Caroline Grueskin / Bismarck Tribune
BISMARCK — Look east down Interstate 94, to Fargo, to Grand Forks, to Minneapolis, to Chicago and Detroit. You'll see the road drug investigators say heroin, and now fentanyl, are driving into Bismarck. Look west, you'll see the older roads, where methamphetamine traveled to town for more than a dozen years. Drug traffic has shifted in the past three years. Though meth and marijuana remain prevalent, heroin has made a stop in Bismarck along its national tour, carrying with it the breath-stopping overdoses seen across the country.
BISMARCK—Four pilot sites for a new program connecting people in the criminal justice system to addiction and behavioral health services have been announced. The $7.5 million initiative will be launched in Devils Lake, Fargo, Bismarck and Dickinson. Though some resources exist for drug treatment and housing, many people are falling through the cracks and going back to jail. This program is different in that it funds caseworkers to keep people on track.
MANDAN, N.D.-- A massive construction project is underway to stop erosion at an early Mandan Indian village, where hundreds of burial sites are at risk. Contractors with backhoes and earth movers are in the process of scraping and leveling dirt at the Double Ditch Indian Village Historic Site. It's the first step towards stabilizing the slumping river bank that exposed 18 historic burials and caused a crack that could have washed away half the archaeological site.
BISMARCK—It's always been a crime to blow a stop sign, but now it's double trouble if you also were reaching for a dropped granola bar or trying to put on lipstick. A new law set to take effect on Aug. 1 adds a $100 penalty if a driver violating a traffic law was also doing something distracting. There's no set list of what counts as a "distraction," but the law said it's to include any activity "not necessary to the operation of the vehicle" that "reasonably impairs, or would reasonably be expected to impair, the ability of the individual to safely operate a vehicle."
MANDAN, N.D. — A prosecutor has asked to dismiss the felony charge against a protester accused of threatening a pipeline security guard with a knife. Morton County Assistant State's Attorney Gabrielle Goter asked Judge Joel Medd to drop the case against Brennon Nastacio, 37, of Colorado. "The victim has made ongoing and various statements, which raise significant doubt as to whether the state could meet its burden of proof with regard to the charge of terrorizing," she wrote in a motion filed Friday, July 14.
BISMARCK — A slate of new criminal justice reforms has caused a stir among county sheriffs. "It's kind of a scary time right now," said Stutsman County Sheriff Chad Kaiser. Kaiser and other sheriffs fear the new reforms will shift costs from the state to the counties and put added pressure on local jails. "We'll see what happens, but I just foresee the county institutions will be full," said Kaiser, who manages a 98-bed facility in Jamestown.
MANDAN, N.D. — Criminal charges against a well-known drone operator, who documented the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, were dismissed Monday, July 10 at the request of the prosecutor. Myron Dewey was accused of stalking unlicensed private pipeline security workers by taking video of them with his drone. A Morton County Sheriff's Office affidavit said Dewey flew over two unnamed people working for Leighton Security and tried to capture their faces and license plates to post online.
GARSKE, N.D. — The oldest Jewish pioneer cemetery in North Dakota has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. The recognition adds prominence to the rural Sons of Jacob cemetery, the last reminder of the Jewish homesteading community in Garske, which is about 20 miles from Devils Lake.
BISMARCK—For the first time since the former U.S. marshal was charged with spying on young women in Bismarck dressing rooms, Michael Rivera spoke up in court. "I'm so sorry," Rivera blurted loudly, spinning his chair momentarily to face the victims and their families who packed a Bismarck courtroom for his sentencing on Tuesday afternoon. Turning back to the judge, he continued: "For many, many weeks now, I have asked myself, what if these events occurred to your sister, daughter, wife, your mother. How would that make you feel?"
BISMARCK — Rob Keller knows how to plan for danger. Formerly the public information officer with the North Dakota National Guard, he embedded with combat units on two missions to Iraq after 2001. There, he planned for soldiers to write dispatches from the military bases and reporters from major media organizations to embed. Most recently, he was the PIO for Morton County during the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. "I'm used to doing all types of planning, military planning. It's our nature to do planning and pre-execution checks," he said.