Brandi Jewett is an enterprise reporter for the Grand Forks Herald with beats focusing on northwest Minnesota, unmanned aircraft systems and East Grand Forks city government. Other positions she has held at the Herald include Grand Forks city government reporter, general assigment reporter and news intern. 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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Starting in June, a new app will tell Grand Forks-area bus riders if their bus is on time or late, how many minutes it will be late and help them pick the right bus based on their destination. RouteShout, the free software application for smartphones, tablets and computers, is part of an effort by Cities Area Transit to encourage even more people to ride the bus, according to transit Superintendent Dale Bergman. "People hesitate to use public transportation because they may view it as inconvenient," said Daisy Wall, vice president of marketing for RouteMatch, the company behind the app.
Grand Forks restaurant and bar sales were unaffected by two smoking bans approved in the past decade, according to a new economic impact study. "Neither benefited or were hurt by the legislation," UND economics professor Cullen Goenner, who conducted the study, told the City Council Monday.
Deciding the fate of $11,300 in arts grant funding for five organizations was put on hold by the Grand Forks City Council on Monday. Council members voted to approve funding given to 10 other organizations by the city's Art Regranting Program. The money for the five groups was held until the council decides whether eligibility requirements for the grants were too loosely interpreted. "The guidelines say their mission must be directly related to the arts," said Doug Christensen, the council member who suggested holding the funding at the Feb. 25 meeting of the council's finance committee.
The base released its annual economic impact report this week, which showed a total impact of $203.1 million, up $13.8 million, or 7 percent, from the previous fiscal year. Also seeing growth was the estimated annual dollar value of jobs created by the base, which totaled $32 million, up $2 million, or 7 percent. "It's good news," said County Commissioner John Schmisek, a member of the Base Realignment Impact Committee.
Before it can propose a solution for the Grand Forks Public Library's aging building, a task force acknowledged it needed to learn from a failed campaign for a new building in 2011. The marketing, in particular, left the community confused, contributing to the loss at the polls, members of the Library FutureVision Task Group said. The group met for the first time Thursday and is charged with finding a solution to revamp the library's infrastructure and define its future role in the community.
Greater Grand Forks Community Theatre has a lot to be proud of, according to its members. The organization is celebrating its 65th consecutive season and recently won the North Dakota Governor's Award for Art Organization. The organization is also marking its 30th year in its permanent home, the Fire Hall Theatre. "People in New York would sell their first born for a place like this," Executive Director Kathy Coudle-King said, gesturing to the converted fire station's stage.
Grand Forks Mayor Mike Brown has a big plan and isn't afraid to use it -- to improve the city that is. The four-term mayor revealed what he calls the "Big Plan" to the more than 450 people at his state of the city address Wednesday in the Alerus Center. "Actually, the Big Plan got started last year when I unveiled the Grand Forks Promise: The promise that everyone has the opportunity to grow," Brown said. "The Big Plan is really the next logical step to build on the Grand Forks Promise." The letters in the plan's name stand for build, invest and grow.
In the eyes of Ron Spriggs, the Tuskegee Airmen helped the United States overcome not just one war but two. The first was World War II where they served as bomber escorts and ground support in North Africa and Europe. The second was the nation's war on segregation. The Tuskegee Airmen were the first group of African-American pilots to fly for the U.S. military. "Their involvement in civil rights and desegregation was a bright light," Spriggs said.
Several Grand Forks organizations could lose grant money they were approved for if City Council members overturn decisions made through the Arts Regranting Program. The council's finance committee voted to move the program's grant recommendations forward Monday. The motion, made by council member Doug Christensen, included a provision to hold funding for five organizations on the basis that their missions aren't directly related to the arts -- a grant requirement. "I think some of these go beyond the focus of the grants," Christensen said.
The idea of a new south-end bridge across the Red River seems to be on the minds of many Grand Forks area residents, though the high construction cost means it might be a while before they get the bridge they want. A south-end bridge became one of the top voted ideas on the community forum website Engage the Forks, and also received mention at a city legislative forum last month. The city's 2035 Long-Range Transportation Plan calls for the next Red River bridge to be built south of the city on Merrifield Road, also known as County Road 6. A bridge at that location isn't meant to alleviate t