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Tuesday, June 27, 2017


THE DICKINSON STATE UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION was formed 65 years ago to solicit donations for scholarships and special programs for the university. At some point, the foundation lost its way. A lawsuit by several banks alleged “The foundation created and managed a tangled web of thinly-capitalized for-profit companies wholly-owned and controlled by (the foundation)," and the "purpose of these entities bear little or no relation to DSUF's stated mission of supporting DSU as a nonprofit entity." An assisted living facility is one example of those investments. The State Legislature set aside $3 million to deal with the lawsuit.

THE SPOILS The foundation was placed in liquidation two years ago and currently has about $10 million in cash. Two groups are fighting over the cash in a trial that began this week. One group includes donors who made restricted donations and believe those donations should be used for their intended purpose. Unsecured creditors seeking recovery are the other group. The creditors appear to have won and will receive a settlement of $6.3 million. The thinking of the court was that if the legal dispute was prolonged, it could exhaust cash and leave nothing for the restricted donations.

PERHAPS IT WAS TIME UND’s Chief Diversity Officer is leaving and citing professional and philosophical differences with the school. With hindsight, Sandra Mitchell was probably a poor match. She was into the fine points of political correctness, for example, introducing ND to the concept of “microaggressions,” subtle, unintentional slights. At Halloween she warned against dressing up as someone from another culture -- cultural sensitivity, you understand. She may have gone too far when she warned against wearing “Fighting Sioux” clothing -- the GF Herald thought so and rebuked her in an editorial.

ARE INDIAN YOUTH TARGETED? A study group of representatives from Bismarck law enforcement, education and social services found that for every white youth arrested in Bismarck, about six Native American youths were arrested. What’s behind the disparities? The Bismarck Police Department determined that a small number of families and their kids accounted for the citations. Moreover, about 30 percent of the time the calls came from the children’s parents; other calls came from schools and businesses. Less than 10 percent came solely from police contact. The head of the police department Youth Bureau said, "It's hard for anybody to say we're targeting a culture or a specific population when you know where those calls are coming from."

PREPARE FOR “A WALL OF CORN.” -- A warning from NDSU crop economist Frayne Olson. ND farmers have stashed 200 million bushels of corn hoping for better prices. If circumstances force them to release it -- cash prices will crash.

SNAKE CREEK EMBANKMENT is not a household name. The 2-mile-long earthen dam halfway between Bismarck and Minot is a vital transportation link carrying U.S. Highway 83 and railroad tracks. It separates Lake Sakakawea on the west from Lake Audubon, which is to be the source of water for the Red River Valley Water Supply Project. The project, which will deliver Missouri River water to the Red River Valley in case of drought, has been under consideration for decades. Now, the Corps of Engineers has determined that the embankment could fail if there was a sufficient drop in the level of the Missouri River. Remedies could cost as much as $100 million.

WILL HIS STORY SELL BOOKS? In 1966, a UFO (unidentified flying object) disabled 10 nuclear-tipped missiles near the Minot AFB. At least that is the belief of Capt. David Schindele who was a missile launch crew commander at the time. He claims he was instructed by his Air Force leaders to keep silent about the incident and later learned that others experienced the incident and were also told to keep quiet. Now a civilian living in Washington state, he has written a book, “It Never Happened Here,” about his experience.

THE GF HERALD WEBSITE lists Tom Dennis as Opinion Editor. He no longer has that position having been appointed editor of Prairie Business magazine, a Herald affiliate. For over a decade, Tom has produced some of ND’s finest editorials and encouraged others to submit letters and opinion for the Herald. It appears Forum Communications (the parent) is doing some downsizing. Earlier, I mentioned their Oil Patch correspondent, Amy Dalrymple, had joined the Bismarck Tribune.

SANFORD RULES On July 25, Sanford will open its $500 million Fargo hospital, the second largest hospital project in the nation this year and the largest building project in Fargo history. If its application is approved next year, the Sanford Medical Center will be the only designated Level 1 trauma center between Seattle and Minneapolis.

MID DAKOTA CLINIC in Bismarck has signed a deal to fall into Sanford’s arms. The 40-year-old clinic with 400 employees and 12 locations in Bismarck is expected to become the latest of Sanford’s acquisitions.

DAKTOIDS The state may have turned the corner -- April sales tax collections were up significantly in Fargo and the western part of the state . . . As part of a plan to demolish deteriorating buildings, UND will close 136 campus apartments at the end of the coming academic year . . . Celebrity Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz received the Dakota Award given to a ND Native who excels in sports outside the state.

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