North Dakota legislators are out of sync with their voters on the state’s strict abortion law and decidedly independent on topics like property taxes and ballot measures expected to be a focal point during elections a year from now, according to results from the first North Dakota Poll (ND Poll).
Just two years after welcoming recreational vehicle company Hoefer Group to the state with open arms, North Dakota’s Department of Commerce appears ready to show it the way out. The latest move is part of a larger saga of controversy surrounding the company’s efforts to produce RVs in Dunseith. This includes potentially sensitive defense and aerospace materials and documents found at its site and a loan freeze by Commerce last fall, as well as fears by Commerce officials late this summer that they may be sued by Hoefer.
A partnership between Hoefer RV and a soon-expanding Career and Technology Education center at Dunseith High School has potentially fallen apart due to push back from some in the community against the newly arrived recreational vehicle company.
An investigation by U.S. Army criminal investigators and evidence collection by other federal authorities related to aerospace and defense components found at a manufacturing facility in Dunseith have raised questions into what state and local authorities understood about activities occurring at the site. Over the years federal, state and local officials approved funding to try to keep the facility viable, with the latest being a $2.25 million North Dakota Development Fund line of inventory financing credit to support the rollout of recreational vehicles.
Federal investigations into possibly sensitive military defense and commercial aerospace materials discovered at a Dunseith manufacturing facility are curtailing development of a new company that could hire dozens of employees once fully operable. Greater concerns beyond local development are also being raised, with the potential that some of these components made their way into military or commercial aircraft supply chains, threatening both flight safety and military readiness.
Home on the Range, a therapeutic ranch and qualified residential treatment program nestled on the rolling prairie just a few miles east of town, is a working ranch where youth residents build themselves back up with support of trained staff. Many have severe trauma from being sexually trafficked. Some have problems related to drugs or alcohol. Deep emotional scars lead to issues trusting others and trusting themselves. A federal policy aimed at keeping children from languishing in institutionalized care, the Family First Prevention Services Act, and adopted in North Dakota in 2019, changed how facilities like Home on the Range operate.
A motorcycle crash on a deserted road. A cardiac arrest at a far flung farm in a rural county. A farming equipment accident. A pregnant woman goes into unexpected labor at a small hamlet away from population centers. When these emergency medical scenarios happen in rural communities across North Dakota, local volunteer first responders are often the first on the scene, the first to provide medical attention, and the first to get patients to a hospital. Many of these services are in trouble, however.
Rural electric cooperatives in North Dakota may soon apply for grants available in a federal program under the Inflation Reduction Act, which could set the tone for investments in renewables here over the next decade.