Allen joined the Grand Forks Herald to cover local government and politics May 2018. Call her at 701-780-1102, email her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter, @Emily_theHerald.
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Altru Health System has asked the city of Grand Forks for permission to set up a gravel parking lot for staff to use during construction of the new hospital. The proposed lot near Sertoma Park would be about a quarter of a mile from where staff park now and could be there for five years, according to Deputy City Planner Ryan Brooks. Altru currently owns the property. Patients won't park there, but Brooks said he and other city officials anticipate neighbors might have concerns.
FARGO—With less than two months until Election Day, three candidates vying for North Dakota's only U.S. House seat met for a fourth debate Wednesday. State Sen. Kelly Armstrong, R-Dickinson, former State Sen. Mac Schneider, D-Grand Forks, and unendorsed candidate Charles Tuttle of Minot were all on KFGO Radio this morning, where the hottest issues included agriculture, an effort to legalize recreational marijuana in North Dakota and the president's U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Grand Forks developers received a tax incentive they requested in June for a downtown mixed-use building Monday night. The Grand Forks City Council approved an application from Fire Thorn, LLC, for an 80 percent tax increment exemption (TIF) over the next 15 years. Fire Thorn, backed by Kevin Ritterman of Dakota Commercial and Craig Tweten of Community Contractors, said it will offer 25 market-rate and 25 affordable residential units, a Hugo's grocery store and an Alerus bank drive-up branch at North Fifth Street and DeMers Avenue.
It was almost business as usual on Monday for street crews filling potholes in Grand Forks, all except for their orange Domino's Pizza vests and matching logos on their truck. The gear came shortly after the city received a $5,000 grant from Domino's Pizza in August, as part of the company's Paving for Pizza program it launched in June.
GRAFTON, N.D.—Earlier this summer, Community Health Service Inc., which offers healthcare to agricultural and migrant workers across North Dakota and Minnesota, opened a new clinic in Grafton. Previously, Community Health operated its site from the second floor of a state development building. "Not a lot of visibility," site supervisor and registered nurse Tylah Wildey recalled. "Now you can see us right from the highway, and I think it's just more inviting."
Even as other states and the federal government take a closer look at regulating e-cigarettes, North Dakota still doesn't officially consider them taxable tobacco products. An anti-tobacco group in the state hopes to change that next year. In 2015, the state Legislature passed a law prohibiting minors from having or purchasing e-cigarettes and all other electronic smoking devices. The same law also required that liquid nicotine come in child-resistant packaging.
GRAND FORKS -- A drone at King's Walk Golf Course in Grand Forks dropped off its first commercial deliveries Saturday, Sept. 15. Earlier this month, drone company Flytrex, drone service EASE Drones and the golf course announced they had launched the drone’s first pilot flight, making Kings Walk the first U.S. golf course to offer drone deliveries.
Grand Forks has become more vibrant over the past year, and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum has noticed. That's why, he said, he recognized the city Thursday afternoon with one of four Main Street Excellence Awards. Grand Forks was one of 10 cities to receive an award from Governor Doug Burgum on Friday, all relating to his Main Street Initiative to attract a 21st century workforce and enhance quality of life for North Dakotans.
Local transportation leaders are looking at five locations for a fourth bridge over the Red River, which they likely won't build for another 15 to 20 years. Rather, residents might see the bridge toward the end of a five-year plan from the Grand Forks-East Grand Forks Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), named so because the MPO updates it every five years, MPO director Earl Haugen said. "It tells us what we should do in the next five to 10 years, with a look at the next 15 to 20 years," Haugen added.
The Welcoming Community Roadmap project started out as an initiative for city leaders, said project committee chair Robin David, to make Grand Forks more welcoming to new residents. But after numerous community surveys, focus groups and a working group of 62 Grand Forks residents, the committee realized its project had become a community effort, David said. Now the group will seek public input from residents. "It became clear there was so much momentum on this part of the project, we decided to switch halfway through the process," she said.