- Member for
- 3 years 10 months
Face it: If a foundation that has been around for 25 years now carries a balance of $517, it's probably time to pull the plug. The North Dakota University System Foundation—not the North Dakota State University Foundation; more about the confusingly similar names in a minute—was founded in 1991 "to support the advancement of higher education in the state," a spokesman for the university system told the Herald in December.
The race for the White House isn't the only fascinating clash for top executive office in 2016. In Grand Forks, the race for the mayor's office also is worth following, with the contest between incumbent Mayor Mike Brown and City Council member Terry Bjerke offering the clearest contrast between candidates in years. And if you'd like to see it up close and hear the candidates speak about it themselves, now's your chance.
On a traffic island just south of downtown Grand Forks is a little bit of Gettysburg. It's the Grand Army of the Republic Monument, a 7-foot-tall statue of a Civil War soldier, much like the statues that adorn battlefields up and down the East Coast. Suppose that at sunrise on this Memorial Day, the dawn rays turned the granite uniform to blue wool, and warmed the soldier into blinking and breathing life. What would the surprised (and unusually tall) gent be thinking in the weeks to come, once he had climbed down off his pedestal and started to look around?
Q. Let's start with the Honesty Gap, the difference between North Dakotans' upbeat image of their schools and the sometimes-less-encouraging reality of the students' performances. For months, we have been talking about something that is absolutely, brutally important, and that is the Honesty Gap. We must make sure we communicate accurately to our schools, our students and their parents about how truly and honestly prepared the students are when they go on to that next level, whether they choose the military, a tech school, a four-year college or a research university.
Great news: Fewer North Dakota students were deemed "proficient" in math and English in 2015 than in earlier years. You read that right. Yes, it's true that the 2015 tests ranked a much lower percentage of North Dakota students as "proficient" than previous assessments had done. And it's also true that in a very real way, this was good news.
Confronted with shrinking revenues and neglected maintenance, UND Interim President Ed Schafer didn't hesitate: He freed up enough money to tackle the maintenance backlog. He did this by slashing costs. Confronted with shrinking revenues and long-neglected maintenance, should North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani do the same?
Donald Trump is speaking in Bismarck today. Republican Congressman Kevin Cramer—one of North Dakota's savvier politicians—early on supported Trump. But will Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, win North Dakota in November? If Trump's success at beating the polls, besting 16 experienced rivals and likely capturing the nomination tells us anything, it is that there are no settled truths or absolute certainties in American politics.
What a crushing disappointment: not only that the Minnesota Legislature ended its session in chaos, with lawmakers still waving bills and shouting as the clock struck midnight, but that the ending came with session's most crucial issues left unresolved. Bonding and transportation; transportation and bonding, has been the mantra across Minnesota for the past two months. Hundreds of millions of dollars in highway and transit spending and worthwhile projects were on the line—and have been left there, dangling still.
Grand Forks is a place of order. Crime is low, schools are good, parks are extensive, utilities are reliable. So, in the mayor's race, the question is not whether city government is bad. The question is whether it's too expensive. There's a gigantic difference, as anyone who lives in a badly run city would agree. But badly run is exactly what Grand Forks could have been, if decisions made after the flood of 1997 had gone the wrong way.
Q. Why did you decide to run for the City Council in 2000? After the flood of 1997, a lot of things were going on, and there were a lot of unhappy people. One night I was working, and I looked up, and there were Jerry Lucke and Bob Brooks; they were both on the council at the time. They sat down and said, "We need some help." They had a 14-person council, and they said, "This isn't working. It's too cumbersome." I said, well, let's work on that.