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Times have changed, as should time zone

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From the beginning, people measured time based on the position of the sun; it was noon when the sun was highest in the sky. Local time worked well until the invention of the speedy new railroads of the 1800s which quickly required a new way to keep track of time. Britain's railroads developed a standard time for their county and United States railroads developed their own time zones in 1883. Based largely on the railroad's model, official standard time zones were established by U.S. law with the Standard Time Act of 1918.

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Now, 125 years later, railroads are no longer the fastest mode of travel, with more modern inventions of automobiles, airplanes and the Internet.

Thursday's front page story about Commissioner Shirley Dukart's wish to collect enough signatures to petition the Stark County Commission to make the move from Mountain Daylight Time to Central Daylight Time -- pardon the pun -- is timely.

Certainly more today than 125 years ago, and even nine years ago when Steffes Corp. President Joe Rothschiller attempted for change to the Central Time Zone in 2000, real time means real time.

Nine years ago the Internet was in its infancy, but its invention allowed information to travel at the speed of light. The same arguments to change to Central nine years ago haven't gone away and are even more prevalent today. Government, business and education are hampered by lack of a standard time for our state. Rothschiller's assertion that four hours of communication opportunities are lost each day are understood by anyone who has ever tried to call a doctor, government office or business in Bismarck at lunch or 4:15. One lost hour too often turns in o a one-day delay, and if on Friday, could be a three- day delay.

Mountain Time for west of the Missouri River and southwestern Dickinson may have worked well when we ran on railroad time, but the time has come to unify our state with one standard time zone.

We hope everyone gets on board and supports Dukart's efforts to finally switch Dickinson and southwestern North Dakota to Central Time.

-- Press Editorial Board members meet weekly to discuss issues that are important to the area.

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