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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Mars is famously known to be a red planet, but the UND rugby field just off Interstate 29 in Grand Forks is downright green. The difference wouldn't matter if it weren't for the Martian colony that's been growing like an odd assortment of mushrooms on a neighboring stretch of grass. The little village of five modules, each a white cylinder about 20 feet long and enclosed in a soft, inflatable casing, make up a newly expanded UND space studies test site created with NASA funding to conduct research that could one day guide astronauts settling on far-away worlds.
The Alerus Center is making upward of $2.1 million in facilities upgrades to boost its venue experience in time for the upcoming UND football season. Acting center leader Darryl Jorgenson said the city-owned arena is enhancing its sound system, lighting and wireless internet capabilities with a target completion date in late summer. The entry to center's suite section will also get a facelift courtesy of Happy Harry's Bottle Shops, which is redoing that area in its characteristic, barn-style exterior finish.
Cuts to Medicaid as proposed in the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act would hit low-income residents in Grand Forks county, though it's not yet clear to what extent. "It would be huge," said Judy Swisher, head pharmacist and majority owner of Inspire Pharmacy in Grand Forks. The pharmacy is partly owned and works in partnership with the Third Street Clinic, a nonprofit with a focus on making medication more affordable in Grand Forks.
Summer road trips are fine and well, but you haven't lived until you've raced across most of America in a light aircraft. A team of UND students finished doing that just last week as they wrapped an award-winning finish in the 2,400-mile Air Race Classic 2017. The event is organized for female pilots and has deep roots in U.S. women's aviation and a racing community that once counted Amelia Earhart among its members. With that in mind, at least one UND aviation leader is hoping the team's accomplishments can encourage more young women to pursue pilot training.
State Rep. Rick Becker, R-Bismarck, told the State Board of Higher Education Tuesday that the state could probably do with fewer campuses. Becker questioned the need for the current roster of 11 North Dakota University System schools in an opening address at the board's monthly meeting. He attributed the number of colleges solely to a drive for "parochialist economic development" at a time when North Dakota "had little white schoolhouses every couple miles."
UND has settled on a new slogan to form the center of its ongoing branding effort. After parsing through data at the end of months of research, university leaders have chosen to move forward with "Leaders in Action" as its core slogan and brand identity. UND President Mark Kennedy said in a press release that the motto reflected a "recurring theme" gleaned from conversations with university alumni.
UND has been awarded a $3.8 million federal grant to fight substance abuse across a region stretching from the Midwestern prairie to the Rockies Mountains. The dollars will come over the next five years as the university takes on management for its regional section of the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the agency that distributed the grant. Thomasine Heitkamp, director of the project, said its focus is mainly on training the next wave of substance abuse workforce in a technology-friendly approach to addiction services.
Marilyn Hagerty, 91, is no stranger to accolades, as she's frequently been a recipient of them while making a point to honor the everyday efforts of others. Still, the longtime Herald columnist was caught off guard when she walked into a surprise ceremony Thursday evening to collect the 2017 UND Spirit Award, a high recognition bestowed by the UND Alumni Association and Foundation. The award wasn't the end of it though. Before the evening was over, Hagerty had also received from the school's provost an honorary master's degree in community engagement.
The stowaway snake in Alyssa Kennelly's SUV first appeared when it wriggled up onto her windshield from her engine block. It picked an inopportune moment to reveal itself. Kennelly was driving on the interstate and was, understandably, a bit shocked by its reveal. Her first thought when she saw the scaly passenger? "I don't know—probably nothing that can be written in the newspaper," she said with a laugh. Though she was shocked, Kennelly still kept her wits about her to deal with the wily serpent.
UND is submitting to the State Board of Higher Education plans to raze a set of 39 apartment buildings occupied by upper-level students and a child care facility. The buildings are clustered in two groups known in the university housing system as the Northwestern Drive and 6 Plex apartments. They're located, respectively, in a horseshoe-shaped street of the same name and in rows along State Street and Stanford Road, both near the University Place student housing complex.