Erik Burgess covers city and county government for The Forum. He started as the paper's night reporter in 2012, after graduating from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn. He was born and raised in Grand Forks, N.D., and also spent time interning at the Grand Forks Herald.
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FARGO — Casselton’s fire chief has recently become a bit of a celebrity on Capitol Hill. It might not be a status he totally relishes. Everywhere U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp goes, people ask her how Tim McLean and Casselton are doing since the Dec. 30 crude-oil train derailment and explosion just west of town. “I’m sure he would rather not have that fame,” Heitkamp said at a news conference Friday at the Osgood Fire Station in Fargo, with McLean and other firefighters standing behind her.
FARGO — Organizers are shutting down a Fargo community garden for the year after finding out that some people were letting their dogs “fertilize” the soil over the winter. There is a pervasive and false myth that doggie doo —which can be parasitic — is a viable plant fertilizer, said Cheryl Stetz, a community health educator with Fargo Cass Public Health. “Most people think they’re doing people a favor and letting their animals fertilize, but actually it’s very dangerous,” she said. “People need to see it as a serious problem.
MOORHEAD, Minn. — For diversion advocates, Friday was a day for celebration. A federal water projects bill authorizing the proposed $1.8 billion flood channel around Fargo-Moorhead passed the U.S.
FARGO — With the fight to federally authorize the Fargo-Moorhead diversion nearly won, advocates must now fight for more than $800 million from the federal government to build the project. But local officials hope they’ve found a way to build the proposed $1.8 billion flood channel for the Red River more quickly and less expensively, and it might not involve battling for money in Congress year after year. “The goal would be to get it done in five or six years as opposed to 13, which is sort of the standard model that the corps has now,” said Fargo City Administrator Pat Zavoral.
FARGO — When Jere Hilland teaches you how to defend yourself, he always preaches using “reasonable force.” “In other words, if someone punches you in the nose, you can punch them in the nose,” said Hilland, who has taught firearms classes in North Dakota for 10 years. “But you can’t keep punching them in the nose. That’s excessive force.” That’s where Hilland guesses Byron Smith went wrong.
FARGO — Clogged rail lines cost farmers across the state nearly $67 million in lost revenue so far this year, a new North Dakota State University study shows. The study, released Friday, shows that spring wheat, corn and soybean farmers lost out on about $66.6 million over the past four months because of railway delays due to increased oil traffic, cold weather and a large grain crop harvest last fall. This is money that local farmers could have made but didn’t because of congested rails, said Frayne Olson, the NDSU assistant professor and crops economist and marketing specialist who did the
FARGO — Friends and former colleagues here are mourning the unexpected loss of a former Fargo North Spartan, city commissioner and Great Plains Software executive. Steve Sydness, who also made an unsuccessful bid in 1992 to be a U.S. senator from North Dakota, died April 16 in his Wellesley, Mass., home after a brief, undisclosed illness, according to an obituary provided by the family.
FARGO — With three major floods in the past five years, and the threat of one last year, beating back a rising Red River has nearly become a springtime tradition here. So what happens in a year like this one when the river is, for once, tame? “For me, it’s like I get to continue life as usual,” said Jason Kaseman, who moved from his riverside home south of Fargo late last year after years of waiting for a buyout from Cass County. “It’s almost like a season,” he said. “Flood season’s over, except this year flood season never started for me.
FARGO — If downtown developers here want to build a 312-foot skyscraper on Broadway, the Federal Aviation Administration might have some issues with it. Kilbourne Group, the downtown development firm headed by former software magnate Doug Burgum, is proposing a mixed-use tower on the northwest corner of the U.S.