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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Operators of unmanned aircraft may not be as reckless as data released from the Federal Aviation Administration at first seemed to portray them, according to a third-party analysis released Monday. The Academy of Model Aeronautics, an advocacy organization for model aircraft pilots, analyzed reports of unmanned aircraft incidents and found a large majority of incidents reported were simply sightings by flight crews and not near collisions as reported by national media outlets. Out of 764 reports filed between November 2014 and August 2015, only 27 were explicitly described by observers as ne
In preparation for potential expansion down the road, Sacred Heart School approached the East Grand Forks City Council last week to ask what city's plans are for three vacant lots near the school. The lots are part of a group of six properties along Fourth Street Northwest the school would be interested in acquiring. Three of the lots are owned by the city, two are privately owned and one is already owned by Sacred Heart, a private school for students in preschool through 12th grade. "Part of it is we're short of parking," Parish Administrator Len Vonasek said Tuesday.
The population of East Grand Forks could surpass 11,700 by the year 2045, and that potential growth has planning officials trying to predict where and how the city will expand. Between this year and 2045, a preliminary analysis shows the city could develop 169 acres for residential, commercial and industrial use, including future annexations. The development would be accommodate a forecasted population increase of about 2,275 people in that timeframe. Produced by the Grand Forks-East Grand Forks Metropolitan Planning Organization, the analysis predicts 89 acres of land will be developed for
One question has driven a project that marked another milestone when state, county and local leaders picked up shovels and dug in Thursday for the official groundbreaking of Grand Sky: Why not? Over the past three years, it was those who entertained the inquiry that made the unmanned aircraft systems business park in Grand Forks County a reality, according to its lead developer. "It's all about the people. It's about the people that had the vision to embrace unmanned technology and invest in it," said Tom Swoyer Jr., president of Grand Sky Development Co.
Behind a mound of prairie dirt piled high Wednesday lies a glimpse into the future of the unmanned aircraft systems industry in Grand Forks County. The dirt will be spread and primed for shovels wielded by people whose work in the last few years will cumulate in the official groundbreaking today for Grand Sky, the country's first business park focusing on UAS technology. It's a day that Tom Swoyer Jr. has long awaited.
While East Grand Forks City Council members recovered from the sticker shock of a 33 percent tax levy increase proposal presented two weeks ago, city staff have been searching for savings. At Tuesday's council work session, City Finance Director Karla Anderson brought forward a revenue and expenditure summary for the city's proposed 2016 budget that featured 25 percent levy increase instead. "We are looking at options to give people what they need with what we have available," Anderson said. An increase of that amount leaves costs outpacing revenue by about $41,000 in 2016.
I'm getting green with envy, but it's not over fancy dresses, cute shoes or nice cars. It seems everyone I know has a pet or is getting one. My parents have them, my siblings have them, and my friends are adding them to lives as well.
Grand Forks area law enforcement officials want to make one thing clear: They have no intention of weaponizing unmanned aircraft in the near future, despite some saying it's legal to under state law. North Dakota's new statute governing law enforcement use of unmanned aircraft bans attaching lethal weapons to the devices but leaves out language concerning less-than lethal weapons, such as Tasers or pepper spray dispensers.
A Wednesday visit from an aeronautical company CEO brought officials with Grand Fork County's unmanned aircraft systems business park one step closer to signing a potential new tenant. General Atomics CEO Linden Blue, accompanied by U.S. Rep.
East Grand Forks' preliminary 2016 city budget is starting to shape up, but an analysis shows a hefty tax levy increase is necessary to fully fund city services next year. The analysis indicates the tax levy would need to be 33 percent higher than 2015, with just more than $1 million in revenue needed to cover all proposed city costs. The situation is the result of increases to the tax levy over the past several years not keeping up with rising expenses, City Administrator David Murphy said. The city has not seen a budget increase higher than 5 percent since at least 2008.