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Thursday, September 07, 2017


SAVANNA GREYWIND (22) went missing and her newborn baby was kidnapped by a couple living in the same Fargo apartment house. Over 40 law enforcement officers were involved in the search for Savanna, as well as hundreds of tribal members. Savanna’s mother is a member of the Turtle Mt. Chippewa and her father is a member of the Spirit Lake Sioux. Greywind’s body was found floating on the Minnesota side of the Red River and the couple, who have troubled histories, have been arrested for kidnap and murder. A Minnesota forensics lab is establishing the nature of the killing. The healthy baby is in custody of Cass County Child Protective Services.

JUSTICE DELAYED The Greywind case reminded Red River Valley residents of the 2003 murder of UND student Dru Sjodin in Grand Forks, in part, because the recent crime may have crossed state lines qualifying for the federal death penalty. In the Sjodin case, her killer is still on death row 14 years later, as appeals of his sentence continue. Because these delays frustrate the family of the victim and the public, some experts are recommending leaving the Greywind case in the hands of state courts.

WAGE SLUMP Total wages in ND began to decline in 2015 and then tumbled again in 2016. Total wages in 2016 were down eight percent from 2015. Average annual wage was also down again in 2016, by 3.6 percent, statewide, to $49,000. Wages in the coal and oil counties, while declining, remained at high levels. Oliver County (coal) was first with average wages of $72,000, while second place McKenzie County (oil) was just over $70,000. Williams County (oil) was third with average wages just under $70,000 compared to $83,000 in 2014. Declining average wages generally reflect a a smaller proportion of oil industry jobs.

SHOWDOWN About a fifth of ND oil production is on the Ft. Berthold Reservation, home to the Three Affiliated Tribes. Oil tax revenues on TAT land are shared with the state -- since the current agreement was adopted the the tribe has received $934 million and the state $1 billion. The TAT want to increase their share and have unilaterally imposed a higher tax on drillers. The governor and the state tax commissioner believe the increase is improper and may cause a decrease in production on reservation lands. Discussions are underway.

THE STANDING ROCK SIOUX began protests last year against the Dakota Access Pipeline by arguing that a Missouri River crossing could contaminate their water supply intake just downstream from the pipeline. The Bureau of Reclamation reported this week that a new water system has been completed for the tribe, which has its intake in Mobridge SD, about 70 miles downstream from the pipeline. Information that the new system was nearly complete was available to all parties at the time of the protests.

GREENPEACE and other environmental groups are alleged to have run a criminal enterprise and are being sued pursuant to federal racketeering law. The $300 million suit was brought in a ND federal court by Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline. The suit alleges that Greenpeace ran a “relentless campaign of lies and outright mob thuggery” in connection with the pipeline protests and has run slanderous campaigns against hundreds of companies.

MARVIN WINDOWS is a large family business located in Warroad MN near Lake of the Woods, about 100 miles northeast of Grand Forks. The company has about 6,000 employees in a dozen plants in the U.S. and Canada. Paul Marvin (42) is the new CEO and the fourth generation to head the company in its 100-year history. Few companies maintain family leadership that long.

OUTMATCHED Large universities usually select a smaller school as an opponent for their football opener. UND traveled to Salt Lake City to play before 45,000 plus University of Utah fans. UND led for a short time, but succumbed 37-16 to a more powerful team.

“JAMESTOWN is the only community of its size, rural or otherwise, to have a world-class arts center and now a world-class arts park.” -- It won’t surprise you that the quote is from Larry Kopp, director of the very same arts center, who spoke at the dedication of the Hansen Arts Park. Kopp may have been a little carried away by the excitement of the moment. The Hansen family, major donors to the Art Center, owned the Jamestown Sun before it was sold to Forum Communications.

SMALL BUT MIGHTY “Channel NNC obtained the minutes of a secret meeting held by North Dakota small cities in some ‘big barn by Barlow.’ " -- So began a spoof by columnist Lloyd Omdahl. Further, “The registration secretary reported that 58 of the state's 64 cities under 50 were present.” The fictional tiny cities gathered to pool their might and become a potent political force. Omdahl wrote, “It was the biggest crowd seen by Barlow people since 1939 when 350 showed up for Billy Bruin's closure of the BrassKnuckles Bar.”

THROWBACKS If Norwegians want to see examples of traditional clothing and folk art, the place to go is MN or ND. Modern Norwegians believe their cousins in those states cling stubbornly to old customs. Norwegians sometimes refer to Minnesota as “their colony.” Hostfest University in Minot holds classes with teachers who are experts in different areas of Scandinavian folk arts, such as knitting and quilting.

CRUEL ADVICE “Isn’t it about time? You’ve said it yourself, in a manner of speaking. It’s time to say goodbye to ‘A Prairie Home Companion.’ ” -- Advice to Garrison Keillor from Star Tribune columnist Jon Bream who said Keillor’s 28-city tour was beginning to sound like Cher’s third annual farewell tour. He said, “Move on. Donate your white suits to the Minnesota History Center. Your red ties, too. Keep the red running shoes if you like. We’ll understand.”

DAKTOIDS: A reassessment of the Bakken oil formation may be available for next May’s Williston Basin Petroleum Conference. New technologies could boost estimates of the recoverable size of the formation . . . ND is the 15th most obese state according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation -- 32 percent of adults are obese.

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