, our jobs are abundant and our quality of life is second to none.”
FARGO — A less costly alternative to the EpiPen for severe allergic reactions — a treatment that can cost $400 to $800 per dose — is now available for North Dakota ambulance services. The North Dakota Department of Health is launching a training initiative that will enable emergency medical responders and emergency medical technicians to deliver epinephrine-adrenaline in injectable form, which is much less costly than the EpiPen auto-injector.
FARGO — North Dakota State University is offering buyouts to faculty and staff through early separation incentives in a cost-cutting move as the higher education system continues to grapple with lean budgets. The announcement of the “limited time” voluntary separation incentive program was made in an email sent the afternoon of Tuesday, Nov. 20. Eligible employees will receive incentive compensation based on their annual base salary and completed years of service.
FARGO — Tiffany Craigo hiked to a remote valley in the craggy badlands of Theodore Roosevelt National Park to say her goodbyes to a stallion named Gray Ghost. Gray Ghost was admired by those who follow the wild horses at the park for his flowing tail and mane as well as the pale gray coat that inspired his name. “He was a fan favorite,” Craigo said. “I thought he was beautiful and I liked him and I was happy when I saw him.” But Gray Ghost had been looking sickly for the past year as he slowly lost weight.
FARGO—Prairie Public Broadcasting has been buffeted by budget cuts, declining membership, and consumers' shifting habits in a media marketplace that is increasingly varied and fragmented. Prairie Public finished its 2017 fiscal year with a deficit of $315,818 and its radio service was $534,139 in the red. Similar numbers are expected for fiscal 2018, which ended Sept. 30, said John Harris, Prairie Public's president and chief executive officer.