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RED KETTLE CAMPAIGN

Sydney Graner, of Huff, right, places her donation into the Salvation Army's Red Kettle outside Scheels at Kirkwood Mall in November. Volunteer bell-ringer Jackie Erickstad, was sharing a bell-ringing shift with her husband, Mark Erickstad. "We have been doing this for three years," Erickstad said.

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

Up

Bismarck-Mandan residents were in a giving mood during the Christmas season. The mild weather also is credited with an increase in donations to the Salvation Army’s 2018 Red Kettle drive. Volunteers raised $157,599, an increase of more than $19,000 over 2017. Many volunteers conduct their shifts outside, which can be challenging in December. The Salvation Army provides rent and utility assistance for those in need, is developing an after-school program and summer youth program and has a food pantry. So the money raised has many good uses.

Down

The House has defeated, 54-38, a bill that would have changed the state’s seat belt law and allowed officers to stop and ticket those not using seat belts. The state has a secondary law that requires officers to have another reason to stop motorists. Legislators who opposed the bill argued it chipped away at our personal freedom. The Tribune believes there are many laws on the books intended to promote the health of the public. Seat belts save lives and the state should require their use and adopt a primary law. Hopefully, some legislator tries again next session.

Up

What do you get after winning seven Division I FCS football titles? A visit to the White House. The North Dakota State University team got to meet President Donald Trump and see the Oval Office. The team presented the president with a jersey with No. 45 (Trump is the 45th president) and showed off their trophy. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., asked Trump for the invitation and spearheaded the visit, which was paid for with privately raised funds. It was a great way to cap off a championship season.

Down

Arnegard has fired its police chief and a police officer after the mayor broke a 2-2 tie by the city council. It appears to be the type of dispute that can divide a small community. There’s also concern the firings will prompt legal action. Communities can’t allow situations like this to fester. The council needs to revisit the firings and find a compromise with the fired officers. That’s the best approach for Arnegard.

Up

Katy Keller, 28, once qualified for the Junior Olympics in skiing. Now she’s sharing her skills with young skiers at the Huff Hills Ski Area. She’s coaching a new race team created for kids at Huff Hills. She’s teaching them fundamentals and helping them build their confidence. They hope to be able to take the kids on trips to participate in competitions. Huff Hills also plans to grow the program next year and will host race events in the future. It’s a good opportunity for kids to learn, compete and have fun.

Down

The Southern Poverty Law Center, an advocacy group, has identified three hate groups in North Dakota. If they are correct, that’s three too many. The groups are the Asatru Folk Assembly and the Soldiers of Odin with chapters in the state. American Freedom Party, based in California, also has a presence in North Dakota. Minnesota has 12 active hate groups, according to the center. North Dakotans need to be aware these groups exist and know their messages must be ignored. Indeed, they need to be countered.

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