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Thursday, October 12, 2017


PROGRAMS WITHOUT LEADERS UND is known for supporting and training entrepreneurs -- right now, the related programs are in disarray. Here’s how they are set up: The School of Entrepreneurship is part of the College of Business and the UND Center for Innovation is a separate, but related program. All three are leaderless at the moment. Dean Margaret Williams left the business school for Texas Tech. Tim O’Keefe and Bruce Gjovig, who respectively headed the School and the Center, both appear to have been pushed out. There is much talk of incompatible cultures between the business school and the entrepreneur programs. UND President Mark Kennedy essentially calls the talk “nonsense.” He says they need a “leader of an entrepreneurship program who can be entrepreneurial within the business school.”

DYSFUNCTIONAL SYSTEM A column by Mike Jacobs addressed the continuing controversies about ND’s higher education system. He indicated the state cares deeply about higher ed as evidenced by its high per capita spending and the high percentage of high school grads who go directly to college. Jacobs said the schools are also viewed as an economic development tool and, in the recent past, as a way of helping surplus population find jobs elsewhere. The overriding problem, according to Jacobs, is that “no effective governing board emerged to manage the centralized system.”
LOOK AT THE LEADER A GF Herald editorial went a bit further and took on ND University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott. The editorial said, "To learn he may lack 'basic leadership skills' is startling—and puzzling." He earns $372,000 a year and the Herald described him as "a former Navy captain who oversees all of the state university presidents and therefore thousands of subordinate staff members at lower levels." The Herald said the NDUS board should direct its attention to his leadership skills.
THE ND AND MN GOVERNORS met privately and agreed to form a 16-member task force to iron out differences over the F-M Diversion Project. The Fargo Forum’s editor objected. Matthew VonPinnon said, "If any meetings should remain open to the public and press, it is ones concerning this project."

THE HAROLD NEWMAN ARENA is the latest addition to the University of Jamestown. The $15 million, 2,000 seat facility was made possible by a lead gift from the Newman family. Harold, who died in 2014, was a Jamestown entrepreneur who founded Newman Signs, the leading sign company in the region, and was responsible for bringing the World’s Largest Buffalo to Jamestown.

AN EXCEPTION Columnist Rob Port is no fan of projects undertaken by “first spouses” (of governors, presidents, etc.) -- he noted they are unelected. He makes an exception for ND First Lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum. He credits her for speaking candidly about alcohol problems she encountered over 15 years ago -- Port believes this gives her credibility tackling a range of public addiction issues.

SHAQ O’NEAL is an NBA legend. He spoke at a F-M West Fargo Chamber event and said “the best advice in his life came from smarter people.” He credits his transformation to Minot native Dale Brown who told him "At the bottom -- never give up,” and ever since that day, Shaq said his character was born. Brown is a reader of this ND news digest.

WITNESSES TO TRAGEDY Nodaks like country music and were well represented at the festival in Las Vegas. Almost all larger ND cities had residents at the concert and Andrew Gudmunson, a former UND athlete and Minot realtor, was shot twice, but is stable and expected to recover.

DO YOU FEEL A LITTLE WARMER? Fargo weatherman John Wheeler says the climate of the greater Fargo area is warming. Some of the change is attributable to the heat island created by a growing city, he said; “However, rural weather stations across our region are also revealing a lengthening growing season, indicating a warming climate as a significant factor.” The “first frost” is coming later in ND -- good news for growers, but a symptom of global warming.

REZ ALCOHOL TAX Liquor establishments on the Ft. Berthold Reservation are being asked to collect a new 7 percent tax on retail alcohol sales in addition to an existing state tax of 7 percent (7+7). You can see where this goes -- tribal members will purchase liquor off the reservation. The tribe says it needs the money to respond to costs related to drunk driving, domestic violence and treatment programs. Reservation store owners plan to fight the tax and are seeking a federal injunction. The Pine Ridge Reservation in SD bans liquor sales, as a result tribal members go to liquor stores in nearby Nebraska and return to the reservation in a drunken caravan.

LESS TAX FOR NODAKS “This is especially important for North Dakota since more than 80 percent of the individual income tax returns filed each year take this deduction.” -- ND Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger referring to a feature of proposed federal tax law which increases the standard deduction.

WINONA LADUKE from Minnesota’s White Earth Reservation is a former Green Party candidate for Vice-President and a defender of radical causes. She mentioned that 160 of the Dakota Access Pipeline protestors being prosecuted in ND do not have legal representation. She said this was a special problem because “these concerns and issues are magnified for indigent and indigenous or racial minority persons, of which, virtually every defendant is one of the two.” LaDuke urged the state to permit out-of-state lawyers to represent the defendants.

DAKTOIDS: The Grand Forks drone operator SkyScopes worked with utilities in both Houston and Jacksonville to survey hurricane damage . . . Polly Peterson is a nice ND name -- Dr. Peterson will be the first woman president of the University of Jamestown . . . UND football is looking frail, if not helpless -- the team has given up more than 45 points in each of the last three games . . . American Crystal Sugar (Red River Valley) says the company and its growers use around 10,000 temporary employees for the sugar beet harvest.

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