The latest North Dakota coronavirus news: Mandan events, electric co-ops, graduates and more.
Mandan summer events
The Mandan Progress Organization is making changes to two popular summer events due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Touch a Truck typically features a variety of heavy and commercial equipment on Main Street. That has been canceled, but an alternative has been put in place.
“Our committee met and will debut a coloring book,” retiring Director Del Wetsch said. “Each page will feature a photo that’s been turned into a coloring page, complete with a description and company details. Additionally, the book will have games and activities.”
Buggies-N-Blues is being moved to August.
“We’re still working out the details but are hopeful that conditions will support the event in a traditional sense, where spectators can view the vehicles and vendors can sell and serve their goods,” MPO Executive Director Dot Frank said.
Information regarding both events is available online at www.MandanProgress.org, on Facebook and by contacting the MPO office at 701-751-2983.
The Bismarck Public Schools Foundation plans to air a series of 30-minute features on KFYR-TV featuring individual photos of the graduating seniors from area high schools along with messages of support from community sponsors and school staff.
Sponsors are BNC National Bank, Starion Bank and First International Bank and Trust.
The series will air the next three Saturdays at 5 p.m. Bismarck High seniors will be recognized this Saturday, Century seniors on May 23, and Legacy and South Central seniors on May 30.
More information is on the foundation website at: https://www.bpsfoundation.com/.
Electric co-ops relief
Rural electric cooperatives are eligible for loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, part of the federal coronavirus stimulus package, the U.S. Treasury Department clarified in guidance it issued Thursday.
The program offers loans to businesses, which do not have to pay them back if at least 75% of the funds go toward paying workers. Co-ops with fewer than 500 employees are eligible.
U.S. Sens. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Tina Smith, D-Minn., urged the federal government to make sure to include co-ops in the program in a letter they drafted and sent to the Treasury Department and the U.S. Small Business Administration earlier this month. Several dozen other senators signed the letter, as well.
Guidance from the SBA traditionally has limited loan eligibility to for-profit businesses, said Josh Kramer, executive vice president and general manager of the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives. Co-ops are nonprofits but face similar challenges to other small businesses, he said.
Co-ops provide power throughout much of North Dakota's geography. The state's 16 distribution co-ops all have fewer than 500 employees and would likely be eligible. Kramer said not all co-ops will likely need to use the program, but it could help some.
Hoeven, in a statement, said co-ops "provide vital services in their communities, which is why we worked to provide them with this support during these challenging times.”
The city of Bismarck has extended its coronavirus-related emergency declaration for a second time.
The initial declaration ratified by the city commission came on March 15. It was extended on April 14 for another month. The extension signed by Mayor Steve Bakken on Thursday is valid for 15 days. If it's ratified by the city commission within that time, it will be valid for a month.
Burgum and President Donald Trump also have declared emergencies due to the pandemic.
North Dakota virus numbers
North Dakota has 1,712 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 107 in Burleigh County and 38 in Morton County. There have been 1,007 recoveries and 40 coronavirus-related deaths. A total of 129 people have been hospitalized; 38 remain so. State and private labs have conducted 50,311 tests, with 48,599 coming back negative.
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