This is Up and Down, where we give a brief thumbs up and thumbs down on the issues from the past week.
The Larks baseball team provided the Bismarck-Mandan community with a lot of fun during the summer. While it was the new team in the Northwoods League it was competitive. It also drew a lot of fans to its games, with the team selling out 27 of its 36 games. The Larks have been honored for a successful debut season. The league has named the Larks the Northwoods League Organization of the Year. General Manager John Bollinger has been selected Executive of the Year. A successful season has resulted in awards and hopefully 2018 will be another good year.
There seems to be a trend at the state Board of Higher Education and the Tribune Editorial Board doesn’t like it. The board is discussing going to quarterly meetings and it would seem one of its goals is to make the meetings less accessible. Chancellor Mark Hagerott also complained during last month’s meeting that potential customers who are interested in partnering with North Dakota researchers in fields like unmanned aircraft are worried about the state’s open records laws. They fear the state won’t protect their data. North Dakota’s open records laws have worked well, providing open meetings and access to information while protecting sensitive material. Trade secrets haven’t been given away. Officials should tell outside interests that they need to follow the law when doing business in North Dakota. We shouldn’t continue to chip away at laws that provide the public with access.
North Dakotans had the rare opportunity to hear veterans from Guadalcanal share their experiences on Oct. 14. Despite being in their 90s, the veterans were as sharp as ever and had some great stories. What they endured 75 years ago was incredible. It’s a credit to them that they fought through the Pacific and came home to productive lives. There’s a reason they are called the Greatest Generation.
The state Land Board needs to be more prompt. Under state law, notice of meetings need to be posted when board members are told of meeting dates. The Land Board, on at least two occasions, has failed to provide timely notice of meetings. This should be embarrassing for Gov. Doug Burgum and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, who sit on the board. We don’t expect the governor or attorney general to personally file the notice of a search committee meeting. We do, however, expect other board members or staff to be aware of the law and follow the law. Why make the bosses (Burgum and Stenehjem) look bad by, at the least, violating the spirit of the law?
Touchmark has an interesting way to help residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia. They have them painting with essential oils combined with paint. The oils help residents relax and there has been less agitation and attention spans have increased. The social engagement by residents also has expanded. The essential oil used is selected based on the painter’s mood. Lavender promotes peace and calmness and citrus and peppermint offer a pick-me-up on a bad day. It appears be a simple concept that works.