Ryan Johnson has been a Forum reporter since 2012 and previously wrote for the Grand Forks Herald.
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WEST FARGO, N.D. — Mark Berntson got to be creative when his new house was being built here in 2000. "I thought, 'Oh my gosh, I can paint my walls and I can do whatever I want. And what do I really care about? I really care about the Vikings,' " he said, explaining why nearly every surface in his bedroom is purple and gold. That includes a painted Vikings team name that covers three walls, not to mention a Vikings lamp, chair and framed game-used jersey. He's single, so there wasn't a spouse around to tell him no, he said.
DILWORTH, Minn., —This far western Minnesota town's hard stance on soft drinks has fizzled out after Dilworth civic leaders repealed a requirement for a special license to sell the beverages. City Administrator Peyton Mastera said council members unanimously voted Dec. 20 to scrap a rule on the books since 1963 that originally addressed establishments like convenience stores and parlors where fountain soda was sold.
FARGO—North Dakota State Forester Larry Kotchman announced Monday, Jan. 8, that six new champion trees, a new second place tree and a change of ownership for a champion tree were added to the 2017 North Dakota Register of Champion Trees. That list is updated annually to log the largest examples of each species in the state based on a score that factors in circumference, height and crown spread.
FARGO—On a wish list full of high hopes for downtown, one item stands out not for its extravagance but a plain, practical goal. The Downtown InFocus master plan approved by city commissioners last month to serve as a blueprint for the neighborhood includes developing a homeless "day center." It's a goal local leaders in the field have championed for years—these experts helped get it included on the InFocus plan—and it could become a reality sooner than imagined.
KRAGNES TOWNSHIP, Minn.—Shane Friesz left North Dakota in his 20s to "go be gay" somewhere more progressive. The native of New Salem, N.D., is back now and recently opened a gay bar—the only one of its kind near Fargo-Moorhead in several years. Friesz and his partner, Shawn Weber, opened The Sanctuary Bar & Bistro on Saturday, Dec. 16, drawing patrons to check out how the couple converted a small-town watering hole into a gay bar.
FARGO—Keng Dechawuth doesn't mind if customers slurp their way through a meal at his new restaurant. In fact, he's encouraging it. Dechawuth and business partner Kitt Singbut opened downtown Fargo's first full ramen restaurant, Slurp Ramen, last month, adding another culinary option to a space full of exotic flavors.
WEST FARGO, N.D. — The grandmother of a 13-year-old girl was arrested on Thanksgiving Day after authorities said she harbored the runaway teenager and lied about it to police. West Fargo police reported shortly before 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 23, that Margaret Hansen, 53, was arrested on suspicion of harboring a runaway, hindering an investigation and providing false information. She was being held at the Cass County Jail.
FARGO—Even for small businesses here, Black Friday could be a better day for sales than Small Business Saturday. That's a main takeaway from a new national analysis of transactions at nearly 65,000 retailers in the U.S., including about 200 businesses in North Dakota, during the 2016 holiday shopping season.
FARGO—A line of 40 or so people waiting for the doors to be unlocked said it all—locals were eager to check out North Dakota's first lululemon store when it opened Friday, Nov. 17, in West Acres Shopping Center. The lifestyle clothing and athletic gear brand that was founded in Vancouver in 1998 is inspired by yoga, and that remains the foundation of the company that had more than 400 stores around the world by the start of 2017.
FARGO — As employees continued their work in the background, representatives of Walmart stopped by a Fargo-based sunflower butter company to put the spotlight on a local example of American manufacturing. A short ceremony was held Monday, Nov. 13, at SunButter LLC, 4040 7th Ave. N., that featured remarks from local and state leaders, business officials and Lisa Nelson, a public affairs and government relations director with Walmart.