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 the largest-single employer in the city of Grand Forks, UND long has had a significant economic presence in the upper Red River Valley. In the ongoing process of budget reductions for the university and for North Dakota's higher education system at large, UND leadership has emphasized the school's economic weight as reason to preserve state funding. As of now, the university is anticipating a biennial funding cut of about $32 million over the 2017-19 budget period. What's less clear is how reductions to state funding might impact other wallets across the city and state.
When she's not behind the counter at Al Amin Grocery in Grand Forks, Ilhaam Hassan is helping fellow members of the local Somali refugee community find their way in a new land. Hassan, a native of Somalia, came to the U.S. in 1999 when she was just a child. Now in her early 30s, Hassan's fluency in English has opened a role for her as an interpreter with the local office of Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota, the agency tasked with resettling refugees, many of whom are Somalis, in the state's most populous cities: Fargo, Bismarck and Grand Forks.
Bethany Ellingson, a senior at West Fargo High School, spent her Saturday morning doing some speed-dating — but with a twist. Instead of potential suitors, she was getting acquainted with a number of books. Ellingson was one of about 110 students from 10 regional schools who gathered Saturday for the second annual Waging WAR (Writing and Reading) for Literacy conference at Red River High School in Grand Forks.
Positive lifestyle choices were on full display Saturday at the Healthy Living Expo at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks. Visitors to the event browsed through booths showcasing products and services devoted to wellness, while those who came ready to work up a sweat had access to fitness demonstrations hosted by organizations including Altru Family YMCA and Choice Health and Fitness.
The children of today may be significantly less fit than those of their parents' generation, a UND researcher says. Grant Tomkinson, UND associate professor of kinesiology and public health education, recently published the results of a data study which drew from statistics representing the shuttle-run performance of more than 1.1 million children and youth originating from 50 countries. The shuttle-run is an exercise that requires participants to complete sprints back and forth between marks of increasing distance.
For Kirstie Syverson, a nurse practitioner of internal medicine in the Altru Health System clinic in Devils Lake, working as a primary care provider has given her role a new meaning. “They see you for just about anything,” Syverson, a recent UND graduate, said of her rural patients. She said long distances between the demand for services and the supply of specialists in Grand Forks means rural health care workers “need to be, within reason, a jack of all trades.”
A bill requiring North Dakota insurance providers to expand coverage for autism services was rejected Tuesday by the state Senate.
As the 20-year anniversary of the Flood of 1997 approaches, UND is preparing to phase out some of its flood insurance to save costs in the face of widespread budget reductions. Eric Plummer, UND police chief and director of public safety, said the insurance was purchased as a FEMA requirement for buildings, which had to be rebuilt after the flood. In the nearly two decades since then, Plummer said, the flood protection system constructed by the city of Grand Forks has protected the campus to the point where most of the university buildings are beyond the flood zone.
A bill to expand the jurisdiction of campus police departments in North Dakota has been amended to include more clearly defined boundaries and stipulations for filing crimes. Senate Bill 2193, which applies to law enforcement officers employed by three institutions under the authority of the State Board of Higher Education, was almost unanimously approved in the Senate last month and received positive testimony in a House committee hearing last week.
A trio of UND leaders presented last Wednesday a general preview of the strategy behind the university's announced $3 million marketing overhaul Sol Jensen, assistant vice president for enrollment services, Jennifer Stoner, an assistant professor of marketing, and Timothy Pasch, chair of the university's Communication Department, delivered the report at a campus budget forum and discussed marketing in the context of student recruitment. Jensen started the presentation with a statistic.