This is Up and Down, where we give a brief thumbs up and thumbs down on the issues from the past week.
The North Dakota Senate did the right thing when it rejected a bill requiring counties to consult with legislators before changing polling places or precinct boundaries. House Bill 1270 failed in the Senate, 20-26. We agree with county auditors who argued the bill would usurp local authority and control. Legislators have a personal stake in elections and shouldn’t decide where ballots are cast.
A number of shooting incidents last month provided a flashback to the days when Bismarck was a Wild West town. Police responded to a report of shots fired near Memorial Highway one night. No injuries were reported, but police recovered an assault rifle. Police don’t know if anyone was targeted or it was a misfire. Police also responded to four reports of homes being struck by gunfire in one week. No injuries were reported and police believe three of the shootings are related. There also was a case where two shots were fired into a pickup box occupied by two people. An 18-year-old man received an injury either from shrapnel or from a bullet grazing his leg. The shootings are a concern and we are lucky no one was seriously hurt. Hopefully, the cases are resolved.
Three Northern Cass School District students and an instructor will spend several days this month in New York City taking part in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest. They will be presenting their project, a phone app, that has already won an eighth-grade social studies class $50,000 worth of technology. The school is one of 10 finalists in the national contest. The project is a great learning experience for the students and has already benefited the entire school.
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When the Internal Revenue Service issued its annual list of “Dirty Dozen” scams many were rooted in robocalls. Some of the schemes are hard to detect and too many people fall for them. A 71-year-old Bismarck woman was recently scammed out of $17,000. Any calls offering easy money need to be ignored. The IRS list provides a good reminder of the kind of schemes to avoid.
The Flasher Public School is putting the final touches on a new vocational center. It was a community project that involved raising funds to tear down an old building and to build the center. When they were still $400,000 short they asked Kelcy Warren, with Energy Transfer Partners, if the company would help. Instead, Warren personally helped the school, donating the remaining $400,000. The vocational center will allow the district to continue to offer classes considered vital to the community. It’s a project the community can be proud of.
Many areas of the nation, including North Dakota, have been hit hard by flooding. One area that suffered considerable damage is the Pine Ridge Reservation in southern South Dakota. The reservation will be in recovery mode for at least months and its economy, which isn’t the strongest, will suffer. Pine Ridge is home to nearly 20,000 people, about half living in poverty, according to U.S. Census Bureau. They will need assistance to recover.