John Hageman covers local business and North Dakota politics. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Bemidji Pioneer.
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SPOKANE, Wash.—A city in eastern Washington has backed down from a proposal to fine railroad companies for hauling crude oil and coal through town, a move that was welcomed by a group representing North Dakota's oil industry. The Spokane City Council voted in late July to ask voters to approve an ordinance outlawing rail transportation of certain crude oil and uncovered coal through its downtown or within 2,000 feet of a school, hospital or the Spokane River. The civil infraction would amount to a $261 fine per rail car.
A Grand Forks city committee agreed Monday to terminate a lease with internet retail giant Amazon for its customer service operations. The Growth Fund Committee's vote comes after Amazon moved to a home-based staffing model for its local customer service operations earlier this year. It notified the city it was exercising its right to terminate its lease after September 2018.
Grand Forks Herald Editor Steve Wagner has been hired as the new Forum News Service director in Fargo. Wagner, who has led the Herald's news operation for almost 3½ years, will start in his new role Sept. 6. The search for his successor will start immediately, Herald Publisher Korrie Wenzel said. Wagner said he was excited to join Forum News Service, which helps gather and distribute news for Forum Communications Co., the Fargo-based owner of the Herald and other news outlets throughout the region.
Financial assistance through the Bank of North Dakota is one more tool available to Grand Forks leaders in alleviating a shortage of available child care, a City Council member said Monday. The Grand Forks Growth Fund Committee voted Monday to add the bank's Flex Pace program for day care operations to the city's portfolio. The program, which the city has used for various business expansion projects, involves using financing to buy down the interest rate on commercial bank loans.
NORTHWOOD, N.D.—The North Dakota Highway Patrol has identified a 17-year-old girl from Eagan, Minn., who suffered serious injuries in a Grand Forks County crash over the weekend. Mikailah Corum was in critical condition at Altru Hospital Monday afternoon. She was ejected from a 2006 Saturn Ion that was totaled in a one-car crash 8 miles west of Northwood, N.D. Saturday night.
Internet retail giant Amazon has proposed paying more than $845,000 to terminate its lease at a city-owned building in west Grand Forks. The Seattle-based company had been occupying about 29,000 square feet of the building at 1400 S. 48th St. in the Grand Forks Industrial Park since September 2011. But Amazon notified the city in April that it was exercising its right to terminate the lease after September 2018, according to a city staff memo published ahead of Monday's Grand Forks Growth Fund Committee meeting.
It was around 3 a.m. Sunday when Bryan Good was alerted that his downtown Grand Forks house was on fire. "I had guys beating on the outside of the house, yelling," he said. "They woke me up ... yelled, 'You're on fire.' So I just got my family out." The fire at 217 N. 6th St. is one of several that occurred early Sunday morning considered suspicious by Grand Forks police. The others involved debris in the alleyway in the 300 block of North Sixth Street and a Dumpster in the alleyway in the 200 block of North Sixth Street.
Parents and students helped welcome new leadership Sunday afternoon at Holy Family - St. Mary's Catholic School in Grand Forks. Ken Schill and Katie Mayer are the new interim principal and assistant principal, respectively, of the parochial elementary school. They were on hand for an ice cream social held on the school's playground, where kids played in a bounce house and dined on cool treats. The new leadership team takes the helm after the retirement of Charles Scherr.
North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger said last week it's too early to say what forms of identification will be accepted for voting in November's election, but a plan is being developed after a federal judge recently ruled against the state's new voter ID laws.
UND aerospace officials are welcoming new federal processes for hiring air traffic controllers. The changes come with the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill that was signed into law by President Barack Obama in mid-July. It puts greater emphasis on selecting candidates from air traffic control programs such as UND's, said Elizabeth Bjerke, chairwoman of the aviation department at the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences.