Corey Mock

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Democrats in N.D. Legislature say they will continue to push ideas for good of the state

Grand Forks Herald

November’s election saw very little change in North Dakota’s political landscape.

Voters opposed seven of the eight constitutional measures on the ballot, all of the statewide offices remained in Republican control and Democrats gained one seat in the Legislature.

Yet Democrats — who have been outnumbered in the state Senate since 1992 and in the House since 1984 — say they still have an important role in the Legislature. From introducing their own bills, working with lawmakers on the other side of the aisle, and acting as a check against the Republican majority, Democrats said the numerical disadvantage doesn’t translate to irrelevancy.

“We’re pushing each other to make each other better for the good of the state,” said Senate Minority Leader Mac Schneider, D-Grand Forks, of Republicans and Democrats. “This isn’t about red vs. blue. I think we see good faith competition over ideas.”

Still, former Democratic Lt. Gov. Lloyd Omdahl, a retired political science professor at UND, said the minority could do more to offer alternative ideas.

“In this era of government prosperity due to the Bakken, maybe the circumstances don’t lend themselves to a lot of alternatives because the state has the money to do more things,” he said, citing debates over funding for the western part of the state to cope with increased oil-related activity. “The issue is not clear cut, it’s just a matter of the degree to which we think something ought to be solved.”

Strategies

Grand Forks is home to another member of the minority party’s leadership in Rep. Corey Mock, the House’s assistant minority leader. He said he encourages his caucus members to draft legislation “as if you are the ruling party.”

“We want to people to know our ideas,” Mock said during the first week of the session. “We’re not limited to what bills we can put forth. Not everything passes, but everything gets a vote.”

Last week, Democrats proposed drafting a contingency budget in the face of uncertain oil prices. Responding to the Democrats’ proposal Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson, said that the two parties appear to somewhat agree on the “philosophy,” but “it’s just how we’re going to get there.”

House Majority Leader Al Carlson, R-Fargo, said he didn’t want two budgets.

Sen. Tim Mathern, D-Fargo, said Democrats can influence policy decisions by drafting legislation that others, including Republicans, can be a sponsor to, drafting amendments to existing legislation and working within committees to “gain credibility.”

Grand Forks legislators have already sponsored a number of bills alongside their Republican colleagues this session, including a bill to allow students the right to an attorney during university disciplinary proceedings. That’s sponsored by Democrat Lois Delmore in the House, alongside several Republican senators such as Sen. Ray Holmberg, also of Grand Forks.

Other efforts, such as tweaking the state’s voter identification law, are likely to have a more partisan debate.

“Sometimes we just differ (on issues),” Wardner said. “We’re just different.”

Omdahl sees part of the minority party’s role as holding the other side accountable. In the case of Democrats, he said Republicans have responded when they’ve been criticized.

“So even though the Democrats don’t have as many votes, Republicans still feel like they must explain or defend what they’re doing,” Omdahl said. “The minority party has a responsibility to point out errors or defects in programs that are proposed, but they’re also responsible for proposing their own.”

Earl Strinden, a former Grand Forks legislator who was the Republican leader in the ’70s and ’80s, said his party was in the minority for a session while he was in office. He pointed out that there’s often disagreements within parties on legislation, so policy decisions aren’t always about differences between the two sides.

“We kept a working relationship with our Democrat colleagues,” he said. “And certainly it was in the best interest to have good working relationship with the members of the other caucus.”

Culture

The conservative nature of North Dakota means the two parties are more similar ideologically than in other states, Omdahl said. The culture here also means criticism is a little bit more “muted.”

Wardner said the relationship between the two parties in the Senate is “very congenial.”

“We don’t agree on everything, but we get along,” he said. Wardner said the Republican leadership tries to keep the other side “in the loop” on things they’re working on.

Carlson didn’t return a message seeking comment Friday.

In Schneider’s first session in 2009, the Democrats were outnumbered in the Senate 26-21, a closer margin than today. That count took a hit in 2010, and they have gained back three in the last two elections, Schneider said.

Schneider said he hopes that trend continues in order to bring more “balance” to the Legislature.

“I think with that kind of political balance, you had a much better process,” Schneider said. “Our path forward is to recruit those centrist candidates who focus on bread and butter issues.”

Grand Forks legislators handle the legislative lifestyle in different ways

Grand Forks Herald

As the Schneiders arrived at their temporary Bismarck home last week, another family’s portraits hung on the wall.

Senate Minority Leader Mac Schneider is one of several Grand Forks area legislators who is renting a home from people who spend the winter in warmer climates. His wife Crystal and 2 ½-year-old daughter Merritt will often stay with him there during the legislative session that began last week.

“The way we look at it is we’re Grand Forks residents who live in Bismarck during the week every two years,” Schneider said from the living room of that Bismarck home, which sits just blocks away from the Capitol.

Farmers, bankers, attorneys, retirees, businesspeople and others met last week in Bismarck to don their other hat as lawmakers. While they spend up to the next 80 days at the state Capitol writing laws and debating policy, their lives, jobs and sometimes families wait for them back home.

And although the additional responsibilities and the lifestyle can present challenges, lawmakers said North Dakota’s part-time citizen Legislature still makes sense.

North Dakota is considered by the National Conference of State Legislatures to be one of a handful of states with part-time lawmakers with low pay and small staff. More populous states like New York and California have Legislatures that can be almost like a full-time job.

“I think the great thing about North Dakota is amateurs like me can still do this,” said Sen. Lonnie Laffen, R-Grand Forks. “I think that keeps us grounded.”

Still, the time away from jobs can prevent some from entering the Legislature, said Rep. Mark Owens, R-Grand Forks.

“We have businessmen who came here, they did their four years, but then the toll on their business was too much to run again,” he said, adding that others have made it work.

Different roles

The North Dakota Legislature meets every two years for its regular session in Bismarck. That regular session can last 80 days at most during the two-year biennium. The 2013 Legislature took the entire 80 days, and this session could last as long, according to the Associated Press.

That time away from home can present some challenges.

State Rep. and UND law student Kylie Oversen, D-Grand Forks, said she takes a semester off while the Legislature is in session. She said it’s more manageable because she’s in her second year, whereas the first year of law school includes more required courses.

“I managed to get enough credits in over the summer that I’m on track with my class, so I’ll still be able to graduate on time,” she said. “There might be a few opportunities that I miss, but nothing required.”

Sen. Tom Campbell, R-Grafton, said becoming a lawmaker was something he “always wanted to do.” But he turned down a request from former legislator Harley Kingsbury to run in his place when the longtime lawmaker decided to retire more than 20 years ago.

“I wanted to build my business up and my family,” he said. “So I waited until the back half of my life, which I’m really glad I did because I gained experience.”

Businesspeople like Laffen said technology helps manage their work while they’re hundreds of miles away. A cofounder of JLG Architects, Laffen also uses the company’s Bismarck office on occasion to get work done.

“Ten years ago, I don’t think I could have done this,” Laffen said. “It’s amazing how much you can get done by email now.”

Owens said he also stays connected with his job as associate vice president of transportation services at Iteris Inc. by email or conference calls. He also spends a lot of nights and weeks doing “leftover work” for the office.

Finding housing

Legislators stay in Bismarck during the week and often head home for the weekend.

North Dakota allows for legislators to earn a monthly lodging reimbursement up to 30 times 70 percent of the daily lodging rate, according to the NCSL. That was around $1,500 a month in 2013, according to the NCSL.

Rep. Corey Mock, D-Grand Forks, shares a house with Rep. Ron Guggisberg, D-Fargo. He had a similar arrangement with Schneider last session.

“It gives you a sense of stability,” Mock said of renting a house. “It’s not the same as being at home, but it helps provide some work and life balance in your day.”

Sharing one with a lawmaker also has its advantages. Mock and Schneider learned about what was happening in each other’s chambers, and Mock can learn about what’s happening in the House Appropriations Committee, of which Guggisberg is a member.

Laffen also rents a snowbird’s house, but he brings very little with him.

“It’s just a place to sleep,” Laffen said. “I don’t bring any casual clothes any more, just suits.”

Others, like Campbell, rent a hotel room.

Learning lessons

Entering his fourth legislative session, Mock said he’s learned to “be more disciplined” with his schedule. That means taking advantage of every hour by doing things like working out in the morning and not being “a slave to email accounts throughout the day.”

Campbell said it was a challenge to learn the basics of how the Legislature operated during his first session in 2013.

“The first three or four weeks two years ago, when I was a freshman, were almost overwhelming,” Campbell said.

Campbell still maintains a busy schedule in Bismarck, often only getting four or five hours of sleep. Besides being at the Capitol, Campbell spends time meeting with associations and constituents, as well as working on bills.

Despite that hectic life, Campbell said, “I’m living my passion.”

Schneider was just starting his law career in his first legislative session in 2009, and hadn’t yet married Crystal. He said he immersed himself in the job of being a legislator that first time around.

“Now it’s a little bit different. I’ve got a law firm to manage, I’ve got my daughter who I want to put to bed every night,” he said.

Another new wrinkle is Crystal’s new role on the Grand Forks City Council. That’ll likely mean taking two cars to Bismarck so she can make Monday council meetings.

“I certainly feel like I learned a lot that 2009 session, basically being a full-time legislator,” Mac Schneider said. “It’s a tremendous responsibility, one that I take very seriously, but it’s one that’s managed along with other obligations.”

Mocks buy Glassheim’s used bookstore in Grand Forks

Grand Forks Herald

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Eliot Glassheim was almost joking when he asked Corey Mock to buy his bookstore.

The two state representatives from Grand Forks were driving home in November from a meeting in Bismarck when Glassheim inquired about Dr. Eliot’s Twice Sold Tales, which sells used books online and appraises books.

Mock contacted his wife, City Council member Jeannie Mock, and they decided on the spot to buy Glassheim’s bookstore.

“I was very surprised,” Glassheim said. “He kept asking me questions … so then I was selling (the store) for the rest of the trip back (from Bismarck).”

The Mocks plan to maintain “the legacy” of Glassheim’s long-running used bookstore, but they also have new ideas for the business, including repurposing books into art or household items, Corey Mock said. For example, old or damaged books could be remade into clocks, lamps, decorations or hollowed out as small boxes.

“It’s very exciting to me,” Glassheim said. “I never thought of any of that stuff.”

After purchasing the store, the Mocks have worked this past week to move 6,000 books from Glassheim’s house to their house.

They will continue selling books online at Amazon.com and Abebooks.com, Mock said. They’ll sell the repurposed books online at Etsy.com, and they will also seek vendor partnerships to sell those products in local stores, he said.

The bookstore

Glassheim had just casually been looking to sell his bookstore, he said.

“I was getting older and started thinking about what to do with all my possessions,” he said. He knew his wife or son didn’t want to take the bookstore, he said.

Dr. Eliot’s Twice Sold Tales has had several incarnations, first as a used bookstore downtown in the ’90s, Glassheim said.

He later sold the store, but he ended up getting the business back after the physical store burned down in the fire after the 1997 Red River flood.

A City Council member at the time, Glassheim mentioned the burned bookstore in an interview with CBS Sunday Morning as national media covered the flood.

Without warning, a truck filled with donated books from Minnesota arrived sometime after the CBS news story, giving Glassheim the inventory to continue Dr. Eliot’s Twice Sold Tales from within his home in 2002, selling the books online.

New ideas

Glassheim said he already misses the bookstore a little.

“It was kind of more of a hobby to me,” he said. Since most of the 6,000-book inventory is with the Mocks, there are several empty spaces in his house and garage.

But Glassheim is very excited for the Mocks to take over. He said the couple seems to have a genuine interest for the book-selling business, and he likes their idea of repurposing books, he said. “It’s working out very nicely.”

Both Corey and Jeannie Mock said they’re excited to take on the bookstore.

“I absolutely adore (Glassheim’s) story, and we plan to carry on that legacy,” Corey Mock said.

Many of the books in the store’s inventory are academic books, rare books, self-published or local interest books, he said.

The Mocks will continue partnering with the Community Violence Intervention Center in Grand Forks, as Glassheim did, to sell some books with partial profits going to the nonprofit, Mock said.

Though they’re just getting started, the Mocks have already had a new logo made for the business, featuring an illustration of Glassheim above the store’s name, which will remain Dr. Eliot’s Twice Sold Tales.

“The font and logo are light-hearted while professional — exactly how Eliot is remembered by most,” Mock said.

Democrats Outraged Over Republicans’ Misplaced Priorities

Milk truck (BISMARCK, N.D.) – Republicans in the House Education Committee scoffed at a bill providing children in elementary grades who qualify for the hot lunch program, with one snack beverage, specifically milk, per day by giving the bill a Do Not Pass recommendation on a 10-3 party line vote. 

HB 1421 would reimburse the Superintendent of Public Instruction for one snack beverage of either milk or juice each day for students qualifying for the free or reduced school lunch program during the 2013-15 biennium. 

Following the Do Not Pass vote, House Education Committee member and Assistant House Democratic Leader, Corey Mock, D-Grand Forks, issued the following statement:

“House Republicans are committed to giving tax cuts to oil companies. They’re passionate about giving hundreds of millions of dollars to huge, out-of-state, corporations. But they are not the least bit interested in providing the bare necessities to the kids in our state.

Denying a carton of milk to one needy child is a shame. Denying a carton of milk to 6,000 needy kids is a blatant disregard for the priorities of our state.

This investment would keep some of the most at-risk children healthier, more focused, and would increase their academic success, not to mention provide them with essential nutrients for their development.

This is not an issue that should require a second thought, but somehow, Republicans have decided that multi-million dollar tax breaks for multi-million dollar companies are more important than our youth. We don’t agree, and we’ll let our actions speak loudly on this issue.”

Dem-NPL caucus members will keep milk cartons on their desks to raise money for local K-3 students not able to afford milk during the school day.

Additionally, HB 1421 was amended on Page 1, line 5 to strike $1,239,300 and add $557,685 and to stipulate the funding to go towards children specifically in grades K-3.

Capitol Letters: January 12, 2013

This week in the North Dakota Legislature, explained by Dem-NPL leadership in three minutes or less

Stay safe
“No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session,” Mark Twain supposedly said. If you are of the same belief as Samuel Clemens, then lock your doors. The 63rd North Dakota Legislative Assembly convened in Bismarck this week.

To help you keep tabs on your elected leaders, we will be bringing you this weekly summary. We hope to make it interesting, relevant, and, most importantly, brief. Enjoy.

No more high fives? Or let the good times roll?
Each session in recent years has started with the governor’s address on the state of the state. It would have been a fun speech to give this year, no doubt. We are all thankful that North Dakota is doing well economically secondary to the oil boom and a strong agricultural sector.

Your Dem-NPL leadership team had a chance to respond to Governor Dalrymple’s address this week, and we did our best to get to the point: While the state of the state address is an appropriate time to reflect on North Dakota’s economic good fortune, going forward there can be “no more high fives” if we are to address immediate needs and capitalize on opportunities during this critical, time-limited session. That message — focusing on the work before us rather than patting ourselves on the back — seems pretty well in-tune with how we do things in North Dakota and was generally well received. With the exception of the Forum editorial board, that is.

You’ll see our response to this word-twisting editorial on the Forum opinion page soon, but suffice it to say we are sticking to our guns about what has to happen during the remaining 76 days of the session. Our prosperity has come with challenges — to our infrastructure, to our schools, and to our quality of life. It’s also presented us with the chance to seize opportunities that will make for a strong North Dakota after the oil boom has subsided. So let’s get off of our laurels (amongst other things) and get to work.

The right fights: Medicaid expansion
Each week, we’ll profile some of the priorities we are fighting for on the floors of our respective chambers. Whether it is increasing oil patch communities’ share of oil tax revenues, providing meaningful property tax relief for North Dakota families, ensuring open and transparent government by requiring disclosure of corporate and union political expenditures, or addressing the daycare crisis and increasing access to early childhood education, we believe these fights are the right ones for North Dakota families. We aim to make you proud.

This week features Sen. Tim Mathern from Fargo’s District 11 and his efforts to expand access to healthcare in North Dakota. We all know Tim is a passionate fighter and an expert on policy nuance when it comes to healthcare. As all good fighters know, it never hurts to have a little help. That is why Sen. Mathern is calling for bipartisanship in the wake of the news that the executive budget endorses expanding Medicaid in the state.

Here’s a quick primer on this issue: Under the health care reform law, states can expand Medicaid eligibility by up to 138% of the poverty level, meaning access to healthcare for thousands of residents who would otherwise go without health insurance. Where states choose to expand Medicaid in this fashion, the federal government will pick up 100% of the tab.

Now, if this were a 100% federal match for roads, there would be no question about whether we would take the federal government up on its offer. Since this is falls under the health care reform law, however, some of our friends on the other side of the aisle oppose Medicaid expansion based on vague allusions to “Obamacare.” Sen. Mathern, Dem-NPL legislators, and pragmatic members of the majority see this issue for what it is: An opportunity to expand access to health care for North Dakotans and reduce reliance on expensive emergency room care at no cost to the state.

It is a matter of practicality and common sense as much as it is compassion, and we’ll be working hard to make sure that those principles prevail over ideology on the issue of Medicaid expansion this session.

Head-shaker of the week
Often during the course of the session, we experience things that leave us shaking our heads in disbelief. Instead of keeping our bewilderment to ourselves, we’re going to share them with you in our “head-shaker of the week” feature.

This week’s head-shaker comes from Representative Skip Drovdal of Arnegard. We like Representative Drovdal. He’s a nice person who treats his colleagues with respect. That’s why we aren’t going to be too hard on him for indicating support for cutting taxes paid by oil companies. Specifically, Rep. Drovdal was quoted in a recent article as saying, “We need to get money back to them[.]”

To be fair, North Dakota has benefitted greatly from oil, something we wouldn’t have without investment from oil companies. But let’s keep in mind that those oil companies are doing awfully, awfully well. And those immediate needs we talked about above? We can ask oil companies to continue to pay their fair share so we can address them.

Done reading but still not satiated? Read all about this week’s legislative work by following the links below. In the mean time, enjoy the blizzard and stay out of the ditch. More next week.

Sen. Mac Schneider (Dem-NPL Floor Leader); Sen. Joan Heckaman (Dem-NPL Asst. Floor Leader)

Rep. Kenton Onstad (Dem-NPL Floor Leader); Rep. Corey Mock (Dem-NPL Asst. Floor Leader)

 

In the news

1.11.2013
Print:
D-NPL Senator Tim Mathern calls for bipartisanship on Medicaid – Forum Communications
With Governor’s Medicaid Expansion, Mathern Pulls Bill – ND Free Press
Democrats Work to Cap College ‘Fees’ – Make Schools Affordable – ND Free Press
Tribal chairman asks state to share oil wealth – Associated Press
North Dakota oil regulator: ‘Not all roses and sunshine’ – Associated Press
DOT says it’s playing catch-up – Bismarck Tribune
Officials voice concerns with aircraft measure – Bismarck Tribune
North Dakota chief justice bemoans ‘conveyor belt’ legal process – Forum Communications
Cass County Democrats to meet Saturday – Forum Communications
Department of Mineral Resources seeks additional funding to keep ND competitive – Forum Communications
Klobuchar, Hoeven to co-sponsor bill targeting metal thefts – Fargo Forum
Access important for court system – Bismarck Tribune Editorial
Decline in housing units means progress for FEMA – Minot Daily News
Heitkamp isn’t alone in opinion – Minot Daily News Editorial
Getting started – Williston Herald
TV:
Native American Address – KFYR-TV
Legislators Get Overview on Oil in ND – KXMB
Lawmakers Hear What Needs To Be Done On Reservations – KXMB TV
Great Plains News:
ND tribal chairman appeals for job training help, promotes friendlier business climate on reservations
Energy interests want research money boost for oil, renewables
Young Lawyers: Rural North Dakota Wants You

1.10.2013
Print:
Forum editorial: High-fives all around for ND
Editorial Cartoon – Fargo Forum
Tribal chairman to address ND Legislature – Associated Press
Education bill would restructure funding formula – Associated Press
OUR OPINION: Out of the hangar, onto the taxiway – Grand Forks Herald
N.D. college students lobby to keep fees in check – Forum Communications
Postal Service out to ‘restore faith’ of Oil Patch – Forum Communications
Chief Justice VandeWalle bemoans ‘conveyor-belt’ legal process – Forum Communications
ND chief justice announces rural law clerk program – Associated Press
ND chief justice wants 3 new judgeships – Associated Press
Tax credits sought for affordable housing projects in Dickinson – The Dickinson Press
Lawmakers ask about oil tax triggers – Bismarck Tribune
Governor lauds state’s progress – Williston Herald
TV:
Spending and Saving – KFYR-TV
Lawmakers Get to Work – KFYR-TV
Representative Saves Senators Life – KXMB-TV
Great Plains News
College Fee Limits
People Without Lawyers
Mathern – Medicaid

1.9.2013
Print:
Dalrymple’s State of State address: ‘Fund priorities responsibly’ – Forum Communications
Dalrymple: North Dakota flourishing but still faces challenges – Fargo Forum
Gov. Dalrymple: ‘An incredible moment’ – Bismarck Tribune
Former congressman lobbying for update to 1993 law – Associated Press
Lobbyists gear up for 2013 ND legislative session – Associated Press
ND chief justice to address Legislature – Associated Press
Forum editorial: Fix timing for school payments
WSI still struggling with computers – Forum Communications
North Dakota’s first openly gay lawmaker wants to work for all – Associated Press
Shirvani discusses reform plan at UND – GF Herald
Gun control group questions Heitkamp with print ads – Associated Press
TV:
Democrats` Response to State of the State – KFYR-TV
State of the State Address – KFYR-TV
Democrats Respond To State Of The State Address – KXMB-TV
State Of The State Address – KXMB-TV
Great Plains News Service:
Dalrymple – Democrats
Photos from the ND Legislature
Mathern – Medicaid
Dalrymple – Economic Contrasts
Gov Dalrymple – State of State
Dalrymple – Oil, story on ND governor’s State of the State speech
Dalrymple – Business, story on governor’s State of the State speech

1.8.2013
Print:
ND Legislature welcomes new, young legislators – Forum Communications
Local officials want some of North Dakota’s budget surplus for K-12 needs – Fargo Forum
Editorial: A federal ‘stimulus’ that works – Fargo Forum
2013 promises debate on high-dollar issues – Bismarck Tribune
Speech kicks off legislative session – Bismarck Tribune
ND legislature to tackle oil issues – Associated Press
Game and Fish Department deputy appointment questioned – Bismarck Tribune
ND Dems hire director; ND GOP searching for one – Associated Press
Water in, water out: Millions of dollars are needed to upgrade Dickinson’s H20, sewer systems – The Dickinson Press
Oil money helps ND tribe become debt-free – Fargo Forum

TV:
Session Starts Tomorrow – KFYR-TV

Victory Volunteers

Friends —

We’re just a few days away from election day. And this is where we can really use your help to get the campaign across the finish line. 

Over the next few days, we’ll be looking for volunteers to help on campus (students, especially), around the district, and at our victory party. Please don’t be shy… you can join Mac Schneider, Kylie Oversen, and Corey Mock as they do all three. 

Campus Volunteers

Campus volunteering includes visiting with students and encouraging them to vote in this year’s election. We will provide training so you know the laws and voting locations. Friends helping friends – we love it! We also need creative individuals to help channel their inner child and decorate sidewalks and distribute our literature in the final days. 

Getting Out The Vote (GOTV)

The election cannot be won without a strong turnout of our supporters. And to do that, we are going door-to-door to encourage friends of Schneider Oversen Mock to vote. The training is simple and the activity is fun. Best of all, you’re visiting with friends of the campaign! Sign up for 1 shift, or join us for multiple shifts. The choice is yours!

Victory Party

Our Victory Party is in need of volunteers to help with setup. Iola Kvasager leads the charge with decorations, but we’re looking for more volunteers to help on Monday afternoon with the setup of our event. Involves hanging signs, moving decorations, and getting a room ready for the biggest celebration in Grand Forks!

Of course you are all invited to join us on November 6th beginning at 8:00pm for the Grand Forks Democratic-NPL Victory Party, hosted at the Ramada Inn (in the heart of District 42). Bring your friends and family to our celebration — where we will watch election results from across the country, enjoy each other’s company, and relax after many (long) months of campaigning. 

Thank you all for your support and willingness to help send Sen. Mac Schneider, Kylie Oversen, and Rep. Corey Mock back to Bismarck to work on our behalf!

Celebrate UND’s Homecoming with Rep. Corey Mock

Nothing says “Welcome home, UND!” like parade candy and dog treats. Join State Representative Corey Mock, Senator Mac Schneider, and Kylie Oversen on October 13, 2012 at the Chester Fritz Auditorium for this year’s Homecoming Parade.

All volunteers that walk with the “Schneider Oversen Mock” parade entry will be given the infamous “I (heart) ND” t-shirt as a token of our appreciation for their support.

Learn more about this year’s Homecoming parade at the event listing.

USS North Dakota Crest Unveiled

The USS North Dakota, our country’s first Virginia-class nuclear submarine and the namesake of the 39th state in our union, has been given a crest that we can all enjoy.

Not only is the crest aesthetically impressive, it’s laden with historical elements that pay tribute to our state and our country’s proud Naval forces.

The basic design of the crest is that of an arrowhead. Along either side are stalks of wheat bordered by two mottos: “Strength from the soil,” from North Dakota’s state motto, and “Reapers of the Deep,” the submarine’s motto.

On the top of the crest beneath the boat’s name, an evening sky shows the constellation Orion, the hunter, above a silhouette of the state’s first naval namesake, a battleship, asail along the horizon.

The dusky sky blends into a pair of horse heads on either side with the submarine emerging forward from a field of blue.

Beneath the boat are a pair of six-shooters, one gold to represent the 15 officers and one silver to represent the 120 sailors comprising the crew. (Description credit: Brian Gehring, Bismarck Tribune.)