This is Up and Down, where we give a brief thumbs up and thumbs down on the issues from the past week.
When a young Colorado couple with family in the Bismarck area had car trouble on Dec. 27 near Bowman they were amazed by their treatment. From a mechanic to the mayor, Logan Strandemo and Shelby Hungness got special treatment. They received quick service on their vehicle, some free soup and overall were treated like long-lost friends by the residents. There’s no better advertisement for North Dakota than the warm welcome Bowman provided the personal trainers from Fort Collins. The word will get around.
Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, which built the Dakota Access Pipeline, has missed a year-end deadline to plant thousands of trees along the pipeline corridor in North Dakota. The company agreed to plant the trees in a settlement of allegations it violated state rules during construction. The settlement says 20,000 trees must be provided to county soil conservation districts along the pipeline's 359-mile North Dakota route. The settlement provides more time should the company run into problems, which it did. The company should make it a priority to complete the project.
South Central District Judge Bruce Haskell completed his “last official act” on the bench last week before retiring. Haskell didn’t seek re-election and stepped down after 24 years as district judge. He has served the state well and earned a fine reputation. Haskell deserves our thanks. He’s being replaced by Daniel Borgen.
North Dakota lost a talented man in an accident near Richardton on Dec. 30. Thomas Disselhorst, 71, was a human rights activist and in-house attorney for United Tribes Technical College. He often worked behind the scenes for the tribes in the state, not seeking credit for his accomplishments. He’ll be missed by many.
Gov. Doug Burgum made a smart move when he announced the flags of the five tribal nations in the state will be on permanent display in Memorial Hall at the Capitol. It indicates we value the tribes and should help heal some of the lingering wounds from the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. It also was good that the Legislature reinstated the tribal and judicial addresses. Spirit Lake Nation Tribal Chair Myra Pearson and Supreme Court Justice Gerald VandeWalle demonstrated the value of the speeches on Thursday.