Today is the last day of 2019, so it’s the perfect time to look back at the stories that shaped our state.
Here is a recap of what our newsroom feels are some of the top stories of the year:
During the 2019 Legislative session, a major change to Sundays. Blue Laws were repealed, they’d been debated in the legislature, for six decades.
Malique Rankin: “One big theme among state lawmakers who want to repeal the Blue Laws is that less government is more. They think it should be up to business owners, NOT the state to decide when their doors are open.”
In August, Sundays in North Dakota were finally open for business, but it still left the community divided.
North Dakota resident Chevy Emineth says, “I like it. It doesn’t bother me because they are open before noon every other day except Sunday. So, it doesn’t bother me much.”
North Dakota resident, Yasemee Nelson says, “I think it is a little sad. I think as a nation we are losing a value of family, time and culture. Especially on Sunday when we go to church. People want things faster and more available all the time.”
In March, KX News was on scene in Minot after a night of huge and unexpected explosions lit the night sky.
Becky Farr: “Hey everybody as you can see behind me those are some flames and I live here at the construction site where it would be the future home of the new trinity health hospital. We have been getting a lot of calls and Facebook messages and I actually live right here so we took a walk to over this area.”
It would take over a month to find out what the cause of the fire actually was.
Jim Olson: “Minot Fire Marshal Dean Lenertz says 24, one thousand pound propane tanks were sitting on frozen ground and started shifting as the weather warmed. He says the movement tore a rubber hose connecting some of the tanks and the leaking propane eventually hit a pilot light on a piece of equipment called a vaporizer.”
April 1st is the day we experienced the most tragic story of the year.
Alysia Huck: “In breaking news this morning Mandan Police are investigating the discovery of several bodies found in Mandan this morning.”
After rumors swirled the community for more than 24 hours, Mandan Police released the names of the victims.
Renee Cooper: “Tuesday we were given positive identification of the victims, all of whom were employees of RJR Maintenance and Management. They include William and Lois Cobb, a married couple, Robert Fakler, the owner of RJR and Adam Fuehrer, another employee of the business.”
After a four-day manhunt, the community looked for answers. A suspect was finally arrested in the small town of Washburn.
Renee Cooper: “Tonight around 7:46 PM Mandan Police arrested 44-year-old Chad Issak. The suspect was taken in on 4 counts of murder AA felonies and is currently being held at the McLean County Jail.”
Through the heartbreak the community came together to remember the loved ones they had lost.
Jackie Fakler: “We lost sons, daughters, husbands, fathers, brothers, grandfathers, grandmothers, sisters, loving wife, mother and some of our closest friends.”
Briann Miller and Amy Cobb say, “They were true soul mates and as bad as it sounds I am so glad they were able to be together.” “Me too.”
In April, a Lincoln man caught a whopper a 16-pound, 9-ounce walleye that would hold North Dakota’s new record, but after further investigation from the North Dakota Game and Fish, it was later disqualified.
Lauren Kalberer: “It’s been concluded the fish has been fouled hooked. Enforcement Cheif Bob Timien says if the fish is anywhere hooked behind the gill plate and is supposed to be released back into the water.”
In order for a fish to qualify as a state record, it must be caught within the rules for recreational fishing. The current record is 15.13 pounds, 32.5 inches.
June 25, 7-month-old, LeahMae Morsette, was reported missing, and a statewide search left the community praying for a happy ending.
Aaron Fields: “She was last seen on video surveillance with her mother in the 300 Block of West Arbor Avenue around 1:00 a.m. this morning.”
Nineteen hours after she went missing, Morsette was dropped off at Sanford Hospital. No charges in the case were ever filed.
This year also marked an extremely tough time for farmers and ranchers due to the second wettest fall on record and an unexpected October blizzard.
Jon Tebelius says, “Here in this yard and around everything that we did, it is approximately 17 hours of snow cleaning just to make this happen with this heavy wet snow,” It was difficult to get out. We were only pulling hay on the top of the corral. It took until yesterday evening to get them back on a nice mixed food with perfect nutrition,”
While 2019 proved to be a stressful year for America’s farmers amidst trade wars; the passing of the USMCA in December leaves them with hope for a better 2020.
Although most of the 2019 stories we just shared were heartbreaking—there were also some impactful positive stories from our communities as well.
Here’s some links to some of the other stories we weren’t able to cover:
- North Dakota Biker Clubs Show it All for Charity
- 29-year-old teacher, wife, and mother battles brain cancer for the second time
- Bismarck Teenager Saves Lives in His Death