Fargo city leaders look for inspiration

Can’t they come up with their own ideas or do they lack any imagination? At any rate, the taxpayers are on the hook for this road trip by the usual suspects. Angry

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – What do a warthog, a walrus and a zebra have in common?These are all animals Mike Williams believes could one day be in downtown Fargo – at least in sculpture form.

Williams, a city commissioner, spearheaded a bus trip Monday to Sioux Falls with a group of about 35 city leaders and stakeholders to examine firsthand what the city is doing to revitalize its downtown and riverfront areas, including the popular Sioux Falls SculptureWalk.

Each year, artists from across the world submit sculptures to be placed on sidewalks in downtown Sioux Falls. A majority of this year’s 55 sculptures – including a golden bust of a zebra, a snarling warthog and a massive walrus with its calf — can be found on Phillips Avenue, an artsy corridor lined with boutiques and eateries a la Fargo’s Broadway.

Such a parade of sculptures would be easy to replicate in Fargo, Williams said.

“A lot of times, the stores fall in love with them, or a passer-by falls in love with them, and they buy them,” he said. “So the artists get exposure, and the people get a selection of sculptures that they fall in love with.”

Four city commissioners – Williams, Dave Piepkorn, Melissa Sobolik and Tim Mahoney – came along on the tour, which was meant to inspire city leaders with ideas to bring back to a growing Fargo. Also along for the ride were city staffers, private engineers and architects, and representatives from the Kilbourne Group, the Fargodome, the Fargo Park District, the Downtown Community Partnership, the Arts Partnership and the F-M Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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ND attorney general says DPI violated open records

Poor Rob Port; he does the Lord’s work. Cry

BISMARCK – The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction violated the state’s open records law when a spokesman failed to share emails that were sent from his personal account but pertained to public business, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem stated in an opinion released Friday.

Rob Port, author of the Say Anything Blog, made a request May 8 for copies of the last 30 days of emails from an address used by DPI spokesman Dale Wetzel.

DPI Superintendent Kirsten Baesler informed Port that the email address, north.dakota.schools@gmail.com, was Wetzel’s personal address and wasn’t set up to do DPI work, but she directed Wetzel to comply with the request

Wetzel also told Port that the address wasn’t used for DPI business but was created to provide background to the press and lawmakers about an anti-Common Core speaker from Wisconsin who presented himself as an expert on the Common Core standards adopted by DPI, according to the opinion.

Wetzel produced three emails in response to Port’s request, assuring him that those were the only emails sent to or from the account in the last 30 days. However, Port later received six emails from exchanges May 5 between Wetzel and WDAY talk radio host Jay Thomas in Fargo.

According to the opinion, Wetzel explained that he didn’t provide those emails to Port because he believed that as a guest host of Thomas’ show, Port would have access to the emails. But Stenehjem noted that Port isn’t a WDAY employee and doesn’t have access to the WDAY account.

“Mr. Port is a separate requestor who is entitled to his own copy of the emails subject to his request under open records law. DPI therefore violated open records law when it failed to produce copies of all records responsive to a records request,” the opinion stated.

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Taco John’s parking lot fight

This either involved soccer or who controls the local scrap metals market. Huh

Fargo police use stun gun, arrest 4 in Taco John’s parking lot fight
By Josh Francis Today at 7:58 p.m.FARGO – Police used a stun gun on one man in an incident in which two people were taken to the hospital after a fight broke out Saturday in the parking lot of the Taco John’s on 32nd Avenue South in Fargo.
Fargo police responded to a call from a Taco John’s employee at 1:36 p.m. that two groups of people – totaling about a dozen – were arguing and at least four were actively fighting. At least two people fighting had baseball bats, Fargo police Sgt. Mark Lykken said.

There was an initial report of a gun seen by a witness but police said there was no gun found at the scene.

Two brothers, Sejad Halilovic, 25, and Denis Halilovic, 19, and their father Senad Halilovic, 45, all of Fargo, were arrested for simple assault. The two brothers were also charged with resisting a police officer, and Sejad was also charged with failure to obey a lawful order to stop an impending assault.

Manuel Golubovic, 20, of Fargo, one of the men the three were allegedly fighting, was also charged with simple assault. All four men were booked into Cass County Jail, Fargo police said.

An officer used a stun gun on Sejad Halilovic after police say he ran toward someone in the opposing group while police were on scene investigating the incident. At least five officers responded to the fight.

The fight allegedly erupted because some people in the two groups knew each other through playing recreational soccer together and one of the members allegedly stole property from another, Lykken said.

Two people were transported to the hospital, one with minor injuries due to the fight. A woman who fainted during the fight was also taken to the hospital.

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A Horse is a Horse, of course, of course….

He should plead insanity; he’s just crazy about those animals! Shocked

Animal cruelty convict Kiefer ordered to wear ankle bracelet; new charge filed in McHenry County related to trail ride

MANDAN, N.D. – A judge here increased bond to $3,000 cash and ordered electronic monitoring Thursday for a Fargo man who was convicted of animal cruelty and now stands accused of violating his probation by possessing horses and a mule.

William Kiefer also faces a new charge in McHenry County for allegedly taking the mule on a trail ride Sunday near Towner in north-central North Dakota. McHenry County State’s Attorney Cassey Breyer charged Kiefer on Wednesday with disobedience of a judicial order, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and $3,000 fine.
Kiefer, 64, appeared in handcuffs Thursday in Morton County District Court in Mandan, three days after authorities conducting a probation search discovered a horse and a mule in the backyard of his north Fargo residence.

That search led to Kiefer’s second arrest in three weeks for an alleged probation violation. Morton County Assistant State’s Attorney Gabrielle Goter filed the original petition Aug. 6 seeking to revoke Kiefer’s probation, alleging that he bought a horse for $2,000 on July 29 from a woman in Wyoming and didn’t follow through with court-ordered mental health services.

In Morton County District Court on Thursday, Goter said her phone and the phones of sheriffs in multiple counties have “blown up” with reports of Kiefer’s activities.

“At this point, he’s moving about the state, he’s moving onto people’s property at night … to move these horses around,” she said. “He’s just in willful violation of the bond conditions and his probation conditions.”

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Three NDUS IT employees put on administrative leave

Do you want to bet it’s “paid leave” and why no names? Angry

Three North Dakota University System employees who dealt in IT security have been put on administrative leave following a massive security breach last winter.

The personal information of more than 290,000 current and past NDUS students was vulnerable for four months before the hack was noticed Feb. 7. Several agencies looked into the security breach and found that the hacked server was most likely used as a “launch pad” for an overseas entity access other servers.
At a State Board of Higher Education Audit Committee meeting Thursday, Vice Chancellor for Information Technology and Institutional Research Lisa Feldner said that after a workplace investigation, it became clear some employees, including the three put on leave, felt server security wasn’t part of their job.

“One of the things we felt following the breach was that the team isn’t as cohesive as I’d like to see it and there’s a lot of, not finger-pointing per say, but employees saying ‘that’s his job, her job, somebody else’s job.’”

Feldner said the IT department has installed high-level intrusion detection on 75 percent of the NDUS network and is working to get the job completed as soon as possible. Scanning tools that look for abnormalities and weaknesses in the system have also been upgraded.

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Burgum touts eliminating N.D. income Taxes

State media won’t like this; they never met a tax they didn’t love. Roll Eyes

Burgum touts benefits for eliminating N.D. income taxes, other policy changes

FARGO – Entrepreneur Doug Burgum this morning called for eliminating North Dakota’s personal and corporate income taxes, stating the move would give the state an edge when it comes to attracting businesses and top worker talent.

“This isn’t meant to be provocative.  We’ve got the (state government) surplus, but we need to turn it into a competitive advantage,” Burgum told the audience at the 2014 State of Technology Conference held at the Fargo Theatre and hosted by Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce.

In addition to zeroing out tax rates for personal and corporate income taxes, Burgum advocated elimination of North Dakota’s ban on same-sex marriage, calling the restriction “a great way for us to drive young talent out of the state.”

He said North Dakota has many things going for it right now and he stressed the potential is there to take things much further.

“This is the time for us to take action on a number of policy fronts,” Burgum said.

Tech firms in North Dakota and in Fargo in particular, he said, are in a position to reap huge economic benefits from the convergence of a number of factors, including the cheap cost of data storage, the growing prevalence of automatic sensing devices, and the pervasiveness of mobile devices.

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Rally Planned Tuesday to Remember Ferguson Teen

I hope these slackers don’t spark another race riot! Shocked


An F-M area community group emerging on Facebook is planning a rally Tuesday night in remembrance of the teenager shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri.
The event takes place Tuesday starting at 5:30 p.m. on the Main Avenue Veterans Memorial Bridge between Fargo and Moorhead. Organizers say the goal is to stand together for those in Ferguson and to end police brutality.
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All students at MPS now eligible for free meals

Free for whom? Certainly not for taxpayers. Angry

It was noon Monday and the Tater-Tot-scented cafeteria at Ronald Reagan College Preparatory High School filled quickly.

Besides tots, the menu offered mini-corn dogs, broccoli, choice of apple sauce or a nectarine, choice of low-fat regular or low-fat chocolate milk.

What does a school lunch like that cost these days?

Not a dime if you’re a Milwaukee Public Schools student.

MPS announced Monday that the district is offering free breakfasts and lunches to all students, regardless of income level, through a federal program.

“Having every student come to school well nourished and ready to learn is absolutely critical to students’ well-being — and it’s critical to our work to improve student outcomes,” MPS Acting Superintendent Darienne Driver said in a news release.

“Children who are hungry can’t concentrate on learning. They are focused on their hunger.”

Last year, 83% of MPS students were eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, which is close to double the state average.

The meals are being provided under the Community Eligibility Program, which allows a school — or in this case, an entire district — that serves mostly low-income students to participate in the National School Lunch Program without having to fill out applications for each household.

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Omdahl: Measures spice up the ballot

We have one now; who is Lloyd trying to fool? Roll Eyes

Measure No. 2 is another constitutional amendment proposed by the Legislature prohibiting the imposition of a tax on mortgages.In the eight states imposing a mortgage tax, the rate is around 1 percent of the mortgage.North Dakota does not have a mortgage tax so this is designed to protect the people from a tax-happy Legislature should one be elected in the future.

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Kat Perkins to play horse park in Fargo

I wonder what this involves. Huh


FARGO – Kat Perkins, star of last season’s “The Voice” on NBC, has announced a show at the North Dakota Horse Park here in September.
The Sept. 12 event marks two firsts: the Scranton native’s first appearance in Fargo since her run on “The Voice,” and the first concert held at the horse park, 5180 19th Ave. N. North Dakota State University football also kicks off its 2014-15 season that day.“We are excited that our first concert is with an artist the caliber of Kat,” said Mike Schmitz, general manager of the horse park. “She is a unique regional talent who is known on a national scale.”Mr. Big lead singer Eric Martin will open for Perkins at 7 p.m. with an acoustic set of Mr. Big hits such as “To Be With You” and “Wild World.”Tickets for the all-ages show cost $20 in advance and can be purchased at the horse park, all Fargo-Moorhead Petro Serve USA locations, or online at www.ticket-e-split.com. A limited number of meet-and-greet packages are available for $60, and groups of up to 20 can rent a 20-person gazebo with free food and drinks for $2,000.
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