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Forum editorial: Northwood tree crews earn roses

PRAIRIE ROSES: To the professional foresters and others who volunteered their services last week to help Northwood, N.D., prune and repair trees damaged in the August tornado. The crews from Fargo and Grand Forks were organized by the cities' for...

PRAIRIE ROSES: To the professional foresters and others who volunteered their services last week to help Northwood, N.D., prune and repair trees damaged in the August tornado. The crews from Fargo and Grand Forks were organized by the cities' foresters, and the effort concentrated on trees on berms, city streets and other city property. The twister devastated the city's mature trees, many of which had to be completely removed. Others, however, need careful pruning and nurturing to restore them to health. The volunteers applied their considerable expertise with urban forests to save what can be saved in Northwood. It's part of an ongoing campaign to help the Grand Forks County city recover from the storm.

LEAFY SPURGE: To people who see the tower of oil cans in Casselton, N.D., as only "a pile of junk." Fact is it's one of those unique icons of Red River Valley history that mandates it be preserved. It's understandable if current owners of the land and tower would rather be done with it. That's their right. But because the structure represents more than a mere heap of oil cans, decisions about its preservation must include more voices. The tower has its origins in the 1930s as the age of the automobile was taking permanent root in American culture. It hearkens to the days when cars really needed service stations that provided service - oil changes and road repairs. And it's a material symbol of a time when motor oil actually came in cans. Let's find a way to preserve a unique piece of Americana.

LEAFY SPURGE: To Fargo city officials who got clear signals from the judiciary that the city's high traffic ticket fines violated state law. The unanimous North Dakota Supreme Court decision that found against the city's fine schedule last week should have come as no surprise. Lower courts had concluded that state law took precedence over Fargo's home rule charter regarding certain traffic fines. Whether the state's fines are too low is another question - one that should be answered by the state Legislature. But Fargo's decision to keep its fees high when several court decisions said the city was wrong has now put the city in a position that could cost Fargo taxpayers as much as $8 million. How smart is that?

PRAIRIE ROSES: To Fargo street-cleaning crews getting an early start on spring cleanup. With snow and ice still packed onto some city streets and avenues, city workers have been out in the big sweeper trucks in an effort to remove winter's sand and grime. It's an imperfect process this early in the year, but the first sweeps in the downtown area have made a difference. As more warming and drying comes with spring weather, more washing and sweeping will occur. Meanwhile, retailers and other property owners along the city's streets can help a lot by sprucing up their own sidewalks and curbs.

Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper's Editorial Board.

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