Archie and Greta

Kayla Wolf's dogs, Archie and Greta, went missing recently after escaping from their home in northwest Bismarck. They were found last Monday at a residence in Baldwin and were reunited with Wolf. Archie had frostbite, but Greta did not have any visible injuries.

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

Up

There’s no doubt North Dakotans care about their pets and other people’s pets. During the recent period of subzero temperatures a number of animals got loose, leaving their owners very worried. Some used social media to get the information out about the missing pets. Major Kelly Leben of the Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department encourages people to put information about missing pets on social media. It works. Some of the pets were found because people were aware of the missing animals and called authorities when they found them. Kayla Wolf posted information about her two dogs on Facebook after they got away. Almost 1,000 people saw her posting and she encountered one person who was searching for her pets. Her dogs were found and are doing OK. It all shows we care about our animals.

Down

There are some aspects of social media that are disappointing. Recently, Rep. Roscoe Streyle, R-Minot, tweeted an insult to another Twitter user. It prompted a petition effort by a college student calling for Streyle’s removal from office. The student, Linden Stave, called Streyle’s comment insulting to people with disabilities. Streyle has used the word that many find offensive at least 10 times in the past. Even House Majority Leader Al Carlson, R-Fargo, who has been known to use colorful language in the past, suggested legislators and officials remain professional on social media. Streyle later deleted the tweet and admitted it was inappropriate. Legislators need to lead by example and that includes using the proper language on social media.

Up

The state’s first urea plant will begin operations this month and that’s good news. The solid-form fertilizer the Great Plains Synfuels plant will produce should be popular with farmers. It took the plant three years to add urea to its line of products. The plant already produces the fertilizer ammonium sulfate and anhydrous ammonia. The plant was originally built to make synthetic natural gas from lignite coal. Urea production will provide jobs for the area and give the plant a solid footing for the future.

Down

Binge drinking among youth has been a problem in North Dakota for a long time. North Dakota State University has tackled the problem and made some progress. The number of students involved in driving under the influence has declined, so has the number of underage students who drink. Binge drinking has dropped from 55.8 percent in 2005 to 43.7 percent in 2016. Those numbers show that programs can make a difference. However, 43.7 percent who indulge in binge drinking, four drinks for women and five for men in a two-hour period within the past two weeks, remains too high. NDSU should be encouraged by the results, but the school needs to continue the push to reduce the numbers.

Up

There’s more good economic news for North Dakota. Taxable sales and purchases for the third quarter of 2017 were nearly $4.731 billion, a 2.3 percent increase over the same period in 2016. Five of the 15 major sectors in the state reported increases when compared to the third quarter in 2016. On the downside, retail trade saw a decrease of 2.4 percent. And taxable sales and purchases were down in Bismarck-Mandan. Bismarck saw a 6 percent dip and Mandan an 11.65 percent decline. The energy sector and cities in the oil patch showed increases, which bodes well for 2018 and beyond.

Down

The announcement that Sears plans to close its Bismarck store wasn’t surprising, but it was disappointing. Nationally, Sears has been struggling and closing stores. The Bismarck store has served the community well for many years. It’s an anchor at the Gateway Mall, 2700 State St., which means a replacement will be needed. Hopefully, a strong replacement can be found.

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