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Entries in North Dakota (10)

Wednesday
Jun132012

ND Voters Opt to Abandon ‘Fighting Sioux’ University Nickname

Scott A. Schneider/Getty Images(BISMARCK, N.D.) -- North Dakota voters approved a ballot measure Tuesday allowing the University of North Dakota to discontinue use of its controversial nickname -- the Fighting Sioux.

The school's nickname has been under fire from the NCAA for many years, and the debate has been on-going in the state.  Opponents say the nickname is offensive, and that it hurts the school’s athletic program.

On the support side, there’s the argument that the nickname is part of the school’s history and that it is not meant to offend.  That argument is boosted by the fact that there are actually some Native American supporters.

In November 2011, members of the Spirit Lake Tribe actually sued the NCAA to keep the name, arguing that losing the Sioux name could mean losing ties between the university and the tribes.  The suit was tossed out by a judge in May.

A group of supporters for the nickname has said that they plan to try and put a similar measure on the ballot in November.  It’s not yet known what the new nickname and logo might be, but there’s time to debate.  “Fighting Sioux” won’t be abandoned until January 2015 at the earliest.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr092012

North Dakota Tops US Fastest-Growing Micro Areas

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Census Bureau has released a list of the fastest-growing micro areas in the nation between April 1, 2010, and July 1, 2011, and three of the top 10 are located in North Dakota, with Williston, N.D. in the top spot.

North Dakota has seen rapid growth because of the oil drilling boom going on there.  The local paper, the Williston Herald, notes that the census doesn’t even count people living in temporary shelter.

“There are 10,000 people living in man camps in Williams County alone, and well more than a thousand households have been built in the last two years,” the paper reported.

Among the top 50 fastest-growing micro areas, New Mexico contained more micro areas than any other state: Gallup (11th), Portales (12th), Alamogordo (13th), Clovis (15th), Grants (34th) and Los Alamos (42nd).

Not one of the aforementioned areas was among the 50 fastest-growing micro areas between 2000 and 2010, which speaks to the changes in population growth in the last 12 years.

“Our nation is constantly changing, and these estimates provide us with our first measure of how much substate areas have grown or declined in total population since Census Day, April 1, 2010,” Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said.  “We’re already seeing different patterns of population growth than we saw in the last decade.”

The second spot went to The Villages, a retirement community in and around Sumter County in central Florida.  In 2000, The Villages had 8,333 residents -- now it has 97,756.

Here are the 10 fastest-growing micro areas from April 1, 2010, to July 1, 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau:

1. Williston, N.D. (8.8 percent increase)
2. The Villages, Fla. (4.6 percent increase)
3. Andrews, Texas (4.5 percent increase)
4. Dickinson, N.D. (4.0 percent increase)
5. Dunn, N.C. (4.0 percent increase)
6. Statesboro, Ga. (3.8 percent increase)
7. Heber, Utah  (3.8 percent increase)
8. Minot, N.D. (3.6 percent increase)
9. Tifton, Ga. (3.3 percent increase)
10. Guymon, Okla. (3.3 percent increase)

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Mar102012

Olive Garden Review Gets Celeb Attention, More than 400K Views

Mike Mergen/Bloomberg News(GRAND FORKS, N.D.) -- The tweets keep coming, a backlash against initial snarky comments is building and online clicks on a viral restaurant review of a local Olive Garden have doubled just days after its release on a small, North Dakota newspaper's website.

The review of the chain eatery, whose arrival was said to be highly anticipated in Grand Forks, N.D., has caused a nationwide Internet firestorm, with more than 400,000 hits on the Grand Forks Herald's website.

The article made history for the paper after it was posted Tuesday, quickly reaching 200,000 views by Wednesday afternoon. It was 10 times more read than paper's next-most-popular story.

Eighty-five-year-old Marilyn Hagerty, a 65-year news veteran, wrote the review as a part of her "Eatbeat" column. When told by her son that her article had gone viral, Hagerty noted she "didn't know what that meant."

The initial tweets were sometimes mocking.

Kevin Hoffman tweeted, "BREAKING: Marilyn Hagerty also reviewed Taco Bell."

But there also has been social media support.

Jamila Twain wrote, "Back off my breadsticks! In defense of Olive Garden (and Marilyn Hagerty)."

Even some of Hagerty's fellow foodies chimed in, with author and chef Anthony Bourdain tweeting, "Very much enjoyed watching Internet sensation Marilyn Hagerty triumph over the snarkologists (myself included)."

"Everyone had blogged about it, tweeted about it," Alan Sytsma, editor of New York Magazine, told ABC News. "Everyone knows who she is. She's probably the most famous restaurant critic in America right now."

Hagerty told ABC affiliate WDAZ she didn't know what all the fuss was about.

"People were quite excited about the Olive Garden, and it was packed with people for several weeks," Hagerty told WDAZ.

But her tell-all review became an Internet sensation, describing the chain's new location as the "largest and most beautiful restaurant now operating in Grand Forks," and a hot-spot attracting "visitors from out of town as well as people who live here."

Hagerty's meal of choice at the popular American chain was chicken alfredo.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun272011

Flood Waters Breach Berm at Nebraska Nuclear Power Plant

ABC News(MINOT, N.D.) -- A berm at a nuclear power plant in Fort Calhoun, Nebraska collapsed early Sunday morning, allowing Missouri River flood waters to reach containment buildings and transformers and forcing the shutdown of electrical power.

As of Sunday night, backup generators were cooling the nuclear material at the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station.  The plant has not operated since April, and officials say there is no danger to the public.

Nevertheless, federal inspectors are on the scene, and the federal government is so concerned that the head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is headed to the plant.

Meanwhile, there was no protecting thousands of homes in Minot, North Dakota, where massive flooding of the Souris River hit its peak Sunday, flooding more than 4,000 homes.

There is some good news: The river in Minot peaked two feet lower than expected.  However, it is nearly 13 feet above flood stage and it is expected to stay near that level for days.

"It could be two to four to six weeks, or more, before the water actually goes back into it's banks ... [and] before [residents] get to come and see their houses," Brig. Gen. Bill Seekins of the North Dakota National Guard told ABC News during a tour through the flooded areas.

Seekins described the scene as "almost apocalyptic."

Minot Mayor Curt Zimbelman said the devastation may be even greater than expected.

"I think we're going to reach probably 4,500 [homes] before this is all done, where we've got a lot of water on these homes," Zimbelman said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jun262011

North Dakota Floods: Concern Over Impact on Agriculture

Scott Olson/Getty Images(MINOT, N.D.) -- Massive flooding of the Souris River has swamped more than 4,000 homes in Minot, North Dakota, but flood levels seem to have peaked.

The Souris River is cresting at two feet lower than expected at 13 feet above flood stage.

However, Minot Mayor Curt Zimbelman said the devastation may be even greater than expected.

"I think we're going to reach probably 4,500 before this is all done where we've got a lot of water on these homes," said Zimbelman.

Sergeant Dave Dodds of the North Dakota National Guard said heavy rains on Saturday will lead to the river remaining at its historic crest for longer than expected.

"Authorities were hoping for maybe a day or two before it started to recede, but you can add maybe an additional 24 hours onto that," Dodds said.

Forecasters said scattered storms are in Sunday's forecast, but the worst part of the storm will likely to be south and east of the Souris River Basin.

Officials were building and re-enforcing levees in the towns of Sawyer and Velvenau in fear that all the water that has been coming through Minot will swamp the two towns.

Those in the agriculture industry across the state have been hit hard by the flooding, with North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple saying that flooding and above-average snowfall during winter have had an adverse impact on agricultural production.

Dalrymple has requested that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) begin assessing the damages inflicted on crops by flooding and the production losses suffered as a result of severe weather condition. This request serves as the first step in seeking a secretarial disaster declaration, which would make supplemental disaster assistance and other USDA programs available to help farmers and ranchers affected by the flooding, according to a release from the governor’s office.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun242011

Souris River Hits Record High Flood Level in Minot, N.D.

Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Thinkstock(MINOT, N.D.) -- The continuously rising Souris River has already broken a record high, set in 1881, in Minot, N.D., and it's still rising.

The historic flooding has forced more than 11,000 people from their homes, and giraffes, lions and other animals from the Roosevelt Park Zoo in Minot have been relocated to new homes.

Shelters continue to fill up. The flooding has already made the local history books, and it is not done yet.

"The water is coming in deeper and faster than was expected," North Dakota's governor, Jack Dalrymple, said Friday.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released pent-up water from the Lake Darling Dam, which will push water downstream toward Minot at 29,000 cubic feet per second -- more than three times the record flow rate before this year and double the projections just four days ago. Those raging waters are expected to start pushing against the already buckling makeshift Minot levees rated to withstand water flows of up to about 9,500 cfs, according to WDAY.

The Souris River reached 1,558.52 feet above sea level at 12 p.m. Friday at the city's Broadway Bridge, according to U.S. Geological Survey data.

The National Weather Service is forecasting the river will crest at 1,564.5 feet by early Sunday, or 15.5 feet above flood stage. The level is expected to begin slowly falling early on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a few miles upstream, the town of Burlington, located where the Souris and Des Lacs Rivers converge, has given up sandbagging as a hopeless endeavor. The town of 1,000 people is expected to lose a third of its 320 homes to flooding.

"We're no longer able to save the city," Burlington mayor Jerome Gruenberg said Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Tanganyika Wildlife Park, in Wichita, has taken in nine animals from the Roosevelt Park Zoo in Minot, including three giraffes, two lions, a Siberian tiger, a Bengal tiger and two Amur leopards.

Other animals were sent to zoos in Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota, while some are being housed in a warehouse in Minot outside of the flood zone.

Minot is also home to more than just families and exotic animals -- Minuteman III nuclear missile silos are also in the flood's path. At least two silos are being protected by sandbags and pumps, but are reported to be safe.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun232011

North Dakota Residents Flee as Historic Flood Waters Rise

File photo. Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(MINOT, N.D.) -- Residents of Minot, N.D., have now resigned themselves: the Souris River will overflow, and the city will flood. More than 11,000 residents, nearly a quarter of the population, have already been forced to flee as waters rise towards historic levels and submerge entire neighborhoods.

"We could have a really catastrophic type of event here. We will -- there is no doubt about it anymore. I think people have to understand if you were on the edge before you may not be on the edge now," Curt Zimbelman, mayor of the town of 41,000, told evacuees Wednesday night.

ABC News Fargo affiliate WDAY filmed a submerged neighborhood where 15-20 homes are completely surrounded by water in the southwest part of Minot.

Minot is also home to more than just families - Minuteman III nuclear missile silos are also in the flood's path. At least two silos are being protected by sandbags and pumps, but are reported to be safe.

"We are already higher than the historic flood of 1969 and based on current predictions we will crest seven feet higher than we did in 1969 and about five feet higher than ever recorded going back to the flood of 1881," Zimbelman told ABC News. "These levels are above any rating curves than the National Weather Service has dealt with in the past."

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is releasing pent-up water from the Lake Darling Dam, which will push water downstream towards Minot at 17,000 cubic feet per second -- more than three times the record flow rate before this year. Those raging waters are expected to start pushing against the makeshift Minot levees rated to withstand water flows of up to about 9,500 cfs on Thursday or Friday, according to WDAY.

The Souris River, which loops down from Canada through north-central North Dakota, has been bloated by heavy spring snowmelt and rain. It is not expected to crest until Sunday or Monday.

Minot is expecting the worst flooding it has seen in nearly four decades, when severe flooding of the Souris River devastated the city in 1969. The same river reached 1,555.4 feet above sea level during that destructive flood time, and this time it could reach 1,563 feet.

This is the second time Minot residents have had to flee their homes. About 10,000 people were told to evacuate potentially affected areas earlier this month when the river climbed to 1,554 feet. They were eventually allowed to return, but were told to remain on high alert. Many of the same people have now been forced back out of their homes.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun222011

Sirens Blare as Flooding Hits North Dakota

Hemera Technologies/Photo.net/Thinkstock(MINOT, N.D.) -- Sirens blared Wednesday in Minot, N.D., as the overflowing Souris River floods over the top of local levees five hours before the evacuation deadline for 11,000 residents. Farther south, the overflowing Missouri River has put two nuclear power plants at risk, necessitated evacuations and produced a travel nightmare as interstate highways shut down.

"What I see right now is probably the most devastating in terms of the number of people directly impacted and what will likely be the damage to homes as the water begins to overtop the levees and fill in behind," National Guard Cmdr. Dave Sprynczynatyk said Wednesday.

Nearly 500 North Dakota National Guard soldiers are in the town of 41,000 people to help the last stragglers in the affected area get out of harm's way. They are accompanying the roaring sirens with shouts of "All residents must evacuate!"

"We've never seen anything like what we're expecting," Minot Mayor Curt Zimbleman told ABC News. The mayor had warned residents previously Wednesday that the river could top the levees earlier than expected, and has been urging residents to leave potentially affected areas.

Minot is expecting the worst flooding it has seen in nearly four decades, when severe flooding of the Souris River devastated the city in 1969. The same river reached 1,555.4 feet above sea level during that destructive flood time, and this time it could reach 1,563 feet.

This is the second time Minot residents have had to flee their homes. About 10,000 people were told to evacuate potentially affected areas earlier this month when the river climbed to 1,554 feet. They were eventually allowed to return, but were told to remain on high alert as heavy rain and the spring melt have swollen the river as it curves down from Canada.

For the second time in as many months, the Cass County Sheriff's Department airboat squads have been deployed to western North Dakota.

Farther south, the Missouri River is creating trouble in the area where the states of Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska converge.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is closely watching conditions along the Missouri River where floodwaters are rising at Cooper Nuclear Station and the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant in Nebraska.

The Fort Calhoun plant was shut down on April 7 for a refueling outage, and operators decided not to restart it until flooding had subsided. The Cooper plant was shut down for an "unusual event" on June 19. Although the Fort Calhoun plant was shut down on June and is surrounded by an eight-foot-tall and 16-foot-wide protective berm, two feet of water has already made its way to several areas of the Fort Calhoun plant. However, authorities say there is no immediate danger at either plant.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr142011

North Dakota Residents Asked to Evacuate Due to Possible Dam Break

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock (file photo)(BURLINGTON, N.D.) -- As a dam gets closer towards breaking in North Dakota, people living near the Des Lacs River have been asked to evacuate their homes ahead of possible flooding.

But some are choosing to brush off the warning.

"Some people are sticking it out.  And some people left.  I'd say [Wednesday night] it was like 50-50," said Burlington Police Chief Keith Crabb.

About 200 residents of Burlington were asked to leave the area.  Crabb said the evacuation wasn't mandatory, but a "request evacuation."

"We requested for their safety to leave the area," he said.

The dam was built back in the 1930s and is made of clay, dirt and rock, Crabb noted.  He said it has "three holes in it right now that are kind of eroding," and, should it fail, the dam would add about three feet of water to the already swollen Des Lacs River.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Nov272010

FedEx Finds Radioactive Material Lost in Transit

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(KNOXVILLE, Tenn.) -- After a Thanksgiving Day scare, FedEx on Friday located radioactive material that had fallen out of a box while being shipped from North Dakota to Tennessee.

The missing radioactive rods, used to calibrate hospital CT scanners, are believed to have fallen out of a box Thursday that became wet in transit from a hospital in Fargo to a company that processes the material in Knoxville.

After the federal government issued an alert and several state agencies began investigations, FedEx located the errant container in Knoxville.

"The box had become separated and was set aside to try to match it to the shipper because there was no label on it," FedEx spokeswoman Sandra Munoz said. "Everything was intact and nothing had been tampered with."

FedEx said it routinely ships small amounts of radioactive material, which adhere to state and federal guidelines.

An official with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission described the amount of material, 684 megabecquerels, as "a very small amount" and "nothing that would pose threat to public health or safety."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio