Community Columnists

A proposed state law would have protected Charlottesville driver

On Saturday, nonviolent anti-Nazi protestor Heather Heyer was killed in Charlottesville when a car driven by a white nationalist slammed into other cars, sending them into a crowd. Nineteen others were injured. That driver, James Fields, Jr., now faces multiple criminal charges in Virginia, ...

Kulm waits to see if white supremacist is coming to town

KULM — The concern in Kulm began with a Facebook post from Shannon Maresh, the granddaughter of white supremacist Gordon Winrod. Maresh, formerly Shannon Leppert, wrote that her grandfather was “setting up shop” in the old Kulm school. “We are all ‘blood sucking Jews,’ whatever ...

‘We the people’ may be a bigger threat to free speech than the government

How free is your speech when the price of saying or doing something controversial may be your livelihood and personal well being? That’s an important question for America in 2017, where expressing unpopular views might earn you a public shaming on Twitter and a “doxing” (online slang ...

Weather modification is more a handout than an earnest effort to make it rain

With a severe drought having put its boot on the throat of North Dakota’s agriculture industry, simmering resentment over the state’s weather modification efforts have come to the surface. Seven North Dakota counties — Bowman, Burke, McKenzie, Mountrail, Ward, Williams, and a part of ...

Address hate crimes by empowering judges, removing politics

Everyone is aware of the incident involving those women in that Fargo Walmart parking lot, and the debate we now have about hate crimes legislation. It’s been a long time coming: North Dakota ranks second-highest in hate crimes per capita, and has ranked no lower than second since 2011. The ...

North Dakota doesn’t need hate crime legislation

After an ugly altercation between a white woman and three Somali women in the parking lot of a Fargo Walmart made national headlines, the usual cast of political opportunists have parachuted in to make political hay. North Dakota is one of just a few states without hate crime legislation on ...

ND Licensing Boards Facing 2 Challenges

According to the Office of the Governor, North Dakota has 45 boards, commissions and entities charged with licensing various professions to protect the health and welfare of the consuming public. These boards are currently facing two challenges. A well-funded group of libertarians are arguing ...

Dakota Access Pipeline company should never, ever pay for protest costs

Legal battles over the Dakota Access Pipeline persist, but for the time being the oil flows. The political extremists who used violence and vandalism to try and block the project’s completion are gone. But a legacy of their indefensible behavior persists. The State of North Dakota incurred ...

More work, new life in Garrison project

The work load at the Garrison Diversion Conservancy District headquarters in Carrington, N.D., is increasing, but the district’s general manager doesn’t mind. Duwayne Dekrey sees the added work as a sign that there’s still life in the century-old dream of moving water from the Missouri ...

Chief Todd hopes community takes positive lesson from parking lot incident

FARGO – Fargo Police Chief David Todd wants the community to learn a lesson from the meeting he facilitated between Amber Hensley and two Somali-American women who were involved in a nasty confrontation last week in a Fargo Walmart parking. “I wanted the community to see that if you take ...

The politics of anecdotes

One ugly side effect of the internet’s impact on our society is the outsized importance we put on anecdotal incidents which go “viral.” As though the importance of a situation were measured by how many shares or views it gets. We could use the recent video taken by three Somali women in ...

Yes, we had crackers in the Capitol basement

At one time in my checkered careers, I was a contract writer for the North Dakota Civil Defense Survival Project, a federally-funded undertaking in 1958-59 to save the country in case of nuclear attack by the Russians. This was launched only four years after Congress added “one nation under ...

Come on and join the team

One of the recurring themes of this column over the past year has been interactivity; pleas for readers to participate in bringing new local voices to the newspaper. Most often, I have asked for letters to the editor, op-ed pieces and tips on stories you would like to see us follow up on. ...

The Senate health care reform debate

bamacare is broken and we need to fix it. Since 2013, insurance premiums have more than doubled in the United States. This fall, families in North Dakota will need to brace themselves for another double digit increase in their health insurance costs. These increases are unsustainable for our ...

2016 crime statistics: worse than we’re being told

The Attorney General’s Office released its 2016 Crime Statistics report this week, coupled with a press release celebrating the decrease in “major crimes.” When I saw the news reports and the Attorney General’s press release, I poked through the data myself. It turns out that major ...

Shirvani sycophants should admit they were wrong

If you hire bad people and expect not to get burned because — well, just because — guess what? You’re going to get burned. Let’s christen it the Hamid Shirvani Rule, one North Dakotans should already be familiar with. Tiny Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa, is the latest to ...

When will Heidi Heitkamp answer for her campaign finance hypocrisy?

Earlier this year, End Citizens United, a left wing group hostile to unfettered political speech, gave North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp an award. The recognition was for her work on federal legislation which would inhibit the ability of private citizens to voluntarily give money to private ...

ND Democrats stuck in the doldrums

Too bad for North Dakota Democrats. No organization. No money. No candidates. All this when the political tide has turned in their direction. This is true for several reasons. To start, the party out of power usually improves its position in the off-year elections, such as those pending ...