The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead
The short answer to the headline's question is "no." North Dakota's political climate is as hostile to public lands as it has ever been. If Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the state's only national park, did not exist in the Badlands and was proposed today, it would be shouted down. It would never happen. But decades ago, when policymakers were smarter and more visionary than they are today, TR park was established. As the National Park Service celebrated its 100th birthday this week, Theodore Roosevelt National Park shines as one of the state's public lands gems.
It's clear that no matter what the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Authority does to advance the diversion project logically and sensibly, opponents will reject it. That's a given that exposes a nonsensical, emotional and fact-starved reaction to a project that has been vetted by every credible agency and individual, and has been found to be financially and scientifically sound.
North Dakotans have become numbly complacent with the grim toll in lives lost to tobacco use. Every year an estimated 1,000 adults die from their own smoking in North Dakota. More alarmingly, it's estimated that 14,000 kids now under 18 ultimately will die prematurely from smoking. As taxpayers and as insurance premium payers we pay an enormous burden for those who smoke. Annual health care costs directly from smoking are $326 million, with $56.9 million in Medicaid costs attributed to smoking.
It's fortunate that Doug Burgum has lots of experience in restorations. The Fargo businessman, who as the Republican nominee is North Dakota's presumptive next governor, will need all of his skills as an entrepreneur and real estate developer, whose specialty is resurrecting dilapidated buildings, in crafting the 2017-19 budget. Fittingly, Burgum saw this looming budget crunch, and warned of it during the primary campaign, when many leaders didn't see it coming.
Minnesota's medical marijuana program just took a big step forward in allowing intractable pain as one of the authorized illnesses or conditions that can be treated. That will greatly expand...
The provincial pique emanating from our neighbors down river to the north might have some justification, but not much. It seems some folks in Grand Forks are in a snit because FedEx got a property tax break allegedly tied to moving its air operations from the Grand Forks airport to Hector International Airport in Fargo. As reflected in an editorial by the Grand Forks Herald that was published in Tuesday's Sun, the irritation seems based in the assumption that the tax break was a major factor in the FedEx decision. It was not.
Love him or hate him, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s performance last week at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland was political theater at its best. The runner-up to Donald Trump...
If Republican leaders say they "have a good plan" for dealing with North Dakota's projected $310 million revenue shortfall, the "good" will emerge when a special session of the Legislature convenes in August. If the "good" is able to withstand assaults from political opportunists and obtuse ideologues, North Dakota will weather the downturn in the farm and energy economies without damage to the people of the state and without further erosion of confidence in government.
I’sa weeks for the Fargo-Moorhead diversion. Several positive developments have moved the massive project forward in substantive ways. Progress, which has been steady, if sometimes uneven, in the last few years, continues apace – so much so that it is likely construction on a major feature of the diversion can start in late summer or early fall.