Moorhead mom accused of beating, threatening to cut daughter’s tongue out

Who are we to judge how people from cultures different from our own, discipline their children? 


MOORHEAD – A Moorhead mother is charged with child abuse and felony terrorizing after allegedly beating her 9-year-old daughter with a cord and threatening to cut her tongue out after the victim’s glasses were broken earlier that day.

According to court documents filed Thursday in Clay County District Court, Moorhead police were dispatched to a home on 34th Street Circle South on Tuesday after a resident there reported the girl was hiding in the hallway of their apartment building. The girl told the resident she didn’t want to go home because her mother hurts her, documents state.

At one point, the caller said she heard the child screaming and running from the woman, documents state.

Police found the child in the bathroom of the apartment she shared with her mother, Nyabuony John Jock, court documents state. After police coaxed the girl out, they saw visible, raised spots on both arms, legs and under her right eye, court documents state.

The crying girl told police her mother whipped her legs with a cord because the child’s glasses had been broken.

At one point, Jock produced a pair of scissors and told her daughter she was going to cut out her tongue, and asked her if she had any last words, the daughter told police.

That was when the police showed up, the girl said.

Police interviewed Jock, who admitted hitting the child with a cord because of the broken glasses, documents state.

Jock, 34, is charged with felony terrorizing and gross misdemeanor malicious punishment of a child.

Jock’s next court appearance is set for June 4.

Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Letter: Without union defenders, teachers must battle alone

Isn’t this the same bunch that claims education unions are very weak in this state?

A few days ago, one of your writers asked the question of the North Dakota Education Association, the teacher’s union, if they were going to help with Aaron Knodel’s legal expenses. As a member of the teacher’s union in North Dakota for 19 years and two years in Montana, I am going to try to answer.

In the fall at the beginning of the school year, teachers have to join the union to get help from NDEA with legal problems. The union then acts as malpractice insurance. Outstanding teachers like Aaron Knodel and Mavis Tjon, being outstanding teachers, evidently thought there was no need for malpractice insurance, and in a fair world, they should not have to pay $400 to $600 or $700 a year to NDEA. As these two teachers found out, the world is not fair.

School administration does not like to deal with the teachers union. Why? I can’t give you a good answer, but you may have noticed that both Tjon and Knodel were not members of the teachers union; the two teachers who have gotten the most press time in recent years. As a member of the teachers union, the union would send its own attorney to handle the case at no expense to the teacher. The union also would have handled it and would have done research to find out if the evidence against Knodel was credible. If they found it was not credible, which was not the case, they would have spent large sums of money to prove the case before he was removed from his teaching position.

Knodel’s defense team did a great job, but he lost his job and he had to pay his defense team out of his own pocket.

As a veteran teacher of 22 years, all I can say is “there but for the grace of God go I” and good luck in the future to both teachers.

Tagged , | Leave a comment

Omdahl: ‘Dream’ is fast fading

Does Lloyd realize where the money for his lavish benefits and payments comes from? Who does he think pays for them? 

The America Dream is slowly fading as the size of our dependent population grows. North Dakota has thousands and the nation has millions of dependents who are being propped up with a wide variety of private and government programs designed to alleviate or reduce poverty.

The term “dependent” is being used here to designate people who can’t make it on their own. Among them, I count single mothers, unemployables, underemployed, victims of exported jobs, loafers raised in a subculture of ne’er-do-wells, and predators who count on illegal activities.

To help these dependents make it, we have churches and other charities supplementing government programs with food drives, soup kitchens and overnight shelters. Some end up homeless on the streets.

But the best laid plans for reducing dependency have not been very successful. The food stamp program is indicative of our failure. In 2000, 6 percent of the population depended on food stamps; dependence increased to 13 percent by 2014.

Another measure of success is the Medicaid program created to finance health services for people too poor to pay. Medicaid is busting state budgets even though most of the money comes from federal sources. The pressure on Medicaid will escalate as health care costs skyrocket.

As public costs increase, taxpayer compassion for the dependent population is declining. According to Gallup, satisfaction with anti-poverty programs is at a new low, with support dropping from 26 percent in 2001 to 16 percent in 2015.

Tagged , | Leave a comment

Airman named as gunman in deadly Grand Forks Wal-Mart shooting

He probably had unresolved grievances.  

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Police have identified a 21-year-old airman as the gunman in a deadly shooting Tuesday at the Wal-Mart in south Grand Forks, but are still unsure what prompted his actions.

Marcell Travon Willis, originally from Springfield, Tenn., fatally shot one Wal-Mart employee and injured another before turning the gun on himself early Tuesday.

He was on active duty at Grand Forks Air Force Base. Base officials declined to release any information on Willis—including his rank and how long he had been stationed at the base—saying a news release will be available Wednesday.

Grand Forks police said Willis entered the store, 2551 32nd Ave. S., just after 1 a.m. Tuesday and soon after entering, shot two employees—one of them fatally—with a handgun, though police declined to say what kind of handgun was used. Willis also shot but missed another Wal-Mart employee before fatally shooting himself, police said.

The motive remains unknown, said Grand Forks Police Lt. Derik Zimmel, adding police believe the victims were strangers to Willis.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there was no indication Willis was suffering from a mental illness, Zimmel said. He did not know whether Willis was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the shooting.

Tagged , | Leave a comment

“Minorities suspended from F-M schools at much higher rates than whites”

What rate does state media think it should be?

This reminds me of the joke about the coming apocalypse which the media reports by saying “World ends tomorrow; women and minorities hardest hit!” 


Tagged , | Leave a comment

Lloyd Omdahl: Welcome aboard, Captain

Lloyd’s collectivist utopian dream never dies! 

Welcome aboard, Capt. Mark Hagerott, as our latest chancellor of North Dakota higher education. Your extensive naval experience will serve you well, but the best thing going for you is the lack of exposure to academia. This is not a position for meditators, speculators or theorists. It is a hand-to-hand ground war.

If you know the history of our chancellors, you will know that coming to North Dakota for that position is an act of courage – Purple Heart courage.

Job One will be to define the meaning of “system” in the so-called university system. One of the reasons we have been going through chancellors like wheat bundles through a threshing rig is because we don’t have consensus on the meaning of “system.”

To college presidents, a system means that the chancellor and the Board of Higher Education will not meddle in college affairs unless they get into trouble with the Legislature.

To faculty, a system means less teaching, higher salaries and more fringe benefits.

To the Legislature, a system means bowing, scraping and pandering to whichever committee is demanding attention.

To students, a system means less course content, fewer exams and more binge drinking.

To parents, a system means that college will guarantee a job immediately – or sooner – upon graduation.

Unless these various constituencies get on the same page, conflict and discontent will continue to reign on the higher education scene.

Now you used the expression “management style” in your interview. Don’t ever use such language again.

You are in a state government that can function only because it has 130 committees and commissions, twice as many elected officials as other states, the largest legislature outside of New Hampshire and more local governments per capita than any other state – one for every 235 residents, to be exact.

Everybody who wants an office in North Dakota can have one. Some people have two.

This structure ought to tell you that we can’t tolerate management, so there’s no use aggravating the natives. I know that the expression “chain of command” means something to a military guy, but it is a red flag in North Dakota.

Our nonmanagement style was determined by the “doctrine of first settlement,” which consists basically of every person for him or herself. Individualism and equality pre-empt management and efficiency. This is demonstrated every time the governor goes to the Capitol coffee shop and is greeted with “Hi! Jack.”

We used to have several city managers in North Dakota, but after the good government movement subsided we quietly disposed of them. Minot has the only survivor.

You have cause to pause when Gallup ranked North Dakota as one of the “above average” conservative states but also has a state-owned bank and mill. The Russian wheat-buying teams could never understand it. They bought wheat and left muttering.

We would sell these two political anomalies except they have been very profitable. Their survival for 100 years tells us that socialism works if you give it a chance.

Newspapers reported that the board is providing you with $15,000 for moving expenses. My advice is that you save half of it, just in case. Historically, “just in case” is not as speculative as you may think.

Did they tell you that you were entitled to hazardous duty pay?

It isn’t too late to call in sick or claim a disabling case of autophobia (being alone) or agoraphobia (open spaces).

If bad comes to worse, God can hear you from here no matter what they told you at the Naval Academy.

Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Jane Ahlin: The Patriots’ gifted weasels and ‘conventional wisdom’

This time, however, he seems to be in a protective bubble. Guess we’re to believe he’s shocked (shocked!) to learn what was going on with the team footballs. (See-no evil, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil monkeys come to mind.)

Who is she calling a monkey? 


Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Forum editorial: Oil safety lawsuit unhelpful

Notice that there was no mention of government holding up pipeline construction.

How many people were killed or injured in the recent Amtrak derailment?


While the primary purpose of the American Petroleum Institute is to advocate for its member oil companies, it is disappointing that the institute’s narrow focus all but dismisses matters of public safety. So when the oil lobby this week asked a U.S. Court of Appeals to block rules designed to enhance safety of oil trains, it came as no surprise. The rule the oil lobby doesn’t like is the timeline that would require shippers to retrofit old tank cars with new safety features, or replace the old cars with new ones.

The push for tank car improvements comes after several tank car train derailments that resulted in fires and explosions (two in North Dakota). One accident in Canada caused 47 deaths. Since then, industries involved in shipping volatile Bakken crude oil from North Dakota have been scrambling to improve safety standards in the hope of preventing more fiery derailments. Those interests include railroads, tank car builders and, kicking and screaming, the oil-producing folks.

State and federal regulators have been moving with atypical speed to put in place new safety regulations. North Dakota, for example, imposed in April a tougher oil conditioning standard that is supposed to reduce the volatility of Bakken crude. There’s vigorous debate whether the volatility standard is tough enough, and a derailment and fire a few days ago near Heimdal, N.D., suggests critics of the standard might be right.

Nonetheless, the API’s stance is troubling. Rather than urge its member companies to crank up their operations to adjust to new regulatory demands, the institute marches off to a federal court in order to block safety standards for retrofitting older tank cars. And why? Because the rule would result in a car shortage, API says, which, of course, would mean additional difficulty for oil companies in getting their product to market. The industry needs more time, says API. The calculation might make sense for the API, but it does not for advancing oil train safety.

The institute also crows about a statistic that oil shipment by rail has a 99.997 safety record – the same stat railroads like to underline. Fair enough. But oil train traffic has increased more in the past few years than ever before in railroading history. Therefore, that 0.003 percent of oil trains that derail and explode represents, in real numbers, more trains, more oil train accidents, and more potential for disasters.

Ideally, all the players involved in the transport of oil by rail would welcome a comprehensive collaborative effort to enhance rail safety. But when one of the major players opts for a lawsuit, the at-risk public has to wonder if any of them are serious.

Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Board of higher ed approves 2.4 percent tuition hike for NDSU

Since there is little, if any inflation now; why is higher education so greedy?

Board of higher ed approves 2.4 percent tuition hike for NDSU

BISMARCK—The state Board of Higher Education approved a budget proposal Thursday that includes a 2.4 percent tuition increase at North Dakota State University.

The budget raises NDSU’s yearly in-state tuition to $6,763 from $6,604 for this coming fall. The University of North Dakota’s tuition went up an almost identical amount, to $6,548 from $6,388, for an increase of 2.5 percent.

Under House Bill 1003, tuition increases were capped at 2.5 percent, which means NDSU wasn’t able to request the 6.5 percent increase the administration proposed earlier this year. That increase would have absorbed fees into the sticker price in an attempt to make the cost more transparent, officials said at the time.

NDSU was one of just three campuses that didn’t request the cap of 2.5 percent, according to budget documents. The others were Bismarck State College and Lake Region State College.

Tuition increases fund the student share of a university’s cost to continue, which covers health insurance increases, utilities increases and salary increases not paid for by the general fund, such as those for staff, said Laura Glatt, vice chancellor for administrative affairs.

The student share differs depending on the type of school, but the system aims for students to pay 40 percent at the two research institutions. NDSU’s 2.4 percent tuition increase was the rate calculated to meet that 40 percent student share.

Due to the cap, however, tuition won’t cover the student share at eight other schools, including UND.

“They’ll just have to find another way to address those” costs, Glatt told the board.

Students at both research institutions will also pay more for room and board this fall. NDSU’s room and board will be $7,502, up from $7,282, and UND’s will be $7,236, up from $6,810.

Tagged , | Leave a comment

Forum editorial: Go green with solar project

How many solar panels has state media installed?

A famous frog puppet once said, “It’s not easy being green.” Kermit’s lament was personal. But “green” today can mean environmentally green, and in the 21st century, it is relatively easy being that kind of green. That is, if the will is there to be innovative and visionary.


Fargo-Moorhead’s solar gardens initiative is a project worth pursuing. In conjunction with local electric utilities, the cities are working to establish at least three solar power generating installations that would provide clean power to customers who opted to buy in. A set of Moorhead Public Service panels will be in north Moorhead. Fargo’s will be constructed near the city’s in-ground storage reservoir on 52nd Street South. The site for Cass County Electric’s large installation has not yet been determined.

The solar arrays will feed the grid with up to 120 kilowatts initially, more as additional capacity comes online. Solar energy won’t replace traditional power sources, but if enough customers participate in the program, more solar generated electricity could help meet the two cities’ growing needs. The number of panels will depend on demand from utility customers in Fargo and Moorhead.

There is a cost. A buy-in is, in effect, an opportunity for electric users who don’t have the ability to have solar panels at their homes to help feed solar energy into the grid. The large arrays keep costs down.

Costs are a factor, but so is the energy future. The more renewable sources of power – solar and wind – the more cost-effective those sources become. The more competitive they can be with fossil fuels (wind is there already in some systems), the more incentive there will be for utilities and individuals to invest in solar, in particular.

The cities and participating utilities have come up with a good program. The collaboration is vital for success. Homeowners who can, and who have the inclination to support clean energy, should sign up.

Tagged , | Leave a comment