John Hageman covers local business and Grand Forks' legislative delegation. Get more business news at aroundtown.areavoices.com.
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A bill that would have raised taxes on a pack of cigarettes in North Dakota from 44 cents to $2, failed 17-30 in the state Senate Wednesday. North Dakota has among the lowest cigarette taxes in the country, and proponents of Senate Bill 2322 said the increase could help discourage smoking as well as raise state revenues. "Whether you like taxes or not, taxes do affect purchases," said Sen.
The East Grand Forks City Council gave city staff the go-ahead Tuesday to develop a proposal to broadcast council meetings. A preliminary estimate put the cost of such a system at $8,200. Council Members Chad Grassel and Henry Tweten voted against the motion Tuesday, and Craig Buckalew was absent. "All we're doing is wasting money," Tweten said of the proposal. Staff will come back with a more detailed proposal and cost estimate later, City Administrator David Murphy said.
The East Grand Forks Economic Development Authority is welcoming some new leadership. The city agency held its first board meeting with the newly hired EDA Director Paul Gorte Tuesday afternoon. Later, the City Council approved two mayoral appointments to the EDA board, Ralph Messelt and Josh Grinde. The EDA board appointments come after the departures of Kerry Knoff and Nan Larson. Messelt will complete Knoff's term, which is through 2018, and Grinde's term will be through 2020. Gorte was previously the assistant planning director at the city of Eagle Pass, Texas.
The North Dakota Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill Tuesday to provide enhanced driver's licenses, a move that proponents said could make it more convenient for citizens to cross the Canadian border. The bill, Senate Bill 2148, was passed 45-2 Tuesday. Only Sen. Connie Triplett, D-Grand Forks, and Sen. Oley Larsen, R-Minot, voted against it. Sen.
WDAZ-TV debuted a new set during its 6 p.m. newscast Monday in Grand Forks. The set, which took about two months to build, replaces another that was in use for about seven to eight years. The larger set features several flat-screen TVs on a wood backdrop along with two glass-top desks. "It's a good mix between traditional and contemporary," said Jeff Nelson, the news director for WDAY and WDAZ. Forum Communications Co.
A bill aimed at attracting data centers to North Dakota passed the House last week. House Bill 1089 would provide a sales tax exemption for equipment and software used in a qualified data center -- a facility that lawmakers said doesn't currently exist in North Dakota.
Agweek TV will host a launch party Wednesday in Grand Forks. The 30-minute weekly television program focuses on agricultural issues in the Upper Midwest, like its affiliated magazine. The launch party will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday on the second floor of the Alerus Center concourse. Agweek TV personality Shawna Olson and the magazine staff will be on hand. Country musician Jessie Veeder will also perform.
It's been one obstacle after another over the past year, but Michael Pence hopes to finally open his business in the coming weeks. After changing his location and a few...
A new salon has taken the place of another in downtown Grand Forks. Fringe by Mikki and Jadie opened Feb. 6 at 308 S. Third St., the former home of Nail and Hair Magic. The owner of that business retired, so former JCPenney salon employees Jadie Schuh and Mikki Pierce opened their own business. "This opportunity kind of fell into our lap and we just kind of went with it," Schuh said. Fringe does haircuts, facial waxing, coloring, perms and deep conditioning treatments, Schuh said. "We've gone to advanced training," she said.
A prostitution sting resulted in eight arrests Thursday night in Grand Forks. The Grand Forks Police Department conducted the operation by putting advertisements on Backpage.com, a classified advertising website. The...