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This Hour: Latest North Dakota news, sports, business and entertainment

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FORECAST-LIVESTOCK

Ag commissioner puts farmers on alert for flooding

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota's agriculture commissioner says farmers and ranchers in the western and central parts of the state should take steps to protect livestock and other property in advance of possible flooding.

Doug Goehring says the forecast calls for between 3 and 6 inches of rain through the weekend in some areas. He says producers should consider moving animals to higher ground and moving hay bales from low-lying areas.

Goehring also suggests that residents check that weather radios and communication equipment are working.

SALTWATER SPILL

Tribe official: Tests not shared on brine spill

The environmental director of an American Indian tribe says he's been shut out of the tribe's response to a massive saltwater spill on its North Dakota reservation.

Edmund Baker is the environmental director of the Three Affiliated Tribes. He says he hasn't been allowed to see water or soil tests from the spill area even though he's in charge of making sure the tribe is upholding its environmental code.

He says the public is still "in the absolute dark" after an underground pipeline spewed 1 million gallons of saltwater near Mandaree in July.

The tribe's natural resources administrator, Claryca (kluh-RISS'-uh) Mandan disputed Baker's claim, saying he never requested the documentation. She also questioned his motives, noting he is running for tribal chairman.

SALTWATER LEAK

Williams County saltwater spill blamed on piping

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota Oil and Gas Division authorities say a saltwater spill in Williams County has been contained.

Kodiak Oil and Gas reported that 300 barrels of saltwater was released and recovered at one of the company's disposal wells about 15 miles east of Williston.

Authorities believe a piping leak caused the spill.

SLOUGH SPILL

3 barrels of oil spill into slough near Westhope

WESTHOPE, N.D. (AP) - State officials are monitoring cleanup of an oil spill in a slough six miles southeast of Westhope, in north central North Dakota.

The state Health Department said Wednesday that three barrels of oil and a small amount of saltwater spilled from a broken pipe at a well owned by Enduro Operating. A barrel holds 42 gallons.

The company estimated that two barrels of oil had been recovered by a vacuum truck. The rest will be burned off with state approval, and affected soil will be removed from the site.

BIKE FATAL

Hunter man charged with manslaughter in bike fatal

FARGO, N.D. (AP) - A North Dakota man has been charged in connection with a June crash that killed a man who was riding his bicycle.

Twenty-six-year-old Justin Jalbert of Hunter is charged in East Central District Court with felony manslaughter.

The accident killed 50-year-old David Hawkinson of West Fargo. The Highway Patrol says Jalbert was driving a pickup that ran into the back tire of Hawkinson on Highway 81 north of Grandin.

Court documents do not list an attorney for Jalbert.

Traill County States Attorney Stuart Larson says Jalbert has not been arrested.

BICYCLIST KILLED

6-year-old Rolla girl riding bike killed by pickup

ROLLA, N.D. (AP) - A 6-year-old girl is dead after being struck by a pickup truck while riding her bicycle in Rolla.

The Highway Patrol later identified the girl as Kee Leigh Chase of Rolla.

Authorities say the girl was crossing U.S. Highway 281 in Rolla's city limits about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday when she was struck by a pickup driven by a 72-year-old city resident. The driver was not cited.

The girl was pronounced dead at the scene.

ACT SCORES-NORTH DAKOTA

ND students' ACT scores below national average

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota students continue to score slightly below the national average on the ACT college entrance exam.

Students in the state had an average composite score this year of 20.6, below the national average of 21.0. The state score was up from 20.5 last year.

The ACT tests students in the areas of English, math, reading and science. The best possible score on the exam is 36. The test is commonly used by colleges and universities as a benchmark for college readiness and entrance.

One-hundred percent of North Dakota's 2014 graduating class took the exam.

HOSPITAL AFFILIATION

St. Alexius to partner with national nonprofit CHI

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Bismarck-based St. Alexius Medical Center is aligning itself with the Catholic Health Initiatives nonprofit.

Officials announced on Wednesday that St. Alexius will become a direct affiliate of the CHI system, which is based in Colorado and has a division based in Fargo.

The deal should close by the end of the year, pending state approval. The two organizations plan to form a regional health system of hospitals and clinics in western and central North Dakota.

Catholic Health Initiatives has several facilities in the state. St. Alexius serves residents of central and western North Dakota, eastern Montana and northern South Dakota. It is associated with the Benedictine Sisters of the Annunciation Monastery in Bismarck. That will not change, and St. Alexius will retain its local board of directors.

DRUG CZAR'S STORY

US drug czar boosts treatment with personal story

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - The nation's drug czar says the shift in his office from a justice-driven to a treatment-driven strategy hits home with him.

Michael Botticelli is the acting director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy who recently celebrated his 25th year of sobriety. He says addiction continues to be highly stigmatized and it's important for him and other people to tell their stories.

Botticelli was in North Dakota this week to talk about the administration's focus on combatting drug crimes in the oil patch. He also talked about the difficulty of getting treatment programs up and running in rural areas like North Dakota.

Botticelli says federal funding for prevention, treatment and recovery is at its highest level in 12 years, and he hopes his own experience helps others.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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