RON SCHALOW: Fargo Heat Strokes, Lies And Videotape

Prior to President Trump’s visit to Fargo, I took a shot at guessing what he might say at the rally for Kevin Cramer, who got three minutes of mic time and an awkward bro hug.

My predictions; followed by the real deals.

  • “Heidi? Where’s Heidi. What the hell are we doing here, if she doesn’t even show up! Who?”
  • “Isn’t that Cramer guy a hoot? Nice guy. The way he barges into that Jew’s apartment. I never let black people into my apartments, either. And that steel fence thing he cooked up. Wasn’t that smart to compare the kid cages to the steel fence at ballparks? He’s read the Bible, I’ve been told, by him. Isn’t that Cramer guy a hoot?”
  • “Well, that’s all I can say about Gramer. He’ll do what I tell him. That’s all you need to know.”
  • “Hey, there’s my black guy. See him. Amazing.”
  • “I sting like a butterfly and cry like Eugene. What a loser. Imogen is a type of classy flower. Or, a vegetable. Most people don’t know that.”
  • “Ooooh, so Sparkie is such a big deal, but I’ve slept with hotter porn stars than you, Sparkle, so just shut your trap, or I’ll tax you to Mexico. Those people speak Spanish. A lot of people think it’s Mexican. Rapists.”
  • “Those hats are made in China, Nebraska. Shirts, too. Tremendous deal. They farm something over there, too. They’re great patriots, offering to take a few years of pain.”
  • “Trade wars aren’t as easy to chew, as many people think. We’re getting schlonged, according to Hannity. Nice guy. Sometimes, he reads to me at bed time.”
  • “Ivanka would never wear a stupid-looking wordy jacket. I don’t even think Mel reads American. Somebody should ask her. She might be a Democrat. Sad. I was Democrat when little Bush was president. He was the worst. Low energy.”
  • “I don’t see why people think I’m a moron. Mitt’s one, I think. Great guy. Gawd, those people procreate like crazy, don’t they. One big sand trap. I’m totally happy with two children. Before 30, all they did was cry and bitch. Amirite?”
  • “Who knew that throwing little criminal rapist brats in cages would be so complicated? The Democrats want to send out hand-engraved invitations to all of the world’s worst crime guys, and just roll out the red carpet, and serve them beautiful pieces of chocolate cake. Probably some of the most delicious cake ever, in the history of ever. Nancy Pelosi. Loser.”
  • “Blacks haven’t had so much work since slavery. I’m very proud of that. Fantastic, isn’t it? Huge. Schumer hates black people.”
  • “We’ve just about wiped out crime, like I promised. Unless some other gangs, besides MS-13, pop up. They aren’t classy like that Tony Bonanzoo hoodlum.”

“This is a decent-looking crowd. There are even a few fives. I only date 10s, but two 5s don’t make a 10. I have to leave, anyway. There was a seven once in Toledo. Sarah Palin has lost few digits, which is sad. Does she still live in Russia?”

  • “They play hockey in this place? What for?”
  • “This guy down front here looks too red. Somebody poke him. Alive. That good. He’s a wonderful person. Tough on crime and border. This isn’t global warming. They have a lot of trees in Brazil. Bada bing bing bing.”
  • “I made a great great deal, today. The families, the potential MS-13 members, all of the crying, for crissakes — we’re going to put everyone up at the wonderful hotels in Cozumel, with free room service. It’s wonderful there, have you been? The private shelter contractors are killing me. I called around, and it’s much cheaper going the resort route. I kid you not.”
  • “Don’t come crying to me, Justin, when the eskimos attack. My space cops aren’t interested in beaver pelts. And I’m better looking and taller than the black one. The Canadian is short and ugly. Right, patriots?”

* * *

Some of the Actual Trump Quotes From the Fargo Rally

“This place is packed,” Trump said as he stepped onto the podium. “You know, we had the chance for a 24,000-seat arena, and we should have taken it. The problem is, if we had two empty seats, they will always say, ‘He didn’t fill up the arena.’”

Stupid media. That’s exactly what they would write.

“Maxine — she’s a beauty,” Trump said. “I mean, she practically was telling people the other day to assault! Can you imagine if I said the things she said?

He has, and I can imagine.

“We need Kevin Cramer to replace liberal Democrat Heidi Heitkamp in the Senate,”

Heitkamp isn’t within a mile of being liberal.

“When Heidi ran for office she promised to be an independent vote for people of North Dakota. Instead, she went to Washington and immediately joined Chuck, you know who Chuck is, and Nancy, and now they have a new leader.

That’s not true.

“Democrats want judges who will rewrite the Constitution anyway,” Trump said. “They want to do it and take away your Second Amendment, erase your borders, throw open the jailhouse doors and destroy your freedoms.”

None of that is true.

“You need a senator who doesn’t just talk like they’re from North Dakota, but votes like they’re from North Dakota. That’s what you need, and that’s Kevin Cramer,” Trump said.

I don’t think we do.

“He felt confident in me to make the right choice and carry on his great legacy, that’s why he did it,”

I think he’s just old and tired.

“We will make America loving again, Loving. Loving.”

You first.

“Because space is the new frontier,”

It has been a new frontier for a long time.

“We’re not starting a trade war, but we’ll finish it”

Nope, you started it.

“You need a senator who doesn’t just talk like they’re from North Dakota, but votes like they’re from North Dakota,” said Trump, who added of Cramer: “He loves you, I will tell you that. He loves this state, loves the people. And we need Kevin Cramer to replace liberal Democrat Heidi Heitkamp.”

He doesn’t love gay people. I doubt if he loves me, and I’m OK with that.

“I want to make a plea to my Democrat friends. Please, please, please don’t remove Nancy Pelosi. And please keep Maxine Waters on the air as your face and your mouthpiece,”

He doesn’t have any Democratic friends.

“The era of global freeloading and taking advantage of the United States is over.”

If you say so.

“Heidi voted no on our massive tax cuts for North Dakota families. She voted no,” President Trump stated. “Not one Democrat voted to cut your taxes and the other day Nancy Pelosi said we have to raise your taxes. What’s that all about? She wants to raise your taxes.”

The tax scam; borrowing money to redistribute to the rich.

“We love the countries of the European Union.”

Do we?

“But the European Union was set up to take advantage of the United States, to attack our piggy bank.”


“We had a trade deficit because they send the Mercedes in, they send the BMWs in, they send their products in, we send things to them and they say, ‘no thank you, we don’t take your product’.


“I said to them, if you treat us that way and you don’t take down your barriers, if you’re not going to treat us fairly then we are going to tax all those beautiful Mercedes Benzes.”

They are beautiful.

“Sometimes our worst enemies are our so-called friends”

The feeling is mutual, I’ve read.

“Republicans want strong borders and no crime. Democrats want open borders and from there, crime, crime, crime happens.”

Not what democrats want on this planet.

“We’re already building the wall and it’s a beautiful thing.”

It’s about 4 feet long.

“Thanks to Republican leadership America is winning again, and America is being respected again all over the world,”

That’s not true.

“He puts a straw in the ground and oil comes out.”

Trump likes billionaire Harold Hamm, an oil baron.

“Great pillows. I actually use them, believe it or not.”

My Pillow brand. I don’t believe Trump uses a normal pillow.

“Maxine Waters is their new leader.”

No. She isn’t. She is a liberal, African-American woman, though.

“Another person campaigned for eight years. ‘Repeal and replace.’ And we were a little surprised when the thumb went down.”

Still kicking John McCain, when he is dying.

“We are coming out with so many health care plans. It is so much better than anything you’ve ever seen before.”

He claimed to have plan, the greatest plan, many months ago, so I doubt it.

“If crooked Hillary would have won this election, and if she came here, which is about a 0 percent chance, after the election she’d have 200 people in a conference room in a small hotel.”


“Because, frankly, they find this more exciting than the NFL and a hell of a lot more dangerous, right?”


“And I wish those cameras would circle the room to see how many thousands of people are here because, you know, on the screen I look — and all you see are those few beautiful, wonderful people — I don’t know who the hell I — but you’ve got a nice group over there. I know you have Mike and some others. They’re going to be so famous.”

Stupid cameramen. Won’t do what Trump says.

“I said to my people, ‘How many people are here?’ They said, ‘Six thousand in the arena, but we’re going to be — have to, unfortunately, walk 15,000 or 18,000 people that couldn’t get in.'”

There weren’t 15,000 or 18,000 people that couldn’t get in.

“The late, great, Cecil B. DeMille would not have set it up this way, I will tell you.”

Probably not, but he did movies.

“Everybody comes in, including the vile gang, MS-13, which Nancy Pelosi has gone out and wants to protect, OK?”

She doesn’t want to protect MS-13.

“Do you see what they do? Bing, bing. Right? You see what they’re doing? No, but do you see what they’re doing?”


“I have wealthy friends, like Harold Hamm.”

We’re happy for you.

“But the Heritage Foundation came out with a report, and this was as of two months ago. We’ve already implemented 64 percent of our top agenda items.”

That’s not what they said

“They never take those cameras off my face. Look at all the women.”

Yes, we have those.

“I said, ‘Oh, I am so smart. I am the smartest person.’ My uncle was a great professor at MIT for 40 years. Can you believe? Forty years. I said, ‘But I’m smarter than him. I’m smarter than anybody.'”

I don’t think so.

“Oy, when do they get over it? But, you know, it is pretty amazing. Point after point, guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty. Oh, she’s OK.”

Clinton has not been found guilty for anything.

“Michigan’s very happy with your president.”

Not many of them.

“Politics is a mean game, isn’t it? It’s a mean — it’s a fleeting game. Six months ago, Republicans passed the biggest tax cuts and reform in American history.”

Yes, fleetingly mean.

“My daughter and my wife, Melania, they love — they love the women. And the women love them. The women love them. And the men love them.”

I would imagine so.

“You know, I was dealt a lot of bad hands.”

He’s had a tough life.

“The fake news was so upset when I said we had a good relationship. We had a good chemistry.”

Kim Jong-un makes a great play date.

“But when people rush it -— you know, it’s like rushing the turkey out of the stove. It’s not going to be as good. The women can tell me, and some of the men. See, today I have to be politically correct. See, in the old days …”

I see.

“And I’ve directed the Pentagon to begin the process of creating a sixth branch of the United States Armed Forces, called the Space Force. The Space Force.”

Whoo hoo!

“Let them send a rocket up to Mars. Let’s be the first. I hope they go fast. Let’s help them. Let’s make it really good for them. And if they do it, we’re going to claim it on behalf of the United States, OK? We’ll give them no credit. Let them spend the money.”

The Mars rover is pretty famous.

“And by the way, our people, they call it the base, they used to say it’s 35. Then they said it’s 40. Then they said it’s 42. Then they have these polls go — we’re driving them crazy. Now they say it’s over 50 percent.”

It’s not.

“They’ve been stone-cold losers, the elite. The elite.”


Bonus Trump

“First of all they are great patriots, just hang in there a little while we are doing the tariffs, They’re negotiating with us. If you look at Canada, they shut you out and you see what’s happening. You look at the European union you can’t bring your product in there it’s very hard to and they tax you and they bury you. You know they put these nonmonetary barriers up and they are ridiculous. Hang in. We are going to open up the markets like you’ve never seen before. Don’t forget farmers have been flat lining and even going down over 15 years we’re going to get it so they go up. That’s what I want. They have to hang in with me just for a little while. I’ve been very successful at doing this stuff.” — KVLY Fargo

RON SCHALOW: American Horror Circus Arrival Imminent

So,  the well endowed Mar-a-Lago mermaid is coming to Fargo to scare the immigrants. That’s just perfect. Personally, I can feel an orange gelatin evil in the Force. And I’m not even one of those little green dudes. I’m just happy to know that Mark Hamill has enough cash to get by.

Anyway, the Mar-a-Lago manatee will be in town to fete the rare accomplishments of the junior congressman of North Dakota, the benign blotch under Trump’s left boob and former sex shop window mannequin, Kevin Cramer. Just kidding! Trump will be at Scheels Arena to flap his KFC gravy injected lips about his favorite person. Himself.

And according to reports, Old Bone Spurs is going to tell the cultists about the many occasions he had intentionally wandered into the women’s dressing rooms and leered at naked females at the beauty pageants he owned. Teens included. Just kidding! It’s true, but I guess he’s going to verbally deliver a hagiography of his new best pal and Rob Port’s long lost twin, Kim Jong-un, and brag about their signing of a Denny’s breakfast menu.

Their beady eyes met, they ran to each other through a field of daffodils, and there was a lot of circular dancing. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Polka, maybe. We get it. Oh, he’s so smart. He’s so funny. K was so handsome at the mixer. Is he going out with anyone? Oh my, he’s in a fraternity?

Just shut up about Poppin’ Fresh. Nobody here cares about the little screwy haired troll. Besides, he had his frat brothers whacked, so they’re not that close. And North Dakota has more firepower than that evil little bastard buried in our dirt. Plus two Air Force bases that are above ground. Don’t tell Donnie, lest he get some warped ideas.

So, DT, please don’t tell us you HAD to kiss KY jelly belly’s ample ass to keep us from getting nuclearated. Just admit you had a love connection because no great deal-making took place in Singapore. That’s right, we were watching. And we don’t care if you were hungry. A regular-sized Snickers bar isn’t enough for our part of your sordid arrangement. Plus, it’s doubtful they have one.

We, and yes, I do speak for all North Dakotans, want to know about soybeans and the metal our manufacturers need to make big-ass machines, grain bins and horseshoes. You know, the asinine tariffs. Hand hold on your own time.

Someone will write a speech for the great pumpkin and put it on the teleprompter. Probably Stephen Miller, the anti-Christ’s little brother. Rumored. Just kidding! Steph is the real deal.

The words will be written for a fourth-grader because that’s the skill level of our POTUS. But as is his custom, Spanky will get bored, or get tired of the effort involved in reading, and go off on a wild sweaty adventure of lying, score-settling, name-calling, ass-covering, excuses, wild stories and self-back patting.

Maybe he’ll take this gem out for a spin.

While regaling a FOX stiff about his great achievements in Singapore, he simply made up an easily verifiable story about the remains of American soldiers still in North Korea, and their really old parents. Very old.

“We have thousands of people who have asked for that — thousands and thousands of people, so many people asked when I was on the campaign. I would say, ‘Wait a minute, I don’t have any relationship.’ But they said, ‘When you can, president, we’d love our son to be brought back home — you know, the remains.’”

Trump added the following flourish of bullshit. “I said, ‘Will you do me a favor (to Kim)? The remains of these great fallen heroes, can we do something?’ He agreed to it immediately. It was pretty great.” — CBS Los Angeles

Then, they shared a cheesecake and a small 3-gallon pitcher of melted Hershey Kisses. It was magical. We might even get extra bones. The teeny mass murderer has cornered the human remains market in the hellscape he helped create for his people. And how do they thank KJ? By dying of starvation. Ingrates.

Maybe Clownzilla will tell us about his close relationship with the white nationalists who adore him and other whites, mostly men, who feel like they’re being genocided because all shades of people have lived on this turf over the course of the last 10,000 years, and the less reflective ones make their lives suck, for some reason.

Mr. Trump, they won’t leave and let us have a white ethno-state and we’re sad. These ethno-idiots are the ones who don’t see the flaws in wall technology.

It surely would be a crowd-pleaser if the New York asshole would go into a full white grievance rant. I’m sure Pete Tefft, Fargo’s known activist for white people, as if he’s the only racist in town, will be there.

Tefft has a supporting role in the new documentary, “White Right: Meeting the Enemy.” He didn’t impress anyone with his intellect, since it wasn’t discernable. He and his tiki tot buddies are Trump’s superbase. None but 10 percent of Republicans waiver from Trump’s hip, but these maniacs are nuts.

Speaking of weasels, Rob Port spent the last six years, with steam shooting out all orifices and his brain cell fixated on Sen. Heidi Heitkamp. She won an election, and that hurt his feelings. Port permanently resides on Cramer’s lap and has done a 180 on Trump, since flirting with sanity before the 2016 election.

Cramer craves Trump, and Port needs Cramer, so the weasel got in line. Not so long ago, Robbie had strong feelings about dumbo, and the base they share, when he wrote:.

  • “Trump knows exactly how dumb his supporters are, and has manipulated their ignorance to great effect.”
  • “Trump seems content to pander to actual paranoid racists.”
  • “I do not think Trump should win the presidency, however. He’s an embarrassment. He is not fit to lead our country.”

So, Port’s a hypocrite, and if Cramer is a Christian, he’s not a good one. Not if he’s for cruelty to kids, and their families, and not helping people who find themselves as refugees. Neither is a shock. And no, feeding rich people doesn’t count, Kev.

As for Cramer, he’s a secure cowardly vote for anything Trump wishes. That’s all Don sees. Someone to do his bidding. That’s why he’ll waddle onto the stage. He’ll screw Kevin over at some point, just like he has to thousands of others.

Name one thing Kevin has actually done in the past six years besides bitch about pantsuits, and promise to discriminate against anything LGBTQ-related. Fashion tips and bigotry don’t count. I couldn’t think of any accomplishments, so I looked.

Three of Cramer’s bills have become law, and only one of them had any purpose. Rename buildings or make grilled cheese the national sandwich. I sure don’t care, but don’t say you’ve had any impact, Kev.

Cramer once arranged a science committee meeting to prove that Bakken crude doesn’t explode, even though Bakken oil trains were exploding regularly. There are tons of witnesses, photos and video, but the evidence didn’t convince oil boy. Harold Hamm isn’t the finance guy on Kevin’s campaign for the free key rings.

And yes I’m implying exactly what I’m implying.

Cramer didn’t want to run in a tough race for Senate in the first place, and he can’t decide if the people of North Dakota, Harold Hamm or Donald Trump changed his mind. Trump begged him, though. He’s sure of that much.

Scheels Arena is only 2½ miles from my home. It makes me itchy. But surely, the motorcade will come south on Interstate 29 from the airport, so I can extend a finger and take a knee at any point before the botox bomber turns off at 32nd Avenue.

Bonus: Gag reflex tester from the Rolling Stone. You know who said it.

“You know, no men are anywhere. And I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant. And therefore I’m inspecting it … Is everyone OK? You know, they’re standing there with no clothes. And you see these incredible-looking women. And so I sort of get away with things like that.”

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — We’re No. 1!

Remember when the line “We’re No. 1” was a badge of honor? Well, Fargo has once again claimed that distinction … but in a category where no one wants to be included.

North Dakota and Fargo are No. 1! They outdo Moorhead and Minnesota in the categories of the drunkest city and drunkest state in the country. By whatever measure is used to calculate this distinction, Fargo tops the list.

Fargo has city elections this spring. I hope the population is awake, alert and knowledgeable on the issues.

Alcohol abuse has been a serious problem since Prohibition ended. Recently that other local newspaper ran a detailed story on how several political candidates in the North Dakota side of the river have some prior serious alcohol-related convictions.

Now, the past is the past. If these candidates have suffered the consequences of their actions and learned from them, that should be enough. I don’t intend to condemn the past conduct of individuals in this context.

But recently, three members of the Fargo Liquor Commission stood up for common sense on the topic of alcohol. When the commission voted on whether to allow the addition of yet another license in a spot that’s already problem area for booze, only three people — Mayor Tim Mahoney, Commissioner John Strand and Fargo Chief of Police David Todd — voted against the additional license.

The mayor and Strand represent the vast majority of the voters. Chief Todd represents the thinking of the Police Department. He and his officers have firsthand, daily working knowledge of the problems caused by excessive drinking and too many licenses in a small area — a problem for both local residents and the working of the department.

Notwithstanding the educated positions of these three stalwarts, the majority of the Liquor Commission voted with their pocketbooks and not their brains. The motion to permit yet another license passed.

Now some downtown boosters want to allow open carry — of booze, not guns — during the summer street fair. Perhaps these same people didn’t pay attention to downtown Fargo on St. Patrick’s Day. The pub crawl began before the parade had even ended. Heavy drinking was everywhere. It wasn’t just legal-aged college students feeling their oats; it was people of all ages. Someone I know who worked that day said he waited a few hours after work to socialize because, by that time, a lot of the drunks had finally gone home.

I don’t use that term “drunk” lightly. My professional life in Municipal Court gave me a unique view of the problems booze creates. The harm it has caused to individuals and their loved ones is immeasurable.

Mahoney, Strand and Chief Todd are absolutely right. Concentrating all of the watering holes downtown concentrates the problems overdrinking causes.

Many people are living downtown nowadays, with business and residential buildings are occupied as never before. The new Block 9 project in what’s now the First Bank public square will bring more residents, businesses and corporate offices.

More law enforcement is required for the downtown — at the expense of other areas of the city. It’s not the fault of the police but of the Liquor Commission majority. It approves the liquor licenses but doesn’t also decide to fund and increase the police presence to deal with the good old boys and girls who can’t or won’t drink responsibly. One commissioner, one mayor and one police chief deserve kudos for standing up for our communities. Some of the other government representatives … not so much.

What many elected officials forget is that they represent “we the people” — not the special interests. This is a time in America where that statement should be obvious to all.

Is it too much to ask of those who did not support the awesome three who voted no to get on board for the people instead of the business boosters? There is a difference between liquor control and liquor out of control. Some people in places of power just don’t seem to understand that.

Fargo-Moorhead has been good to me, and I’d never live elsewhere. But every time someone dies, is harmed or diminished by alcohol abuse, I ask, “Why?” As a community, we are better than that.

Now is always the right time to hit the problem head on. But that takes the courage of a Mayor Mahoney, a Commissioner Strand and a police chief like Todd. If not now, when? Amen.

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Changing The Course

Does it seem that we’ve been fighting floods forever? Pretty close. Residents along the Red River have been wrangling Mother Nature every 10 or 15 years since settlement began. Inevitably, Mother seems to have the upper hand.

In between flood emergencies, we generally turn on each other. Fargo-Moorhead and its neighbors have been sharing vastly divergent opinions of the F-M Diversion Project for fully 10 years. Sometimes it seems as if the bickering will never end … can never be fully resolved. No local issue has ever drawn in more head-butting stakeholders — town and country, businesses and homeowners, two cities, two counties, two states and the Feds — or attempted to temper more sizzling degrees of personal and civic self-interest.

Yet the record does show it can be done. Victory has been achieved before … and by nearly the same cast of impassioned characters.

Sixty years ago, draglines finally attacked the course of the tangled river and straightened out at least a few of its legendary kinks. In 1959, Fargo-Moorhead tackled the issue of containing the Red’s epic rampage in a victory that holds some lessons — and some hope.

The Red has been soaking Fargo-Moorhead’s feet ever since the cities’ sketchy, sweaty birth in 1871. By 1882, they were fighting the first of the floods that arrived like clockwork through World War I. After taking a break in the Dirty Thirties, the sluggish river returned with a vengeance in 1943. St. John’s Hospital (now Prairie St. John’s) stood on the bank of an oxbow that reached to Fargo’s Fourth Street; it had to be evacuated.

The river’s path was different then. South of Main Avenue, it took a lazy westward loop from its current course to the edge of Island Park, then back to Second Street. A generous finger of Minnesota pointed straight to the brand-new F-M Community Theater on Fourth Street South.

To no one’s surprise, epic floodwaters returned in 1950 and again in 1952. Streets ran deep on both sides of the river, reaching 5 feet on Broadway. Water stood hip-high on the main floor of Dommer’s Boathouse near Fourth Avenue Southwest in Moorhead, the beloved spot where fun seekers had been renting boats and canoes for decades to enjoy the river’s calmer moments. Hundreds of homes and business were swamped. Utilities were damaged and destroyed. The cost to both cities was enormous.

The soggy cities dreamed of a solution. Though their physical footprint was a fraction of today’s (Fargo with 38,256 people and Moorhead, 14,870) and embraced a far shorter stretch of river, temporary dikes didn’t do the trick. Yet no one could see the way to salvation. Ideas were tossed out, like scrapping St. John’s Hospital (which had had to be evacuated) and rebuilding on higher ground. Then they were systematically shot down — impossible, impractical, unaffordable.

At last, frustrated city fathers spotted a glimmer of light in Washington, where in 1950, the Disaster Relief Act empowered the Federal Emergency Management Agency — FEMA — to help deal with flooding. The two cities, which been fighting alone, spotted an ally. As the clean-up began in 1952, Mayor Murray Baldwin and the City Commission appointed a committee to work with the Army Corps of Engineers. It submitted its plan just a year later. The goal: to straighten out the critical snarl in the river that inundated downtown and speed the water on its way north.

And the outcry was instantly ferocious. Almost six dozen occupied homes would have to be demolished on both sides of the river, along with businesses and facilities dating back to the steamboat days.

Moorhead feared the more easterly channel, bounded by an enormous permanent levee on the Fargo side, would back up water onto its dependably higher, drier ground. City leaders fretted that downstream landowners would sue them if the amended flow of floodwaters caused damage to their farms. The beloved boathouse and swimming hole would have to go. Even the proto-environmentalists of the day had their say, decrying the removal of 200 trees from the riverbank.

But flood-control proponents persisted through six years of often-heated squabbling. The break finally came in 1959, when the recalcitrant North Dakota Legislature passed a measure specifically permitting Moorhead to sue the city of Fargo for any damages that might ensue.

By July, Fargo Mayor Herschel Lashkowitz would preside over the draglines that dug a new, straighter channel about a quarter-mile east of what had been Minnesota’s western border. They worked through the summer. At the end of October, the river’s flow was permanently diverted into its new pathway, and the blip of age-old former riverbed went dry.

Grandparents among us today still remember the sight: a mucky, barren depression punctuated by the old dam. Crowds gathered to see what they could see — submerged skeletons, perhaps? Submerged treasure? A stolen safe had been long rumored to be ditched down below. Police investigated, just in case. But to thrill-seekers’ disappointment, they spotted nothing but a rusty bicycle and a few corroded oil drums.

Meanwhile, the Corps also dealt with less controversial obstacles north of the Veterans Administration. One of three small adjacent oxbows was eliminated outright with crosswise excavation. The other two were fitted with weir dams that permit normal flow from day to day but divert high water to a straighter, broader path.

But besting Mother Nature by epic engineering wasn’t the end of the story then, as it hasn’t yet been today. By straightening the rerouted the Red River — the historic border between two states — 22.5 acres of what was still legally Minnesota was marooned on the wrong side. Not until the U.S. Congress approved an interstate compact in 1962 did the boundary shift east to the new riverbank.

Clay County’s loss was the city of Fargo’s gain. Remember that … and thank the North Star State next time your children sled on the Dike East or you park your car in the big lot east of the Stage at Island Park.

Sixty years ago, we won one. Two cities, two states and the federal government succeeded in not only taming a fraction of Mother Nature’s power, but untangling their competing interests long enough to redraw the map. Odds are, we can do it again.

(Thanks to archivist Mark Peihl of the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County and author Terry Shoptaugh, author of Red River Floods, for the research on which this is based.)

TERRY DULLUM: The Dullum File — Fair Memories

When the Red River Valley Fair rolls around each year about this time in West Fargo, N.D., a rare moment of nostalgia sometimes comes over me. Sometimes.

Allow me to paraphrase Marilyn Hagerty each (and every) Christmas Eve. Excuse me, please. But I must go back. If only for five minutes and only in my thoughts, I have to go back.

When I think of the “Fargo fair,” I think of our band days. In this case, the band is the Hillsboro (N.D.) High School Band.

For some of us — me, anyway — band wasn’t just the best reason to go to high school, it was the only reason to go to high school. In no small measure because of the band trips.

The fair board used to invite a different area band to perform each day of fair week. It was a pretty easy gig, as I recall. We would march in our (wool) uniforms through the fairgrounds in the late morning or early afternoon, then do a short preshow concert in front of the grandstand in the evening. Something like that. This was when the fairgrounds was still in north Fargo, near Hector Airport.

The rest of the day, we were left to our own devices. That meant the midway. How we could spend an entire day on a carnival midway without boredom today seems mind-boggling. Then, it was no problem.

The fair wasn’t our only annual band trip. There were parades, community celebrations and each spring, the WDAY Band Festival, a huge, televised parade with upward of a hundred other high school bands.

And then there was the infamous Tom Jones scandal. Not Tom Jones, the singer. “Tom Jones,” the movie.

It happened on one of those band trips to Fargo. It may have been the band contest we competed in — and usually won — each year. Whatever it was, I remember we finished our band business in the morning, leaving most of the rest of the day free for shopping or whatever. It was that “whatever” part that caused the problem.

Some of us decided we wanted to see a movie. And not just any movie.

Although it would be tame by today’s standards, even something of a minor classic, then “Tom Jones” was considered by many to be naughty. Very naughty. This was 1963, understand.

We didn’t know it was supposed to be a classic, we just wanted to see how naughty it was. And if it lived up to its enormous, titillating hype.

That meant a fairly long trek on foot from downtown Fargo, where our bus was parked for the day, to Moorhead, where the movie was playing.

As it turned out, the movie wasn’t as “good” as some of us had hoped. Some of us left in the middle of the film in order not to be late for the band bus, which was scheduled to leave for home at exactly, let’s say, 4 o’clock. Some of us stayed till the end of the movie, running back just in the nick of time. And some of us stayed till the end, taking our time walking back, thinking the bus would never leave without us, no matter what.

The bus left. Some of us made it. Some of us didn’t. Our band director, James “Buck” Holo, held the bus for a few minutes. Very few.

Those of us left behind in the big city had the embarrassing task of finding alternative transportation home. Not to mention explaining to our parents what we were doing at “that” movie.

I don’t recall the exact punishment. I do remember something about written letters of apology. At any rate, we gave them something to talk about Monday morning at school.

Funny thing, not only did Mr. Holo remember the incident 20 years later at a class reunion, he remembered names!

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Don’t Build The Convention Center Downtown

The creation of the new 400-plus parking ramp on Roberts Street in Fargo does not impact whether the proposed convention center should be built downtown. Most of its space has been rented to tenants.

That should provide some relief to existing businesses that hope that the ramp will at least take employee parking off the streets and allow for more customer parking and access.

Add the proposed Block Nine high-rise west of First Bank and Broadway, and there will already be more need to accommodate the occupants of the new building — but less parking, since it will occupy what’s now a lot.

An aside: Some serious thinking needs to go into downtown before any decision is made going forward. Consider that ugly new floodwall along Second Street North. It blocks what was a beautiful view of the Red River. I know it’s now too late now to speculate — coulda, woulda, shoulda — but wouldn’t it have been nice to raise the road to the height of the wall, preserving the natural beauty while still providing the essential flood protection? If I had to define “ugly,” that wall would qualify. (This comment on the wall also endears me to my wife, Maureen, who planted the seed in my mind.)

So, then, let’s consider the impact of putting the convention center downtown. Assuming it will be as widely used and contribute as predicted to the overall economy of the city, easy and convenient access will be essential. Think for just a moment what would happen downtown if all of the current traffic from the Fargodome were to be diverted there! We can quickly conclude there would not be sufficient roadway access and parking to accommodate it.

Even if our city planners stood on their heads and planned for eons, no plan could be possibly be developed that didn’t disrupt and partially destroy neighborhoods. New and improved access roads would be absolutely required. Ultimately, we’d need to build the largest parking facility on the planet to accommodate the needs of the folks who would use it.

I’m not suggesting that the Fargodome site on the North Dakota State University campus is necessarily the best spot for the center — just that downtown would not suffice and ought to be excluded from consideration.

* * *

While on the subject of traffic, I have my own little ax to grind. My home overlooks Elephant Park, aka Percy Godwin Park. I’m on the curve on 18th Avenue North, and no amount of money could replace our view.

The best soccer in the area is played there evenings, regardless of weather, by a group of really good players. (I think they attend North Dakota State University, but this might just be a group of men who love the game.) They are as courteous a group of men as I have ever known.

Whenever the soccer ball ends up in my yard, they always offer me an apology that I don’t need. I’ve told them that if the ball bounces into my yard, just come through the gate and get it … no permission necessary. Yet they always ask.

Now to my point: There’s no parking on the curve where they play, but they do attract onlookers. At the same time, many walkers and bikers — both children and adults — move around it. I’ve seen parents pushing baby strollers along that stretch with other children walking or biking ahead of them.

Unfortunately, some true donkeyholes also use that road and apparently drive with blinders on. Pedestrians entering from the north can’t see oncoming cars and vice versa, which creates a really hazardous situation. In the winter, the jeopardy is even worse; we’ve actually witnessed speeding cars slide off the road and down the hill.

Our neighborhood has asked the city to install speed bumps and reduce speeds to 15 or 20 mph. The most they’ve done is to install “no parking” signs in the area … which are usually ignored.

The speed limit on the wide open road on Edgewood Drive in North Fargo is 20 mph, and it has speed bumps. When those speed bumps are installed, they do just what they are supposed to do: They slow traffic waaaay down.

I hold my breath when pedestrians and motorized vehicles meet each other along that curve. And I ask myself: Will it take the death or injury of a pedestrian, probably a child, to get the city to do something about this obvious hazard?

There’s no sense in adding more police patrols; everyone slows down when police are present but ignores the limit when they’re not. But the same holds true all the time when a speed bump is installed. Everyone slows down!

* * *

Since I’m on the subject of traffic, I wonder whether the city’s sound ordinances have been eliminated. All kinds of trucks, cars and motorcycles have modified mufflers — or none at all. When their drivers so desire, they stomp on gas and create deafening noise on purpose. Some of these scofflaws are in high school, some in college; some work at the Veterans Administration Hospital, and other just drive around thinking that making noise means they’re cool.

I’ve always found it odd that a decibel meter can lead to a ticket for vehicle noise or unlawful equipment … but dealers can still sell mufflers (or otherwise modify them) that are quiet if you drive correctly, but sound like a jet taking off on one cylinder if you stomp on the gas.

It’s a problem all over town. Park on any corner near West Acres and count the number of loud, noisy or defective mufflers passing by. Pickup trucks rank No. 1. I’m not just talking about junkers. The modified late-models are enough easy to spot. They’re followed by cars, No. 2 and — in third place — motorcycles.

It would not take a patrol officer long to direct many of these noisemakers into Fargo Municipal Court or (or in the case of sheriff’s deputies and the highway patrol) into Cass District Court. Peace and quiet!

I do know none of our police officers spend their shifts letting dust gather under their feet. But every once in a while, everyone has quiet time. How better occupy it than to sit, listen and cite the noisemakers?

* * *

Last but not least, since I’m on the subject of vehicles, I’ve noticed a lot of gals driving motorcycles wearing helmets and shorts — young men, too. While jeans may not provide much protection if you fall, shorts provide none at all. You can save a lot of skin if you find yourself sliding down the pavement just by dressing correctly.

And I still see many young adults riding double on cycles and scooters with neither wearing a helmet or other protective head gear. That ride may be fun with the wind in your hair, but one accident can turn that fun into a life-changing disaster. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to give a serious thought to safety.

With that, please note that I’ve not made even one political comment this week. Live with it! Amen.

RUSS HONS: Photo Gallery — Happy Harry’s Ribfest

Grand Forks photographer Russ Hons and his wife, Paulette, attended the Happy Harry’s Ribfest in Fargo on Thursday night at the Fargodome. There were over a dozen different places to eat, all serving their own flavor of barbecue. Ribfest is a people watchers’ dream as Russ found out. Here are some of the shots he took of the crowd and the entertainment, Fargo band Tripwire and 1980s rock band Night Ranger. The event continue today through Saturday. (Check out more photos from Russ Hons here.)

RON SCHALOW: Paranoid Politics Behind The Refugee Hubbub

The repugnant grabby Donald Trump, with a white nationalist on his staff, wasn’t the first loudmouth reality TV star, or low-watt nativist leader, to figure out that fear is a great motivator — and vote getter.

Unsavory foreigners are pouring across our borders by the thousands for crissakes, don’t you know. Believe me. Are you jumpy, yet? I’ve heard they’re all carrying recently sharpened machetes.

We need a big beautiful wall, 18 rows of razor wire and some Mexican hombre is going to get a MOAB — the mother of all bills — in his mailbox, followed by the grandfather of all customer service calls. Trust me.

Refugees aren’t being vetted, so they will just have to wait, while they’re on double0secret probation, and get supervetted.

Be afraid of Muslims. That goes without saying. I’m working on a Muslim ban, but the stupid judges are worried about that Constitution thing.

Stupid backward baseball caps, silly clown hair, wearing a fez, while driving one of those kooky little cars and spooking the horses in the parade. Wear any goofy, or non goofy thing, you want on your head. This is American.

Good Christian American women used to — maybe still do — wear scarves over their heads to protect newly styled hair from the wind. Some wear them around the throat as a fashion accessory.

But if you have darker skin and wear a scarf over your head, be prepared to get harrassed by some rube at the grocery store.

Of course, Trump is liar. Most people know that.

But now, the brown-tinted foreigner hysteria has awakened politicians in Fargo — and North Dakota. There is a good-sized segment of the population that’s on board with the rhetoric, so it makes sense that a few lesser Trumps would jump in the mud for votes.

They pretend to be concerned about the cost — as if we’re worried when a big company brings 2,000 jobs to town — when it all boils down to fear — and votes. And it works.

North Dakota State Rep. Christopher Olson, in a fit of concern for our ability to absorb a few hundred people of a certain type, attempted to pass a refugee bill in the Legislature, but it was downgraded to a study. If the Republicans ever studied anything, they might be informed, and they aren’t about to start reading things now.

Fargo City Commissioner Dave Piepkorn demanded to know the costs to the city, specifically from refugees. No one else. Not revenue generated by refugees. Just one side of the ledger.

So, responding to the spasmodic threats of the large red-faced Fargo commissioner, the little people, in Piepkorn’s eyes, scrambled to see how much it was costing for refugees to use OUR streetlights, and OUR left turn lanes. And oooh, don’t forget the wear and tear on OUR park slides.

There were two trees planted on MY boulevard, at substantial cost — holes don’t dig themselves, people — by the city, but they haven’t attracted much of a crowd. One tree died, but it wasn’t due to a stabbing, any type of island voodoo or terrorist activity. Credit both trees to me. A northern European, one generation removed on my paternal side and twice removed on my maternal side. Mark it down.

There is also a $#!%load of expensive foam that firefighters fruitlessly spray on exploding oil trains. We can’t talk about who should be paying for that. The commissioner knows, but those cats aren’t so easy to pick on. Deaths be damned.

It helps to be big, if you’re a bully, ballast for cruise ship, and refuse to do any of your own research. Piepkorn probably intimidates some people.

Personally, I think he has too many chins. I realize that comment was not politically correct —and mean — but Piepkorn hates those politically correct types. Being PC is nothing more than NOT being a dick. NOT. Some people talk about PC like a bramble bush was jammed down their shorts.

The Piepkorn Goes Full Rage

“In a voice full of outrage, City Commissioner Dave Piepkorn demanded why the city didn’t have a say in how many refugees are settled here.”

Me: Talk to the State Department. Enunciate clearly, or something could get MOABed or Tomahawked. This refugee thing has been going on since the ’40s. Get on the Google, and you might know what’s going on, commissioner. And non-Native wanderers have been coming to this continent for a 1,000 years, and it wasn’t until lately that anyone thought to ask.

Seattle, and a thousand other cities, don’t have a say in how many explosive Bakken oil trains are allowed to pass by their people and stuff. Get worked up about that, Dave.

“It’s a “huge decision” made by Lutheran Social Services, tasked by the federal government with refugee resettlement in North Dakota, that creates a burden on local taxpayers, he complained at the commission’s Monday, Oct. 10, meeting.”

Me: No, it doesn’t create a burden, Pieps. Sorry. If the Bison start out 0 – 4, then we’ll see some real angst bubble up, and a little will probably get on your shoes.

“Piepkorn posed three questions to LSS CEO Jessica Thomasson, beginning a brief but intense dialogue: One, how much is paid for each refugee who settles in Fargo-Moorhead? Two, who decides how many are settled here? And three, does LSS have some legal responsibility for how they behave when they move here?”

Me: This could have been handled in two minutes over the phone, but the political impact of public outrage would have been wasted. We get it. You’re outraged. Please go to Mexico.

Piepkorn interrupted to complain: “That’s unacceptable. To think that someone else is determining the number of refugees that we can handle. Their decisions impact our budget, the schools, the parks and on and on. As far as I know, we’re not included. Are any of the city commission included?”

Me: Everybody but you because who needs all of the shouting. Dave’s not home, man.

“As far as I know, we’ve had not participation,” Piepkorn said. “To me, to think city leaders are not involved in this. This is a huge decision made by you, that’s encumbering us.”

Me: Who is encumbered? And if you can’t remember if something happened, you have larger problems, big fella.

“I hope everyone is hearing what she’s saying: They’re refugees and when they come here, they have all the rights of a legal citizen?” Piepkorn asked.

Me: Residents. Not citizens. Yeah, I HOPE everybody heard that because it’s going to be in my campaign literature. And what rights would you like to take away from certain residents? Speech? Guns? Refusing to board soldiers without consent?

Piepkorn angrily disagreed: “The credibility of these people,” he said pointing in Thomasson’s and Mahli’s direction before trailing off. “I want to have accountants find out. People are telling us everything is fine and dandy. I’m sorry, everything is not fine and dandy. What happened in St. Cloud is not fine and dandy. I don’t want that to happen again.”

Anyway, Piepkorn stomps his feet and voila!

The New American Economy, a national organization and the American Action Forum, sent out a letter signed by 1,500 economists, both Republican and Democrats. that verified that immigrants and foreign-born humans who live in North Dakota paid $124.6 million in taxes in North Dakota in 2014.

From the Fargo Forum:
“Some of us favor free markets while others have championed for a larger role for government in the economy. But on some issues there is near universal agreement. One such issue concerns the broad economic benefit that immigrants to this country bring.”

“On average, a first generation immigrant is cost POSITIVE in North Dakota by approximately $3,250 per individual,” the report said, citing a 2016 study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, a group of nonprofit organizations in Washington, D.C.

In other words, refugees don’t present a cost. They produce revenue for the state and Fargo, which is a GOOD thing.

Case closed, right?

Nope. The educated experts weren’t enough to convince the usual suspects, who wouldn’t believe anything that didn’t fit their narrative.

Did I say experts? People educated in the subject at hand? Oh, pshaw. I talked to this guy, who said that some terrorist-looking guy has been out in the woods scoping out something with binoculars. Or he could have been bird-watching. Is it worth taking the chance?

If a proclamation was magically transported to White Butte on two shale tablets, written by the staff of Gandalf, and read aloud by the Force Ghost of Obi-Wan Kenobi, they would scoff.

In September 2016 a 20-year-old Somali refugee, who moved to the United States when he was 3 months old, stabbed 10 people at a St. Cloud, Minn., mall. No fatalities. No connection to any terrorist groups.

That incident spooked Piepkorn.

Commission Piepkorn evidently holds Lutheran Social Services, which resettles refugees in North Dakota, at the behest of the U.S. State Department because accepting refugees is part of our foreign policy, responsible for the attack in St, Cloud. Silly, right?

Not to Dave. He demanded that Lutheran Social Services prevent any knife attacks in the future. Piepkorn didn’t mention how the hell anyone could make such a promise. I don’t think my next door neighbor is going to lose it, although he does have a nice collection of mall attack knives, but I can’t guarantee it. And he doesn’t seem to like it when I stare at him through his windows.

Plus, that’s not what Lutheran Social Services does. It does what they are contracted to do, and it doesn’t involve chipping a toddler and tracking his movements for the duration of the kids life span. Look at the LSS website, for Pete’s sake!

So, good old Pieps showed us his tell. Cost isn’t his primary concern, if it is at all. He thinks infants, from the Mideast, can grow into killing machines. Who couldn’t? And who is responsible if a Norwegian-American goes off the rails at the Kirkwood Mall, in Bismarck? The Sons of Norway?

“I’ll get to the nut of it,” Piepkorn said in October 2016. “I believe the refugees that come here, they have health care, they have housing, they have transportation all provided for them. They are competing against the people who live here making 10 bucks an hour, but they have a huge advantage because refugees have all those advantages. We’re bringing in competition against the current residents and I believe that’s hurting our low income people who live here. It’s almost as if it would be better for them to apply as refugees and get benefits than to be an American citizen.”

What a crock of $#!* and false. A huge advantage because they know how to dodge bombs? Who does he think he is, Trump?

Cass County Commissioner Chad Peterson is another concerned official — about the costs, of course. He’s worried about being called a racist or xenophobe, if anyone asks for a calculation. Weak. That’s the favorite out. Everybody isn’t screaming racist. That’s a fable.

“Government shouldn’t be in the business of feelings and hugs and kisses,” said Peterson. Or common sense, or willing to look at facts that defy rigid beliefs. I’ll take a pass on the hugs and kisses from Peterson, and no one from the government has ever offered me a hug or kiss, so I’m suspect of Peterson’s grasp on what people think.

Valley News Live

Then, there is Valley News Live, a Fargo station. A year or so, ago, it reported and promoted the fiction of tuberculosis-riddled refugees. The story was debunked, but its attitude remains the same. It’s a business decision. It has decided to cater to the anti-refugee ( and anti-other things) crowd. It’s reprehensible but evidently profitable.

State Rep. Christopher Olson tried to palm off the same TB story, so we know how pure his intentions are.

From Valley News Live: Likely written by Ike Walker or Chris Berg. Perhaps they struck their heads together, to generate the necessary heat. Who knows?

“It was initiated last fall after Fargo City Commissioner Dave Piepkorn started asking questions about the issue, specifically the costs to various aspects of the city. But did the question ever actually get answered?”

Me: Yes, but he doesn’t care, and neither do you people.

“A good characterization for Thursday’s event: little information, frequent applause and no outright critics. And it left many asking, did they actually answer the question: how much does it cost?”

Me: Many were asking? Like who? You wrote that there are no outright critics. The sentences were connected.

One, I guess. “Well I don’t think we got any answers,” said Cass County Commissioner Chad Peterson. “What this should have been in my mind was a brief meeting that took about five minutes. It costs X.”

Me: Ignorance to how life works is not an attractive quality. Not everything is quantifiable — or can be answered with an X. But numbers were offered. Numbers that proved that there is not a cost but positive return. Repetitive, I know.

“I want to look at the numbers. I want to look at the sources, I want to look at everything and see where we’re at,” explained Fargo City Commissioner Tony Gehrig.

Me: Go ahead, Tony.

“You know the Human Relations Commission wanted to release it this way and that’s their prerogative I suppose,” said Gehrig.

Me: Released at a meeting open to the public? I see the problem. Obviously, trickery was involved.

Here’s how Valley News Live chose to characterize the gathering, and the information offered.

“How did they release it? At the noon-hour event, inviting the public to attend but not allowing public comment and they offered a 22-page document. It pulls information from a study by the pro-refugee organization Partnership for a New American Economy and other various local and national studies.”

Me: Oh, a pro-refugee organization? Well, then it has be false, unlike the demonstrably false slime Valley News Live passed off as news. And either something has too many pages, or too few, for the Trumpites.

“But the specific question of what refugee resettlement costs you the taxpayer, that information is not contained in this report.”

Me: The cost is zero. If you’ve ever read a profit-and-loss statement, you can have zillion expenses, but if the revenue exceeds the expense tally, you have a winner. A profit. Not a cost, you dense $#&*@#$!%’s.

Here’s a good one. “However, refugees and immigrants are two entirely different specifications. Refugees are defined by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees as someone who has been forced to flee their country because of the fear of persecution, war or violence. An immigrant is someone who moves to live in a foreign country permanently.”

Me: Thanks for this useless string of definitions, but the report includes any foreign-born human, so let’s not try to look for cracks where there are none. I’m have no doubt that this nonsense will play well with your regular audience, though, which is the object of spreading this manure on salted land.

“Also, remember this study was done at the request of Commissioner Dave Piepkorn. He was not in attendance at Thursday’s meeting, and Valley News Live has been told he’s on vacation in Mexico.”

Me: That’s his problem.

Bonus Piepkorn

Asked if he missed anything from the report, Piepkorn said, “No, nothing substantial, that’s for sure.” He then referred to the report as “propaganda and fake news.”

Me: Pieps has the talking points down. He just needs to Tweet them, to start the firestorm, and end up on Hannity.

“I do want to see numbers that are based on facts,” he said. “I won’t tolerate people who try to blow smoke up my dress. A lot of people don’t want to know what those numbers are. I promise we will get those numbers.”

Me: I wouldn’t think of blowing anything up Dave’s skirt. He’s kind of a condescending knob.

“Now that Gov. Doug Burgum has signed into law a legislative study looking at various aspects of refugee resettlement in North Dakota, Piepkorn said he is optimistic the numbers he wants will eventually come out.”

Me: Nobody is optimistic about anything the Legislature does. Does he think these phantom numbers have fallen behind some old filing cabinet in the basement? Maybe.

“They are our guest. If they’re not behaving, they don’t get to stay,” he said.

Me: If “they” aren’t behaving, “they” are arrested and tossed into the pokey. Or possibly shot to death, like the young man in St. Cloud. Severe enough?

“My track record is I ask questions about how our money is being spent,” he said.

Me: Not all of it, dude.

A recall election would provide an “opportunity for a lot of people to send a message to the politically correct,” Piepkorn told Thomas.

Me: If you believe the numbers provided in the report, you’re one of those snowflake politically correct lib%$&# cucks, who doesn’t think he’s smarter than the experts.

The Portweasel

Now for my favorite smear blogger, and agent of misinformation, lying and BS, for Forum Communications. As near as I can figure, all of the big shots were sitting in a darkened office sipping single malt one cold night, and one of them said, “I think we have too much credibility.”

Answer, Rob Port, the cheese-eating cowardly bastard from Minot.

His headline: Refugee Report From Fargo’s Human Relations Commission Reveals Very Little

“The problem with the debate of refugee resettlement here in North Dakota is that we really don’t have a lot of data on its impacts.”

Me: There are no impacts. What are the impacts, Portweasel, and what data would satisfy your chosen bias? He doesn’t know. This is just a copy and paste from earlier posts, a real time saver for no talent yokels, that say the same damn thing, over and over.

“But even the push to address that information vacuum has proved politically harrowing. Those who want to explore the issue are accused of bigotry by strident left wing ideologues.”

Me: Misinformation, lies and BS. Oh, my! A strident harrowing vacuum. What a tool.

“Fargo has seen the largest number of refugees over the year, and city leaders there did ask their Human Relations Commission to study the issue.

When you’re done reading it, you probably won’t know much more about refugee resettlement in the Fargo area than you do now.”

Me: If you’re moron, maybe. Keep in mind that Port isn’t too sharp, or educated, but he really thinks he’s an expert on any topic. He knows how to run a college the size of North Dakota State University, but chooses to use his skills criticizing his “colleagues” from a safe distance. Port is a climate denier, who insists that no oil taxes were cut by the Legislature, so he has trouble with facts. He’s also a Trump apologist, a Kevin Cramer lackey and a corporatist shill. And those are his good qualities.

“The report itself, once you scroll past a lot of the pretty pictures and lists of participants and other pablum, is pretty short. It acknowledges that there isn’t a lot of data available and then describes information gleaned mostly from a National Academy of Sciences study and some anecdotes.”

Me: The pablum came real educated economists, not a professional couch accessory.

“We learn that refugees, much like anyone else, work jobs and earn money and then spend that money in the local economy. Which is great! But not exactly revelatory information.

The one thing the report does illustrate is just how little information is available on refugee resettlement.”

Me: As the witless wonder, who has never had a work-related callous, says, “much like anyone else.” Now, that’s some disturbing news. There has to be a way to twist “normal human” into wicked horned creatures. That’s never been tried before.

Because you can never get enough Port, here are some snippets from his second post on the great refugee report, titled: Wrong Time for a Vacation Mr. Piepkorn

Me: Port loves chastising people.

“The latter issue was the casus belli for the recall effort, but the former has been more damning.”

Me: Yes, Port is also a wiz with Latin.

“For instance, earlier this year was called out for making demonstrably false statements about the head of Lutheran Social Services in North Dakota. That organization handles refugee resettlement in this state, and while they deserve plenty of criticism, it was foolish of Piepkorn to say things that weren’t true. Either he didn’t know what he was saying was wrong or he made things up.” (That’s how he wrote it, folks)

Me: Clownboy says,”it was foolish of Piepkorn to say things that weren’t true.” I would say that telling lies was wrong, not foolish, but I don’t live in the world where telling lies is part of the gig, like cotton candy head, or the Portweasel. I showed the Port, and Forum Communication, the “demonstrably false statements” the round mound made about me. His courageous response, Block me from commenting on any platform.

“And to be fair, the report was mostly worthless.”

Me: Bull$#!*, you three-toed tree sloth, to be fair.

“Do better, Mr. Piepkorn.”

Me: Do better, Portweasel. You’re an embarrassment to the Internet.

Related: One of Port’s finest smears and the rebuttal

Anatomy of an Outrage

“No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.” ― Warsan Shire, Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth

MARTIN C. FREDRICKS IV: Four The Record — Put Your Sustainable Mind/Feet Where Your Mouth Is

Two Events Bringing Together Friends, Neighbors & Civic Leaders

So you say you want to protect the environment. That you’re for clean air, safe water and a livable planet. Mr./Ms. Sustainability… that’s you.

Well, then. You need to be at a couple of events coming up in Fargo, N.D., this month. They’re great opportunities to put your environmental action mind/feet where your environmental action mouth is.

You don’t consider yourself a big-time advocate? No problem. All you need to quality for participation is to be a human being who regularly draws breath.

These events will be worth your while, regardless of whether you live in Fargo. We’ll even overlook the gasoline it takes to drive from out of town.

Please come. We need you here.

Drive for a Cleaner Community

Citizens Local Energy Action Network (C.L.E.A.N.)

Wednesday, April 19, 1 to 4 p.m.

Fargo Public Library, 102 Third St. N., Fargo, N.D.

Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney will be headlining a list of community, industry and advocacy group speakers and presenters at the C.L.E.A.N. Drive for a Cleaner Community.

You’ll be able to see, hear and touch two of the most popular electric vehicles on the market — the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla — check out a Chargepoint commercial charging station and learn the latest about:

C.L.E.A.N. is a Fargo, N.D.-based, citizen-driven, nonprofit organization that advocates for the use of renewable energy and associated technologies in Fargo-Moorhead and, by extension, throughout North Dakota and western Minnesota. A key focus area for the group is to increase the use of electric vehicles. To that end, C.L.E.A.N. is working with elected officials and government agencies toward the development of an infrastructure of commercial, workplace and public charging stations throughout the city and the states.

The event will begin in the parking lot (weather permitting) at 1 p.m. with a welcome from C.L.E.A.N. Chairman Ed Gruchalla and remarks from Mayor Mahoney. Presentations will begin indoors around 1:20 p.m., with the event returning to the parking lot for hands-on opportunities with the EVs.

Click here for the full agenda.

People’s Climate March

People’s Climate Movement

April 29, 2017, 10 a.m.

Broadway, Downtown Fargo, N.D.

Our clean air, safe water and livable planet should be a right. Like all rights, sometimes you have to fight for them.

They’re all under assault by POTUS 45, his pick to head (read: destroy, destruct or dismantle) the Environmental Protection Agency and a complicit Republican-controlled Congress. The People’s Climate Movement is fighting back (peacefully) with marches and demonstrations across the nation.

Join them. Join me. Take a stand for the health and safety of your friends, neighbors, children and grandchildren.

Here’s the message from the organizers:

“Join the People’s Climate Movement this April 29 in Fargo, N.D. and across the country to stand up for our communities and climate.

“On April 29, we will march for our families. We will march for our air, our water and our land. We will march for clean energy jobs and climate justice. We will march for our communities and the people we love.

“Throughout the first 100 days in office, the People’s Climate Movement is organizing a countrywide arc of action, culminating April 29 in Washington D.C., in a powerful mobilization to unite all of our movements. To change everything, we need everyone.

“We’re ready to fight back, and we are ready to build a resistance to Congress’ attacks on our climate, our communities and our jobs that stands alongside the unprecedented Women’s Marches and other powerful rallies that shook the globe in the hours and days following the inauguration of Donald Trump and the 115th Congress.

“In 2014, we said that it takes everyone to change everything. Now, with everything at stake, everyone has a part to play.

“The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.” — Carl Sagan

We encourage responsible activism, and do not support using the platform to take unlawful or other improper action.

Click here, here and here for more information.

So there you have it. I hope to see you all there, Ms./Mr. Sustainability.

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Down In Front!

You bought your ticket, and you’re enjoying the show … when the big guy in front of you stands up. You can’t see around him. He’s taller than you. Larger. Louder. He’s got a lot of muscle, and his brawny friends are cheering him on. When you tell him — politely — that he’s in your way, all he does is shrug: “Tough. This is my spot, and I feel like standing.”

What do you do next?

If you’re Prairie Public Broadcasting, and the fellow blocking your view is Gov. Doug Burgum’s Kilbourne Group, that’s a pretty good question.

The issue is something called air rights, a concept that rarely comes up here on our horizontal landscape. In the land where most “skyscrapers” top out at a half-dozen floors, we tend to spare scant thought for what’s overhead except when it rains during harvest.

But the next addition to Fargo’s skyline is creating a splitting headache for one of its venerable downtown neighbors, and it all comes down to who owns rights to use the air of downtown Fargo. When the Kilbourne Group’s wildly pricey and much-ballyhooed 18-story high-rise starts to loom over the east side of Broadway, it’s going to cause inadvertent pain far greater than sore necks among the flatlanders craning to admire its apex.

Gov. Burgum’s impending prairie edifice is aptly named — Block 9. It will, in fact, block Prairie Public Broadcasting’s signal. The statewide public television and radio network is housed in the American Life Building on Fifth Street North, due east of the 18-story skyscraper to be erected on the 200 block of Broadway. It shoots its microwave stream 30 miles west to its main transmitter near Wheatland, N.D. … and from there to satellite stations that cover 98 percent of North Dakota plus surrounding states and provinces.

Building a 220-foot structure right smack across the street obstructs that path through the ozone. And apparently, according to a statement from Block 9’s builders, that’s just too bad. Since Prairie Public doesn’t own the airspace over that block of Broadway, that makes it solely the public broadcaster’s problem.

Valley News Live, which broke the story last week, reached out to the Kilbourne Group for comment. This was what they heard back: “The partners involved in the Block 9 project and Prairie Public Broadcasting have met multiple times to discuss the television and radio signal tower that uses air rights that Prairie Public does not own. … We are hopeful that Prairie Public Broadcasting will find a solution that works for their organization.”

Owners are generally considered to own the rights to the space above their own buildings. Beyond that, however, they have no influence over who can put what around them. Thus, the fact that public television and radio waves have been blasted from that rooftop for 33 years — and by WDAY TV and Radio for decades before PPTV took it over — carries no special weight when a partnership of two of the region’s top-dollar developers erects its showplace right up in your face.

The big guy sitting in front of you bought his ticket fair and square. If you can’t see around him when he stands up — too bad for you.

In case you haven’t been following the stirring drama of downtown redevelopment, let’s introduce the players. First on the list: the Kilbourne Group, headed by entrepreneur Burgum. Since its first public-spirited foray — redeveloping an aging commercial building to accommodate North Dakota State University’s art and architecture departments — it has gradually acquired the lion’s share of property in downtown Fargo. It’s widely and properly credited for reviving the aging, deteriorating district, bringing vibrant, stylish life to the city center. Today, the Kilbourne Group owns 18 structures between University Drive and the river.

Playing supporting roles in the drama are RDO Equipment, TMI Hospitality and the city of Fargo itself. The $98 million high-rise — Kilbourne’s most ambitious production by far — will house 26,000 feet of retail on the ground; 99,000 square feet of offices; a 350-car parking ramp; an 88-room “European-style boutique hotel,” complete with a ballroom sized for 400 guests plus an outdoor garden for rooftop soirees; and, finally, five stories of million-dollar condominiums, like a luxe layer of glossy frosting on the ultimate prestigious cake.

Back on the ground, the broadcaster is trying to figure out how to literally get around Block 9. Three options are being explored.

One is to relocate its 100-foot monopole and microwave equipment to a site farther from the towering obstruction. Prairie Public engineers will meet with city representatives next week to talk over the most feasible location, the spot the Fargo Police Department now occupies. That possibility involves purchasing or leasing the property (or graciously accepting it as a gift from the city), along with pouring a foundation and all the structural work, plus moving and reinstalling equipment. Estimated cost: $100,000.

Option B is securing rooftop rights to mount the equipment on a taller building. The logical choice, Block 9 itself, is out of the running because of those snazzy condos on its top floors. Talks with owners of other likely candidates are, shall we say, up in the air. The city’s height regulations also come into play. Cost: to be determined.

Plan C? Ferry the broadcast signal to Wheatland via Midco’s fiber optic connectivity. The cost? That’s difficult to say, partly because Midco’s fiber now ends far short of the transmitter location. A current best guess is that upfront construction costs plus ongoing line leases could reach half a million dollars over the next 10 years.

Weigh these against the one option that’ll never fly — not building Block 9 at all. Net cost: zero.

So Prairie Public Broadcasting has run into the perfect storm … and at the worst possible moment. The Republican gang in Washington, D.C., hopes to scratch out the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in its upcoming budget. The North Dakota Legislature seems poised to cut its biennial appropriation for the statewide network to less than half of what it is today. They’re even tinkering with charitable gaming, another source of PPB’s support.

PPB reaches 100,000 TV viewers and 20,000 radio listeners weekly, covering 98 percent of North Dakota plus the surrounding area. The radio audience could diminish, though, due to an unrelated tempest. Prairie Public partners with the University of North Dakota in two Grand Forks public radio stations, KUND and KFJM. UND needs to disengage from the radio business. That means Prairie Public must buy out its share of the broadcast licenses — at a cost well into six figures.

Membership — the largest element of Prairie Public’s support, contributing about 30 percent to its $8 million budget — is holding steady at about 15,000 individuals and 200 corporate sponsors. Their average gifts are growing, up 20 percent over the past decade. But they’re not nearly enough to compensate for cuts and unanticipated costs in other quarters.

These are not serene times for the nonprofit enterprise that brings a dizzying spectrum of broadcast benefits to the North Country — from priceless educational programming that enriches learning in schools and homes all over the region to programs exploring science, history, public affairs and quirky niches like the BBC’s comedies and dramas to cooking shows on Saturday morning.

Compared with the gargantuan numbers swirling around the Block 9 project, Prairie Public’s problematic digits seem rather puny. The dollars needed to cure its transmitter woes amount to barely a blip, considered on the far loftier scale of the Block 9 project … yet the cost represents a devastating body blow to the scrappy public corporation at a time when it’s coincidentally beset by threats from so many directions.

The skyscraper issue, though utterly without malice, is a disaster nevertheless.

So far, the wildly well-heeled Kilbourne Group has offered no help at all to rectify the damage they’ve unwittingly created. Let’s hope the big guy standing up in front sits down to help solve the problem.