Andrew Haffner covers higher education and general assignment stories for the Grand Forks Herald. He attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he studied journalism, political science and international studies. He previously worked at the Dickinson Press.
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The Chester Fritz Auditorium is in its 40s and, like others around that age, it's had some work done. Betty Allan is the director of the concert hall on the UND campus, the site of graduations and rock shows alike. Beyond some refurbishing here and there, she says, the aesthetic of the theater area is original to the hall's 1972 opening. Other elements, thankfully, are not. One example Allen points to is the "giraffe carpeting," done in retro orange, gold and brown, built into the lobbies of the auditorium and torn out within the next 15 years.
UND is hosting a set of three finalists next week to interview for the role of chief operating officer for campus. The candidates are in line to follow high-level administrator Alice Brekke, who is currently scaling down her workload as part of a phased retirement plan offered through last year's employee buyouts. Brekke, the vice president of finance and operations, keeps track of the university budget and facilities, overseeing a wide swath of campus activity.
Interns of the world, unite. A recently launched joint venture between UND and a local economic development group is well on its way to creating as many as 15 new internships this year in the Grand Forks area, according to the initiative's point person.
Grand Forks Police arrested a man Wednesday night after they discovered a homemade bomb in a home while investigating a shooting report. According to a police news release, officers were called about 7 p.m. to Sam's Club at 2501 32nd Ave. S. for a report of shots fired. They determined a group of men in two vehicles exchanged shots from a small-caliber rifle during an altercation. The men were known to each other and no one was injured, police say.
A Fargo man is accused of raping a 19-year-old woman in Grand Forks after giving her alcohol. Arsenio Lamare Oquinn, 28, is charged with the Class A felony of gross sexual imposition of an impaired woman following the alleged October rape. He was also charged with the Class A misdemeanor of contributing to the deprivation of a minor for supplying the woman with alcohol. A criminal affidavit describes the case as beginning when Oquinn arrived at the woman's residence at about 10 p.m. on the night of the incident.
A plan to overhaul part of the marquee of the Empire Arts Center in downtown Grand Forks has met resistance from the local historic preservation commission. Emily Montgomery, executive director of the Empire, said the project began in early February when the theater's board was approached by Mike Kuntz, an owner and founder of Grand Forks-based Icon Architectural Group.
The loonie isn't stretching its wings quite like it used to. At least, that's part of the story told by statistics from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and backed up by observers in Grand Forks who say border crossings from Canada have ebbed over recent years as a weak Canadian dollar—known by many in the north as the loonie—has kept Manitoban visitors home.
An Iowa man was arrested last Friday and charged with a felony in Grand Forks for allegedly trying to arrange sex with a person he believed to be a 14-year-old girl. Ryan William Baker, 33, of Coralville, Iowa, was in Grand Forks County when he posted an ad to Craigslist looking for sex. A criminal affidavit for the incident doesn't say whether Baker was looking for minors, stating his post had a heading "Fun in my truck?" and was seeking someone for sex.
UND has selected a finalist for an administrator search as it whittles down a batch of applicants looking to serve as dean of its business school. The university announced Monday it will host Amy Whitney, associate director of an entrepreneurship program at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., as the sole finalist in the hunt for a new director of the UND Center for Innovation.
After spending last week in the running to be president of a Florida university, Mark Kennedy wants to make something known about his job-hunting aspirations. "To be clear, I wasn't looking, and I'm not looking," the UND president said Monday by phone from Washington, D.C. "For me, there's not many places I feel at home, and I feel at home in North Dakota."