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NORTH DAKOTA NEWS: Dorgan seeks Hoeven gift ... Hearing for suspect ... Special Olympics begin ... more

Dorgan seeks Hoeven gift

A letter from Sen. Byron Dorgan seeking contributions for his 2010 re-election bid not only went to fellow Democrats -- it also went to Gov. John Hoeven, a potential opponent, and other Republican state officials.

Hoeven got a letter dated May 22 from Dorgan seeking financial support. Republican Lt. Gov. Jack Dalrymple and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem got similar letters.

Dorgan's campaign said the letter was sent throughout the state to a "large list of North Dakotans," and said Hoeven may have received one because he contributed $250 to Dorgan's Senate race earlier.

Hoeven spokesman Don Canton said that if the governor gave money to Dorgan, it was likely in the mid-1990s before Hoeven was actively involved in Republican politics.

Hoeven has not announced any plans for a U.S. Senate bid, saying he is focusing on his job as governor.

Hearing is set for suspect

A July 28 preliminary hearing has been set for a Bismarck man accused of murdering his wife.

Matthias Zimprich was ordered held without bail on May 6 on a charge of murder in the death of his 74-year-old wife, Ludwina.

Authorities said the couple had been married more than 45 years. Zimprich's attorney, Al Wolf, said Matthias Zimprich is being treated for cancer.

Special Olympics begin

The North Dakota Special Olympics are getting under way in Fargo.

More than 50 law enforcement officers from across the state late Friday afternoon will carry the Flame of Hope to the Fargo North football field to begin the opening ceremony.

The ceremony will include a parade of athletes and musical entertainment.

Special Olympics athletes will compete in various events Friday and today.

Dickinson's baby boom

North Dakota's baby boom has spread to Dickinson.

St. Joseph's Hospital and Health Care Center's Babykind unit reports 44 babies born in May.

The acute care director, Deb Bolin, said she's gone back 10 years and it's the most babies the hospital has had in month. She said the hospital staff gears up for 25 to 30 deliveries a month.

Bolin said 25 of the May babies were born in one week, and 10 were born in one weekend. She said staff members had to come in on their weekends off.

Census officials said a strong economy led by the state's oil development has brought more young people and their families to the state. Recent census numbers show North Dakota led the nation from 2007 to 2008 in the number of children younger than 1 year old.

Guard unit is honored

Marie Henderson of Winnipeg held her sleeping 5-year-old daughter, Leilani, while her husband, North Dakota National Guard Spc. Alphonse Henderson, placed a lapel pin on her shirt.

Henderson joined other soldiers from the Guard's 191st Military Police Company over the weekend in acknowledging a spouse or significant other during a ceremony paying tribute to the unit's service in Iraq.

Marie Henderson transferred their daughter to her husband and pinned a Defender of Freedom pin to his fatigues. She said it's nice to be recognized.

The 191st is based in Fargo with detachments in Bismarck and Mayville. In Iraq, the soldiers handled security work and trained Iraqi police.

About 180 soldiers from the 191st returned home in January after about a year in Iraq.

The Guard commander, Maj. Gen. Dave Sprynczynatyk, said the soldiers were called to do a difficult task. He told them: "You did it with honor, you did it with pride."

Fifteen soldiers extended their duty, and 12 of those have recently returned home. The last three are expected home within four weeks.