1. ND company gets contract to build part of border wall

A Dickinson-based company has been awarded a mammoth government contract to build part of President Donald Trump's proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

U.S. Sens. Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven, both R-N.D., announced Monday, Dec. 2, that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded Fisher Sand and Gravel a nearly $400 million contract to design and build 31 miles of physical barriers along the border in Yuma, Ariz.

The work has an estimated completion date of Dec. 30, 2020. The Army solicited five bids for the job and received three, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

Read more from Forum News Service's Jeremy Turley

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2. Family: Wahpeton homicide a 'terrible accident'

James Bynaum, 61, Wahpeton
James Bynaum, 61, Wahpeton

A family member and a neighbor of a man accused of killing his nephew in a fight at a Wahpeton apartment are speaking out in his defense, describing the death as accidental.

James Bynaum, 61, was being held in the Richland County Jail Monday night, Dec. 2, and faces a charge of negligent homicide in connection to the death of Oscar Bynaum, his 42-year-old nephew. If convicted, he could spend up to 5 years in prison.

According to an affidavit for the criminal case, James and Oscar Bynaum got into an argument at their apartment in the early morning hours of Friday, Nov. 29. Oscar started punching holes in walls and eventually got into a fight with James.

Sophia Bynaum says she and her family are shocked that her uncle is accused of killing her brother and that her uncle is devastated by his nephew's death.

Watch the story from WDAY's Matt Henson

3. Gabapentin-linked suicide attempts on rise in Midwest

Gabapentin pills. Wikipedia Commons
Gabapentin pills. Wikipedia Commons

Suicide attempts reported to poison control among patients taking gabapentin, a widely prescribed anticonvulsant embraced as an alternative pain medication in the wake of curtailed opioid prescribing, increased over 80% between 2013 and 2017.

Minnesota and South Dakota were among the states with the fastest-growing number of poisoning calls for individuals on gabapentin and other drugs during the period of study. With a 762% increase, North Dakota led the nation in relative rate increase for gabapentin-only poisoning calls.

Those are among the findings of a new study on calls to poison centers involving gabapentin and the muscle relaxant baclofen, by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and published online Monday, Dec. 2, in the journal Clinical Toxicology.

"Opioids have been getting a lot of attention in the media and prescribing rates have been declining over the past few years," says Kimberly Reynolds DNP, University of Pittsburgh, who authored the study with five other U-Pitt nursing and toxicology clinicians. "We hypothesized this has led to an increased rate of prescribing of nonopioid medications, including gabapentin and baclofen. We wanted to see what the outcome of those changes were."

Read more from Forum News Service's Paul John Scott

4. Historic amount of ND corn acres still in the field

Tyler Stover shells out an ear of corn at his Larimore, N.D., farm Monday, Dec. 2. Stover is hoping to start combining again Tuesday, Dec. 3,  and plans to pick away at the 800 acres he has left to harvest.  Photo by Eric Hylden / Grand Forks Herald
Tyler Stover shells out an ear of corn at his Larimore, N.D., farm Monday, Dec. 2. Stover is hoping to start combining again Tuesday, Dec. 3, and plans to pick away at the 800 acres he has left to harvest. Photo by Eric Hylden / Grand Forks Herald

There is more corn still standing in North Dakota fields than there has been at this time since at least 2000.

The combination of a late, wet spring that delayed planting and excessive rains and snow this fall has meant farmers have been able to harvest only 1.26 million acres, or 36%, of North Dakota's 3.5 million acres of corn, according to National Agricultural Statistics-North Dakota. Since 2000, the only time there has been that much corn left to harvest at this time of year was in 2009, when 40% was harvested at this time of year. On average, 95% of the state’s corn is harvested by Dec. 1, the statistics service said.

“Leaving corn in the field over the winter is relatively common, but not on the scale we’re going to see this year,” said Joel Ransom, NDSU Extension agronomist.

Read more from Forum News Service's Ann Bailey

5. Thunberg at Standing Rock

Bismarck photographer Shane Balkowitsch took this image of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg when she visited the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on Oct. 8. The Library of Congress is archiving the original glass plate upon which Balkowitsch made the photo in a form of photography that dates more than 150 years. Shane Balkowitsch / Handout
Bismarck photographer Shane Balkowitsch took this image of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg when she visited the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on Oct. 8. The Library of Congress is archiving the original glass plate upon which Balkowitsch made the photo in a form of photography that dates more than 150 years. Shane Balkowitsch / Handout

From The Bismarck Tribune via Forum News Service

When 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg visited the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation last month, she squeezed in a brief photoshoot to have her image preserved on a glass plate in a form of photography more than 150 years old.

In the weeks since, one of the two original plates made by Bismarck photographer Shane Balkowitsch has made its way to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. The second will soon arrive at the Swedish History Museum in Stockholm.

“It’s my most important work to date,” Balkowitsch said.

The image archived at the Library of Congress has been featured in at least 15 publications, and more than 1 million people have liked it across various social media platforms. It’s the photo Thunberg chose to share when she left the United States Nov. 13 on board a “zero-emission” boat to sail back to Europe after a whirlwind tour through North America to urge action on climate change.

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