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Recently, Measure 4 supporters visited the Herald to talk about the measure, which will be on North Dakota's November ballot. The guests were Dr. Eric Johnson of Grand Forks, chairman of the sponsoring committee; Kristie Wolff of Bismarck, tobacco control program manager for the American Lung Association in North Dakota; and David Johnson of Bismarck, adjutant of the American Legion Department of North Dakota. The following is a transcript of the conversation, edited for clarity and length. Q. What happens if Measure 4 passes?
Lots of claims about Measure 4, the proposed tobacco-tax increase, will be raised between now and November. Here's the conclusion of the fact-checking service PolitiFact about one. Claim: Tobacco taxes "disproportionately burden middle and lower-income consumers," a claim made in response to President Barack Obama's 2013 proposal to raise cigarette taxes. Politifact's verdict: Mostly True.
At times, people die in accidents at parades. That's the bad news. The good news is America sees very few such deaths each year, despite an environment in which thousands of communities host parades, and millions of spectators line the routes. A 2014 report in Governing magazine listed eight parade-related deaths over the previous three years. And here in Grand Forks, people might be interested in another finding from the Governing story:
Some Dakota Access Pipeline protesters say they're motivated by "sacred sites" and other Standing Rock Reservation concerns. But a great many really are against fossil fuels in general, and are protesting pipelines in order to keep oil in the ground. Conservatives rightly criticize these protesters for masking their true motivations. But conservatives in North Dakota and elsewhere have their own masks they should answer for—or better yet, rip off and discard.
At a newspaper, headline writers smartly favor the present tense. "Man bites dog" makes the news seem more immediate. But Tuesday's Herald had one headline that could have highlighted the past: "Survey reveals issues at UND," the headline read. A better reflection of the story might have been, "Survey revealed issues at UND." Because the survey that the headline refers to was conducted in the spring. And since then, UND has welcomed a new president. That means UND's whole system of leadership now is in flux.
Here's an idea drawn from two news stories. News Story 1, published Sunday in the St. Paul Pioneer Press: "In the wake of Saturday's attack at Crossroads Mall in St. Cloud, in which nine people were stabbed by a man as he reportedly referred to Allah, members of the Muslim community expressed sorrow and fear of retaliation." News Story 2, published Sunday in the Star Tribune in Minneapolis. The front-page story reports on efforts within Minnesota's Somali-American community to "root out homegrown terror from within," as the headline puts it.
So why do colleges and universities spend so much money on sports? Saturday is why. Because as Saturday's UND and North Dakota State University football games showed, college sports are flat-out fun. They fill stadiums, excite crowds of thousands, draw priceless publicity to the institution and inspire alumni to hand over wads of hundred-dollar bills.
Last week, Doug Burgum, the Republican Party of North Dakota's candidate for governor, took part in a meeting at the Herald of local business, government and nonprofit leaders. Besides listening to briefings from the participants, Burgum delivered opening and closing remarks that touched on a variety of North Dakota issues. A transcript of those remarks, edited for clarity and length and organized by topic, is presented below. □ □ □ I'm super bullish about the long-term future of our state.
Will the Dakota Access Pipeline become Keystone 2? Probably not. In our view, the odds are that the pipeline eventually be completed. It won't be blocked completely, as the Keystone XL Pipeline was. And in his interview on this page, Doug Burgum offers two big reasons why. The first is the fact that Burgum takes the pipeline company's side. That makes it almost unanimous among North Dakota state leaders and would-be leaders.
"Neighbors of junk-strewn yard unsure of solution after hearing," Wednesday's front-page headline read. Here are a few ideas: The first is to get tough. The second is to get tender. Maybe with some combination of both, Grand Forks and other communities can get control of the complex problem of hoarding. Get tough. Actually, "getting control"—full control—of hoarding probably is not possible. That's because Americans wouldn't tolerate the snooping and government strong-arming this would require.