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New rules are often met with grumbling, but federal regulations for small unmanned aircraft systems effective in August are eagerly awaited by North Dakota leaders and businesses. The regulations, which ease access to airspace and pilot credentials for many, are expected to bring industry growth with their implementation. North Dakota, which has forged a reputation as a hub for unmanned activity, is looking for a piece of that pie.
Growing interest in unmanned aircraft systems has UND switching up who will oversee the school's academic program and research initiatives that revolve around the technology. The Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research, Education and Training, which includes the UAS undergraduate degree program, will now report to the president's office through the university's Division of Research and Economic Development. The move aims to centralize unmanned operations within the campus and open up access to those wishing to use the technology for their research efforts.
Job Service North Dakota is making it easier for those hunting for jobs in the unmanned aircraft systems industry to find them. The agency has created a featured jobs document specifically for the growing UAS industry in the Grand Forks region. Positions on the document include opportunities with Grand Sky aviation and business park tenants General Atomics and Northrop Grumman as well as other regional companies including AECOM, BOSH Global Services and RDO Equipment.
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.