5 things to know today: Severe storms, Budget reserves, Travel expenses, DAPL documents, Looking back – InForum

1. Possible tornado devastates city as wind damages communities in eastern South Dakota

The National Weather Service sent crews to investigate the damage caused by the high winds here and to determine if a tornado was responsible for the damage to the school, the destruction of several houses, the downing of power lines and extensive damage to trees.

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

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the damage was caused by a derecho — a widespread, long-lasting windstorm — that swept across the northern Great Plains and upper Midwest, and showed satellite images of the storm raking the area.

The winds that caused severe damage in Castlewood – Governor Kristi Noem’s hometown – were ‘more than likely a tornado’, but three survey teams are on the ground assessing the damage here and in other towns of northeastern South Dakota, including Watertown, Kari Sleegel said. , meteorologist from the Aberdeen Meteorological Service.

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2. North Dakota’s Huge Fiscal Reserves Rank 2nd in the Nation

North Dakota Republican Rep. Jeff Delzer chairs a House Appropriations Committee meeting at the state Capitol on March 14, 2019.

Forum news service file photo

North Dakota’s coffers are swollen, largely due to a rebound in oil prices and conservative budget management by state officials.

North Dakota’s financial reserves are so large, in fact, that it ranks second in the nation, according to a

analysis by the Pew Trust.

Pew’s comparison of relative financial reserves between states used two measures of the size of each state’s rainy-day fund, officially known as the fiscal stabilization fund.

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

The median for the 50 states was 34.4 days. Minnesota’s rainy day supply would last 42.7 days, South Dakota’s 41.7.

If total reserve balances are included, states could pay their bills a little longer: 289.3 days in North Dakota, behind Wyoming’s 300.8 days, both well past the median of 50 States, 85.1 days. Minnesota reserves would last 59.7 days, those in South Dakota 58.3.

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

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

Jeremy Turley / Forum Press Service

A North Dakota lawmaker under scrutiny for exchanging text messages with an imprisoned child pornography suspect has spent more taxpayer money on travel in the past decade than any other state lawmaker, state records show. State.

Sen. Ray Holmberg, a Republican from Grand Forks, racked up $125,810 in travel expenses between 2013 and April 15, 2022, according to a North Dakota Legislature spending report obtained by The Forum. Holmberg has made approximately 70 out-of-state trips, including meetings in Canada, Puerto Rico, Europe and the United States.

North Dakota lawmakers together spent about $2.1 million on travel during that time. That would equate to about $9,200 on average for the 229 lawmakers who have served in the North Dakota Legislative Assembly since 2013.

The Associated Press first reported the travel expenses, noting that Holmberg spent nearly 14 times the average amount of his colleagues. 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 who faces federal charges for child pornography. Prosecutors also allege Morgan-Derosier took two children from their home in the Twin Cities area to his Grand Forks residence with the intent to sexually abuse them.

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4. Energy Transfer Files Petition After ND Supreme Court Rules DAPL Security Documents Public

Riders announce the arrival of law enforcement officers October 27, 2016 at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest site on the North Dakota Highway.  1806 north of Cannon Ball.  Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

Riders announce the arrival of law enforcement officers October 27, 2016 at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest site on the North Dakota Highway. 1806 north of Cannon Ball. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

The Dakota Access Pipeline’s parent company filed a request for a rehearing in the North Dakota Supreme Court after its ruling that documents between pipeline operators and a private security company are public records.

On Thursday, May 12, Energy Transfer filed a request for a rehearing, saying the state’s highest court “ignored and/or misinterpreted” certain facts of the case and the law.

The company argued that the disputed documents are not public because they do not meet the state’s Open Records Act definition of “records” and were not “received for be used on official or public business” – a stipulation that would make the documents public.

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

NDSU President Dean Bresciani on May 6, 2022.

Chris Flynn / The Forum

Given the chance, North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani said he would do it again “in a heartbeat.”

Bresciani’s 12 years as president of the land-grant research university have been marked by major successes and some controversy, among them the decision of the State Board of Higher Education last year to not renew his contract.

Bresciani’s last day as president is Monday, May 16, and in the coming months he will transition to a full professorship at the school.

“It’s hitting me faster than I ever imagined. The day I hand over the keys, I think it’s probably going to hit me pretty hard,” Bresciani said.

The Forum sat down for an hour-long interview with the outgoing president in the Old Campus Main Building on May 6.

Read more from Robin Huebner from the Forum