Jennifer Johnson is the K-12 education reporter for The Grand Forks Herald. Contact her if you have any story ideas or tips and visit www.grandforksherald.com.
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A new federal education law that dramatically changes North Dakota's approach to education will soon be developed over the next year. North Dakota School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler and others are gathering this month for a meeting related to the Every Student Succeeds Act, a sweeping reform that replaces No Child Left Behind and promises states more flexibility on student testing and accountability. President Barack Obama signed the act into law Dec. 10.
Global Friends Coalition in Grand Forks is off to a strong start for 2016, its executive director said. Cynthia Shabb said the coalition has hired a new coordinator, hopes to assist new American more and plans to organize more community gatherings. "We're going to be better than ever," she said.
Roger Dykstra was one of about a dozen dedicated people exercising New Year's Day at Planet Fitness in Grand Forks. He joined the gym four years ago on Dec. 31 as a New Year's resolution and hasn't stopped going since. "Like everybody, I'd like to lose a few pounds, take a little better care of myself," he said. Amanda Knudson, a trainer there, said her personal resolution for this year is to increase the number of members at the gym.
Four years ago, Ronald Olafson walked out of a medical care center in Erskine, Minn., without a dime in his pocket and no place to live. At the time he was a broken man in nearly every sense of the word. He was recovering from a car crash that broke his pelvis, cracked his vertebrae and ribs and punctured his lungs, sending him into a coma. Olafson, who has since moved to Grand Forks, had been driving drunk.
When Ashley Rae Klinger of Grand Forks recently married, she requested guests donate to her cancer nonprofit Cope Well Foundation in lieu of buying gifts. Klinger's thoughtfulness is nothing new to those who know her, said Lisa Johnson and Brittany Callier, who nominated her as one of the Herald's annual Hometown Heroes. She's a selfless person who is always willing to help at the drop of a hat, they said. "She's just good at those little acts of kindness," Callier said. "She's just always there when you need someone."
Imagine a 27-year-old victim of a car crash who is confused and complaining of chest, hip and ankle pain. This is one fictional scenario Sara Suda, director of nurses at Unity Medical Center in Grafton, and her staff recently considered during a new course offered through Altru Health System.
Priscilla Marto of Grand Forks attends one special church service before Christmas. "It's a much more quiet, reflective service," she said. "For some people, it's just a difficult time." Marto is among several who attend Calvary Lutheran Church's "Quiet Christmas," a service offered Wednesday to people who are struggling in some way during Christmas, said the Rev. Kristen Larsen-Schmidt, Calvary's pastor. "It's not just about feeling glum," she said.
One Christmas mystery headed to a close Wednesday. A large red Santa Claus hat worn by a giant blue concrete head at Town Square in Grand Forks was anonymously returned, said Stacey Majkrzak, executive director of the Grand Forks Downtown Development Association. Employees from All Seasons Garden Center are going to make some minor repairs but the hat will be back at its rightful place today, she said. A relative of the center's owners made the hat for the DDA.
The North Dakota Museum of Art is changing its hours of operation during Christmas and beyond, according to the museum director. NDMOA will be closed at 1 p.m. Christmas Eve until Jan. 3. The cafe will reopen Jan. 4. Museum galleries will be closed at 1 p.m. Christmas Eve until further notice because of renovation work, said Director Laurel Reuter.
A Grand Forks house fire on Monday was sparked by an electrical problem, according to the Grand Forks Fire Department on Wednesday. An inline splice joining two wires was located outside an electrical junction box—instead of inside—and caused the wire to overheat and the surrounding material to catch fire. The flames started in the attic area and spread through the home at 818 S. 22nd St. The Fire Department also found the fuse connected to the electrical circuit was too large to properly operate, said Capt. Bruce Weymier.