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. While attending the University of North Dakota, she worked as a news reporter and editor-in-chief of the campus newspaper, The Dakota Student. She now serves as one of its alumni advisers. A native of Valley City, N.D., 23 years worth of winters hasn't scared her out of the state yet.
You can follow Jewett and her reporting projects on her blog www.diggingdeeper.areavoices.com.
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The city of Grand Forks is getting federal and state grants worth $291,000 to improve public transportation for veterans and other riders in six northeast North Dakota counties. The money would be used to create a system to coordinate transit throughout the region, including upgrading the Cities Area Transit website and call center, and equipping rural transit providers with computer-assisted scheduling and dispatch software. Veterans account for 11 percent of the population in Grand Forks, Walsh, Pembina, Nelson, Ramsey and Benson counties, according to a city staff report. The coordinatio
One Grand Forks city employee may not be getting a pay raise in 2013 if one City Council member gets his way. While the council's finance committee was reviewing the city's proposed 2013 salary plan Monday night, council member Terry Bjerke pointed out that Pete Haga, the city's community and government relations officer, would receive a 1.81 percent raise. "He's not getting another raise out of me," Bjerke said. The first raise Bjerke referred to came in May when Haga received a $24,500 raise.
Property tax relief and university support emerged as two of Grand Forks' top legislative priorities Monday in a discussion between City Council members and local legislators. A draft of the city's legislative priorities, assembled by the council's Legislative Committee, was presented to the council during a Monday night work session. Council member Bret Weber, a member of the committee, said the city would be supportive of continued property tax relief, including the state offering comparable relief for renters.
Monday marked the coldest day of winter in Grand Forks so far this year, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures dipped to 13 below zero at the Grand Forks airport and 11 below at the city's weather service office, according to meteorologist Pete Speicher. Grand Forks reached 11 below zero late Sunday night, and Monday hit its low of 13 below before 7 a.m. Low temperatures are expected to remain in the single digits for the rest of the week.
After ending $135,000 in the red last year, earnings of almost $500,000 in this year to date have put Grand Forks' Alerus Center on track to stay in the black. As of Oct.
Grand Forks could receive up to 3 inches of snow and areas north may get hit worst before the weekend is over, according to the National Weather Service. A strong storm system is expected to blow through northeast North Dakota and northwest Minnesota tonight and into Sunday morning, with snow accumulations of 2 to 3 inches possible, according to Bill Barrett, meteorological technician with the Grand Forks weather service office. "This one will be unlike other systems we've had so far this year," Barrett said. "Those were pretty tranquil." Most of the snow will fall north of U.S.
Bobby Vogel, 56, isn't here to witness the Sprout Film Festival making a stop in Grand Forks, but those who worked with him say it would have been right up his alley. "He would have promoted it and been there front and center," said Pam Solga, marketing and special events coordinators for The Arc, Upper Valley, which advocates for the disabled. The festival features nine short films created by or focusing on people with intellectual disabilities. It is set for 7 to 9 p.m.
Grand Forks' public smoking ban became stricter Monday night after the City Council voted unanimously to pass changes to comply with new state laws. Changes to the city ban will go into effect Friday, while the statewide smoking ban passed in the November election will be implemented Thursday. "We don't have a lot of leeway in changing some of this," said Haley Thorson, a tobacco coordinator at Grand Forks Public Health. She and two other coordinators, Theresa Knox and Kailee Dvorak, have been working closely with the city attorney and other departments to prepare the city for the transitio
A proposed temporary stoplight provoked debate Monday among Grand Forks City Council members and residents. The temporary stoplight, which was approved by a vote of 5-1, will be installed at the intersection of 40th Avenue South and South Washington Street at a cost of about $135,000, according to city staff reports. "A signal isn't always the solution," said council member Ken Vein. "But I see this as a proactive investment." A permanent stoplight would later replace the interim one at a cost of about $731,000.
Bus ridership in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks continues to increase, but the reason more people are taking the bus is unknown to city officials. From January to October of this year, more than 300,000 riders were recorded on buses -- up from about 270,000 riders from this time last year. There isn't one apparent reason for the increase, according to Dale Bergman, who oversees the Cities Area Transit system run by the city of Grand Forks. "Honestly, we just don't know what it is," he said. Bergman said he thinks it could be multiple things such as an increase in immigrants using the bus