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North Dakota health official: Cleanup at oil train derailment site 'all but complete'

BISMARCK, N.D. - Cleanup of an oil train derailment on the outskirts of a small southeastern North Dakota town "is all but complete," a state health official said Wednesday. "We've identified a couple of small spots that still smell of oil, but cleanup for the most part is done," said Dave Glatt, chief of North Dakota Department of Health's environmental health section.

North Dakota home prices soar with oil boom; average value of home sold in 2013 topped $200K

BISMARCK, N.D. - North Dakota's oil boom isn't just driving up housing prices at the epicenter. Getting a roof overhead is getting more expensive throughout the state, with the average value of a home sold last year topping $200,000 — up more than 20 per cent from 2011, a real estate trade group says. "Houses have appreciated statewide and inventory is low in the whole state," said Jill Beck, CEO of the North Dakota Association of Realtors. "That comes as a shock to a lot of people."

Air clearing after smoky rail crash in North Dakota town

By Alicia Underlee Nelson CASSELTON, North Dakota (Reuters) - Tests of air over a small North Dakota town shrouded in smoke from a fiery oil train crash show that the pollution level is dropping and residents who were evacuated might be able to go home soon, authorities said on Tuesday. The 106-car BNSF Railway Co oil train struck a derailed grain train on Monday afternoon about a mile west of Casselton, triggering explosions and fire that sent a plume of thick, black smoke over the town of 2,300 people.

'No room for error' for US nuclear forces

Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel on Friday acknowledged "troubling lapses" among troops managing the country's nuclear arsenal and warned their job allowed "no room for error." In a speech marking a change of leadership at the US military's Strategic Command that oversees nuclear forces, Hagel noted recent failings in upholding "professionalism," an apparent reference to alleged misconduct by senior officers and problems reported at missile units.

US officers left blast door open at nuclear missile posts

US Air Force officers in charge of launching nuclear missiles have been punished twice this year for leaving open a blast door at their command posts, officials said Tuesday. The two-man crews, who control the launch keys for nuclear missiles, are forbidden from opening such doors at their underground "capsules" unless both officers are awake to ensure strict control of the destructive weapons.

Analysis - Big lenders wary of following oil money to North Dakota

By Ernest Scheyder and Ilaina Jonas WILLISTON, N.D./NEW YORK (Reuters) - Money and workers are pouring into Williston, the capital of North Dakota's oil boom, but the only department store in town is a JCPenney, with a facade straight out of the 1950s. "We desperately need some kind of shopping center or mall here in Williston," said Rev. Jay Reinke, a 20-year resident and pastor of Concordia Lutheran Church. "You have to drive hours to find decent shopping."

US Air Force removes 17 nuclear missile officers

The US Air Force has relieved 17 officers of their responsibilities for the control of intercontinental nuclear missiles, a military spokesman said Wednesday, citing a poor performance review. Although individual officers have sometimes lost their certification to control and launch missiles, the removal of so many at once is "unprecedented," Lieutenant Colonel John Dorrian told AFP. He said the officers received a score of "satisfactory" on 21 of 22 points under review, but failed the last unidentified category, which led to their de-certification.
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