Foster County Independent - The Official Newspaper for Foster County

Around the State: May 1, 2023


May 1, 2023

The counties and cities within the state of North Dakota hold many interesting news stories.

Here are just a few of the feature stories that others are reading in communities around the state.

Energy groups sound alarm on new film

A new movie that focuses on one of western North Dakota’s key industries is drawing positive reviews from some, and sharp criticism from others.

“How to Blow Up a Pipeline” began airing in theaters across the country on April 7. It’s based on a book, of the same name, that was released in 2021. The author, Andreas Malm, argues that property crimes and vandalism are justifiable tactics considering the success of other social justice efforts throughout American history.

The film is set in West Texas and revolves around a group of young people that decides to blow up an oil pipeline, due to one of the main characters’ family members dying during an extreme heat wave which that character attributes to climate change.

Craig Stevens, Spokesman for the GAIN (Grow America’s Infrastructure Now) Coalition said, “The film is fictional, but it takes a pretty descriptive look at how individuals should, and could, blow up a pipeline. I’ve not seen the film. I’m not going to spend my money on that, but they get pretty ‘in the weeds’ about how to do it, and those who are funding the movie believe this is an appropriate response for protest, and I think that’s really troubling.”

Professionally, the film has generally gotten positive reviews. The New York Times called the film a “cultural landmark” for its uniquely sympathetic portrayal of ecoterrorism.

Stevens says the potential for terrorism has reached as far as the FBI. “They put out a bulletin to law enforcement across the country to keep an eye out on this. It is surprising that no one is really talking about this. It is unbelievable that this can be done in a theatrical way for entertainment, but also for educational purposes.”

(Story by Steve Hallstrom, the McKenzie County Farmer)

Michigan man charged over $67,000 of fentanyl pills

Kevin Edward Heath, from Detroit, Michigan, has been charged with a Class B Felony for possession of fentanyl with the intent to distribute.

According to court records, on March 9, an officer from the Northwest Narcotics Task Force (NNTF) responded to a call from MHA Division of Drug Enforcement (MHADDE) stating that Heath, who is not enrolled within the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation (FBIR), was in a residence on FBIR and was reported to be selling fentanyl pills. The owner of the residence contacted law enforcement for assistance in removing Heath from the premises after he arrived earlier that day.

When officers from NNTF arrived on the scene, MHADDE officers had located Heath in a back bedroom of the residence. At this time, An MHADDE officer saw Heath lean out of the window of the bedroom and observed something had disturbed the snow under it.

Officers searched the area where they located a bag containing 897 fentanyl pills, which has an estimated street value of $67,275. They also found $4,034 in cash. Heath was taken into custody by the NNTF officers. His bond was set at $100,000.

(Story taken from the McKenzie County Farmer)

MHA Nation finalized purchase of Las Vegas land

The three Affiliated Tribes on the Fort Berthold Reservation have finalized the purchase of its third property in Las Vegas.

The finalization of a 1.1 acre site, at a $10.25 million price recently took place.

It is the site of the former White Sands Motel, located in proximity of the tribe’s other property holdings.

Mark Fox, tribal chairman, said regardless of what their plans are for the property, the former motel building will be torn down and the site cleaned up.

Earlier the tribe purchased slightly more than 8.50 acres, located one block from the Las Vegas Strip and across the street from a 13-acre site also purchased. The 13-acre site, located across from the Luxor, is known as the Village property and was the site of the mass shooting at the 2017 Route 91 Harvest Festival. When the tribe purchased that property from MGM Resorts International it was agreed two acres would be removed from the transaction for the construction of a memorial there.

Fox said the properties are investments for the tribe and its membership.

(Story taken from the New Town News)

Curling becomes official sport of North Dakota

In a “sweeping” change to state law, Gov. Doug Burgum signed Senate Bill 2229 last week designating curling as the official sport of North Dakota.

Among those joining Burgum for the bill signing ceremony were Alaina Schmit, an 11-year-old sixth grader from Horizon Middle School in Bismarck who brought the idea forward and lobbied lawmakers to pass it.

Alaina came up with the idea of making curling the state sport on her own and brought it to the legislators without any help or prompting from her parents or school teachers.

Senator Sean Cleary of Bismarck introduced the bill on behalf of Alaina Schmit, who with a friend and fellow Horizon sixth grader Etta Knapp made their case with a long list of facts about curling.

(Story taken from the Kenmare News)

Teacher barred from classroom will resign

The history teacher accused of showing inappropriate videos to students in a Ray classroom has resigned, effective May 19, but will continue to work remotely until the conclusion of the school year.

Kathryn Leal’s resignation follows in the wake of an internal investigation concluding she “engaged in inappropriate conduct” on April 3 by showing eighth-grade U.S. History students a series of graphic videos unrelated to class curriculum.

Leal was placed on administrative leave on April 4 by administrators after they received complaints from parents. The school board accepted her resignation at a special board meeting after Superintendent Kristopher Kuehn’s investigation concluded.

Several videos were shown including one about the recent school shooting in Nashville and others focused on abortion.

The abortion-related videos included two focused on fetal development between 16 and 22 weeks, an animated video depicting a first-trimester abortion procedure and another animated depiction of a second-trimester abortion.

“Even though they are animated, they are incredibly graphic and difficult to watch,” read the report.

The videos shown to the eighth-graders prompted immediate backlash from parents and resulted in Leal being placed on administrative leave while Kuehn initiated an investigation.

(Story by Jacob Orledge, the Tioga Tribune)


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