Category Archives: Opinion

Hypocritical Actions on Restoration of Mined Farmland

Dear Editor:

North Dakota has the strongest law in the United States on restoration of mined farmland, but the state Supreme Court’s recent Coal Lake ruling threatens to make it a dead letter.

The court upheld the Public Service Commission’s decision that recreation was a “higher and better” use for 86 acres of mined land than raising crops.

The coal companies think up these alternatives and so far the PSC has given its blessing to all of them – golf courses, dirt bike tracks, shooting ranges, waste disposal pits. Adding these to what’s considered a “higher and better” use exempts the coal company from meeting farm productivity standards. Continue reading

The Slurping Sound at the Bottom

The town of Berezniki in the Ural Mountains of Russia is home to more than 150,000 people. Built as a labor camp in the days of the USSR, the town sits directly on top of the mine shafts where millions of tons of potash were extracted.

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North Dakotans Come Together to Oppose Measure Three

By The North Dakotans Against Measure 3

North Dakotans Against Measure Three, a broad-based, grassroots co­alition of religious leaders, medical and legal professionals and concerned citizens, have launched a campaign to defeat Mea­sure 3, which is on the June 12 Primary Election ballot.

“We all believe strongly in reli­gious freedom, but Measure 3 is vague and confus­ing and just goes too far,” said Tom Fiebiger, a former North Dakota State Senator and an attorney with more than 25 years of experience in helping North Dakotans fight discrimination. “This measure is so poorly written that it will open the door to endless litiga­tion and legal wrangling, clogging our already crowded courts and costing tax payers more of their hard-earned money.”

“We don’t need Measure 3. Re­ligious Freedom is already protected by the very first amendment to the U.S. Constitution and in Article 1, Section 3 of the North Dakota Constitution,” said Rev. Wade Schemmel of Bismarck.

“Unlike existing law, Measure 3 puts an individual’s religious beliefs ahead of the common good of all North Dako­tans. That’s not how things work in our state.”

“In America, we are all entitled to our own religious beliefs, but that doesn’t give any­one the right to harm other peo­ple,” said Fiebig­er. “If Measure 3 passes, it could allow a person to take advantage and use personal religious beliefs to claim the right to break important laws that are meant to protect all of us, like laws against abuse and discrimination.”

“For example,” Fiebiger explained, “a person could take advantage and claim that domestic violence laws don’t apply to him because his religion tells him he can discipline his wife as he sees fit.”

It’s very concerning,” said Schem­mel. “This law could be manipulated and harm others, and that’s why we are opposing this Measure 3.”

Not a Grassroots Movement

Betty Mills

Despite some rude and ugly behavior on the part of some of the Tea Party participants, the notion of a grass roots movement concerned with government was a comforting one. The low voting rate of our citizens has been a black mark on the national report card and here were people willing to stand up and be counted, even be mouthy.

Well, burst that bubble.

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New Media Project Describes Oil Country, One Story at a Time

When you’re working in the oil patch thousands of miles from home, friends are more important than ever. Just ask Kelvin Lacey, Alfredo Cantu and Julio Pulido. Photo courtesy of Todd Melby

Meet Todd Melby, a portraitist who constantly repaints the common man. With words. He’s covered all kinds of stories, from break­ing news to features, but his specialty is helping people tell their own stories, one at a time.

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The “Fighting Sioux” vs. “The Fighting Trolls”

Reprinted by permission of the author and The High Plains Reader, Fargo, ND

Sioux eyes are smiling”
- Grand Forks Herald

“Ole says: ‘It’s awful to grow old by yourself. Lena hasn’t had a birthday in seven years.’”
- Red Stangland

“Troll: a dwarf or giant in Scandina­vian folklore inhabiting caves or hills.”
- Merriam Webster Dictionary

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Understanding Measure 2

The North Dakota League of Cities published a paper entitled “Words Matter: Understanding Mea­sure Two” that raises several unanswered issues regard­ing the measure to eliminate property taxes in North Da­kota. This Measure is a con­stitutional measure that is to be decided by the voters of the State and as such they should look at the following concerns before voting on the measure.

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Greatest promoter of bands should be themselves

By Amber Bernhardt

After 30 some years of soul searching I am proud to admit that I grew up right here in this burg. But back at the age of 18, I couldn’t wait to skip town and make a break for the door as soon as I was able. After somehow snagging a BFA in Fargo, I made my way to Chicago where I happily hung my hat as a creative producer and promoter. While working in film, theatre, dance and music for many years in the wonderful Windy City, I fell in everlasting love with the cultural mecca and made it my business to indulge in all things arts and entertainment.

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Letter to the Editor by Amber Smith-Heinert

Dear Editor,

When I initially joined the Missouri Valley Family YMCA I believed, like many, that it was a wonderful facility that allowed me to achieve my fitness goals. What I soon found out, in addition to the amazing facility, was the impact the Y has on our kids and our community. The Y understands that in order to truly impact a community we must invest in our kids and our families

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Recycling Rebellion

Colleen Reinke

By Colleen Reinke

I am fed up. I have put the city’s public works department on notice that I am p*ssed.

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