Haunted barracks

Bright lights lead people to the barracks building for a scare-fest finale for Haunted Fort visitors in Mandan. 

TOM STROMME, Tribune

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

Up

During the Dakota Access Pipeline protests the potential benefits of the project got pushed into the background. Now North Dakotans are noticing the impact of the pipeline. The state announced last week that in its first three months of operation the pipeline has generated $18 million in tax revenues. That’s a welcome boost for a state that has seen revenues drop as the oil patch slowed down. There has been a $2 increase in the average price for Bakken crude and transportation costs have become more competitive. Hopefully, this revenue trend continues.

Down

It was disappointing to learn that the Native American high school graduation rate in 2015-16 was 67 percent. That compares to a total graduation rate in North Dakota of 87 percent. There shouldn’t be that big of a gap between the graduation rates. Fortunately, teachers who serve Native American students in the state want to change those figures. They asked for a summit to address the problem and it was held last week in Bismarck. Proactive steps like the summit will help North Dakota find ways to solve the problem.

Up

Miss America Cara Mund is coming home and North Dakotans plan to party. Events are planned for Mund when she visits Williston on Nov. 3 and Bismarck on Nov. 4. In Bismarck the celebration will be held at the Bismarck Event Center starting at 3 p.m. There will be entertainment and the audience will hear from Miss America. Mund, from Bismarck, is the first North Dakotan to win the Miss America title.

Down

There’s talk of another round of base closings and it makes Grand Forks Air Force Base supporters nervous. Congress may ask for a base realignment and closure study. Any realignments or closures must be screened by an independent commission before going to Congress. Grand Forks is preparing an argument to keep the base open using the prospect of Grand Forks getting an Arctic mission.

Up

The Haunted Fort at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park south of Mandan continues to entertain folks during the Halloween season. This year the fort has an added attraction: visitors can take part in a zombie battlefield gallery with an opportunity to shoot zombies with a paintball gun. If you don’t want to take on zombies you can settle for a tour of the Haunted Fort. The Haunted Fort is open at 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. There’s a special student night on Oct. 19 and a Haunted Fort Halloween Kids Bash from noon to 5 p.m. Oct. 22.

Down

The federal government has rejected the state’s request for a disaster declaration due to the summer’s drought. Gov. Doug Burgum took the bad news well, saying he understands the demands on the federal level. While conditions have improved, the impact of the drought is still being felt. Many farmers and ranchers lost their crops, saw their pastures dry up and lack hay going into the winter. The federal help could have been used.

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