This is Up and Down, where we give a brief thumbs up or thumbs down on the issues from the past week.
Election officials in Burleigh and Morton counties are ready for voters as they handle the unprecedented challenge of conducting a presidential election amid a pandemic. Voters have the option of voting by mail or voting in person, including casting their vote early or on Election Day. It appears that both counties have prepared well to make sure everyone has a chance to vote while also protecting the safety of election workers and the public. The counties also have done a good job of communicating the new procedures to the public. The counties have had to work hard to find poll workers because some longtime poll workers are older and at higher risk for COVID-19.
Mandan Public Schools officials are investigating a Trump 2020 flag that included profanity that was on display in a classroom recently. The flag was a student prank, but the teacher was aware of the flag, according to Superintendent Mike Bitz. It violated the controversial topics section of the district’s academic freedom policy. Students are exposed to enough divisive political rhetoric on social media, they don’t need to be confronted with it at school, too.
It was a refreshing change of pace to watch candidates for North Dakota’s sole House seat debate Thursday night on Prairie Public. The candidates often disagreed, but they stayed civil and respectful. They did not talk over one another or interrupt moderator Matt Olien. And they even answered the questions, something we’re not seeing at the presidential or vice presidential level from either party. It would serve voters well if more candidates followed their example.
North Dakota Game and Fish Department officials are working to determine the severity of disease in white-tailed deer in southwestern North Dakota. The department since August has documented deer deaths due to epizootic hemorrhagic disease -- commonly called EHD -- in Morton, Emmons, Grant, Dunn, Billings, Stark, Hettinger and Adams counties. A large-scale outbreak could impact hunting in the region. Game and Fish is asking the public for help by reporting any sick or dead deer.
North Dakota Supreme Court Justice Gerald VandeWalle is recovering at home after two stays in a Bismarck hospital due to COVID-19. VandeWalle, 87, told the Tribune he is “much stronger and moving around a little.” He was hospitalized on Aug. 3 with COVID-19 and rehospitalized Aug. 24 for a blood clot in his lung. He continues to work with an occupational therapist twice a week. VandeWalle has continued his work on the court, including a motions conference last Wednesday.
Catch the latest in Opinion
Get opinion pieces, letters and editorials sent directly to your inbox weekly!