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Thursday, August 02, 2018


THE DAKOTA ACCESS PROTESTS began in August 2016 and continued into 2017.  The pipeline went into service in June 2017.  About 1,400 law enforcement officers were needed to control the protests which resulted in nearly 800 arrests.  The protests drained local and state financial resources.  ND blames the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for abdication of federal law enforcement responsibility and allowing the protests to grow out of hand.  Last week ND filed a $38 million claim against the federal government.  The Department of Justice earlier awarded the state $10 million to help with protest costs.

LONG SHOT  A Minot Daily News editorial quotes a law professor, an expert on civil litigation against the federal government, who said ND’s case (above) “is a long shot.”  The MDN nevertheless concluded: “So, while the legal odds seem long, there is also a moral imperative. The federal government exacerbated the situation and refused support when support was needed.”

“STANDING ROCK REDUX” is the heading of a Wall Street Journal editorial which contends environmental activists are spoiling to make Minnesota’s Enbridge Line 3 pipeline a repeat of the Dakota Access protests.  The editorial said “They’re gearing up for a repeat of the 2016 Standing Rock protests” and hinted a clash with authorities is a special goal of Honor the Earth co-founder Winona LaDuke.

SENATOR'S DILEMMA  Eastern media are fascinated by the ND U.S. Senate race between Heidi Heitkamp and Kevin Cramer.  But for the moment, they are focused on whether incumbent Heitkamp will support Trump Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.  A NYT writer attended a Heitkamp campaign stop in Petersburg, ND, where she declined a decision, but said, "He seems to be a fairly standard conservative judge, and obviously highly qualified.”  A Heitkamp supporter urged her to support Kavanaugh since "He's probably going to win anyway.”  

WHAT’S A STRONGER WORD THAN NONSENSE?  Heitkamp told the 30 people attending her Petersburg rally that she was a centrist and "I'm not bragging on myself, but we need more people in the middle like me who will call" nonsense.  The NYT times said she used a considerably stronger word than nonsense.

GOING, GOING, GONE  A little over 50 years ago Great River Energy’s Stanton Station became the first commercial lignite plant in ND Coal Country.  Now, “It’s going, going, gone with new environmental currents that made continued operation financially untenable” — Lauren Donovan in the Bismarck Tribune.  A GRE employee overseeing the deconstruction said “this is part of the cycle of a power plant.”  A Texas contractor performing the demolition said 98 percent of “the material is sellable and reusable.”

HUH!  “Nobody can take over the government without a government” — The rallying cry of the mayor of Leith, ND, as he urged residents to vote this fall to unincorporate.  Disbanding the tiny town is intended to thwart the legacy of Craig Cobb, who attempted to turn Leith into a neo-Nazi community and was jailed for armed terrorizing.

JUSTICE LANGE, a 25-year-old Carrington woman, is at the center of a tragedy that resulted in the death of her 4-month-old boy.  She is in jail for charges of manslaughter and child neglect.  The boy’s 37-year-old father made a frantic effort to locate the mother and child during their 9-day absence.  In the course of his search, he attempted to evade police by fleeing at speeds up to 80 mph and has been jailed for those charges plus arrest warrants from three counties.  Both parents were associated with a carnival at the Stutsman County Fair in Jamestown.

ANDREW SCHROEDERMEIER (21) set a speed record on his Suzuki SV1000 motorcycle.  Unfortunately, Andrew made the nearly 150 mph record on a 100-mile stretch of I-29.  Andrew is in jail after outrunning various police departments between Fargo and Drayton.  His downfall — the thirsty Suzuki ran out of gas and ended his midnight ride.

ROUNDABOUTS are almost always controversial when first introduced.  Mandan found a novel way to test the waters.  The city painted two temporary mini-roundabouts on its streets to test their efficiency and measure public reaction.  The brightly-colored circles get a variety of responses — some bewildered drivers simply come to a stop.

WARD COUNTY and Minot are still “right-sizing” after the oil boom.  As cities like Williston and Watford City developed their infrastructure to handle normal levels of the oil and gas industry, Minot was left with stranded properties.  In 2016, Ward County had less than 500 properties go into foreclosure, in 2017, there were over 1,000.  Most of the properties get off the list when the owners pay just enough back taxes to get out of the foreclosure category.  All but 50 of the 2017 foreclosures came off the list due to payments made.

MINNESOTA AND WISCONSIN became a laboratory for studying the impact of minimum wage laws.  In 2014, MN instituted a law which increased its minimum wage 33 percent by 2018.  During that period WI kept pace with federal minimum wage laws.  An economist at the U. of Wisconsin found employment of those under age 24 decreased 9 percent in MN (35,000 jobs), while increasing 11 percent in Wisconsin.  Employment in MN’s restaurant industry, which employs 60 percent of minimum wage workers, stagnated.  There is considerable disagreement about the impact of minimum wages — economists tend to see the impact as neutral to harmful; politicians tend to like minimum wage laws.

DAKTOIDS:  Three BNSF freight cars jumped the tracks on the ND/MT border near Williston — what is blamed?  Wind . . . VP Mike Pence was in Grand Forks to speak to two groups:  An appreciative Air Force audience and ag leaders concerned about his tariff policies . . . Hornbacher’s, operator of eight groceries in the F-M area, is part of Supervalu, which has been sold to United Natural Foods.  UNF plans to sell Hornbacher’s.

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