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Thursday, March 02, 2017


DAPL PROTESTS dwindled to a close. Most protestors left the state -- about 50 were arrested and others moved their camps to the Standing Rock Reservation. The empty camp was described as “a wasteland of tents, tipis and other structures collapsed in the mud.” Meanwhile, pipeline drilling under Lake Oahe continued not far away and oil may begin flowing in March. Why did this particular particular protest run out of gas? Tom Dennis of the GF Herald wrote: “Use the wrong tactics in support of a questionable cause, and you and your fellow activists will face very long odds.”

STANDING ROCK FACES A HOLE “It’s like it’s fallen off a cliff. When the bridge was shut off, the numbers just plummeted.” -- Standing Rock CFO Jerome Long Bottom disclosed the DAPL protests have left the tribe in a $6 million hole, even after $3 million of NoDAPL donations. Their casino is the biggest source of the problem -- a closed bridge blocked traffic from Bismarck-Mandan and protesters occupied the casino during bad weather.

PROTESTS WERE PROFITABLE FOR SOME -- Hawk’s Corner, the gas station owned by Standing Rock Chairman Dave Archambault, had a sales jump of 171 percent in September 2016, when the number of protesters climbed into the thousands.

ND ATTORNEY GENERAL Wayne Stenehjem said it's "very likely" the state will sue the federal government to recoup cleanup costs associated with the DAPL protest camp on federal land. He said it’s possible that law enforcement costs of $33 million may also be included.

THINNING THE RANKS A total of 119 faculty and staff at UND have applied for buyouts prompted by budget reductions. Of those, 95 were staff.

GOOD IDEA UND President Mark Kennedy will not replace an retiring event coordinator at this time. He said the search for the controversial $60,000 position was called off because UND has “a lot of other, bigger issues that this was distracting from.”

UND INSTITUTE FOR UNMANNED AND AUTONOMOUS RESEARCH -- that’s a mouthful. The proposed institute will coordinate UND initiatives related to drones and attempt to build partnerships with business and government. The institute will draw faculty from a range of disciplines at the university

BET IT SELLS WELL Twins Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux (26) of Grand Forks are both members of the U.S. Women’s National Hockey Team and have won five IIHF World Championship gold medals in the past six years. The Lamoureuxs are the only Nodaks to earn two Olympic medals. The former UND hockey stars are releasing a line of sportswear to be sold at the Sioux Shop in the Ralph Engelstad Arena. Their logo was designed by Bennett Brien, designer of the Fighting Sioux logo.

A “MEAN-SPIRITED STUDY” -- Reaction of Rep. Pamela Anderson, D-Fargo, to a proposed bill to study the cost of refugee services. Rep. Mary Schneider, also D-Fargo, said “It was conceived in ignorance and fear, and born in prejudice and suspicion.” ˇThe bill’s sponsor, Chris Olson -- R-West Fargo, responded, “This is a program (refugee resettlement) that has become largely an unfunded mandate,” he continued, adding that it’s “not unreasonable” for the state to ask for some information about resettlement.

A LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY? “Ultimately, what matters is Burgum's performance in office, not whether his wardrobe always meets some hidebound idea of propriety. There are a lot more important issues for legislators to focus upon.” -- Forum editorial. Gov. Burgum was evicted from the ND Senate chamber because he was wearing blue jeans. He had stepped into the chamber for a photo with students.

TWO ND BUSINESS LEADERS died this month. Don Wilhelm (85) was a member of the ND Basketball Hall of Fame and a past chair of the ND Auto Dealers. His family owns the Don Wilhelm dealership in Jamestown and he was owner of the Kirkwood Bank in Bismarck. Matthew Butler (81) was a UND graduate who built Butler Machinery, a Caterpillar dealership for both Dakotas.

FULL OF BEANS Plans for a $240 million soybean processing plant near Jamestown will be completed in the next 30 days according to owner Minnesota Soybean Processors. The proposed plant will process 42 million bushels of soybeans per year, over 20 percent of ND production. The plant will be located at the Spiritwood Energy Park, home to a coal-fired generating plant, an ethanol plant and a malting plant.

CHANGES AT MDN “We’re only now making the kind of changes we would have been making maybe a decade ago, were it not for the (oil) boom.” -- Editor of the Minot Daily News explaining why they dropped coverage of smaller communities in their area. Until recently, the MDN could not be read online without a subscription. It’s now open and free with a bright, fresh format.

DAKTOIDS SmartAssets ranked Grand Forks as America’s best hockey town for the third year in a row . . . ND airport boardings in 2016 were the lowest in five years -- the decline continued in January 2017 . . . ND’s foreign-born residents are about 4 percent of the population; Minnesota’s are about 8 percent.

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