Jack Dura / Bismarck Tribune
BISMARCK -- North Dakota's Parks and Recreation Department will have a new director next year. Gov. Doug Burgum on Friday, Dec. 20, announced Director Melissa Baker's resignation. She began in April 2017 and will leave Jan. 17. She will start as director of Virginia State Parks later in January. “North Dakota is blessed with outstanding natural resources, and Melissa’s visionary leadership and strategic planning has helped improve the citizen experience when visiting any one of our 15 state parks and recreation areas,” Burgum said in a statement.
BISMARCK — Livestreaming of North Dakota's legislative committees is on the road to becoming a reality, but some lawmakers worry about the cost — which could surpass $1 million during the next state budget cycle. The Legislative Procedure and Arrangements Committee, made up of 10 Republican and Democratic-NPL floor leaders, voted 9-1 on Wednesday, Dec. 18, to approve livestreaming of committee meetings, with closed captioning and search features, in two rooms of the state Capitol for the 2019-20 interim, which ends late next year.
BISMARCK -- New features selected for the North Dakota Capitol's only public entrance are meant to improve access and eliminate confusion about where to enter. The 2019 Legislature authorized $2 million for the project to remodel the former driveway tunnel that is the Capitol's south entrance, where there's a wind tunnel effect and extreme cold in winter penetrates the building.
BISMARCK — State Sen. Oley Larsen continues to dispute the controversy around his October Facebook posts calling U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar a terrorist, describing it as "such a non-news issue to me." In an interview Thursday, Dec. 12, the Republican from the Minot area's District 3 acknowledged it was "a mistake" and "in bad taste" to share a photo in October purported to be of Omar, D-Minn., "at a Al' Qaida training camp in Somalia." The Associated Press had debunked the claim in August, finding the photo was taken in Mogadishu years before Omar's birth.
BISMARCK — North Dakota's longest-serving state treasurer won't seek another term in 2020. Treasurer Kelly Schmidt told the Bismarck Tribune on Wednesday, Dec. 10, that she doesn't intend to run for a fifth four-year term. "This is not something I have taken lightly," the Republican said. "I have thought about it. I have prayed about it. I have visited with my family about it. And it's just time for a new chapter. I think we all get to that point that it's time to turn the page, and I feel that it's my time."
BISMARCK -- Fourteen North Dakota lawmakers are attending a national conference in Puerto Rico, one of several, similar events throughout the year that legislative leaders say are necessary to advance policy. The Council of State Governments National Conference began Wednesday, Dec. 4, in San Juan and wraps up Saturday, Dec. 7. No costs were yet available for the trip, as those in attendance will submit vouchers for reimbursement when they return.
BISMARCK — Three official county newspapers serving thousands of readers in western North Dakota will publish their last editions on Friday. The Adams County Record, in Hettinger; the Dunn County Herald, in Killdeer; and The Herald, in New England, are closing, North Dakota Newspaper Association Executive Director Steve Andrist confirmed to the Bismarck Tribune last week. Salem, Ore.-based owner Country Media Inc. informed the association this week of the pending closures, he said.
BISMARCK — North Dakota's Board of Chiropractic Examiners has suspended the license of the man charged in the brutal killings of four people in Mandan last spring, pending the outcome of the case. Chad Trolon Isaak, 45, was operating a chiropractic office in Washburn at the time of his April 4 arrest. He is charged with murder in the April 1 homicides of RJR Maintenance & Management co-owner Robert Fakler and employees Adam Fuehrer and Bill and Lois Cobb, who were married.
BISMARCK — North Dakota's Pardon Advisory Board has recommended to Gov. Doug Burgum the first applicants for pardons for low-level marijuana offenses. The board's unanimous vote to recommend the 26 initial applicants for pardons came Wednesday, Nov. 27, with little discussion. Now the five-person panel wants to better publicize its new policy for relief from minor marijuana convictions.
BISMARCK — Gov. Doug Burgum's favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. That should be no surprise to anyone familiar with his approach to leadership.