- Associated Press - Thursday, November 6, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Minot Daily News, Nov. 5, 2014

‘Litterbug’ is not a good slogan

Both winners and losers in the election should waste no time in pulling up stakes.

No, not moving - though some losers may be tempted to do that. Erstwhile candidates and their supporters should get busy pulling up stakes on which the hundreds of campaign signs around our area are stapled. Any other signage, whether tacked to utility poles or displayed in another manner, should be removed, too.

This election has not been as bad as some in terms of the number of signs erected to promote candidates. On occasions in the past, it seemed as if the only green to be spotted in some grassy areas was on signs placed by office-seekers who favored that color.

Still, there are plenty of political posters to be found throughout our area. During weeks leading up to an election, they are reminders of the vigor candidates display in seeking our votes.

Afterward, they are litter, purely and simply.

Most candidates seem to take the reasonable view that old signage is nothing more than litter once an election is over. They and their supporters are quick to remove and discard (or save for another time) political signs.

A few are not as conscientious, however. Voters should keep their names in mind, should they appear on ballots in the future. “Litterbug” is not a very good campaign slogan, after all.


The Bismarck Tribune, Bismarck, Nov. 5, 2014

State preparing for Ebola situation

Sanford Health and its employees have stepped forward to be on the front lines of the Ebola battle.

The North Dakota Department of Health has designated Sanford Health in Bismarck and Fargo to handle Ebola treatment.

The state has forwarded Sanford’s name to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The federal agency will certify at least one hospital in every state to handle Ebola cases. It’s uncertain how long certification will take.

Should someone in North Dakota develop Ebola in the meantime, the decision about where to send that person for treatment would be made on a case-by-case basis, but Sanford has expressed a willingness to take a patient.

While Sanford awaits certification, preparations are in high gear.

Five hundred of the Bismarck hospital’s nurses have participated in training, with some practicing putting on and removing personal protective equipment, complete with fluid-resistant coveralls and shoes, a gown, two layers of gloves and a head covering connected to a device that filters air.

At least 35 members of the nursing staff have volunteered to care for an Ebola patient.

And Sanford is evaluating its rooms to decide which are best for treating Ebola patients.

People coming to the hospital for other treatment are questioned about their travels and any contact with Ebola patients.

The Dallas hospital that treated an Ebola patient provided a learning experience for all medical facilities.

“What everybody learned the hard way was that you can’t have any skin exposed,” Dr. Noe Mateo, an infectious disease consultant at Sanford, told the Tribune about treating patients. That’s why the protective equipment is so important.

You can’t give Sanford and its employees too much credit for what they are doing. There are many things still unknown about Ebola, but what’s known is it’s a dangerous and awful disease. Volunteering to help requires courage and that so many raised their hands in a time of need says a lot about the medical community.

The state has developed procedures for dealing with patients depending on the risks they present. Health responders know what steps to take if they encounter an Ebola-related case.

Two people in the state are considered at low risk for Ebola after having visited parts of Africa affected by the disease, state epidemiologist Tracy Miller said. They are being monitored by health officials.

The good news is the state is becoming more prepared by the day. Residents can be confident health officials are ready to handle any situation calmly and efficiently.


The Williston Herald, Williston, Oct. 30, 2014

Protecting the public-private bond

The view from the front porch - an almost sacred view for homeowners. It can tilt a buyer into choosing a home. Some like the neighborhood, others the open prairie, but nobody likes when the view goes south for whatever reason it does.

At Tuesday’s city commission meeting, longtime Williston resident Larry Grondahl brought forth a complaint about a utility pole placed on the right of way outside his front door.

The 79x27 structure is the first steel pole in city limits, placed in an established neighborhood, without notifying residents or the city.

We see this as a gross violation of the public-private relationship so crucial to operating a city and keeping residents protected.

Montana-Dakota Utilities, the company that placed the steel utility pole, should have consulted with the city of Williston, the engineers and Grondahl about a change in the specs before rushing the giant structure into the ground.

As a result, the city needs to show a company that acted recklessly who is in control, and demand the lamented wood pole to be placed, as the original specs called for. MDU said it would be a major undertaking to uproot the steel structure, but it should have thought about that before changing plans without notification.

Like Grondahl and the city, we understand the rush to complete the bypass project during the construction season, which is now a race to the finish as winter begins to loom in North Dakota.

We also understand that no other route could be negotiated for the utility lines.

But we don’t understand how a reputable company in the city came to this decision, and took a public stance that wasn’t very understanding to the homeowners and neighbors.

The city and MDU need to do the right thing: Replace the industrial steel pole. Let the residents, businesses and contractors know it’s the one in charge and it will protect the community when the public-private relationship is violated by the private sector.

There are rules and processes for a reason. The city needs to enforce them, and companies need to follow them.

That’s how the public-private relationship works best.

And that’s the tone that needs to be set.


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