Mike McFeely is a WDAY (970 AM) radio host and a columnist for The Forum. You can respond to Mike's columns by listening to AM-970 from 8:30-11 a.m. weekdays.
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Why making it more difficult for citizens to vote is seen as a good idea remains a mystery, but North Dakota's most populous county might be going down that road. Why isn't exactly clear, but this much we know: The issue appears to be breaking down along party lines. Republicans appear willing to take away an hour of voting time for Cass County residents. Democrats don't. In some ways, it mirrors the national debate over access to voting.
What looked like a bombshell story about the Fargo-Moorhead diversion turned out to be—forgive us for using this phrase—a nothingburger. A real, actual nothingburger. KFGO-AM reported this week that U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, representing Minnesota's 7th District, said he's skeptical the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will grant a permit for the $2.4 billion flood control project because of an alleged negative email Peterson received from DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr and Water Management Division Director Kent Lokkesmoe.
Fargo Police Chief David Todd wanted to send a message when he presented his department's annual report to the City Commission this week. So he did, knowing he would not make any friends in high places. Whether anybody at the top is listening, and whether they agree with him, is a whole different story. "Somebody needs to start talking about it," Todd said on my 970 WDAY radio show Tuesday, March 27.
Eric Johnson's experience at January's NFC Championship game in Philadelphia was not as horrible as it was for some Minnesota Vikings fans. But it wasn't exactly a walk in the park, either, and that led the West Fargo resident to complain to the National Football League. It appears his voice is being heard, along with the voices of many other Vikings fans.
Fargo The biggest piece of news regarding Easton Stick coming out of head coach Chris Klieman's press conference this week was that the North Dakota State senior quarterback will miss two weeks of spring practice because of an "elbow issue," to use the coach's verbiage. Stick has tightness in his right (throwing) elbow, Klieman said, and will be limited in how many throws he makes between now and April 20, when spring workouts end. Stick had an MRI, which found no injury, and he has been rehabilitating the elbow. "He's progressing well," Klieman said.
The Fargo City Commission race is going back to the future even more than it already has. Former two-term commissioner Arlette Preston was gathering signatures at the North Dakota Democratic-NPL convention, apparently in an attempt to submit a petition to get on the June ballot. Fargo allows commission candidates two ways of getting on the ballot: Pay a $100 filing fee or gathering 300 signatures of qualified voters. Preston could not be reached for comment.
GRAND FORKS, N.D.—Adam Goldwyn's political activism began shortly after Donald Trump was elected president in November 2016. Like, really shortly. The assistant professor of English at North Dakota State University woke up the morning after the election "heartbroken," Goldwyn said. "I love my country and I'm a great patriot, so I said, 'What can I do?'" Goldwyn said. "So I joined a group that wrote postcards to representatives. I decided that was insufficient, so I went down to the Democratic-NPL office in Fargo and said, 'What else can I do?'"
It's time to ask whether opponents of the Fargo-Moorhead diversion, including local politicians like Rep. Paul Marquart and Moorhead City Council member Heidi Durand, are working in good faith toward a solution or if their true goal is to kill the project entirely. It's also time to wonder if they and upstream opponents of the diversion are violating a federal rule by leaking information from private conversations. At the least, they are being disingenuous in their concern for rural residents impacted by flooding.
Hope, it's been said, is a dangerous thing. So when we discuss the possibility of an 11th Street North underpass in Moorhead, dipping beneath the two sets of railroad tracks between Main, Center and First avenues, keep in mind that being hopeful might lead to disappointment. These BNSF Railway tracks have been causing headaches — and tardiness — for decades. Running east and west through the middle of downtown Moorhead, trains often block traffic on several streets.
The Fargo-Moorhead diversion is close to moving forward again. For supporters, the next week could see some juice pumped back into the project. For opponents, it won't be as enjoyable. Is it a done deal? No. Nobody would be crazy enough to say that. Until there is a ribbon-cutting ceremony dedicating the completed Red River diversion project to the the memory of late, great Fargo mayor Dennis Walaker, nobody should even begin to think about that.