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Washed out

Heavy rain washed out a section of a highway on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in July, killing two people and injuring two others. The culvert that washed out had been identified for replacement seven years ago.

“They patched me up, gave me a pair of crutches and I went back to my unit. I was a Dakota boy. I couldn’t just stay around in the hospital.”

-- Bismarck military veteran Bob Olzweski, on being wounded in Vietnam. Olzweski was honored by the Bismarck Larks and Eide Ford Lincoln as the 2019 Veteran of the Year.

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“I think it’s well-known that I am not a proponent of recreational marijuana; I don’t think we need more drug use in North Dakota, and I don’t think that our state would be healthier or safer if we have more drug usage than we do, but at the same time I think that our criminal penalties and our consequences ought to be proportionate to the offense."

-- Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, on a shortened pardon application process for people seeking to get certain marijuana convictions wiped from their records.

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“I’m giving you a break. I’m giving you a second chance. I don’t consider you to be a monster.”

-- U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland, to Jamaican lottery scam defendant Melinda Bulgin, whom he sentenced to four years in prison — 10 years less than what prosecutors had requested.

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“It’s just like a slap in the face.”

-- Edna Schmeets, a Harvey resident in her 80s who lost $400,000 to a Jamaican lottery scam, talking about the $287 in restitution she has received to date.

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“Mother Nature showed us she’s still the boss.”

-- Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Mike Faith, after a highway washout on the reservation killed two people and injured two others.

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“The tribe wants the pipeline shut down; however, there is a proposal on the table. Someone needs to be accountable to make sure that’s safe and legal.”

-- Jan Hasselman, an Earthjustice attorney who represents the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which plans to request a state hearing on the proposed expansion of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

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“We’re hoping that this form is going to eliminate the errors, just because it’s a much simpler form. It’s very easy to understand.”

-- Tara Reed, supervisor of the state Department of Human Services criminal background check unit, on a new form aimed at speeding up the fingerprint-based background check process.

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"I think especially with emergency services, ambulance in particular, volunteerism has become unfashionable, for lack of a better word. You're seeing volunteers drop off everywhere, I don't care what type of organization you're doing. If you're relying on unpaid volunteers, you're having trouble."

-- Hailey Dschaak, founding member of the Marmarth Ambulance Service, which is in danger of dissolving due to a lack of volunteers.

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"My goal is to work with the team to make sure that all of these things are in place, because they should be on autopilot by the time I leave so the next person coming in doesn't find a clunky machine. I want the next person to have that same well-oiled machine that I had when I got here."

-- Bismarck State College President Larry Skogen, on his priorities over the next year. He plans to retire on June 30, 2020.

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"He will be sorely missed."

-- North Dakota University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott, on Bismarck State College President Larry Skogen, who plans to retire effective June 30, 2020.

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"It's one of the fastest-growing, emerging sports among our youth today."

-- Bismarck State College Athletic Director Buster Gillis, talking about esports, or competitive video gaming. BSC is forming a team that will begin competing in the fall.

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"These kids are going to game, anyways. If you can get kids (to play video games) in your school, it's far better for everybody. We'll be able to put a team polo shirt on more kids. Kids that typically don't represent our schools are now going to be able to represent our schools."

-- Mark Rerick, athletic director for Grand Forks Public Schools, on an esports league being formed in the state. Mandan High School is one of 14 that have signed up.

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"You get visibility when you're in positions like that."

-- Former Gov. Ed Schafer, on being chairman of the Western Governors’ Association. Schafer led the group in 1997. Gov. Doug Burgum is now the chairman.

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"I think we're going to continue to see this churning for at least another few years."

-- State Court Administrator Sally Holewa, on a trend of longtime judges of the baby boomer age retiring.

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“I guess I take the crash course into the hard lessons. There are good things to do, bad things to do, and the bad things are never worth doing.”

-- Mandan resident Brandon Matties, who overcame a troubled childhood with help from the Police Youth Bureau of the Bismarck Police Department.

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