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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

SCHMID: LOOKING BACK FROM THE LEFT COAST - MAY 30, 2017

GOV. BURGUM told columnist Mike McFeely that two unstoppable national forces ensure ND's higher ed system will have to change or get left behind -- the student loan bubble and technology. Student loans will be much harder to get and technology will provide alternatives to “traveling to a location to learn.” Burgum expects faculty to resist change: “So instead of having all the elements that allow a campus to be highly nimble and highly flexible, they are actually set up to resist change. Being an organization that resists change at a time of rapid change, that's not a good spot to be."

"WE’RE IN CRISIS MODE." -- Fort Peck Tribal Chairman Floyd Azure. Ft. Peck is one of the nation’s physically largest reservations and is located in Montana a short distance west of Williston. Meth use and other crime exploded on the reservation with the development of the Bakken oil fields. Community leaders say drug users are “selling their babies, daughters and sisters for the potent stimulant.” Indians have the highest rate of meth use of any ethnicity in the country.

WILLIAM J. BROTHERTON is a Texas attorney and 1980 UND graduate. He is urging UND to suspend its plan to spend $3 million on “branding.” Brotherton believes it would be a mistake to build a brand around “Fighting Hawks,” which he describes as a hated politically correct nickname. He said “it’s an open secret that Hawks merchandise is not selling.”

BRING BACK THE SIOUX NICKNAME Here’s Brotherton’s view of the issue. He said, “Since 1932, UND had used the name Fighting Sioux proudly” and UND should “establish a partnership to bring back the Sioux name.” He said the Standing Rock Sioux are in desperate financial circumstances because of the Dakota Access protests and “hard times are ahead” for them. Brotherton said, “Imagine the excitement and the potential for revenues to be shared between UND and the Sioux if the Fighting Sioux name were to reappear.”

JUST MADE IT Did the Fargo Marathon have any winners from ND? Well, kinda, the top ten finishers for both men and women included one -- in each case the Nodak finished in tenth place. Keith Lehman (22) of Fargo finished tenth, as did Tara McDonald (35) of Bismarck.

NEW LIFE IN THE OIL PATCH There are an increasing number of hints that development in the ND Oil Patch is coming back to life. RockPile Energy Services is a fracking company with its main operations based in Dickinson. Keane Group, a Houston fracking company, is acquiring RockPile for $285 million. The two companies will combine ND operations.

HWY 2 BLUES Although the Oil Patch economy is picking up this year, last year cities along U.S. Highway 2 from Rugby to Minot to Williston had population declines. But the state’s overall population grew and is up 19 percent since 2010 -- the state’s 2016 growth was in and around Bismarck, Fargo and Grand Forks.

THE MIDDLE CLASS is shrinking in the U.S. and is no longer a majority. Likewise in ND where middle-class households, as defined by income, dropped from 53% to 48% from 2000 to 2013. There is a healthy offset -- ND ranks among the socially most mobile states in the nation, meaning lower income households can move into the middle-class and middle-class households can move into higher incomes.

HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION RATES for the 2015-16 school year show an overall rate of 87% for ND and 82% for MN. All racial groups had poorer rates in MN than ND. Whites had the best graduation rates in both states, while Native Americans had the lowest, with graduation rates as low as 50% in some communities. Blacks and Hispanics had similar rates -- 77% in ND and 65% in MN.

GRATEFUL BEAST A donation receptacle in the form of a buffalo will talk to you. Place a donation in the metal buffalo’s mouth and it will say “thank you.” What’s going on? The World’s Largest Buffalo in Jamestown needs painting -- lots of money is needed, so Jamestown Tourism has authorized an $8,000 donation receptacle. The idea is to get painting money from tourists rather than taxpayers.

DON’T WANT TO GO HOME Local West Africans said a majority of program recipients “will probably stick around and slip into the immigration shadows.” They are speaking of as many as 1,000 people from African countries affected by Ebola who came to the Twin Cities under Temporary Protected Status, or TPS. Now, they don’t want to return. The Obama administration announced the end of the program last fall, concluding that conditions in those countries had improved sufficiently. U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota has introduced a bill to permit TPS recipients to stay and work in the U.S.

A STATE OF DYSFUNCTION A Fargo Forum editorial, perhaps with too much enthusiasm, said, “Minnesota is once again mired in partisan dysfunction.” Gov. Dayton wants to spend more on education . . . Republicans want to spend the surplus on transportation funding and tax cuts. The editorial stated, “Minnesota's crumbling highways, full of potholes, are a monument to the inability of state leaders to govern.” The Forum said the situation is reminiscent of a 2011 state government shutdown, although the argument now is about using a surplus, while in 2011 it was about a huge deficit. A major compromise between Dayton and the Republicans came early this morning.

DAKTOIDS The highest paid executive of a ND public company in 2016 was the MDU Resources CEO who had compensation of $3.3 million. In Minnesota, the CEO of UnitedHealth was highest at $15.7 million; nationally the average CEO in the S&P 500 earned $11.5 million.

JIM’S TRUCKS

 

 

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