GF Herald Economist Ralph Kingsbury is horrified by flooding in the Devils Lake Basin. Not just the lake itself, but a large part of northeastern ND. Kingsbury said, “I know some of the people whose farms are there. What is happening to them is terrible, and people who are trying to stop some of the few legitimate and scientific solutions (to lower the lake) that the governor and others have proposed should be ashamed of themselves.” Forum Opinion Page Editor Jack Zaleski also jumped aboard: “It’s a waste of millions of dollars to raise dikes when the cheaper and smarter way to protect from the rising lake is to lower the water.”
Forum writer Patrick Springer discusses rising concern about Devils Lake. Cities downriver on the Sheyenne are starting to wake up to the problem. An uncontrolled release of water through the Tolna Coulee would flood from one-third to half of Valley City’s south side. “We’d be in a world of hurt,” said Valley City Mayor Bob Werkhoven. “There wouldn’t be much left of the business section of the city.”
We have more evidence that Nodaks of Norwegian ancestry can’t stop talking about politics. Gayle Graveline (74) was born to a Norwegian family in Walhalla and married Larry Darling when she was 18. In 1960, the couple moved to Santa Rosa, California, where they eventually opened a restaurant, which became known for colorful banter and Gayle’s apple pie and potato salad. Her obituary said Gayle constantly engaged customers in conversations about politics, anything that “created controversy” -- I was a witness. Once, when I told Gayle I planned to visit Grand Forks, she asked me to bring back a menu from Whitey’s in E. Grand Forks, one of her favorites. I did and she hung it on the wall. Her restaurant had an informal country-kitchen manner, but also had its standards -- I once saw the crusty Gayle evict an entire family.
The Minot Daily News reports some landowners on the Ft. Berthold Reservation are not receiving their oil royalties -- delays can be months or even years. Numerous federal agencies participate in executing the payments -- the agencies are stymied by properties with multiple owners (pooled properties). The bureaucracy of the Bureau of Indian Affairs seems to be the biggest problem.
A federal civil rights policy called “disparate impact” may itself be discriminatory according to the Minot Daily News. MDN is not alone in criticizing this law which says if a practice disproportionately affects a racial group it may be deemed racial discrimination. The example given by the MDN involves employers who screen prospective hires by checking criminal backgrounds. The EEOC says it may not be acceptable to reject blacks simply because they have arrest records. To do so would create “disparate impact.” MDN says “telling employers they cannot in good faith attempt to hire the best workers possible is wrong, too. In effect the policy discriminates against prudent employers.”
Delvin Cree, a member of the Turtle Mt. Band of Chippewas, alleges tribal leaders are corrupt and incompetent and says tribal communities need ethical leaders. That’s too much for another tribal member, Logan Davis, who says Cree casts tribal members in “a harsh and tawdry light.” Davis accused Cree of contributing to Indian stereotypes and said he needs to “present his views with more sensitivity.”
The GF Park District operates a fitness club called Center Court which thrived before UND opened its Wellness Center. Then monthly visits dived from 30,000 to 18,000. Center Court is plotting a comeback with a $22 million replacement facility. Proponents believe the new facility will succeed because they looked at Fargo, Bismarck and Minot where about 25% of residents have Y memberships.
TREASURE ISLAND - COINS AND PRECIOUS METALS
Get your Sarah Palin gear! The ND Republican party is is using eBay to sell a Fighting Sioux hockey jersey autographed by Sarah Palin. Bidding became irrational -- in late August, 68 bids had been received -- the last about $5,000.
A speaker's fee for Bristol Palin is $15-30,000. Bristol who? She is the 19-year-old whose fame springs from being both the daughter of Sarah Palin and an unwed mother. She will be speaking in W. Fargo in early October at a fundraiser for a home for unwed mothers. In case you are interested, there is a little flexibility in her fee.
It’s a delightful image -- hitchhiking hummingbirds lounging in the soft down of migrating wild geese. GF Herald Editor Mike Jacobs punctured the myth in one of his bird columns -- he says hummingbirds “do it by themselves.”
Forum Editor Matt Von Pinnon thought it was no big deal when he asked readers for feedback on the Forum’s policy of publishing bankruptcy flings. The result was unexpected, the Forum received over 100 letters, many phone calls and over 700 online votes. Reactions went both ways, although online voters favored continuing the policy by a 5-4 margin. Von Pinnon will huddle with Publisher Bill Marcil.
Here’s a quote from a Forum editorial blasting legislators who challenged costs in the ND University System: “One legislator, Rep. Mark Dosch, R-Bismarck, wanted to see a cost-benefit analysis for a science building upgrade at Valley City State University, as if science education or research can be measured like a road or drainage ditch.” Costs in higher education can and should be subject to cost-benefit analysis -- not the only consideration, but an important one. Maybe the Forum favors the major alternative -- which all too often drives investment decisions in the NDUS -- political analysis.
Joel Kotkin is a respected social demographer from Los Angeles who has had a long-term interest in ND. Nevertheless, he may have been tripped up by bad assumptions about the state. Kotkin flew into Minot to address the Governor’s Rural Community Summit. He suggested ND was missing the boat by not attracting foreign students to its universities. In fact, the state has a large number of foreign college students. Dickinson State has hundreds of Chinese students and NDSU just reported a 12 percent increase in an already substantial international enrollment. ND University System representatives shook their heads.
The ND Youth Council was formed to gather ideas for making the state more attractive to young people -- the council’s report is out. One council member said it well: “The problem of youth retention in the state is complex” and “council members didn’t find a magic bullet.” Most recommendations in the report range from the mundane (expand student loan disclosure) to the dubious and expensive (“fun buses” in small towns to take youth to metro areas).
DAKTOIDS: Nodaks are lucky to have some of the lowest electric power rates in the nation. But that may cause them to be wasteful -- the Council on an Energy Efficient Economy ranked ND 49th out of 51 . . . Enrollment in Stanley schools has increased about 20 percent because of the oil boom. New teachers can neither find nor afford housing -- rent can be 75 percent of take-home pay. The school district is constructing duplexes . . . Allegiant Airlines serves ND’s four largest cities with destinations such as Las Vegas and Phoenix.