Extreme cold blankets Dakotas after days of snow
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Some organizations in the Dakotas are canceling holiday events as bitter cold settles over the region.
A "Christmas at the Zoo" fundraising event in the North Dakota city of Minot and "Parade of Lights" events in the South Dakota cities of Yankton and Sturgis are among those being called off.
The National Weather Service has posted advisories in the two states for wind chills as low as 40 degrees below zero. Temperatures that cold can quickly freeze exposed skin and cause hypothermia.
It can lead to other problems as well, like frozen water pipes.
The weather service says it's also keeping an eye on possible rapid rises on the Missouri River caused by ice formation.
The cold comes on the heels of heavy snowfall. Some cities set records Wednesday.
Fire engulfs Minot apartments under construction
MINOT, N.D. (AP) - Fire has engulfed some apartments under construction in Minot.
The Minot Daily News reports that some inhabited apartments near the site of the Chateau Apartments fire have been evacuated. The Red Cross is helping displaced residents.
A city street also has been closed and city bus routes have been disrupted.
Fire crews are working to ensure nearby businesses are not damaged.
There is no immediate word on a possible cause of the Thursday morning fire.
South Prairie voters overwhelmingly OK high school
MINOT, N.D. (AP) - Voters in the South Prairie School District near Minot have approved a $12 million bond issue to add a high school.
The district currently has grades K-8. About 81 percent of the 349 people who voted Tuesday favored an expansion.
School officials say taxes shouldn't go up because the district will no longer have to pay tuition to send high school students to other districts.
Construction is to begin in May and the school should be ready for the 2015-16 school year.
Former Grand Forks officer cleared of terrorizing
GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) - A jury has acquitted a former Grand Forks police officer of felony terrorizing and convicted him instead of misdemeanor disorderly conduct.
Twenty-eight-year-old Jace Prelip was accused of holding an unloaded gun to another man's head during a party in August 2012. He resigned from the police force a few days later.
The Grand Forks Herald reports that jurors deliberated about 1 ½ hours Wednesday before delivering their decision.
Prelip could have faced up to five years in prison had he been convicted of terrorizing.
DOG BREEDER PLEA
ND man pleads to animal abuse in seizure case
FARGO, N.D. (AP) - Sentencing has been scheduled Jan. 6 for a North Dakota man accused of neglecting about 170 dogs at an apparent puppy mill at his rural Wheatland home.
Fifty-one-year-old Darcy Smith on Wednesday entered an Alford plea to misdemeanor animal abuse. That means he does not admit guilt but acknowledges there is enough evidence to convict him.
Authorities seized the animals from Smith's home in July. He later waived his rights to the animals and they were put up for adoption.
KFGO radio reports that Smith could face up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine. Prosecutor Leah Viste tells the Forum the state will seek a sentence that prohibits Smith from owning any more dogs.
UND volleyball coach quits amid hit-and-run probe
GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) - University of North Dakota volleyball coach Ashley Hardee has resigned amid an investigation into an alleged hit-and-run incident at the Big Sky tournament last weekend in Portland, Ore.
Hardee in a statement apologized for what he called "a serious lapse in judgment." He didn't elaborate.
He's been UND's coach the past five years. He was put on paid administrative leave Monday and resigned Wednesday.
Athletic Director Brian Faison says a search for a new coach will begin immediately.
Portland State spokesman Scott Gallagher says officials are investigating a reported hit-and-run vehicle accident allegedly involving Hardee at the team hotel early Sunday. No one was hurt.
Hardee has a driving offense on his record. The Grand Forks Herald reports he pleaded guilty to drunken driving in June 2012
Farm Rescue nonprofit helps 50 families in 2013
JAMESTOWN, N.D. (AP) - The nonprofit Farm Rescue organization has wrapped up its year after helping 50 families.
The North Dakota-based nonprofit provides planting and harvesting help free of charge to farm families in the region stricken by a major illness, injury or disaster.
Since 2006, Farm Rescue has helped more than 250 farm families in the Dakotas, Montana, Minnesota and Iowa. The 50 families helped this year was the organization's highest annual total to date.
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