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Vern Dosch, CEO of NISC, said the hardware and software development company based in Mandan, has hired 100 new people since July at all of its locations and continues to recruit for about 60 more.

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

Up

The Bismarck School District may have found its interim superintendent. The school board last week decided to negotiate with Jim Haussler on a contract. Haussler served 23 years as the district’s activities director and knows many of the staff and teachers. The district wants an interim superintendent through the next school year as it looks for a replacement for Tamara Uselman. She’s leaving in June. Haussler looks like a good fit.

Down

Many Republican delegates reimbursed the party for registration fees paid for them by others before the GOP convention began last week. Tom Campbell had said he paid the fees for some delegates. Party Chairman Rick Berg told delegates if they reimbursed the party their names wouldn’t be made public. While party rules apparently weren’t violated, having someone pick up the tab didn’t help the image of those paying the bill.

Up

It’s always great to see a local business flourish. That’s the case with National Information Solutions Cooperative in Mandan. The company expects to add between 50 and 70 technology jobs this summer. The company develops software for telephone and utility cooperatives. The company’s expansion is good for Mandan and the area.

Down

University of North Dakota President Mark Kennedy recently apologized for comments he made about the Legislature. He had indicated that most morale problems on campus were due to UND budget cuts made by legislators. His comments were quickly challenged by Sen. Ray Holmberg, R-Grand Forks. Kennedy backtracked. The president shouldn’t have put himself in the position and it won’t help him during future talks with legislators.

Up

Friends of the Rail Bridge, a group that hopes to get nonprofit status, want to save the BNSF Railway bridge across the Missouri River. BNSF, on the other hand, would like to demolish the old bridge when it builds a new one. The Friends group has visions of the old bridge connecting walking trails on both sides of the river. The new group has challenges ahead of it and it could take years to accomplish its goals. Old bridges haven’t fared well recently. The Lost Bridge was demolished when a new bridge was constructed north of Killdeer; when the new Liberty Memorial Bridge went up, the old one came down; and the new bridge at New Town saw the removal of the old one. The Friends deserve credit for their effort, but they have a steep hill to climb.

Down

A University of North Dakota committee is in the process of developing a Fighting Hawk mascot. It’s an effort to get students and alumni to accept the school’s new nickname. The committee has a nearly $32,000 contract with an Ohio design firm to help develop a mascot. During this time of tight budgets and some tough cuts that seems like a pricey way to decide on a mascot. It would have been better to find a less expensive, local approach to designing a mascot.

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