- Associated Press - Thursday, July 21, 2016

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Minot Daily News, Minot, July 21, 2016

Be mindful of pedestrians during State Fair

Here is to hoping that we all survive State Fair week, given the high temperatures expected both on and off the midway.

Health officials warn, and we have to reiterate, stay hydrated and keep vulnerable people out of the sun as much as possible.

Health issues caused by overdoing it in the sun can be avoided or at least mitigated through forethought and planning.

But another threat during fair week is less easy to control.

The entire area around the State Fairgrounds will be buzzing with cars, trucks, motorcycles and pedestrians. Excited people with not necessarily a lot of time to take in every thrill in mind that day. People cross streets at will. Drivers are easily distracted. It’s a recipe for disaster.

Add Pokemon Go to that recipe well, let’s not even go there. Just watch out during the North Dakota State Fair, whether you are walking or driving, on or near the fairgrounds.

If ever there was a time to slow down and take everything in, it is fair week.

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The Bismarck Tribune, Bismarck, July 21, 2016

It’s right to redo meeting on waste rules

The State Health Council’s right in deciding to hold a do-over meeting on a radioactive waste program. The August 2015 meeting where the program was approved has been contested since it was held and is now the focus of a court case.

If the council is serious about the meeting, allowing the public to comment on new rules to allow up to 50 picocuries of radioactive material to be disposed in North Dakota, and to weigh the testimony along with other evidence, then the re-do makes sense. If the meeting is intended to rubber stamp previous action, then it would seem to be an attempt to get out of the court case.

The Energy Industry Waste Coalition and the Dakota Resource Council argued in 2015 that the State Health Council failed to give proper notice of the August meeting. The attorney general’s office agreed and ordered the council to mail the meeting minutes to the complaining parties. The two groups have taken the council to court, asking a judge to enforce the state’s open meetings law by requiring the council to redo the meeting. They argue the attorney general’s remedy was insufficient.

Nothing is lost by doing the meeting over. No companies have received a permit to dispose of waste in North Dakota. Two companies have informed the Health Department they’re interested in a specialized permit. IHD Disposal has since put its permit request for a site near Alexander on indefinite hold due to local protests and Secure Energy Services continues the process for a site north of Williston.

The increase in picocuries of radioactive material allowed has gone through a review process. The opposition to the increase may likely fail during a new meeting, but an open session with plenty of notice remains essential. Even if a new meeting is held, it doesn’t necessarily mean an end to the lawsuit. South Central District Judge Thomas Schneider will decide the fate of the lawsuit.

Sarah Vogel, the attorney for the two groups, believes the council knows it’s going to lose and plans the do-over to make the lawsuit unnecessary and possibly avoid paying the other sides’ attorney fees. Even if that’s the case, it’s a victory for the two groups and the open meetings law. It’s important that open meetings rules are taken seriously. The problem with the attorney general’s remedy was it was too easy for the council. Mailing the minutes didn’t reflect how grievous an error the council committed.

The public deserves a say and hopefully the council will give them an opportunity. Otherwise the court should decide on a solution.

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