Allen joined the Grand Forks Herald to cover local government and politics May 2018. Call her at 701-780-1102, email her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter, @Emily_theHerald.
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Every year, the city of Grand Forks has to remove one unusual contaminant from its wastewater supplies—birds. "We don't want them to roost and stay on the pond," City Water Works Director Melanie Parvey said. "Or really settle in, because then they'll claim it as their home, and have their young." And with the wastewater treatment facility so close to the airport, Parvey said any birds the facility's six ponds attract are safety hazards. That's why her department has traditionally resorted to efforts like hazing and pyrotechnics to scare the birds away.
The East Grand Forks City Council voted Tuesday night to accept food shelf items instead of street maintenance fines until December. This is the city's third year doing so. For the rest of the year, anyone who parks on the wrong side of the street during a maintenance period or snow emergency and gets a ticket can pay their fine with five non-expired food shelf items. Street maintenance tickets typically cost $15 the first time and increase the longer it takes for a ticket holder to pay, according to the Police Department.
A battery company that started eight years ago with a group of UND researchers is one step closer to building its own factory north of Gateway Drive in Grand Forks. The company Clean Republic produces lithium ion batteries for electric bikes. Since 2010, when the company began, Clean Republic has expanded to include a facility in Seattle. It still manufactures batteries at a warehouse in Grand Forks.
Almost one year after receiving a technical grant to make Grand Forks a more welcoming community to newcomers, the Grand Forks City Council got 78 ways the city can improve Monday night. Residents, business owners, city and county leaders, students and more have spent the past year researching how newcomers feel in Grand Forks and what needs to change. For project committee chair Robin David, those 78 suggestions are only the beginning. "There's much more going on with that over the next five years and beyond," she told the council.
East Grand Forks Police look forward to accepting food shelf items in lieu of parking fines for the third year in a row this winter. East Grand Forks City Council members will vote on a resolution Tuesday night that could allow residents to pay street maintenance tickets with five non-expired food items until December.
Visiting Kanuma, Japan, on Monday was just like stopping by to see an old friend for Mayor Mike Brown and Community and Government Relations Officer Pete Haga, they said. "Trips like this, it's really to reinforce the relationship and make sure you reach out every once in a while," Haga said. "It's like any personal relationship, you've got to reach out and show value every once in a while to keep it ongoing."
Canada is set to legalize recreational marijuana this month, but officials on both sides of the border are launching a campaign to remind travelers cannabis is still not legal while crossing the Northern border.
After closing in April and announcing plans to re-open in May, what was the Store House Food Pantry north of Grand Forks will reopen as the Hope Church Care Center and Food Pantry this December at Grand Cities Mall. According to Great Plains Food Bank, Grand Forks County offers six other food pantries, three of those being in the city of Grand Forks. Before it closed, Store House served 65 to 100 families a week. The new pantry will serve 450 families every month looking for food, Hope Church Care Center board President Julie Dostal said.
Altru Health System has asked Grand Forks leaders for permission to build a temporary gravel parking lot near Sertoma Park for hospital staff that would last three years. City Council members are expected to vote on this request Monday night after a public hearing during a meeting. Altru plans to replace its hospital with a new facility at the Columbia Road campus, but architects for the new facility said the health care provider's staff won't be able to use their existing parking lot during reconstruction.
The air remains relatively clean around the Grand Forks area, according to the North Dakota and Minnesota divisions of air quality. For the last couple of years, both groups have shifted their concerns to smoke from wildfires in the western United States and Canada. "On a typical day in North Dakota, it's very clean air," said Ryan Mills, who manages North Dakota's Department of Ambient Air Quality. "We definitely hold our heads pretty high on that. We've had some of the cleanest air in the nation, and as of late the only issues we have had are from forest fires."