Brandi Jewett is a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald with beats focusing on northwest Minnesota, unmanned aircraft systems and East Grand Forks city government. A native of Valley City, N.D., 25 years worth of winters haven't scared her out of the state yet. Follow her work at grandforksherald.com, on her blog at droningon.areavoices.com and on Twitter and Instagram: @brandijewett. Send tips and story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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In preparation for construction of a new apartment building in northeast East Grand Forks, the City Council has been asked to approve some changes to lot lines. The building would be added to the existing Green Acres apartment complex located along Fifth Avenue Northeast between 17th Street and 20th Street Northeast, according to a city staff report.
The offices of Grand Forks unmanned aircraft systems firms are getting more crowded as interns begin to settle in and start carving out their roles in the ever-evolving industry. Internship opportunities in the field vary from positions requiring students to be behind the controls of aircraft to placing them at the keyboard of a computer, a reflection of the wide variety of jobs employers are looking to fill.
Grand Forks County didn't get any younger in 2015, bucking a trend followed by a majority of its counterparts across North Dakota, but it seems to have maintained its youthful vigor. Forty counties in the state saw their median ages decrease between July 1, 2014 and July 1, 2015, according to population estimate data released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau. The median age in Grand Forks County remained at 29.1 during that year, making it one of four counties to keep its figure steady. That doesn't mean the county isn't a picture of youth in the state.
Grand Forks Air Force Base is on a list released today of five locations the U.S. Air Force is considering for a new refueling tanker mission. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., made the announcement, noting the base's location is a prime one with short deployment routes for overseas missions, according to a news release. He added minimal modifications would be needed to accommodate the KC-46 tankers.
The Federal Aviation Administration debuted a set of long-awaited regulations governing the use of unmanned aircraft Tuesday that were met with fanfare from local and national members of the industry. The rules are targeted at small unmanned aircraft, also known as drones, used for commercial and public applications and contain requirements for their operation and qualifications for their pilots. David Dvorak, CEO of Field of View in Grand Forks, has been waiting years for the FAA to finalize regulations for unmanned aircraft.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resource will be picking up part of the tab for East Grand Forks' pool renovation project. The City Council approved accepting of a $50,000 grant from the department Tuesday night. It also gave the green light to a change order adding about $1,300 to the estimated pool costs.
Unofficial results show the Grand Forks City Council could have two new faces taking seats, joined by two incumbents who kept their spots in the citywide election Tuesday. In Ward 1—the closest race of the night—UND Police Sgt. Danny Weigel appeared to edge out opponents Ben Olson and Jeffrey Powell with 37.3 percent of the vote or 202 votes, according to unofficial results available at press time. Olson garnered 182 votes and Powell saw 155 votes cast. Two write-in votes also were reported, bringing the total votes cast in the race to 541.
East Grand Forks business owners had sharp words during a public meeting for a concept that would close the intersection of U.S. Highway 2 and U.S.Business Highway 2 to address safety problems. The concept is being floated by the Minnesota Department of Transportation as a potential option for reducing the number of severe car crashes at the area. Nearby property owners along the business highway in the city's southeastern corner aren't thrilled with the idea of creating a dead-end street in front of their businesses.
Grand Forks is often touted as North Dakota's hub for unmanned aircraft systems, also known as drones, but two other cities in the state are home to more of those aircraft. Data released by the Federal Aviation Administration for its voluntary registration system shows Grand Forks has the third highest number of recreational and non-recreational drones registered in the state, edged out by Fargo and Bismarck.
With a hefty toss, pilot Adam Overvold sent a fixed-wing aircraft soaring into the air Wednesday above Grand Sky business park. Nearby, about a dozen bystanders watched the unmanned aircraft circle an empty patch of land west of Grand Forks Air Force Base—land that many hope will one day contain office buildings and aircraft hangars. The flight, conducted by personnel with ISight RPV Services, marks a step forward, as the first fixed-wing flown at the aviation business park located on the base is one of many to come.