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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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.
Disappoint over a bill left unsigned by Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton earlier this week is reverberating through the northwestern portion of the state. Among the casualties of a now dead $260 million tax bill is the 1 percent sales and use tax requested by East Grand Forks to pay for its $2.8 million swimming pool renovation. The city has financed part of the project using a loan granted by its Water and Light Commission, which oversees city utility services. No sales tax means the city would move on to its backup plan.
Polk County has adopted an ordinance holding adults responsible for allowing underage drinking to occur at their event or on their property. The social host ordinance aims to discourage underage drinking and makes providing an environment for the act a criminally punishable offense, with a penalties of 90 days in jail, a $1,000 or both.
Two East Grand Forks businesses will have their liquor licenses suspended for one day after failing their second compliance check in 12 months by selling alcohol to minors. If the Veterans of Foreign Wars Club and Northdale Oil, which operates as a Tesoro gas station, can pass compliance checks conducted in the next year, they won't have their licenses suspended for an additional two days.
A new look at federal data cataloging 582 sightings of unmanned aircraft by aviation personnel and the public has revealed those sightings have decreased over time. The Academy of Model Aeronautic released an analysis Tuesday that reports monthly sightings of unmanned aircraft systems, also known as drones, decreased from August to January. August was the peak for reported sightings with more than 180 reported nationwide.
Revealed as the result of an overdose by an official autopsy report Thursday, the death of Prince is seen by some in the Grand Forks community as a solemn reminder of the tragic impact of drug use. One of those people is Dr. Christopher Boe, an emergency room physician at Altru Hospital. "Most of us have grown up with his music and most of us really respect him as an artist or have been influenced by his music in one way or another," Boe said. "I think (his death) highlights the tragedy of substance abuse and how it can hit anybody."
Two Grand Forks companies are forging partnerships beyond the state border in hopes of capturing a larger share of the fast-growing unmanned aircraft systems market. Aerial inspection and photography company SkySkopes announced Wednesday it had formed an alliance with Interactive Aerial, based in Traverse City, Mich. As part of the move, SkySkopes will be opening an office in Michigan, likely sharing space with its new partner.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. has inked two contracts that could spark collaborative efforts at its new training facility under construction near Grand Forks. General Atomics, which manufactures unmanned aircraft such as the Predator and Reaper lines, will work with the UND Aerospace Foundation and CAE, a developer of training services that includes flight simulators, according to a news release.