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Wednesday, February 13, 2019


UAS SYNERGY  ND has embraced the UAS industry and there is little doubt the industry will play a large role in the state’s future.  The UND Aerospace School, the Northern Plains UAS Test Site, the Research Insititute for Autonomous Systems and GFAFB are all players in ND’s UAS synergy.  UND was the first four-year school to offer UAS operations degrees.  These are all signs ND is pulling its weight in an important emerging industry.  It should also be noted that other regions with larger resources are investing in the industry.  While ND is justifiably proud of its industry role, the state is not a clear national leader and will need to defend its foothold as a leader among smaller states.
HANDS OFF THE LEGACY FUND  “However, the truth is, due to the wisdom of voters creating the Legacy Fund, we have moved from a world of scarcity to a current state of abundance.”  Gov. Burgum continued his drumbeat that Legacy principal should be untouched and earnings should be used for projects which have broad, lasting impact and diversify the economy.  He is opposed to using Legacy earnings to plug budget holes.
WHY DO THEY THINK THAT?  “The only people that are against it are dentists.” — State Rep. Bill Devlin, Finley, referring to legislation permitting the use of dental therapists in underserved areas.  The UND Center for Rural Health reports nearly half of ND counties are short of dental professionals, including all counties with large Indian populations.  All the underserved counties are rural.
A NOTE OF DESPERATION  “Retail in Grand Forks needs attention.  Macy’s, Sears and Kmart won’t be coming back.” — GF Herald editorial.  A Chamber task force is being formed to tackle retail problems in Greater Grand Forks.
WEAK ARGUMENT  Another Herald editorial supported keeping ND’s colleges in the state constitution.  The Herald presented a tired argument — essentially, that it’s always been that way.  Others see that as the very reason it should be reconsidered.  Why did the Herald go that way?  Hard to say, one possibility, Mayville State and Lake Region College are in the Herald’s circulation area — two small colleges that could be targets.
BE WATCHFUL   A 65-year-old woman had been dead in her car for months in a Cash Wise store parking lot in Fargo.  This prompted the police to ask the public to give them a call when something doesn’t seem right.
LIFE ON ANOTHER PLANET  Last Friday at 4:30 a.m., Minot was dark and snowy with below zero temperatures worsened by wind chill factors.  At the time, there was a crash in Minot involving a vehicle driven by a 65-year-old man and a 59-year-old woman on a bicycle.  The woman died.  For those of us living in more moderate climates, the conditions in which the crash occurred seem harsh and far away.
MINOT IS A NUCLEAR POWER  “The time is now to get on with the modernization programs that are going to replace . . . the nuclear-capable bombers and the ICBM force.” — Navy Vice Adm. David Kriete.  While this sounds like Washington D.C. defense policy talk, the comment was made in Minot and refers to the two principal missions of Minot AFB.
HIS HALO IS SLIPPING  Bismarck native Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, has always been portrayed as nearly perfect, until now.  Unnamed teammates have reportedly called him "selfish" and “egotistical."  Various media are masticating the issue — no consensus has emerged, but Wentz is on the hot seat.  He is designated the starting Eagles quarterback for the 2019 season
SINGER BOBBY VEE got his start 60 years ago in Moorhead when he filled in when Buddy Holly died in an airplane crash.  Fargo native Vee, who was awarded membership in the ND Rough Rider Hall of Fame, died in 2016.
MONEY IS NOT THE BE ALL  Yes, Minnesota has terrible taxes, but was ranked as the 10th best state to retire by WalletHub.  Why?  Minnesota was ranked No. 1 in quality of life and health care, which may be more important than money or warm weather.
WHAT ARE FRIENDS FOR?  A drunken snowmobiler crashed on a Minnesota lake and his passenger had life-threatening injuries.  A drunken friend drove her to the hospital.  Both drivers were arrested.  
CONSIDER THIS  During last week’s cold snap, 45 percent of the power in Minnesota’s region was delivered from coal-fired plants.  Wind was only able to deliver 4 percent of the electricity.  Isaac Orr, a policy fellow at Center of the American Experiment, says lawmakers should reconsider their plans to lean so heavily on wind and solar.  Natural gas power plants may need to generate up to 100 percent of electricity needs in the eventuality of temporary loss of wind or solar.  He sees danger in “putting all our eggs . . . in one basket” and urges Minnesota to lift its ban on nuclear power.
HE’S VERY REMORSEFUL, REALLY!  Jerry Hennessy plans to plead guilty to fraud and tax evasion for the $5.5 million he is alleged to have taken from the 200-member Ashby, Minnesota, cooperative elevator.  Hennessy disappeared for three months — his attorney said Jerry was trying to clear his head.  He doesn’t want to put the government to unnecessary expense and will meet with the elevator’s attorney to identify assets that can be returned.
DAKTOIDS:  Winner and still champion — State Rep. George Keiser is the primary sponsor of 27 bills . . . A Watford City police officer was speeding to offer assistance when his Chevy Tahoe SUV veered off the road and hit a hay bale, you know, one of the big ones.  Goodby Tahoe . . . Nodaks are not particularly worried about violent crime — they are more worried about identity theft . . . A Forum editorial urges the Legislature to fund the Roosevelt Library in Medora (“do something great”) contending the library, as a tourist attraction, could be ND’s Mt. Rushmore . . . Released felons can vote in ND; Minnesota is considering a similar law.

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