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NORTH DAKOTA ROUNDUP: Center trains carpenters ... Painkiller death suit ... Guard heads to Kosovo

Center trains carpenters Carpenters said a new $2.4 million training center in Fargo will improve skills and increase wages. The North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters opened the center June 1. James Moore is the council's executive ...

Center trains carpenters
Carpenters said a new $2.4 million training center in Fargo will improve skills and increase wages.

The North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters opened the center June 1. James Moore is the council's executive secretary-treasurer. He said consumers will "get the job done right the first time" and safely.

The regional council partnered with North Dakota and Minnesota union contractors in building the 14,513-square-foot facility. It also will have offices for United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America Local 1176.

Leroy Babolian, a Fargo-area union member who oversaw the project, said training can help put more people to work. He said "the more skills you have, the more you work."

The North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters represents 20,000 union carpenters, floor coverers, lathers, millwrights and pile drivers in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

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Painkiller patch death suit
The mother of a man who authorities said died of a painkiller overdose is suing his father for allegedly supplying a potent patch.

Court records said Clinton Bitz, 34, Sioux Falls, S.D., died in April 2007 from what authorities called an acute Fentanyl overdose. The painkiller patches allegedly were prescribed to his father, Francis Bitz, Edgeley, N.D.

Clinton Bitz's mother, Wanda Cyr, Monticello, Minn., has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in federal court against Francis Bitz. Cyr is seeking more than $80,000.

Francis Bitz said in court documents that he should not be held responsible for damages.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen Klein has set a trial date of Oct. 12, 2010, but scheduled a conference in January to discuss a possible settlement.

Guard heads to Kosovo
About 2,000 people gathered in Bismarck to show their support for 350 North Dakota National Guard soldiers headed to Kosovo as part of a peacekeeping mission.

Besides family and friends, Sunday's sendoff ceremony drew Sen. Byron Dorgan, Gov. John Hoeven and Bismarck Mayor John Warford. They and others talked about the sacrifices the soldiers and families were making, and the character attributes of the soldiers who are serving.

The soldiers have had two years to prepare themselves and their families for the deployment.

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They are among about 700 North Dakota-based Guard soldiers headed to Kosovo as part of a peacekeeping mission.

A sendoff ceremony for the other group will be held later this summer.

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