112917.N.MDN.NDMOOSE

A bull moose. The population is exploding in North Dakota. 

Submitted

This is Up and Down, where we give a brief thumbs up and thumbs down on the issues from the past week.

Up

North Dakotans will see how Bismarck native Kyle Becker does on “Jeopardy!” today. The 2005 Bismarck High School graduate taped the program in August and has been sworn to secrecy since. Even his family doesn’t know how he did. Becker lives in Nashville, Tenn., and works as a research assistant at Vanderbilt University. “Jeopardy!” made its debut on March 30, 1964, and has been a staple of TV since. It’s famous for giving the answers first to the contestants. It should be a fun time for Becker’s family and friends.

Down

Bismarck-Mandan residents may be surprised to learn North Dakotans in the far northern part of the state have too many moose. They complain the moose are coming into their yards and they can’t walk along the roads because of the big animals. They are majestic creatures to watch, but up close they can be scary. Residents want the North Dakota Game and Fish Department to speed up the hunting license process so the population can be brought under control. Department officials admit moose do well in the state. It’s unfortunate the moose population has become too large. For residents in many parts of the state just seeing one is a thrill.

Up

Mark and Claudia Thompson showed their appreciation for the care their granddaughter received at hospitals on her premature birth with a donation to Sanford Health. The Thompsons donated $500,000 that will help provide a new neonatal intensive care unit in the Bismarck hospital. The new NICU is expected to open in the summer of 2019 and will have 24 beds and 18 private rooms. Meanwhile, the Thompsons’ granddaughter is in sixth grade and plays hockey along with being on the honor roll. The Thompsons’ gift means other families will have successful outcomes.

Down

Animals in the wild can have a tough time. There are predators and disease that can result in a short life. There are reports in the northeast part of the state of raccoons showing signs of distemper, a viral-borne illness similar to rabies. Distemper isn’t infectious to humans, but people should stay away from animals displaying signs of it. People also need to get their pets vaccinated to protect them in case they come in contact with an infected animal. It pays for people to be alert to the possible problem.

Up

It’s hard to find positives in a drought, but there are some. At Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge there were some benefits to the dry year. Invasive plants, such as Kentucky bluegrass and smooth brome, decreased this year. Water levels dropped and it provided more area to the land where thousands of pelicans breed and nest. The dry weather also allowed the refuge officials to complete more projects with landowners. This doesn’t mean the drought was welcome, just that there’s some upside to every tough period in life.

Down

Home fires are always difficult for families to deal with. There were two fires in Bismarck last week and the residents had to seek other housing. Fires during the holiday season add to the trauma involved with handling the situation. Everyone should make safety checks in their homes, especially with the additional lights and decorations that go up for Christmas.

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