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Friday, November 30, 2018


ILLEGAL BORDER CROSSINGS are much easier from Canada than Mexico.  U.S. border agents stopped Alfredo Santana, a U.S. citizen, at the Pembina Station as he was crossing into ND.  There was something odd about his luggage — he seemed to have luggage for three people including a woman.  It turned out he had just dropped off a Mexican couple who illegally walked across the border at nearby Noyes, Minnesota.  It was Santana’s intention to pick them up again once he safely crossed.  At the Dunseith Station, Gabriel Gallardo-Salazar of Mexico was apprehended hiding in the trunk of a car driven by a Columbian.  Both planned to fly from Minot.

“THE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY in North Dakota broke virtually every record in September.” — Director of Mineral Resources Lynn Helms.  More oil, more gas . . . and more flaring.  The ND Industrial Commission changed the goals of the gas capture policy first adopted in 2014 to focus on increasing the volume of captured gas rather than reducing the flared volume.  Many will see this policy as lowering the goal posts.

POWER SHIFT  “Pollert will be the first House majority leader in 13 sessions without a Fargo address, and the first in 18 sessions who didn't come from one of the state's three largest cities.” — Columnist Mike Jacobs regarding Rep. Chet Pollert of Carrington who replaced long-time leader Al Carlson of Fargo.  Jacobs said the House Republican leader may be “the most powerful elected official in the state.”

TIME FOR A CHANGE  Public universities and colleges in ND increased their enrollment from 8,000 students in 1938 to over 45,000 today.  Gov. Burgum points out the governance structure has hardly changed in that 80 years.  He supports the recommendation for three boards by a task force he appointed: one each for UND and NDSU and a third for the remaining nine schools.  The two large schools each have 30 percent of the students and the smaller schools have the remaining 40 percent.  Burgum believes bold change is needed to permit the boards to focus more directly “on the institutions’ individual missions, challenges and opportunities.”  The changes require a constitutional amendment.

A MEMBER OF THE TASK FORCE, Debra Dragster, offered insight into the process which developed the three-board proposal.  She said the task force had six goals: “We wanted the proposed governance model to allow each campus to be nimble, partnership-oriented and cost-conscious. We also wanted to encourage innovation, allow for institutional autonomy and require accountability.”  Dragster said the three boards each control a similar proportion of the state’s students.

WON’T LET GO  “None of us wanna see our school gone, but times have changed. What do you do?” — Amidon school board President Gary VanDaele.  The district is being dissolved, but the parents of the remaining three students in the one-room school are protesting.
TOO MUCH BISON?  “Every year the same thing--Bison. Bison. Bison. Sickening.” — Letter to Forum from a reader tired of endless articles about the champion NDSU football team.  The Bison ended the regular season undefeated with a 65-17 win over Southern Illinois.  The Bison are seeded No. 1 in the FCS playoffs, have a bye in the first round and home field advantage for their first playoff game.  That game will be at the Fargodome December 1 against the winner of Montana State-Incarnate Word (San Antonio).

IS IT A TEMPORARY PROBLEM?  We are accustomed to seeing the name of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (former NDSU football star) associated with athletic achievement and wins.  A headline in the Philadelphia Daily News on Monday began “With Carson Wentz struggling.”  The article came after the Eagles’ embarrassing 48-7 loss to the New Orleans Saints.

WORLD’S NO. 2 ICE FISHING SPOT is Devils Lake.  The rating was made by website RealClearLife.  A Swedish lake is No. 1 and Lake of the Woods in Minnesota is No. 3.

FERAL PIGS may be headed your way.  A GF Herald editorial said feral pigs are headed north and being spotted in ND.  The pig menace produces damage each year estimated as high as $2 billion nationwide.  The pigs may be a special problem in ND where they can’t be legally shot.  In ND, government agencies are the only ones who can legally eradicate wild pigs.  SD urges hunters to shoot feral pigs on sight.

CRYING WOLF  “In Minnesota, producers aren't just crying ‘wolf,' but are losing real money to real wolf predation.” — A GF Herald editorial urged the U.S. Senate to pass a bill to remove gray wolves from the Endangered Species Act.  A year ago, in Kittson County, Minnesota, the Sheriff's Office contacted 40 cattle ranchers and found 21 confirmed wolf-related cattle kills in 2017.  U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson said "extreme environmentalists and others who have captured our party" have convinced decision-makers that wolves have not recovered enough to warrant removal from the endangered list.

OVERSTEPPED  Since 2014, Minneapolis required small stores to stock a variety of fresh foods. The intention was to help consumers who don’t have easy access to grocery stores.  Stores complain they are being forced to stock items customers don’t eat — one market owner says he throws away more fruits and vegetables than he sells.  A U. of Minnesota study last year showed only 10 percent of small stores were in compliance — the city is loosening the rules.

DAKTOIDS:  Calling all Norwegians — the former Starlite Motel in Jamestown has been renamed the Norway Inn by a new owner from Norway . . . The ND National Guard wants to expand Camp Grafton, a 11,000 acre training site near Devils Lake, to 17,000 acres . . . Poorly prepared — the first major snowfall of the season in Bismarck was greeted by 90 auto crashes.

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