Marilyn Hagerty: With a new mayor, Grand Forks moves on in the midst of a pandemic

Marilyn Hagerty

The second weekend of June arrives with flag day coming up Sunday. Meanwhile, Grand Forks is welcoming in a new mayor – Brandon Bochenski.

And after 20 years, Dr. Michael Brown is graciously bowing out.

It seems only yesterday when he replaced Patricia Owens who had been mayor during the flood of 1997.

When you look way back into files of the Herald, you find the first mayor of Grand Forks also was a Brown. He was Col. W.H. Brown who was named mayor by the territorial legislature when Grand Forks was incorporated as a city in 1881.

As time went on, M.L. McCormack was elected the second mayor of Grand Forks. Those following were J.S. Eschelman, D.M. Holmes, Capt. Alexander Griggs, L.B. Richardson, H.L. Whited, W.J. Anderson, John Dinnie, George Duis, Dr. J.D. Taylor, M.F. Murphy and J.A. Dinnie.


Instead of electing a mayor during the 20 years between 1920 and 1940, Grand Forks had a commission form of government. Those who served as president of the city commission were Henry O’Keefe, John Hulteng, E.A.Fladland and J.Earl McFadden.

Harold Boe was elected Mayor in 1944. Then came Oscar Lunseth, Nelson Youngs, Hugo Magnuson, C.P. O’Neill, H.C. “Bud” Wessman, Michael Polovitz.

Patricia Owens, the only woman to serve as mayor, was in office from 1996 to 2000. She now makes her home in Florida.

With a new mayor on deck, Grand Forks moves on.

Fire hydrants have been topped with red posts. Someone said that was to make it easier for spotting them. Bridge players are holding their games online. People are out walking in the evenings now more than ever. It is possible to find baseball games.

Still the danger of coronavirus hangs over everyone. Wearing of masks in public seems at least like a courtesy to others.

Mike and Debbie

Cheerful people of the week: Mike Kolness and Debbie Storrs.

Reach Marilyn Hagerty at or by telephone at 701-772-1055.

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