Patrick Springer first joined the reporting staff of The Forum in 1985. He can be reached by calling 701-241-5522. Have a comment to share about a story? Letters to the editor should include author’s name, address and phone number. Generally, letters should be no longer than 250 words. All letters are subject to editing. Send to email@example.com
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BISMARCK — State higher education officials still hope to find money to replace a "dangerous" science building at North Dakota State University, though it wasn't in the governor's budget. Meeting Wednesday, Dec. 14, the State Board of Higher Education discussed the ramifications of budget recommendations by Gov. Jack Dalrymple, which did not include the $45.9 million estimated to replace Dunbar Hall at NDSU.
FARGO—Republican legislative leaders are a bit more gloomy about North Dakota's revenue prospects than those built into Gov. Jack Dalyrmple's recommendations for the 2017-19 budget. After Dalrymple presented his budget plan last week, the House and Senate majority leaders announced they would not automatically accept the revenue forecast in the budget, but likely would instead craft their own, more cautious prediction in light of slumping oil and farm commodity prices.
FARGO — Gov. Jack Dalrymple said North Dakota finds itself "outgunned" in countering a "social media machine" manipulated by national environmental groups while the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline has "abdicated" its responsibility to defend the controversial project. Dalrymple also said in a meeting Thursday, Dec. 8, the sprawling protest presence near Cannon Ball, N.D., operates outside the control of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and it is difficult for officials to identify a clear leader in the shape-shifting movement.
FARGO — North Dakota's new medical marijuana law will not take effect on Thursday, Dec. 8 — the date specified by law — because officials are grappling with the measure's complexity and sometimes contradictory provisions. "We have not committed to any time frame yet," said Arvy Smith, the deputy director of the North Dakota Department of Health, which is implementing the law passed by voters in the Nov. 8 election.
WEST FARGO—Leaders of North Dakota veterans groups declared they will not join a group called Veterans Standing for Standing Rock that have vowed to form a human shield to protect protesters of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Russ Stabler, chairman of the North Dakota Veterans Coordinating Council, an umbrella organization representing all of the state's leading veterans groups, called upon the state's veterans to stay away from the protest.
FARGO — The federal judicial nomination of Jennifer Klemtsrud Puhl appears to have hit a snag as the the lame duck session of Congress approaches an end. Puhl, an assistant U.S. attorney in Fargo, was nominated by President Barack Obama in January to a seat on the 8th U.S. Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, based in St. Louis, with another venue in St. Paul.
FARGO — Police in Fargo and West Fargo might restrict information about the identity of crime victims and the location of crimes as a result of Marsy's Law, the new victim's rights law passed by North Dakota voters on Nov. 8. Deputy Chief Joe Anderson of the Fargo Police Department said no decisions have yet been made, but said the law, which forbids disclosing "confidential or privileged information about the victim," could bar release of crime victims' names or the location of crimes.
FARGO — North Dakota women have some of the nation's highest fertility rates. But a dip last year in the state's baby boom, an echo of the now-faded oil boom, could signal a new trend of stable or slightly declining births. North Dakota's birth rate began an impressive rise in 2011, when it ranked 13th among the states. By 2015, the state's birth rate was behind only Utah and Alaska. In North Dakota last year, 149 births per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 50 were recorded, according to figures kept by the North Dakota Census Office.
BISMARCK, N.D. — Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem has issued an opinion clarifying when North Dakota can start tapping earnings from the state's $4 billion Legacy Fund. Stenehjem's decision, issued Wednesday, Nov. 23, concluded that earnings from the fund after June 30, 2017, can be transferred at the end of the biennium to the state's general fund. But earnings before that date are considered part of the fund's principal, and can only be spent by a two-thirds majority vote of both chambers of the state Legislature, Stenehjem wrote.
FARGO—North Dakota State University administrators are preparing contingency plans for a budget scenario that could be as much as 15 percent below current levels to gird for the possibility of more financial belt-tightening. President Dean Bresciani told leaders of the NDSU Foundation and Alumni Association that he has directed his campus to prepare for a possible budget with funding levels of 85 percent of current levels in case cuts must be made beyond the 90-percent levels already directed by Gov. Jack Dalrymple.