TREASURE ISLAND - COINS AND PRECIOUS METALS
If I asked you about the Port of ND, you would probably return a blank stare. The port is an intermodal facility in Minot which transfers product and containers between truck and railcar. I notice you’re yawning. Would it help any if I told you the port will cover over 3,000 acres and have 45 miles of rail track. It will be by far the biggest facility of its kind in the region. When the project is complete, from 4,000 to 7,000 trucks will visit the site daily. The state’s ag and energy industries will be the primary users, but the owners hope the port will also become a regional center for the distribution of containerized consumer products.
A Spokane company celebrated an $18 million contract to widen Hwy 23 east of New Town. But the celebration nearly stopped when Acme Construction realized there was no place for their employees to live. The company could give a housing allowance, but it would be useless. Acme initiative kicked in -- they found a nearby property, hooked up diesel generators and a sewage tank, and located fifth-wheel campers and mobile homes for the employees. Tribune writer Lauren Donovan indicates that’s the type of spirit it takes to do business in oil country.
How ND saved rural Wisconsin. Wisconsin is still having a tough time with the recession -- employment continues to decline. But certain rural counties in Wisconsin have a burst of economic activity -- construction of frac sand mining and processing facilities. Over 40 mines have either opened or expanded operations. The sand is shipped to the ND oil industry.
A Gallup study attempted to identify the best state in which to live in the future. Minnesota (#1) and ND (#5) came out on top, but there was a disconnect. The same study asked the residents of each state about their personal optimism for the future -- ND was #37 and MN a dismal #48.
It’s not their fault! Spirit Lake Tribe child protection services are in a crisis. The tribe issued a lengthy statement attributing the problems to “resource deficiencies” and “challenges that are not of the tribe’s making.” The tribe indicated the media frenzy was fueled by “internal politics and personally driven agendas.”
American Indians in ND and surrounding states have significantly lower levels of education and higher levels of unemployment than the general population. But ND Indians do better on both counts than Indians in surrounding states. South Dakota Indians have the lowest levels of education and highest levels of unemployment among neighboring states.
Texting while driving is against the law in ND, but ordinarily it’s hard to detect. A police officer stationed himself in an unmarked car near a busy Fargo intersection. When he noted people who seemed to be obviously texting, he notified officers at the end of the block. The sting netted 17 drivers. That’s a slightly frightening outcome -- imagine how many texting drivers must be out there!
Shock and awe are editorial specialties of the Fargo Forum. Last Sunday, the paper called the Spirit Lake Sioux stupid and foolish (“Why not spit into the wind?”) for continuing to support the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo (“sincerity without wisdom is nothing to crow about”). After wiping their hands of the Sioux, the Forum targeted new school lunch requirements for healthier food (“Better to get ‘em off their fat butts”). Jack Zaleski said the new rules “don’t have a chance of succeeding” because they will be eclipsed by culture, family and ethnic heritage. He said get the kids away from TVs and “off their ever-widening rear ends.”
I have never seen Rob Port, the writer for ND political blog Say Anything, but pictures suggest he may be a bit chubby. A Forum editorial referred to Port in this manner: “portly cheap-shot bloggers who do what they do without regard to facts, accountability or application of basic reporting skills.” Port replied that Jack Zaleski’s name calling (and double-entendre) was sad.
Of course, people all over the nation recognize names like Walter Cronkite, Tom Brokaw and Garrison Keillor, all previous winners of the Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in the Media. This year’s winner is Marilyn Hagerty. Who? That is not a name that trips off people’s tongues in Des Moines, but Nodaks easily recognize her as a longtime GF Herald journalist who received national attention this year for her restaurant reviews. The 85-year-old Hagerty has staying power -- she was Al Neuharth’s editor when both were at the U. of South Dakota.
“One landed directly in her lap, and she slowed the boat down and casually threw it into a nearby cooler. In the close to one-mile stretch of the James River north from Milltown that Hayer traveled in her boat, eight silver carp jumped directly in.” -- The Daily Republic of Mitchell, SD, describing SDSU researcher Cari-Ann Hayer’s experience with Asian carp. The fish can weigh as much as 25 pounds and jump six feet out of the water. The fish have been as far north as Jamestown where they are stopped by Jamestown Dam. The carp spread rapidly devastating other fish populations.
Nine dead, 50 injured and hundreds arrested. A major urban riot? Nope, just the score for this year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota. A 43-year-old Oakes, ND, woman was not wearing a helmet and died when her motorcycle struck a pickup. The Sturgis courts spend the year following the rally sorting out the cases.
Where are the fatties? The Center for Disease Control makes it easy to answer that question with a color-coded map. A cluster of states ringing Arkansas are the most obese -- all over 30%. ND (28%) is part of a Midwest cluster of states in the 25-30% range. States in the Southwest are the leanest, falling in the 20-25% range. Obesity affects some racial groups more than others -- 50% of blacks are obese.
Hamid Shirvani, the new chancellor of the ND University System, was previously the president of a California State University campus. He has called for stricter admission standards, particularly at UND and NDSU -- a sound move to improve the academic standing of those schools. Shirvani would also like to see remedial education courses handled at community colleges. At Dickinson State 28 percent of the incoming students require remedial work, 14 percent at NDSU and 5 percent at UND. This proposal also represents a better use of resources -- Shirvani knows about the remedial issue from California where public universities are burdened with remedial students admitted to achieve campus diversity targets.
ND newspapers are very circumspect where race is involved. Leron Howard (34), a black ex-convict from Minnesota, is charged with killing Abdi Ali Ahmed (18), a Somalian immigrant, but these facts are sometimes difficult to ascertain from any single press report. This may be the state’s first black-on-black on murder -- the trial began this week in Jamestown. Security is tight and six police officers are assigned to the court.