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Hillsboro Airport work will take off this week

HILLSBORO, N.D. — Construction on a $7 million project that will add a new runway and lighting to the Hillsboro Regional Airport is expected to begin this week.

The Hillsboro Banner reported the work will shut down the airport all summer, but Hillsboro Municipal Airport Authority President Larry Mueller said the airport expects to bring in several new clients once the work is finished.

"These are good times at the airport," Mueller told the Hillsboro Economic Development Corp. "The community should feel really good about (the airport). It's a gem waiting to have more happen all the time."

The Banner article said airport officials had been working on the expansion for nearly eight years, but federal regulations had slowed the project. The original plans called for a concrete overlay on the asphalt runway, but the Federal Aviation Administration ruled the runway should be removed and replaced entirely with concrete.

Mueller said the runway's life expectancy now will increase from 20 to 40 years. Mueller said he expects Elbit Systems of America, a subsidiary of an Israeli defense contractor, to return to the airport.

Elbit made worldwide news in 2016 after it used a 1,200-pound drone to research Traill County cropland. Another company wants to build a new hangar, and several other people have asked about renting hangar space, Mueller said.

The Florida-based Harris Corp., an aviation and technology company, also has asked about coming to the Hillsboro area, he said. That company received a $500,000 grant to work with the state of North Dakota to develop beyond-visual-line-of-sight infrastructure for UAS, the Banner article stated.

Traill County board

seeks bridge grant

HILLSBORO, N.D. — The Traill County Board of Commissioners recently approved a plan to spend $7,500 to hire KLJ Engineering of Fargo to write a federal grant application to pay for a new Red River bridge near Nielsville, Minn.

The Hillsboro Banner reported Polk and Traill county officials are hopeful the third grant application will be a success. Two earlier ones were rejected under an Obama administration program, the story stated.

But a new program called the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development could triple the amount of money available for road, bridge and rail projects to $1.5 billion.

According to the story, KLJ Engineering's Matt Lange told Traill County leaders the revised program could improve the odds of receiving a grant because at least 30 percent of that money will be awarded to rural projects.

Lange suggested the county gather more information to explain how farmers and businesses are impacted by the bridge's closing.

"Instead of the emotional reach, (we need) some analysis on some of the truck data and some of the businesses and what those actual losses are," he said. "We will need to contact the locals. The more information they have, the stronger our case will be."

Crookston group plans

third Chalk It Up event

CROOKSTON — The Downtown Crookston Development Partnership is planning the third annual Chalk It Up art festival for this September.

DCDP member Shirley Iverson recently told the Crookston Daily Times that the group plans to add other art aspects and more partners to help attract even more participants. The original event was meant to showcase local, student and emerging artists with their chalk creations in the downtown.

This year's event will be Sept. 8 to coincide with several other events on the same weekend. Those events include the citywide garage sales, King of Trails Marketplace, Pioneer Day at the Polk County Museum and the Harvest Festival at the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Museum.

Local artist Courtney Olson has signed on as one of the featured artists. Iverson said volunteers still are needed to help with the event and for planning. People can call Iverson at (218) 280-2854 or send email to shirley.iverson@gmail.com.

Michigan leaders discuss saving grocery store

MICHIGAN, N.D. — The Michigan City Council called a special meeting after the owners of Michigan Hometown Foods recently announced plans to close the store if a buyer could not be found.

The Lakota American newspaper reported 11 community members attended the meeting to express concerns over how the closing could impact the town.

Members of the Michigan Job Development Authority said they want to work with the city on a plan to purchase the store.

JDA member Rod Fisk said the organization's plan would be to buy the store from Bernice Anderson Midstokke and have someone manage it. He added the JDA does not yet have a written business plan, but it likely would work the same way as the Wagon Wheel Bar and Grill in Michigan deal.

Mayor Lauri Rysavy wanted the city and JDA to do more research before taking any action.

Thief River Falls approves all-day preschool option

THIEF RIVER FALLS — The Board of Education for School District 564 in Thief River Falls recently approved an expansion for its preschool program, according to a report in the Thief River Falls Times.

The addition of two full-day preschool days comes after a couple of years of discussion.

All-day preschool proponent Meg Kolden said there are several reasons to offer all-day preschool, including its positive impact on providing a high quality education and its ability to shrink the achievement gap.

She said it also better prepares children for learning and social interaction than part-time programs.

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