It's probably quite easy to discern from reading this blog that I'm quite enamored of North Dakota's capitol building. I photograph it often, my little boys love to visit its halls and peer down from the observation deck windows, and of course there are the holiday adornments in its windows at various times of the year. Pretty cool, I must say...even if I'm a little bit biased.
Minnesota Republican representative Matt Dean, however, thinks otherwise. According to this article, he had plenty to say about our state's headquarters:
“Has anyone seen North Dakota’s Capitol? It’s like State Farm calling: ‘We want our building back.’ ...It's embarassing.”
Ahem. Not only is our capitol distinctive but it's also quite reserved and pragmatic in its design. It's no opulent palace or apotheosis of government overspending...and we like it fine. Besides, according to that Forum article, Minnesotans need to "repair [their capitol's] crumbling outside walls, its outdated electrical system and interior that is falling apart" ...it sounds like they are the ones who need to be embarrassed about their capitol!
Unlike Minnesota's, our capitol building is in fine shape...with current electrical (and ample backup generation) as well as free wireless internet tip-to-toe and a cafeteria with an AWESOME taco bar on Wednesdays, it seems far more habitable than its neighbor to the east.
Perhaps if Minnesota wasn't known for being the nation's biggest welfare state - with nearly forty percent of its state budget going to entitlement programs in 2009, for example - and put more money into infrastructure than they do into printing entitlement checks, they could afford to keep their state capitol building from crumbling. Until then, go ahead and take your petty pot-shots...we can take it.
By the way, which do you think Minnesota tax-n-spend legislators (including "Republican" Matt Dean") will accomplish first: repairs to their already neglected, dilapidated capitol building, or a brand new taxpayer-funded stadium for the lackluster Minnesota Vikings?
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My friend Ken and I were out bouncing my truck around the back roads and trails in search of a couple of old farmsteads to explore with our cameras. As usual, many other opportunities presented themselves along the way. Case in point: this lovely vista along a section line road just after sunrise.
There's so much color in the sky around sunrise and sunset, adding a special touch to an otherwise unremarkable scene. Everything takes on such a unique vibrance during that Golden Hour light, and it's great when that happens with something photogenic nearby...and a great friend to share the experience.
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This farmstead sits just southeast of Center, with a pretty close view of the power plant to the east. Hat tip goes to my friend Cathy who spotted it and described its location for me to find. I haven't had much time to go exploring the old section line roads these days, but hopefully I'll get more time over the summer now that we're not in a flood fight.
On one hand, a person could look at this photo with disdain and lament the loss of a family farm. Understandable, but in this case I like to consider the progress of North Dakota's energy industry, one I've loved to champion for many years now. We have abundant resources and the ingenuity to brainstorm new ways to use them more wisely and cleanly. If you're not moving forward, you're moving backward (or so they say).
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Well, I guess that's that. I just got done working the video crew for the last Dakota Wizards game ever. It was a little surreal, given the team's long and proud history in the Bismarck-Mandan area. They lost a close one today to the Bakersfield Jam with a score of 93-91, and just like that - it was over.
The game play was good, so don't let the title of this post lead you to believe that the Wizards went quietly. Once the last buzzer sounded, though, it didn't take long for the lights to go down and the place to empty for the last time as home to an NBA game.
Many sports franchises have come and gone here in Bismarck. Anyone remember the Dakota Rattlers baseball team? The Bismarck Blaze or Roughriders indoor football squads? For a small town with seemingly fickle interests, the Dakota Wizards have been a unique success story in professional sports here in North Dakota. They succeeded where teams in other cities slowly faded away. The crowd involvement activities during breaks in game play were fun and energetic, sponsors seemed to be always present, and the Wizards managed to rack up a few league championship titles as well.
That's what made it so odd when, once today's game concluded, things just shut down as usual. While Kevin Rice's number was retired during a brief ceremony at halftime, there wasn't any sort of fanfare celebrating the history of Dakota Wizards basketball here in the capital city. Bummer. It was a great run while it lasted.
We still have Bobcats hockey to ease our craving for local sporting events, of course. Otherwise I guess we'll have to wait and see what the next big thing is, and if it can enjoy the success and longevity of the Dakota Wizards.
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Today our family and a bunch of friends reserved the planetarium at Valley City State University for a show and had a blast. I'd love to show you all kinds of descriptive pictures of the stars criveting* around the dome, but quite frankly I wanted to sit in a seat, recline with one of my little boys on my lap, and enjoy the two shows put together by the students in the astronomy program. That's exactly what I did. The gentleman was kind enough, however, to let me have the place to myself after the show to get a few shots in. This was NOT an easy subject to light!
This was a special private event, but the U does put on a monthly public show (I believe on the third Saturday of each month) that you can attend. Click here for the planetarium's web page to get more details.
*crivet: v. To creep and pivot simultaneously. (Origin: Cf)
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