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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GRAFTON, N.D.—An oilfield product manufacturer has idled its plant here, leaving just two full-time employees, a company official said Thursday. Cimarron Energy, an Oklahoma-based manufacturer of oil and gas production equipment that purchased Diverse Energy Systems after the latter firm filed for bankruptcy last year, has a plant manager and administrative employee in town, said Richard Wilkie, Cimarron's chief financial officer. That's down from the 14 employees a company spokesman said they had there in early March.
States cannot levy criminal penalties against suspected drunk drivers who refuse to submit to a warrantless blood test, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday in a case that originated in North Dakota. The decision deals a blow to states such as North Dakota that criminalize the refusal of those tests. But the nation's highest court said the Fourth Amendment permits warrantless breath tests, calling their physical intrusion "almost negligible."
The Grand Forks Regional Airport Authority board discussed an offer from FedEx Corp. to terminate its leases at the Grand Forks International Airport behind closed doors Thursday. The board did not take any formal action after its executive session Thursday morning, said Ryan Riesinger, the airport authority's executive director.
The East Grand Forks City Council voted Tuesday to table a decision on liquor license applications for a restaurant and bar in a downtown building for another week. City staff had recommended the City Council deny the two applications, which were submitted for the same site inside the Boardwalk building at 415 Second St. N.W. They cited a long-running dispute over a $510,000 city loan loan to Boardwalk Enterprises, which owns the commercial building and has similar ownership to the Boardwalk Bar and Grill.
The death of a North Dakota legislator over the weekend means another seat will be up for election in November, state officials said Monday. Rep. Curt Hofstad, R-Devils Lake, died Saturday at the age of 70 of a suspected heart attack, his son said Monday. He had served in the Legislature since 2007, and he was not up for re-election this year.
East Grand Forks city staff members have recommended the City Council deny liquor license applications for a restaurant and bar located in a downtown building, marking another turn in the long-running dispute over a city loan.
Despite her trip to the Grand Forks Hornbacher's last week, Jennifer Kovar said she typically shops for groceries at Hugo's. She described a sense of store loyalty to Hugo's after living in town for 26 years rather than any noticeable difference in prices. "I don't pay attention," she said. "My kids have to eat so I just buy food." Depending on her shopping list, Kovar may not have noticed much of a difference.
Members of the Grand Forks Curling Club have stored their rocks for the season. But when curling season comes back in November, they hope to be sliding those stones under a new roof. The Grand Forks Curling Club is constructing a building where the current one stands at 1124 Seventh Ave. S., near the intersection of DeMers Avenue and Washington Street. A two-story building with updated amenities such as expanded locker rooms and an upstairs viewing space will take the place of the old one, which was built in 1962.
Mary Burd sees her new downtown Grand Forks women's clothing boutique as something of a statement on woman empowerment. "Women ... come in all shapes and sizes, heights, weights, build," she said. "All women deserve to feel beautiful, stylish and confident, and they just deserve to love their outfit and love themselves." That's why she opened Voxxy at 7 N. Third St. this month. The store sells women's clothes with sizes ranging 12 through 22, and Burd pointed out the average women's clothing size is a 16. That helps explain why she eschews the term "plus-size."
A homebrewing shop is moving to South Washington Street. Michael Pence, owner of HomeBrew U, is moving his business from its location next to Hornbacher's supermarket on 32nd Avenue South to 1311 S. Washington St. He plans to be open by July 1. The shop provides supplies for homebrewers looking to craft their own beers. Pence also plans to continue offering classes at his new location, as well. Pence said he hopes to lower his overhead costs by moving.