This is Up and Down, where we give a brief thumbs up and thumbs down on the issues from the past week.
It’s unusual for a community to learn in one week that it’s losing its top two law enforcement officers. That’s what happened in Bismarck last week. This isn’t an Up because we are happy to see Bismarck Police Chief Dan Donlin and Burleigh County Sheriff Pat Heinert go. It’s an up for all the service they have provided to Bismarck and Burleigh County. Donlin has been in the Bismarck department for 30 years, serving in a variety of capacities. He’s been in dangerous situations and he’s enjoyed the opportunities to engage the public. He’s ready to try a new career path and we wish him well. Heinert announced he won’t seek re-election this fall, ending a 39-year law enforcement career. He ranks the floods of 2011 as one of the big challenges of his time in office. He’s a member of the House of Representatives from District 32, so he hasn’t given up public service. We also wish him good luck.
Social media has a way of luring people into doing foolish things. One of the latest examples is Nick Archuleta, president of North Dakota United. He used Twitter to call President Donald Trump a liar and racist. Not a smart thing to do for someone who heads an education and public employee union. Obviously not all the union members are going to agree with him. He apologized for his “inconsiderate remarks.” He sounds embarrassed by his comments and he should be. He needs to set an example for union members, students and others. Maybe his mistake can be turned into a learning tool.
The Burleigh County Commission has chipped in $6,000 to help Bismarck deal with the lack of a homeless shelter for men. Commissioner Brian Bitner warned that the public shouldn’t expect continued funding from the commission. That’s OK since help is needed now until a permanent solution is found. The United Way has raised $292,000 of $325,000 needed to provide emergency housing through June. The United Way also may have found a temporary location for a shelter. It appears the community is nearing a solution for our homeless crisis.
When it gets cold in North Dakota motorists idle their vehicles to warm them up and stay warm while they wait. Residents in some states find idling cars to be a waste of energy and a threat to the environment. They see the idling as contributing to pollution and climate change. These folks apparently haven’t lived in places like North Dakota where temps hitting 40 below aren’t unheard of. There was an effort in Grand Forks in 2015 to limit when and how long you could idle your vehicle. It didn’t go anywhere. There are practical reasons we idle our vehicles in North Dakota and one of them is safety. Drivers react better in warm vehicles and are more alert. Any movement to limit idling should be switched off.
This is an Up for a life well lived. We were saddened last week when John Andrist died. He served his community and state well as a journalist and a legislator. He used his newspaper in Crosby not just to provide the news, but offer direction. He served on state and national newspaper boards. As a legislator he didn’t feel the need to vote the party line all the time. He voted for what he thought was right. We can only hope for more men and women like John Andrist.