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Monday, January 16, 2017

SCHMID: LOOKING BACK FROM THE LEFT COAST - JANUARY 16, 2016

IT’S A COMMON MISCONCEPTION that Nodaks are older than residents of other states. Not so. A little over 14 percent of ND residents are older than 65, less than the national average. It is true, however, that the state has one of the highest percentages of people over 85.

THE RED RIVER VALLEY has many 85-plus folks. Della Eichhorst (103) of Thompson was one -- she died this week in Grand Forks. When she was in the 8th grade, she began teaching Sunday School and playing the organ for services in her Lutheran church. After post-graduate study in Chicago, she became a nursing supervisor in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Later, Della was a farm wife and church leader in Thompson.

THE B-52 is an old, old plane, but according to the Secretary of the Air Force they are “very well maintained.” A B-52 from Minot AFB dropped one of its 2-1/2-ton engines in a river near Minot.

AS OIL PRICES IMPROVE, western ND oil cites are expected to resume growth. Watford City may have an annual growth rate of 6 percent in the next five years; cities such as Dickinson and Williston fall in the 3 to 4.5 percent range. Those cities already have high levels of borrowings and will need state allocations to sustain growth. The conclusions assume a moderate oil recovery and come from a study by a Grand Forks consulting firm.

“CASS COUNTY in general is still performing at a rate that I think almost anywhere in the country would be envious of." -- Minneapolis Federal Reserve regional outreach director Ron Wirtz.. He said, "What Fargo's been experiencing frankly for years is activity only in one direction, and that's been up."

TRIBE THREATENS TAXES “We don’t have enough revenue to date to deal with all the issues that are impacting our nation.” -- The Three Affiliated Tribes threaten to impose new oil taxes to cover the direct and indirect impact of oil production on the Ft. Berthold Reservation. There is a risk -- such taxes could discourage production on the reservation.

CAMP STILL DANGEROUS The cameras are gone and the journalists have left, but the pipeline protest camp remains a dangerous place. Over 550 demonstrators have been arrested of which more than 100 had criminal records ranging from criminal violence to burglary. Less than seven percent were from ND. As many as 1,000 protestors remain in Morton County and are a continuing challenge to law enforcement.

OUT OF CONTROL “I saw it just turn to where it’s ugly, where people are fabricating lies and doing whatever they can, and they’re driven by the wrong thing.” -- Standing Rock Chairman Dave Archambault described the situation at the camps as “ugly” and out of control. He said the purpose of the camp had “flipped and turned.”

RUBBISH ON THE RIVER "We're really concerned about abandoned cars; we don't want to see those going in the water. Also, with pits for garbage and human waste." -- Cecily Fong, spokesperson for the ND Dept. of Emergency Services, speaking about risks posed at the protest encampment by a potentially severe spring flood. Bismarck has never recorded higher year-to-date snowfall.

POSEIDON CONCEPTS CORP Investors should have been alerted by the name of this publicly traded company, a provider of fracking fluid storage tanks in ND. It’s sad -- investors have been informed that $106 million of the company’s $148 million reported revenues were fake. CEO Joseph Kostelecky will be tried in federal court in Bismarck and Poseidon has been delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange.

THE MINNEAPOLIS MACY’S is the largest of the 68 that the Cincinnati-based company has said it will close this year. The company will also vacate downtown stores in Portland, Ore., and Santa Barbara, Calif. A Star Tribune article discusses the special difficulty of converting old downtown department stores. In some cities, the vacant stores become eyesores before they can be renovated. Mall stores, such as the Macy’s to be closed in Grand Forks, are more easily converted to new uses. GF leaders are particularly concerned about filling the Macy’s space to retain Canadian shoppers.

CANADA IS PRAGMATIC There is a widespread impression that Canada’s immigration policy is more liberal than the U.S. A Los Angeles Times commentary says, “To start, Canada has pursued a much more selective immigration policy than the United States or any western European country. It accepts far more immigrants legally than most Western nations, but under a policy designed primarily to dovetail with the economic interests of the nation.” In other words, Canada emphasizes the education and skills it needs when admitting immigrants. New residents are fairly quickly employed.

EMERSON, MANITOBA is located at the point I-29 reaches Canada near the ND/MN border. It’s a popular spot for Africans, who fear deportation in the U.S., to cross into Canada hoping to benefit from more liberal refugee policies. The crossing is most commonly used by Somalis from Minneapolis. Recently, two Ghana refugees nearly froze to death crossing from ND -- one expects to lose his fingers.

PRINCE’S ESTATE is estimated to be several hundred million dollars. Administrator Bremer Trust has a preliminary listing of physical assets. One was particularly interesting: 67 gold bars worth $840,000.

DAKTOIDS Controversial SF 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick donated $50,000 to a Standing Rock Reservation health clinic . . . The ND Newspaper Association retained Mike Jacobs, retired GF Herald Editor/Publisher, to cover the Legislature for Association members . . . State costs related to the pipeline protests have soared to $22 million.

JIM’S TRUCKS

 

 

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