Brandi Jewett is an enterprise reporter for the Grand Forks Herald and reports on a variety of topics. Other positions she has held at the Herald include city government reporter, general assigment reporter and news intern. She also serves as an alumni adviser to UND's Dakota Student newspaper. A native of Valley City, N.D., 24 years worth of winters haven't scared her out of the state yet.
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A group of Grand Forks petitioners received the official go-head Friday from North Dakota's secretary of state to begin collecting signatures to put three recently passed anti-abortion laws to a statewide vote. The chairman of the committee, Gary Hangsleben, 67, said he received approval from Secretary of State Al Jaeger shortly before 5 p.m. Friday. Jaeger received the petitions April 2 and has since been improving the petitions' language with the cooperation of the committee. "We've had some minor corrections," Hangsleben said.
The first streams of Red River floodwater that would eventually besiege Grand Forks and damage 83 percent of its homes topped the city's dikes 16 years ago Thursday. This year, Fargo residents have filled more than 1 million sandbags in hopes of preventing a similar disaster in their city as the flood forecast points to a record event. Should they need help from Grand Forks, city officials here say they will be there to answer the call. "Usually we wait until they tell us they need help," said Sharyl Simeone, a public information officer for Grand Forks.
Come rain, snow or mud Springfest in Grand Forks will go on despite Mother Nature's attempt to spoil the fun, say the music event's organizers. Late snowfall coupled with a fast melt has left University Park sopping wet, and it may not dry out by the event's setup date on May 3, but organizer Arron Hendricks said he won't cancel Springfest. "One way or another we'll get it going," he said. Hendricks and fellow organizer Matt Winjum own Rhombus Guys restaurant and have run Springfest the past four years.
After going through what a Grand Forks city commission called a housing shortage, the local housing market has begun correcting itself, city officials say. "The market is strong," Community/Government Relations Officer Pete Haga told the City Council Monday. The conclusion comes 100 days after the Blue Ribbon Commission on Housing turned in its final report with recommendations for solving or reducing some of the city's housing issues. Since the report was completed, plans for new developments have been announced and a city homebuyers-assistance program has been created. Council member Dan
Qualifying Grand Forks homebuyers will able to get assistance for paying their closing costs and down payments on home purchases with a new city-facilitated program. The City Council gave the program final approval by a vote of 6-1 at its meeting Monday night.
The number of 911 calls made in Grand Forks County increased significantly in 2012, but local safety officials say they can't put their finger on the reason. In 2011, the center received 24,595 emergency calls. This year, that number increased to 41,332, a jump of 68 percent. "We've been talking to the dispatchers, and everyone is busier," said Becky Ault, director of the county Public Safety Answering Point.
A group of Grand Forks County residents have started a petition drive that's been more than 20 years in the making. The South Forks Bypass Coalition is seeking signatures in hopes of getting two projects planned for Merrifield Road, also known as County Road 6, bumped up on the priority list of North Dakota and Minnesota state transportation departments. The charge is led by 85-year-old Roland Young who has championed constructing a south-end bridge over the Red River and an interchange at Merrifield Road since 1991, when he was an official with the Chamber of Commerce. "We want it brought
Population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau for 2012 won't be in until June, but local officials say they feel Grand Forks had a growth spurt last year. Several past population estimates from the agency have shown a decline, while the area Metropolitan Planning Organization's own estimates say otherwise.
A committee is recommending two Greenway projects to Grand Forks city leaders despite some criticism from residents living near the potential sites. One project is a proposed disc golf course in Riverside Park.
A request for a special license to sell alcohol during Springfest will head to the Grand Forks City Council for final approval -- but not without opposition. The council's Service and Safety Committee voted 2-1 Tuesday to approve the license and a noise variance for the annual music event.