Grand Forks Herald Editorial Board
GRAND FORKS — Is it OK to break the law if it's in the name of perceived public good? Specifically, can people who trespassed and tampered with a multimillion-dollar pipeline avoid jail time if they can prove it was for the sake of slowing climate change? This is the issue that's before a jury in Bagley, Minn., where two women from Washington face trial for attempting to shut down two pipelines in northwest Minnesota in 2016.
GRAND FORKS—Nicole Haffely of Hillsboro will be inducted into a bowling hall of fame later this year. We know this because she was featured in a front-page story in the Hillsboro Banner. In Mayville, the Riverwood Addition development site is nearly sold out as more people build homes there. That news was on the front page of the Traill County Tribune. The Devils Lake Journal noted the local Sons of Norway lodge recently won a statewide award, and the Walsh County Press reported that Park River is the first city to receive the state's Vision Zero Community Designation.
It's official: There will be a Republican primary for North Dakota's seat in the House of Representatives. That's what Tom Campbell decided after Saturday's state Republican Convention, and he filed nominating petitions Monday. At the convention, fellow Republican Kelly Armstrong trounced Campbell, getting 847 votes to Campbell's 480. In North Dakota, the losers at the convention often concede to the winner, but Campbell said he still plans to proceed. Now, it appears voters will decide in June, with the winner facing Democrat Mac Schneider in November.
Let's assume North Dakota University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott did not fire Vice Chancellor Lisa Feldner just to insert a fellow Navy veteran in her position. In the court of public opinion, that is one of the charges leveled against Hagerott, who last month removed Feldner from office "without cause," as is allowed by North Dakota law.
As of Tuesday, be prepared to pay big bucks — $500 — for violating North Dakota's litter laws. That's right: As of Aug. 1, the new fine for littering in North Dakota will be $500, an increase of 400 percent. A news story that ran recently through the Forum News Service noted that North Dakotans may be shocked when they get caught tossing trash out of their window. "We haven't seen too many increases like that, so obviously the state is taking a stance on it," said Keenan Zundel, of the Cass County Sheriff's Department.
A survey released last month shows more than half of Americans feel the media is biased. The media received a better grade than it has in recent years, according to the 20th annual State of the First Amendment survey, which comes from the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The survey showed that 53 percent of Americans who participated said the media reports with some bias. That's quite a bit better than in 2015, when 76 percent viewed American media as biased. In 2014, the number was 59 percent.
GRAND FORKS—Some Dakota Access Pipeline protesters say they're motivated by "sacred sites" and other Standing Rock Reservation concerns. But a great many really are against fossil fuels in general, and are protesting pipelines in order to keep oil in the ground. Conservatives rightly criticize these protesters for masking their true motivations. But conservatives in North Dakota and elsewhere have their own masks they should answer for—or better yet, rip off and discard.
GRAND FORKS—So why do colleges and universities spend so much money on sports? Saturday is why. Because as Saturday's University of North Dakota and North Dakota State University football games showed, college sports are flat-out fun. They fill stadiums, excite crowds of thousands, draw priceless publicity to the institution and inspire alumni to hand over wads of hundred-dollar bills.
GRAND FORKS—Crime in New York City was a national issue throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Then it wasn't: The crime rate plummeted in the 1990s, reaching levels that New Yorkers hadn't seen since Dwight Eisenhower was president. New York remains one of the safest cities in America today. In North Dakota, the following change isn't nearly so momentous. But it's still striking:
GRAND FORKS -- In the eyes of the public, protesters who take the law into their own hands have two strikes against them. Violence results in the third strike. That...