Early winter storm unwelcome surprise

Early winter storm unwelcome surprise

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

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An early winter storm has dumped heavy amounts of snow across many parts of the state, creating a crisis for farmers who still have crops in the field and challenges for ranchers who had to scramble to protect cattle. The storm also caused many fall athletic events to be postponed or canceled, caused travel difficulties across the state and some power outages. In Bismarck, the 11.6 inches that fell between 7 a.m. Thursday and 7 a.m. Friday set a local record for a one-day, 24-hour snowfall in October, beating the previous record by 3 inches.

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Many deserve thanks for keeping us safe during severe winter storms, from the meteorologists who issue warnings and updates to snowplow drivers who work long hours to clear the roads to law enforcement officers who respond to vehicle crashes in dangerous conditions. It’s going to be a long winter, so we should show these folks appreciation.

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Two significant pipeline spills were discovered last month on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, involving a pipeline system that has had repeat incidents. The largest spill released 3,917 barrels, or 165,000 gallons, of brine on Sept. 30, contaminating topsoil and posing a potential threat to Squaw Creek, a tributary of Lake Sakakawea. A Sept. 20 incident involved the same company and another 962 barrels, or about 40,000 gallons of brine.

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More than 1,400 University of Mary students participated in the sixth annual Day of Service last Wednesday, volunteering at 70 locations in Bismarck-Mandan. The student-run event is a good way for students to get involved in the local community and give back.

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Burleigh County officials believe three people associated with the “Felony Lane Gang” have been active in the Bismarck area, using stolen checks with forged signatures and stolen ID cards. The organized group, which police say has about 600 members nationwide, is known for targeting parking lots to steal IDs, checks, and credit and debit cards. Three arrest warrants have been issued in connection with the activity. It’s another reminder for people to be vigilant about locking their car doors and not leaving valuables inside.

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