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Hotel planned for rural Cavalier area

A destination hotel is planned for a rural area west of Cavalier, N.D. Hotel Rendezvous, a $2 million, 30-room hotel complex with a pool, a party room and a conference events center is planned near the Icelandic State Park and the Pembina County ...

A destination hotel is planned for a rural area west of Cavalier, N.D.

Hotel Rendezvous, a $2 million, 30-room hotel complex with a pool, a party room and a conference events center is planned near the Icelandic State Park and the Pembina County Historical Museum.

The project is one of five ideas out of 84 original teams that were recognized as winners in the Innovate ND program, with the organizers receiving $10,000 in cash and in-kind services to help start up the venture.

Sisters Zelda Hartje of Cavalier and Georgia Rice of Minneapolis, who grew up in Cavalier, are behind the planned project.

"I really saw the need for a hotel in our area," Hartje said. "There isn't anything with a pool within 40 miles. There isn't a hotel with a conference center north of Grand Forks until you get to Winnipeg."

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Hartje said the group plans to acquire 75 percent equity for the project from investors by the fall so that construction can begin this fall. She said an unspecified site has been selected and that negotiations to purchase the land are ongoing.

The hotel is planned to open in summer 2009.

The hotel may also include a small restaurant and bar. It will feature basketball courts outside with a bike trail and snowmobile trail running in front of the hotel.

Hartje said skiing and snowmobiling will help support the hotel during the slower winter months.

The hotel's name alludes to the rendezvous region where hunters and trappers would gather together like travelers will gather at the intimate hotel.

Each room is to be named for a different town in the region with the room's interior décor matching the town.

"We're going to be a family-friendly destination hotel," Hartje said.

High gas prices may affect marine sales

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With gas prices surging, dealers say they are unsure if higher fuel prices will hurt sales of personal watercraft and boats this summer.

"This year with the price of gas everybody is scared," said Ron Thompson, who owns Gateway Sports in Grand Forks.

Thompson said sales of personal watercraft, which typically sell best in May, June and July, have been OK, but have been slowed by the cold spring weather.

Lon Kvasager, general manager of Hansen Cycle Marine in Grand Forks, said marine product sales have been strong so far this spring. He said so far fuel prices have not been an issue with consumers.

"They still want to go out," he said. "They still want their recreation."

But it is unknown how sales might be affected by rising gas prices as the traditional boating season starts.

"They are looking for an alternative," said Denny Anderson, co-owner of Andy's Harley-Davidson in Grand Forks. "They are still looking for toys, whether they are going to buy a boat or a motorcycle. With gas prices, maybe they will buy a bike."

Paul Callina, sales manager of Revolutions Power Sports in Grand Forks said watercraft sales don't typically take off until mid-June when the water warms up. He said he has heard boat sales are down, but doesn't know what to expect in watercraft sales from year-to-year.

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Dealers are typically not allowed to sell new products to Canadians. But Kvasager said Hansen Cycle Marine has noticed an increase in used sales to Canadians, mostly of marine products, with some ATVs and motorcycles.

Briefly

n A study released last week by Scarborough Research named Austin, Texas as the most "digital savvy" city, followed by Las Vegas and San Diego. Chicago was eighth, Des Moines, Iowa was 62nd, Milwaukee was 64th and Minneapolis was 70th on the list. The study examined 18 high-technology uses, including household ownership of high-tech gadgets like digital video recorders, satellite radio and VoIP, behaviors like blogging, downloading music, playing online games and using cell phone technology like text-messaging and e-mail. Each respondent who satisfied eight or more of the high-tech criteria were classified as "digital savvy." The study examined 81 U.S. markets and did not include those as small as Grand Forks, Fargo or Bismarck.

n Gerald Groenewold, the director of UND's Energy and Environmental Research Center, has announced a partnership between the EERC and Israel. The partnership will address energy and security issues facing both the U.S. and Israel. Groenewold recently visited Israel as part of an energy delegation. "We are the first group to go to Israel to discuss a potential relationship related to the recently passed U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Act and to initiate a partnership that could address opportunities and technologies of mutual interest to both nations," Groenewold said in a press release.

n AAA forecasts the number of Americans traveling the three-day Memorial Day weekend will be down 1 percent from last year's record high. An estimated 37.9 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this weekend, down from last year's total of 38.2 million travelers. According to the estimate, 83 percent of holiday travelers are expected to travel by automobile, with 11 percent expected to fly. The remaining travelers are expected to travel by train, bus or another mode of transportation.

n According to a new survey nearly three in 10 U.S. households only have cell phones or rarely get calls on their landline phones. The federal National Health Interview Survey conducted from July through December last year and released last week found that 16 percent of U.S. households said they had cell phones but no landline phone and 13 percent said they had landlines but received nearly all calls on their cell phones.

To report business news, reach Schuster by phone at (701) 780-1107 or by e-mail at rschuster@gfherald.com . Schuster's business blog can also be viewed at www.areavoices.com/bizbuzz .

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