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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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.
The Marshall County Sheriff's Office now has a drone at its disposal to assist with searching for missing people, photographing crime scenes and other tasks. The agency is finalizing some of the legal paperwork that would enable it to fly the aircraft within the county but does have a DJI Inspire drone in its possession. "We have done some demonstrations with it and are letting people know that we have it, and that we are going to be using it for search and rescue and other law enforcement needs as well," Sheriff Jason Boman said.
THIEF RIVER FALLS — Though students have already started learning in the space, Northland Community and Technical College's newly remodeled and expanded aerospace facility opened with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday. A $6.2 million endeavor, the project renovated nearly 6,000 square feet of space and added another 18,800 square feet to the college's facility at Thief River Falls Regional Airport. "Renovation is too light a term," NCTC President Dennis Bona said Thursday. "I think it's a transformation."
A mayoral veto blocking the purchase of an SUV for the East Grand Forks Fire Department will stand. The City Council fell one vote short Tuesday of overturning the veto filed Sept. 13 by Mayor Lynn Stauss. A three-fourths majority is required to overturn a mayoral veto, according to the city's charter. The council voted 5-2, with council members Marc DeMers and Clarence Vetter dissenting.
When it comes to his future, Reid Huttunen imagined a lifelong career in parks and recreation. Later this month, he'll be able to begin working toward that goal when he assumes the role of park superintendent in East Grand Forks. The University of Minnesota-Crookston graduate comes to the job after spending nearly six years working out of Grand Forks with North Dakota Special Olympics, first as its sports director, then its director of development.
East Grand Forks city engineering staff are looking to a get a jump-start on a proposed construction project that could put a roundabout on the city's south end. Estimates now put the total cost of building a roundabout at the intersection of Bygland Road and Rhinehart Drive at nearly $1.9 million, but that total could change as the city does more preliminary work on the project.
In a few months, East Grand Forks residents might be raiding their pantries to pay off parking tickets if a temporary city program is put in place. The Police Department is seeking permission from the City Council to allow residents to pay their parking tickets with a donation to the East Grand Forks Food Shelf during the month of December. "You never know how many (tickets) it's actually going to be, but we thought it would be a time of the year when the food shelf could use a little extra food," Police Chief Mike Hedlund said Tuesday.
With its budget approval process in full swing and a higher property tax levy on the table, the East Grand Forks City Council heard presentations from several department heads Tuesday who outlined their spending plans for 2017. The departments under review at Tuesday's council work session noted increases in salaries and equipment purchases were at the root at many increases requested.
When it comes to preventing suicide, health experts say talking about the topic is key, and photographer Rock Tweten took that step Sunday in Grand Forks. In front of hundreds gathered for the sixth annual TEARS Walk for Suicide Prevention, Tweten shared the story of losing his 22-year-old son Charlie Tweten, who died by suicide in June 2015 near Grafton, N.D. "I will see him again someday, but every day I wake up and sit on the edge of the bed and say this never should have happened," Tweten said. "I should have stopped it somehow or someway."
A Grand Forks property crowded with junk that has drawn complaints for nearly two decades could see another mandatory cleanup called for by the local health board. The Grand Forks Board of Public Health will meet Tuesday to discuss voting on an order that declares the property owned by Donald Masse at 610 S. Ninth St. a public nuisance for the second time in just over a year. As part of the order, items determined to be trash, garbage or rubbish would be removed from his yard in the 30 days following the vote.