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5 things to know today: Legacy Fund, Guard deployment, Border visit, NDSU president, Theory ban

A select rundown of stories found on InForum.

1. Amid complaints of sluggishness, North Dakota board overseeing in-state Legacy Fund investment replaces chairman

A board tasked with forming a procedure for investing part of the state's oil tax savings account in local companies has picked a new chairman.

The Legacy and Budget Stabilization Fund Advisory Board elected Fessenden Republican Sen. Jerry Klein as chairman Wednesday, Dec. 8, demoting longtime chairman Rep. Keith Kempenich, R-Bowman, to second in command.

Under Kempenich's direction, the board and the state Retirement and Investment Office drew criticism for perceived delays in the rollout of an in-state investment program using the voter-approved Legacy Fund.

Read more from The Forum's Jeremy Turley

2. Minnesota National Guard to deploy to 9 nursing homes by week's end, health official says

Josinio Andrew, 25, practiced raising a patient's hospital bed rail in front of members of his National Guard unit on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, at Century College in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. Andrew is one of hundreds training to becoming a nursing assistant or aide as part of a mission to support Minnesota's long-term care facilities. Dana Ferguson / Forum News Service

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Nine teams of trained Minnesota National Guard members are set to deploy nursing homes around the state by the end of the week to relieve caregivers, a state health official told a legislative panel on Wednesday, Dec. 8.

In an effort to stave off workforce shortages in long-term care facilities, the state last month activated 400 National Guard members to train as certified nursing assistants and trained nursing aides. And the first three teams of caregivers started work in Minnesota senior care facilities earlier this week.

So far, 42 facilities have asked the state for National Guard backup to relieve staff who've been working multiple extra shifts each week, said Diane Rydrych, acting assistant commissioner at the Minnesota Department of Health's Health Systems Bureau. One hundred members are set to start work in the nine designated facilities by the end of the week and additional facilities are in consideration to receive support teams, she said.

Read more from Forum News Service's Dana Ferguson

3. North Dakota governor to visit National Guard troops at US-Mexico border

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North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, right, speaks at a bill signing on April 26, 2021, in the state Capitol. Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford, left, looks on. Jeremy Turley / Forum News Service

Gov. Doug Burgum will travel to Texas next week to meet with North Dakota National Guard troops at the U.S.-Mexico border, his office said Wednesday, Dec. 8.

While in Texas, the second-term Republican governor plans to receive briefings from officials with the North Dakota National Guard and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

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North Dakota sent 125 National Guard soldiers from the 957th Engineer Company to the border following a send-off ceremony in October to assist in the response to immigration surges that escalated over the course of this summer.

Read more from The Forum's Adam Willis

4. NDSU presidential search committee invites undisclosed number of candidates for interviews

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North Dakota State University campus glows in the early morning sunlight on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021. David Samson / The Forum
Forum Communications Co.

A committee has narrowed the field of candidates as they help search for the next North Dakota State University president, but it did not disclose the number of applicants or how many were invited for the first round of interviews.

After discussing the applicants during a closed meeting for roughly four hours, the NDSU presidential search committee chose prospects to interview Jan. 5 through 7 in Minneapolis. Those interviews will also be held in executive session.

Top candidates are slated to be chosen at the end of the interviews in Minneapolis. They then will be invited for campus visits to meet with internal and external stakeholders next month and in early February, according to the tentative timeline.

Read more from The Forum's April Baumgarten

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5. North Dakota's ban on critical race theory has little impact on K-12 schools: 'Teachers have moved on'

Nick Archuleta, president of North Dakota United teachers association, said that members are opposed three to one to carrying firearms in schools during a school safety forum at Fargo South High School on Monday, Aug. 27. Kim Hyatt/ The Forum
Nick Archuleta, president of North Dakota's teachers union, speaks at Fargo South High School in 2018. Kim Hyatt / The Forum

Nearly a month since North Dakota banned the teaching of critical race theory in public K-12 schools, the legislation is having little to no effect on classroom instruction, according to the head of the state's teachers union.

Although critical race theory is a hot-button issue for many conservative pundits nationwide, it is not a concern for most North Dakota educators, said Nick Archuleta, president of North Dakota United.

"(Teachers) don't have time for these outside sideshows that sometimes crop up in education, and the teachers that I know and I've had conversations with all across the state ... are just absolutely laser-focused on making sure that they are providing the best education that these kids deserve," Archuleta said.

Read more from The Forum's Michelle Griffith

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