Herald editorial board
The colors of the prairie alight and adorn; green fields of soybeans, alfalfa and corn.
A city of bridges, bikes and trains; for growing roots, families and grains.
Yellow is for sunflowers, wheat, and a full harvest moon; blue is for the lakes, coulees, and the call of the loon.
With sights into Canada on a clear day; it is here in North Dakota we want to stay.
Under the stars we glide and skate; wind in our hair, the thrill is great.
See you at the Ralph on a Saturday night; where the Sioux beat the Gophers in an old-time fight.
Clouds of white create flakes of snow; frosty icicles make cheeks aglow.
The winds across the prairie race; blowing snow, our footprints erase.
We love you Grand Forks, your flatness and cold; you're not for the meek, but foster the bold.
The poem above is by Karin Becker, a UND graduate, former UND professor and current director of reading, learning and communication at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado. Becker's ability with words and her obvious admiration for Grand Forks and North Dakota perfectly combine in her poem, titled "The Colors of the Prairie."
Becker's words also serve as an idyllic backdrop upon which to paint recent statistics that place Grand Forks and North Dakota among the nation's best in a host of categories.
In December, Money Magazine declared Grand Forks the best place to live in North Dakota. Among the criteria considered, Grand Forks has exceptionally low travel times and crime scores, the magazine noted, along with cultural attractions - among them the Museum of Art and the Empire Arts Center - that give it an advantage over other North Dakota cities.
In August, Grand Forks was determined the best college town in North Dakota, according to the website Reviews.org. That survey considered overall population, student population, rental costs, college education rates, transportation access, unemployment rates and even bar availability.
In September, the website Wallethub.com declared North Dakota the second-hardest working state in the nation, behind Alaska. North Dakota finished among the leaders in both workweek hours and employment rate. Also considered in the survey were idle youth rates, unused vacation time, volunteer hours, commute time and leisure time.
In April, WalletHub said Grand Forks is the 95th best small city in the nation to start a business.
In August, WalletHub said North Dakota is the fifth best state to have a baby. Factors included birthing costs, expenses and health- and child-care services.
This week, WalletHub announced North Dakota is the third-best state to raise a family.
And one more from WalletHub: In September, the site ranked North Dakota as the fourth happiest state in the nation. Among various criteria, the state ranked No. 1 in unemployment rates, No. 1 in income growth and No. 2 in separation/divorce rate.
Sure, some 2018 statistics and trends weren't great, but all in all, it was a good public-relations year for the city and state.
So yes, as Becker writes, "it is here in North Dakota we want to stay," a place "not for the meek" but one that "fosters the bold."