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REGIONAL BRIEFS: Remains found in old Iron Range mine identified

From the Forum News Service

North Dakota

University System seeks applications for interim chancellor

BISMARCK -- The North Dakota University System is accepting applications and nominations for an interim chancellor to lead the system of 11 public campuses for at least the next year after Chancellor Hamid Shirvani's term ends early July 15.

A news release Friday said the State Board of Higher Education is looking for a leader with "significant experience in higher education and statewide leadership."

The position also requires an applicant who can work "collaboratively" with campus presidents, represent the system effectively with legislators and the governor and lead the system office.

Applicants are asked to send a letter of interest and resume to, while confidential inquiries are possible by contacting Association of Community College Trustees Executive Vice President Narcisa Polonio at (202) 276-1983 or

Friday's announcement said the board will review applications at its June 20 meeting in Bottineau. An interim chancellor is expected to be appointed by the end of the month.

Under a contract buyout plan approved by the board Monday, Shirvani will receive an estimated $925,377 for the two years remaining on his three-year contract that began last July 1.


Worker killed in I-29 accident is identified

MANVEL, N.D. -- The 58-year-old worker from Clear Lake, Minn., who was killed Thursday morning in a construction zone accident on Interstate 29 in Grand Forks County has been identified.

Otis E. Gohman was operating a concrete grinder about 8 a.m. on northbound I-29, according to a release from the North Dakota Highway Patrol. The man became trapped under the front of the machine and died on scene.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will investigate, with assistance from the Highway Patrol.

The contractor involved was Diamond Surface Inc. out of Rogers, Minn., the Highway Patrol said.


Williston lifts mandatory water restrictions

WILLISTON, N.D. -- Mandatory water restrictions for Williams and McKenzie counties have been lifted, officials announced today.

The water quality of the Missouri River in Williston has improved, which has allowed the Williston Regional Water Treatment Plant to increase its capacity.

However, there is more rain in the forecast and construction on the water treatment plant continues, which may at times restrict the plant's capacity to produce water.

Residents are asked to continue voluntary conservation measures.


Jamestown OKs end to water dispute

JAMESTOWN, N.D. -- A seven-month conflict over water service between the city of Jamestown and Stutsman Rural Water District may have come to an end Friday.

The Jamestown City Council approved a resolution to sign a draft agreement provided last week by the attorney for the rural water district.

The service territory that has been in dispute includes a new location for the Titan Machinery equipment dealership. The business has had to delay its move for months, but was recently allowed to hook up to the rural water district's service lines.

Bob Thompson of C.I. Construction, which is managing the Titan Machinery building project, expressed surprise an agreement had been reached.

"So, they finally came to terms," he said. "Basically we've operated for the last month on the assumption that this agreement would come together."

While the City Council was not happy with all aspects of the agreement, Mayor Katie Andersen said, "We don't have to love it."

Stutsman Rural Water Manager Geneva Kaiser said she was shocked to hear the city had agreed to the contract. "It is great," she said.

The Stutsman Rural Water board of directors meets Tuesday. Its ratification of the agreement is required before it can be submitted to U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development and the North Dakota Public Finance Authority for signatures. Both agencies have loans to either the city of Jamestown or Rural Water and must be party to any agreement.



Peterson thinks new farm bill will be adopted this summer

WILLMAR, Minn. -- U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson believes a new federal farm bill could be approved before Congress' August recess.

In a visit to Willmar on Friday, the congressman said there is more farm bill-related activity in the House this year than a year ago, when the bill was never brought to a vote in the full House.

House leaders have told him they want to get a bill done this year, said Peterson, who

serves as the House Agriculture Committee's ranking Democratic member.

Peterson said it's unclear how many votes the Republicans will have for the bill, but he believes many members are getting pressure from their farming constituents. The farm bill covers food stamps and school meal programs along with agriculture programs.

Peterson said he has suggested to Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., that they take the bill to the floor, lobby for it and see if the votes are there.

The bill still faces some hurdles. The Senate is scheduled to debate the bill early next week and is expected to approve it. Peterson said he believes the House will finish voting on a final bill by July 1. A conference committee would meet in July, giving both chambers a chance to approve a bill before the August recess.


Congregation gets designation from equality group

EAST GRAND FORKS, Minn. -- On Sunday, the small Family of God Lutheran Church on The Point in East Grand Forks will take a big step.

The congregation of 75 will get its certificate as the first congregation in the Northwest Minnesota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to be officially tabbed a "Reconciling in Christ" congregation that "actively welcomes everyone into the fullness of God's love regardless of age, sex, sexual orientation or other station in life."

The Rev. Anita Hill, a regional director for Reconciling Works -- formerly called Lutherans Concerned -- from St. Paul will present the certificate during the worship service at 9:30 a.m. Sunday.

"We are just formalizing what they have always done here," said the Rev. Sonja Brucklacher, who has been pastor of the church for three years. "This is from before I came. This is who they have always been."

The congregation's president, George Kelley, will introduce Hill on Sunday.


Remains found in old Iron Range mine identified

McKINLEY, Minn. -- The skeletal remains found May 11 in an old iron ore mine dump near McKinley have been officially identified as a former New York man. The St. Louis County Medical Examiner used dental records to identify 56-year-old Barnabas R. Kalina Jr.

The St. Louis County Sheriff's Office reported Friday that it still did not know how Kalina died, but the examiner found no signs of trauma to the skeletal remains.

Kalina had been preliminarily identified after the May finding because of personal belongings and several forms of identification found near the skeleton.

Information gathered at the site indicated the body was at the McKinley location since fall 2011, when his vehicle was found nearby. Kalina had never been reported as missing. He had lived in two other states after being in New York and had no run-ins with law enforcement in Minnesota.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Virginia sheriff's office at (218) 749-7134.