This is Up and Down, where we give a brief thumbs up or thumbs down on the issues from the past week.
New technology is helping local surgeons perform minimally invasive surgeries, reducing recovery times and scarring and requiring less opioid use after surgery. Sanford Health in Bismarck recently acquired an advanced version of a robot known as da Vinci Xi. CHI St. Alexius in Bismarck also uses the technology. The robot, which costs between $1.5 million and $2.1 million, enables the surgeon to have an improved view of the operation and an increased range of motion with operating tools.
Farm bankruptcies are up nationwide, with the largest number of filings coming from the Midwest, according to a American Farm Bureau Federation report. The report says “Chapter 12 farm bankruptcies continue to increase as farmers and ranchers struggle with a prolonged downturn in the farm economy that’s been made worse by unfair retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agriculture as well as two consecutive years of adverse planting, growing and harvesting conditions.”
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Two memorial ceremonies held last week show that our community has not forgotten the sacrifice of the Bismarck Air Medical crew members who died in a plane crash a year ago. A granite obelisk in a remembrance area outside CHI St. Alexius in downtown Bismarck was unveiled to honor Bonnie Cook, a CHI St. Alexius Health neonatal intensive care unit nurse; Chris Iverson, a Metro Area Ambulance flight paramedic; and Todd Lasky, a Bismarck Air Medical pilot. A separate ceremony was held outside the Metro Area Ambulance south location, where a permanent memorial also is planned.
The number of idled oil and gas wells jumped by 400 from August to September, pushing the state’s inactive well count to 2,100 wells. Lynn Helms, North Dakota's top oil regulator, said that’s concerning because inactive wells can become abandoned wells, or worse, orphaned wells. The state should continue to work toward safeguards to prevent companies from abandoning lower-producing wells. Another concern highlighted in the latest oil and gas update is an increase in wells producing a higher concentration of hydrogen sulfide gas.
Tenants began moving in this month to Edwinton Place, a 40-unit permanent supportive housing project that aims to help tenants address the causes of their homelessness. The Burleigh County Housing Authority expects the building in south Bismarck to be fully occupied by the end of the year. Services offered in the building will include substance abuse treatment, personal care help, employment assistance and medical care.