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5 things to know today: Wayne Stenehjem, Positivity rate, Deficient bridges, Saturday testing, Tax prep

A select rundown of stories found on InForum.

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North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem. Forum News Service file photo
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1. North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem dies unexpectedly

North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem died Friday, Jan. 28, following his admission to a Bismarck hospital that morning.

The attorney general's office reported his death in a news release Friday night.

"It is with the utmost sadness that the Office of Attorney General announces that Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem passed away unexpectedly," the office said. "We know Wayne was a widely respected and well-known public figure, but we ask that his family be allowed time to grieve in private."

He was 68.

Read more from The Forum's Adam Willis and Patrick Springer

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2. North Dakota's COVID-19 average positivity rate nears 20%

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A coronavirus graphic. Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The North Dakota Department of Health on Friday, Jan. 28, reported 8,736 active COVID-19 cases, about 3,300 fewer active infections than the state had exactly one week ago when it broke its pandemic record.

More than 13,100 new positive cases were reported in the last week, and as of Thursday, Jan. 27, North Dakota's 14-day rolling positivity rate was 19.61%.

Cass County, which encompasses Fargo, reported the most known active cases in the state Friday with 2,274. Burleigh County, which includes Bismarck, had 1,280 active cases, and Grand Forks County had 879 active cases.

Read more from The Forum's Michelle Griffith

3. After bridge collapse in Pittsburgh, we revisit North Dakota bridges deemed structurally deficient

Kennedy Bridge to reopen

Of North Dakota's 4,355 bridges, 10.8 percent have been deemed "structurally deficient," according to a report from a national trade organization.

That's the 10th-highest percentage in the country, according to the report issued by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association.

The structurally deficient designation means one of a bridge's key elements is in poor condition. Across the nation, four in 10 bridges need to be repaired or replaced, according to the ARTBA report.

Though North Dakota's proportion of deficient bridges is higher compared to other states, the number actually declined from 512 bridges in 2014, the report stated. ARTBA estimated it would cost $243.6 million to repair all of North Dakota's structurally deficient bridges.

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Read more from Forum News Service's Dan Niepow

4. Fargo Cass Public Health, Essentia partner for COVID-19 testing hours on Saturdays

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Cass County COVID-19 testing center at 3051 25th Ave. S., Suite K, Fargo.
WDAY News

Due to increased demand and continued prevalence of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, Fargo Cass Public Health will provide COVID-19 testing on select upcoming Saturdays via a collaboration with Essentia Health, which will support additional staffing.

The FCPH COVID-19 test site, located at 3051 25th St. S., Fargo, will operate from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Jan. 29; Saturday, Feb. 5; and Saturday, Feb. 12.

Appointments are not necessary at the walk-in testing site, but individuals testing for the first time are required to pre-register by going online to testreg.nd.gov .

People will be given the option of being tested with either the BinaxNOW rapid test or the PCR test.

Read more from The Forum's David Olson

5. Concordia offers free tax preparation

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North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum has urged the National Credit Union Administration to remove language from a draft strategic plan that could limit credit unions from working with farmers and ranchers.

Concordia College is offering free tax preparation beginning Monday, Feb. 7, and running until March 10.

The college is offering free tax preparation through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Grant Center room 118. No appointment is necessary.

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No one will be allowed in the building before 5:30 p.m., and attendees are required to wear a mask while inside the building.

Read more from The Forum's Michelle Griffith

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