Sam Easter is a City Government reporter for the Grand Forks Herald. You can reach him with story tips, comments and ideas at 701-330-3441.
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President Donald Trump earned wide condemnation from members of Congress on Monday after he publicly doubted U.S. intelligence conclusions that Russia interfered in the 2016 elections, saying Russian leader Vladimir Putin — who stood by his side — offered an “extremely strong and powerful … denial today.”
A high-stakes fight over the future of the Supreme Court began on Wednesday after Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement — and in what promises to be a rematch of 2016's battle to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, leaders from North Dakota and Minnesota are already divided over when, exactly, a new member should join the high court.
Steelmakers are happy. But what about everybody else? President Donald Trump's new steel and aluminum tariffs, which went into effect on imports from allies at the beginning of the month, were aimed at reversing American metals producers' economic fortunes. But the move has left others scrambling, with steel prices rising at home and allies slapping their own tariffs on U.S. products around the world, leaving broad tracts of the market wondering what happens next.
Grand Forks' Community Foundation has been building a better city, dollar by dollar, for two decades now. Formed after the devastation of the 1997 flood, its assets have since grown to more than $11 million, with about $5.6 million dollars disbursed to date. It has scores of separate funds, tied to the community in myriad ways — from the local curling club to public arts and more. "I think we're in a really good spot in terms of assets," said Becca Bahnmiller, the group's executive director. "I think that puts us in a really good place moving forward."
President Donald Trump's Monday claim that he can pardon himself garnered little support from North Dakota and Minnesota's leaders, with some even seeming to warn him — or reassure others — about the limits of the presidency's power. "The president may have that authority," Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said in a prepared statement. "But the founding fathers built checks and balances into the Constitution between the legislative, executive and judicial branches in order to ensure that the power of the people is protected."
North Dakota has seen sunnier financial days — and if recent calls for budget cuts are any indication, things might stay cloudy for a while. Gov. Doug Burgum called in April for cuts throughout state government, asking agencies for 5-10 percent cuts in ongoing expenses — with another 3 percent flagged for further reduction if necessary. Burgum also called on many agencies to cut 5 percent of their staff.
There's a new Hugo's supermarket coming to downtown Grand Forks, and it's right on a prime spot for a new library. The land in question is at the corner of Fifth Street and DeMers, the site of an Alerus location and a parking lot. Just blocks from Town Square, it's near the edge of Grand Forks' growing core. The new Hugo's project, a more than $10 million investment unveiled earlier this month, will include a new grocery store with apartments overhead — and it means a downtown library would almost certainly have to go elsewhere.
The Red River flows quietly past the Sorlie Bridge and downtown Grand Forks every day of the year, but intrudes into daily life only rarely — and the same goes for the web of creeks and streams that feed it. To passersby, perhaps the most complicated question for the Red River is when it's finally frozen hard enough for snowmobiles.
An attempt to pass a 2018 Farm Bill collapsed in the House of Representatives earlier this month, leaving farmers and ranchers tapping their feet, waiting for Congress to act on the vital package of crop insurance, food assistance and other programs that expires in late September. The bill failed on May 18 in a 213-198 vote. Many Democrats resisted food stamp work requirements, while the chamber's Republicans were divided over a separate immigration dispute — leaving Arthur, N.D., farmer Kevin Skunes hoping to see action soon.
Downtown Grand Forks is surging — maybe the most it has since after the 1997 flood.