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Thursday, February 22, 2018


JOCELYNE & MONIQUE, the Lamoureux twins, were UND women hockey stars from 2010-2013, likewise, in the 2010 Vancouver and 2014 Sochi Olympics.  They are back for the third time in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in South Korea.  Monique scored USA’s first goal of the Olympics assisted by Jocelyne in a 3-1 defeat of Finland.  Former UND players were on both sides — 3 for the USA, 2 for Finland.  After the USA defeated Russia 5-1, the sisters were tied, each with 15 career points in Olympic Games.  On Wednesday, the USA lost to nemesis Canada 2-1, but remains No. 2 seed.
LONGSTANDING PARANOIA  It goes back in ND history, a notion that the Twin Cities were economic and cultural bullies — ever ready to diminish ND.  Widely-distributed Star Tribune reports of the Olympic hockey games recognized the contribution of the Lamoureux twins, but never hinted they were from ND or Grand Forks, much less UND.  On the other hand, for example, Kelly Pannek was acknowledged as a “Gophers forward,” as were other Minnesota players.  It’s a small thing, and it’s natural for a newspaper to highlight local players, but the selective omissions feed the little ND paranoia bug.
KEEPING A PROMISE  "Another Carson Wentz story, seriously? About his personal life, nonetheless?” — Forum article.  In that spirit, I will not discuss the details of his marriage proposal in a Kentucky castle.
LIPSTICK ON A PIG  “We just don't believe the community has the appetite to pay tens of millions of presumed public dollars for a brand new library that — thanks to technology — many feel could become obsolete in the coming decades.” — GF Herald editorial.  The Herald said it was time to get creative and fix up the old building.
POOCHIGIAN was concerned “UND is turning away from its foundation as a liberal arts institution to become a ‘business-technical institution.’ “ — >From the obituary of UND philosophy professor emeritus Don Poochigian (74).  He is not alone in that concern.  This is a contemporary dilemma — UND must balance a desire to provide a broad education with the need to qualify graduates for high-paying careers.
UND PRESIDENT MARK KENNEDY made the surprise announcement yesterday that he is interviewing for president at the University of Central Florida and would accept the position if offered.  UCF has 64,000 students.
THE RURAL POPULATION IS NOT DYING  The nation’s rural population is slowly growing, but its urban population is growing much faster.  ND is similar, its rural population is holding steady at just under 200,000, while the 14 counties that qualify as urban are steadily growing.  About one of four ND residents live in rural counties.  ND has around 360 towns and cities — 80 gained residents during the last 25 years, while the remainder (mostly rural) lost.
MISMATCH  Williston has many young potential first-home buyers and a reasonable number of homes for sale.  But they don’t match up — there are few newer homes in the price range of young buyers.  Homes in the needed price range ($250,000 to $340,000) don’t pencil out for developers and permits for new homes have slowed to a crawl.
MINOT FACES GRIM REALITY  “What we are seeing, and going to see, is the sad result of a boomtown slowing to crawl.” — Minot Daily News.  The editorial urged the city to accept the reality that “Minot has too many hospitality institutions to support the demand” which “has declined dramatically due to the boom and bust in the oil field.”  The MDN expects many hotels, motels and restaurants to close over the remainder of 2018.  To add to the gloom, the editorial indicated the problem could spread to retail malls.
EMBRACE THE COLD  Gov. Doug Burgum pitched his Main Street Initiative at a Bismarck conference as a way to help fill the state’s 12,800 open jobs.  Taking a page from Minnesota’s “Bold North “ brand, he encouraged Nodaks “to own their cold climate when trying to attract new residents.”  He said Minneapolis and Winnipeg are major metro areas and aren’t hindered by the weather.  Another speaker, Charles Marohn — founder of Strong Towns, said ND was not part of the crazy growth culture of the 1990s and 2000s and that frugality kept the state from piling up liabilities from non-sustainable development.  He advocates slow growth from a city’s core and avoidance of sprawl. 
BOLD NORTH, Minnesota’s Super Bowl moniker, received a few harsh licks in a Star Tribune commentary by freelance journalist Chris Clayton.  The preferred narrative: Minnesota is a “Nordic utopia run by innovators who evangelize the cold rather than apologize for it.”  A “Stockholm of the Midwest” where everyone is rich and white.  Clayton says it’s a “Prairie Home Companion mythology that died long before Garrison Keeler’s career did.”  He also called it “northern genre fiction” promoting the brand of the Dayton brothers, the governor’s sons.  Their marketing plan was immensely successful.  Clayton says the real “Minnesota 2018 is a unique, complicated place” where nonwhites spur most of the state’s population growth.
MINNESOTA GOV. MARK DAYTON is going into the home stretch — how has he done?  The Star Tribune invited commentary from Dane Smith and Mark Haveman.  Both agreed the state was running well and was fiscally sound.  Smith was an unabashed supporter who applauded Dayton’s liberal policies on preferences for minorities in hiring and contracting, immigration and taxes.  He saw these policies as boldly advancing the cause of racial and economic equity.  
ANOTHER VIEW  Haveman saw it differently — he was most concerned about Dayton’s income taxes, the most progressive in the nation.  He felt they were a long-term risk which discouraged people and businesses from moving into the state.  He also assailed Dayton for failing to manage the public sector workforce and pensions, and believes those policies will worsen a recession.
DAKTOIDS:  The USDA projects the nation’s farmers will do worse in 2018 than 2017 by about 5 percent.  Farmers in the Northern Plains will do a little better — their average net cash farm income is projected to be down about 3.5 percent . . .  Instead of a parking garage, Hector Airport in Fargo is considering a $13-15 million elevated skyway to keep flyers out of the weather while walking to the terminal . . . Rob Port reports that the majority of Heidi Heitkamp’s 2017 senatorial campaign contributions came from New York . . . Major rumor: Rep. Kevin Cramer will run against Heitkamp and oilman Harold Hamm will be his finance chairman.

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