2013 Year in Review: Part 5 - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

2013 Year in Review: Part 5

2013 Year in Review: Part 5

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It's time to continue our look back at the major news stories of 2013.

Jim Olson looks at the big headlines from September and October.

 

It was early in September - barely two thirds of the way through the year - that Minot surpassed its precipitation record for an entire year. The North Central Research Extension Center has been keeping records for more than a century and reported that as of September 9th, more than 27 inches of precipitation had been received - more than in any entire year on record.

The wet weather helped explain why Williston Vector Control was still on the job spraying for mosquitoes well into September - the latest treatment date ever.

The weather did add up to a good growing season for many crops in the region as harvest proved successful. But on the negative side of the ledger, there were thousands of acres in the region that had gone unplanted because of the wet spring.

Late summer brought a major inspection for the Lake Darling Dam - the structure that had been severely tested two years earlier by the highest flows ever recorded on the Mouse River. The dam and levee came through the inspection with no problems.

Flood insurance rates paid by people living in the Mouse River Valley were poised for a major increase under legislation passed by Congress. But the state's congressional delegation worked on winning a delay in the increase pending a study of rates - and a local state legislator unveiled an idea for the state to create its own flood insurance program and bypass the federal program.

Hope Village was nearing the end of its two-plus years of lending a helping hand to hundreds of flood victims. The group was wrapping up its mission as September came to an end. At the same time FEMA was officially getting out of the rental business, ending its rental program for temporary housing units. Also at the same time, the city of Minot was voting to give another six-month extension to private homeowners who still had FEMA trailers on their property, as long as they had a plan for getting out of those trailers within that six months.

County governments in western North Dakota were forced to crack down on oil truck traffic on gravel roads at a few different times in the wet year. The closures came in an effort to keep the waterlogged roads from being ruined by the heavy loads.

Early October brought the biggest oil spill in state history to this farm field near Tioga. A local farmer was harvesting when he smelled oil and eventually realized there was oil bubbling up from underground in low spots. The spill came from a ruptured pipeline and was estimated at over 20-thousand barrels of crude.

Spills of another kind were making news too - saltwater that is produced as a byproduct of the operation of oil wells had spilled in various places, ruining the land it touched for decades. A landowners group tried to highlight the problem, hoping to force the state to enact tighter controls on the saltwater disposal wells that dot the countryside.

In Watford City, the effort to reduce heavy truck traffic was centered on a field south of town. This is where the Highway 85 bypass will be located - a bypass designed to remove thousands of trucks from the streets of Watford City by next year.

Also in Watford City, the newest district judge in the Northwest District was seated. The position was one of two new judgeships authorized by the state legislature in oil country - the other is located in Williston.

In mid-October, the State Health Department reported an outbreak of Hepititis-C in Minot, centered on Manor Care Health Services. By year's end the department had been unable to pinpoint the source of 44 cases of the disease, saying Manor Care and Trinity Health showed no signs of improper procedures that could transmit the disease.

In early September, groundbreaking was held for the new Ward County office building, located directly across the street from the county courthouse. The new building will be four stories tall with a skyway connecting it to the courthouse.

And autumn got its traditional kickoff the with annual Norsk Hostfest - an event that offered a special tribute to the volunteers needed to make it happen each year.

With the Year in Review, Jim Olson, KX News.

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