2013 Year in Review: Part 3 - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

2013 Year in Review: Part 3

2013 Year in Review: Part 3

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Our look back at the top news stories of 2013 continues now.

Here's Jim Olson with a review of the major happenings in the region during May and June.

May began with huge rain storms in the region - showers that caused unprecedented flooding in the Trestle Valley area west of Minot. And that was a sign of things to come - because even though flows from Canada were quite low, the Mouse River was raging in many areas due to rainfall runoff. Minot received about ten inches of rain in a two week period in late May and early June, leading to new flood warnings for many places including Foxholm and Burlington as the Des Lacs River shot up ten feet in 24 hours, reaching the highest levels of the year. Along the Mouse River, Minot was less than a foot from flood stage and Logan and Sawyer saw high crests. It all went away quickly when the rain finally relented, but it was a reminder of the wet cycle now underway in the region.

In Williston, residents were asked to conserve water in early June because the water plant was at about 30% efficiency due to high sediment levels caused by rapid runoff from heavy rains.

By late June, there was some good water news - a new treatment plant for the Parshall area was officially open.

The wet year meant lots of work for the men and women of Williston Vector Control. The mosquito spraying business went on longer than ever this year.

What didn't go on was planting for many farmers as the state had its second worst year on record for prevented planting - some four million acres went unplanted due to the wet ground.

The state legislature wrapped up its longest session ever in early June, agreeing on more than two billion dollars in one-time spending en route to a 14 billion dollar budget over the two year cycle.

Near Makoti, the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikira Tribes broke ground for the Thunder Butte Refinery - a project to construct an oil refinery to turn crude oil into diesel fuel. Another new refinery is also under construction near Trenton.

Three people were killed in a horrific crash on Highway Two east of Stanley on June 21st. The accident happened on a fog-shrouded road early in the morning.

The specter of more traffic crashes causing deaths and injuries helped Mercy Hospital in Williston decide to begin offering helicopter ambulance services to the region. The chopper was unveiled on May 10th.

Another awful traffic accident happened near Minot on May 16th as a semi truck plowed into a group of vehicles stopped at a red light at the 2,52, and 83 bypass intersection. The crash killed 21-year-old Megan Shoal of Plentywood, Montana. The driver of the truck, Clark Christensen is facing a Class-B Felony charge of manslaughter in the case. A trial is expected early next year.

About the same time, the body of a Williston-area rancher who had been missing for two weeks was found near Williston. Jack Sjol had been shot with a rifle and his body dumped on a pile of refuse at a farm yard. An investigation led to a murder charge against Ryan Stensaker and prosecutors maintaining Stensaker had been hired by a motorcycle gang called The Sons of Silence to kill Sjol. A jury trial is scheduled for next July.

17 officers at the Minot Air Force Base were temporarily relieved of duties watching over missiles that carry nuclear weapons in early May. The move came after a lieutenant colonel at the 91st Missile Wing said the wing was in crisis due to poor training and performance. The commander of the wing said the message was appropriate and needed to restore the high standards expected of those who handle nuclear weapons. About six weeks later, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff paid a visit to Minot Air Force Base.

And we can't end the look at May and June without noting some key re-openings: On May 4th, the Roosevelt Park Zoo opened for the first time since it was swamped by the 2011 flood. On June First, the Wee Links Golf Course opened for the first time since the flood, and the Ward County Historical Society's Pioneer Village re-opened on that same day. And on June 10th, Roosevelt Park Pool welcomed swimmers for the first time since the flood nearly two years earlier.

With today's look at the year in review, Jim Olson, KX News.

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