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BROCK: 2017 starts out with a mix of emotions

The year 2017 began this week and was noteworthy in that there was plenty to write about which reflected the Good, The Bad and the Ugly of Southwestern North Dakota.

The Good

Tuesday Trinity students attended classes in the new addition in the building' s new west wing for the first time since a fire destroyed the school three years ago. Congratulations to students, faculty, parents, clergy and school administrators who turned a tragedy into a life learning experience about perseverance. The school and community owe a deep debt of gratitude to the donors and all those who worked so hard to make the day a reality.

Congratulations to Aanen Moody for eclipsing the Dickinson High Boys basketball career scoring record.

The 2017 legislature began on Tuesday and legislators face an uphill balancing the budget while still providing needed services. Too often we spend too much time criticizing specifics bills and we tend to overlook the commitment and sacrifice that legislators make every biennium to serve North Dakotans.

The Bad

Precipitation of any kind is usually welcomed in western North Dakota, and it would be easy to say enough is enough but the recent snows will go a long way to replacing soil moisture and fill are reservoirs.

The recent snow storms that bring so many blessings to our arid area have created dangerous situations and become bad when folks don't understand their seriousness and ignore no travel advisories. First responders routinely put themselves at risk responding to accidents that occur during unsafe driving conditions. Road crews do everything they can do to keep roads open but the sheer depth of the holiday blizzards and the forecasts for additional snow could produce narrowing roads. Flooding and fish kills return as bad possibilities as North Dakota experiences a more typical winter.

The Ugly

The sun hadn't risen on the first day of 2017 before an ugly hit and run accident took the life of a 22- year-old Rudy A. Garcia of Dickinson. Holidays are meant to be milestones to be remembered and cherished, but now New Year's Day for the families and friends of the deceased and the driver will forever be a day of extreme sadness. The initial police report indicated that alcohol was involved in the death of the pedestrian, and sadly may have been have been prevented.

Those who work in the oil industry in many ways are much like a large extended family and when they lose one of their own it hits each member hard. The death of 24-year-old Christopher James Okland of South Heart killed in a fire at a Billings County Wellsite left his immediate and extended family grieving. Our thoughts and prayers go out to both the families of these ugly New Year's tragedies.

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