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Monday, October 01, 2018


LUCKY NODAKS  “As North Dakotans, we just won the geology lottery.” — Gov. Doug Burgum after an announcement at the Petroleum Council’s conference that the Bakken Formation (largely in ND) has 30 to 40 billion barrels of recoverable oil.  Burgum has challenged the industry to raise its current daily ND production of 1.3 million barrels of oil per day to 2 million.

COULD GO EITHER WAY  A variety of economic and fiscal experts were consulted by the Forum News Service regarding the effect of trade disputes on ND’s overall economy and state government revenue.  John Hageman’s interviews ranged from David Flynn, chairman of the UND Economics Department, to Joe Morissette, director of the state Office of Management and Budget.  The experts agreed the trade battles present risks for the state because it relies on trade with Canada, Mexico and China, but their overriding view was it is too early to predict.

MIKE JACOBS — HIS LATEST VIEW:  “Heitkamp has used these issues (Kavanaugh and health care) to define herself in this campaign. Voting to seat Kavanaugh would negate that definition, which may alienate Democrats and uncommitted voters. That's not a winning strategy, especially in a race as close as this one. Heitkamp needs those votes to win.”

NOTIFY ALL TROLLS  “For fans coming in from around the state, country and world, and many enthusiastic locals, Høstfest consists of some of the happiest days of the year.” — Minot Daily News enthusiastically boosting this week’s Norsk Hostfest — the largest Scandinavian festival in North America.

“THE UNIVERSITY’S MOST FAMOUS ALUMNUS” — A description of basketball legend Phil Jackson by UND Alumni CEO DeAnna Carlson Zink.  Jackson was elected to the UND Athletic Hall of Fame in 1981, received an honorary doctorate in 2008 and received the Sioux Award last week.  Jackson grew up in Williston and graduated from UND in 1967.

THE JACKS ARE COMING  NDSU football continued its winning ways with a ridiculously easy 38-10 win over the U. of Delaware Blue Hens.  The score was 38-0 at halftime, at which point the Bison turned off their scoring machine and gave their full roster a chance to play.  The formidable #3 ranked SDSU Jackrabbits come to Fargo tomorrow to test the #1 Bison.  The winner takes possession of the Dakota Marker — a replica of the markers placed on the ND/SD border in the 1890s.

WENTZ IS BACK  “And here comes Carson Wentz, the North Dakota State standout back after nine months of recovery from surgery; strapped into a knee brace as a hedge against further injury, but wearing nothing on his back but the hopes of the franchise.” — Philadelphia Daily News.  Eagles fans can rest for the moment — the score was Philadelphia 20, Indianapolis 16.  After the win, the Daily News wrote, “The red-headed messiah from North Dakota State had returned.”

IT’S A TOTAL MESS  "The directors were asleep; they weren't doing their job.” — The opinion of a 92-year-old member of the Ashby Farmers Cooperative Elevator in Ashby, a small Minnesota town south of Fergus Falls.  And well he might say that — the manager of the elevator has disappeared along with $2 million dollars he conspicuously used for exotic international safari trips.  Oh, yes, much of the elevator’s grain inventory is missing and financial statements appear fraudulent.  The co-op was not audited, although it owes CoBank $8 million.  Around 300 people attended a solemn member meeting in the elevator warehouse, where an attorney explained they face serious losses and the elevator is for sale.  Directors declined comment.

OPPORTUNITY OR MYTH?  It’s amazing, NewEnergyBlue announced it will annually convert 280,000 tons of ND wheat straw into 16 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol for thirsty autos in California.  The feat will take place in a refinery in the Spiritwood Energy Park near Jamestown.  What could go wrong?  Well, for starters, the plant design is not complete, Blue doesn’t have the money and has no land deal or supply contracts.  Yet, they say refinery construction will start spring 2019.  There is one assertion in their announcement that can be verified — ND has lots of wheat straw.

IN THE REAL WORLD construction of a $287 million soybean crushing plant is scheduled to begin in the early months of 2019.  North Dakota Soybean Processors has located the plant just north of the Spiritwood Energy Park.  

HARD TO FIND A MATERNITY WARD  Forty years ago, nearly every rural ND hospital had a maternity ward.  No more, outside of the state’s four largest cities there are only five hospitals offering OB services.  They are Devils Lake, Hettinger, Jamestown, Dickinson and Williston.  The last two because of young people in the Oil Patch, and Devils Lake because of a young population at the Spirit Lake Reservation.  In most towns, demographics result in few births and it’s too costly to maintain a maternity ward.  Watford City’s rapidly growing population may soon add it to the maternity list.  Rural women approaching delivery are often advised to get a hotel waiting room in one of the nine cities with OB service.

REFUGEES  For the past 10 years Grand Forks has taken in around 100 refugees each year.  Last year only 50 refugees resettled in Grand Forks and fewer are expected this and coming years — a result of refugee restrictions by the Trump administration.

DAKTOIDS:  The combined populations of Cass County (Fargo) and Clay County (Moorhead) are expected to reach 330,000 in the next 25 years . . . Sign of the times — a firearms company has donated nine semiautomatic rifles (AR-15s) to the Bismarck Police Department to be used by school resource officers.


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