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Published June 27 2010

ND Political Notebook: Today designated National PTSD Awareness Day

The U.S. Senate passed a resolution authored by Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., designating June 27 as National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Day.

Conrad proposed the idea after learning of the efforts of North Dakota National Guardsmen to draw attention to the disorder and pay tribute to Staff Sgt. Joe Biel, a member of the 164th Engineer Combat Battalion.

Biel suffered from the disorder and took his life in April 2007 after returning to North Dakota after his second tour in Iraq.

Conrad met with friends of Biel and presented them with a copy of the resolution designating June 27 – Biel’s birthday – as National PTSD Awareness Day.

Hoeven mustache has Facebook page

Gov. John Hoeven’s mustache has reached new levels of fame.

“North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven’s Facebook page for his U.S. Senate campaign has more than 7,000 fans. The Republican’s mustache has its own page, with 750 fans and counting.”

This is the lead in a Friday Politico story about “the ’stache caucus.”

Hoeven campaign manager Don Larson said the page is not affiliated with or created by the campaign.

The Facebook page is called the Hoeven Mustache Coalition.

Wheelchair seating in North Dakota House

At a recent meeting, North Dakota House Minority Leader Merle Boucher, D-Rolette, requested that a designated area be available for wheelchair seating in the House chamber during the legislative session.

Boucher said the sergeant of arms should monitor the area and make sure one is available when needed.

The Legislative Procedure and Arrangements Committee agreed and also approved a $32,000 chairlift replacement for the Brynhild Haugland Room.

ND Health Department marks HIV Testing Day

In observance of National HIV Testing Day, the North Dakota Department of Health urges people at risk for HIV/AIDS to get tested.

An estimated 1 million people in the United States are HIV positive, and approximately 56,300 new infections occur every year, according to a news release from the state Health Department.

As of Dec. 31, 480 cases of HIV/AIDS were reported in North Dakota since surveillance began in 1984. About one-fourth of the people estimated to be HIV positive are believed to be unaware of their infection.

HIV testing is available throughout the state, and results are available in 20 minutes. Trained personnel offer free and confidential HIV testing, counseling and referrals to those at risk. For information, call (800) 70NDHIV or visit www.ndhealth.gov/hiv.

Ask your ND government

The writer of this notebook hopes to start a new feature this summer that connects the public with their North Dakota government. You write in with your question for any state government official or agency, and we’ll do our best to find an answer.

Each week, we’ll publish a sampling of what we found. To submit a question, e-mail politics@wday.com (Subject: Ask your government).

You may also write to Teri Finneman, c/o Forum Communications, Press Room, State Capitol, Bismarck, ND 58505.

Please include your name, town and a phone number to reach you for verification.

Teri Finneman is the multimedia correspondent for Forum Communications. To get the latest state briefings, visit her blog at www.areavoices.com/northdakota.