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 email@example.com.
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The filing period for candidates looking to run for various levels of political offices opened Tuesday in Minnesota. Candidates have until 5 p.m. May 31 to turn into their filings to the appropriate office, which ranges from local clerks to the Minnesota Secretary of State. This period includes candidates for federal offices, state senators and representatives and county offices. All seats in state House districts 01A and 01B and in state Senate District 1 will be open for candidates filings as well as the District 7 seat for U.S. House.
WARROAD, Minn.—Voters approved a $16 million bond referendum Tuesday that would pay for expanding and improving Warroad Public Schools facilities. Unofficial results released by Superintendent Paula Foley showed the referendum passed 786 to 511—one of the largest election turnouts the city had seen recently. "It was definitely a groundswell that made this happen," she said Wednesday. "We're lucky, and we only have good things to look forward to in Warroad."
The East Grand Forks Parks and Recreation Department could have a new leader by the end of summer. Former Director Dave Aker was reassigned earlier this month to another role within the department to "duties that are more accommodating to him," City Administrator David Murphy said. Murphy could not comment further on the move, citing privacy stipulations set forth by HIPAA—the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
The East Grand Forks City Council will give a remote-controlled aircraft club the chance to use city land on the north end for a temporary flying site despite pushback from residents living nearby. The council unanimously approved an agreement Tuesday between the city and the Red River RC Flyers club. The agreement spans three years but would be reviewed annually with language allowing for the city to cancel it at anytime. Council members have largely voiced support for the project, which has been touted as a recreational asset to the community.
HILLSBORO, N.D.—Rising several stories above the surrounding farmland, a crane topped off a stack of metal shipping containers with a military-grade antenna and radar dish Monday. The structure makes for an odd sight but will serve a vital function in an upcoming agricultural research project as it will receive data collected and transmitted by an unmanned aircraft.
Resurrection Cemetery in East Grand Forks could be waiting a little longer for a new storage facility for lawnmowers and other equipment. A proposal to building an estimated $25,000 garage on cemetery grounds came before the City Council at its Tuesday work session, but varying opinions on how to proceed with the project could delay it. The city has received bids from companies to build a structure that would house mowers and other equipment that are driven to the cemetery from the Civic Center—a distance of about 2 miles.
After a February visit to North Dakota, a Norwegian unmanned aircraft systems manufacturing firm is back again and is looking to jump into the area's existing business climate. Leaders from Robot Aviation arrived in Grand Forks this week for a site visit that includes touring potential facilities and meeting with organizations it could partner with for various flight and equipment testing and development initiatives.
CROOKSTON—Three northwestern Minnesota cities have received $1.7 million in state grants for rehabilitation projects focused on rental housing, homes and commercial buildings. The grants announced for Crookston, Lancaster and Thief River Falls were part of the nearly $17.9 million that will be awarded to cities across the state as part of the Small Cities Development Program. In Crookston, the $600,875 will be concentrated on revitalizing the city's downtown, specifically rehabilitating rentals and improving the exteriors of commercial buildings.
NEW ORLEANS—A federal announcement this week that promotes students using unmanned aircraft as part of their education is drawing praise nationwide, including from UND students and faculty. Michael Huerta, administrator for the Federal Aviation Administration, announced Wednesday that students now can use small unmanned aircraft for educational and research purposes.
THOMPSON, N.D.—The failure of an $11 million school bond referendum to expand Thompson Public School is weighing heavily on those who have campaigned for its approval. "Heartbreaking is an understatement," said Deb Kolling, a member of the Thompson Vote Yes/Yes Committee, which was formed to raise support for the referendum.