Andrew Haffner covers county, health and general assignment stories for the Grand Forks Herald. He attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he studied journalism, political science and international studies. He previously worked at the Dickinson Press.
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As public school students make their way to class, health professionals are tasked with making sure they come prepared with a full sheet of state-mandated immunizations. In North Dakota state law grants a 30-day grace period at the beginning of the year for parents to see to it that their students are either vaccinated or exempted from their required shots. After that point, students whose immunization records are still not up-to-date are to be excluded from class until they meet their recording obligations.
The United Way will kick off its annual fundraising campaign with a Sept. 13 event aided by a local Rotary chapter in Town Square in downtown Grand Forks. Pat Berger, president and CEO of the United Way of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and Area, said her organization is seeking a wide range of donations to benefit local food pantries as part of a larger focus on fighting poverty. The title of the event—Stack the Stage—reflects its purpose of filling the square's stage with essentials.
Heavy rain over Grand Forks late Sunday filled some streets and basements with water, but according to the National Weather Service, not all areas were hit equally. Al Voelker, National Weather Service meteorologist, said the service recorded official rain levels from 3 inches to 4.85 inches around various points of the city. Unofficial reports, Voelker added, pointed to "maybe 5 inches or more" in some parts of Grand Forks. "We got quite a bit of rain last night," he said.
Though still in its early stages, the Grand Forks County budget-building process is looking to cut costs for next year. Cindy Pic, the Grand Forks County Commission Budget Committee chair, said state aid revenue to the county will decrease by about 28 percent next year, a drop which could amount to more than $1 million. To help accommodate reductions in state funding streams, the county's various departments have been "really good" in seeking out ways to reduce spending, she said.
Those looking to spend time outdoors over Labor Day Weekend might want to prepare a backup plan. "Unfortunately, the nice weather is over," said National Weather Service meteorologist Pete Speicher. While Saturday should be another warm day, Speicher said changing conditions over the area will bring a "much more active period," including thunderstorms and a slight risk of severe weather.
Grafton, ND—Authorities with the Grafton Police Department are warning the public about Fentanyl after an overdose death was discovered last week. Police officials are warning the public that Fentanyl is within the community. Officers responded to a medical call on August 26th at 110 West 14th Street. Upon arrival, they found Eugene Mecham, 30, deceased. A preliminary investigation suggests the possibility of Fentanyl use associated with the death. An autopsy performed at the UND School of Medicine is still pending a toxicological analysis.
The North Dakota Highway Patrol could finish its investigation of a collision that killed a female pedestrian last Saturday night near Langdon, N.D., as soon as next week, according to a Highway Patrol representative. Stella Brown, 31, Langdon, was jogging with her dog at 9:15 p.m. about a mile outside of town when she was struck from behind by an SUV driven by fellow Langdon resident Aaron Olson, 25. Brown was pronounced dead at the scene, while Olson was uninjured in the crash.
After more than three decades, a veteran buried in a potter's field in Grand Forks received a long-delayed recognition of his service to his country Thursday. Family of Duane Burwell, a U.S. Army veteran who served in the Korean War and died and was buried in Memorial Park Cemetery in 1980, sat beside his grave in the afternoon sunshine to pay their respects to the late husband and father as members of the North Dakota National Guard Funeral Honors team did the same. Elaine Nelson, the former wife of Burwell, said before the ceremony that she thought the event was "awesome."
On Wednesday evening, Charles Maro played with his parents at University Park in Grand Forks much like any other toddler would. But for Charles, who's not yet 2 years old, the road to the park was bumpier than most. His mother, Nikki Antonson, said her son was born prematurely and suffered from some often-frightening health problems as a result. "He would have these spells," Antonson said. "He would stop breathing and we'd have to use oxygen to get him back. He had many, many of those, I don't even remember how many."
Ruth Pederson, a Grand Forks middle school teacher of more than 20 years, had prayed Sunday night for a good first day of class after summer vacation. As that first Monday of the year went on and the excited special education instructor marveled at how much the kids had grown over the break, it became clear her prayers had been answered. What wasn't yet clear was the extent. Not long after Pederson left school, she discovered she'd won the lottery—a $100,000 Powerball with Power Play prize from numbers drawn on Saturday.