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Wednesday, November 21, 2018


ELECTION OUTCOME  “We take no satisfaction in noting that, with Heidi Heitkamp’s defeat in the U.S. Senate race, North Dakota Democrats soon will not hold any statewide offices.” — Forum editorial opining that domination by one party is an unhealthy situation which blots out “the best ideas from competing sides.”  The Forum acknowledged it contributed to the outcome by endorsing a Republican slate, but implied that was a result of weak Democratic candidates in ND.  The Forum noted it endorsed Democrats in Minnesota, and urged ND Democrats “to strengthen their game.”  It said ND needs a working two-party system.
BECOMING PURPLE?  “Fargo is becoming more urban and more liberal — bluer — while most of the rest of the state becomes redder, meaning more conservative” — columnist Mike Jacobs.
FLAWED MEASURE?  “It’s a sad commentary on the realities of the initiated measure process that we must rely on lawyers and judges to undo a blunder made by the voters.” — Columnist Rob Port believes recently passed ND Measure 1 regarding ethics  in government has reporting requirements “so broad they constitute a violation of our 1st amendment rights.”  Port shares this belief with the ACLU.
CHET POLLERT is the new majority leader of the ND House.  The Carrington representative will lead a 79-member Republican caucus.  Pollert has an agriculture background and runs a farm supply business in New Rockford.  He has been in the Legislature since 1999. 
THE TASK FORCE ON HIGHER EDUCATION recommends splitting the state board of higher education into three boards.  NDSU and UND will each have a board and a third board will be responsible for the other nine higher education institutions.  It’s not a done deal — the recommendation is a constitutional change that needs to get past the Legislature and voters.  The 15-member task force has been working on the proposal for 10 months.
GUESS WHAT?  Prof. Byron Parman, a NDSU agriculture finance specialist, told Red River Valley bankers that farmers are not in an ag recession, in fact, net farm incomes are near historical averages (adjusted for inflation) for the past 60 years.  This was not good news for bankers.  Farmland values and rental rates will be under continued downward pressure.  Parman explained that farm income spikes in the 2008-13 period skewed averages and expectations.
THE PIPELINE WARS are not over.  Currently, ND oil refineries and pipelines have a capacity of 1.4 million barrels a day, while state production has risen to about 1.3 mbd.  A pipeline shortage may again not be far away.  Preliminary plans have been announced for the Liberty Pipeline which would transport 350,000 bd from the Bakken region to Corpus Christi, Texas.
TOSS A BEER FOR CHARITY  “The thought of a charity getting into the bar business tends to puzzle a public not used to the concept” — CEO of a nonprofit in Minot.  Two Minot nonprofit organizations operate bars to raise money.
THE $5 MILLION ELEVATOR EMBEZZLEMENT in Ashby continues to radiate in western Minnesota.  Becky, wife of alleged embezzler Jerry Hennessey, filed for divorce and claims to have no money or access to assets.  The elevator has filed for court permission to inventory the couple’s personal property, which presumably includes trophy hunting assets.  Former part-time elevator employee Tim Leonard said Jerry had “killed one of everything on the planet.”  He helped Jerry escape by driving him south to an undisclosed location, perhaps Iowa, where Leonard got his final disappointment — Jerry stiffed him for gas.  A former elevator director and friend of Jerry committed suicide before the fraud was publicly known — his death may or may not be related.  The elevator is under new management and, ironically, Jerry’s son-in-law is the new manager. 
NINE LIVES  Tex Hall was a three-time chairman of the Three Affiliated Tribes at the Ft. Berthold Reservation.  At numerous times, it seemed like his career might be ended.  He had a close business relationship with James Henrikson of Watford City who is in federal prison for arranging murders (one of the murders took place in a building Hall leased to Henrikson).  Hall was not implicated in the killings, but a tribal investigation alleges he was involved in corrupt practices with Henrikson.  Yet, Hall still enjoys considerable political support — he just ran again for tribal chairman losing to the incumbent 1,725 to 959.
A BAD DUDE  The 2016 death of Carla Yellowbird on the Spirit Lake Reservation is a sordid tale.  She was driven from Bismarck to Spirit Lake to sell illegal drugs by an associate of Dakota Charbonneau of Ft. Totten.  After she arrived, Charbonneau orchestrated her robbery, murder and burial.  He has pleaded guilty, as have two associates.  Separately, Charbonneau was convicted of killing an ex-girlfriend and using a gun to beat two men in 2017.
“THE NICKNAME CONTROVERSY will go down as one of the all-time public issues in the state of North Dakota history.” — GF Herald article regarding the Fighting Sioux logo.  The American Indian profile on the logo bears a striking resemblance to Billy Laverdure, a member of the Turtle Mt. Band of Chippewa and a cousin of logo artist Bennett Brien.  Laverdure who lives in Fargo says he was the model; Brien said he can’t say yes and he can’t say no.  Earl Strinden chose the logo — at the time he was president of the UND Alumni Association.
DAKTOIDS:  Our country’s involvement in WWI was brief, but casualties were high.  ND lost 1,400 soldiers of which 45 percent died of disease . . . The No. 1 ranked NDSU Bison’s win over Missouri State (48-7) clinches the Missouri Valley Football Conference championship . . . Rob Port and Mike McFeely are dueling Forum columnists — both announced this week they are giving up their radio shows to concentrate on print and digital journalism . . . Grand Forks twin sisters Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux are on Forbes Magazine's "30 under 30" list for sports.  The twins are hockey stars.

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