- Associated Press - Thursday, June 30, 2016

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The Bismarck Tribune, Bismarck, June 30, 2016

Accept UND’s new logo, end the fighting

Last week the University of North Dakota unveiled its new logo. The support was underwhelming and that’s no surprise. Since 2005 when the NCAA first prohibited Native American nicknames and imagery there has been unhappiness and anger over the change.

It’s been an 11-year battle over the loss of the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo. Supporters didn’t want to give up either, they didn’t want to see changes in the Ralph Engelstad Arena and they didn’t like the process of selecting a new nickname and they don’t like the one chosen, the Fighting Hawks. Unscientific online polls last week were solidly against the new logo. A Tribune poll found 63.3 percent disliked the logo, 22.3 percent liked it and 14.4 percent were undecided. Some say it looks like the U.S. Postal Service logo; sketches mocking the new logo abounded on social media. However, the underlying current was one of frustration, with calls for a different logo to be created.

The Tribune Editorial Board has said this before and we’ll say it again: It’s time to get over it. The university and state long ago lost the war with the National Collegiate Athletic Association over the nickname and logo. It’s time to move on and focus on educational priorities. Nicknames and logos are supposed to reflect pride in the university, in the school’s athletic teams and educational prowess. Too many people have this backward, thinking the university reflects the nickname.

UND has changed its nickname and modified its logo before and the school survived. Athletic success over the years has come from the players and coaches, not from the logos on their jerseys. The pride in the school and teams is expressed by memorabilia that’s sold, but fans are cheering for teams, not stuff.

Former governor Ed Schafer has used his time as interim president of UND to launch some major changes. He’s worked to get the school’s budget under control, set some educational priorities and resolve the issues involving the nickname and logo. He’s done a good job of setting the table for the school’s new president, Mark Kennedy. One of the last tasks was getting the new logo in place. Schafer’s quite aware there wouldn’t be universal acceptance of the new logo, but he expects the logo to grow on people.

It’s time for everyone to accept the changes. They don’t have to embrace them, but it’s time to move on. The Fighting Sioux can join the Flickertails as part of UND’s colorful history. The Fighting Hawks can be part of new chapters written by teams. At the same time a renewed focus needs to be placed on educational priorities. That’s where the real victories will come as graduates move on to successful careers.

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Minot Daily News, Minot, June 29, 2016

No magic bullet for economy in 2016

Just as it seemed that rumors around town and around the energy industry had it that activity in the Bakken was going to take off in the summer, those in the know put a kibosh on any real upward development. With the North Dakota Petroleum Council asserting that there is no sign of there being increased activity the remainder of 2016 and even into early 2017, hopes of a sudden lurch ahead in gas and oil, and thus the regional economy, are unrealistic.

Other economic indicators continue to point to a weak economy. The state’s taxable sales and purchases have slumped to pre-oil boom levels. Minot’s taxable sales and purchases were down 32.88 percent for the first quarter of 2016; building permits are also down substantially.

One doesn’t have to look around Minot too much to see signs of the slow economy in restaurants closing, hotels with few cars in the parking lots and less construction.

Kudos to City Manager Lee Staab for telling it like it is at a Minot City Council Finance and Improvements Committee that the council will have tough decisions to make when it comes to the 2017 budget. Indeed, they will, as will government at all levels.

With the doom and gloom news, it’s easy to see the negative. Scratch the surface and there are more upbeat developments. Minot is in better shape to handle the surge in economy when the Bakken does spring back to life. Hopefully local and state leaders have learned a lesson and have planted the seeds for better economic diversification. In Minot, the renovation of downtown continues while discussion is underway about how to best use the windfall of Resiliency funding.

Where there are clouds, there is always a silver lining.

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