Mountrail law center complete

Mountrail County officials and staff have begun moving into new offices at the completed courthouse addition, known as the Justice Center.

The state’s attorney and clerk of court offices are among those that will be located in the Justice Center. The county commission will hold its meetings there as well.

Also included are new dispatch and law enforcement centers on the main floor, with a new courtroom, judge’s chambers and jury room upstairs.

The jail has a new 40-bed facility but has not yet begun the transition from its current space.

Access to the building will be through the Justice Center main entrance, as the courthouse front doors will remain locked.

A dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new facilities will take place on Friday, one day shy of 18 months from the initial groundbreaking ceremony in July 2015.

-- Mountrail County Promoter, Stanley

Beulah housing to open soon

A 24-unit apartment complex in Beulah is nearing completion, with about half the units already spoken for by applicants.

John Phillips, of Lutheran Social Services Housing, said the developer has set a move-in day of Feb. 1, though many may be able to move in earlier.

The building has four units that are income-based, “so people with lower incomes can live with the market-rate units,” Phillips said.

For 12 of the units, first priority goes to any essential service workers who apply, such as police, teachers and nurses.

The weather had somewhat hindered completion of the project, which is three weeks behind schedule. For example, the garages filled with snow that crews needed to remove so they could install the doors.

--Beulah Beacon

Royalty deductions scrutinized

Some deductions on royalty payments that may have been overlooked in the boom days are getting some scrutiny now.

Bob Skarphol, who retired from the state legislature this year, began questioning deductions on royalty payments for mineral owners when statements from Hess Bakken Investments II began showing deductions as high as 76 percent.

Skarphol said these deductions are typically closer to 10 percent.

He requested the North Dakota Industrial Commission strengthen the regulations to help mineral owners get more information on deductions.

“Royalty owners generally are not on equal footing when dealing with large oil and gas companies, and the commission has a responsibility under the law to ensure the protection of royalty owners," Skarphol said.

John Roper, manager of onshore global communications for Hess, said factors that go into calculating a royalty payment include “the terms of the oil and gas lease as well as where the oil and gas production is sold.”

-- Tioga Tribune

Steve Andrist is the former publisher of newspapers in Crosby and Tioga. Send emails to stevea@ndna.com.

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