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NORTH DAKOTA NEWS: Minot to lose flight ... Drugs found near baby ... Man faces 18 felony raps ... more

Minot to lose fourth flight Minot's airport director said the city is losing one of its four commercial flights in September, but it could return later. The Delta flight had been arriving just before 1 p.m. and left for Minneapolis at 1:15 p.m. A...

Minot to lose fourth flight

Minot's airport director said the city is losing one of its four commercial flights in September, but it could return later.

The Delta flight had been arriving just before 1 p.m. and left for Minneapolis at 1:15 p.m. Airport Director Andy Solsvig said the number of passengers has not been high enough to keep the flight. But he expects the airline will add capacity as demand increases.

The flight will be back in October because of increased demand from visitors to the Norsk Hostfest, the area's big Scandinavian festival.

Solsvig sees no major cutbacks in air service in the future, just "slight adjustments here and there."

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Drugs found near baby

Fargo police said they searched an apartment after getting a tip that a man was growing hallucinogenic mushrooms and found them near a baby's crib.

Jason Vernon Allen, 26, is facing drug charges as well as a child endangerment charge.

Allen is free after posting $1,000 bail. A jury trial is set for Nov. 3.

Police reports said a search of Allen's apartment Tuesday found mushrooms growing in the bedroom closet and elsewhere in the apartment as well as marijuana, cocaine, a snort tube, three ecstasy pills, smoking devices, scales and $1,065 in cash.

Police said the apartment manager told them Allen lived alone but had a new baby boy who often stayed with him. The police report said the baby's crib "was within arm's reach of the mushroom grow operation."

Man faces 18 felony raps

A West Fargo, N.D., man has pleaded not guilty to 18 felony charges.

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They stem from a string of burglaries in Fargo and West Fargo.

Jeffrey Goodijohn, 41, is charged with 16 counts of burglary, one count of theft of property and one count of attempt to commit burglary. He is due in court Sept. 16.

Turtle Mountain hearing

A tribal appeals court has set a July 30 hearing to determine whether the governing council of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa has the authority to remove the tribal chairman.

The council voted July 12 to remove Chairman Richard Marcellais, who also is a state senator from Belcourt, N.D.

Don Bruce, Marcellais' attorney, said the council alleges that Marcellais failed to perform his duties as chairman while serving in the Legislature. Marcellais has denied that.

Conflict between the council and chairman has existed for some time over a variety of other issues. Before the council's July 12 vote, Marcellais had suspended the pay of council members for two weeks for what he considered to be failure to perform their jobs.

A tribal judge earlier determined the council was within its authority and barred Marcellais from the tribal office until a removal hearing could be held. Marcellais appealed and has continued to act as chairman.

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Tribal health center road

The Three Affiliated Tribes are building a road for the new $20 million health center planned for the Fort Berthold Reservation in northwestern North Dakota.

Officials have closed off bids for a contractor to build the Elbowoods Memorial Health Center, which is to open in late 2011. The contract will be awarded later.

Congress earlier this year approved $17 million for the project. The health center will be built on 120 acres that the tribe owns north of Fort Berthold Community College in New Town. A walking path will connect the two.

The Army Corps of Engineers will build the health center and then turn it over to the Indian Health Service.

The name of the new center is from the community of Elbowoods, which had a hospital with the same name. Elbowoods was flooded when Garrison Dam was built.

Horse park season starts

The North Dakota Horse Park in Fargo is entering its seventh season of racing with a new look: a covered pavilion, a new betting system and a track record number of horses.

General manager Heather Benson said this is the year that the park should show its "true colors."

The racing season at the track was getting under way Friday. Benson is hoping that reconfigured racing times and track upgrades will translate into more fans. Last season, the track averaged 3,300 fans per night, up from 2,700 the season before.

Benson said the track has received 450 horse stall applications, up from 319 last season. The track record was 405 in 2007.

Benson said more horses are coming from within North Dakota, and the park also is drawing horses from new areas such as Iowa, Utah and Idaho.

Coal-drying plant halted

A coal-drying plant being built in southwestern North Dakota has been halted by a judge who ruled that its paperwork did not follow provisions of a county ordinance requiring approval from nearby landowners.

Stark County State's Attorney Tom Henning said Thursday's ruling by Judge Zane Anderson means the GTL Energy plant is "dead in the water."

GTL Energy USA Ltd. has been building the plant near South Heart in rural Stark County, about 13 miles west of Dickinson, N.D. The plant would use a method called beneficiation to remove some of the water and impurities from coal to boost its energy value and allow it to burn more cleanly. It had been scheduled to be finished this fall.

Henning said he "dropped the ball" in failing to file the proper documents for rezoning the land from agricultural to industrial. But he said the landowner approval provision of the ordinance is impossible to meet.

The chief executive of Great Northern Project Development, one of the plant's backers, said it's still "very, very viable." CEO Todd Joyner told Bismarck TV station KFYR that the company will work to comply with whatever requirements are needed.

Henning said he did not meet the county ordinance requirement that he provide a list of landowners within 200 feet of the plant "indicating their approval" to rezone the land.

"That's pretty much impossible," he said.

Because the provision was not met, Henning said, the judge ruled in favor of the Dakota Resource Council, an area environmental activist group, and reversed the county's decision to rezone the land for the plant. He said the company has leased more than nine square miles.

"Basically, it's a start-over for GTL," Henning said. "Either the ordinance has to be amended, or they have to get approval from all the surrounding landowners."

Henning said he did not know how many landowners that might involve. He believes the ordinance was intended to provide notice to them, not require their approval.

"My impression was that this was bad language that wasn't caught when the ordinance was adopted in 1982," he said.

Pea, lentil plant opens

Officials said a new pea and lentil processing plant in Williston, N.D., is the largest of its kind in the Americas.

The president and CEO of Alliance Grain Traders, Murad Al-Katib, was among those on hand for Thursday's grand opening of the company's $7.5 million United Pulse Trading Inc., plant.

The plant was built to clean, peel, split and sort 75,000 metric tons of peas and lentils. Al-Katib said in a statement that the company plans a multiphase investment in the state.

Gov. John Hoeven said United Pulse has created 33 new jobs in Williston and five jobs at its headquarters in Bismarck. He said the company, which has roots in Turkey, has moved five Turkish families to North Dakota.

Hoeven's office said Saskatchewan-based Alliance Grain Traders Income Fund, the plant's parent company, is the world's largest lentil exporter with 13 other processing plants in Canada, Turkey and Australia.

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