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Wednesday, December 13, 2017


THE FARGO DRUMS BEAT LOUDER -- The NDSU football team ran over San Diego 38-3 in last Saturday's FCS playoff game. Tomorrow at 11 a.m., the Bison play the Wofford Terriers (S.C.) in a semi-final game at the Fargodome to be broadcast on ESPN2.

TWO OUTSTANDING YOUNG NFL QUARTERBACKS meet each other Sunday in Los Angeles. The Phildadelphia Inquirer reports the Eagles’ Carson Wentz (the deer hunter from ND) will face the Los Angeles Rams’ Jared Goff (the California kid). In the 2016 NFL draft, Goff was No. 1 and Wentz was No. 2. Historically, high draft picks have been a 50-50 proposition -- the Inquirer says Goff and Wentz appear to be exceptions.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INCENTIVES are the subject of a lively debate in Fargo. The incentives usually come in the form of property tax holidays for new or renovated commercial properties. Opponents see them as gifts to wealthy developers; supporters see them as key to restoring vacant, blighted properties.

MIKE ALLMENDINGER, president of the Kilbourne Group (a development company founded by Gov. Doug Burgum), asked: “Do you recall a time when downtown Fargo was not a place you would celebrate?” He said redevelopment “wouldn’t happen” without the incentives which increase property taxes over the longer term. He stated Fargo’s revitalized downtown pays nearly $5 million more in property taxes (because of incentives) and contended that without the growth in property taxes from downtown, other Fargo property owners would be paying higher property taxes.

“FARGO MOORHEAD IS A WINDY PLACE, but it has been extraordinarily windy lately.” -- John Wheeler, Fargo weatherman. He said eight days in November had peak wind gusts of greater than 40 mph and two days exceeded 50 mph. The high average winds are due to flat terrain and proximity to the main storm tract.

NEW LIFE FOR LIGNITE? ND, Montana, Wyoming and Saskatchewan agreed to share research on coal plant carbon capture and storage. Gov. Doug Burgum said those technologies can give new life to ND’s lignite industry and potentially help recover billions of barrels of oil through enhanced recovery methods. He said carbon dioxide could turn “from an unpopular byproduct into a valuable product.”

HOW ABOUT US? "The Bakken would look very different if it were not for the city of Minot." -- Minot City Manager Tom Barry told a legislative committee Minot continues to fit the description of a hub city in the oil patch. An API survey showed oil-related companies choose Minot primarily for its central location but also for the quality of life and support services.

ND SENATORS SPLIT Sen. Hoeven voted yes and Sen. Heitkamp voted no on the tax reform bill. Columnist Rob Port believes Heitkamp’s vote hurts her chance for reelection in 2018. An editorial in the Minot Daily News concluded:

“Leadership requires bold moves and requires the rejection of tired rhetoric. It doesn’t happen often in Washington D.C. It’s little wonder that North Dakota’s senators are on opposite side of the issue. What is a surprise is to see substantive change come out of D.C. at all – substantive change well worth consideration.”

COLUMNIST MIKE JACOBS wrote, “Yours truly and (Governor) Ed Schafer are two of the few North Dakotans on record in support when NAFTA was still a concept.” Jacobs was referring to 1993 when the Clinton administration proposed NAFTA. ND’s congressional delegation at the time was solidly Democrat and all three members aggressively opposed the proposal based on concerns about Canadian grain trade. They were supported by farm and labor organizations. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce believes that ND is among the states "most likely to be negatively affected if the U.S. withdraws from NAFTA."

THIS MAY SURPRISE YOU Columnist Rob Port asserts that ND has “largely moderate governance.” He bases his conclusion on American Conservative Union ratings showing ND Republican legislators are more moderate than those in Minnesota, Montana and South Dakota.

THE WILD WEST IS ALIVE AND WELL Dakota James Charboneau of Devils Lake was wanted for a variety of charges and is a homicide suspect. When deputies attempted to pull him over near Larimore, about 25 miles west of Grand Forks, a chase commenced involving several law enforcement agencies. They hurtled west on U.S. Highway 2 at speeds up to 105 mph. The chase ended after 75 miles when troopers deployed spike strips near the Spirit Lake Reservation.

DIGI-KEY is an anomaly -- a company with an international business, but located in rural northwest Minnesota. The distributor of electronic components is in Thief River Falls, a town of 8,600 northwest of Grand Forks. The company plans to add 2.2 million square feet and 1,000 new jobs to its facility, bringing its total employment to 4,500. The small city is unable to house all the employees -- currently 1,400 employees are commuting, many in busses from communities such as Crookston and East Grand Forks. Digi-Key is a major economic factor in the Grand Forks area.

THE MOST POPULAR UBER DESTINATION in ND is the Windbreak Saloon in Fargo. In Montana it’s the Rocking R Bar in Bozeman; South Dakota -- sorry, no Uber; and in Minnesota it’s the Mall of America.

“MALL OF AMERICA welcomes acts of kindness every day . . . However, this incident created an unsafe environment for our guests.” -- a MOA spokesperson referring to a Santa Claus who threw 1,000 $1 bills from the rotunda. Children thought it was magical, MOA did not, and Santa was banished from the mall.

DAKTOIDS: The son of former UND biology professor surprised the Grand Forks Public Library with a $675,000 bequest.

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