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 Federal Aviation Administration debuted a set of long-awaited regulations governing the use of unmanned aircraft Tuesday that were met with fanfare from local and national members of the industry. The rules are targeted at small unmanned aircraft, also known as drones, used for commercial and public applications and contain requirements for their operation and qualifications for their pilots. David Dvorak, CEO of Field of View in Grand Forks, has been waiting years for the FAA to finalize regulations for unmanned aircraft.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resource will be picking up part of the tab for East Grand Forks' pool renovation project. The City Council approved accepting of a $50,000 grant from the department Tuesday night. It also gave the green light to a change order adding about $1,300 to the estimated pool costs.
Unofficial results show the Grand Forks City Council could have two new faces taking seats, joined by two incumbents who kept their spots in the citywide election Tuesday. In Ward 1—the closest race of the night—UND Police Sgt. Danny Weigel appeared to edge out opponents Ben Olson and Jeffrey Powell with 37.3 percent of the vote or 202 votes, according to unofficial results available at press time. Olson garnered 182 votes and Powell saw 155 votes cast. Two write-in votes also were reported, bringing the total votes cast in the race to 541.
East Grand Forks business owners had sharp words during a public meeting for a concept that would close the intersection of U.S. Highway 2 and U.S.Business Highway 2 to address safety problems. The concept is being floated by the Minnesota Department of Transportation as a potential option for reducing the number of severe car crashes at the area. Nearby property owners along the business highway in the city's southeastern corner aren't thrilled with the idea of creating a dead-end street in front of their businesses.
Grand Forks is often touted as North Dakota's hub for unmanned aircraft systems, also known as drones, but two other cities in the state are home to more of those aircraft. Data released by the Federal Aviation Administration for its voluntary registration system shows Grand Forks has the third highest number of recreational and non-recreational drones registered in the state, edged out by Fargo and Bismarck.
With a hefty toss, pilot Adam Overvold sent a fixed-wing aircraft soaring into the air Wednesday above Grand Sky business park. Nearby, about a dozen bystanders watched the unmanned aircraft circle an empty patch of land west of Grand Forks Air Force Base—land that many hope will one day contain office buildings and aircraft hangars. The flight, conducted by personnel with ISight RPV Services, marks a step forward, as the first fixed-wing flown at the aviation business park located on the base is one of many to come.
Disappoint over a bill left unsigned by Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton earlier this week is reverberating through the northwestern portion of the state. Among the casualties of a now dead $260 million tax bill is the 1 percent sales and use tax requested by East Grand Forks to pay for its $2.8 million swimming pool renovation. The city has financed part of the project using a loan granted by its Water and Light Commission, which oversees city utility services. No sales tax means the city would move on to its backup plan.
Polk County has adopted an ordinance holding adults responsible for allowing underage drinking to occur at their event or on their property. The social host ordinance aims to discourage underage drinking and makes providing an environment for the act a criminally punishable offense, with a penalties of 90 days in jail, a $1,000 or both.
Two East Grand Forks businesses will have their liquor licenses suspended for one day after failing their second compliance check in 12 months by selling alcohol to minors. If the Veterans of Foreign Wars Club and Northdale Oil, which operates as a Tesoro gas station, can pass compliance checks conducted in the next year, they won't have their licenses suspended for an additional two days.
A new look at federal data cataloging 582 sightings of unmanned aircraft by aviation personnel and the public has revealed those sightings have decreased over time. The Academy of Model Aeronautic released an analysis Tuesday that reports monthly sightings of unmanned aircraft systems, also known as drones, decreased from August to January. August was the peak for reported sightings with more than 180 reported nationwide.