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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

SCHMID: LOOKING BACK FROM THE LEFT COAST - FEBRUARY 18, 2019

HAND IN THE TILL  “There are unique characteristics of a tribal school district that hinder traditional means of ousting bad agents.” — Mother of a student at a Belcourt school (Turtle Mt. Reservation).  Yes, it appears she’s right, the Belcourt School Board has a “quorum of felons.”  Two members have felonies for embezzlement and a third for assault.  Community members complain the board hires family members for “exorbitant” salaries and gives grant money to organizations with which they are personally involved.  Some would say this describes business as usual on many reservations.  ND legislators are struggling to design legislation which would limit the worst practices, but not be overly broad.
OIL WILL RUN OUT  “As it continues to grow, it likewise will continually be forced to resist so many hands reaching out for a piece of the lucrative pie.” — GF Herald editorial supporting Gov. Burgum’s policies for building the oil Legacy Fund and using its earnings for long-term purposes.  The editorial notes the fund has grown to $6 billion.  Alaska was given as a negative example — it follows a popular policy of distributing oil revenues to residents, rather than saving them for the time when oil runs out.  Norway was a positive example — it has accumulated a trillion dollar savings account.
“THE DEFICIENCIES OF THE WOMEN’S PRISON, ‘pigeonholed’ into a former Catholic boarding school, are plain to anyone who bothers to look. Most obviously, it was never designed to be a prison.” — A Forum editorial supported Gov. Burgum’s plan to move the women’s prison from New England to Bismarck.  The Forum addressed the concern about the impact on New England’s economy: “The bottom line: We should never confuse providing correctional services with rural economic development. They are entirely separate issues.”
THERE’S GOLD IN THEM THERE HILLS  The University of Mary in Bismarck raised $100 million in the first phase of a capital campaign.  The school is the largest private college in ND — with 3,800 students, its enrollment equals that of Bismarck State College.
OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND  With over 12,000 employees, Minot AFB contributed $543 million to the Minot area economy in 2018.  A Minot Daily News editorial saluted the base for “the contribution you make to powering our economy.”  And well it might, while the AFB is somewhat out of everyday sight, residents should be reminded that Minot’s economy would be a shadow of itself without the base.
HUNG UP  “North Dakota’s fuel tax hasn’t been adjusted since 2005, and the federal rate hasn’t been touched since 1993.” — Columnist Rob Port says a higher gas tax makes sense, because “It’s a sort of user fee.  Those who use the roads the most end up paying the most tax.”  A Fargo Forum poll on the subject resulted in a 50/50 outcome.
SOCIALIST PAST  An opinion piece in the Star Tribune favored Democratic socialism.  The item included the following reference to ND:
  • “In the early 20th century, North Dakota’s socialistic Non-Partisan League created a state-owned bank and grain elevator to organize agricultural assets for leverage against the reviled Twin Cities bankers and millers. Both socialistic systems still operate in the politically ‘red’ state. The state's conservative legislature still sees a public benefit.”
DO SPORTS MATTER?  Columnist Mike McFeely reported the results of a poll that showed 84 percent of state residents have a favorable opinion of NDSU, likewise, 80 percent viewed UND favorably.  Both schools have taken a hammering from politicians.  What explains the public’s good perceptions?  McNeely thinks NDSU football and UND hockey are part of the answer.
NO BULL  An auction at St. Anthony, ND, resulted in the highest-selling beef bull of all time.  Schaff Angus Valley sold SAV America 8018 for $1.5 million to a Nebraska Angus breeder.
MONDAK PULSE DAY  What is that?  It’s an annual event for pulse growers from Montana and ND held this year in Williston.  Pulses are 11 types of edible legumes — dried beans and peas, not the Green Giant type of vegetables — used as ingredients in a wide range of foods.  ND is the nation’s leading producer of pulse crops.
SORRY FELLAS  WalletHub says Arkansas and W. Virginia are the worst states for singles.  Which state is third worst?  It’s ND, a state with approximately 105 men for every 100 women.  Other disadvantages for singles in ND were also noted.  Recommendation — visit the Minnesota Twin Cities where the situation is much better.
MINNESOTA SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR has announced as a presidential candidate.  Forum columnist Mike McFeely portrays her as a moderate Democrat compared to strident far-left candidates like Kamela Harris and Bernie Sanders.  He says her candidacy plays in Midwest small towns and farm country where Trump has done well.
YOU TOO CAN LIVE LIKE JERRY HENNESSY  The Ashby, Minnesota, fraud artist has his 5,300 square foot house and 90 acres for sale for $800,000.  His incredible wild game trophy room and bar are part of the deal.  Meanwhile, Jerry has pleaded guilty to mail fraud and tax evasion and will owe restitution of $6.5 million plus up to $250,000 in fines.
TURKEYS GOING SOUTH  It was mentioned here earlier, that Moorhead residents were harassed by a flock of 75 wild turkeys.  Residents have hatched a scheme — they will capture the turkeys with large nets and relocate them to South Dakota.  The Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources made a deal with the SD Game and Fish people and will execute the relocation.  In a Forum poll, 53 percent favored leaving the turkeys alone.
TOLERANT OF DUI?  The ND House has approved a bill prohibiting police from using checkpoints to catch drunk drivers.  The Highway Patrol conducts such checks and considers them a useful tool.  The checks catch some drunk drivers, but are probably most useful as a deterrent.  The ND Dept. of Transportation says alcohol is a factor in 40 to 50 percent of fatal crashes.  The House action adds to the impression that ND is tolerant towards DUI.
DAKTOIDS:  The last of about 70 scheduled Dakota Access Pipeline trials ended.  The Water Protector Legal Collective spent about $2 million on DAPL defense work . . . NASA compared average 2018 temperatures in each state to the average since 1895 — most states were above the long-term averages, some had record highs, but ND was near normal . . . United Van Lines reports people are moving out of northeastern states to the west and southeast — ND and Minnesota are relatively balanced, Montana had negative migration and SD had positive migration . . . UND is searching for a new law school dean — UND was among lower scoring schools across the country for bar passage rates according to the American Bar Association.

 

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