Jack Dura / Bismarck Tribune
BISMARCK—Before she deployed to aid hurricane relief in North Carolina, Teddi-Lyn Bergquist had never done anything like it before. "That's why I wanted to become a nurse, to do mission trips," the Wing, N.D., native and CHI St. Alexius nurse said Monday. "So when I heard of this opportunity, I was super excited and just jumped on it."
BISMARCK — Just one statewide race in North Dakota this year has no political party associated with it: a 10-year term on the state Supreme Court. North Dakota's judicial races have been nonpartisan since 1910, after a nasty election involving libel in 1906. This year, voters will weigh incumbent Justice Lisa Fair McEvers, who has served almost five years, and longtime Bismarck trial lawyer Bob Bolinske Sr., who previously ran unsuccessfully in 2016.
BISMARCK—North Dakota legislators earlier this month debated the true fiscal impact of Measure 3, which would legalize recreational marijuana, as the state Department of Health put forth costs for a related educational campaign not required by the measure. Brenda Weisz, director of the state Department of Health's Division of Accounting, said health department officials had internal discussions similar to lawmakers of Legislative Management, but their estimated fiscal impact came down to "we have a responsibility to protect the health and safety of all North Dakotans."
BISMARCK—A council of North Dakota's judiciary has recommended that the state Supreme Court budget 10 additional staff positions for the 2019-21 biennium, as well as an additional judgeship. State Court Administrator Sally Holewa said the state Supreme Court will meet in two weeks to discuss its budget proposal, which is due by Nov. 15 to the state Office of Management Budget. In 2017, the state court system cut about 35 staff amid budget reductions.
BISMARCK—Two teams of 28 medical personnel from around North Dakota will fly Wednesday to Raleigh, N.C., to aid relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Florence. Emergency Preparedness and Response Section Chief Tim Wiedrich said the registered nurses, paramedics and EMTs chosen for deployment to North Carolina were pulled from a pool of medical personnel who have submitted to make themselves available to respond to a large-scale emergency under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact.
BISMARCK — Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Rep. Kevin Cramer may only meet a few times in debates during the home stretch of North Dakota's U.S. Senate race, but will those meetings matter? The Democrat incumbent and her Republican challenger are set to spar Oct. 5 in a Prairie Public-AARP debate co-moderated by PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff, followed by debates sponsored by the North Dakota Newspaper Association and North Dakota Broadcasters Association later in the month.
BISMARCK—North Dakota lawmakers expressed uncertainty over the authority of the legislative Budget Section during the committee's first meeting since the state Supreme Court handed down a ruling in a lawsuit involving the executive and legislative branches.
BISMARCK — Wearing white gloves, Stephanie Baltzer Kom gingerly leafed through the fragile pages of 200-year-old documents handwritten in Spanish. "We don't have them translated, so we have no idea what they say," said the head of technical services for the North Dakota State Archives. The ragged papers were donated decades ago by a North Dakota man who acquired them from a prison camp in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War and are now among the state archives' oldest manuscripts.
BISMARCK — North Dakota Libertarians are already looking ahead to the 2020 election, despite the loss of the party's ballot status. Secretary of State candidate Roland Riemers, the only Libertarian on the statewide primary ballot, needed 300 votes to advance to November's general election and to maintain his party's ballot access. He won a duel before the North Dakota Supreme Court for a recount, the results of which were certified Tuesday by the state Canvassing Board: 248 votes, one more than in the primary.
BISMARCK — On tip-toe, Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle reached to a high shelf in his office to a picture frame that had tipped over. He retrieved it and made a lighthearted comment about the photo it contained taken not too long ago of him and his first-grade teacher. He returned it to the shelf, and then noted another, this one of him and retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. In a legal career spanning 60 years, there's a lot to talk about.