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January 16, 2013     Walsh County Press
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.................................... PAGE 4 PRESS PERSPECTIVES JANUARY 16, 2013 F ROM TH E EDITOR'S DESK... BY ALLISON OLIMB EDITOR, WALSH COUNTY PRESS When I was in college, the head of the English Department, Dr. Bill Laskowski, was an excellent teacher, but he was also ,an amazing man. He was the kind of guy you could sit down and have a chat about every- thing fi'om life to pop culture. He was my movie reviewer tbr the col- lege paper and one of my favorite professors. To use a literary refer- ence, for we English majors he was the Dumbledore to our collec- tive Harry Potter. Above all things, he was the mas- ter of Tolkien. He could relate any lesson to Lord of the Rings. He passed away suddenly in 2007 at the age of 57. So, last Friday when the wind started to blow and the roads start- ed to get slick and the word blizzard was getting thrown around I had to laugh because The Weather Chan- nel dubbed this one Winter Stonn Gandolf. Though the Tolkien is Gandalf with an "a'" not an "o", I didn't care. Laskowski would have gotten a kick out of this one. While most people were hoping it would miss us, I was tom between having tickets to the hockey game and wanting to make the chive to Grand Forks and wanting to use Gandolf jokes in the newspaper. Gandolf the Grey, Gandolf the white, the famous phrase "You shall not pass.".., the possibilities were endless. So all while I worried about slippery roads and what junk food would sustain us if we were trapped for days the words of Laskowski reciting Lament for the Rohirrim echoed in my head. "Where is the horse and the rid- er'? Where is the horn that was blowing?" It was a bittersweet memory, but I couldn't help but smile. I just knew that somewhere in heaven Laskowski was getting just as big of a kick out of this Gandolf talk as I was. And that made my weekend trapped inside of my house completely worthwhile. Like" the Ifblsh Coun(v Press on Face- book atut cheek out our blog at http.'//'walsh- COllll(Fpress. wordpress, corn Hello, Hail the Bison! Hail the Bison! I'm sure everyone is aware of NDSU (that's North Dakota State University to Harding County read- ers) wimfing its second consecu- tive National Championship! And doing it in convincing fashion, al- though the comnentators seemed to think it was all luck. But to me, the real test ofchana- pionship blood is this morning. Monday morning. The reading of the roll at work for those Bison na- tion fans. I know that road to Frisco, Texas. As a hotshot driver, I went through Frisco. And I know it is a long way from here. And that was just driving eleven hours per day. Getting a good nights rest in motels along the way. Eating right. And not imbibing in the consumption of adult beverages. Friends werc sending me pic- tures of the tailgate party the night Hat before the game. After a twenty plus hour drive from the snow clad prairies of the north. Thousand upon thousands of fans. The tail- gate party lasted long into the night. And then, knowing nay friends be- gan a couple hours before game time on Saturday. Which is fine and dandy. Been there. Done that. You see, I too, attended the cow col- lege on the Red. You didn't know that? That I was a Bison? For a while. A short while. But I attended the games. But, alas, I forgot to attend the classes! And about Christmas time, Tips the season of giving, they gave me a slip and asked me not to return to  Fargo. But that is another story that I probably won't delve into. The fans of the Bison drove twenty plus hours to Frisco. Then they held a pep rally that lasted many more hours. Then they tail- gated before the game. Then they retired to various venues to watch Green Bay demolish the Vikings. And they celebrated Packer and Bi- son victories, and Viking losses. The Nordic bred fans of the Dako- tas are used to losing playoffgames and celebrate those because next year will be different. But then, on Sunday morning, the tide once again turns north, like the Red River of the North, and begins its journey towards Lake Winnipeg. And planes and buses and pickups and cars begin the trek. And the songs of victory fade, as heads lean against windows. And arguments of whose turn to drive begin. And big fat guys on air- planes wish they weighed one fifty instead of three hundred (trust me, I know this feeling). And like little children, they start wondering, "How much farther is it?" It's far my fans, it's far. It is much farther home than it was to Texas. And now, on Monday morn- ing, the test of a true champion be- gins. That eight o'clock class, or that six o'clock wake up for work. Hail the Bison! And book tick- ets for next year. Later, Dean "Hey! What you guys doing down there'?" "We're digging out space for an- other vault?" "Nobody is supposed to know about these vaults under the floor of the Capitol. Who told you about them?" "The state treasurer, that's who. And who are you?" "I'm the watchman who's sup- posed to be guarding this place. And who are you?" "We are deputies of the state treasurer working down here to ex- pand the vault space before the Sanhedrin votes to put more money in storage." "It's not the Sanhedrin, stupid. It's the Legislature." "'Son3;. I know more Bible than government - whoever makes the rules and regulations." "How many of you guys are down there?" "Two us - one to dig and one to haul dirt. When my bucket is full, I take the rope ladder up and dump the dirt somewhere. It's easier to spread the dirt when the Legislature is up there. Now, Mr. Watchman, we appreciate the work but I would Lack of Trust Spawns Trust Funds like to know why we need so many vaults down here." "What's your complaint?" "First, we have two big vaults marked 'Rainy Day Fund.' We have so much money saved for rainy days that Noah the Nervous has started building a new ark." "That's only two vaults." "I haven't even started to tell you how many other vaults are down here. We have a really big one with a sign that says: 'Heritage Fund - Do Not Open Until 2017.' What's that all about?" "That's oil money. It's locked up by the state constitution so the Legislature can't spend it until 2017." "Who doesn't trust the Legisla- ture with the money?" "In this case, it's the Legisla- ture. They put this constitutional amendment on the ballot to keep themselves from spending it." "If they can't trust themselves with the oil money, how can they trust themselves with the sales tax money'?" "Don't ask me. I'm only a watchman, i guess it's one of those mysterious twists of the mind you find in legislatures." "Hey, Mr. Watchman, this is the guy down here doing the digging. The way I figure it they've never seen so much money in their liives and they got so scared they wamted to bury it in a root cellar. And here we are 30 feet under the Capitol basement making an official state root cellar." "When are you guys coming up? I'm getting nervous. Thiis is supposed to be a secret cache and I don't want it to get discovered on my watch." "There are more vaults down here. We have a little one marked 'Common Schools Trust Fund.' Then there's one marked "For Oil Counties Only.' Here's one called the 'Resources Trust Fund.' If we have all these dedicated funds be- cause we can't trust ourselves with the money shouldn't they be called mistrust funds? "Hey, Mr. Watchman, it's the digger again. Why didn't they just make one big vault in the first place and call it the 'General Trust Fund'?" "That takes thinking ahead and gome of us have trouble with that." "Do you know why we were hired to dig out space for another huge vault? What's going in here'?" "Well, the legislators still have more money than they know what to do with so the state treasurer wants to be prepared for a new trust fund." "Mr. Watchman, the Capitol will eventually collapse if we keep dig- ging like this." "One problem at a time. Just keep digging and get out of here.' The good, bad and possible ugly of the 63rd Legislative Assembly In popular culture the movie title "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" has been used to describe the upside, downside and outward appearance of something that isn't always pretty. That might be a good way to de- scribe the 63rd Legislative Assembly that began up to an 80-day-run Tues- day (Jan. 8). Will it be a passion play, comedy, circus, serious dramatic show or an award-winning performance? Time will tell, but it might be a mix of all of those. There is, however, plenty of upside at the start of the session. Fol- lowing is a brief look at the "good": North Dakota's 47 senators and 94 members of the House will be de- ciding how to spend a quickly growing reservoir of cash as a result of the state being No. 2 in the nation in domestic oil production. Gov. Jack Dal- rymple has proposed a $12.8 billion budget. Taxable sales in the state were up $1.2 billion in the third quarter to $6.735 billion, a 22.4 percent year-over-year increase. North Dakota's Legacy Tax fund has about $710 million as a result of collecting about 30 percent of oil taxes assessed in the state since September 2011. Ap- proximately $60 million alone was deposited in December 2012. The state's oil-driven budget surplus is expected to reach $1.6 billion by June. North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation at 3.1 percent with just over 12,000 people unemployed and a June population of 699,628 residents. North Dakota's 3.1 percent unemployment is 4.7 percent lower than the national average of 7.8 percent. Finally, quality of life generally exceeds national averages. Cost of liv- ing in North Dakota is 7.5 percent lower than the national average. Vio- lent and property crime is less prevalent. The number of residents per square mile is 10 (the national average is 87). Air quality ranks 95.6 on a 100-point scale, compared to a national 82.8 average ranking. And household income is just below the national average of just over $50,000. But accepting the unpleasant parts of something, "taking the bad with the good," is an uneasy proposition, especially when some see the down- side growing in direct proportion (or even more accelerated) to positive aspects. That reality is concerning for those who will beg for a focus of remediation during the legislative session. Following is a brief look at the not-so-positive results of North Dakota's oil boom which, admittedly, has produced a strong economy. State roads, especially in the west, are not as safe as they once were. They are crowded with large tankers and other big trucks; the road sur- face is often in a state of disrepair, snowy or icy this time of year, and full of ruts and holes, despite recent efforts by the state at maintenance. The year 2012 ended with 168 traffic deaths, the first time in more than 30 years that the number exceeded 150. Most recently, six men from Mis- souri, who were looking for work, were killed in an icy crash on 1-94. The governor's proposed budget includes $2.7 billion to rebuild roads and calls tbr 15 new Highway Patrol officers and 171 total new state employees. Air, land and water quality concerns are raised daily with news and other accounts of hazardous material spills. Federal regulators have ex- pressed concem about trains and trucks carrying tainted and unsafe waste and raw products - as well as chemical drilling techniques. The pro- posed budget includes $500 million for water projects. Oil-well blowouts are becoming common. Most recently, a blowout near Watford City spilled 1,400 barrels ofoil, 740 barrels of saltwater and 2.2 million cubic feet of natural gas. A fire at a recycling facility near the town of Wibaux, close to the Montana-North Dakota state line at the edge of the Bakken Play, injured three workers and was allowed for days to burn out because of inadequate firefighting resources. Rapid population growth has seriously stressed infrastructures. As an example, complaints are routine at postal offices about long lines and late, retumed and undelivered mail, and Williston had about $434,000 in bad debt in 2012 -the majority coming from unpaid ambulance bills trans- porting those injured on or related to jobs. Housing, when available, is ex- tremely expensive. Cost of living is increasing. Service of other businesses often can't find workers or must entice them by paying sometimes dou- ble the minimum wage. While crime is still less than the national average, strange situations for North Dakotans are increasing. For instance, a man from Colorado wanted on multiple charges, barricaded himself inside a New Town home causing a community lockdown; the standoff eventually ended when part of the house was bulldozed. That December event followed a November New Town tragedy when a grandmother and three grand- children were shot and killed by a man who later committed suicide. And in early December three brood mares were shot and killed near the en- trance to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park north unit. How the Legislative Assembly will address the downside associated with the upside should be the theme of this session, along with the always present major considerations such as agriculture, education, health, and tax relief. More than $370 million has been proposed for properly tax re- lief, $549 in school funding, along with an $89 million increase for higher education, including seven new employees (The chancellor seeks 33 new employees). But none of the heavy lifting will likely begin until after a wann-up period when less significant bills and resolutions are brought forward -- a tradition of North Dakota's representatives. More than 1,000 bills are expected during the session. Gov. Jack Dalrymple's 2013-15 biennium budget will again be the starting point. Its estimates do not include new fees or taxes - but sug- gests a rapidly growing surplus and Legacy Fund. Herein is the potential "ugly" of this session. Who gets how much money? What deals are made in the process? What influence can lobby- ists yield? Will leaders (with power) provide real leadership or expect par- tisans to blindly follow? Will citizens be the first consideration'? Those are the insights, as well as the actual progress, or lack of the same as it impacts North Dakota, that will sought to be included in this weekly column during the 63rd Legislative Assembly. And, for context, keep in mind the following words credited to Prince Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck: "Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made." John lrt9/" decided to letire early in &te 2011 as editor el'the Bismarck Tribune. He" is now a fiee- lance writer, private investigator and management consultant. He can be reached at johnrobel tb'b),@hotmaiL com. Resources Iml00rove Small-business 00uccess Starting a business always has a level of risk. Data gathered through the years by the U.S. Census Bureau show that less than one-half of businesses will still be around five years after starting. "Those odds probably make you wonder if starting a business is a good idea," says Glenn Muske, the North Dakota State University Extension Service's rural and agribusiness enterprise development specialist. "Yet a study of businesses that are still going has found thctors that can improve your chances." One important factor is prior work experience, in Kauffman Foundation interviews with founders of successful business- es, 98 percent of those surveyed said that prior work experience was crucial. Experience in the same or a closely related business seems to offer even more of an advantage. Yet any experience can offer in- sight into owning one's own busi- ness and, at times, experience in a nonrelated field might even yield some unique transferable knowledge. An interesting note regarding prior work experience was that it did not necessarily have to come from working in a successful business. Nearly 50 percent of business owners indicated that learning from failure was ex- tremely important. "Forming networks and having a mentor are also important," says Muske. "With these re- sources, you can tap the knowl- edge base of others to help you through the highs and lows of starting and operating your own business." Effective networks just do not happen, though. They require ef- fort, constant tending and adding nev lnembers HoweVer, What is most important is that you must be willing to offer ideas and support in addition to asking for them. Successful business owners have shared several other items that also made a difference in keeping their business ongoing. These include: Starting with sufficient capi- tal Knowing what your cash flow needs will be and when ad- ditional capital might be required Being prepared to put in.the time and effort required. Business development experts often joke that entrepreneurs enjoy quitting their 40-hour-per-week job so they can spend 80 hours a week running their business. Learning not only the tech- nical skills needed but the business management and people skills required Knowing the market you will be in as well as the industry, and understanding who your com- petitors are A final key in developing a suc- cessful business requires that the owner include his or her family in the discussions about starting. Family support is crucial because starting a business certainly will require family financial resources and may very well require fami- ly time. And it certainly will require a change in family interactions and relationships. Dad and Mona may no longer be able to attend a child's event. It is important that everyone understand this from the beginning. As you think about starting your business - and you probably will because starting a business re- mains the goal of more than 50 percent of the population - stop by your local Extension Service of- rice at 284-6624 for ideas and in- formation. Extension can serve as part of your vital network. Also visit NDSU's slnall-busi- ness support website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/smatlbusiness and sign up for the monthly newsletter. Additional NDSU sup- port can be found at: Facebook, www.facebook.com/N DSUexts- mallbiz; Twitter, @gmuske; and Pinterest, http://pinterest.com/ gamuske/. Another online re- s6urce'is www.eXtension.org/en- trepreneui'ship. The Small Business Adminis- tration and its related organiza- tions, such as the Small Business Development Centers and Service Corps of Retired Executives, along with many other state agen- cies, also can be valuable re- sources. For more, mjbrmatian, cantacl glenn.muske@ndsu.edu or call (701) 328- 9718. }9tt also can visit our wehsite. v4'. ag, ndsu.edu/imallbusiness. Dates to Remember: 1-24 Walsh County Livestock Improvement Meeting, Alexander House Park River Noon Editor's Note [ The Around the County columnn was not available this week. It will return as soon as possible. 7wizzlets 16 OZ, bg in Sttawbelry, Cherry, Chocolate and 8lack licorice Charmin Double Roll LIItra Strong. 20 roils. WAYNE'S VARIETY "A Store With Something For Everyone" WAYNE C. JENSON, OWNER Cavalier - Park River - 284-6612