- Associated Press - Thursday, October 6, 2016

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Daily News, Wahpeton, Oct. 3, 2016

Wahpeton’s lagoon odor defies description

Driving into the city of Wahpeton on N.D. Highway 13 provides a beautiful view of the city. As you cross over the 210 bypass the circular landscape below gives a broad expanse of green and trees, while nearby apartments and businesses showcase the west side of town.

Imagine a first-time visitor to the city, someone taking that first glimpse and seeing a growing, thriving community in front of them. As they cross the bridge and take a breath, pheew! That first positive image is tarnished by the horrible smell emanating from the city’s lagoon that takes over the entire north side of the city. It smells exactly like the excrement it contains. There are not enough words to describe the smell coming from the city’s lagoon. It simply defies description.

The Wahpeton City Council is aware of the problem and is working on a solution. Other cities comparable in size or bigger seem to have solved the problem of lagoon odors. If they can do it, so can we.

Visitors arriving at our fair city are one factor to consider in this war on odors. The residents who have to deal with the stench on a daily basis have reason to complain. They are forced keep their windows closed, depending on the direction of the wind. No one wants to be shut in during the spring and summer, but they dare not let that disgusting smell into their homes by cracking open a window.

The city’s lagoon is a chronic issue that must be dealt with. The solution can’t come soon enough.

___

Williston Herald, Williston, Oct. 2, 2016

Retail report shows need

Much of the report that business analytics firm Buxton presented on Thursday was enlightening. There is substantial demand for many kinds of retail outlets for Williston, and if you stopped citizens on the streets, they could no doubt offer a range of opinions about the best options.

Having data on the spending habits of residents is extremely valuable, as is the demographic breakdown Buxton offered. Their picture of what they call “retail leakage” - spending by residents outside of the community - shows that there is a real need for stores that sell clothes, as well as general retail stores such as big-box retailers. For those two kinds of stores, demand outstrips supply by as much as 70 percent, meaning residents are traveling more than an hour away to make purchases.

One thing was clear even before the Buxton presentation: Williston is in need of a more robust retail environment. There are people living here who have money that they’re willing to spend, and if they’re going to stay for the long-term, more options are needed.

We support local, independent businesses, but we also welcome the arrival of national chains to be part of the retail picture here. They have larger inventories and wider selections, and they’re more familiar to people.

The local, independent businesses that populate Williston, whether they were here before the boom or are newcomers, are an essential part of the city’s character. More national chains will put pressure on them, and some competition is inevitable. That competition will be healthy, though.

The city needs to have a retail landscape that meets the needs of its residents, and with the amount of retail leakage that isn’t happening now.

Williston clearly needs more dining options, and a mix of fast food, so called “fast casual” and sit-down restaurants is needed. It also needs more options for groceries. Buxton’s study showed that as much as 50 percent of the demand for groceries is going unmet in the area.

Williston’s economic development team understands the need, and is working on attracting more retailers, and that is a good thing. If the city wants to have a sustainable population, it needs to have the stores that residents want. Without a major metropolitan area nearby, we need to be self-sufficient, and hopefully a more robust retail scene will help that happen.

___

The Bismarck Tribune, Bismarck, Oct. 2, 2016

N.D. voters should reject Marsy’s Law

On the surface it would seem difficult to find fault with Measure 3.

The measure, also known as Marsy’s Law, would amend the state’s constitution to place crime victims’ rights on the same level as the accused, rather than just statutory. Prosecutors, defense attorneys, victims’ rights advocates and others argue the measure goes too far and would create more problems than it would solve.

The Tribune Editorial Board agrees and recommends voters reject the measure in November.

California businessman Henry Nicholas has been promoting Marsy’s Law nationwide. The law has been passed in California and Illinois. It’s named after Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas, who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in California in 1983.

Henry Nicholas has provided more than $1 million in North Dakota in an effort to get the measure passed.

The measure includes provisions that crime victims be notified of hearings during the judicial process. It also calls for taking the welfare of victims and their families into consideration when setting bail for the accused.

Opponents argue the measure would add an extra layer of work to law enforcement in providing notices to every victim of every crime. It also would mean more work for defense attorneys and prosecutors, according to opponents.

There are other concerns with the measure. Critics say it could divert resources from existing programs and services for victims. They worry about language in the measure allowing victims to refuse an interview and deposition. If less evidence and information is collected in the investigation, more cases that would result in plea agreements could go to trial. This would increase workloads within the court system, opponents argue.

But, most telling, is the opposition from victims advocate groups.

Janelle Moos, executive director of the Council on Abused Women’s Services North Dakota, explained some of the reasons for the opposition at a press conference. She said the state already has a set of 18 rights for victims and witnesses in statute, including the right to be notified of the status of an investigation and be informed of services available.

“Victims have multifaceted needs, and a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work,” Moos said of the measure.

Efforts to amend the state constitution should face a rigorous test. The Tribune doesn’t believe supporters have demonstrated a need for a change. What Measure 3 supporters want already exists in statute. If they want to make tweaks in the law, they need to address the issues with the Legislature.

No one wants victims of crime to be ignored or abused by the system. When problems occur there are remedies under the law.

Measure 3 isn’t necessary, vote no on it.

___

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide