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Socks dumped in Mountrail County

In what seems to be a recurring story in northwestern North Dakota these days, officials in Mountrail County have found discarded filter socks off the roadway in the southern part of the county.

Emergency Manager Don Longmuir said he received the call April 4 from Mountrail County Chief Deputy Corey Bristol that the socks had been found near a field by New Town.

When he arrived on the scene, they were well off the roadway or ditch area, so he believes they did not just fall off a truck that was moving them. The approximately 30 socks apparently had been there a while, based on their deteriorated condition. He said they may have been there since last fall or some time during the winter.

The remnants of a black bag can be seen among the scattered socks. Based on the length of time they have been there and their condition, Longmuir said, there is no way to know who is responsible for them being left there or exactly how long they have been there.

State Health Department workers collected the socks, which were taken by a licensed hauler to an approved waste site.

The state will help with the costs incurred in the disposal.

— Mountrail County Promoter, Stanley

New Town casino plans expansion

A new 4,000-plus seat event center and makeover to the gambling floor are part of a six-year plan for 4 Bears Casino four miles west of New Town.

“Every few years you’ll see a new event center, newer machines and probably a hotel addition shortly — right up to 2020,” said General Manager Patrick Packineau.

The new multipurpose event center will double the existing center’s square footage and seating capacity. It will host a variety of activities such as cultural and educational events, concerts, weddings, oil and gas shows, powwows and sport shows, he added.

Packineau said the multimillion-dollar building is still in the design planning phase and anticipates its construction to create a sense of pride and to serve “all our purposes.”

“It looks beautiful. It’s a great amenity for the casino and for western North Dakota in general,” he said.

The existing event center, which hosts at least 50 events each year, will be renovated and will feature a grand ballroom, extended gambling, a food court and a service area.

— New Town News

Courthouse project planned

Mercer County is making plans to expand its courthouse and detention center.

The county had been granted a $7 million loan from the Energy Impact Office. The funding would be paid off from coal severance and conversion taxes, with the remaining estimated $2.8 million coming out of county savings.

County Auditor Shana Brost said the loan was approved at the Land Board meeting. Brost said her discussion with a representative from the board found that the county didn’t have to get voter approval for the loan, since a coal loan wasn’t considered debt for the county based on current law.

“So we’ve been approved and now we just wait,” she added.

State’s Attorney Jessica Binder said that the way the law reads, if taxes were increased there would have to be a vote, noting that “overall consensus was to have the people approve this as proposed.”

— Beulah Beacon

Sales tax on Lignite ballot

Lignite residents will vote in June on a proposed home rule charter that would include sales tax to fund infrastructure maintenance and improvements.

The charter would levy a 2 percent sales tax on retail sales, with proceeds to be used for developing, promoting and enhancing the general welfare of the community, including such projects for health, recreation, business, and commerce retention, expansion, and recruitment.

“This will allow the city council to be able to finance upgrades that will better the city,” said Galen Kalmbach, city council member.

The charter calls for 75 percent of sales tax revenues to be used for city of Lignite infrastructure, 5 percent for park infrastructure improvements, and 20 percent for community improve-ments and business recruit-ment.

— Burke County Tribune, Bowbells

Contract will staff ambulance

The Divide County Ambulance District will soon be signing a contract with an outside company to provide the ambulance service with a full staff of paramedics and EMTs, Ambulance District President Mike Melby said.

Though a contract has yet to be signed, the parties have agreed to basics. More details will be forthcoming after the contract has been signed, he said, including a public meet-and-greet session with the ambulance service and the company.

In February, the ambulance service was looking for extra help within the community, especially attracting EMTs to the group.

Being short on help was the group’s biggest issue, Melby said, desiring to build up the ambulance service’s team.

Although ambulance service members were investigating the particulars of hiring outside help at that time — Jackie Lindsey was negotiating with an outside group to provide EMTs for the district using a $106,000 grant — Melby hoped to avoid it.

Meanwhile, he worried about the few available EMTs getting “burned out” by going on an increasing volume of calls.

— The Journal, Crosby

Growth in Tioga deemed too slow

The need to fund community growth and development, and the frustration some feel over the slow pace of projects dominated recent discussions at Tioga City Hall.

Rep. Bob Skarphol, R-Tioga, spoke on the need for Tioga to be more competitive with other towns seeking state funding for housing, schools and other infrastructure. He used as an example Watford City, which received $16 million in grant funding in 2012, while Tioga received only $5 million.

“I’m proud to be from Tioga, but there’s a time when things need to be managed differently, and this is one of those times,” he said.

Skarphol said other communities have more public relations and lobbying efforts than Tioga, which brings more attention to their needs.

“I’m not saying Watford doesn’t deserve the money, but I think this commission needs to be doing the same thing. You have to do something noticeable,” Skarphol said.

— The Tioga Tribune

(Compiled by Steve Andrist, former publisher of papers in Crosby and Tioga.)

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