WDAY First News anchors Drew Trafton and Se Kwon get you caught up on everything you need to know for Thursday, Sept. 23.
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Headline story: FARGO — A plan for the vacant Kmart building and its huge parking lot took a step forward Monday, Sept. 20, when both the Fargo City Commission and the Cass County Commission approved tax breaks for the development of a 92-unit apartment building for low-income senior citizens.
There were also unanimous votes by both bodies for another affordable senior citizen housing building with 120 units in southwest Fargo at 3361 Westrac Drive S., which is a few blocks south of the Cass County Jail.
The need for more low-income housing for seniors has been apparent with vacancy rates in the 1% to 2% range in the past two years.
Sanford moves some patients to overflow as Fargo hospitals near capacity
Sanford Health’s three medical campuses remain near capacity as demand for hospital services continues to strain hospitals in the region amid the added pressure from the delta surge.
Because of persistent high admissions, Sanford is adding 32 more beds at Sanford Medical Center — but will run out of empty space once that unit opens, likely in February, Dr. Doug Griffin, a Sanford vice president and medical director, said Wednesday, Sept. 22.
Effort to recall 4 Fargo School Board members fails
The Fargo School Board wrestled with the issue of masks again during a work session on Tuesday, Sept. 21, as the current requirement of wearing masks in schools is set to be challenged at the next board meeting.
A motion is slated to be raised at the Tuesday, Sept. 28, meeting to end the district's mask mandate and leave the decision of masking students during the COVID-19 pandemic up to parents. Board members pointed to differing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization and other health groups.
Company pleads guilty to criminal charges for largest oilfield spill in North Dakota history
A federal judge on Wednesday, Sept. 22, accepted a guilty plea, which comes with a $15 million criminal penalty, from a company responsible for spilling 29 million gallons of produced fracking water near Williston, North Dakota.
Summit Midstream Partners pleaded guilty for causing a spill of produced water for almost five months in 2014 and into 2015. The leak ultimately contaminated more than 30 miles of Missouri River tributaries and spilled 700,000 barrels of produced water — what is believed to be the largest inland spill in history, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Standing Rock calls on feds to scrap DAPL environmental review and start over
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is calling on President Joe Biden’s administration to scrap its ongoing environmental review of the Dakota Access oil pipeline and start over, alleging that the federal government has overseen a biased process and botched its tribal obligations.
In a letter sent to the Department of the Army’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Works Jaime Pinkham on Wednesday, Sept. 22, Standing Rock said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers “is already gravely off track” in its court-ordered environmental review of Dakota Access and laid out a series of requests for a revamped study.