BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The school board in North Dakota’s largest city decided to stop reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at their meetings. That’s prompted a Republican lawmaker to vow to push for a voucher program that would allow public money to pay for private school tuition. The Fargo School Board voted 7-2 Wednesday to halt the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, saying it doesn’t align with the district’s diversity code, largely because it says “under God” in one phrase. The state Republican Party called the board’s action “laughable” and an “affront to our American values.” Grand Forks state Sen. Scott Meyer said he would begin working on a school voucher bill draft next week.

On a related note, Valley City Public Schools superintendent Josh Johnson says, “The Valley City Public School Board has been reciting the pledge of allegiance prior to school board meetings for the past six years and will be continuing this practice during the 2022-2023 school year. The board often involves students in leading the pledge of allegiance as part of their monthly student recognition.”

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A pipeline carrying diesel has cracked open and spilled more than 45,000 gallons of fuel in a rural area of eastern Wyoming. The ruptured line is owned by a company that’s being sued by federal prosecutors over previous spills in North Dakota and Wyoming. Joe Hunter with Wyoming’s Department of Environmental Quality said Friday that cleanup work is ongoing from the spill that was discovered July 27 on private ranchland near the small community of Sussex. The line is operated by Bridger Pipeline, a subsidiary of Casper, Wyoming-based True companies. Federal prosecutors have alleged in a pending federal court case that previous spills on the companies’ lines violated environmental laws.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — An oil company is cleaning up a spill in Dunn County. Officials with the state Department of Environmental Quality said in a statement that Leland Oil and Gas notified state agencies of the spill from a bulk oil tank about 3.5 miles northeast of Killdeer on Monday. The statement did not say when the spill took place. The company estimates about 7,560 gallons were spilled but no surface waters were impacted. The company has started clean-up operations. North Dakota Division of Environmental Quality inspectors have visited the site and will continue to monitor remediation efforts.

Previously

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Captain Mason McTavish had four goals and two assists and Canada routed Slovakia 11-1 on Thursday night to improve to 2-0 in the world junior hockey championship. McTavish, the 19-year-old Anaheim Ducks prospect, matched the Canadian record for goals in a game in the tournament. Brennan Othmann, Joshua Roy, Connor Bedard, Will Cuylle, Logan Stankoven, Olen Zellweger and Zack Ostapchuk also scored. Dylan Garand made 22 saves in the Group A game. Earlier in Group A, Kasper Simontaival scored the shootout winner in Finland’s 4-3 victory over the Czech Republic.

MOORHEAD, Minn. (AP) — The operator of North Dakota’s only abortion clinic said Wednesday the clinic has opened in its new location in Moorhead, just weeks before it’s likely to be forced to close its Fargo location under a statewide abortion ban there. Red River Women’s Clinic has a lawsuit pending seeking to block a trigger law in North Dakota that was set to go into effect if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Roe precedent establishing a nationwide right to abortion. But owner Tammi Kromenaker, with the aid of some $1 million in donations, worked anyway to find a new location just a couple miles away in Minnesota, where abortion remains legal. Volunteer escorts in rainbow vests and umbrellas stood ready to walk patients inside on Wednesday, while a handful of protesters demonstrated.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Former Miss America Cara Mund says her concern about the erosion of abortion rights prompted her independent bid for the U.S. House in her home state of North Dakota. Mund is running against the odds in the deeply conservative state, but says the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortion was “just a moment where I knew we need more women in office.” The 28-year-old recent Harvard Law School graduate announced her candidacy Saturday. Her run comes as North Dakota’s only abortion clinic in Fargo is preparing to relocate across the border to Minnesota.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A landowners group will seek more than $275,000 in lawyers’ fees after North Dakota’s Supreme Court found a state law pushed by the energy industry amounted to the unconstitutional taking of private property rights. In a ruling last week, the state’s high court found key portions of the so-called pore space law passed in 2019 were unconstitutional. Pore spaces are cavities in rock and are used when the petroleum industry injects saltwater from oil and gas production underground. The Northwest Landowners Association sued the state arguing the law was a giveaway to the energy industry.

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota woman has been sentenced to life in a federal prison for fatally abusing her 5-year-old foster child. Tammy Longie, of Tokio, earlier pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, child abuse and neglect in the May 2020 death of Raven Thompson. His body was found the basement of Longie’s home on the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation. Longie was sentenced in federal court Monday. Longie’s husband was also charged and convicted in the case and received the same life sentence in June. The FBI and Bureau of Indian Affairs responded the Longies’ home and found Raven dead and his 7-year-old brother in need of medical care due to abuse and neglect.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A former Miss America who gained attention by criticizing the organization near the end of her reign in 2018 is planning to run for Congress in North Dakota as an independent. The Bismarck Tribune reports that Cara Mund announced her candidacy Saturday and said she plans to start gathering the 1,000 signatures she needs to get on the ballot. If Mund succeeds, she will face incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong and Democrat Mark Haugen in November. Mund generated headlines by saying in 2018 that she had been bullied and silenced by leaders within the Miss America organization. Mund has said that her time as Miss America inspired her to be involved in public service.

MOORHEAD, Minn. (AP) — The owner of the sole abortion clinic in North Dakota has been busy getting a new location ready in Moorhead, Minnesota. Tammi Kromenaker was directing traffic Friday outside a commercial building she bought just a few miles away from her current location in Fargo. Kromenaker has a lawsuit pending that seeks to block North Dakota’s abortion ban on the grounds that it’s contrary to the state constitution. She’ll have to shut down later this month unless a judge intervenes. Kromenaker hasn’t said when the new location will open but has said patients won’t see any interruption in service.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s Supreme Court has struck down key portions of a state law that a landowners group says was unconstitutional. The so-called pore space law passed the 2019 Legislature over the use of voids or cavities in underground rock formations. Pore spaces are used when the petroleum industry injects saltwater from oil and gas production underground for storage or for enhanced oil recovery. landowners sued the state arguing the law deprives them of their right to be compensated for the use of their pore space. A state district judge last year ruled the law unconstitutional. Justices largely agreed.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A major spending initiative aimed at infrastructure projects outside North Dakota’s oil patch is on pace to be fully funded for the first time since the Legislature approved it three years ago, due to strong oil prices and steady production. “Operation Prairie Dog” is supposed to provide $250 million in every two-year budget cycle for infrastructure spending in non-oil producing areas. The Legislature assumed oil production and prices would hold after passing the bill, but they slipped due to the pandemic and only about $30 million was distributed in the last budget cycle. Joe Morrissette, the state’s top budget writer, said Wednesday that if oil revenue continues at the current rate, Prairie Dog will be fully funded this current budget

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Authorities say a man who was serving a life sentence for killing four people at a North Dakota business in what authorities say was one of the state’s most gruesome crimes has killed himself in prison. The North Dakota Highway Patrol says a trooper was called to the state prison in Bismarck at around 5:45 p.m. on Sunday in response to an inmate who had harmed himself. The trooper was told that 48-year-old Chad Isaak had been rushed to a Bismarck hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Isaak was appealing his convictions and life sentences for the April 2019 killings of four people at a Mandan property management company. No motive was given at the trial.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Two North Dakota Democratic lawmakers are calling for an attorney general’s opinion on the state’s abortion restrictions. Reps. Zac Ista, of Grand Forks, and Karla Rose Hanson, of Fargo, , say clarity in needed to ensure care is not denied in or delayed in emergency situations. The request to Attorney General Drew Wrigley comes after a North Dakota judge last week put on hold the state’s trigger law banning abortion while a lawsuit moves forward that argues it violates the state constitution. Wrigley did not immediately return messages Monday seeking comment on whether he would issue an opinion.

MAPLETON, N.D. (AP) — Cass County sheriff’s officials say a Mapleton man was fatally shot by law enforcement after a hours-long standoff. According to authorities, two 911 calls were made from Mapleton about 10:30 a.m. Monday. One was a report of gunshots and the other was a report of an individual possibly suffering from a mental health crisis. Deputies arrived at a Mapleton home, heard gunshots and a standoff began. Officials say the man barricaded in the home told negotiators he was going to come out with a gun, did so about 2 p.m. and was shot. The man was pronounced dead at the scene despite life-saving efforts.

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — A northeastern North Dakota man has died from injuries sustained when a lawn tractor rolled over on him. The North Dakota Highway Patrol says the crash happened Tuesday about five miles west of Crystal, in Pembina County. Authorities said Saturday that Mark Sagert, of Cavalier, died Friday at a Grand Forks hospital. Authorities say the 62-year-old Sagert was maneuvering the lawnmower over the top of a culvert opening and began to slide, which caused the rollover. Several citizens were able to move the lawnmower off Sagert and he was initially taken to a Park River hospital.

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A man facing five charges for a May incident in Pembina County has been arrested twice this month for assaulting police officers in separate jails. Authorities say 27-year-old Jeffrey Cofresi attacked and injured a Cass County deputy on Wednesday in the maximum security housing unit of the Cass County Jail. He is charged with felony aggravated assault of a peace officer. The deputy was treated and released at a local hospital and has been placed on medical leave. Cofresi had been transferred to Fargo following a July 13 assault in the Pembina County Jail, where he was being held on charges of burglary, theft, giving false information to law enforcement, refusal to halt and criminal mischief. Cofresi does not have a permanent issue.