In Grand Forks, the Town Square Farmers Market has been steadily expanding since its first season in 2001. The idea for the market was proposed as a way to entice new visitors and residents to downtown in the late 1990s when the Grand Cities were working to recover from the devastating effects of the Flood of '97. This summer, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays, the square fills with hundreds of people looking for fresh vegetables and fruits, eggs, meats, homemade jams and jellies, baked goods, handmade jewelry, flowers, arts and crafts, soap and other items.
Mandy Burbank is the force behind a new farmers market which opened Thursday at the Grand Forks County Office Building downtown. She's a dietician and wellness coordinator at Grand Forks Public Health Department. Instead of swinging through the fast-food joint for burgers or fried chicken, Burbank is encouraging people to stop at the farmers market and pick up fresh vegetables and fruits on their way home. And she's planning to give them the tools -- easy recipes -- to make a quick and healthy meal when they get there.
Susan Bruggeman can bring vegetables to the Crookston Farmers Market earlier than most because of a new growing method, called "high tunnel," she's trying this year for the first time. This past winter, when most gardeners were only dreaming about plans for plots buried in snow, she was busily planting vegetables in the greenhouse near her rural Crookston home. In late February, she started her "crop" which included tomatoes, basil, dill, cucumbers, carrots, beets, radishes, spinach, string beans, cabbage, broccoli, sugar snap peas and eggplant.
Freshness is the irresistible magnate for those who regularly flock to farmers markets, say customers and organizers alike. That, combined with people's growing interest in the quality of foods they consume, has resulted in more farmers markets sprouting up in the region in recent years. "People are getting more informed about their nutrition," said Susan Bruggeman, vice president of the 16-member Crookston Farmers Market.
The need for foster parents in this area is growing more serious, said Wayne Piche, family services supervisor for Grand Forks County Social Services. "We're always searching for homes." Of the 49 foster homes in the county, about six to eight are available to accept children, he said. The department has 143 children in its custody. The homes are either full, having taken in the number of children they're licensed to accept, he said, or the families are on vacation, caring for sick relatives, taking a break from foster care or have other things going on in their lives.
In North Dakota, the proportion of children living with married parents has fallen over the past 30 years, according to a recent report by North Dakota KIDS COUNT which tracks the status of children and is based at North Dakota State University. The report said the proportion of children living with married parents was 86 percent in 1980. By 2010, that figure decreased to 69 percent. All 53 counties in North Dakota had a decrease in the proportion of children living with both parents over the past three decades.
One day, about three years ago, Linda and her fiance, Ron, received a phone call that changed their lives. ("Linda" and "Ron" are not their real names; they requested anonymity.) "We got the call at 3 p.m., and by 5 p.m., we had three children on our doorstep," Linda said. A family crisis had brought them there. Two sisters were in their mid-teens; one was the mother of the baby she held. The baby was Ron's grandchild. That day marked the beginning of this couple's journey into the world of foster care.
Children who grow up with dogs or cats gain more than companionship and fun from their furry friends. They get a jump-start on good health, research reveals. A new study finds children who lived with dogs or cats during their first year of life got sick less frequently than kids from pet-free zones. The study, published in a recent edition of the journal Pediatrics, provides fresh evidence for the counterintuitive notion that an overly clean environment may not be ideal for babies. Sharing a home with a pet may be an early form of cross-training for the body's defense systems.
She can't prove it, but Krystol Wheeler of Grand Forks thinks the asthma that plagued her 9-year-old son has been eased in recent years by his exposure to pets in the home, she said. "In almost two years, since we've gotten the dog, he hasn't had any flare-ups." Before that, the family lived in an apartment where pets were not allowed.
It's possible Jenna Rambo wouldn't be on a path to becoming a teacher if her mother hadn't given her reading assignments every summer as a kid. "Yes, it definitely fostered my love of books," said the UND student who's working on a master's degree in English and plans to teach at the high school level. "I was really little -- maybe 6 or 7 -- when mom first took me to the library. She introduced me to the magical land of books. "It was really empowering, a really cool moment," she said.