1. This Day in History: In 1957, U.S. Army troops stood guard as black students were admitted to Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, for the first time.
2. Oktoberfest, a tradition in Hankinson, North Dakota, kicks off at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 28. There’s a full day of events ranging from the craft fair to the 8:30 p.m. fireworks display.
3. A thought-provoking poll is offered every week in our opinion section. To learn more, turn to page A4.
4. Today’s Birthdays include journalist Barbara Walters (1929-); Oscar winner Michael Douglas (1944-); “Star Wars” star Mark Hamill (1951-); “Superman” star Christopher Reeve (1952-2004); singer-actor Will Smith (1968-); Oscar winner Catherine Zeta-Jones (1969-) and singer-actor Donald Glover (1983-).
Minnesota gained 1,100 jobs in Aug. 2019, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).
Seasonally adjusted figures released Sept. 19 by DEED reported a one-tenth percent decrease in the unemployment rate to 3.3 percent in August. This decrease ends a nine-month period where the rate had increased last October from 2.8 percent to 3.4 percent in July.
The technique of seasonal adjustment allows the measurement to remove the influence of seasonal patterns to reveal how unemployment changes from month to month.
The unemployment rate for Wilkin County was at 3.4 percent, Clay County at 2.7 percent, Otter Tail County at 3.1 percent, Grant County at 3.3 percent, and Traverse County at 3.1 percent.
“Minnesota employers continue to add jobs, and Minnesota workers continue to participate in the labor market at high levels,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. However, the lack of available workers in Minnesota poses a challenge for employers.
To address this problem, CareerForce was introduced by the state. This is a collaborative partnership created as an employment service for employers and job seekers as a career-search resource matching skilled workers and employers.
Three major sectors gained jobs. Leisure and hospitality (up 2,700), followed by financial activities (up 1,100) and construction ( up 100). Sectors experiencing job loss were education and health services (down 1,800), professional and business services (down 1,200), manufacturing (down 700), trade, transport, and utilities (down 500).
The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 3.7 percent in August.
DEED is the state’s economic development agency that facilitates an economic environment to produce jobs, improve the state’s workforce, and empower the growth of the Minnesota economy.
In celebration of homecoming and alumni, Breckenridge High School has chosen its court and planned a week of activities for students. Homecoming week will be Sunday, Sept. 29 through Friday, Oct. 4.
Students from the high school voted for the following to be on homecoming court: for girls, Megan Bellmore, Madelyn Larson, Emma Ihland, Kayley Ceroll and Riley Lorenz and for boys, Tyson Piechowski, James Finkral, Jack Aigner, Connor Petermann and Carson Hought. Coronation will be at 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29 at the high school gymnasium.
The week’s activities are as follows: Monday is dress up in your favorite pajamas and the activity will be musical chairs. Tuesday is character day and dodgeball. Wednesday is camo/blaze orange and school-wide kahoot. Thursday is Hawaiian/tacky tourist day and a talent show/lip sync battle. Friday is school spirit day and pep fest.
Friday’s football game will be held at 7 p.m. at Breckenridge versus Hawley.
Following months on the market, the land where Central Elementary stood in Wahpeton is being purchased by the city.
The sale is expected to close by Thursday, Oct. 30. Wahpeton Public Schools will receive $40,000 for the land. The city will also be responsible for $83,000 in special assessments to be paid on the land.
Members of the Wahpeton Finance, Personnel and Economic Development Committee began reviewing a purchase agreement when they met Monday, Sept. 23. City Attorney Steve Lies drafted the agreement to clearly convey ownership and ensure mutual understanding between buyer and seller.
“We want to enter into this with our eyes wide open,” Finance Director Darcie Huwe said.
Wahpeton Superintendent Rick Jacobson and School Board President Damon DeVillers were unavailable for comment.
Central Elementary was located at 212 Third Ave. N. in Wahpeton. Built in 1929, it was demolished from winter 2016 through spring 2017.
As the sale nears completion, Wahpeton leaders are moving onto the question of what comes next. Mayor Steve Dale and Councilman-at-large Perry Miller agree the land is in a great location. Both said a meeting with realtors, contractors and developers would be beneficial.
“I’m speaking about having a developer that would do the whole block,” Mayor Dale said. “When we start trying to part everything off, we could end up with water and sewer lines in people’s backyards and it’s harder to access them. Having one person with plans for the whole block would make things easier.”
The purchase agreement will be reviewed by Amy Clark, Wahpeton Public Schools’ attorney. Assistant City Attorney Brittany Hatting does not expect the sale would be impeded. Committee members are encouraged to review the agreement prior to the next Wahpeton City Council meeting.
Wahpeton Public Schools rejected a $20,000 verbal offer for the land, Daily News reported in May 2019.
Opening its doors as Central High School, the building received an east wing in 1949. It served as a secondary school until 1964, when classes moved to the present Wahpeton High School.
From 1964-1988, elementary classes were taught in the west wing while junior high classes were taught in the south and east wings. Following the establishment of Wahpeton Middle School, Central was solely an elementary school.
Renovations occurred between 1995-1997, but Central Elementary was considered increasingly dilapidated by 2012.
“The faculty has a laundry list of issues, including an ever-present mildew problem, and houses a considerable bat population,” Daily News previously reported.
Approximately 475 students in grades 1-5 attended Central Elementary during the 2015-2016 school year. Wahpeton Elementary, part of a district-wide education complex, was dedicated in August 2016.
Councilman-at-large Lane Wateland was absent from the committee meeting.
The next Wahpeton City Council meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 7 at City Hall, 1900 Fourth St. N. in Wahpeton.
North Dakota libraries, including the Leach Public Library in Wahpeton, are at odds with Macmillan Publishers.
Macmillan announced a new library ebook lending model that would take effect Friday, Nov. 1. When a new title is released, libraries would be able to purchase one copy in ebook format, the American Library Association stated. Following the purchase, Macmillan would place an eight-week embargo on additional copies of the title sold to libraries.
“Libraries typically purchase books in multiple forms: hard copies, ebooks and more,” Leach Public Library Director Melissa Bakken said. “They’re placing limits and I suspect it’s going to hit the e-community harder.”
The Leach Public Library is a member of the North Dakota “Library2Go” consortium, which offers digital media throughout the state. The local library is also a member of the North Dakota Library Association, which has joined with the North Dakota State Library to denounce Macmillan’s model.
“This policy will impact our library patrons by limiting their access to materials. Libraries play an important part in the publishing ecosystem by introducing readers to new authors, titles and formats,” the North Dakota Library Association stated.
John Sargent, Macmillan’s CEO, said the firm worked with libraries of all sizes for a year.
“(They sought) to solve the problem of libraries being so generous that they are killing sales for publishers and authors,” Information Today reported in August. “The cooperating libraries seemed fine with the policy, so Macmillan executives were surprised at the ferocity with which it was greeted by public libraries in general.”
Macmillan’s recent and upcoming releases include “The Devil’s Half Mile” by Paddy Hirsch, “Permanent Record” by Edward Snowden and “The United States of Trump” by Bill O’Reilly.
“They’re going to find a fight from the library community,” Bakken said.
Macmillan’s proposal has been denounced by organizations including the American Library Association and the Public Library Association. Ramiro S. Salazar, president of the Public Library Association and director of the San Antonio Public Library, has launched the “#eBooksForAll” initiative.
“In San Antonio, (an embargo) means one new ebook for a library serving almost 2 million people at 30 locations,” Salazar said.
Because that’s the same number of copies a neighboring library system serving approximately 3,000 people would receive, American Libraries.com reported, Salazar considers Macmillan’s model neither fair nor equitable.
“(We’ve) seen the pendulum shift from publishers not selling to libraries at all to a relatively symbiotic relationship between the two,” American Library Association Executive Director Mary Ghikas said. “Now we see a movement toward restricted or delayed access to ebook content, and Macmillan’s proposed lending model is the most troubling example of this to date.”
The Leach Public Library only recently became aware of Macmillan Publishers’ plans, Bakken said. The North Dakota Library Association is urging library patrons throughout the state to contact the publishing firm.
“Libraries purchase titles in multiple formats to support their patrons and we encourage the publishing community to acknowledge our partnership with them by removing these harmful policies that limit access,” North Dakota Library Association President Maggie Townsend said.
Sargent, the Washington Post reported, said ebook library lending is growing rapidly and hurting sales.
“It seems that given a choice between a purchase of an ebook for $12.99 or a frictionless lend for free, the American ebook reader is starting to lean heavily toward free,” Sargent wrote.
Readers interested in contacting Macmillan Publishers can do so by writing to 120 Broadway, New York City, New York, 10271; calling 646-307-5151; or contacting the firm on Twitter at @MacmillanUSA.