The latest North Dakota coronavirus news: fishing tourney, bomber flyover, farm aid, census, cookies and more.
Governor's Walleye Cup
North Dakota's premier walleye fishing tournament won't be held this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The North Dakota Governor's Walleye Cup on Lake Sakakawea has been canceled.
"Our main concern was to put the health and well-being of hundreds of people that participate in the event a priority," organizers said in a statement.
Registrations will be carried over to next year. Anglers can have organizers retain their fee and hold their spot, or they can have their entry fee refunded and be removed from the team list for 2021. A team from the waiting list will then fill that spot. Anglers who are on the 2020 waiting list and want to drop out can have their checks returned or destroyed.
The majority of anglers who compete in the annual tournament based out of Garrison and nearby Fort Stevenson State Park are from North Dakota or surrounding states, though about a dozen states are typically represented. The Bismarck duo of Ricky Schumacher and Kerry Wentz won the 44th annual North Dakota Governor's Walleye Cup in 2019.
Bomber flyover Monday
A B-52H Stratofortress assigned to Minot Air Force Base is scheduled to fly over medical facilities in Bismarck, Fargo, Grand Forks and Minot on Monday.
The flyover known as an Air Force Salute is to honor front line responders, health care professionals, essential employees and volunteers in the fight against COVID-19.
"We have a deep respect for our doctors, nurses, medical personnel and all other essential employees who are on the front line defending us," Lt. Col. John Burrell said. "We are honored to serve alongside each and every one of you who are risking their lives to keep us and our families safe."
The bomber is assigned to the 23rd Bomb Squadron of the 5th Bomb Wing. It will pass over CHI St. Alexius Health and Sanford Medical Center in Bismarck, Sanford Medical Center Fargo, Altru Hospital in Grand Forks, and finally Trinity Medical Center in Minot.
Bismarck residents can expect to see the plane at about 1:35 p.m. Monday, flying from northwest to southeast.
Ongoing coverage will be at www.facebook.com/minotafb.
New PPP forms
The U.S. Small Business Administration and U.S Department of the Treasury have released the Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application, along with detailed instructions.
That enables borrowers to apply for forgiveness of their PPP loans. SBA also will soon issue regulations and guidance to further assist borrowers as they complete their applications, and to provide lenders with guidance on their responsibilities.
The PPP was created through the federal CARES Act economic rescue package to provide forgivable loans to eligible small businesses to keep American workers on the payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic. The newly released documents will help small businesses seek forgiveness at the conclusion of the eight-week covered period, which begins with the disbursement of their loans.
Farm aid coming
The state Department of Agriculture is urging producers with losses related to the coronavirus pandemic to gather information in preparation for the opening of applications for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s $19 billion Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.
The goal of the program is to compensate producers for price and supply chain impacts.
“CFAP is available to farmers and ranchers with an eligible loss, regardless of size and market outlet,” state Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said. “USDA will soon begin taking applications, and impacted producers are encouraged to gather recent sales and inventory data.”
Participation in U.S. Small Business Administration programs does not limit producer eligibility for the new program, other Farm Service Agency loans or any other USDA programs. More information can be found at https://www.farmers.gov/cfap.
The North Dakota Department of Commerce is encouraging rural residents to respond to the Census 2020 survey, as delivery of material packets resumes for remaining residences.
“This is an opportunity for the state to get caught up with where it should be in the rate of responses,” said Kevin Iverson, manager of the department’s Census Office. “The state is behind where it should be at this point with just 58% of residents having responded to the census, below the national average. Unfortunately, we have some counties in the state where less than 30% of residents have responded.”
Iverson attributes the low response rate to the impact that the coronavirus pandemic had on the delivery of materials to residents who do not receive mail at their house. About 10% of North Dakotans receive their mail via a post office box, he said.
Field staff began hand-delivering census materials to households on March 15 but suspended delivery three days later. The North Dakota Census Office, which reopened on May 4, is training and equipping staff to deliver census materials to remaining locations.
Girl Scout cookies
Girl Scouts-Dakota Horizons has donated 60,000 packages of cookies to health care workers, first responders, school administrators, trucking companies and others.
The nonprofit Girl Scouts-Dakota Horizons serves nearly 13,000 members in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa. The Girl Scouts canceled cookie booths and door-to-door sales earlier due to the coronavirus pandemic and went to online sales only.
“This change in plans meant that the council had some inventory available, and we took a look at how we could use it to help other people out,” Board President Jennifer Baloun said. “Giving back to our communities is at the heart of who we are as Girl Scouts, so it felt natural to use the cookies to support those on the front line of the pandemic.”
Packages of cookies have been donated within several communities throughout the council’s 164,000-square-mile territory.
NCI goes online
The Northern Crops Institute in Fargo recently held its annual Pasta Production and Technology course online due to the pandemic.
It was the first fully online course offered by the institute, which is funded by the states of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota and commodity groups in those states and Montana.
“This course typically has a lot of hands-on elements, which is why it has always been in-person," Program Manager Brian Sorenson said. "It was a challenge to turn this into an online course, but it ended up to be a big success thanks to those involved. Going forward, we still hope to have our traditional in-person courses, but this experience has opened the door for us to look into new online opportunities such as webinars, and additional online courses.”
North Dakota virus numbers
North Dakota has 1,848 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 112 in Burleigh County and 39 in Morton County. There have been 1,111 recoveries and 42 coronavirus-related deaths. A total of 130 people have been hospitalized; 33 remain so. State and private labs have conducted tests on 53,487 people, and conducted 63,353 total tests.
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