Niepow covers social and community issues for the Grand Forks Herald. Before joining the paper, he worked as a magazine writer and editor. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he currently resides over the river in East Grand Forks, Minn. To reach Niepow with story ideas, send him an email at email@example.com or call him at (701) 780-1110. Follow him on Twitter @dniep.
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U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., on Friday stopped in East Grand Forks to meet with local government and business leaders. The 15-term congressman provided a congressional update over lunch at the Grand Forks Chamber's intergovernmental retreat at the Fairfield Inn and Suites. The event brought in a host of East Grand Forks leaders, including Mayor Steve Gander, as well as officials from Polk County. Peterson, who chairs the House Committee on Agriculture, said he aims to diversify his staff as he works to build consensus among the most diverse Congress to date.
Minnesota investigators have uncovered evidence of neglect at a Thief River Falls assisted living facility. State health officials in December 2018 visited the Valley Home assisted living facility to investigate an allegation of maltreatment, according to report from Minnesota's office of health facility complaints. According to the allegation, a facility staff member demonstrated neglect by failing to seek medical intervention when a female client showed a "significant change in health status." The client died about an hour later, according to the report.
A representative review panel on Thursday selected two candidates for two open slots on the Grand Forks Air Force Base School Board. The panel recommended Michelle Shepperd and current board member Lewis Isassi for the positions, according to Scott Berge, business manager for Grand Forks Public Schools. The positions will become vacant after two board members' three-year terms expire, Berge said.
The F5 Project, a Fargo-based program aimed at helping felons transition back into society, is opening a men's facility in Grand Forks with the help of a nationwide funding program. The home will provide housing for as many as eight men who have prior convictions, said Kristy Johnson, F5's director of housing. "It was brought to our attention that Grand Forks really could use a re-entry type service like F5," she said. "So we just want to establish a house there that gives people struggling to find housing an opportunity to be successful in the community."
A few wrinkles aside, things are off to a good start for Grand Forks Public Schools' lease in the Herald building, district staff said Monday. At a facilities committee meeting Monday night, Chris Arnold, the district's director of buildings and grounds, said he met last week with a teacher and two paraprofessionals working in the space. "They're very happy," Arnold told committee members. "They love the space. It's very tranquil. It's also very bright and open. I know they're pretty excited about it for the students."
A few wrinkles aside, things are off to a good start for Grand Forks Public Schools’ lease in the Herald building, district staff said Monday. At a facilities committee meeting Monday night, Chris Arnold, the district’s director of buildings and grounds, said he met last week with a teacher and two paraprofessionals working in the space.
For North Dakota high schoolers, bullying remains a persistent problem. In 2017, about one in every four high school students in the state said they had been bullied on school property, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics. That figure held steady in 2015, 2013 and 2011, the years during which the CDC conducted its high school youth risk behavior survey.
East Grand Forks Superintendent Mike Kolness again is eyeing a leadership position with another Minnesota school district. He's now among five semifinalists for superintendent of Fergus Falls Public Schools. At a special meeting Feb. 12, the Fergus Falls School Board shortlisted Kolness and four other candidates for the job. Three of the other candidates are superintendents of public school districts in western Minnesota, according to Matt Lemke, chairman of the Fergus Falls School Board.
Grand Forks' South Middle School on Wednesday evening held a closed-door meeting with local families to address claims of racially motivated bullying against Somali students. Some Somali students alleged that other children at the school called them "terrorists" and other degrading names, according to Erik Escarraman, a Grand Forks attorney who attended Wednesday's meeting and represented Somali families. One Muslim girl had her hijab yanked off by another student, Escarraman said. There also were claims about students accusing a Somali student of having ebola, he said.
The course of true love never does run smoothly, or, apparently, through Grand Forks and Polk counties. That is if the number of marriages registered in each county is any indication of "true love."