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What's happening in Wisconsin won't happen in Minnesota "because I'm here," Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said Tuesday at a Capitol rally. But Dayton might want to look at Wisconsin events more carefully before ruling them out. Not long after Wisconsin's Democratic state senators fled to Illinois, and once it became clear that the massive crowds converging on Madison weren't turning Gov. Scott Walker's head, the Wisconsin State Employees Union did something unprecedented: It yielded in a public way.
True, he or she won't find state senators gone missing or 30,000 protesters in the streets. But a sharp reporter from CNN or The New York Times still might want to visit Bismarck in the next few days. You see, something happened last week in the North Dakota Capitol that is -- in the context of what's going on in Wisconsin -- truly remarkable. The event shines a light that not only illuminates the goings-on in Madison but also might -- just might -- show a way forward. The event is this: The North Dakota House considered two bills to close the state pension fund to new workers.
If the library has lost Tyrone Grandstrand, has it lost middle America? That's actually a serious question. And among some library supporters, including the Herald's editorial board, the fear is that the answer may be yes. Grand Forks City Council member Grandstrand strongly supports building a new library. "It's not every day that a community our size has the chance to build such a magnificent and important amenity," he wrote with Jason Schafer in a Nov. 28 op-ed.
It's always useful to remember the bad old days. Especially when lawmakers in Bismarck propose going back to them. In the North Dakota Legislature, a move is afoot to weaken the chancellor of the North Dakota University System.
And so it begins, again. Here's hoping it doesn't end badly the way it did the first three or four times around. In the Minnesota Capitol these days, history seems to be repeating itself as the two parties square off. Republicans are proposing big budget cuts, Democrats are defending the state's services -- and the negotiating tables in the middle are empty once again. If you closed your eyes, you'd think you were back in 2008 or 2009, but with this difference: A Democrat now sits in the governor's chair, and Republicans hold the majorities in both houses.
Cut spending, say Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature. Raise taxes, says Democratic Gov.
This time, it's probably going to happen. After trying and failing in several sessions, North Dakota lawmakers at last are going to pass a graduated driver licensing bill. That's not a sure thing, of course; in politics, there are very few sure things. But the odds of passage are good. Here's why. - The evidence is in. And it's strongly persuasive: First, "Teen drivers have the highest motor vehicle crash risk of any age group." Second, "crashes are the leading cause of death among teens in the U.S." Third, teen drivers' car accident rate is trending downward.
Redemption. What a wonderful theme for the holidays. Because while the Christmas season is a source of great joy, it also can inspire great sadness. If you've experienced a loss, a divorce, a tragic accident or some other misfortune -- if, in other words, your life seems like it can't compare to the Norman Rockwell-like portraits on TV and on Christmas cards -- redemption offers a source of hope. It's a reminder that not even Norman Rockwell's life was like a Christmas card; Rockwell battled depression, and both of his first two wives struggled mightily against mental illnesses.
Last week saw it happen -- a headline that many in Grand Forks had long expected and feared: "Final KC-135 Strato tanker bids farewell to the region." But this week saw something very different: a news item that almost no one would have predicted back in 2005, when the base closure commission decided to deactivate the 319th Air Refueling Wing. The news item is this: The Associated Press routinely looks at leading indicators to gauge economic stress, the story reports.
For a rivalry that has been dead for six years, the Bison-Sioux matchup sure conjurs up a powerful ghost. That ghost bought nearly 11,000 tickets to the UND-North Dakota State University men's basketball game in Fargo, the NDSU basketball program's biggest-ever home draw. Herald sportswriter Tom Miller put the ticket sale in perspective.