A candidate for District 33's state representative has stepped forward.
Jay Seibel, Beulah, recently announced he would run for the seat on the Republican ticket.
"I always wanted to run but I never wanted to run against a sitting representative or senator," he said. "This kind of opened the door."
The announcement came after Rep. Brenda Heller, R-Beulah, said in a press release that she would not seek re-election for her position in 2014. She will complete her term after eight years in the State Legislature.
Seibel was previously the owner of Seibel Funeral Homes in Beulah and Hazen until they sold it to Twyla and Joe Barbot in 2010.
Seibel describes himself as a fiscal conservative. He has served on the North Dakota State Board of Funeral Service from 2002-06, was a member of the North Dakota Army National Guard for six years and filled multiple positions, including the president and executive director, for the North Dakota Funeral Directors Association.
The Republican said he has met multiple people throughout the district through his business, adding he loves visiting with constituents.
"I love meeting and visiting with people of all ages and would love the opportunity to serve the people of District 33 and this great state of ours," he added.
Courthouse plans take shape
Engineers took Mercer County commissioners on a virtual tour recently through their future courthouse, and at the end was an estimate for $9.5 million.
"We know we can get that number down and if you are willing to allow me a little leeway I can get that number as close to $9 million without sacrificing I think the things that are really important to you," Scott Fettig of Klein McCarthy Architects said. "I think we can keep some things."
The Bismarck Company and Contegrity Inc. Construction Management Services were both hired by the commission during a meeting in Stanton to oversee the courthouse project. Renovations will connect the Law Enforcement Center to the Mercer County Courthouse, making it easier to transfer prisoners from the jail to the courtroom.
"I think it is time to go with it," Commissioner Frank Bitterman said. "I feel if we wait too long it will get sour on us."
The original estimates came in upwards of $10 million. County commissioners previously asked the Klein McCarthy to bring that number below $9 million.
Hazen Star News
McLean County authorities and the North Dakota Stockmen's Association continue to investigate an alleged abuse of livestock in the Butte area.
The approximately 200 head of cattle are owned by Fred Schmidt.
Stan Misek, state brand inspector with the Stockmen's Association, said the cattle, along with a number of strays, have been allowed to roam free in the area. He, county law enforcement and State's Attorney Ladd Erickson, said the livestock have been allowed to roam free for so long that many have turned wild.
The task of rounding up the animals began in mid-December following the issuance of a court order. A helicopter was also used to gather the cattle. The livestock were to be sold at auction the last week of December.
McLean County Independent
Santa's Helpers deliver another Merry Christmas
Santa's Helpers were busy sorting, wrapping, tucking and packing before Christmas at the Underwood City Hall maybe not exactly "jolly old elves," but they were a pretty happy group.
Twenty-three families made up of 40 adults and 45 children received gifts of perishable and nonperishable food items, as well as gifts and goodies from Santa's Helpers the Saturday before Christmas, the 12th year in a row that Underwood's current Santa's Helpers have been making deliveries.
Families in need of a little extra help over the holidays used to get some help from Underwood's Women of Today, and then the JayCees, starting back in the 1980s, but when the Jaycees disbanded in 2000, Santa's Helpers died out. But only for a year. In 2001, Santa's Helpers made their comeback.
"Robin came and asked . . . she said 'I think this program should continue'," recalled one of Santa's chief helpers, Diane Schell. "She said, if you help, I will help, and I said 'okay'!"
Robin Hultberg and Diane Schell have been Santa's top helpers in Underwood ever since. They also get some fellow helpers, particularly when it comes to dividing up the donations and divvying them out just before Christmas.
Minnkota line gets $46.3 million
A 250-mile transmission line has received $46.3 million in loans, officials said.
Jasper Schneider, U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development state director, announced in a press release more than $170 million has been loaned to fund electric utility infrastructure in North Dakota, including the Center to Grand Forks Project.
"With the growth in North Dakota also comes the need to build out our utility infrastructure," he said. "The funding announced today will help our RECs meet the demands of private sector industry growth and population increases."
The loan comes after Minnkota Power Cooperative Inc. incurred additional costs for 345-volt transmission line. A wet spell in October pushed back the fall deadline to spring, according to a company newsletter. The project is approximately 80 percent complete, Minnkota Power communications supervisor Kevin Fee said.
"We are just pleased to be closing in on this project," he said. "It's going to be a great thing once it is done."