This is Up and Down, where we give a brief thumbs up or thumbs down on the issues from the past week.
Bismarck Public Schools has established a dashboard to report cases of COVID-19 in the district, leading K-12 districts in the state in how it provides such information to the public. The dashboard, available through bit.ly/2BDp1Ov, reports how many students and staff have tested positive for COVID-19. It also breaks down the information between elementary and secondary levels. Some people may want even more information, such as grade level, but it’s good to see Bismarck Public Schools work toward finding a balance between being transparent while also protecting privacy of students and staff. Superintendent Jason Hornbacher said the information will be updated weekly at first, with the goal of being updated daily. This information is particularly important for families to have as the district switches to having more face-to-face instruction for K-5 students.
A super weed that can grow as tall as 7 feet and is strong enough to stop farm machinery has now been found in a dozen North Dakota counties, and a top weed expert in the Upper Midwest is urging vigilance. Tom Peters with North Dakota State University and the University of Minnesota says officials so far are out front of the weed palmer amaranth -- but it’s gaining a foothold, and it can devastate crops. It can be spread in several ways, including in livestock feed, and that appears to be an issue in North Dakota. Peters says ranchers should make sure they know where their feed is coming from -- and what all is in it.
It makes sense that the city of Bismarck is reducing liquor license fees for businesses that had to close during coronavirus restrictions. The Bismarck City Commission voted to deduct the equivalent of two months’ worth from the annual cost of the liquor licenses to account for the six weeks that bars and restaurants had to close. The move will cost the city about $55,000. It’s a fair way to treat the businesses at a time when they are struggling.
The coronavirus pandemic changed how many honored the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack, including in Bismarck. The annual North Dakota 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb at the state Capitol was not held this year due to concerns about COVID-19. The event involves firefighters, first responders and volunteers walking up stairs to honor the firefighters killed in the twin towers. It has raised tens of thousands of dollars to support the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. People can still donate through firehero.org.
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