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Monday, April 02, 2018


T. ROOSEVELT LIBRARY  “It will be important that the two buildings link to each other in meaningful ways—both serve to capture dual aspects of Roosevelt's character, his outdoorsman aspect and his intellectual gigantism.” — Dickinson State President Thomas Mitzel explaining the views of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation when it decided to split the project between two locations: a library on the DSU campus and a museum in Medora.  Library construction is to begin this year.
NOW, THEY NEED MONEY  Until recently, only one Roosevelt facility was expected and it would have been in Dickinson.  A change in the foundation’s board led to splitting what has become a $150 million project.  Organizers hope to raise $85 million in private donations, which an article in the Star Tribune called “a formidable challenge.”  Roosevelt’s great-grandson Tweed Roosevelt is CEO of the T. Roosevelt Association (an umbrella organization) and he is suitably cautious: "This is a very ambitious project and we want to make sure they have adequate funding, so we're not backing something that turns out to be a half-done project.”
NO GROWTH  ND’s population went sidewise from 2016 to 2017 remaining 755,000.  The Census Bureau reports that two-thirds of ND counties lost population in 2017.  The largest increases were in Cass (Fargo) and Burleigh (Bismarck) counties, while Stark (Dickinson), Ward (Minot) and Williams (Williston) counties had the largest decreases.
STEADY GROWTH  The Census Bureau also reported changes in county populations from 2010 (last census) to 2017.  Once again, Cass (19% increase) and Burleigh (17%) had the largest absolute increases, but western counties had the largest percentage increases reflecting the oil boom: McKenzie (100%), Williams (49%), Mountrail (34%) and Stark (25%).  For comparison, the state population increased 12% during the period.
PILOTS NEEDED  A representative of Fargo’s Hector Airport says the airport is approaching crisis level because of nationwide pilot shortages.  The airport is prevented from initiating or adding flights to major cities and may lose flights on short notice.  The shortage is creating record enrollment at UND’s Aviation Department which will admit almost 700 students this fall compared to 500 students last year and 400 in 2016.  In the last three years, entry-level pilot salaries have risen from a bit over $25,000 to $75,000.
THE FARGO-MOORHEAD DIVERSION estimated cost just rose $200 million as a result of a compromise with Minnesota regulators.  The increase is caused by a change in route. The $2.2 billion price estimated in 2016 is now $2.4 billion.  The Diversion Authority hopes to get $50 million of the $200 million from Minnesota, the remaining $150 million must come from a combination of state and federal money plus a possible loan from the ND Legacy Fund.
POWER ON THE PRAIRIE  ND’s volatile weather and remote areas create heavy demand for emergency power at businesses and farms.  A Jamestown company has six trucks that travel all over ND installing emergency generators.  Owner Ray Zens coordinates his service with laptops, all the way from appointments and power need analysis to billing.  Zens says the laptops instantly send bills back to the office and "By the time we're out of the driveway the bill will be in the mail.” 
WELCOME CHANGE  Near election time, the opinion pages of newspapers are filled with political endorsement letters, some clearly coordinated.  In the future, Forum Communication’s daily newspapers in ND will treat such ads as advertising and charge a fee.  The paid ads will be published once a week, identified as such, and may run apart from the opinion page.
HOW DO THEY VOTE?  Political website 538 reports Sen. Schumer of NY votes with Trump 24% of the time, Sen. Heitkamp 55%, Sen. Paul of KY 75% (the most anti-Trump Republican), Sen. Hoeven well above 75% and Rep. Cramer of ND 98%. 
POVERTY RATES in Grand Forks are much higher than other ND cities.  A GF consulting group tried to unravel the statistics and find the reason for GF’s high poverty rates.  On almost every test, GF was worse off than Bismarck and Fargo.  GF has a much higher poverty rate (20%), lower household incomes and a higher percentage of children in poverty than the other two cities.  GF had a very high percentage of households headed by people 24 or younger.  The study’s conclusion: GF’s high rate of poverty relates to its high percentage of youthful households, that is, college students.  A condition unlikely to change.
THE OTTO BREMER TRUST was thanked in a Minot Daily News editorial for its generous and growing support of social services in ND.  The St. Paul trust is named after its founder and owns 92 percent of Bremer Bank.  In the past six months, the trust has distributed several million dollars to about 30 ND charities providing services ranging from homeless shelters to nutrition for American Indians.
CARSON WENTZ, NDSU Star and current Eagles quarterback, was necessarily diplomatic last fall when asked about the behavior of Eagles fans who harassed Vikings visitors.  A GF Herald editorial this week cut him no slack and was critical of his failure to condemn Eagles fans.  After the Eagles/Vikings game, the general view in ND was that it was not reasonable to expect Wentz to express disapproval of Eagles fans.
GUN LAWS  Fortune magazine compared firearm death rates for each state to the number of gun laws in that state.  Their overall finding was “States with more gun provisions consistently see fewer gun deaths.”  That did not prove to be true for ND and its neighbors SD and Wyoming — they had relatively few firearm laws and relatively low firearm deaths.  Minnesota had a similar death rate, but many more laws.  The number of Montana laws was similar to ND, but its death rate was higher.
THINK IT WILL WORK?  Russell Reed Jr. of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, was searched by Red Lake police and found to have 28 grams of heroin and $6,200 in cash in his pockets.  Reed said the pants were borrowed, the drugs weren’t his, but the money was.
DAKTOIDS:  A GF Herald editorial says, if Trump wants to maintain his popularity in ND, he should back off on certain import tariffs.  The state exports about $800 million in crops to China each year . . . U. of Minnesota Extension reports farmers in that state experienced their fifth straight year of low profits in 2017 . . . VP Mike Pence visited Fargo and emphasized benefits to ND from tax reform and reduced federal regulation . . . Mike Jacobs, former editor and publisher of the GF Herald, and his partner Suezette Bieri, both UND alumni, made a $1 million land gift to the school for student awards . . . UND hockey has sent 100 players to the NHL.

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