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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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
Some people have senior moments and some people have blonde moments. I have small town moments. One in particular happened this summer when I accompanied a friend to the bank to get quarters for laundry. When we arrived at the bank, he realized he didn't have deposit slips. He had to give an ID in order to ask for more before he could make the transaction. I'd never seen a more complicated banking process in my life, and I said so. He laughed at me and asked where in the world I banked.
A two-vehicle accident in Grand Forks that injured three people Nov. 19 may have put the intersection where it occurred on the fast track to receiving traffic signals. At the City Council meeting later that day, Council member Doug Christensen asked city staff to prepare a report detailing the city's options for the speedy installation of stoplights at the intersection of South Washington Street and 40th Avenue South. "It's on our plan, we have extra streetlights," he said. "We need to get that up as soon as possible because it's only going to get worse.
A Red Lake Falls, Minn., man is dead after forcing his way into an ex-girlfriend's home and apparently shooting himself, according to police. Deputies from the Red Lake County Sheriff's Office found Kevin Salveson, 53, deceased in the home of Heather Altendorf, 38, at about 4 p.m. Saturday in Red Lake Falls. Altendorf was transported to Sanford Thief River Falls Medical Center for nonlife-threatening injuries she sustained when Salveson struck her in the face with the butt of a .308 caliber rifle.
Potential homebuyers looking for a starter home for less than $150,000 in Grand Forks may have more trouble finding one than in previous years. That's because the number of homes selling for less than that amount has been dropping since 2000, according to the Grand Forks Board of Realtors. The homes aren't disappearing altogether. "Home values are just increasing," said John Colter, association executive of the realty board. Increasing home prices and constructions costs are putting the squeeze on buyers looking to buy or build.
Affordable housing is becoming scarce in Grand Forks, but don't expect to see many low-cost homes being built to remedy the problem anytime soon. High construction costs are increasing the price of new homes and limiting the number land developers are willing to build. "We can't get to those price points where the buyers need (us) to be," said homebuilder Jon Miskavige during the Sept.
The Grand Forks group tasked with examining the city's housing issues has identified the problems that have led to a shortage of affordable homes. Crafting and recommending solutions to those problems is the next challenge. The Blue Ribbon Commission on Housing ended its first phase of meetings on Nov. 14 when it released its Grand Forks Housing Snapshot report, detailing the city's biggest housing problems and factors that contribute to them. "I'm very pleased to see what's come out of the commission's work," Mayor Mike Brown said.