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5/28/2008 – Editorials

By Richard Peterson

Voters statewide will pass judgment on one constitutional measure on June 10. The measure would remove from the constitution the provision that legislators who vote for salary increases cannot be appointed to any state position affected by the salary increase.

At one time this provision made sense because corruption was rampant in other places and the authors of the state constitution in 1889 wanted to make certain it didn’t spread to North Dakota.

Things are different today with open meetings and open records laws and scrutiny by the media. The chance of corruption in this instance is remote.

The current provision, however, eliminates those legislators from consideration. This is an unnecessary restriction in this day and age.

Read Lloyd Omdahl’s editorial on this page, especially the last paragraph. Who knows how a current supreme court would rule on such a question.

This is simply an unnecessary restriction and I’ll be voting "yes."


Benson County residents will be voting on no more than a five mill levy for ambulance services. Ambulance services are in trouble financially and if we want emergency services, we’re going to have to pay for them.

This particular measure is flawed because people in the eastern portion of Benson County will not receive ambulance services they will be paying for. Instead of the entire county paying the levy, it should have been levied on districts, such as fire districts.

Perhaps this flaw can be fixed after the mill levy passes. If the levy fails, the district idea will have to be tried.

At any rate, the immediate needs of the ambulance services, I think, outweigh this flaw. I’ll be voting yes.


The following was published in 1994, but it’s more interesting than anything I can come up with today, so here it is again:

I got a note from District Judge Joel Medd of Grand Forks, a former Minnewaukanite. Judge Medd was at the parents’ day game at UND where parents of UND football players were introduced. He said that Carroll and Kathy Lalum of Minnewaukan were introduced as being from Minnewaukan, Minnesota.

Medd said that reminded him of a time when he was coming back from Canada and the customs agent asked him where he was from. Medd said "Minnewaukan" and the customs agent asked his passenger, "you both from Minnesota?"

It’s happened to me, too, on several occasions. But for the record, there’s no Minnewaukan, Minnesota. There’s no other town in the world named Minnewaukan, although there is a Lake Minnewanka in Alberta, Canada and a Lake Minnewaska in Minnesota.

My National Geographic Atlas of the world contains a listing of countries, towns, rivers, mountains, etc. 135 pages long with nearly 170,000 listings. So it’s a pretty complete listing of the world’s physical objects.

The atlas reveals North Dakota isn’t the only state with a Pleasant Lake. There’s also a Pleasant Lake in Maine. Planning to go to Knox?

You’d have to decide whether to go to our Knox in Benson County or to Knox in Indiana or Pennsylvania.

York can be found in Benson County and in Alabama, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Ontario, Canada Australia, England and South Africa. Leeds is one of Benson County’s largest towns, but it’s a tiny village compared to its namesake in England.

As a matter of fact, there are two cities of Leeds in England. Leeds can also be found in Alabama and Utah.

Fillmore can be found in Benson County and in California, New York, Utah and Saskatchewan, Cnada. Baker is located in California, Florida, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma and Oregon, as well as here in Benson County.

There are only two Harlows in the world. One is in England and you know where the other one is located.

Churchs Ferry, Maddock, Oberon, Brinsmade, Sheyenne and Fort Totten are five of a kind. No other places in the world are so named.

There’s an Esmond, Rhode Island as well as the famous Esmond we all know about.

The National Geographic Atlas just went down a notch in my estimation because it doesn’t list Flora, North Dakota. But it does list Flora in Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Oregon and The Philippines. It doesn’t list Hesper as being in North Dakota or anyplace else. What’s going on here?

Good grief! It says St. Michael exists — in Minnesota and Alberta, Canada but it doesn’t say anything about our St. Michael in Benson County. It also says there is a St. Michaels in Arizona and another in Maryland. There are dozens of San Miguels but nary a word about the home of the Dakotah Bingo Palace in Benson County.

It does list Tokio, North Dakota, so those of you who want to go to the Dakotah Sioux Casino can find the way there. Don’t get side-tracked and end up in Tokio, Texas, though.

There are Warwicks in England, Australia, Quebec, Georgia, Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island, as well as our Warwick in eastern Benson County. There are two Heimdals and one is in Norway.


The following week this appeared in my column:

I knew the National Geographic Atlas of the world wasn’t completely accurate because in its listing of cities of the world it left out Flora, St. Michael and Hesper, all located here in good old Benson County.

I couldn’t find any other towns in the atlas with the names of Minnewaukan, Churchs Ferry, Maddock, Oberon, Brinsmade or Sheyenne.

But the atlas was wrong there, too.

There’s an Oberon, Australia, a town with approximately 2,000 inhabitants. Rob Pollack from Oberon, Australia has been corresponding with the city of Oberon, North Dakota since 1985. Since then he’s sent brochures about his town, along with a tie, scarf, towel and a cookbook, all with Oberon, Australia themes. Oberon, Australia is located about 80 miles west of Sydney. It’s a farming community like our Oberon, which is located four miles south of Lallie.

Y’know what? I’m going to get a different atlas because Lallie isn’t listed in my atlas either.

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