Winnipeg to extend Rapid Transit southward

Winnipeggers will see a huge extra investment in the Southwest Transitway project, with nearly $600 million to be spent extending dedicated busways from the current terminus at Jubilee and Pembina Highway, all the way down to the University of Manitoba.  Rapid Transit advocates have been in a pitched tug-of-war over the issue, and Winnipeg’s mayoral race recently heated up with incumbent Sam Katz stepping down, and Transit booster Judy Wasylycia-Leis is leading the pack to replace him.

Chippewa concerned: Carberry casino could cut Canadian customers

SkyDancer Resort in Belcourt is officially working alongside new competition today, as Sand Hills Casino opened just 150 km away in Carberry. Western Manitobans no longer have to drive to Winnipeg to gamble without a border check, something sure to cut into SkyDancer’s budget.

Partially to offset the projected losses, the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa recently expressed interest in building a new casino facility in the Grand Forks or the Bakken region, something that would require state legislation, in addition to local community support.

A grey day for North Dakota television

North Dakota loses 3 TV stations

North Dakota loses three TV stations?

It’s been over a decade since the halcyon era of KXJB in Fargo — the days when local news meant several choices, not just two or three.  Soon even the modest maintenance of a nominal “KXJB” may be gone.

Grey Television meant to buy three full-power TV stations in North Dakota — uncomfortably turning a threadbare triopoly into a duopoly in Western North Dakota, but was rebuffed by an FCC newly obsessed with counteracting decades of media consolidation in the slightly resurgent market for over-the-air TV.

On Friday, West Dakota Fox stations shut down, with Fox programming moving to digital subchannels on NBC stations.  The same fate may soon occur with KXJB’s CBS programs moving to KVLY.  Grey announced that, unless they find a suitable minority or nonprofit owner, KXJB, KNDX, and KXND will be closed forever.

I see a few possible scenarios for how this can go, with only mixed at best results for North Dakota viewers.  The worst-case scenario is where we are right now: two TV stations gone and a third on the chopping block. Yay for diverse viewpoints on the air, right? Continue reading

Wynne’s Liberals quiet push to majority

Kathleen Wynne will remain premier of Ontario; the Liberal Party cashed out well north of polling predictions — holding 59 of 107 seats will be good enough for the Liberal Party to fly solo for the next few years.  308 had predicted a Liberal minority government, but the reality had the Liberals picking up 10 seats, almost entirely out of the hands of the Tories.

When polls are thrown for that big of a loop, it can indicate a scenario where voters have shaken confidence in the government — suppressing poll numbers — but are yet more skeptical of the opposition.  For his part, PC leader Tim Hudak accepted responsibility for a promising but failed campaign.

Nearby Kenora-Rainy River re-elected the NDP’s Sarah Campbell as MPP; the NDP neither gained nor lost seats, but have lost the balance of power in Canada’s largest province.

No July for you!

NorthDakotaStateFluffMeasure 1 is likely to pass, which may kill off some current petition drives, and end the North Dakota State Fair as a political meeting space.

In the city races, Jeannie Schultz-Mock and Crystal Schneider won council seats in Grand Forks, while Mara Brust and John Strand appear to have lost in Fargo.

In the primaries, there appear to have been no major challengers.  Republicans outnumbered Democrats 1.5 to 1 (22% gap).  Libertarian support is at 1% and the Constitution Party did not contest this election.

KFGO reported people being turned away at the polls, including individuals carrying passports — which is proof of citizenship, as I recall.  According to election officials in Grand Forks County, there was no organized effort to count voters who were turned away, despite the significant changes in election rules.

The Secretary of State’s website was inaccessible for periods during the night, as the same system appeared to be hammered by election officers submitting tallies, reporters, and the general public, all at the same time.  The poor system design appears to have no low-bandwidth or low-overhead mode for times like this — or any separation between use types.  Forum Communications sites posted copious direct links to the SOS pages, exacerbating the service outage.