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Thursday, June 07, 2018


THE HEIDI DILEMMA  "We all thought a lot about Heidi, but I believe she betrayed our people.  We really needed someone we could trust.” — Char White Mountain, retiree on the Standing Rock Reservation.  An AP article by James McPherson discussed the dilemma U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp faces with ND Indians, who gave her a winning margin in her 2012 senatorial bid.  Three counties with majority Indian populations, Sioux, Benson and Rolette, provided her slim winning margin.  
ND INDIANS ARE PIQUED because Heitkamp took a neutral position during the 2016-17 Dakota Access Pipeline protests and they threaten to sit out the fall election.  A rancher at Standing Rock said, "Once you damage that trust, we will never let it go. You only get one shot.”  The Ft. Berthold Reservation, the only reservation with oil, was relatively silent.

“THE NFL IS A PASTIME, and should be a break from politics and controversy. Players should stand during the national anthem.” — GF Herald editorial in support of the NFL ruling requiring players to stand for the national anthem or wait in the locker room.

NY SUICIDE HAS ND CONNECTION  Stephanie Adams (47), a former Playboy playmate, jumped to her death in New York City taking her 7-year-old son Vincent Nicolai with her.  Charles Nicolai, the boy’s father, has brothers in ND.  Vincent’s funeral was held this week in New Rockford.

WILD INCREASES  U.S. Census estimates show almost no change in ND’s population from 2016 to 2017 — declines in Minot and western oil cities were offset by increases in the three largest cities: Fargo, Bismarck and Grand Forks.  From 2010 (the most recent formal census) to 2017, it was a different story.  The state population increased 12% (No. 2 in the nation) to 755,000 driven by wild increases such as 280% in Watford City and 74% in Williston.  Fargo, Bismarck and Minot all had percentage increases in the high teens, while Grand Forks increased 8%.  Nearly all rural counties not having oil production lost population — about half of ND’s 53 counties lost or had little change in population.

WHO’S ON FIRST?  ND’s five largest cities maintained the same population rankings through the 2010-2017 period and finished in this order: Fargo (122,000), Bismarck (73,000), Grand Forks (57,000), Minot (48,000) and West Fargo (36,000).  There was a little shuffling among the second five cities with Williston (26,000) moving from ninth place to sixth.  Mandan and Dickinson tied for seventh (22,000); Jamestown (15,000) and Wahpeton (8,000) rounded out the second five. 

SOUTH DAKOTA’s population grew 7% to 870,000 from the 2010 to 2017.  Like ND, half of its cities and towns had negative or no growth during the seven years, but its two largest cities, with nearly 30% of the population, had steady growth.  Sioux Falls grew 15% to 177,000 and Rapid City grew 9% to 74,000.  Fargo’s 16% growth rate slightly exceeded Sioux Falls.  The Fargo and Sioux Falls metro areas are similar in size — Sioux Falls metro (250,000) is about 6% larger than Fargo metro.

HOUSING  U.S. Census housing data for the seven years since the 2010 census show housing in ND grew 18% — the highest rate in the nation.  Nationally, housing grew 4% during the period; Minnesota was the same.  Within ND, the big growth was in the Oil Patch with Mckenzie County (Watford City) growing 118% and Williams County (Williston) right behind at 87%.  Other western counties also reported high housing growth rates.  Counties home to the four largest cities had strong housing growth: Ward (Minot) 24%; Cass (Fargo) 18%; Burleigh (Bismarck) 16% and Grand Forks 13%.

POOR COUNTRY COUSINS  The AP listed the highest paid public-company CEO in each state..  Minnesota’s James Cracchiolo, Ameriprise Financial, had compensation of $22.4 million.  In the Dakotas, David Goodin of MDU Resources (Bismarck), received a more modest $3.7 million, while David Emery of Black Hills took home $3.4 million.  Montana did not have a company making the cutoff.

WHAT IF?  A Grand Forks mother killed herself and her three school-age children.  A Herald reader blamed the community for the deaths citing a list of “what ifs” that might have averted the tragedy.  The Herald agreed that this was a time to reflect and ensure all the city’s social services were working properly, but fundamentally disagreed with the reader’s premise.  The Herald said many people struggle with the same problems as the mother, but they avail themselves of services and don’t murder their children.
NOSTALGIA  Mike Jacobs wrote that Tom Clifford, UND president from 1971 to 1992, became the standard for succeeding presidents.  But Jacobs said his own model was Clifford’s predecessor George Starcher, 1954 to 1971.  The unspoken message in Jacobs’ column was that presidents since Clifford may not have measured up.
GOING, GOING, GONE  Sears and Kmart are slipping fast.  More closings have been announced bringing the total for 2018 to 275 stores.  Stores are closing in Grand Forks, Sioux Falls and Billings.  Both a Sears and a Kmart are closing in Duluth. 

THIS AND THAT:  UND President Mark Kennedy traveled to Las Vegas to patch up relations with Kris McGarry, daughter of mega-donor Ralph Engelstad.  Their mystery agreement will be announced later . . . ND DoT held hearings this week on a half billion dollar plan to widen U.S. Hwy 85 from Watford City to I-94 . . . Minot has authorized “involuntary acquisition” of 35 “zombie” homes left from the 2011 Souris River flood.
DAKTOIDS:  The Star Tribune reported income growth since 2009 was surprisingly strong in western Minnesota — partially attributable to population and economic growth in ND . . . Iris Westman of Northwood is 112 years old; Blossom “Bobbie” Schnabel of New Rockford is 108 years old . . . Minot has 15 properties on the National Register of Historic Places — the Soo Line Passenger Depot leads the list . . . College football preview magazines ranked teams for the upcoming season.  Two magazines ranked NDSU as their No. 1 FCS team.

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