Friday, May 25, 2007

Open Thread #26

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

Living outside ND, is this the slowest summer construction season GF has seen since the flood? In previous years, there was always high profile projects ongoing, which seem to be lacking now.

Fireball McFain said...

Yeah it is. However I do present this question. Does any one know where this new cici's pizza is going? I heard an add for it on XL93.

Anonymous said...

I've been seeing adds on TV for a CiCi's pizza for awhile now

Anonymous said...

I think CiCi's might be pulling a Sonic and advertising nation wide even where they dont have properties. Of course GFK could be getting one, I dont know.

Anonymous said...

With the cut NWA flight, Grand Forks airport now has the same number of flights per day as Williston and Dickinson. that should be embarrasing for the Airport Authority. I really hope Frontier decides on two flights a day into GFK.

Nate said...

CanadInns, EERC, UND parking ramp, new UND residence hall, new UND research facility (attached to nursing building), Furniture Row, completion of the flood wall and Greenway, brownstone apartments downtown, new apartment building downtown...these all seem like pretty high profile projects to me.

Anonymous said...

CanadInns, EERC, UND parking ramp, new UND residence hall, new UND research facility (attached to nursing building), Furniture Row, completion of the flood wall and Greenway, brownstone apartments downtown, new apartment building downtown...these all seem like pretty high profile projects to me. All of them were announced over a year ago and most have completed construction. Can one high profile project announced this year? Maybe the new research building west of I29.

GrandForksGuy said...

I would love to have a $5 pizza buffet in town, but don't get your hopes up for CiCi's just yet. The CiCi's website lists states/markets that they are currently looking to expand into...North Dakota is not on the list. Minnesota is, but not North Dakota.

GrandForksGuy said...

I will admit that most of the big projects currently being built are leftover/ongoing projects from last year. I don't think this construction season is going to be as busy as last year, but I think we'll still be seeing plenty of construction over the next few months.

Why aren't there as many big projects this year as last? I think there are two reasons.

1) Last year saw the culmination of many projects that had been talked about and planned for many years. The Canad is a good example. It was talked about for years and last year it was finally constructed. It just turned out that last year was the year of several very high profile projects. I don't think we can have so many high profile projects every year.

2) The fact that there are so many big projects from last year that are still being finished seems to be making contractors very busy. I'm guessing that when some of these projects finish up, we'll see work start on some new projects.

I think one big project that will start this summer is the new hospital. I drove by yesterday and it looks like they've been clearing off the land where the hospital should be going. I personally don't think the tax abatement issue is going to delay the project really. Any other projects that people know of?

Anonymous said...

Haven't seen much discussion on the new ND incorporation law for better shareholder governance, but it may have national impact plus benefit ND economically and give smaller investors real say over matters in corporate corruption and golden parachutes. Recently stayed in downtown Wilmington, Delaware, the state in which most publicly traded corporations are incorporated. Downtown Wilmington has an incredible number of corporate and patent law firms (as well as banks and chemical companies - but for other reasons), though many of the downtown workers actually live in Maryland or Pennsylvania. If North Dakota could attract 1/10th of the legal industry that Delaware has, that would be a major boon to the UND Law School as well as downtown Bismarck, and possibly Fargo and GF as well.

From Investor's Business Daily

Better Image, Less Risk

It's possible North Dakota might be able to do something similar by billing itself as a shareholder-friendly state, since the new law's provisions offer shareholders more say in management.

As for the law's symbolic value: One thing it does is make clear that state legislators are interested in issues of corporate governance that have been front and center for several years, Clark says.

Second, a corporation that allows its shareholders more control - or at least more access to the board so they can be heard - is in one sense branding itself as a better corporate citizen.

The company also is saying it's making an effort to prevent some of the worse excesses. Notable examples include former Home Depot Chief Executive Robert Nardelli getting millions of dollars in severance despite poor stock performance, or corporate boards approving huge pay packages on the same day of a grand jury investigation, as with former Tyco CFO Mark Swartz.

Many large fund firms like the idea of a corporate governance law because it reduces risk.

The theory is that a company that pledges to let its shareholders know what it plans to pay the CEO - and gives shareholders an advisory role - is less likely to have out-of-control perks.

"That helps us toward our goal of making money for our clients," said John Wilcox, senior vice president and head of corporate governance at TIAA-CREF. TIAA-CREF manages about $400 billion for teachers and other employees of schools, colleges and universities.

The North Dakota law also gives an opening to shareholder activists, Wilcox said. They could start pushing boards to re-incorporate in North Dakota. While Wilcox expressed doubt that they'll succeed in most cases, he said the law might push some boards to adopt certain principles.

North Dakota legislators passed the first corporate governance, "shareholder-friendly" law in the nation, which Gov. John Hoeven immediately signed into the state Century Code. Under the new law, Chapter 10-35 in the Century Code, companies that incorporate in North Dakota have the option of doing so under current state law or under the new, shareholder-friendly law.

It's being touted as the most progressive corporate infrastructure law in the nation, pulling together nearly all issues on shareholder activists' wish lists:majority voting, further limiting director term limits, separating the role of chairman and CEO, allowing votes on compensation reports and changing plurality voting to majority voting on directors and amending proxy access, among other items.

Anonymous said...

N. Dakota moves to counter Delaware's cozy corporate relations


N. Dakota moves to counter Delaware's cozy corporate relations
Wednesday, April 25, 2007

By Rachel Beck, The Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Those fed up with Delaware's cozy link to corporate America are fighting back in an unexpected location: North Dakota, where state lawmakers passed the nation's first shareholder-friendly law.

Investor groups have long complained that Delaware, where more than half of U.S. public companies are incorporated, favors corporate management over shareholder rights. That's why they've been cheering for North Dakota's new law, which gives them greater say over such things as executive pay and easier proxy access.

But their real motive in applauding North Dakota's renaissance as a shareholder-focused state may be to pressure state legislators in Delaware to get religion, too.

Delaware doesn't hide its links to business. Its official state Web site touts the business-friendly and accessible government, while its 215-year-old Court of Chancery has written most of the modern U.S. corporation case law. Sixty percent of Fortune 500 companies are incorporated in Delaware.

There have been attempts in the past to loosen Delaware's grip, including the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate reform law passed by the U.S. Congress in 2002, which established governance and accountability rules that companies nationwide must follow.

There also is legislation currently before Congress that would give shareholders at public companies a formal say in executives' compensation packages.

But for the most part, Delaware still holds great sway over corporate America's dealings and is often perceived by shareholder groups as having a bias toward business. That's troubling since corporate boards have a fiduciary duty to put investors' interests first.

"It was long believed that investors need to be protected and management was the best to do it," said Charles Elson, director of the Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at University of Delaware. "But now there is growing sentiment that investors don't need as much protection, and there is great caution about management agendas" after all the corporate scandals.

Enter North Dakota, which has had largely a nonexistent role in corporate America. Only two public companies are incorporated there.

Those behind the new law actually took the idea to Vermont first, where it didn't get far. Success came in North Dakota this year -- it passed the state legislature and was signed into law this month. It takes effect in July.

Leading the charge was a group called the North Dakota Corporate Governance Council, which bills itself as a nonprofit group organized to support the enactment of the new law and to advance the discussion of shareholder rights in publicly traded companies.

The new law wraps together many governance issues being pushed by shareholder groups this year. Among them is the required election of directors by majority voting. That means candidates must receive a majority of "yes" votes to be elected.

Shareholders also get advisory votes on executive compensation, and there is now a requirement for the separation of the chairman and chief executive roles.

The new law siphons control from corporate boards by forcing companies to include any proposals on their proxy statements put forth by shareholders who hold 5 percent or more of stock for at least two years.

Should the shareholders win their proxy contests, the companies must reimburse them for the percentage they are successful. For instance, if they look to elect three directors and two win, then the board reimburses two-thirds of the cost of the proxy contest.

North Dakota's two existing public companies are grandfathered out of such requirements, but new companies incorporating in the state can opt into the new law or follow the previous standards.

The law's proponents tout that the built-in governance requirements will likely lead shareholder groups to press companies to reincorporate in North Dakota in the coming years. No one is predicting a mad dash north, but it could certainly be an often-raised proxy issue.

Should that happen, it could be used as leverage to get Delaware to begin to soften its business-friendly stance.

"Delaware will initially scoff at North Dakota," said William Clark, a Philadelphia attorney who authored the new law as the head of the North Dakota Corporate Governance Council. "But it will eventually feel the pressure."

That may be the goal behind all this. From investors' perspective, it may not be a bad one.

Anonymous said...

Finally some truth about the GF Airport, by Mike Jacobs in GF Herald today, Sunday. We need Fargo not only for air service, but also to take our garbage ! So why not combine the two. Provide a bus or limo to haul passengers to and from Fargo and pull a trailer behind to haul bales of garbage. That's it. greenglass4.

Anonymous said...

Another great reason to get rid of the air force base, it will keep the crime rate down. Meaning the drive by shooting in Grand Forks was by a member of the military.

Elucidarian said...

What happened to Dakota Huseby's blog? Why did she restrict permission? The link goes to this:

This blog is open to invited readers only
Voice of Dakota

It doesn't look like you have been invited to read this blog. If you think this is a mistake, you might want to contact the blog author and request an invitation.

Elucidarian said...

Nevermind. This topic has been broached, I see.

Anonymous said...

Anon: That is one of the stupidest comments I've ever heard! I believe this was an isolated incident and I doubt that we are going to see a huge increase in crime by the military in this area. And you say drive by shooting like it was some random person driving down the street shooting for the sake of shooting. Both parties were seen arguing earlier in the day.


Anonymous said...

Hey I am not the one that called it a drive by shooting, the media is the one who hyped that up. And we are not seeing a huge increase in crime, its already there.

Elucidarian said...

I hate to admit, but it does seem too often that base personnel are involved in crime. I don't think I'm prejudice against the military, but the accusation still resonates with me. Why should I feel that? What would cultivate this perception among local residents? Does the perception match the statistics? After a cursory search, I can't find the answers. To set the record straight, one way or another, it might be good to find out.

JoshTee! said...

I've got a question for you all: what are your opinions on computer repair places in town? I've got to take a computer in very soon, but don't want to be ripped off...

Matthew said...

What is wrong with your computer?

Anonymous said...

New info tonight on Ch 4 about landfill site location, with interview with Curt Kruen. Is it true ? Ask Curt. greenglass4.

Anonymous said...

I think it depends on what is wrong and who is the best qualified in town to fix it. Same thing with price. I would never take my machine to Best Buy and I'm a bit leary of Computer Ren.. and their 2 days back guarantee. Makes me think they might just half fix it for the sake of getting it back within those two days. However, I work for a computer repair place, so my opinion is probably a bit skewed. I would just ask around and see what kind of responses you get.

JoshTee! said...

"I would just ask around and see what kind of responses you get."

That's what I'm trying to do. ;) :P
What's wrong is that the plug-in in the back (it's a laptop), it doesn't seem to sense that it's plugged in. Like, maybe the plug in the back has been pushed too far in, or something.

So, basically, we can't charge it -- can't turn it on. Has nothing to do with the software, but the hardware.

Is there a place that specializes in computer hardware? Or a place that'll get the job done for cheap?

I'm looking to not only get it fixed, but get it fixed for fairly cheap (obviously). Price is a pretty big concern because I'm poor as shit. :D

Anonymous said...

Is it a dell computer? Cuz if it is, they suck and you should get rid of it. I have had the same problem with my laptop and i know of 2 others who have had the same problem as well. All 3 of these computers have been DELL. The problem is because of the way laptops are moved around the plug in becomes lose and they have to take the whole computer apart and put in a new piece, which isnt to cheap.

Anonymous said...

On most computers, that problem can only be fixed by replacing the motherboard. Unfortunatly it is one big piece that contains the "charging port". The only computer I can recall that doesn't include the charging port in the motherboard is Apple. Unfortunatly, that is pretty much the most expensive part to fix on a computer and with parts & labor at times it can be cheaper or not much more to buy a new laptop. Most repair places will give you an estimate for a fee though.

downtown dweller said...

I have an apartment downtown, and I want to rent it out starting in August. I'm trying to get the word out, but I was disappointed to find that hardly anyone around here uses craigslist. Is the Herald classifieds the only place to post apartments for rent?
Well, if you have any tips or advice, or are interested in renting a 1 bedroom apartment downtown, you can email me at

Matthew said...

I don't know if you'll be back to read this, but you might try the UNDerground , or either the Campus Dakotaforums or classifieds.

Best of luck.

Anonymous said...

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