The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead
A group of North Dakota legislators have introduced legislation aimed at gutting two of the state's most significant regulatory decisions involving oil and gas. A bill could nullify requirements to ratchet down the massive wasteful flaring of natural gas and to impose standards to make crude oil less volatile before shipment by rail. It also would risk forfeiting $112 million in revenues during a two-year budget period. The question is why? House Bill 1187, whose primary sponsor is Rep.
Rep. Jim Kasper's proposal to force North Dakota to scrap Common Core standards is ideological claptrap masquerading as education reform. The Fargo Republican has swallowed whole an anti-education manifesto peddled by a well-funded out-of-state cabal that could care less about North Dakota's public schools. He's happily become the lead mouthpiece of an insulting and dishonest campaign against North Dakota's best educators and local curriculum developers.
The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead It was about a decade ago that a push began at North Dakota State University for the Bison football team to transition from Division II competition to Division I. It was not met with universal approval. Indeed, many of the sports "experts" in Fargo (including a Forum sportswriter or two) concluded the proposed step up was a mistake, and the Bison would be chewed up and spit out by better teams in the higher division. They were wrong. After a slow start, Bison football began to take its place as a power with which to be reckoned in their new NCAA division.
Today's WDAY-TV special report on sex trafficking in North Dakota's Bakken oil region and beyond wraps up Forum News Service's multimedia investigative project. The print and online series concluded Saturday. Keven Wallevand's half-hour examination of trafficking begins at 10:35 tonight on WDAY and WDAZ. It's a must-see piece of excellent reporting. It further probes and exposes the phenomenon of sex trafficking in young girls in a part of the country where such criminal activity was unheard of just a few years ago. Investigative reporting can only do so much.
North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple will never be accused of being governor gloom and doom. He is not one to run around the Capitol barnyard like Chicken Little. So, despite the steep downturn in the price of crude oil, the governor's State of the State address did not suggest -- not even hint -- the sky is falling.
After a four-year hiatus, the Fargo AirSho, one of the best shows of its kind in the nation, will be back in 2015. The show, which usually is held every other year, was canceled in 2013 because the congressional sequester cut U.S. Defense Department spending, and the headliner act, the Navy's Blue Angels, had to back out. Show sponsors, realizing the Blue Angels were the Fargo show's major attraction, canceled the event. It was a loss because the Fargo show had become one of the most popular regional events of the summers when it was regularly scheduled.
The Legislature should follow the lead of several North Dakota cities and ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. As it stands now, even with sales bans in Fargo, Bismarck, Casselton, Mapleton and other cities, e-cigs can be (and likely are being) sold to minors all over the state. It's a gaping loophole in a state law that in every other way treats e-cigs like tobacco products. E-cigs are touted as an effective option for tobacco users to get off cigarettes, although the research is inconclusive.
The bad news is that Cass County Commissioner Darrell Vanyo is no longer on the County Commission after three terms of distinguished service. So much for the wisdom of term...
A proposed shift in the way the state of North Dakota funds county social services would be a partial return to the way it used to be. Gov. Jack Dalrymple's 2015-17 budget includes a provision whereby the state would assume some — and eventually most, if not all — of the costs of county-based social services. Given the changing nature of social service delivery, the governor's plan is overdue. Revised social service delivery initially would be linked to county property tax relief as the state picked up a portion of social services costs.
A dust-up over a minor glitch in last month's mid-term elections voting in North Dakota is more about politics than access to the ballot box. A few problems arose when voters whose addresses had changed had not made the change on identification documents, most frequently a state driver's license. In some instances, voters were directed to licensing offices where the changes were promptly made.