Blair Emerson / Bismarck Tribune
BISMARCK - Shortly after Durant "Phil" Shook died, his four children got a letter in the mail notifying them a nursing home was suing them for more than $43,000 in unpaid bills related to their father's stay at the facility. His children, Becky Pedersen, Margaret Rennecke and Joseph Shook, had no idea of the existence of an antiquated law in North Dakota that allows nursing homes to sue children for their parents' unpaid nursing home bills. As a result of the litigation, his children reached out to their local legislators to try to get the law changed.
MANDAN, N.D. - The children of a couple who were killed in a Morton County home explosion in December 2016 have filed a lawsuit against a local energy cooperative and propane supplier. The home explosion, which was blamed on a propane leak, rocked an entire neighborhood north of Mandan on Dec. 14, 2016. The explosion killed Clyde and Elizabeth Howe, and left Elizabeth Howe's daughter, Elianna Vazquez, severely injured.
BISMARCK — After a record number of 77 drug overdose deaths in North Dakota in 2016, that number has declined slightly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released drug overdose deaths per state for 2017. In North Dakota, overdose deaths decreased for the first time from 77 deaths in 2016 to 68 deaths in 2017. Pam Sagness, director of the Division of Behavioral Health for the state Department of Human Services, said the decrease is one indicator of the success of drug overdose prevention efforts started in 2017.
BISMARCK - Brianna Tortalita saw the passage of a bill to allow Native American students to wear an eagle feather or plume at their high school graduations "as a win for everybody." In 2015, Tortalita and a group of Native American students successfully petitioned Bismarck Public Schools to allow Native students to wear eagle feathers and plumes at their graduation ceremonies.
BISMARCK — Sen. Nicole Poolman, R-Bismarck, is the only state legislator currently employed as a public school teacher. An English teacher at Century High School, Poolman said she believes she brings an important perspective to the Legislature. "I think it's essential that we have a current teacher in the Legislature to be able to relay those needs and issues (of schools)," said Poolman, who's been a state senator since 2012.
For more than 20 years, North Dakota Rep. David Monson, R-Osnabrock, has tried to pass legislation to regulate the production of hemp in the state. Though hemp has been recognized as a legal crop in North Dakota, Monson said, the state kept getting "stymied" by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, which claimed hemp was marijuana and, therefore, illegal. But the federal 2018 Farm Bill took hemp off the DEA's list of controlled substances, separating it from marijuana and placing it under the supervision of the Department of Agriculture.
BISMARCK — Bullying led her to consider killing herself, the 18-year-old Pekin native told the House Education Committee on Wednesday, Feb. 27. The name-calling starting in kindergarten, with other students calling her "fat, loser (and) ugly," she said. It progressively got worse over the years — at school and online, where it was inescapable. On May 5, 2017, Gjovik attempted suicide for the seventh time. Right before second period, she went into a school bathroom and took a "dangerous amount of Tylenol."
MANDAN, N.D. -- Fred Berger doesn't like to talk about the weather. Over the past month, temperatures for the Mandan cattle rancher have dropped to the single digits, down to well below zero with the wind chills. The cold snap has cost Berger more money in feed and extra bedding for his 700-some cows. And with calving season just around the corner, Berger said the cold could start to become a real issue.
BISMARCK -- An 18-year-old charged with attempted murder in the non-fatal shooting of a woman in December has pleaded not guilty. Brandyn Manuel appeared in South Central District Court on Friday, Feb. 22, for an arraignment hearing. Bismarck police arrested Manuel on Dec. 18 for allegedly shooting Tina Davenport, 18, at a mobile home community. Police previously said there was a disagreement between Manuel and Davenport, which led to the shooting. Manuel's case was transferred from juvenile court to district court last week.
BISMARCK — A Bismarck woman has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the assault of a Mandan bus driver in October. Megan Rosario Hernandez pleaded guilty last month to misdemeanor counts of harassment and disorderly conduct. Mandan police responded to an altercation at a bus stop the morning of Oct. 10. A bus driver, Steve Bertsch, told police he had been assaulted by a 12-year-old boy.