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Our View: Dognapper makes us cringe; Bison have us smiling

Occasionally, The Press Editorial Board looks at the good, bad and ugly news that recently made headlines throughout our region and state.The GoodBison capture fifth straight title: It was almost too easy. The North Dakota State football team's d...

Occasionally, The Press Editorial Board looks at the good, bad and ugly news that recently made headlines throughout our region and state.
The Good
Bison capture fifth straight title: It was almost too easy. The North Dakota State football team’s defense made offensive juggernaut Jacksonville State look like they belonged in D2 while Bison quarterback Carson Wentz played for the first time since mid-October and looked like he hadn’t missed a day. That combination led NDSU to a 37-10 victory and their fifth consecutive championship in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision. While we give a tip of the hat to all the Bison, a special congratulations goes out to senior receiver Nate Moody, junior lineman Landon Lechler and freshman linebacker Levi Jordheim, three southwest North Dakotans who made meaningful contributions to the team.
Bakken U scholarship winner: Warren Logan was a college kid before he became a roughneck. Now he’s going to be both at the same time - though he isn’t exactly a kid anymore. The 28-year-old Wyoming native and father who works for National Oilfield Varco in Dickinson, became the first recipient of the Bakken U scholarship program when he was awarded $5,000 by the North Dakota Petroleum Council to attend Dickinson State University this semester. Logan is majoring in business administration. Best of luck to him.
Births in Bakken still booming: At every major hospital in western North Dakota oil country, more babies are being born than ever before. CHI St. Joseph’s Health in Dickinson recorded 682 births last year, up 71 from a year ago. However, the question that cannot be definitively answered is why? Obviously life in the area has slowed down along with the oil activity, so why the increase? Is it that fewer young families who moved to Dickinson, Watford City and western North Dakota left than expected? It’s a question that likely won’t be answered for several years, as we all wait for the oil boom-and-bust cycle to play out.
The Bad
Immunization rancor: Last week, Dickinson Public Schools sent out 150 letters to parents of students who were not in compliance with immunization schedules mandated by the North Dakota Century Code. Any student who isn’t in compliance by Feb. 5 will not be allowed in school. While this was cause for much fervor on social media, by the end of the week there were only 60 students who needed to either get their immunizations or have the proper paperwork filled out exempting them, Sullivan reported Thursday to Press Managing Editor Dustin Monke on “Insight: This Week in Southwest North Dakota.” He also said two school buildings are fully in compliance. It’s our hope that every parent makes sure their child is in compliance with state law by Feb. 5. No parent should allow their child to miss school over something as easy to take care of as this.
Airport on the downslide: No airport in North Dakota has felt the sting of the oil downturn as bad as the Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport, which experienced a 29 percent yearly drop in 2015 and a 63 percent drop when comparing December 2014 and 2015. It comes on the heels of the airport losing service from Delta Air Lines on Nov. 30, and fewer seats filled on the remaining United Airlines flights. On top of that, the Dickinson Airport Authority believes money needs to be put into the airports runways, which are deteriorating faster than expected after increased activity over the past few years. The airport may be on its way to becoming a leading example of the good and bad impacts the oil boom had on southwest North Dakota.
The Ugly
Oil finishes below $30 a barrel: For the first time in 12 years, oil closed below $30 a barrel on Friday. Though the much of the country is celebrating law gas prices, low oil prices are having a devastating impact on N orth Dakota’s economy , and ripple effects are beginning to be felt worldwide. Wall Street is off to its worst start to a year ever, and oil is the foot on the brake.
Obama attempted dognapper from Dickinson: In a story that made people laugh and cringe, and brought attention to mental health issues, Stock Stockert, of Dickinson, was arrested in Washington, D.C., on weapons charges after he allegedly told family members he was going to the White House to take President Barack Obama’s dog, Bo. Stockert had a history of mental health and criminal issues, and was apparently off his medication at the time of his arrest. His story was picked up internationally, but what didn’t get much attention outside of local news coverage was the big role Stockert’s family and the Stark County Sheriff’s Office played in his arrest. They are the ones who helped lead U.S. Secret Service agents to him.
The Dickinson Press Editorial Board consists of Publisher Harvey Brock and Managing Editor Dustin Monke.

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