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Monday, January 09, 2017



TWO BIG CHALLENGES to the ND Legislature were outlined in a Forum editorial. The first is the need to make a “lean and mean” budget in the face of weak revenues -- recent general fund revenue forecasts are $1.9 billion less than Gov. Dalrymple’s budget proposal The other challenge will be dealing with a new governor determined to reinvent state government and have the state live without new taxes. The Forum said, “Maybe the tougher test of the Legislature's mettle, will be engineering a civil working relationship with a governor who is, for many lawmakers, a mystery.”

“THE SOLUTION ISN’T ALWAYS MORE MONEY. The solution is, ‘Let's have more creative and better ideas.'" -- A quote from Dickinson area legislators who endorse the vision of Gov. Burgum’s inaugural speech.

“HE’LL BE OUT THERE ALONE.”-- Columnist Lloyd Omdahl advises Gov. Burgum to be cautious about plans to reinvent government. Omdahl says ND has more state and local government per capita than any other state and “ North Dakotans don’t take to reorganization.”

BURGUM said he plans to work with tribal leaders, but supports the completion of the Dakota Access pipeline. He reiterated that "Failure to finish it would send a chilling signal to those in any industry who wish to invest in our state and play by the rules."

THE STANDING ROCK SIOUX strained their resources by supporting out of control pipeline demonstrations. Now the tribe is seeking assistance from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and other federal and state agencies due to a disastrous Christmas Day storm.

“THE MAIN PROTEST CAMP is located directly in the floodplain of the Cannonball-Missouri River confluence. Given the snowfall we're having this winter and historic data on the Cannonball River, that camp will likely flood in early March." -- Gov. Burgum used his State of the State address to urge the Standing Rock Sioux and other protesters to restore the camp properties before debris pollutes the Missouri River. Protestors may have created a threat to the very water quality they wish to protect.

EASY CHOICES Doug Burgum was selected Fargo “Person of the Year” and Carson Wentz was selected “Sports Story of the Year” by the Forum. The Forum went a little overboard on Wentz saying “He made North Dakota great again.”

LUCK CHANGES Events do not always work out well for “Person of the Year.” Joseph Chapman (2006) left NDSU in an ethical controversy and Jessica Thomasson (2015), ND head of Lutheran Social Services, was derided in 2016 regarding refugee resettlement.

SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST Once they were Dayton’s, then Marshall Field’s, then Macy’s and now they are closing. Macy’s stores in Minneapolis and Grand Forks will be history. A Zales jewelry store at the Columbia Mall in GF will close in addition to Macy’s. They leave a big hole in GF retail. In Fargo, a large Sears store, an original tenant in West Acres, will close. The closures reflect the diminishing role of traditional department stores.
“WE LIKE AND ADMIRE MAYOR BROWN, which is why we hope he follows Burgum's example on a few key issues. We think it would benefit both the mayor and the city.” -- From a GF Herald editorial urging the mayor to use his goodwill and take a more assertive role. Major civic projects in GF have stalled in recent years.

UND hockey coach Brad Berry and football coach Bubba Schweigert were selected “Persons of the Year” by the GF Herald. The Herald said they won championships and showed “that nice guys can finish first.”

DR. MARY WAKEFIELD will be stepping down as acting deputy secretary at the federal Dept. of Health and Human Service. The Devils Lake native has held many public service positions including director of UND’s Center for Rural Health.

NDSU PRESIDENT DEAN BRESCIANI, who has had a rocky time the last few years, is a finalist for the presidency of Ohio University. Columnist Rob Port says that's great -- both schools can benefit.

“PHILANDO CASTILE and I were classmates at Central, where whites and blacks lived in separate worlds.” -- Carolyn Philstrom, a pastor at Prairie Lutheran Parish in Stanley, ND. The Star Tribune selected her commentary as one of the most read in 2016. Castile was a black man shot by police in a St. Paul suburb. Philstrom regrets the divisions between black and white where she grew up.

HOW TO GET A LEG UP? If you want to do better than your working-class parents, where should you grow up? A study covered by the Star Tribune suggests a small town in ND, where people are not segregated by income, would be among the best places to start. Getting a college education and moving to an urban area would further your chances. Cities like Minneapolis where the poor are separated from the wealthier are bad places for lower income people to start. Cities also have a higher rate of single parent households.

CRITICISM STINGS The Dept. of Natural Resources in Minnesota continues to fight the F-M Flood Diversion project. DNR head Tom Landwehr must be bothered by charges his department is obstructing the F-M Diversion project. He said the U.S. Corps of Engineers should give Minnesota more respect.

HE WAS IN THE WRONG STATE Berthold police turned two illegal immigrants over to the Border Patrol following a traffic stop. One of the men, Jose Medina (49), was in the country 20 years.

DAKTOIDS The miles of street in Bismarck have grown by 30 percent in the last decade. Some services, like snow removal, haven’t caught up . . . Oil companies in ND are beginning to hire again . . . Minot declared a snow emergency, the first step in seeking state and federal assistance. Snowstorms have dumped 3-1/2 feet of snow on the city.


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