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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A candidate for the North Dakota House was arrested for driving under the influence in late July. Emily O'Brien, who is running as a Republican for Grand Forks' District 42, was arrested in the early hours of July 27 near the intersection of North Third Street and First Avenue in downtown Grand Forks, according to court records. A breath test showed her blood alcohol concentration was .147 percent, almost twice the legal limit, according to a copy of her citation. Court records don't include a narrative of the incident.
The city of East Grand Forks spent nearly $70,000 in legal costs over the past two-plus years in an attempt to recover a long-unpaid economic development loan. The dispute over the $510,000 Boardwalk Enterprises loan, first approved in 1999, was resolved in late June. The city received $250,000 as part of the settlement, but there were no provisions in that agreement that covered its legal costs, City Administrator David Murphy said.
Altru Health System's ambitious plans to remake its main campus on South Columbia Road are on hold for now, but leaders say it remains their vision for the future of Grand Forks' dominant health care provider. The 2012 acquisition of its facilities on South Washington Street opened the door for delaying Altru's master plan, which calls for a new procedure center, clinic, imaging and emergency department as well as a bed tower.
Less than a year after moving into the Twin Cities market, Kittsona is adding a women's clothing store in Austin, Texas at the end of September. It will be the Grand Forks-based retailer's first store outside North Dakota and Minnesota. Nicole Johnson, who owns Kittsona with Tessa Hiney, said they were approached by a real estate brokerage firm that liked their concept. Eventually, they landed on a shopping development in Austin.
Just a day after North Dakota lawmakers adjourned from a special session to address the state's budget shortfall Thursday, attention turned to the Legislature's return to Bismarck in early 2017. The bill that came out of this week's special session recognizes two budget cuts ordered this year by Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple, uses the remaining $75 million from the state's rainy-day fund and spends up to $100 million in profits from the state-owned Bank of North Dakota.
Two Republican candidates are vying for the chance to end longtime Democratic Congressman Collin Peterson's tenure representing Minnesota's Seventh Congressional District. Dave Hughes, a retired Air Force officer from Karlstad and the GOP-endorsed candidate, is facing Amanda Lynn Hinson, an author and small business owner in Long Prairie. The winner of Tuesday's primary election will face Peterson in November in a battle to represent a wide swath of western Minnesota.
Al Decker, a former Grand Forks restaurateur, died Tuesday after a battle with lung cancer. He was 62. Decker was perhaps best known for opening Al's Grill and Catering on South Washington Street before moving it to Gateway Drive. That restaurant closed last year after more than a decade in business. "Al was just a regular guy," said Scott Doyea, who owned Al's Grill with his mentor and friend. "He just made food from the heart." Decker's obituary describes him as a "workaholic" whose "passion and enjoyment in life was providing food for friends and family."
Karl's, a television, audio, appliance and furniture store, is closing its 32nd Avenue South store in Grand Forks in the coming weeks. The building occupied by the South Dakota-based retail chain has been sold, and Karl's lease expires at the end of the month, said Jim Mohs, Karl's chief operating officer. The business is advertising a sale to liquidate its inventory. "We have to be out by the end of the month," Mohs said. "We're going to run the sale until the inventory is depleted to a level where we want to move the rest to other locations."
BISMARCK — A North Dakota lawmaker who is running for the United States Senate is unlikely to make it to Bismarck this week for the state Legislature's special session due to medical issues, a spokesman said Tuesday. State Rep. Eliot Glassheim, D-Grand Forks, came down with an infection Thursday evening and went to Altru Hospital "to be safe," his campaign spokesman Daniel Tick said. While Tick said it's not a "serious ailment," Glassheim is taking antibiotics and should be back to 100 percent in a few days.
The third phase of Minnesota's minimum wage increase went into effect Monday, which state leaders said raised pay for more than 287,000 workers. But the change also raises concerns from some that it increases labor costs and prices. "It definitely increases the cost of labor, so in turn to counter that you have to raise prices on your food and beverage," said Pat Boppre, an owner of the Blue Moose Bar and Grill in East Grand Forks. While price increases have been minimal over the past couple of years, "customers do notice," he added.