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5 things to know today: Jail lawsuit, Harassment policy, School building, Eminent domain, Garbage Plates

A select rundown of stories found on InForum.

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Lissa Yellow Bird-Chase gave up her career as a welder to search for missing and murdered Indigenous people across the country. Natasha Rausch / The Forum
Forum file photo
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1. Lawsuit: Renowned Native American woman 'dehumanized' when jail staff forced her to strip

A Native American woman known for finding missing people in North Dakota has accused a Standing Rock jail of dehumanizing her during a strip search after being pulled over for speeding.

The ACLU of North Dakota filed on Wednesday, Sept. 28, the lawsuit for Lissa Yellow Bird-Chase of White Shield, North Dakota, against the U.S government. It alleges Bureau of Indian Affairs officers assaulted, humiliated and dehumanized Yellow Bird-Chase when she was taken to the Standing Rock Detention Center in Fort Yates.

“BIA officers here have a troubling history of abuse of power and they need to be held accountable,” Yellow Bird-Chase said in a statement. “When women are at their most vulnerable, they are completely at the mercy of these officers – and I know I’m not the only one who’s experienced this misuse of their authority. We must speak up. This must change. People need to know that this is not OK.”

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According to the lawsuit:

Yellow Bird-Chase was driving on Feb. 2, 2021, a client she rescued from sex trafficking to a rehabilitation center when she was stopped in Corson County, South Dakota, for speeding. The county borders Sioux County in south-central North Dakota, where Fort Yates is located.

The Corson County sheriff’s deputy initially told her she would get off with a warning, but the officer then asked to search her vehicle for drugs, to which she said no.

A drug-sniffing dog found used needles in the passenger’s jacket, as well as an empty baggie in the passenger’s shoe. Yellow Bird-Chase protested attempts to take the passenger to jail out of fear of retraumatization.

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Read more from The Forum's April Baumgarten

2. North Dakota lawmakers advance changes to harassment policy after rep's expulsion

The North Dakota House of Representatives meets in the state Capitol on Feb. 11, 2021.
The North Dakota House of Representatives meets in the state Capitol on Feb. 11, 2021.
Jeremy Turley / Forum News Service

A panel of North Dakota lawmakers has approved proposed tweaks to an internal workplace harassment policy that came under scrutiny after sexual harassment allegations about a now-expelled lawmaker surfaced last year.

Under the changes agreed to by the Legislative Procedure and Arrangements Committee on Wednesday, Sept. 28, majority and minority leaders would receive extra training to help them recognize and investigate harassment in the workplace.

Lawmakers would also gain the option to voice harassment complaints with other high-ranking members of the Legislature if their grievance is with one of the majority or minority leaders.

A separate panel of top lawmakers is expected to rubber-stamp the changes to the policy later this year.

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In March 2021, the state House of Representatives took unprecedented action when they expelled former Dickinson Rep. Luke Simons over allegations dating back to 2017 that he sexually harassed female colleagues and staffers. Simons denied he acted inappropriately and claimed he was denied due process.

Prior to the expulsion hearing, leaders on both sides of the aisle told Forum News Service there were holes in the Legislature's harassment policy that could be ironed out.

Read more from Forum News Service's Jeremy Turley

3. More buildings, another bond may be on the horizon for West Fargo Schools

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Worship is held at 9:30 a.m. on Sundays at Liberty Middle School, located at 801 36th Ave. E. in West Fargo.

The West Fargo School Board is again relying on a large task force to consider its future building and potential bonding needs for the district.

The West Fargo Long Range Facilities Task Force, which is comprised of more than 80 parents, community members, teachers, district staff and administration, kicked off the first of what will be many meetings Wednesday, Sept. 21.

The task force is modeled after the 2015 task force that had 38 voting members and 38 additional participants. That group asked the community to support a $98.1-million bond referendum that voters overwhelmingly approved to build additional elementary schools as well as the West Fargo Sports Arena and Hulbert Aquatic Center.

In 2018, a nearly identical task force helped bring forward the $106.9-million bond referendum that was used to build the district's third high school and middle school, additional elementary schools and other building needs.

The large bond referendums were heavily supported by voters after the district was able to time the additional expenses with other bonds it was paying off, effectively causing a minimal impact to most tax bills for district residents.

Read more from The Forum's Wendy Reuer

4. Proposed legislation would bar eminent domain for CO2 pipelines in North Dakota, Senate candidate says

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North Dakota State Rep. Rick Becker talks at the state Capitol on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022, about proposed legislation he said would prevent eminent domain from being used to facilitate construction of carbon dioxide pipelines in North Dakota.
Contributed / Rick Becker via Facebook

North Dakota state Rep. Rick Becker, R-Bismarck, on Wednesday, Sept. 28, announced that he plans to promote proposed legislation that would prevent eminent domain from being used to help in the construction of carbon dioxide pipelines in North Dakota.

Becker, who is an independent candidate for U.S. Senate, made the announcement Wednesday afternoon at the state Capitol, along with Rep. Jeff Magrum, R-Hazelton, who is a candidate for state Senate.

Becker said he will not take part in the next legislative session, noting Magrum would champion the legislation outlined Wednesday.

Becker and Magrum said they support North Dakota landowners who may face eminent domain actions in connection with a carbon dioxide pipeline planned by Summit Carbon Solutions.

Becker said he is convinced Summit Carbon Solutions is planning to use eminent domain proceedings as part of its pipeline project, despite company claims to the contrary.

The issue could impact landowners in Cass, Richland, Sargent, Dickey, McIntosh, Logan, Emmons, Burleigh, Oliver, Morton and Mercer counties in North Dakota, he said.

Read more from The Forum's David Olson

5. College students in ND used to devour 'Garbage Plates,' and they loved every minute of it

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The original Red Pepper at 1011 University Dr. Grand Forks has been a popular hangout for University of North Dakota students since the 1970s.
Christopher Vondracek / Forum News Service

The Red Pepper opened around 1961, but really became what it is now in 1973 when it was purchased by Bruce and Janet Tellman. It’s now run by the Tellman’s son Jeff and his wife, Nicki, and still features the old standbys — tacos, grinders and homemade sauces in a rough, ready and rustic atmosphere. The kind of place where customers carve their names into the old wooden booths.

"The first time I was invited to go was the first year in Gillette (a dormitory at UND). I was in sweats, and I asked the other girls on my wing if I needed to dress up to go. The sophomores laughed pretty hard,” said Laura McDaniel of Fargo.

Certainly, the most ominous-sounding dish was something called a Garbage Plate, which students remember as basically the leftover scraps from the preparation of previous dishes.

Read more from The Forum's Tracy Briggs

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of "staff." Often, the "staff" byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.
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A select rundown of stories found on InForum.