What Are You Waiting For Governor? Commissioners? Mayors?

The science and mathematics of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic are clear. Continued hesitation right now, in this moment, will cost more lives. 

People in all but five states are living under partial or statewide shelter-in-place orders. Why not North Dakota?

Right now is the time to keep people in their homes with shelter-in-place orders to slow the spread of coronavirus and COVID-19. U.S. citizens have heard this message over and over and over again from scientific and medical experts in communicable diseases.

The New York Times reports that, “…at least 311 million people in at least 41 states, three counties, eight cities, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are being urged to stay home.

As of today (April 3, 2020), the only states without restrictions in at least a part of them are Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and, of course, my state of North Dakota.

Why? What are mayors, county commissioners and governors waiting for?

Dakota Do-Nothings

Last week, I wrote a letter to N.D. Gov. Doug Burgum, asking him to issue a statewide, mandatory shelter-in-place order. I provided a version of that letter for download, customization and use by anyone and everyone.

Nothing from him so far. He and his counterpart to the south seem to be taking the same do-nothing approach.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is telling her constituents that it’s “everyone’s personal responsibility to take the right actions.”

There are many problems with that view and approach, but here’s the biggie:

Sadly – and I’d say stupidly – too many people will not voluntarily do what we need them to do. People are out spreading the virus to each other. One person gives it to two, each of those give it to two more, each of those four give it to two more…

See where that’s headed?

Every time one person with coronavirus interacts with others, s/he is the cause of dozens, perhaps hundreds and maybe even thousands of infections.

The whole “personal responsibility” thing isn’t working, and it won’t moving forward. That’s just the way it is.

COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place. Now.

I sent a similar letter to the mayor of my city, Fargo, N.D., yesterday. Mayor Tim Mahoney got back to me within minutes saying, “We are moving in this direction.”

I urge Mayor Mahoney and other city officials to move quickly. “Immediately” would be good.

In a press conference a couple of days ago, Mahoney asked people, especially young people, to take shelter-in-place recommendations more seriously. Burgum, during his own news conference yesterday, also referring to social-distancing guidelines, bemoaned the fact that “some people are not taking this seriously.”

Well, folks, there is a serious solution readily at hand  –

Issue mandatory shelter-in-place orders. Do it now.

Coming Soon to a Home Near You

This hits close to home. In my letter to Burgum, I included this –

My wife is a registered nurse on the front lines. She is working directly with coronavirus and COVID-19 patients in a Special Care Unit in Fargo. She puts her life on the line every day she steps onto the unit, as do her fellow nurses, doctors and support staff. People who do not social distance put the lives of these healthcare heroes on the line, as well.

However, it’s not just about me and my spouse of 25 years. It’s about everyone in Fargo, North Dakota and throughout the United States. With the latest information from scientists, infection and death in all our homes are literally just a breath away.

I do not believe I was overdramatic in my letters to both men when I said that right now, in this very moment, they have an opportunity to save lives, to slow the spread of coronavirus and limit the number of deaths from COVID-19.

But they must act. The science and mathematics of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic are clear.

Hesitation right now, in this moment, will cost lives.


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Featured graphic – underlying map by the New York Times, question mark guy by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay. 



Coronavirus Shelter-in-Place Request: Customizable Letter to Mayors & Governors

Our leaders need to do everything in their power to to slow the spread of coronavirus. Now.

Use this letter to ask your mayor and governor to issue mandatory shelter-in-place orders to slow the coronavirus & COVID-19 pandemic

I recently sent letters to my city’s mayor and my state’s governor asking them to issue mandatory shelter-in-place orders to slow the spread of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. I hope you will, too.

I’ve included a link for a downloadable and customizable version of the following letter at the bottom of this post. Please download it, edit it in whatever way you see fit and send it to your mayor and the governor of your state as soon as possible. Remember to include your contact information.

Fargo, N.D. residents, send your letter to Mayor Tim Mahoney using this form, or call him at 701-241-1310. If you’re in another U.S. city, search your city’s website for contact information.

North Dakota citizens can contact Gov. Doug Burgum directly through the online contact form, or email his constituent service representative, Shelley Haugen, at skhaugen@nd.gov. If you’re from another state, find your governor’s contact information here.

Here’s the letter:

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Spring Coming, Temps Rising… But Coronavirus is Out There

Upper Great Plains: Time to recommit to social distancing.

Dont Do It!

Social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19 has been relatively easy so far in North Dakota and Minnesota. March has been the tease it usually is, with above-freezing temps but windchills still down in the single digits or teens.

But now the temps are rising – 40s and 50s in Fargo (N.D.)-Moorhead (Minn.) for the next 10 days or so, warmer the farther south you go.

We’re all looking out the window, thinking about how luxurious the spring sunshine would feel on our backs and how great it would be to share a cold one on the neighbors’ patio, even if we still have to wear a light jacket.

The pull is especially strong after a couple of weeks mostly in isolation. People… we need to be around people!

Resist the urge.

Getting together, standing in lines, stopping for chats…. You’ll not only be putting yourself in danger of contracting coronavirus and developing COVID-19, you’ll be putting others in danger. One person with coronavirus infects two, two become four, four become 16, 16 become….

To give you a little more context for my point of view – my wife is a registered nurse at Sanford Health caring for patients with coronavirus and COVID-19 patients directly. People who go out and interact with other people literally put her life at greater risk.

Just don’t do it. Please.

Go walk your dogs, keep six feet between you and anyone on the same side of the street, hang out with the kids in the backyard, sure. Take care of your family’s mental health. Absolutely. But keep using technology like FaceTime if you have it to “hang” with anyone who doesn’t live in your household.

COVID-19 is out there, like a wolf waiting to make a break for anyone who stumbles from a herd.

Just… #StayTheFuckHome


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Featured graphic by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay.

Dress Never Worn

Some Things You’ll Just Never Get Back

Our 18-year-old daughter opened our bedroom door late. We’d been sleeping for nearly an hour already. I sat up quickly, saw her silhouette in the light spilling in from the hallway. My wife, an RN at one of the local hospitals, had a 5 a.m. shift the next day; she slept on. My daughter motioned for me to come.

She was crying.

We went down the hall to her room, sat on the edge of the bed and I put my arm around her. She let me, which is unusual; my daughter has never been physically demonstrative, even when she was a baby. It’s just part of who she is.

“What’s wrong, Honey?” I asked, one word echoing through my mind before she spoke:




It was supposed to be the perfect year.

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Guest Post: Grand Aunt Hilda and the Influenza Pandemic of 1918

The Stofferahn family history is a wake-up call. U.S. leadership needs to act fast to avoid another 1918.

A family’s history points to the danger
of today’s coronavirus pandemic.

by Curt Stofferahn

I’ve been thinking of Grand Aunt Hilda this past week.

Graphic for Guest PostsThe discovery of hot spots of coronavirus (COVID-19); the announcements of meeting, convention and tournament postponements; colleges and universities cancelling face-to-face instruction in favor of online instruction and postponing reconvening until two weeks after the end of spring breaks; and repeated reminders of the Trump administration’s miserable failure in dealing with the outbreak – they all reminded me of the Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and how my Grand Aunt Hilda was a victim.

Influenza Pandemic of 1918, Iowa & South Dakota

I learned about Grand Aunt Hilda when we were children visiting my grandparents. When we discovered a trunk in the storeroom with portraits of relatives in it, I asked Grandma about one in particular, a charcoal portrait of a lovely young woman who looked vaguely familiar. She went with us to the storeroom to look at the portrait, and with some melancholia said that it was my grandfather’s sister, Hilda, who had died in the pandemic.

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Rage, Thy Neighbor

The fury in this country is palpable. It boils over somewhere every day. On this day, it jumped out of a pickup and threatened a kid right in front of me.

This is us now?

Enjoying some sunshine for a change from the grey blanket we’ve been under for the most of the past couple of months. Minding my own business. Feeling pretty doggone good. Out with the dogs for our mid-day constitutional in our South Fargo, N.D., neighborhood.

All of a sudden a pickup screeches to a halt on the street parallel to the sidewalk we’re on, or screeches as much as is possible on the black ice that doubles for pavement in our winters.

Door flies open and a man jumps out.

He’s about 5-foot-4 to 5-foot-6 with straight white hair combed straight down on his forehead. Caucasian. Glasses. Wiry. Looks to go about 150-160 pounds. Wearing a light colored jacket. I don’t register all of this at first, though. I just see, out of the corner of my left eye, a white flash rush out and start stalking toward the back of the truck.

The white blur starts shouting and pointing.

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