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Wednesday, August 02, 2017


“DROUGHT is an inherent, unavoidable part of regional ag. We know it will occur; what we don't know is how often it will strike and how severe it will become.” -- From a commentary by Agway journalist Jonathan Knutson about drought now sweeping most of ND. He said, “Young aggies just getting started often are most susceptible financially to the current drought. Older farmers and ranchers — who enjoyed good years in the past — may have built up a little cushion.”

THE WHEAT QUALITY COUNCIL toured ND to determine expected yields and quality of hard red spring wheat -- the state’s principal grain crop. The scouts found the highest yields in the Red River Valley. Yields declined as they traveled further west into drought areas. The 2017 statewide yield is estimated at 38 bushels per acre, compared to 51 in 2016 and 48 in 2014.

HEY, A LITTLE HELP, PLEASE! “Granted, North Dakota is going through rough times. But we should never lose sight of the importance of investing in our intellectual seed capital, through a well-managed and funded higher education system.” -- A Forum editorial praising NDSU’s management of budget cuts and urging the Legislature to provide help for a physically deteriorating campus.

A SURPRISING STATEMENT in a GF Herald editorial: “The Herald's overall opinion stance will lean right more often than not.” It went on to say, “But when it comes to attacks on our industry . . . we cannot join the right-side forces that are perpetuating it.” The comments came in the context of a discussion about bias in the media.

LET’S FACE IT, Congressional elections are less expensive in ND than most other states. That often explains a rush of out-of-state money to support a candidate in ND. Columnist Rob Port reports that U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp raised $1.2 million in the second quarter of which 94.5 percent came from outside the state.

BELIEVE IT OR NOT A poll indicates Donald Trump has a 59 percent approval rating in ND -- one of 17 states where his approval rating is over 50 percent.
West Virginia (60 percent) was No. 1, ND No. 2 and SD No. 3 (57 percent).

JOHN WARFORD is retiring as head of the University of Mary's Gary Tharaldson School of Business -- one phase of a distinguished career. Warford and his wife opened Warford Orthodonics in 1973. He was elected mayor of Bismarck in 2002 and served three four-year terms before joining the business school.

MYRTLE FARRELL of Mapleton died in Fargo this week -- she was 108 years old. Like many contemporaries, she attended a one-room rural school. Her husband managed the Mapleton Coop Oil Co. -- Myrtle worked alongside him changing car tires and pumping gas. She was known for quilting, for several years, she made 100 quilts each year. With her seamstress skills, she could also whip out a fancy wedding dress.

DORIS “DEE” ANNE STURLAUGSON OTTO (96) of Fargo was unusual for women in her generation -- she held a degree from the ND Ag College (now NDSU) in Home Economics with a Music minor. Dee, who died last week, had a minor claim to fame -- she provided the recipe for Grandma Dee’s Donuts, a business started in Fargo by a grandson.
BEWARE OF THE EASTER BUNNY An item from the Minot Daily News: “A 25-year-old registered sex offender who once worked as the Easter Bunny at Dakota Square Mall was in custody at the Ward County Jail on Tuesday.”

RECRIMINATION AND RESIGNATION Last week, I described the Minneapolis shooting of a white woman by Mohamed Noor, a Somali policemen. The incident was the intersection of a number of issues troubling the city. This week, shoes began to drop. Police Chief Janee Harteau resigned -- the Duluth native of French-Canadian and Chippewa heritage was Minneapolis’ first female and openly gay police chief. Harteau has been replaced by a Black assistant chief.

MAYOR BETSY HODGES, who asked for Harteau’s resignation, is herself on thin ice. To illustrate the political intensity surrounding the shooting, firebrand former U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann stated Noor was an “affirmative-action hire by the hijab-wearing mayor of Minneapolis.” When Hodges attempted a press conference, activists stormed into the room. Their leader John Thompson shouted, "We don't want you as our mayor of Minneapolis anymore. We ask that you take your staff with you. We don't want you to appoint anyone anymore."

MOHAMED NOOR was trained in an accelerated police cadet program designed to diversify the Minneapolis police department. The program covered tuition at a technical college and paid a $20-an-hour salary.

TROUBLED COMMUNITY A headline in the St. Paul Pioneer Press read “Somalis in Minneapolis are on the defensive.” The article described the 57,000 Somalis in Minnesota as “beleaguered.” The Somali community believes there has been a rush to judgment about the shooting and the Somali officer is being treated more harshly than other officers involved in fatal shootings.

YOU’RE ON CANDID CAMERA One more reason not to be mean -- people have video cameras. A white woman from Mapleton threatened three Somali Muslim women in a Fargo Walmart parking lot. She was recorded saying, "We're gonna kill all of ya. We're gonna kill every one of ya." She claims they called her a “fat bitch.” Yesterday, a reconciliation sponsored by the Fargo police chief was in progress.

WHATEVER IT IS produces a lot of jobs. The Sanford Underground Research Facility, an international collaboration including 1,000 scientists and engineers from the University of South Dakota and around the world, will house the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment In the Black Hills of South Dakota. The site of the underground experiment is the former Homestake Gold Mine. Construction of the facility is expected to create almost 2,000 jobs in South Dakota.

DAKTOIDS: Violent crime declined in ND in 2016, as did DUI arrests, but drug-related crime continued its upward trend . . . Tell your cousin, you know, the one who throws cigarette butts out the car window, that ND has raised the fine for littering from $100 to $500 . . . Two billionaires in two weeks. Mark Zuckerberg visited the Oil Patch on July 11; this week Bill Gates palled with Gov. Doug Burgum in Fargo.

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