With just more than a week before UND students return to campus, university administrators are leaning on lessons learned during the height of the pandemic to safely start the fall semester. Vaccines, a tool not available last year, can make all the difference, they say. The Herald's Adam Kurtz reports that the health and safety of those on campus ultimately falls on vaccinations, and the number of people who receive them, administrators say.

Matt Walkowiak named general manager of Harry's Steakhouse

Harry’s Steakhouse in downtown Grand Forks has named Matt Walkowiak as its new general manager. The Herald's Jacob Holley reports that Walkowiak is the owner and president of Ground Round Grill & Bar, and he will continue in those two positions. Meanwhile, he has promoted Tabby Blooflat to general manager in his stead.

Grand Forks budget proposal would offer health insurance to council, mayor, city judge

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A proposal to offer city health insurance to Grand Forks City Council members, the mayor and a municipal judge has drawn some skepticism from some council members. The Herald's Joe Bowen reports that Mayor Brandon Bochenski’s 2022 budget proposal would offer a city health plan to those nine part-time civil servants, plus a $6,500 pay bump for the mayor and a $2,200 bump for the judge.

From roads, bridges and parks, East Grand Forks Mayor Steve Gander pushes forward on his Top 10 list

Mayor Steve Gander, mild-mannered optometrist, has been leading East Grand Forks City Hall for more than five years now. And he thinks he sees a solution for the rough, frost-boiled road on a suburban section of 20th Street Northwest that’s bedeviled the city for years. Herald correspondent Sam Easter reports that it needs to be replaced, but assessment policies on a top-of-the-line replacement — which levy costs on nearby homes — would give neighbors five-figure bills they would struggle to pay.

North Dakota, Minnesota farmers seeing varied wheat yields, higher prices

Dust billowed behind combines harvesting wheat along the I-29 corridor this week as farmers worked to wrap up the 2021 harvest. The Herald's Ann Bailey reports that early planting last spring and an extremely dry summer with hot temperatures that pushed the small grains crops, including wheat, to mature quickly has resulted in one of the earliest harvests in recent years. Most small-grains farmers in northeast North Dakota and northwest Minnesota have completed their harvests, or expected to by the end of the week, barring rain delays.

Local businesses use InternGF program to provide paid internships

Local businesses continue to benefit from UND’s Center for Innovation and the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation's InternGF program, which announced it has awarded funding to several Grand Forks companies. The Herald's Jacob Holley reports that InternGF matches UND students looking for local internship opportunities with employers, most of which are looking for marketing, digital media or customer service support.

Albatross signs lease to move to Columbia Mall this fall

Albatross Indoor Golf Club is moving locations from its current location near the Ralph Engelstad Arena to a new spot in Columbia Mall where Royal Fork used to be after recently signing a new lease. Owner Andrew Krauseneck said he has been trying to change locations for years, and hoped he would be able to buy a new space with more room for expansion. His big idea was for an indoor/outdoor hybrid golf and entertainment experience – one he described as a combination of Top Golf and the existing Albatross experience. He hopes the new location will open Oct. 1, and Nov. 1 at the latest.

Grand Forks sees fewer mosquitoes, but still a serious West Nile virus threat

Todd Hanson has never seen a year like this in Grand Forks, with unusually strong drought conditions driving down the number of mosquitoes across the community. Herald correspondent Sam Easter reports that the drought is bringing some of the driest weather Grand Forks County has seen in a century. And since mosquitoes thrive in warm, wet conditions, this year has been a lot less buggy.

Grand Forks woman's love of painting, borne of the pandemic, leads to first art exhibit

Last December, after spending many hours coloring with her young children while in quarantine, Senta Lauren started painting. She discovered a passion for art. For months, she didn’t think her work was very good, but others did. And, with encouragement, especially from her husband and others, she kept at it. The Herald's Pamela Knudson reports that last week, an exhibit of her work, “Defending the Silver Lining,” opened at the Alerus Center. All 15 artworks, which will be displayed for three months, are available for sale. To see the exhibit, enter Door 7.

More North Dakota f announce vaccine mandates as state's active COVID-19 cases near 1,000

More hospital systems in North Dakota announced that they will mandate COVID-19 vaccines for their employees this week as the more contagious delta variant of the virus helped push statewide active positives to nearly 1,000 on Friday, Aug. 13. Forum correspondent Adam Willis reports that virus hospitalizations have also started to climb in recent weeks, from just 10 in late July to Friday's count of 38. North Dakota's growing outbreak comes as states in some other parts of the country, particularly the Southeast, have seen the more contagious delta variant of the virus spread rapidly through unvaccinated communities. Hospitals in some states with rising delta prevalence have struggled to accommodate surges.