- Member for
- 2 years 5 months
The year was 1999, and unlike 2011, the North Dakota Legislature had no budget surplus. Just the opposite: A March 1999 projection showed the state running a $768,000 deficit over the coming two years, prompting lawmakers to scramble to cut more from the budget. But even in that tightwad environment, lawmakers found $52 million to help build the Grand Forks dike. Why? Why did a not-at-all wealthy state pony up for Grand Forks? Because Grand Forks was worth the investment.
Man gives Mother Nature a taste of a creamy spread. Yes, it's my "delicious butter," she says with a smile. Nope, it's margarine, the man says -- a product so good that even Mother Nature was fooled. If you've seen this classic TV ad, you remember the good lady's response: "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature," she declares, then calls thunder and lightning down. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers knows better than to mess with Mother Nature. But the Corps is inviting thunderbolts of a different sort by ignoring the storm clouds of frustration now roiling over the Missouri River.
Twice in the past year, UND got hit by bad publicity and suffered a black eye. The first happened with the legislative flare-up about the Fighting Sioux nickname. For today's purposes, it's enough to say that the ongoing saga frustrates nickname friends and foes alike. But that flare-up began off-campus -- in the Legislature, at the NCAA and so on. UND responded as well as it could; but even today, a great many decisions remain out of the school's hands. In contrast, the other event began, was carried out and now has concluded at UND.
Fix the sewage treatment system now. No, fix it later. The East Grand Forks City Council voted on the issue, and ultimately, the "Fix it later" group won. Both sides made reasonable arguments, so it's no surprise that the vote turned out to be close. But here's a plan that might prompt all of the council members to vote "yes": Start saving money now for the treatment system's eventual fix. On that, most in East Grand Forks -- including the City Council -- should agree. East Grand Forks' decades-old lagoon system is leaking, and the city's wrestling with what to do.
The problem, as described by the Star Tribune, in summarizing Gov. Mark Dayton's daylong jobs summit this week: "As businesses adapt to a shifting economy, they leave behind a glut of unemployed workers from waning industries who are not qualified for the new jobs being created. ...
When the history of high-speed rail in America is written -- and from the looks of things, that's going to be a pretty thin book -- the author might want to spare a paragraph or two for Oct. 18 of last week. That was the date a Minnesota congressman came out against a high-speed rail proposal in his own district, even though the project would have built a sparkling new piece of infrastructure and created thousands of jobs. Of course, those "new infrastructure" and "thousands of jobs" lines are exactly the arguments that supporters use to support high-speed rail projects. But Rep.
Is higher education the next bubble to burst? Has a college degree become a worthless piece of paper? And what's the deal with young people taking out these gigantic student loans? No, no, and ... well, read on. No, the higher education market is not about to collapse like the housing market did. No, a college degree has not lost its value. But despite those twin 2011 realities, students still should approach higher ed with their eyes open.
Here's a good rule for teens who are learning to drive: Drive so that your passengers aren't aware of your driving. In other words, try to drive so smoothly -- stopping easily at stoplights, keeping your distance from other cars -- that a passenger can ride without ever tensing up or otherwise fretting about the driving. That's the goal the Grand Forks School District should strive for in the placement of English Language Learners in classrooms.
Well, it's not quite enough to drive a UND fan to drink. Still, there's something a little irritating about UND's attempt to take the spotlight off of the "Beer Grandma," Beth Delano, 85. That's because having Delano in the spotlight is just so much fun. It's entirely harmless, casts UND and UND sports in a friendly and flattering light and glorifies alcohol about as much as the Champagne Music from the old Lawrence Welk Show. It's true that UND has been hit with some bad publicity in recent years as a school with a high rate of student drinking.
A legislative committee passed a North Dakota redistricting plan this week. Next month, the full Legislature will vote. But the key date in the process passed months ago. Back on July 5, to be exact. For that was the date a promising "redistricting reform" proposal died. The reform would have taken the power to redistrict away from the Legislature and given it to an independent commission. Given the fact and (especially) the manner of the reform's death, redistricting will stay in the Legislature's hands for the foreseeable future. That means politics will continue to be involved.