5 Things to Know Today: Severe Storms, Budget Reserves, Travel Spending, DAPL Docs, Looking Back – InForum

1. A potential tornado devastates the city as winds destroy communities in eastern South Dakota

The National Weather Service sent teams to investigate storm damage from high winds here and to determine if the hurricane was responsible for the damage to the school, the destruction of many homes, downed power lines, and significant damage to trees.

The damaging winds in Castlewood, a farming town south of Watertown, were part of a wave of storms that swept through eastern South Dakota and continued into Minnesota Thursday night, May 12.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the damage was caused by a widespread, long-lasting gust of wind that swept across the northern Great Plains and upper Midwest, and satellite imagery showed the storm swept through the region.

Carrie Slegel said the winds causing significant damage in Castlewood – the hometown of Governor Kristi Noem – were “probably a hurricane,” but there are three survey teams on the ground assessing damage here and in other towns in northeastern South Dakota, including Watertown. . , a meteorologist at the Meteorological Service in Aberdeen.

Read more from The Forum’s Patrick Springer

2. North Dakota’s huge budget reserves are the second largest in the country

North Dakota Republican Representative Jeff Diltzer chairs a meeting of the House Appropriations Committee at the state capitol on March 14, 2019.

Forum news service file image

North Dakota’s coffers are swelling, in large part due to the recovery in oil prices and the leadership of state budgetary conservative officials.

North Dakota’s financial reserves are so huge, in fact, that it ranks second in the country, according to an analysis by the Pew Trust.

Pew’s Comparison of Interstate Relative Fiscal Reserves used two measures of the size of each state’s rainy day fund, formally known as the Budget Stabilization Fund.

Pew’s analysis found that North Dakota’s rainy day fund would be enough to run the state government for 115.7 days, using figures for the end of fiscal 2021 for each state. Wyoming ranked first, with enough rainy day money to last 300.8 days.

The 50 countries averaged 34.4 days. Minnesota reserves on rainy days will last 42.7 days, and South Dakota reserves will last 41.7 days.

If total reserve balances are included, states can pay their bills a little longer: 289.3 days in North Dakota, behind 300.8 days in Wyoming, and both far above the 50-state average, 85.1 days. Minnesota reserves will last 59.7 days, and South Dakota reserves will last 58.3 days.

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3. Senator Holmberg has spent more travel than any North Dakota legislator in the past decade

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North Dakota Senator Ray Holmberg, R-Grand Forks, speaks on the Senate floor in November 2021.

Jeremy Turley/Forum News Service

A North Dakota lawmaker is under scrutiny for exchanging text messages with an imprisoned child porn suspect, and he has spent more taxpayer money on travel over the past decade than any other lawmaker in the state, according to state records.

Senator Ray Holmberg, a Grand Forks Republican, collected $125,810 in travel expenses between 2013 and April 15, 2022, according to a North Dakota State Legislature expenditure report obtained by the forum. Holmberg went on about 70 out-of-state trips that included meetings in Canada, Puerto Rico, Europe and across the United States

Together, North Dakota lawmakers spent nearly $2.1 million on travel during that time. That equates to about $9,200 on average for the 229 lawmakers who have served in the North Dakota legislature since 2013.

The Associated Press first reported travel expenses, noting that Holmberg spent nearly 14 times the average amount his colleagues spent. Expense reports prior to 2013 were not available.

Holmberg recently came under fire after the forum reported that he exchanged dozens of text messages in August with Nicholas James Morgan Derosier, a 34-year-old Grand Forks man facing a federal trial on child pornography charges. Prosecutors also allege that Morgan DeRozier took two children from their home in the Twin Cities to his home in Grand Forks with plans to sexually assault them.

Read more from The Forum’s April Baumgarten

4. Petition for power conversion files after the ND High Court ruled that DAPL’s security documents are public

The Knights broke news of the arrival of law enforcement officers on October 27, 2016, at the site of the Access Pipeline protest in Dakota, North Dakota Hoe.  1806 North Ball Cannon.  Michael Vosberg / Forum Photo Editor

The Knights broke news of the arrival of law enforcement officers on October 27, 2016, at the site of the Access Pipeline protest in Dakota, North Dakota Hoe. 1806 North Ball Cannon. Michael Vosberg / Forum Photo Editor

The parent company of Dakota Access Pipeline has petitioned for a rehearing in the North Dakota Supreme Court after it ruled that documents between the pipeline operators and the private security company are public documents.

On Thursday, May 12, Energy Transfer filed a petition for rehearing, stating that the state’s highest court “overlooked and/or misunderstood” some of the facts of the case and the law.

The company argued that the disputed documents are not public because they do not meet the Open State Record Act’s definition of “records,” and have not been “received for use in connection with official or public business” β€” a requirement that would make documents public.

Read more from Michael Griffiths of the Forum News Service

5. Bresciani looks back on 12 years as NDSU president: ‘I wish I could do it again’

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NDSU President Dean Bresciani on May 6, 2022.

Chris Flynn / Forum

If given the opportunity, North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani said he would do so again “in a heartbeat.”

Bresciani’s 12 years as president at a land-grant research university have included major successes and some controversies, among them the State Council for Higher Education’s decision last year not to renew his contract.

Bresciani’s last day as president is Monday, May 16, and in the following months, he will move to a tenure professor position at the school.

β€œIt comes to me faster than I could have imagined. On the day I handed over the keys, I think he would probably hit me hard,” said Bresciani.

Forum sat for an hour-long interview with the outgoing president in the old main building on campus on May 6.

Read more from The Forum’s Robin Huebner

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