NORTH DAKOTA FLOODING
Evacuated residents of ND city to return Friday
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Most evacuated residents of a flood-threatened North Dakota city will be allowed to return home Friday.
The 1,300 residents were evacuated from Cavalier on Tuesday night while officials shored up a dam six miles west on the Tongue River. Five days of steady rain led to a 17-foot rise in the lake behind Renwick Dam.
Pembina County Emergency Manager Andrew Kirking says the water has been dropping steadily since mid-day Wednesday. He says residents will be allowed to return at 7 a.m. Friday with the understanding they might have to leave again if conditions worsen.
Kirking says five dozen patients from a hospital, nursing home and assisted living facility are not being allowed back until the lake returns to normal levels, which should happen in a week to 10 days.
NORTH DAKOTA FLOODING-CAVALIER MAYOR
Cavalier residents breathing a big sigh of relief
CAVALIER, N.D. (AP) - The mayor of flood-threatened Cavalier says residents are "breathing an enormous sigh of relief."
The 1,300 residents in the northeastern North Dakota city were evacuated Tuesday night because of fears that floodwaters from days of steady rain would overwhelm the Renwick Dam on the Tongue River east of the city. Those fears have eased and residents are being allowed to return home at 7 a.m. Friday.
Mayor Kenneth Briese says residents "came within inches of losing our town."
He says it will still be a few days before the situation returns to normal. But he says, "we're keeping our heads above water."
NORTH DAKOTA FLOODING-CRYSTAL
Flood situation improves dramatically in Crystal
CRYSTAL, N.D. (AP) - Floodwaters that swamped Crystal have stopped entering the small Pembina County town, and county Emergency Manager Andrew Kirking says the focus is now on cleanup.
Six families in the town of 160 people left their homes Tuesday when Crystal was flooded by heavy rain runoff that flowed across country in the county that slopes from west to east. The water began receding Wednesday, and on Thursday Kirking said the situation had improved dramatically.
Mayor Larry McCollum says all of the families who left are back home.
Kirking says officials have ordered in several cleaning kits from the American Red Cross in Grand Forks to help residents with the recovery.
NORTH DAKOTA FLOODING-GRAFTON
Flood threat easing on Park River in Grafton
GRAFTON, N.D. (AP) - The flood threat is easing in the Walsh County community of Grafton.
In neighboring Walsh County, the swelling Park River peaked in the city around midnight at 16.2 feet, just shy of a record. Katie Dietz (deetz) in the county's Emergency Management Office says the river has since begun receding.
Officials earlier in the week had fortified levees to protect the city of about 4,500 people. Dietz says everything is holding.
HIGHER ED BOARD-TUITION
ND higher education board revises tuition plan
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The state Board of Higher Education has revised a tuition rate plan that had been in place only a few weeks.
The board approved a plan earlier this month allows colleges the option of increasing tuition at various rates, from 2.13% at Lake Region State College to 6.63% at Williston State.
The board on Thursday approved another option favored by Board President Duaine Espegard that would keep tuition hikes between 2.18% and 4.76%.
The state Legislature approved a $900 million higher education budget, but it does not cover nearly $32 million for inflation. The plan approved Thursday would require 6 of the 11 colleges to find cost savings to meet their budgets.
HIGHER ED BOARD-OFFICERS
Diederich new leader of ND higher education board
FARGO, N.D. (AP) - Kirsten Diederich of Fargo is the new president of the North Dakota Board of Higher Education.
The board elected Diederich on Thursday. Terry Hjelmstad (JELM'-sted) of Minot was named vice president of the board.
The board voted unanimously to elect Diederich and Hjelmstad.
Diederich is a retired Concordia College biology professor. She replaces Duaine Espegard (EHS'-peh-gahrd), a retired Grand Forks banker and former state lawmaker.
The Board of Higher Education has eight voting members. It oversees North Dakota's university system.
Hydrocodone pills found during traffic stop
GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) - The Grand Forks Sheriff's Department says deputies found more than 500 hidden hydrocodone pills hidden during a traffic stop.
The sheriff's department says deputies stopped the car Wednesday afternoon and discovered the 563 pills in a paper bag wrapped in tape. They say 27 morphine tablets were found on the driver during processing.
Authorities say they arrested the 55-year-old driver on suspicion of driving with a suspended license and two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.
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