Andrew Haffner covers higher education 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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A decorated UND professor who made a controversial social media post about the recent winner of a national spelling bee said her digital remark was meant as sarcasm. Roxanne Vaughan, a UND Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, said she felt an urge to comment on Facebook after observing the story of Ananya Vinay, who won the Scripps National Spelling Bee last Thursday. Vinay is a 12-year-old, sixth grade student who is from from Fresno, Calif., and is of Indian heritage.
A false alarm Monday afternoon, June 5, caused employees and students at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences building to evacuate. The Grand Forks Fire Department was dispatched to the scene at about 3:30 p.m., shortly after the school's fire alarms sounded. School representative Jessica Sobolik estimated more than 200 people were evacuated, some of whom were grade-school students in the building for an educational summer program.
Peter Johnson is a man of many hats, though most know him for his primary gig—UND spokesman. Johnson has held that role for all of his 29 years of employment at the university. During that time, he also picked up a few others, the most recent being the interim vice president for university and public affairs. Technically, Johnson now holds two high-level administrative titles.
When it comes to jobs in North Dakota, it's still an applicant's market. Despite continued challenges to the state's leading energy and agricultural commodities, the unemployment rate was about 2.7 percent as of April, according to Job Service North Dakota. The job data, which coincides with spring thawing, might hold some answers for more than just job-hunters. Unemployment rates are being closely watched by economists tracking the fortunes of North Dakota, looking for signs of recession or growth.
A documentary film detailing the life of UND's former Fighting Sioux logo and nickname is coming to a wrap after years in the making. Filmmaker Matt Fern, who works by day at his Bismarck video editing company The Creative Treatment, will screen through mid-June the documentary—titled "Unauthorized: The Story of the Fighting Sioux"—for private audiences in Grand Forks, Minot and Fargo. The initial run of screenings will be limited to those who donated to the film's production through a 2015 crowdfunding campaign hosted on the website Kickstarter.
If you're in the market for a former motel turned university dorm, you might be in luck. UND is looking to sell Dakota Hall, an off-campus building, to help finance its grander plans for campus revitalization. The university recently was authorized to transfer ownership of the building by the state Legislature in its latest appropriations bill for higher education.
Longtime community leader and Grand Forks native Marijo Shide died Monday at the age of 86. The constant volunteer was known throughout the region for her work with a host of organizations both large and small. Those who knew her best say her legacy is one of tireless dedication to bettering her community and the world at large.
Ray Richards Golf Course isn't as well manicured as it used to be. The UND-owned property shut down at the end of last season as the university chose to divest from the public-use, nine-hole golf course at 3501 DeMers Ave. in Grand Forks. The course's greens won't be up to par for a game of golf this season, but UND facilities leader Mike Pieper said the course won't look like a prairie either.
For a time on UND's campus, one or more unknown people were chalking sidewalks with an oft-quoted statement—Black Lives Matter. The full motto didn't last long, according to student Lauren Chapple. "A day or so after, simply the word "black" had been crossed out," said Chapple, who is the outgoing president of UND's Black Student Association. For her, the erasure is symbolic of a wider trend on campus in which people of color go unseen and unheard. "It's a concern, and it definitely affects how people feel when they attend classes," she said.
DEVILS LAKES, N.D. -- The Tuesday spill of hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel into Devils Lake is not expected to seriously harm the lake and its fishery, said a representative of the North Dakota Department of Health. Karl Rockeman, director of the health department’s division of water quality, said Thursday that about 500 gallons of diesel fuel seems to have dissipated after leaking into the water from a faulty pump at a North Dakota Army National Guard station.