5 things to know today: Police staffing, 5 finalists, Wind farm, Royalty dispute, Antique car race
A select rundown of stories found on InForum.
1. Fargo leaders clash at fiery meeting on police staffing, morale
Fargo Police Chief David Zibolski and other police officials addressed staffing and morale concerns during a heated informational meeting of the Fargo City Commission Tuesday morning, Jan. 18, that featured harsh exchanges between members of the commission.
Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney organized the meeting after several media outlets reported on officer vacancies the police department experienced in the last year or so.
A WDAY-TV report that aired on Friday, Jan. 14, and also appeared on InForum.com found 25 officers left the police department in 2021. The report noted that, according to exit interviews, more than 30 people — a combination of officers and civilians — left the department in the last 14 months. Some officers who left cited department leadership as a reason for leaving.
2. Panel selects 5 finalists for president of North Dakota State University
The field of candidates for president of North Dakota State University has been winnowed to five finalists who will be interviewed on campus.
The North Dakota State University Presidential Search Committee announced the finalists on Tuesday, Jan. 18, selected from a national pool of candidates.
“The candidates bring leadership experience from flagship universities, institutions with robust and growing research portfolios, and land grant institutions,” Jill Louters, vice chairwoman of the State Board of Higher Education, said in a statement.
3. North Dakota's largest wind farm slated for coal county with anti-renewables rules
One of the North Dakota counties that enacted local anti-renewable energy ordinances in response to plans to shutter the Coal Creek Station power plant could become home to the state’s single largest wind farm.
Great River Energy, the Minnesota-based electric cooperative in the process of selling Coal Creek Station, announced Tuesday, Jan. 18, plans to purchase power from a proposed 400-megawatt wind farm in central North Dakota’s McLean County, not far from its coal plant.
The announcement comes two weeks after Great River Energy and the buyer of Coal Creek Station, the Bismarck-based Rainbow Energy Marketing Corp., informed Minnesota utility regulators of plans for a major wind farm in North Dakota.
Discovery Wind, which will be developed by the Virginia-based Apex Clean Energy, is expected to be online by 2025. Minnesota regulators two weeks ago approved the transfer of the 436 mile transmission line tied to Coal Creek, which would carry electricity generated from the plant and proposed wind farm to the Twin Cities area.
4. North Dakota to appeal ruling in royalty dispute with oil company
The state of North Dakota will appeal a ruling rendered last year that favored an oil company in a longstanding dispute over old royalty payments, Land Commissioner Jodi Smith told Forum News Service.
A western North Dakota judge ruled in favor of Newfield Exploration and against the state in October, but the three-page judgment in the extremely complex and potentially precedent-setting case left major questions unanswered.
The Board of University and School Lands, which includes Gov. Doug Burgum and four other statewide elected officials, recently decided to appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court, Smith said.
Newfield sued North Dakota in 2018 after the state Department of Trust Lands demanded back payments from the company and about 40 other oil and gas firms that were deducting the costs of transporting and purifying oil from their royalty bills for years.
5. Start your engines: 2,300-mile antique car race set to roll into Fargo
The Hemmings Motor News Great Race will end this year in front of the Fargo Theatre on June 26.
The race will begin in Warwick, Rhode Island, on June 18, and "120 of the world's finest antique automobiles" will begin rolling onto Broadway in downtown Fargo at about 1 p.m., according to a news release from the Fargo-Moorhead Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The Great Race is an old car rally presented by Hagerty Drivers Club. It has a history of 39 years, and so far has made its way through 46 of the 48 contiguous United States, race director Jeff Stumb said in the news release.
"In 2022, the Great Race will finally be able to add the last two states to its schedule, Rhode Island and North Dakota," Stumb said.