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Tuesday, December 05, 2017


THE NDSU FOOTBALL TEAM is again in the FCS national playoffs. The Bison are seeded No. 2, meaning all their playoff games will be in the Fargodome, a formidable arena for visitors. Tomorrow, the Bison meet the University of San Diego Toreros in the second round of the playoffs -- the Southern California players should not forget to bring their hoodies to Fargo.

UND ATHLETIC DIRECTOR BRIAN FAISON announced his retirement in October. GF Herald sports writer Tom Miller said that “UND officials drummed up all the dressings of a real retirement announcement,” but “I'm not buying this as a natural retirement for a second.” He also made a reference to Faison’s “downfall.”

RETIRED HERALD PUBLISHER MIKE JACOBS approached Faison’s “retirement” from a different angle. He saw the packaging as further reason for the UND campus to be uneasy about President Mark Kennedy. In a lengthy column, Jacobs did not use Kennedy’s name, referring to him only as UND’s president. Jacobs considers Kennedy politically savvy and “a man of considerable ability,” who “often acts in a pre-emptory way.” Jacobs expressed reservations about Kennedy before he was hired by UND about 17 months ago.

“THAT’S NOT A DEEP TALENT POOL.” -- Mike Jacobs referring to ND’s adult residents. He has a unique suggestion: Amend the state constitution to permit non-residents to fill several spots on the Board of Higher Education. In a nutshell, he is saying the state’s higher education system is so large and complex that its board requires the skills of people who have managed large organizations. Such people are most easily found among the state’s former residents.

THE GF HERALD’S ICONIC DOWNTOWN OFFICE BUILDING is for sale. Owner Forum Communications Company is asking $3.5 million for the building which was rebuilt after the 1997 flood. Publisher Korie Wenzel said the space, built for 150, is too big for the current staff of 55. FCC bought the Herald from Knight Ridder in 2006. The sale of the building is a commentary on the difficult nature of the newspaper industry and the constant steps needed to be taken to adjust staff and footprints to the level of business.

ND TAX COMMISSIONER RYAN RAUSCHENBERGER has pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol in his BMW convertible. He acknowledges lying to a state trooper when he said he had “like one drink” prior to his arrest. Rauschenberger (34) took a leave of absence in 2014 to seek professional help for alcohol problems. His position demands a high level of personal and professional integrity.

THE NECESSITY DEFENSE admits the defendant committed what would normally be a criminal act, but claims circumstances justified it. A court administrator in ND’s South Central District Court said 237 pipeline-related cases are still open -- those defendants are pleading the “necessity defense” and claim they are innocent of all charges. Chase Iron Eyes, an attorney and ND’s 2016 Democratic House candidate, is one of the most prominent defendants and claims the perceived threat of the Dakota Access Pipeline forced him to commit civil disobedience. He is charged with felony inciting of a riot and criminal trespassing -- he has previous felony convictions. Judges in recent pipeline protests have rejected the necessity defense.

“I DON’T THINK THE TRIBES THOUGHT THIS THROUGH.” -- A saloon owner on the Ft. Berthold Reservation. A new 7 percent tax (in addition to preexisting sales taxes) on alcohol has dried up sales on the reservation. Distributors caught in the new tax rules are refusing to make deliveries to the reservation. The reservation casino is cut off. The Three Affiliated Tribes insist they need the revenue, although they are receiving over $150 million a year in oil tax revenue. As might be expected, tribal members are buying alcohol off the reservation.

ROGUE CPA James Henrikson was a one-man crime wave. He operated in the Oil Patch and arranged murders, collusions and fraud. His partner Doug Carlile founded Kingdom Dynamics, an oilfield development outfit. That arrangement did not go well and Henrikson had Carlile murdered. Henrikson is in federal prison. Now the next shoe has dropped. Rene L. Johnson is the owner of a Watford City accounting firm, acted as a registered agent for Kingdom Dynamics and provided CPA services to Henrikson’s businesses. She is charged with various investment frauds and lying to federal agents. Her trial will take place at Bismarck in March.

“AFFIRMATIVE ACTION POLICIES HAVE FAILED” -- An opinion piece in the Fargo Forum by John Calvert, retired political science teacher. Calvert cites an August NYTimes report admitting preferences have failed. He said, “After decades of trial and billions invested, we find that preferences simply don't work. The colleges try to compensate for poor schools and dysfunctional homes with remediation programs. But it's too little too late to work.” He also noted racial preferences are a zero-sum game -- what one race gains, another loses.

HERMAN STERN is best known for Strauss Clothing -- once a chain of ND’s finest men’s stores, founded in 1879. But Stern was much more. He is noted for outstanding business, civic and charitable work. Among other projects, he founded the Greater ND Chamber and the Valley City Winter Show. In 2014, he was posthumously awarded the ND Rough Rider Award -- the state’s highest honor. He is now the subject of “The Mission of Herman Stern,” a documentary about his WWII work with Jewish refugees.

I-POT In the last six months, three traffic stops on I-94 in ND resulted in marijuana busts with a street value well over $2 million. The implication is I-94 is a river of illegal drugs flowing from West Coast states. Only a fraction of the deliveries are caught in traffic stops -- the remaining smarter drivers cruise through.

DAKTOIDS: Bobcat is back in Bismarck with hundreds of jobs -- the result of a growing national economy and demand for Bobcat products . . . We are all aware of the plight of shopping centers as Amazon bears down, but West Acres CEO Brad Schlossman sees a bright future ahead for his Fargo center, which he says is 100% leased and occupies "the best real estate in the state" near the intersection of two freeways . . . Refugees from Somalia are struggling to gain entry in the U.S. -- Lutheran Social Services projects refugee resettlements in ND in fiscal 2018 will decline to 350 from 421 in 2017 and 563 in 2016.

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