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

Up

It was encouraging that North Dakota’s taxable sales and purchases increased during the third quarter. The taxable sales for July, August and September were nearly $5.61 billion, an increase of 18.17 percent over the same time in 2017. Most of the cities, counties and sectors listed in the report showed an increase. Bismarck, however, didn’t show a large increase, with sales up 0.67 percent. Hopefully the state will show continued growth in the fourth quarter.

Down (for heat lovers)

North Dakotans have been spoiled by the nice weather, so the snowfall on Wednesday was disappointing. It was back to cleaning windshields, shoveling sidewalks and warming up vehicles. It was much nicer earlier in the week when travelers could reach their holiday destinations without worrying about horrible driving conditions.

Up (for winter lovers)

The 7 or more inches of snow that arrived on Wednesday was timely. It came during the Christmas break for students and created good conditions for skiing at Huff Hills, skating at the outdoor rinks, sledding and other outdoor activities. North Dakotans enjoy their outdoor activities and while the mild weather made some things easier, we were missing the outdoor fun. Snowmobilers finally have something to go ride on. If we can avoid the super cold it can be an enjoyable time of the year.

Down

It was unfortunate that Savanna’s Act was blocked in the U.S. House. The bill, pushed by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., is intended to improve data on tribal victims and improve tribal access to crime information databases. It also would create locally developed guidelines for responding to cases of missing and murdered Native Americans. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, a friend of Heitkamp’s, plans to reintroduce the bill in the Senate. That’s good, but it will have to go through the process of hearings and a floor vote. That means it will take longer to become law, a law that’s needed.

Up

What better time to launch a new church than Christmas Eve. Legacy South, a branch of Legacy United Methodist Church in north Bismarck, had its first service last Monday. Services are being held in the Dance-WorX dance studio, 1300 Tacoma Ave. Volunteers set up for the services when the dancers finish their practices. This year’s Christmas Eve will be a special memory for those attending the church.

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