The Fighting Sioux nickname controversy seems settled for the moment. While UND will be worse for the embarrassing way it handled the issue, life there will go on without much change. Some observers predicted the real losers would be ND Indian tribes -- their isolation and underclass status will be unchanged, and they, especially young members, lose an encouraging image and positive identification with the state’s largest university. Those considerations were conveniently ignored by politically correct UND faculty members who lighted the fire.
GF Herald Publisher Mike Jacobs believes the tribes were largely absent from the conversation during the history of the controversy. He wrote: “The whole affair showed a level of indifference to native people that’s quite disturbing. Sioux supporters of the nickname made that point. Without the nickname, they argued, there’d be little occasion for white North Dakotans to be aware, or care, about native people.” Jacobs is searching for some way to make up for the indifference. His first effort may not stick -- he suggests building a museum near the Engelstad Arena dedicated to Native American culture and heritage. A statue of Sitting Bull is already there and the Heritage Center in Bismarck is bulging with Plains Indian materials.
Political correctness is not limited to a few UND faculty members. A Minneapolis StarTribune editorial began with a photo entitled “The High Plains of North Dakota.” The picture shows a weathered, abandoned house in the middle of a rolling grain field. Then the Tribune tossed a small bone -- it said Nodaks had shown common sense by ridding themselves of “a relic of a less enlightened era.” It would be interesting to know what era the Trib is in?
With so many rave economic statistics, ND residents have become a little blasé. But one recent accolade caught their attention. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce placed the state first in the nation for short- and long-term growth, gross state product growth, per capita income growth and the number of jobs in science, technology, engineering and math.
Oil patch emergency rooms are jammed. Before the oil boom, Williston had about 300 babies born each year; next year, 800 births are projected. You can’t get an appointment at Williston’s Mercy Medical Center -- the CEO says they are short ten doctors. There are many interested applicants, but little reasonably priced housing.
Amazing, amazing! Robert Leslie is a Fargo realtor and he is enthusiastic, amazingly so. Leslie wrote a letter to the Forum proclaiming his excitement over the gift of a $500,000 West Fargo house to the Gilbertson family from Kindred. He applauded the “amazing family,” also scattered through his letter were “amazing area contractors, amazing clients/friends, amazing support and loyalty, and amazing sponsors.” He tossed in “unexplainably moved, most rewarding moment of my career, well-deserved magic,” and a few wonderfuls. We must assume Leslie is having an amazing time.
The above-mentioned Gilbertson family made their own amazing decision. After “praying for wisdom” the family decided to sell the gift house and use the net proceeds to send their children and those of other relatives to college. Mrs. Gilbertson said, “We just really felt our wants column was getting put ahead of the needs column . . . our kids need to go to college.”
From Dollywood to the Badlands. Misti Koop is a Grand Forks girl who has spent the last couple years touring the country with “Jesus Christ Superstar” and playing various theaters in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., home of Dollywood. There, the scene is set. This summer Misti and her Burning Hills Singers will be playing at the Medora Musical. Quote: “I hope to make my fellow North Dakotans proud.”
The ND flag has a generic eagle on a blue background. Unfortunately, about half the flags of other states look the same way -- you need to get close to ND’s to read the name. Elliott Johnson is a Mandan native who lives near Boston -- he has designed a new flag for ND that meets all guidelines for a distinctive flag. I won’t give it away, but it has lots of green and yellow.
OK, I’m mentioning her name merely because I like it: Hannelore Ingeborg (Zaiser) Schmidt, 88, died peacefully June 13, 2012 in her home in North Oaks, Minn. North Oaks is a small, model community north of St. Paul where median household income runs about $150,000. Hanne raised the flowers for her own memorial service.
Ellery Ehni (83) of Fessenden died June 16, so we will not be able to ask why he named his sons Skeet and Tic. His seven daughters have more conventional names. Margaret Thome (95) of Grenora earned a large U.S. flag. Obituaries for veterans in the Minot Daily News are marked in that manner. She was born in Good Luck Township and served as a WAC in World War II.
It was 3:30 a.m. and a 20-year-old man and a 17-year-old woman barreled down a gravel road near Rugby. They died the North Dakota way -- ejected from a car, no seat belts.
Out in the broad expanses of Montana, almost anything you do goes unnoticed. The congested ND oil patch is another matter. Clifford McCaulou of Billings made a series of bad judgments and is charged with DUI, concealed weapon, controlled substance and driving on the wrong side of the road, nearly hitting a sheriff’s vehicle. He topped those bad judgments by colliding head-on with a Hummer. McCaulou is in a ND jail.
They call it the “quadruple homicide” -- the January 2011 murder of four American Indians in Minot. A Somali national with violent crime convictions in Minnesota is charged with the murders, which may be the most sensational homicides in Minot history. What is most unusual is the very limited press coverage of the case. Almost no background has been provided on the victims or the alleged assailant. For nearly a year and a half, the Minot Daily News has limited its reporting to brief descriptions of legal proceedings.
All in the family. Betty Kolling, a Dickinson bank executive, and her husband admitted stealing $800,000 from trust fund clients. Betty’s sister, Ann Loran, is charged in the same case.
DAKTOIDS: Tell me it’s not so. Williston’s 2011 taxable sales beat Fargo’s by $100 million. Taxable sales in the state were up 39% and topped $19 billion . . . Over 200 drilling rigs are at work in ND -- 63 of them are in McKenzie County (below Williston next to Montana). Today’s rigs can tap an area of several square miles . . . Every day, mile-long unit trains leave ND each carrying 66,000 barrels of crude oil -- the BNSF Railroad carries 75% of this traffic . . . Nodaks have money -- Arizona houses are bargains. Realtors report ND snowbirds are driving housing markets in certain communities near Phoenix.