FARGO, N.D. - North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister met Thursday in Fargo to discuss the critical partnership between the United States and Canada as well as several shared interests and key issues facing both jurisdictions, including trade, water and public safety.
"We are grateful for the collaborative partnership and friendship we have with our Manitoba counterparts," Burgum said. "From our Midwestern heritage with strong agricultural and energy roots, to our trade, tourism and manufacturing sectors, to the International Peace Garden that celebrates our nations' friendship, we look forward to continuing to build strong relationships and economies that are mutually beneficial for our businesses and citizens."
"North Dakota and Manitoba are more than neighbors - we have been friends and trading partners from the earliest days of the Red River Trail, to today when the Pembina-Emerson port of entry sees a million vehicles per year cross our shared border," Pallister said. "We also share the same economic reality, as jurisdictions with big geography and small populations - we need open markets for the wide range of goods and services we produce for our communities and economies to thrive. Working together on these issues just makes good, prairie common sense."
During a luncheon with First Lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum and the premier's wife, Esther Pallister, the leaders discussed the importance of the open, balanced trading relationship between the United States and Canada to the long-term prosperity and viability of communities large and small in North Dakota and Manitoba, especially as the two countries work to update their trade agreements. Manitoba and North Dakota are both Midwestern economies with strong agricultural economies, robust energy resources and innovative manufacturers. U.S.-Canada trade supports more than 28,000 jobs in North Dakota, and North Dakota exports more to Canada than to all other countries in the world combined. Last year, Manitoba exported more to North Dakota than to Mexico, and imported more from North Dakota than from China. Burgum and Pallister agreed to remain in regular contact on Canada-U.S. trade developments.
The governor and premier discussed the strong cooperation between North Dakota and Manitoba on many water issues they have in common, including flood mitigation and forecasting in shared watersheds, joint support for the Assiniboine River Basin Initiative, and continuing work through the International Joint Commission to improve management of the Souris (Mouse) River. Manitoba also appreciates North Dakota's continued work to complete its Nutrient Reduction Strategy.
Burgum and Pallister shared their views and concerns on other water issues, including the Northwest Area Water Supply Project, the Red River Valley Water Supply Project and the Pembina Road/Dike. They also discussed the importance of long-term flood protection, including Winnipeg's nearly 50 years of success with the Red River Floodway diversion and the proposed Fargo-Moorhead Area Diversion Project. They agreed it's critical for both jurisdictions to remain engaged and communicate openly about these issues, with a view toward moving forward and finding solutions that would be acceptable to both sides wherever possible.
The governor and premier also discussed the work that both North Dakota and Manitoba have been undertaking to manage changes to the regulation of cannabis - the creation of rules for medical marijuana in North Dakota and the implementation of the Canadian federal government's decision to legalize recreational cannabis use in Manitoba. Both agreed on the importance of proceeding thoughtfully and responsibly on implementation.
Pallister also updated Burgum on recent developments with respect to unauthorized asylum seekers attempting to cross the border irregularly from the United States into Manitoba, some of whom are transiting through North Dakota. Attempting to cross the border through open countryside is extremely dangerous, and those attempting to do so face serious risk of injury or even death from natural hazards. Although there have been efforts to build a greater awareness of these risks among communities of potential asylum seekers, the premier and governor agreed that it was important for communities and landowners on both sides of the border to be aware of this issue and to watch for individuals or families who may be at risk of injury or in distress, particularly with the onset of winter.
The leaders and first ladies also discussed the economic and social costs associated with the disease of addiction and the challenges facing American Indians in North Dakota and First Nations in Manitoba.
BISMARCK, N.D. - Gov. Doug Burgum and First Lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum recently joined the North Dakota Department of Human Services' Behavioral Health Division in announcing that the state is awarding four tribal community grants to treat opioid use disorder, support recovery and save lives by preventing overdose deaths on tribal lands.
"We are so grateful these four tribes will each receive $70,000 for much needed prevention, treatment and recovery services to help families and communities affected by the devastating effects of opioid abuse," the governor and first lady said.
The Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation; Spirit Lake Nation; Standing Rock Sioux Tribe; and Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians will share in $280,000 to increase the availability and use of naloxone, a medication that can reverse the effects of opioid overdose. Grantees can also use funds to increase access to medication-assisted treatment, peer support or other evidence-based recovery support services between Nov. 1, 2017 and April 15, 2018.
The community grants, while focused on opioid abuse and overdoses, are part of North Dakota's statewide response to substance addiction. Opioids include heroin, pain relievers available legally by prescription and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.
Funding is provided from North Dakota's $2 million federal 2017 State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis grant supporting treatment, recovery and prevention. In August, the department awarded similar grants to Bismarck, Fargo, Grand Forks, Minot and Valley City.
"Prevention plays a critical role in addressing the opioid crisis," the department's Prevention Administrator Laura Anderson said. "By bringing together community members, we can more effectively implement comprehensive approaches that will prevent opioid overdoses and opioid overdose deaths."
In April 2017, SAMHSA awarded all states fiscal year 2017 grants to fight opioid abuse with funding authorized by the 21st Century Cures Act.
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The number of North Dakota students who took Advanced Placement classes and earned qualifying scores has increased in the 2016-17 school year by 36 percent.
At the 2017 Fall Educators Conference, North Dakota Superintendent Kirsten Baesler attributed the rise in AP scores in math, science and English to a partnership between the state and the National Math and Science Initiative.
The Bismarck Tribune reports that the NMSI is a Dallas nonprofit that aims to increase the number of students who take AP exams by hosting programs in schools across the country with low AP exam rates. The nonprofit's programs provide classroom equipment, teacher training and study sessions for students and teachers leading up to an exam.
WILLISTON, N.D. - The North Dakota Governor's Office, North Dakota Department of Commerce and Economic Development Association of North Dakota (EDND) this week presented the Governor's Choice - Economic Developer of the Year awards during the EDND Fall Conference in Williston.
The Economic Developer of the Year award is given to an individual who has made a significant contribution that will leave a lasting impact on the economic health of his or her community or region. The award is presented in both urban community and rural community divisions.
The 2017 recipient in the urban community division is Matt Marshall, the economic development and community services director for the City of West Fargo. Marshall has helped facilitate growth and development in the area, including the Downtown Redevelopment Project, which consists of the redevelopment of two complete blighted blocks into businesses, residential units and a city park. Other accomplishments have included the expansions of Wex Health and Bobcat in West Fargo.
The award recipient in the rural community division is Melissa Beach, executive director of the Traill County Economic Development Commission (TCEDC). Beach has focused this past year on business retention and expansion, as well as business and workforce recruitment. Recent accomplishments include the Shop Local Traill campaign, which helps promote local businesses, and the Traill United Group, a nonprofit extension of TCEDC that assists organizations in securing funding sources, business marketing, bookkeeping, training and more. Beach has also been an active voice in promoting the expansion of natural gas throughout the state.
"Both Economic Developer of the Year award recipients understand that a vibrant city center and business-friendly environment are essential to attracting and retaining the capital and workforce talent North Dakota needs to compete in a global market," Gov. Doug Burgum said. "We commend them for their leadership efforts, which align with our Main Street Initiative pillars of a skilled workforce for the 21st century economy; smart, efficient infrastructure; and healthy, vibrant communities."
"We are deeply grateful for the work of the Economic Developer of the Year award recipients," said Jay Schuler, North Dakota Department of Commerce Commissioner. "Both Matt Marshall and Melissa Beach have helped to create an economic environment which supports investments that will positively impact their community, region and the state of North Dakota for years to come."
EDND represents more than 80 state economic development organizations on the front line of economic development efforts throughout North Dakota. The primary purpose of the organization is to promote the creation of new wealth throughout North Dakota to develop more vibrant communities and improve quality of life. Additional information is available at www.ednd.org.
(Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)