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., 26 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 email@example.com.
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Steve Gander is no stranger to the East Grand Forks City Hall. A former City Council member and representative on city boards, Gander, 56, has spent hours within its walls discussing and voting on city matters. It's been nearly 10 years since Gander, an optometrist, was last elected to public office, but he said the time is right for him to step back into the political arena and has set his sights on the title of mayor.
A plan aiming to improve and expand pedestrian and bicycle paths in the Greater Grand Forks area continues to move forward, now with resident input included. Residents surveyed as part of an effort by Grand Forks and East Grand Forks planning officials to update a pedestrian and bike plan gave positive feedback for existing amenities but did identify several areas where they see challenges. "We have an amazing number of sidewalks and bike paths compared to other cities," a respondent wrote.
A plan aiming to improve and expand pedestrian and bicycle paths in the Greater Grand Forks area continues to move forward, now with resident input included. Residents surveyed as part...
The East Grand Forks City Council approved the installation of more equipment for the recently renovated city swimming pool but not before promising to send the bill to a contracted engineering firm. The need to install a $3,200 sensor and valve combination that would monitor water levels in the pool's surge tank came to the city's attention during a July inspection by state health officials. The additional cost is the latest in a series of change orders that some council members said could have been avoided.
Tom Swoyer Jr. can recall in 2011 sitting around a boardroom table in the UND Center for Innovation with local leaders discussing the idea of building an airport for unmanned aircraft. The pitch for an aviation business park on vacant Grand Forks Air Force Base land came at a time when commercial flight of the aircraft, also known as drones, was prohibited by the Federal Aviation Administration. "Five years ago, this was just a crazy idea that we had to spend day upon day just explaining to people and convince ourselves that this made sense," he said.
A group of UND students is setting out in hopes of solving a mystery in East Grand Forks as part of a class project. The existence of a bootlegging tunnel used during the Prohibition Era that once extended from Whitey's bar and restaurant to the Red River has been rumored for some time, and geology professor Will Gosnold thought it would be a good challenge for his geophysics class to investigate. "I like to give them things to do that have real applications, and the rumored bootleggers tunnel from the river to Whitey's would be an interesting thing to look for," he said.
A team of North Dakota researchers is testing technology that will allow airplane pilots and others to detect the presence of flying drones and avoid incidents such as midair collisions.
Though he got his start in aviation by jumping out of planes as a Marine, Everett Dunnick now oversees one of the newest training facilities for unmanned aircraft in the country. Dunnick is the program manager of the flight training academy that General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. is constructing at Grand Sky technology park near Grand Forks Air Force Base. He spoke to a crowd gathered Thursday for Drone Biz, a monthly event that features speakers and networking opportunities for those interested in learning more about the drone industry.
An empty lot in downtown East Grand Forks has attracted the attention of a local developer who is pitching the construction of an apartment building in the space. Craig Tweten of Community Contractors Inc. brought another proposal to the city earlier this year for a empty city-owned lot at the corner of DeMers Avenue and Fourth Street Northwest, but his focus has shifted to a lot just to the south at the corner of Third Avenue Northwest and Fourth Street.
Concerns over pedestrian and bicycle crossings at an East Grand Forks intersection during times of high traffic have police heading to the City Council to find ways to improve safety at the location. The intersection of Bygland Road and 13th Street Southeast on the city's south end buzzes during morning and afternoon commutes as residents head to work and school. Bygland is quiet the remainder of the day, but Police Chief Mike Hedlund would like to see safety improved during those busy times.