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Heitkamp's Senate win tops ND stories for 2012

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 28, 2012 at 4:36 pm •  Published: December 28, 2012
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5. Oil Royalties.

The state has reaped more than $1.1 billion since 2007 thanks to drilling activity — a particularly impressive tally considering that most North Dakota land is privately owned. With the oil money rolling in, Gov. Jack Dalrymple proposed a $12.8 billion budget for the next two years, with an 18 percent increase in general spending.

6. Charges in Four Slain.

A man previously charged with killing the mother of his child faces additional murder charges in the Minot-area deaths of three other people — all connected to the woman. Authorities leveled the additional murder charges against Somali-born Omar Mohamed Kalmio, 27, in May. He's accused of killing Sabrina Zephier, the 19-year-old mother of Kalmio's infant daughter; Zephier's 13-year-old brother, Dillon Zephier; her 38-year-old mother, Jolene Zephier, and her 22-year-old boyfriend, Jeremy Longie. The bodies were found the same day in two locations in January 2011.

7. Beulah Shooting.

A shooting in Beulah that authorities say was fueled by a dispute over money and drugs left one man dead and another injured. Mike Padilla died in the January shooting, while his brother was wounded. Two North Dakota men have been convicted of conspiracy to commit murder in the case.

8. Oil Impacts.

Along with enormous economic prosperity — and the lowest unemployment rate in the nation — the oil drilled in North Dakota's booming oil patch has also exacerbated problems in housing, infrastructure and traffic. Rent prices have soared, tripling in some areas to Manhattan-range prices and forcing some older residents to move to more affordable areas.

9. Petition Fraud.

Eleven people, including eight North Dakota State University football players, were charged in an election scandal that cost two ballot initiatives their place on the November ballot. The paid signature-getters were charged with faking signatures, pulling some straight from the phone book, on petitions submitted to the state. The signature-padding scheme kept North Dakota voters from weighing in on one of the country's most controversial issues: the legalization of medical marijuana use.

10. Election Day Campaigning.

A federal judge ruled that North Dakota's century-old ban on Election Day campaigning was a violation of political speech rights. Despite the ruling, many pulled their yard signs and refrained from campaigning anyway Nov. 6.

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Follow Dave Kolpack on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/davekolpackap