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AROUND NORTH DAKOTA: Deadline for DL smoking ban ... Public fossil digs set ... Interviews for NDSU president ... more

Deadline is set on smoking ban

DEVILS LAKE -- The Devils Lake City Commission has set a timeline for a decision on whether to extend the current smoking ban to bars.

Outgoing Mayor Fred Bott said the controversial issue needs to be resolved.

He said the commission will decide early next month whether to hold a public advisory vote. If no vote is held, the commission might still move ahead with a proposed ordinance, with a final vote happening in late June.

Bott said he's not in favor of an advisory vote and would prefer the commission hold an up-or-down vote on the matter in June before his term ends.

Public fossil digs planned in N.D.

BISMARCK -- Paleontologist John Hoganson with the North Dakota Geological Survey is heading four public fossil digs this summer in the western part of the state.

Hoganson came up with the idea for public digs a decade ago and pitched it to state tourism officials. He said the digs have become popular, drawing thousands of people from 24 states and four countries.

This year's digs begin in mid-June. The first is at a 60-million-year-old site with fossils of crocodiles, crocodile-

like reptiles, turtles and fish. There is a fee to take part.

Interviews start for NDSU presidency

FARGO -- On-campus interviews are set to begin for the four remaining candidates to be North Dakota State University's next president.

Dean Bresciani, a former vice president at Texas A&M, and Gary Miller, provost and vice president at Wichita State, are scheduled to be on campus this week.

Shippensburg University President William Ruud and John Gardner, a vice president at Washington State, are to interview the following week.

NDSU is searching for a successor to Joseph Chapman, who resigned after criticism of his spending.

Properties put on National Register

BISMARCK -- A school near Washburn and seven Bismarck residences have been listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The Register is the federal government's list of properties it considers worthy of preservation and recognition.

The State Historical Society said the Ingersoll School was built in Veeder Township near Washburn in 1885 and enlarged in 1903. It operated until 1910 and then became a community center.

The seven Bismarck residences are in the Cathedral Area Historic


Energy crops sculpt landscape

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- The energy crop fields of the future could render an aesthetic similar to the old Midwestern prairie, with a variety of grasses dotting the lowlands, hills and ridges.

The concept of "sculpting the landscape" was envisioned decades ago by North Dakota plant materials specialist Erling Jacobson, who was looking to revegetate fields in the northern Great Plains as a conservation tool. He is retired and living in Minnesota.

South Dakota State University plant researchers are reinvigorating the phrase by applying it to crops that can produce cellulosic ethanol.

Woman joins crop insurance board

BISMARCK -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has named two new members to the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation board of directors, including a North Dakota woman.

Ellen Linderman grows wheat, soybeans, corn, sunflowers, barley and millet on her farm near Carrington.

She served as chairwoman for the North Dakota Farm Service Agency State Committee for eight years and also as a commissioner on the USDA Commission on the Application of Payment Limitations for Agriculture. She sits on the North Dakota Farmers Union board of directors and is a director at both the North Dakota Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Co. and the Farmers Union Service Association.

The other new FCIC board member is Maggie Goode of Niarada, Mont., a third-generation cattle rancher.

Properties put on National Register

Superintendent finalists named

WEST FARGO, N.D. -- The West Fargo School Board has named finalists for the superintendent's job in the fastest-growing school district in the state.

Interviews began this past week. The school board hopes to name a successor to the departing Dana Diesel Wallace by early May.

The three finalists from the initial pool of 19 candidates are former Fargo Superintendent David Flowers, West Fargo Assistant Superintendent Louise Dardis and Perham-Dent (Minn.) Superintendent Tamara Uselman. They will meet with administrators, staff members and people in the community.

Northern Cass Superintendent Allen Burgad was eliminated from consideration.

United Tribes creates fellowship

BISMARCK -- United Tribes Technical College has created a fellowship program named for its president to help develop American Indian leaders.

The Bismarck school said the program will award fellowships to students who exhibit significant leadership qualities and meet certain conditions such as good grades and work experience. Their goals must be related to the betterment of an Indian tribe or community.

Students accepted by the David M. Gipp Native American Leaders Fellowship program will receive professional and personal skill development and a stipend to help with educational expenses.

Social Security office gets judges

BISMARCK -- Sen. Byron Dorgan said the Social Security Administration is hiring two new administrative law judges for the North Dakota Hearing Office in Fargo.

The North Dakota Democrat said that will help address delays in processing Social Security disability cases. The Fargo office has had four or five judges over the past five years but two recently retired.

Dorgan said the average wait time for processing claims in North Dakota is 453 days, which he calls unacceptable.

Dorgan said the new judges will begin training May 23.