The Red River Basin Commission has representatives from states and Canadian provinces which adjoin the basin. Devils Lake is part of the basin. The RRBC met recently but did not endorse an east-end outlet to relieve the lake’s flooding. Instead, the RRBC deferred to a yet to be established international task force. This was disappointing news for people in the Devils Lake area. As Ramsey County Commissioner Joe Belford put it, “We can’t wait for a two-year study.” The lake is within six feet of an uncontrolled spill into the Sheyenne River Valley.
In a related matter, the city of Minnewaukan has asked for the state’s assistance in moving “out of harm’s way” of the flooding Devils Lake. The city wants to move one mile west to relocated U.S. Highway 281, but lacks the means or expertise. Minnewaukan is the county seat of Benson County.
Former ND Gov. Art Link (96) died June 1 and was uniformly praised in editorials across the state. Tom Dennis of the GF Herald described Link as a fundamentally decent and honorable man. “That sense of honor permeated his every act, including those as ‘small’ as always obeying the speed limit and never throwing his status as governor or congressman around.” Link was governor from 1972 to 1980 at which time he was defeated by former Gov. Allen Olson, who remembers Link this way, “He gave the state a lot and didn’t expect anything in return.”
When cap and trade carbon legislation was first introduced in Congress, it was seen as a direct threat to western ND’s lignite coal industry. Although the legislation is sponsored by Democrats, ND’s Democratic congressional delegation has been squarely against it. Now alarm bells have gone off in the eastern part of the state. American Crystal Sugar says if cap and trade legislation as currently framed were to move forward, it would be the death knell to the sugar beet industry in the Red River Valley. So, now there is border to border opposition to the legislation.
Nodaks with German ancestry fall into two broad groups: Those who immigrated directly from German and those who came from Russia (Germans from Russia). Nationally, this latter group is represented by two heritage societies. One of the two groups, The Germans from Russia Heritage Society, is holding its annual convention in Bismarck in late July. They have hooked a big fish as keynote speaker. Eureka, SD native Al Neuharth will address the group. He is the former CEO of Gannett Newspapers and founder of USA Today.
TREASURE ISLAND - COINS AND PRECIOUS METALS
Rugby is the center of North America, right. We have taken it as a matter of faith ever since Rugby made the claim 80 years ago. We probably also assumed the designation came from top minds and the best science. Would you feel a little different if you learned a federal official took a cardboard map of the continent and found the point where it balanced on a pin -- somewhere near Rugby. Two envious small towns south of Rugby are saying rude things about Rugby’s claim. They are also annoyed by T-shirts, postcards, etc. boasting of Rugby’s fame.
How the great have fallen. U.S. Highway 10 used to be the Main Street of ND. The east-west road entered that state in Fargo and exited into Montana near Beach. Since the construction of I-94, it has been an alternative road maintained by the counties. Stutsman County is using a new $400,000 Caterpillar machine to recycle its share of Hwy 10 from pavement to gravel -- an increasingly common practice in the state as old paving becomes too expensive to maintain.
In a much publicized case, Dana Deegan left her newborn baby to die in 1998 at her home on the Ft. Berthold Reservation. Later, she returned placing the dead baby in a cheap satchel and abandoning it in a ditch. Ten years later, Deegan pleaded guilty and was sentenced to ten years in federal prison for the crime. A federal appeals court recently upheld the sentence saying it was in the guideline sentencing range. One of the three appeals judges dissented stating that in his more than four decades as a federal judge, the sentence was the most unfair he had seen. His dissent ran nearly 60 pages and states her crime was a special sort of homicide called “neonaticide,” the act of a mother killing a newborn child.
A former Fargo district judge read about the appeals court decision in the Forum. In a letter to the Forum, Ralph Maxwell said the dissent lists many mitigating factors overlooked by the trial court judge. Maxwell said Deegan’s status as an Indian further worsened the sentence. An Indian living on a reservation is is subject to federal law. If she had been charged with neonaticide in a ND state court, she would have received a maximum sentence of three years and, possibly, only a few years on probation. Maxwell agreed with the dissenting judge that the woman received discriminatory treatment. The case could be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Lee Solarski is your standard bad boy. He spent a year in jail for assisting ax murderers in Minnesota, has pleaded guilty to felony drug charges and has DUI charges pending against him. He is reported to have crashed his car into a pickup and mailbox in Fargo and then fled the scene. Witnesses got his license plate number and Solarski was quickly nabbed for hit-and-run. Solarksi employed the basic tarantula defense, claiming he was bitten by a tarantula causing the incident. No tarantula has been found and its not clear he was actually bitten.
A year ago the Bismarck Tribune profiled Dakota Prairie Organic Flour in Harvey as a success story in ND food processing. At the time, the mill was expanding from 30 tons of flour per day to 175 tons. The mill is back in the news, but for quite a different reason -- for not making timely payment to farmers who supply its grain. The Public Service Commission is giving Dakota Prairie time to arrange credit to bring its payments current. The alternative is a cease and desist order.