Around the Capitol

Here are some odds and ends from state government today:

The North Dakota Ag Department is starting a weekly Internet radio show called “North Dakota Now.”

It will air at 11 a.m. CT Wednesdays at http://northdakotanow.podbean.com./.

Ag Commissioner Doug Goehring said the program can also be heard through a link at  http://www.agdepartment.com/.

The weekly program will include a newscast, feature stories on Pride of Dakota companies, updates on department activities and other information, Goehring said.

“It’s not just for farmers and ranchers. There’s something of interest for almost everyone,” he said in a statement.

The upcoming program includes an interview with Goehring about a recent trade mission to Cuba, a feature on Pride of Dakota member Golden Valley Flax, the news and an interview with Judy Carlson about a new noxious weed poster.

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Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm announced his support today for graduated drivers licensing in North Dakota.

Supporters say the bill is aimed at reducing teen traffic accidents and deaths. The North Dakota Legislature will consider the bill, which recommends three phases of licensing for new drivers.

North Dakota now has two phases—a learner’s permit and a driver’s license—and is the only state in the nation without a graduated drivers license system, according to a news release from the state Insurance Department.

The additional phase, intermediate, includes conditions on the number of passengers, cell phone use and nighttime recreational driving during the first few months of unsupervised driving.
 
“Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of teen deaths in North Dakota,” Hamm said in a statement. “This bill aims to reduce the three greatest risks for young drivers—inexperience, distractions and late night driving.”
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North Dakota’s Register of Champion Trees has a new addition.

The register is the official list of the first and second largest trees of each native and non-native species in the state.

The European (horse) chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) owned by Peter Feist, 1418 Porter Ave., Bismarck, was added to the register.  The new state champion has 104 points for having a circumference of 5-feet 2-inches, a height of 35 feet and an average crown spread of 26 feet.

Champion trees on public land can usually be visited without a problem, the North Dakota Forest Service said in a news release.  However, if a champion tree is on private property, the Forest Service recommends asking for permission before making a visit.

All state champion tree records are on file at the headquarters of the NDSU-North Dakota Forest Service and can be viewed at http://www.ndsu.edu/ndfs/under Information and Education.