Our mailbox has filled as some readers wonder when the Herald simply will be known as the "Fargo Herald" or "Grand Forks Forum." This comes after the news that WDAZ will consolidate its newscasts with WDAY in Fargo, and as emails and social media posts theorize in one way or another about all sorts of alleged sinister plans by this company.
UND alumni and the public celebrated the holidays this weekend while supporting choral students. The UND department of music hosted its Winter wUNDerland event Friday night with a candlelight dinner and private concert. It also held a concert that was open to the public Saturday afternoon. The annual concert is a fundraiser for the choir department, UND Choir Director Dean Jilek said. The event featured popular holiday songs, including "Silent Night."
Karen Fairchild, left, and Jimi Westbrook sing a song early in the set of Little Big Town's performance Saturday at the Ralph Engelstad Arena. Little Big Town was the headliner for the three-band performance, which drew a crowd of approximately 7,500. The band played on two stages and interacted with the crowd throughout the concert. "We have had the most amazing day today," Fairchild said as she leaned into the crowd between songs. "You guys have been so hospitable. We have ice-skated and played hockey and played basketball.
So there won't be a debate about Arbor Park. The hoped-for event would have been this week at the Empire Arts Center in downtown Grand Forks, but it fell through when pro-park supporters opted to not answer the Herald's call to participate. The group didn't technically say "no," but just declined to answer one way or another after being repeatedly asked. They also were invited to come in for a meeting to discuss format and potential debate questions, but, again, they didn't respond.
We start with a hearty cheer, hands cupped to our mouths and pointed westward. We doubt Gov. Doug Burgum will hear it all the way out in Bismarck, but if he does catch faint tones in the wind, he may seek an explanation. We cheer the governor because we appreciate his decision to donate his salary to benefit addiction services in North Dakota. His donation will be approximately $51,500 after taxes, which amounts to the pay he was supposed to receive during his first six months in office.
By 2019, DeMers Avenue will undergo construction, and the process comes down to two choices: A quick-and-easy overlay without many modifications, or a lengthy reconstruction project that could bring great change to downtown Grand Forks, from the Sorlie Bridge to Sixth Street. In terms of plastic surgery, it's the difference between a full facelift or a quick shot of Botox.
Attendees of an informal downtown Grand Forks focus group meeting say they prefer a basic overlay project on DeMers Avenue rather than a major reconstruction project that will cost more money and cause greater disruption.
The trial of James Whalen came to a close Monday, but not before Whalen and his attorney committed one more inappropriate act. When Whalen was a Grand Forks Central teacher, he had sex multiple times with a student who was 16 and 17 at the time. The encounters allegedly occurred in both Minnesota and North Dakota and in Central High School itself. He engaged in text conversations with the girl and even was seen on video purchasing a Plan B pill — used to prevent an unwanted pregnancy — for her.
BISMARCK — Rep. Emily O'Brien is among 27 members of the North Dakota House of Representatives who haven't missed a vote through the first 43 days of the current legislative session. O'Brien, a first-year Republican, is the only member of the eight-person House delegation from Grand Forks to have put her mark down on every vote so far this year, according to Herald research through Thursday. There are 94 members in the House. The Herald will list local Senate voting numbers next week.
Scott Meyer says the best way to hasten a North Dakota winter is win a seat in the North Dakota Legislature. "For those who want to get away for the winter and be a snowbird, I say go serve in Bismarck," Meyer said Friday. "It flies by in the blink of an eye." Meyer, a Republican senator, is one of four rookie lawmakers from Grand Forks serving in the 65th assembly of the state Legislature. Other first-year legislators from Grand Forks are Reps. Jake Blum, Emily O'Brien and Steve Vetter. All are Republicans.