Patrick Springer first joined the reporting staff of The Forum in 1985. He can be reached by calling 701-241-5522. Have a comment to share about a story? Letters to the editor should include author’s name, address and phone number. Generally, letters should be no longer than 250 words. All letters are subject to editing. Send to email@example.com
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FARGO — North Dakota women have some of the nation's highest fertility rates. But a dip last year in the state's baby boom, an echo of the now-faded oil boom, could signal a new trend of stable or slightly declining births. North Dakota's birth rate began an impressive rise in 2011, when it ranked 13th among the states. By 2015, the state's birth rate was behind only Utah and Alaska. In North Dakota last year, 149 births per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 50 were recorded, according to figures kept by the North Dakota Census Office.
BISMARCK, N.D. — Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem has issued an opinion clarifying when North Dakota can start tapping earnings from the state's $4 billion Legacy Fund. Stenehjem's decision, issued Wednesday, Nov. 23, concluded that earnings from the fund after June 30, 2017, can be transferred at the end of the biennium to the state's general fund. But earnings before that date are considered part of the fund's principal, and can only be spent by a two-thirds majority vote of both chambers of the state Legislature, Stenehjem wrote.
FARGO—North Dakota State University administrators are preparing contingency plans for a budget scenario that could be as much as 15 percent below current levels to gird for the possibility of more financial belt-tightening. President Dean Bresciani told leaders of the NDSU Foundation and Alumni Association that he has directed his campus to prepare for a possible budget with funding levels of 85 percent of current levels in case cuts must be made beyond the 90-percent levels already directed by Gov. Jack Dalrymple.
FARGO — Kevin Cramer, North Dakota's lone U.S. House member, was tapped as an energy adviser to Donald Trump during Trump's campaign for the presidency. Now that Trump is president-elect, could Cramer's advisory role signal a spot for Cramer in the administration? Perhaps as energy secretary, some have speculated, or interior secretary? Cramer, who was an early and ardent Trump supporter, said he is not eager to switch jobs, noting he just won his third term in the Tuesday, Nov. 8, election, a victory that came with 69 percent of the vote.
ABERCROMBIE, N.D.—Rash impulse overtook Kent Hansen's life. He was prone to frivolous purchases, like the times he bought a $25,000 pickup and an $800 bicycle. Once cheerful, he grew irritable. Once open, he withdrew within himself. Hansen's impulsive spending and behavior placed a strain on his marriage and created financial problems for his family. Money was a frequent cause of argument for Hansen and his wife. They quarreled on June 5 and Hansen stormed off. In the 20 or 30 steps between their kitchen and garage, he made his last impulsive decision.
FARGO—Measure 3 on the North Dakota ballot—better known as the proposed Marsy's Law—seeks to enshrine in the state constitution victim's rights that opponents argue already are required by state law. The well-funded campaign for Marsy's Law in North Dakota, spearheaded by a wealthy California backer who has donated almost $2.5 million, has featured television ads with crime victims or family members complaining that their rights were neglected by a callous criminal justice system.
FARGO — An alumnus has given North Dakota State University a record donation of $13.5 million for scholarships earmarked for students studying in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The gift, announced Thursday, Nov. 3, was given by Harry D. McGovern, a 1966 civil engineering graduate who grew up in Erie, N.D. His donation was matched by $1.2 million from the state's challenge grant program, for a total of $14.7 million.
FARGO—Wind energy development in North Dakota and Minnesota is getting a boost from tax credits that are set to wind down and decreasing costs that make it cheaper than coal and competitive with gas. Xcel Energy just announced it intends to build four new wind farms, with a combined capacity of 750 megawatts, a recent example of the scramble to start projects this year to take full advantage of federal tax credits set to expire.
BISMARCK—The State Board of Higher Education voted to approve a new tuition plan intended to make North Dakota public campuses more attractive to out-of-state students with the aim of alleviating a chronic shortage for skilled workers. The changes, approved Thursday, Oct. 27, are slated to be implemented in fall 2019, but can be altered or delayed if problems arise as more information becomes available.
FARGO—Doug Burgum is taking his interest in downtown revitalization on the gubernatorial campaign trail with a new pitch he calls his Main Street Initiative. Burgum, the Republican nominee for governor, rolled out the initiative last week in a campaign ad and touted it in a talk here to a downtown development conference.