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REGIONAL BRIEFS: State's tallest wind farm nearly ready

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From the Forum Communications News Bureau

North Dakota

Firm announces large Williston housing development

WILLISTON, N.D. - A 164-acre housing development announced Wednesday will be the largest in the oil boomtown of Williston.

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The first phase of the project, called The Ridge at Harvest Hills, will have up to 330 apartments and lots for 500 homes. Work on the infrastructure is under way and development of the housing units will begin in the spring, according to a press release Wednesday from private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR).

KKR acquired the property with co-investors Pfeffer Capital and CP Realty.

Williston Mayor Ward Koeser said the largest housing development to date is the adjacent Harvest Hills development, which is 110 acres. Koeser said the new development will bring the city another step closer to its goal of having permanent housing available for families.

"It looks like they're making a substantial investment in Williston," Koeser said.

(FCC)

Police seek SUV that hit a man in wheelchair

FARGO - Police here are looking for tips in a hit-and-run collision which sent a disabled man to the hospital with a head injury on Wednesday evening, a police spokesman said.

Lt. Joel Vettel said a man in a wheelchair was struck by a white SUV outside Slammer's Sports Bar and Casino at the 700 block of 28th Avenue North here just before 7 p.m. on Wednesday night.

The victim, Donald Petersen, of Fargo, was sent to Sanford Medical Center with a head injury, Vettel said. It doesn't appear Petersen was using a crosswalk, he said.

Petersen's condition was satisfactory Thursday afternoon, a Sanford spokeswoman said.

After the incident, the vehicle pulled into a nearby parking lot and sped off westbound, Vettel said. He said the vehicle is similar to a GMC Envoy.

Anyone with more information can call police at (701) 241-8175.

(FF)

Prosecutor win regional award

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- The federal prosecutor in Fargo targeting drug cases that killed three people in the Red River Valley this summer was named the most outstanding drug prosecutor in seven states Thursday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Myers is the year's Outstanding Prosecutor for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program's Midwest office.

The HIDTA-funded Grand Forks regional drug task force nominated him for the award, according to his boss, Tim Purdon, the U.S. attorney for North Dakota.

"Chris is simply the best and most well-regarded drug crime prosecutor in North Dakota," Purdon said.

HIDTA, a White House program, funds multi-agency drug crime fighting, including the Grand Forks regional drug task force. Its Midwest office covers the Dakotas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri.

(GFH)

Minnesota

State's tallest wind farm nearly ready

WORTHINGTON, Minn. -- In a little less than three weeks, a wind energy company and local investors will celebrate the completion of the tallest wind farm in Minnesota.

Nine of the 15 turbines are complete, with workers doing assembly overnight this week, when there is little wind to hamper their efforts.

"We're trying to put up a wind farm where it's windy," said Aaron Peterson, community relations and regulatory affairs manager for juwi (pronounced u-v) Wind. "When the wind is going down, we're on call."

A ribbon cutting ceremony for Community Wind South is planned for 3 p.m. Dec. 5 along with a flip of the switch on the $70 million project.

The REpower towers will be the largest in the state at 480 feet to the top of the blade. The towers are also projected to harvest 15 percent more power than the traditional 80-meter towers that surround it.

Nacelles, which house the key energy generating components for each 2-megawatt turbine, came from Germany, while the blades were manufactured in Arkansas and the towers were produced in West Fargo, N.D.

(DG)

Canada-U.S. group sets meeting on mining

VIRGINIA, Minn. -- A meeting on the impact of copper-nickel mining operations in Minnesota's Iron Range has been set for March 15 in Virginia.

The event, called "The Impacts of Nonferrous Mining in the Lake Superior Basin," is open to the public and free. It will be held from 12:30 to 5 p.m. in the Auditorium of the Mesabi Range Community and Technical College.

The meeting is hosted by Lake Superior Binational Forum, its third and final public meeting on the economic and environmental impact of mining on the Lake Superior basin.

Email the Forum at binationalforum@northland.edu to suggest issues or speakers for consideration. A final agenda will be posted on the Forum's website, www.superiorforum.org, by the end of the year.

The Binational Forum is a group of concerned citizens that has official backing from the governments of Canada and the United States to discuss and develop environmental policy for the Lake Superior region. It has no regulatory or legal authority.

(DNT)

Wisconsin

Cancelled at school, controversial Kluwe will speak at library

RIVER FALLS, Wis. -- The Coalition for a Compassionate Community has rescheduled outspoken Minnesota Vikings punter Kris Kluwe as a guest speaker for 2 p.m. Tuesday in the River Falls Public Library after River Falls school officials balked at in-school appearance.

The CCC had helped organize a mid-October Unity Day at the middle and high schools, securing Kluwe as a guest speaker willing to visit both schools. Shortly after the group announced its intentions, objections from a combination of parents, pastors and principals converged to cancel Kluwe's in-school talks.

The controversy stems from a letter Kluwe wrote to a Maryland senator, condemning the legislator's comments about an NFL Baltimore Ravens player who spoke in favor of marriage equality.

Especially with a related referendum question on all Minnesota ballots in the recent election, the issue -- and the strongly worded letter -- "went viral" on the Internet.

After Kluwe was confirmed as a speaker, River Falls Superintendent Tom Westerhaus said the school district decided it could not risk someone using that strong of language with kids at the middle and high school.

"The issue was not about gay marriage at all," said Westerhaus, "The issue was the language he used in a letter to the senator."

(RFJ)

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