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REGIONAL BRIEFS: Electric Asian carp barrier clears legislative committee

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Credit: Forum News Service

North Dakota

Park Board reconsidering 'family' pass rules after lesbian couple's request

FARGO - Fargo park officials on Wednesday supported a proposal to broaden who can qualify for what has been called a "family" discount on season passes at Fargo's public golf courses.

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The issue was taken up by the Park Board after a lesbian couple legally married in Iowa was denied the pass earlier this month. The discount would save them about $100 on an annual pass to the city's nine-hole golf courses.

The board's facility committee discussed six options to replace the existing family pass, which has required a couple to be able to legally file joint tax returns to qualify. All three committee members were in favor of rewriting the rules so that married same-sex couples would qualify.

Joel Vettel, the board's president, recommended the Park District look at the issue after Katy Kjelvik and Steph Rindy were denied a family pass.

The options include no policy change, offering a pass to couples married legally anywhere in the United States, eliminating the family pass, developing a "dual" pass for two adults in the same home, creating a discounted pass for one adult with a child, and creating a "household" pass.

The Park Board will discuss the issue at its March 12 meeting.

(FF)

Sugarbeet Institute slated March 13-14

FARGO - The 51st International Sugarbeet Institute will be held March 13-14 at the Fargodome.

Approximately 125 commercial exhibitors will be on hand to visit with producers.

On Wednesday, Luther Markwart, executive vice president of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association, will present "Sugar Industry Challenges and Opportunities in 2013."

Howard Dahl, president and CEO of Amity Technology, will present "The Sugarbeet Industry Five Years From Now" on Thursday.

For more information, call Don Lilleboe at (701) 476-2111 or email dlilleboe@forumprinting.com.

(FF)

Minnesota

Microsoft's Bill Gates to speak at Concordia College

MOORHEAD, Minn. -- Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates will speak on the Concordia College campus in April, President William Craft announced Wednesday.

Gates, 57, will deliver the keynote address on the morning of April 27 as part of the college's dedication ceremony for the newly renovated Grant Center, which houses the new Offutt School of Business that opened to students last month.

He made his fortune with Microsoft, the software giant he co-founded in 1975 and led as CEO until 2000. Gates still serves as the company's chairman.

Craft said Gates also has become internationally known for his philanthropic work through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a private foundation he launched in 1994 to help address global challenges in poverty, health care and education.

More details on the free event will be released March 20 on Concordia's website at www.ConcordiaCollege.edu/billgates.

(FF)

Electric Asian carp barrier clears legislative committee

ST. PAUL -- State legislators are moving ahead with plans to build an electric barrier in the Mississippi River to stop the spread of invasive Asian carp.

A bill instructing the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to contract for design work on an electric barrier at Lock and Dam No. 1 in St. Paul passed the House Environment and Natural Resources Policy committee Wednesday.

The bill as introduced by Rep. John Persell, DFL-Bemidji, would have had the department install electric barriers at Lock and Dam No. 1 and on the Minnesota River in Mankato before April 2014.

The bill was amended Tuesday night to say the department must contract for design work rather than actually constructing a barrier, and only at the St. Paul location. Amendment author Rep. Tom Hackbarth, R-Cedar, said that without a design, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Coast Guard can't say whether they would approve an electric barrier.

The department must award the contract before March 15, the bill states.

(BP)

Homeowner turns Taser on burglary suspects

BRECKENRIDGE, Minn. - Four men are in custody after police here said the victim reported them trying to kick down the door of his home in the 400 block of 9th Street South early Tuesday in order to break in.

The victim said he was able to fend them off with a Taser, Breckenridge Police Chief Nate Harder said.

The four arrested on suspicion of first-degree burglary are Mohamed H. Abdillahi, 18, Abnor Luma, 20, Austin Robert Gould, 19, and Jason Travis Griffin, 18, according to Harder.

Harder said the homeowner reported seeing the suspects take off from his house in a car after the incident, which happened just after 3 a.m. Tuesday.

With the help of Wahpeton, N.D., police and the Wilkin County Sheriff's Department, Breckenridge police later found the car near the North Dakota state line.

(FF)

Wisconsin

Developer presses for approval of Wisconsin wind farm

NEW RICHMOND, Wis. -- The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin will again take up the issue of a proposed wind farm in St. Croix County.

The commission denied Highland Wind Farm LLC's application at a meeting Feb. 14, noting that the developer could reapply after proving that turbine noise from the project would not exceed state standards.

Highland officials filed an "emergency request" last week with the PSC to reconsider its previous decision. Highland attorney John Wilson suggested that instead of denying the application, the commission could approve it with the condition that the project meets all state standards related to noise and setbacks.

The PSC will consider Highland's request at its next meeting Friday. The commission previously voted 2-1 against the new wind farm.

(NRN)

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