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N.D. ROUNDUP: Dickinson tornado damage ... Postal worker to plead ... more

Tornado home damage toll Dickinson's city administrator said 23 of 154 buildings inspected after Wednesday night's tornado have been declared destroyed. Administrator Shawn Kessel said the structures include houses and apartment buildings. No maj...

Tornado home damage toll

Dickinson's city administrator said 23 of 154 buildings inspected after Wednesday night's tornado have been declared destroyed.

Administrator Shawn Kessel said the structures include houses and apartment buildings.

No major injuries were reported from the twister, which did the most damage in the south part of Dickinson.

Mayor Dennis Johnson said 50 properties have damage greater than 50 percent.

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The North Dakota National Guard is patrolling the damaged area and it's been closed for public access during the cleanup.

<Postal worker to plead

A postal worker said she will plead guilty to stealing money from the Grenora post office.

Elaine Esterby is accused of taking nearly $2,800 from the post office between November 2007 and August 2008. Authorities said the money came from retail postal sales.

A plea agreement calls for Esterby to plead guilty in federal court to one count of misappropriation of postal fees. She's scheduled for a July 27 court hearing.

She faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Farmers, ranchers health

A new report said farmers and ranchers often can't afford the health insurance offered to small-business owners.

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The report from The Access Project said family farmers and ranchers are insured at a rate higher than the general population, but 10 percent of them were uninsured, or had an uninsured family member, sometime during the previous year.

The report was based on data gathered through a 2007 survey of farm and ranch operators in seven Great Plains states including Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota.

The survey found more than one-third of the uninsured farmers and ranchers spent more than 10 percent of their income on health care. They were also four times more likely to have incomes less than $20,000 than those with insurance.

Women's Way expanding

A North Dakota program designed to detect women's cancers early is expanding its services.

The state health department said Women's Way will now include screening mammograms for eligible women in their 40s.

Before, only ages 50 through 64 were eligible for mammograms through the program.

Women's Way helps women who have limited incomes and don't have insurance to cover breast and cervical exams.

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Women enrolled in the program usually receive the screening services from the doctor or clinic they select.

The Legislature included additional funding for the program's expansion in the Department of Health's 2009-2011 budget.

Health officials said the expanded services will help detect more cancers in their early stages when they can be treated successfully.

On the Net

Women's Way: www.ndhealth.gov/womensway/

New MeritCare centers

MeritCare Health System will soon open the doors to a new Fargo facility that houses kidney dialysis and sleep centers.

The two programs are just a few blocks from their former location on MeritCare's South University campus.

The kidney dialysis center can serve 142 patients and more than 30 on home dialysis. Center manager Wanda Borchert said the new facility offers room and more privacy for patients.

The sleep center has eight exam rooms and 10 other rooms where sleeping patients can be monitored.

The first sleep center patients will stay overnight Sunday. The new dialysis center opens Monday.

An open house was held Friday.

Reservation sales tax?

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe could be the first tribe in North Dakota to collect a general sales tax.

Voters who live on the North Dakota side of the reservation will decide in Wednesday's primary election whether they want a 5 percent sales tax that would be used to provide tribal services.

The Standing Rock reservation straddles the North Dakota-South Dakota border.

The vote would be advisory in nature and give the tribal council the green light to negotiate a tax collection agreement with the North Dakota Tax Department.

The department collects and administers tobacco and fuel taxes on Standing Rock.

Director of tax administration Myles Vosberg said he couldn't estimate how much revenue the sales tax might provide for Standing Rock.

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