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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UND faculty members are planning to use a rural piece of university property to conduct research utilizing unmanned aircraft to train law enforcement officers and map vegetation. Oakville Prairie, an area with more than 900 acres of land about 12 miles west of Grand Forks, will be home to the projects set to begin in June. Both projects received approval last week from the university's UAS Research Ethics and Privacy Committee, which grants permission for any research activities associated with UND.
CROOKSTON—All three Polk County commissioner races will be contested in this year's general election, with six candidates filing their paperwork for the office this week. The filing period for county, state and federal offices opened Tuesday in Minnesota with another 11 days left before it closes. So far, the only incumbent who has filed to defend their seat is District 5's Don Diedrich, whose residence is listed as Warren. Challenging Diedrich for his seat is Donald Casmey of East Grand Forks.
It took a team effort for five Discovery Elementary School fourth-graders to place enough dirt around the exposed roots of a tree before declaring its planting a success. Each took a turn with the group's lone shovel while used their hands to scoop dirt into the hole. "I've dug a hole before, so I kind of know how to fill it," 10-year-old Alex Talle told his classmates while shoveling dirt around the tree's base. "I had never planted trees. All I did was dig holes."
Uncertainty surrounding the public availability of data from research partially paid for by state dollars has a UND committee exploring a request for an attorney general ruling on the matter. The school's Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research Ethics and Privacy Committee voted Wednesday to move forward with the process of seeking an opinion from Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, which will likely require the involvement of other state and university system officials.
The filing period for candidates looking to run for various levels of political offices opened Tuesday in Minnesota. Candidates have until 5 p.m. May 31 to turn into their filings to the appropriate office, which ranges from local clerks to the Minnesota Secretary of State. This period includes candidates for federal offices, state senators and representatives and county offices. All seats in state House districts 01A and 01B and in state Senate District 1 will be open for candidates filings as well as the District 7 seat for U.S. House.
WARROAD, Minn.—Voters approved a $16 million bond referendum Tuesday that would pay for expanding and improving Warroad Public Schools facilities. Unofficial results released by Superintendent Paula Foley showed the referendum passed 786 to 511—one of the largest election turnouts the city had seen recently. "It was definitely a groundswell that made this happen," she said Wednesday. "We're lucky, and we only have good things to look forward to in Warroad."
The East Grand Forks Parks and Recreation Department could have a new leader by the end of summer. Former Director Dave Aker was reassigned earlier this month to another role within the department to "duties that are more accommodating to him," City Administrator David Murphy said. Murphy could not comment further on the move, citing privacy stipulations set forth by HIPAA—the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
The East Grand Forks City Council will give a remote-controlled aircraft club the chance to use city land on the north end for a temporary flying site despite pushback from residents living nearby. The council unanimously approved an agreement Tuesday between the city and the Red River RC Flyers club. The agreement spans three years but would be reviewed annually with language allowing for the city to cancel it at anytime. Council members have largely voiced support for the project, which has been touted as a recreational asset to the community.
HILLSBORO, N.D.—Rising several stories above the surrounding farmland, a crane topped off a stack of metal shipping containers with a military-grade antenna and radar dish Monday. The structure makes for an odd sight but will serve a vital function in an upcoming agricultural research project as it will receive data collected and transmitted by an unmanned aircraft.
Resurrection Cemetery in East Grand Forks could be waiting a little longer for a new storage facility for lawnmowers and other equipment. A proposal to building an estimated $25,000 garage on cemetery grounds came before the City Council at its Tuesday work session, but varying opinions on how to proceed with the project could delay it. The city has received bids from companies to build a structure that would house mowers and other equipment that are driven to the cemetery from the Civic Center—a distance of about 2 miles.