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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CROOKSTON — A rural transit system in northwest Minnesota has received recognition for its work from the Federal Transit Administration. The Tri-Valley Heartland Express, a rural bus service that covers eight counties, was one of three recipients of the Administrator's Award for Outstanding Public Transportation Service in Rural Public Transportation, according to a news release. Durango Transit in Durango, Colo., and Barry County Transit in Hastings, Mich., also were honored.
NORTHWOOD, N.D. — As North Dakota continues to forge a reputation as a hub of drone activity, the potential of the technology is reaching small airports in the region. As the site of a major drone research project, Hillsboro Municipal Airport has become an example that local economic leaders hope to see others emulate. Staff members from the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corp. have been visiting with officials at the Devils Lake and Northwood airports to discuss how their facilities could play roles in the industry.
Campbell Library Director Charlotte Helgeson and her staff don't see as much of the East Grand Forks community as she would like. The library works to connect with local organizations and schools, but its small staff can make that task challenging. "I can only go out so much because if I leave, that's one less person in the building," Helgeson said. "We do have 17,400 square feet that we need to cover."
FOSSTON, Minn. — A campaign finance complaint filed against state House candidate Mike Moore has resulted in a $350 penalty against the Democrat for not properly marking some of his campaign materials. The complaint, filed by former challenger Erwin Rud of Fosston, accused Moore of not including language saying the Committee to Elect Mike Moore had paid for yard signs, banners and other promotional material.
Just over two months after a bullet ripped through its window and resulting shrapnel injured a Polk County Sheriff's deputy, a U.S Customs and Border Protection helicopter has taken to the skies once again. Those involved in the nearly $20,000 effort to get the aircraft working were honored Thursday at the USCBP's office at Grand Forks International Airport. "This is a team effort here and we could not fly safely without you," Max Raterman, director of air operations for the USCBP's Grand Forks region, told the group.
After four years of fundraising, Save Our Pool presented the city of East Grand Forks with a check Tuesday for $109,000 to help pay for amenities at the recently renovated swimming pool. Save Our Pool members also assured the city there was more money on the way. The group started fundraising and applying for grants in 2012 when the City Council was mulling options for how to address the city's aging pool.
Paperwork is falling into place ahead of an estimated $23 million rehabilitation of the Kennedy Bridge. The latest round requiring the attention of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks city leaders is a maintenance agreement plotting responsibilities after the bridge project is complete. The agreement is between the two cities, the North Dakota Department of Transportation and the Minnesota Department of Transportation. In general, both cities are responsible for path and lighting maintenance on their respective sides.
New federal rules opened the skies last month to many interested in flying drones for business purposes, but they also provided a boon to those carving out niches in the industry. With a barrier to entry now lower, those looking to get a piece of the drone pie are plentiful, but some may need to set themselves apart as professionals as competition heats up. One means of doing so is bringing in firms that conduct training on flight operations, aircraft maintenance, equipment, navigating the regulatory environment and other topics.
With a unanimous vote from the City Council Tuesday night, the proposed East Grand Forks city budget for 2017 will move on to a public hearing before being finalized. The city is proposing to increase its property tax levy by 18 percent—a jump from $3.8 million to $4.5 million collected—but the effect on tax bills can't be calculated with certainty quite yet.
When it comes to watching the north end of East Grand Forks grow, Abby Amundson has a front row seat from her backyard. Just steps away from her property is a home under construction as part of a city pilot program that debuted earlier this year, one of three completed or in progress on St. Andrews Drive. The program is run through the city's economic development department and provides incentives to get local builders constructing homes on city lots. Amundson moved into her newly built home about a month ago and said she is happy to see other activity in the neighborhood.