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Monday, January 02, 2017


“YOU JUST CAN’T CELEBRATE” -- Laundi Keepseagle from Standing Rock. Protestors recognize that the Obama administration’s decision to halt the Dakota Access pipeline will probably be reversed by Trump. Moreover, they expect Trump will be far less attuned to issues affecting Native Americans.

A PARALYZING STORM starting on Xmas day brought ND to a standstill. Everything: highways, airports and, in some cases power, ground to a halt. Winds of 30-40 mph and driving snow made movement hazardous.

A CYCLE OF DISCONTENT Columnist Mike Jacobs took a shot at assessing the political turmoil of 2016. In a year ND voters yearned for change, he said Doug Burgum successfully attacked the Republican Old Guard represented by Attorney General Stenehjem. ND Democrats didn’t show up. Moving east, Jacobs said, “Minnesota politics seems to have collapsed into dysfunction.” He believes, “Republicans will pass legislation; Dayton will choose whether or not it will become law, because he has veto power, and Republicans have too few votes to override.”

BORROWING FROM BIG MO “Sure as the Red River will flood, so too will the weather go bone-dry, and the Red and other rivers will drop to trickles.” -- Forum editorial supporting the Red River Valley Water Supply project, a drought protection plan to divert water from the Missouri River to Fargo. The editorial concluded, “The plan to move water east from the Missouri is doable and necessary. The good news is that progress is being made.”

NOT ELLISON Tom Dennis at the GF Herald cautioned Democrats about selecting Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota to chair the Democratic National Committee. Dennis said, “Ellison shows this. He ranks near the top on lists of most liberal members of Congress, and near the bottom on lists of members who support bipartisan legislation.” Dennis indicated Minnesota Congressman Collin Peterson is the type ND Dems should consider.

BE SERIOUS “And as with North Dakota, so with Wells Fargo, a company simply investing in a lawful, permitted and arguably essential pipeline.” -- A GF Herald editorial chided the Minneapolis City Council for escalating the pipeline controversy by threatening to end business with Wells Fargo Bank, a pipeline lender.

R. D. OFFUTT CO of Fargo farms 60,000 acres of irrigated potatoes in the U.S. It has just completed the purchase of 34,000 acres of grain land near Ft. Pierre in central SD, close to Ted Turner’s bison ranches. The company is owned by Ron D. Offutt, who also controls RDO Equipment, one of the world’s largest John Deere dealerships. Offutt plans to partner with Doug Burgum’s Kilbourne Group to build a mixed-use, high-rise tower on Broadway in Fargo.

N. PLAINS UAS TEST SITE "This will be the first place in the United States where we can do that, so we expect that this is going to bring some kind of influx in companies interested in working with us." -- A spokesman for the N. Plains UAS Test Site at GFAFB referring to the authorization received from the FAA to conduct UAS flights without visual observation. Previously, out-of-site drones had to be accompanied by a piloted chase plane.

DON’T TRY THAT AGAIN A comment made at a meeting of the Ramsey County Commissioners has a Veteran’s Affairs officer in hot water. Ramsey County includes the city of Devils Lake and is north of the lake of the same name. The officer said he received a call from “a little old lady from south of here” criticizing him for not aiding the Dakota Access Pipeline protestors. At the time, there was no reaction to his comments from the commission. Subsequently, the commission received complaints that the comments were racist because the Spirit Lake Reservation borders Ramsey County on the south. It’s unclear what the officer intended, but the event illustrates how, even in rural ND, comments made to public bodies may easily be perceived to have political or racial content.

FLY ASH You probably don’t discuss fly ash a the dinner table, but in ND it’s an important byproduct of coal combustion. Fly ash is used to replace cement in concrete production -- fly ash is cheaper to use than cement and is easier to control in concrete applications. The Coal Creek Station power plant in Underwood produces more fly ash than it can store during winter months, so it contracts for covered storage in eastern ND. A warehouse in Fargo stores 15,000 tons; an identical $3 million facility is being built in Jamestown. Around 30 truck drivers carrying coal ash will cycle between Underwood and Jamestown.
HAPPY NEW YEAR! Prepare to read Schmid's Top Stories of 2016 on January 1. 

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