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Wednesday, March 14, 2018


AAHAH!  There was always an element of mystery surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.  What formed such distorted images of local authorities?  Why were protesters glorified?  A report issued by a U.S. House committee furnishes partial explanation.  The DAPL protests were the target of a Russian troll farm, the Internet Research Agency, indicted this month by Robert Mueller.  Motivation is unclear, although the Wall Street Journal reported the propaganda may have been an effort to influence the U.S. energy market.

PRIDE IN GRAND FORKS  Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux, the first Nodaks to win Olympic gold medals, were honored yesterday in their hometown at the Ralph Engelstad Arena.  Mayor Mike Brown said he “couldn’t be more excited and proud.”
DID HE MISS ANYONE?  “Roger Maris, Darin Erstad, Jim Kleinsasser and Carson Wentz.  Phil Jackson, Virgil Hill, Phil Hansen, Rick Helling and Travis Hafner.  And now, the Lamoureux twins.” — Gov. Doug Burgum.  He thanked the sisters for their outstanding representation of GF, UND, ND and the nation.

A STEPPING STONE?  The GF Herald sought the view of several UND faculty members about President Mark Kennedy’s decision to interview for a position in Florida.  The faculty were generally disappointed, but agreed that if Kennedy stays he will be a lame duck and his effectiveness will be reduced.  One outspoken professor said there was a pattern of UND administrators using the school “as a stepping stone to bigger jobs elsewhere.”
BIG DECISION TODAY  The Florida Board of Governors will pick a new president today for the U. of Central Florida.  UND President Mark Kennedy is one of four finalists.
THERE’S A SHORTAGE OF JUDGES, particularly in south central and western ND.  The reasons are often temporary, such as the many DAPL protest cases.  Fallout from the Oil Boom (contracts, leases, etc.) is a second major source of cases.
BISMARCK STATE COLLEGE has a five-year contract to provide training at Saudi Arabia’s National Power Academy.  BSC’s National Energy Center of Excellence was selected for a three-year program to train Saudi high school graduates in energy trades and provide a model for the academy.  The top three contestants in an international contest were Germany, Great Britain and BSC.
THERE’S A RUMOR that Donald Trump may slip in to the ND Republican Convention at Grand Forks in April to give a boost to Keven Cramer’s Senate race against Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.  Columnist Mike Jacobs predicted the contest may be “the most expensive election, per vote cast, in American history.”
GRAND FORKS was a major jumping off point for Africans seeking asylum in Canada.  Over 1,000 walked into Manitoba since the beginning of 2017.  Some of the asylum seekers began their journeys in South America, advancing country-by-country to the U.S.  One refugee from Ghana told an interviewer, “I won’t lie to you — I jumped the wall (in Tijuana).”  At this time, the surge of refugees seeking asylum in Canada has slowed considerably.
WHERE DO YOU FIND A RESTAURANT?  Cass County (Fargo) has about 500 restaurant and hotel establishments; Burleigh (Bismarck), Ward (Minot) and Grand Forks each had over 200 such businesses.  Williams (Williston) rounded out the top five counties with 140.  The five largest counties have about 40 percent of ND’s 2,500 hospitality businesses.
SAY GOODBY TO A LONG TRADITION  At one time, Straus Clothing had stores in Sanborn, Valley City, LaMoure, Carrington, Grand Forks, Jamestown, Devils Lake and Fargo.  The nearly 140-year tradition died with the closing of Straus for Men in Fargo.
BOUNCED BACK UP  You can carry the makings of a newspaper in a purse.  When the Oakes Times (circulation 1,100) building burned Sunday, Editor Ethel Ericsson had a flash drive containing the newspaper’s work in her purse — they were back in business yesterday.
PICKUPS ARE UBIQUITOUS in ND, so it is no surprise that the Winter Show in Valley City had a truck pull event.  Nathan Bell (19) and his Dodge pickup were “jacked up” for the event, so much so, that Nathan drove through the wall of the arena, injuring two spectators.
KULM ND’s population peaked in 1930, declined every decade since and is now around 350.  Kulm is about 50 miles south of Jamestown in a county whose population is declining even more rapidly than Kulm itself.  A Kulm High School grad returned to her school, painted a colorful 25-foot mural that depicts the town, and lifted the spirit of students, staff and the community.  Krista Vogel Lundgren manages the Kulm Wetland Management District for the federal government, but had visual art training at UND.  She was supported by a $2,500 grant from the ND council on the Arts and alumni support.
NORTHERN LIGHTS EXPRESS is the name of a proposed new rail passenger service between Minneapolis and Duluth.  Good idea.  How about a similar Fargo-Winnipeg route — the Red River Express.  It could stimulate a new round of economic activity and exchanges in business, sport and academics.  Even better, make it Sioux Falls-Winnipeg.
BILLIONAIRES  Minnesota has six according to Forbes.  Three are from the MacMillan family, Cargill heirs.  Glen Taylor owns the Timberwolves, Lynx and Star Tribune.  Stanley Hubbard owns Hubbard Broadcasting (radio, TV and cable) and Bill Austin owns Starkey Hearing Technologies.
DAKTOIDS:  Two western ND counties, Billings and Slope, have populations less than 1,000 . . . Yeah, it’s March, but winter is not over in ND — Jamestown and Minot were closed by blizzards — the Interstates were closed or subject to travel restrictions . . . Firefighters from Drayton and three Minnesota towns could not save an 1883 Norwegian Lutheran church — it was believed to be a victim of lightning during the blizzard . . . ND politicians are resting easier — state revenues so far this biennium are ahead of budget.

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