Burgum surveys tornado damage in Mott, commends community on preparedness and response efforts
Gov. Doug Burgum surveyed damage from the July 12 tornado in the city of Mott, commending local leaders and the community for their preparation and response to the tornado, which caused significant damage but no injuries or deaths.
Burgum toured the tornado-damaged areas with North Dakota Homeland Security Director Cody Schulz, Mott Mayor and Fire Chief Troy Mosbrucker, Hettinger County Emergency Manager Tracy Kruger, Hettinger County Sheriff Sarah Warner and District 31 legislators Sen. Don Schaible, Rep. Karen Rohr and Rep. Jim Schmidt, among others.
Homeowners shared their experiences of taking shelter in their basements as the storm ripped garages apart, tore roofs off and crumpled steel grain bins like discarded paper cups.
“Whenever you’ve got a storm of this size, you’re going to see damage, but the thing that really shines here in Mott is the resiliency of the families, the community, the neighboring communities that came together in the aftermath of the storm. This was picture-perfect preparation ahead of time and emergency response activity,” Burgum said. “For this amount of storm damage … and not a single injury or fatality, it’s just a credit to everybody that was so responsive when they saw the storm coming.”
An EF-1 tornado with wind speeds of up to 105 mph touched down north of Mott at 9:24 p.m., cutting a path about 2.8 miles long and stretching up to 200 yards wide, according to National Weather Service estimates. The twister flung debris into homes and peeled off roofing, flipped over campers and leveled the 4-H building at the Hettinger County Fairgrounds, with over 400 exhibits inside for the Hettinger County Fair. Authorities also reported downed power lines and branches, uprooted trees and damaged crops.
Warning sirens were sounded at 9 p.m., and sheriff’s deputies went door to door warning people to take cover. One of those was Marge Everhart, who could see the funnel cloud before riding out the storm in her basement with her dog and cat. The tornado lifted her detached garage from its foundation, flinging it into her house and scattering debris across her farmyard toward the city.
“When I stepped outside, it was kind of overwhelming,” Everhart said, adding that 11 volunteers showed up the next morning to help with cleanup. “Small community – you can’t beat it.”
The North Dakota Highway Patrol and North Dakota Department of Transportation both assisted with traffic control and cleanup after the storm. “There’s more work we can do,” Burgum said, again expressing his gratitude for the preparedness and response by local officials and the outpouring of support from the surrounding area. “One of the things that makes North Dakota great is during a time of crisis, the neighbors come together to help each other out.”
Sanford congratulates Valley City on completing phases of flood protection project
Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday in Valley City to celebrate the completion of the first two phases of the city’s permanent flood protection project.
Through its cost-share program, the State Water Commission, which is chaired by Gov. Burgum, has delivered $35.5 million in state grant funding for Valley City’s flood protection project so far, along with more than $5.5 million in state loans.
“Our administration will continue to advocate for funding for these critically important flood protection projects,” Sanford said. “This project is vital to protecting people, property and livelihoods from catastrophic floods, while also sending a message to potential residents and businesses that Valley City is a safe place to live, work and invest.”
The project includes permanent concrete floodwalls, clay levees, removable floodwalls and even bioengineered stream bank restoration projects that use the roots of trees and other vegetation to naturally protect the shoreline from erosion.
Webinar launches Burgum’s WGA policy initiative, ‘Reimagining the Rural West’
As chair of the Western Governors’ Association, Gov. Burgum moderated a webinar Tuesday to launch his central policy initiative “Reimagining the Rural West.”
The governor introduced the themes and policy issues that will be explored through the initiative. A diverse group of panelists also shared their experiences and ideas for building vibrant rural communities through the initiative’s three pillars: opportunity, connectivity and community.
“We have an opportunity to work together to help our rural areas prosper in the 21st century economy,” Burgum said.
The panelists were Matthew Rantanen, director of technology for the Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association; Robin Brown, executive director of the Grand Junction (Colo.) Economic Partnership; and Joe Willauer, executive director of the Butte (Mont.) Local Development Corporation.
Watch the the webinar and download the slides at the link below.
Burgum meets with Minnesota Gov. Walz, discusses F-M Diversion progress
Gov. Burgum and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz met Thursday at the Hjemkomst Center in Moorhead, Minn., to discuss how to keep the Fargo-Moorhead Area Diversion Project moving forward to provide comprehensive flood protection for the metro area.
Burgum has continued to advocate for the project as he did with Walz’s predecessor, Gov. Mark Dayton, with whom Burgum created a two-state task force whose recommendations ultimately resulted in a revised permit application to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in March 2018. The DNR approved a permit in December.
The diversion project will protect nearly 95 percent of Cass County’s estimated 178,000 residents, nearly 50,000 K-12 and college students, over $20 billion in property and the metro area’s thriving economy during times of major flooding from the Red River and its tributaries.
Arikara Celebration draws thousands to White Shield
Gov. Burgum and First Lady Kathryn Burgum attended last weekend's Arikara Celebration in White Shield, joining thousands of others who had traveled from all around the nation to participate in the event.
The celebration — which included dancing and singing competitions, a rodeo, craft vendors and more — is one of several events hosted by the Mandan, Hidatsa & Arikara (MHA) Nation every year. Following the event, Gov. Burgum encouraged all North Dakotans to attend future celebrations as a great way to experience North Dakota's culture and history.
For a list of upcoming events, visit the link below.
Lt. Gov. highlights oil industry innovation and technology at Bakken Conference & Expo
Lt. Gov. Sanford delivered the keynote address Tuesday at the Bakken Conference & Expo at the Bismarck Event Center, highlighting the innovation and technology that has kept North Dakota as the nation’s No. 2 oil-producing state.
Sanford noted that the industry produced nearly 1.4 million barrels per day in May with only around 60 rigs, compared with the all-time high of 218 rigs in May 2012 at the oil boom’s peak.
“It’s a testament to all the technology we are here to talk about today,” Sanford said. “Private sector innovation is what makes this possible.”
Further innovation and additional investment will be crucial to addressing challenges such as gas capture, Sanford said.
Sanford also highlighted efforts being made through the administration’s Main Street Initiative and the state’s Workforce Development Council to address the state’s workforce shortage and support healthy, vibrant communities that can attract and retain a 21st century workforce. The next Main Street ND Summit is scheduled for Oct. 29-31 at the Bismarck Event Center. For more information, visit www.MainStreetND.com.
Burgum visits NDSU Hettinger Research Extension Center
The North Dakota State University Hettinger Research Extension Center (HREC) hosted Gov. Burgum for a visit on Tuesday afternoon to showcase their leading livestock and crop production research. Christopher Schauer, who has been an animal scientist at the facility for 16 years and HREC director for 13 years, explained how his team's research supports the sheep industry in North Dakota.
Other researchers at the site conduct a wide variety of field and lab work to increase agricultural productivity in North Dakota, including focus areas such as agronomy, wildlife management and livestock nutrition.
The HREC was established through a gift of 160 acres by the residents of Adams County and the city of Hettinger in 1909.