This is Up and Down, where we give a brief thumbs up and thumbs down on the issues from the past week.
Despite problems with a summer hailstorm, a $500 million urea fertilizer plant northwest of Beulah is moving forward. The Basin Electric Cooperative project has been a big boost for Mercer County. Taxable sales for the county were up 17 percent, compared to a 26 percent decline for the rest of the state. The project has provided jobs along with customers for the community’s businesses. It’s a win situation for everyone involved.
During the recent Dakota Access Pipeline protests at least seven journalists have been charged. While it’s understandable that law enforcement can have difficulty knowing who is a journalist during chaotic events, the charges should be closely reviewed. The case against Amy Goodman of Democracy Now was dismissed and the other cases seem similar. Journalists follow the story and sometimes it takes them into the middle of the action. It can be difficult enough for journalists covering a story without the threat of charges hanging over them.
North Dakota voters on Tuesday easily approved Measure 5 that allows the use of medical marijuana. The Tribune Editorial Board along with many law enforcement and medical groups recommended the defeat of the measure. The vote gets a thumbs up because it reflects an electorate that studied the issue and made their own decision. North Dakota, considered by outsiders as a predictable conservative state, has never been afraid to split a ballot. For many years we elected an all-Democratic congressional delegation while picking mostly Republicans for state offices. We hope the state voters never lose their independent streak.
Protesters upset over the election of Donald Trump closed part of the Interstate in the Minneapolis area. Similar action was reported in several other areas of the country. During the campaign there was concern over whether Trump would accept the results of the election. Now that he’s won, it’s the other side that can’t accept the outcome of the process. Selecting a leader can be messy and losing hurts, but the process needs to be respected. Americans witnessed a remarkable run by Trump. Not everyone likes it, but they need to accept it.
Kirsten Baesler, state superintendent, met last week with her Student Cabinet. The 20 students from around the state, ranging from fourth grade to college freshmen, are providing her feedback on a variety of topics. Baesler says she’s serious about taking their advice and that’s a good thing. Too often students get left out during discussions on curriculum and policy. The learning process works a lot better when everyone involved buys into it.