1. Faster construction of Red River water project would save over $100M, officials say
Officials are making the case that speeding up construction of the Red River Valley Water Supply Project could save more than $100 million in the cost of delivering Missouri River water to eastern North Dakota.
The project is budgeted at $1.22 billion and would pump water out of the Missouri River near Washburn, North Dakota, and send it through a pipeline to an outlet near Cooperstown into the Sheyenne River, a tributary of the Red River.
The construction timeline on the state and local project will largely depend on the pace of state appropriations, which totaled $36.4 million in the 2019-21 budget and $50 million for 2021-23.
2. North Dakota says it will not take over controversial Badlands bridge project
The Little Missouri River in western North Dakota. Forum News Service file photo
A controversial and years-old effort to build a bridge over the Little Missouri River in a remote part of the North Dakota Badlands remains on ice after a top transportation official informed western county leaders last week that the state would not take over the project.
North Dakota Department of Transportation Director Bill Panos told members of the Billings County Commission at a meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 7, that his office reviewed its options and found it does not have the legal authority to “take the lead” on the project.
The meeting came after Billings County Commission Chair Mike Kasian sent a letter to Panos in November informing him that, while the majority of commissioners are opposed to invoking eminent domain to build the bridge, they “have no objection” to the state taking it over.
3. Women in Minnesota politics face growing threats, intimidation
Rep. Marion O’Neill, R-Maple Lake, speaking on the Public Safety Committee, has dealt with threatening behavior.
From the Star Tribune via Forum News Service
The threats arrive by mail, email, voicemail and social media. Hateful comments are shouted out of a car window or in line at the grocery store. More than ever before, the threats come home, in the form of protests or strangers circling the block.
As women make significant inroads and their numbers grow in politics, so too have the number of threats and acts of intimidation against them. Threats have long been a troubling aspect of elected life. But in interviews, women throughout Minnesota politics described a rise in vitriol and a worsening atmosphere.
4. City gives final OK to Africa liquor license transfer
The Africa International Restaurant and Nightclub is along 45th Street in southwest Fargo. The official address is 4554 Seventh Ave. S.
David Samson / The Forum
Fargo’s Liquor Control Board and City Commission gave unanimous and a quick thumbs up to the final transfer of the liquor license for the embattled Africa International nightclub on Monday, Dec. 13.
The new license holders, who have owned the building, are longtime city real estate businessman Tyler Brandt, Matthew Olson and Daniel Hicks. They plan to change the name of the business to Summit Restaurant & Nightclub at 4554 Seventh Avenue South on the southwest side of Fargo along 45th Street.
The club, which has been without a liquor license since July 1, is planning to open on New Year’s Eve and will be appealing to the same clientele and the local neighborhood, but with heavily increased security measures.
5. North Dakota Attorney General warns of recent gift card scams
North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem at a news conference June 9, 2021, in his Bismarck office.
Michelle Griffith / The Forum
North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem is warning residents to be mindful of fraud during the holiday season after a recent spate of gift card scams racked up tens of thousands of dollars.
The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection division reported Monday, Dec. 7, that it received nine reports of gift card fraud totaling $45,000 over the last two weeks.
Stenehjem advised residents to buy gift cards only as presents for family or friends, noting “gift cards are a favorite tool of scam artists.”