The end could be near for the “Fighting Sioux” nickname -- “haters” may have their way. Earl Strinden, a former ND House majority leader and retired head of the UND Alumni Association, has been one of the most stalwart supporters of the nickname. When he throws in the towel, you know “nickname fatigue” is almost complete. Strinden spoke of contagious boycotts by other schools. He said, “A few weeks ago, the UND track team was disallowed from a prestigious track meet in Iowa. My low regard for this individual university action is irrelevant. We must deal with reality. We carried this fight as far as we could . . .”
DeAnna Carlson Zink of the UND Alumni Association wrote a marvelously rational letter explaining why UND must succumb to the NCAA. Her letter is forward-looking and pragmatic. What her statement and that of many others neatly sidesteps is the colossal blundering that brought UND to this position. There was an alternative scenario in which UND and the state’s Sioux tribes could have joined to make the Fighting Sioux nickname/logo an even greater asset and source of pride for the state. That didn’t happen and was barely attempted. Everyone can’t be blameless -- there is a piece of history, yet to be written, that identifies the ineptness and villains that brought down the state’s proudest image. It will tell how the forces of political correctness bullied indecisive officials of a a small state and a university.
The science scores of ND 8th-grade students topped all states in tests conducted for the National Assessment of Educational Progress. ND students scored 164 versus the national average of 151. Neighboring states did almost as well: Montana (163), SD (162) and Minnesota (161). In the more meaningful comparison of ND white students (nearly all) to white students in other states, ND was still near the top -- white students in only three states had better scores. American Indian students, the only minority scores reported for ND, scored 138, below the national average for Indian students of 141.
A population of 40,000 is a major cutoff for ND cities. The four largest cities (Bismarck, Fargo, GF and Minot) are each greater than 40,000 -- there is quite a drop to the next tier, where you find western cities such as Dickinson and Williston. The recent Williston Basin Conference was a source of many estimates and predictions-- one was that Dickinson will more than double its population to reach the 40,000 mark.
The B-52s stationed at Minot AFB are a testimonial to the longevity of the Boeing bomber and the pull of ND’s U.S. senators. The youngest B-52 is over fifty years old. Over the years senators from ND and other states with B-52 bases have overridden Air Force recommendations to send the old birds to the Arizona desert.
It’s a regrettable part of ND congressional elections that most fundraising comes from outside the state. Frankly, elections in ND are less expensive to influence than most states. In the past, it was ND Democrats who were mostly funded out-of-state, but this year it may be both parties. A Kristen Daum article in the Forum said: “Just this week, for instance, Heitkamp participated in another major fundraiser in California. Influential Senate Democrat Dianne Feinstein held a $35,800-per-couple fundraiser to benefit Senate hopefuls, like Heitkamp.”
Washington is a big export state -- Boeing, Weyerhaeuser, etc. -- you can see why. You may not think of little landlocked ND as an exporter, but the ND Trade Office announced that the state’s first-quarter exports topped $1 billion, a new milestone. Construction and farm equipment lead the list.
The Norway Lutheran Church between Mayville and Hillsboro is pretty and well-maintained in a serene rural setting. Its last weekly service was held in December with eight members in attendance -- three were over 90 years of age. The 120-year-old church will close this month; the neighboring Aal church will close in August on its 140th anniversary. The bishop of ELCA’s Eastern ND Synod said the members of such churches are made up of WWII-era folks -- as the Greatest Generation fades, so do their churches.
Running a farm is a complex business. Successful farm couples often have complementary skills. The obituary of Mary Subart (82) of Robinson says she grew up during the Great Depression and World War II working alongside her parents doing fieldwork and raising livestock. Mary grew into “a tenacious businesswoman, investor and farmwife, who was as comfortable working cattle, driving tractors and unloading grain trucks as she was consulting with stock brokers or developing estate planning strategies.”
Someone may have spent their life on a ND farm or in a small town, yet be very well traveled. Take Kermit Holte (77) of Powers Lake, his obituary said when he retired “he wanted to see as much of the world as possible. He and Ardella (his wife) traveled to nine countries in Europe, visited Alaska, Hawaii, joined several tours and traveled to most of the 50 states in their 5th wheel.” Yes, the Holtes were more ambitious than most, but they shared a curiosity common among retired ND farmers.
Forum editorial page editor Jack Zaleski put aside his grouchy mood and tipped his hat to Fargo, “because it works.” Zaleski says Fargo stands out among American cities of its size: “We demand good streets, well-kept neighborhoods, efficient municipal service and accessible, responsive local government. We have all that, and more.”
Buffalo City is the place to go to get your fix of hairy beasts. Jamestown has Dakota Thunder, the 70-ton World’s Largest Buffalo, albeit, a bit artificial, but the city makes up for that with 30 live buffalo including three which may be the only albinos in the world. You will have to squint to see them -- the albinos avoid sunlight.
Does the State Historical Society of ND have a Trojan Horse? They are the owners of the old Stutsman County Courthouse built in 1883. It’s a wonderful building, except for seven different species of mold plus lead and asbestos. It is connected in various ways to the new courthouse. Stutsman County officials are becoming very nervous and SHSND does not have the means to remedy the problems.