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Wednesday, December 19, 2018


JACKRABBITS will be the Bison’s football opponent at the Fargodome in the FCS semi-finals at 7 p.m. (CST), Friday, December 14 on ESPN2.  NDSU whipped Colgate 35-0 last week and SDSU slipped by Kennesaw 27-17 in quarterfinal matches.
WHY WOULD HE DO THAT?  Bison Coach Chris Klieman accepted a position to coach the Kansas State football team.  Tomorrow’s game will be his last in Fargo, but he will stay for the January championship game in Texas if the Bison beat the Jackrabbits.  His Kansas contract calls for an annual salary that rises to $3.3 million in the sixth year.  But that’s just a start — perks and potential bonuses go on and on.
GOV. DOUG BURGUM’S BUDGET PLAN for 2019-21 was hailed by the editorial board at the Fargo Forum.  They said it manages to be “both conservative and bold” and “Lawmakers . . . would do well to follow along.”  Following are some of the more interesting aspects of the budget:
  • MUSICAL CHAIRS  When the music stops, New England may no longer have a women’s prison.  Gov. Burgum’s proposed budget provides $35 million to build a new State Hospital in Jamestown.  The old hospital would be converted to a minimum security prison and male inmates would be transferred from the Missouri River Correctional Center near Bismarck.  That enables another move, the inmates of the women’s prison in New England would move to the MRCC.  The women’s prison in New England is a converted Catholic boarding school and has proved difficult to operate.  Leann Bartsch, director of the ND Department of Corrections, said, "That was a bad decision and we lived with it and made it work.”  Jamestown leaders welcome the proposal, New England leaders don't.
  • THEODORE ROOSEVELT LIBRARY  “We’re not fully utilizing the fact that we have this superb national park.” — Gov. Burgum advocated $50 million of state money for the library to be matched by $100 million from the T.R. Presidential Library Foundation.  The library had been originally planned for Dickinson State University, but the foundation reversed course and decided to place the library in Medora and the Badlands.  Burgum said, “It would become our Mount Rushmore.”  He believes Dickinson will benefit by becoming a gateway to the park, as Rapid City benefits from its proximity to Mt. Rushmore.  The GF Herald totally backs Burgum’s proposal.
  • WHY UAS?  Gov. Burgum was asked by the GF Herald editorial board why he was proposing $30 million for UAS infrastructure.  He said “on UAS, we do have an early-mover advantage because we got an early lead.”  Burgum said lots of other states are working on ground-based autonomous vehicles, while ND seeks to be a leader in “autonomous in the air” and “Our best advantage, where we can build competitive advantage, is to keep investing in areas where we have a lead and try to maintain that lead.”
  • SILENT DETRACTORS?  “During his budget speech Wednesday, Gov. Doug Burgum didn't mention the much-publicized idea, which seeks $100 million for UND and NDSU to enhance research that the presidents of those universities believe would benefit the entire state.” — A GF Herald editorial expressed dismay that a research proposal that has broad support in Fargo and Grand Forks was not mentioned in Burgum’s budget proposal.  The editorial speculated there “were more silent detractors than we previously imagined.”
BURGUM’S BUDGET PRIORITIES are not a slam dunk.  For example, the Dickinson Press found an overwhelming percentage of readers oppose the governor’s proposal for funding the Roosevelt Library in Medora.  One reader’s comment: “Moving it to Medora is the dumbest thing I have ever heard of.”  The Minot Daily News expressed the hope the governor and legislators will use good sense in finding common ground and providing a good example for the nation.  Since there is one-party rule, the MDN said, “North Dakota Republicans will pay the price if that doesn’t happen.”

OH, OH!  A recreational indoor shooting range in Surrey (just east of Minot) will use live rounds while targeting images projected on a screen.  “This range is literally state of the art. There’s nobody within several states that has this,” said a vice-president of Nodak Arms, the company operating the facility.  Got an enemy?  Put their image on the screen.
TARGET LODGING, the largest provider of workplace housing (man camps) in the U.S., has 1,850 beds in ND at facilities in Dickinson, Williston, Stanley and Watford City.  Target will merge with Signor Lodging to create the largest “provider of specialty rental accommodation space” in the U.S.  The resulting combination will be a Nasdaq-listed company called Target Hospitality Corp.

INDIAN ACTIVIST WINONA LADUKE is on the warpath.  She is threatening mass pipeline protests in Minnesota patterned on those against the Dakota Access pipeline.  LaDuke was part of thousands drawn to the Standing Rock Reservation in ND in 2016 and 2017.  The DAPL protests resulted in 761 arrests.

NEW POLICY IN MINNESOTA?  The NAACP is preparing a report to address racial disparities in the Twin Cities said to be among the worst in the country.  In a meeting to share ideas on economic inclusion, Minnesota Attorney General-elect Keith Ellison said, "The economy is a machine which we can manage and manipulate and design to our advantage.”  He had another controversial idea, "One thing we need to do is call an end to the war on drugs.  What happens to the household economics when a parent goes to prison?"

DAKTOIDS:  NDSU quarterback Easton Stick was one of three Bison players named to AP FCS All-American team . . . ND has second most (47%) of alcohol related traffic deaths . . . Rob Port reports the volume of student loans at all levels of the ND university system has been declining, while overall enrollment is steady.

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