DANGEROUS CROSSING How many times must we witness the same thing: Students attending Minot High School-Central Campus attempting to cross Burdick?Expressway West in the lighted crosswalk near M-H continue to take their life in their hands. Last week, we listened to a first-hand account of a west-bound vehicle stopped to let a student cross in front of them, only to have three other vehicles switch lanes and continue through the pedestrian crossing, with its flashing lights, narrowly missing a student attempting to cross the street. We know the location has been a problem for years, but it's only getting worse as the traffic increases as the population of Minot increases. It's not hard to envision a horrific pedestrian-vehicle accident in the near future. Admittedly, we don't have all the answers on how to fix this problem, but perhaps the city can design a better and more obvious crossing. Or we wonder if finding a crossing guard carrying even more flashing lights could be the answer. Is there a way to better educate the drivers of the area to help ensure that they stop at the crossing? We just hope improvements can be made and awareness of the problem can be raised before something tragic happens.
HEMP CHANGES Dave Monson and Wayne Hauge were happy with the passage of the latest farm bill. Seven years ago, the North Dakota farmers were the first in the nation to receive licenses to grow industrial hemp, but they've planted the non-hallucinogenic relative of marijuana because the Drug Enforcement Administration refused issue them a permit. Now, language in the 1,000-page farm bill could change that. The government doesn't differentiate between hemp and marijuana, but that could change when the farm bill is signed into law. Following that, the U.S.?Department of Agriculture will have to write rules and solicit input from other agencies, including the DEA. But the new farm bill classifies hemp as an agricultural product, not a drug, so the North Dakota Farmers are hopeful that they will eventually be able to grow industrial hemp in the state. It's a welcome change, even if it is years late.