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 Herald would like to know what's on your mind. Do have a question that begs an answer? In a new column, the Herald will seek answers to what you want to know. The traffic signals that once stood at the intersection of Belmont Road and Fourth Avenue South will not be replaced. City Traffic Engineer Jane Williams told members of the City Council on Monday that her office would not install new signals to replace those knocked over by a car crash last summer after it discovered the intersection was safer without them.
More than 6,000 pounds of french fries were primed to hit the oil Thursday at University Park in Grand Forks for the annual Potato Bowl french fry feed. Scott Lund, a manager at the event's sponsor, Simplot, and a member of the Potato Bowl Committee, said there were plenty of potatoes on hand to "shatter the record" set by last year's feed. In 2015, hungry visitors ate 5,220 pounds of fried spud. However, Lund said he was a little worried that overcast weather and the possibility of rain could keep away the necessary crowd to put away the potatoes.
Three years ago, Ron Pruett bought a home in the neighborhood he'd grown up in. He moved into the house under a shroud of January snow, a cover that softened the landscape even as it hid the scavenged belongings in the backyard of his nextdoor neighbor, Donald Masse. When the snow melted off, Pruett said he'd been stunned by the sight of what had been underneath—a slew of miscellaneous odds and ends including rotting and moldy food items. "There's no way," he said of selling his home now with Masse's backyard as it is.
With prompting from housing leaders, the Grand Forks City Council unanimously approved Monday a shift from an "intent to donate" a plot of downtown land hoped to eventually be used to house homeless residents to an intent to sell the land instead. Meredith Richards, deputy director of the city's Planning and Community Development Department, said the change would forego a previously considered course of donating a downtown plot of land to Grand Forks Homes, a coalition of housing-oriented groups, to aid in the construction of a roughly $8 million, 42-unit apartment-style project.
Just days after the conclusion of the first-ever Downtown Street Fair in Grand Forks, the event's organizers are planning for its return next summer. Sarah Prout, executive director of the Downtown Development Association, estimated that about 15,000 people attended the two-day fair. Prout said that number holds up against initial attendance predictions and registers positively for the first year of a brand-new event. "Overall, we were extremely pleased with how it turned out," she said.
Heavy summer rains have led to significant crop losses for edible bean farmers in both North Dakota and Minnesota, many of whom may lose even more before harvest's end. Tom Kennelly, a Walsh County grower near Grafton, N.D., described the situation as a "bleak deal." "It's going to be a battle from here on out," Kennelly said, estimating producers in Walsh and Pembina counties ultimately could lose more than half their crop.
Sports movies are almost never just about the game. Athletic narratives often carry a much larger story and, as Herman Boone can attest, 'Remember the Titans' is a film that does just that. The 2000 movie tells the story of the 1971 state championship high school football team —the Titans of the newly desegregated T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va.
The Grand Forks County Commission approved a preliminary draft of its 2017 budget at its regular meeting Tuesday. Commissioners made few changes to the document, which calls for a net tax levy of more than $30 million and is written to accommodate a loss of more than $800,000 in state aid dollars. The mill levy will decrease by more than two mills, but the amount to be levied is still projected to increase by about $1.4 million due to a rise in property values.
As public school students make their way to class, health professionals are tasked with making sure they come prepared with a full sheet of state-mandated immunizations. In North Dakota state law grants a 30-day grace period at the beginning of the year for parents to see to it that their students are either vaccinated or exempted from their required shots. After that point, students whose immunization records are still not up-to-date are to be excluded from class until they meet their recording obligations.
The United Way will kick off its annual fundraising campaign with a Sept. 13 event aided by a local Rotary chapter in Town Square in downtown Grand Forks. Pat Berger, president and CEO of the United Way of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and Area, said her organization is seeking a wide range of donations to benefit local food pantries as part of a larger focus on fighting poverty. The title of the event—Stack the Stage—reflects its purpose of filling the square's stage with essentials.