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Not long ago, the Grand Sky aviation and technology park was more grand vision than foreseeable reality. As the Herald has reported, the idea first came five or six years ago, when local leaders sat around a boardroom table at the UND Center for Innovation. They talked about building an airport for unmanned aircraft and constructing a business park to accommodate the innovative businesses that predictably would spring up around the burgeoning unmanned aviation industry.
Voters in Devils Lake this spring will decide whether to build a new performing-arts center, and in the process may well determine the future of performing arts in the community. The question before them is whether to approve an $8.95 million facility with an auditorium that would seat 600. If approved, taxes will increase in the district; a home worth $150,000 will see an annual tax increase of $97, while cropland taxes will increase according to value.
We've all seen that driver — the guy who zips down the highway at unsafe speeds on snow- or ice-covered roads. Or the motorist who refuses to give room to law-enforcement officers or tow-truck drivers doing their dangerous jobs along a roadside. Eventually, easily avoided mishaps are bound to happen.
The future of Arbor Park is in limbo as city leaders and lovers of green space seek a solution for the sliver of land in downtown Grand Forks. At present, it's a quaint park in a lot vacated after the 1997 flood. Some, including the Herald's editorial board, want the park razed to accommodate a proposed five-story, $7 million building with condos and retail space. It's becoming an emotional issue, as parkland debates often do. As the City Council and others consider the future of Arbor Park, we have two great hopes.
We have no beef with the big box stores. They advertise their goods in the Herald and employ hundreds in Grand Forks—probably thousands in the Red River Valley overall. But with the start of holiday season comes Small Business Saturday, and it's our hope that Grand Forks shoppers—all shoppers, for that matter—understand the impact they can have by simply opening their minds and their wallets, if only a bit.
UND football coach Bubba Schweigert has hired a staff with a strong work ethic and a passion to bring home a football championship. He has a state-of-the-art indoor practice facility that will help bring top recruits to Grand Forks. And he says his team this year is poised to make a run at a playoff berth. What the third-year coach really wants, though, is great fan support. "If you can do one thing, come to the Alerus Center," Schweigert told the Grand Forks Rotary Club last month. "Let's fill it up for the Potato Bowl."
Frustration in the town of Thompson seems to be at high levels these days. Evidently, many residents and school officials are frustrated they cannot generate enough support for an expansion of the town's school facilities. Others are frustrated that supporters continue to put the issue on a ballot, despite it being voted down four times now.
North Dakota's budget woes have dominated headlines, legislative sessions and coffee shop discussion for the better part of two years. Spurred by an unpredicted drop in revenue from oil- and ag-based commodities, it appears it won't improve anytime soon. It's prompting consideration of new revenue streams, and we're intrigued by the process.
Ray Holmberg envisions an end to the relationship between North Dakota and the economic research firm Moody's, but the longtime state senator from Grand Forks doesn't think the Legislature will be so quick to reconfigure its own schedule.
Today's assignment: Go to the internet and look up the primary rules of North Dakota's hunter safety education course. The four primary rules of firearm safety — as taught to young hunters in this state — include: -Point the muzzle in a safe direction. -Treat every firearm with respect due a loaded gun. -Be sure of your target and what is in front and beyond it. -Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot.