The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead
The die-hard windmill-tilters will be at it again in a few days when they rally on the University of North Dakota campus at Grand Forks to make two ridiculous demands. First, they want the university's list of selections for a new UND team name to include "North Dakota." It's a transparent ploy to somehow retain some iteration of "Fighting Sioux," which has been retired. Second, they want the immediate resignation of UND President Robert Kelley because by their assessment he has presided over a name-change process that has not been responsive to their concerns. What a crock.
North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple, who was among a handful of Republican governors to sign on to Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, did the right thing. He took a lot of political heat from his own party, but resisted. He not only was right at the time, he since has reiterated that it was the right thing to do for North Dakotans who did not have access to health care. The governor is no cheerleader for Obamacare. He is, however, a pragmatic leader who saw an opportunity to help North Dakotans in need, and made the call.
Concerns about non-certified "teachers" in North Dakota public school classrooms are valid and should not be dismissed simply because of a teacher shortage. But that appears to be the agenda of the North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board despite thoughtful objections and proposed solutions from the state teachers union.
The initial reaction among North Dakota's leading elected officials to a new air quality standard promulgated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is so over-the-top as to border on apocalyptic. It is more sky-is-falling Chicken Little rhetoric than credible critique.
The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead If alcohol sales are to be permitted in the Fargodome at North Dakota State University football games, the best option is a beer garden that keeps beer out of the stands. That appears to be the choice of the Fargo Dome Authority; and it looks like this time NDSU is not opposed. The recommendation now goes to the Fargo City Commission for review.
One clear sign of the maturing of the Bakken oil play in western North Dakota is the beginning of the phasing out of what the industry prefers to call crew camps, and everyone else calls man camps. There is no wholesale shutting down of the dozens of camps and RV parks scattered across oil country, but the overheated demand for oil worker housing has cooled considerably. One result is that local governments are imposing zoning restrictions on new camps and approving tougher regulations on existing facilities.
The reluctance of railroads to share information about the condition of their bridges is curious. It does nothing to moderate railroads' "bad neighbor" reputation, and certainly does not serve the cause of public safety. A Minnesota Public Radio investigation (Forum, July 27) revealed not only the rail companies' intransigence on this matter, but also the gaps in federal inspections. The companies respond they do their own intensive inspections, and that's more than sufficient.
In the latest iteration of the never-ending saga of selecting a new nickname for the University of North Dakota, President Robert Kelley capitulated (yes, that's the right word) to the lunacy of the social media universe and added a sixth name to a list of five that had been agreed to by the selection committee. UND's official spin on the addition was that Kelley was responding to genuine sentiment out there for another choice, and that no more choices would be added.
It's a we-told-you-so moment. North Dakota's abortion bill was a doomed stunt in 2013 when the Legislature passed it and the governor signed it. It did not survive review by a federal judge based in Bismarck. And last Wednesday, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling that blocked the state ban, which was viewed as the strictest state abortion ban in the nation. We told you so. The debate in 2013 had little to do with a common-sense approach to an emotional political issue.
Two stories this week underscored the importance of water resources and water development in western North Dakota communities. In one, the Lignite Volunteer Fire Department was fined by the State Water Commission for illegally selling water from its well to finance new equipment.