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., 25 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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More than 7 million small unmanned aircraft are predicted to fly off U.S. store shelves or arrive on doorsteps by 2020, according to a forecast released Thursday by the Federal Aviation Administration. In its Aerospace Forecast for fiscal years 2016 to 2036, the agency said 2.5 million of those sales could take place this year.
As the employment trends in the region shift, Northland Community and Technical College leaders say the school's East Grand Forks campus is evolving with them. In addition to expanding its academic and training offerings, school officials also would like to see a partnership with the city continue to grow and city leaders echoed similar sentiments this week. Elevating the profile of the college is one avenue representatives from both groups said should be explored.
Inflated sewage bills stemming from East Grand Forks residents creating backyard hockey rinks may prompt the city to explore an official policy on amending those bills before next winter. One resident's request to have his sewage bill lowered was heard by the City Council during its Tuesday night meeting and prompted discussion on what the city could do to alleviate some bill hikes.
In splashes of pink, blue and yellow, the room around David Dvorak and Kaci Lemler comes into focus on a nearby screen. The view originates from a thermal camera — one of three cameras mounted on a nearby unmanned aircraft. Combining the cameras for a flight earlier this month took some creative engineering for Dvorak and Lemler, who operate Field of View in Grand Forks. The pair are in the business of creating sensors — a collective term for data-gathering devices such as cameras — that attach to unmanned aircraft.
FARGO — Several cameras captured Carson Wentz walking down Broadway in downtown Fargo for an ESPN video shoot, but only one filmed the NFL prospect from above. The aerial view of the North Dakota State University standout quarterback was supplied for the network's NFL draft coverage by an unmanned aircraft flown Monday by Grand Forks company SkySkopes. "Just doing it for ESPN, for one, is cool but to film someone who might go No. 1 overall in the NFL draft is even better," SkySkopes President Matt Dunlevy told the Herald.
ST. PAUL—Money provided by Minnesota's Local Government Aid program is a mainstay in the budgets of cities throughout the state, and potential funding hikes and cuts to it have city leaders keeping a close eye on the Legislature. For 2017, Gov. Mark Dayton has included a one-time $21.5 million increase to the program in his supplemental budget while Senate leaders confirmed Wednesday they have placed a $45.5 million boost in their version of the tax bill.
CROOKSTON—Once an empty space, now nearly 5 acres of land given to the city of Crookston in 2013 is the site of growth. The city has since turned the land into 17 lots, known as Barrette Street Estates, and offered them for free to encourage the construction of homes. Located in the city's northwestern corner, the lots run along Barrette Street and now are home to 10 houses with two more under construction. Five lots remain available for anyone interested in building a home.
Birds running afoul of airplanes is nothing new to aviators, but these animals may hold the key to predicting the risk small unmanned aircraft pose to the commercial airspace. Researchers proposed drawing a parallel between the expected influx of unmanned aircraft systems, also known as drones, and birds flying in airspace in order to estimate how often collisions could happen.
The world's population has tripled since John Nowatzki was born more than five decades ago, but acres of farmland needed to feed it continues to shrink. The pressure is on for farmers to produce more crops on less land, and unmanned aircraft, also known as drones, may be the tool to help them meet that growing demand.
THIEF RIVER FALLS—Rodney Otterness will be moving nearly 1,400 miles in the coming months to serve as Thief River Falls' city administrator. Otterness, who works as the city manager of Union Gap, Wash., accepted the job offer earlier this week, and City Council members unanimously approved his employment agreement Tuesday night. "I received an email back from Rodney today. He said the terms are acceptable and he's looking forward to working with you and the people of Thief River Falls," Human Resource Specialist LeAnn Engelstad told the council Tuesday.