John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.
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GRAND FORKS — Grand Forks almost had its own Kroll’s Diner. The family-owned restaurant serving up German and American fare has five locations throughout the state. But ultimately, it was the land price that kept owner Keith Glatt from opening up in the upper Red River Valley almost a decade ago. “Not saying it wasn’t worth it,” he said. “But I’m not going to make a deal where I have to struggle to make a profit.” Glatt’s decision is an example of one of many factors restaurant owners have to consider before expanding to other locales.
GRAND FORKS — Under a PowerPoint slide reading, “Congratulations, Team North Dakota,” lawmakers, economic development officials and higher education leaders exchanged congratulatory messages Monday. They gathered after the Federal Aviation Administration named Grand Forks and the state as one of six test sites across the country for integrating unmanned aerial systems, often called drones, into the national airspace alongside manned craft.
GRAND FORKS — On a recent frigid morning, cement trucks shuffled around a section of the Columbia Mall parking lot in Grand Forks. The construction activity there centers on a vacant space on the west side of the mall, where a faded red stripe around the exterior is the last reminder of the former Target store that once occupied the site. The dirt floor and relative emptiness inside the building will morph into the new home of Scheels over the coming months, as the sporting goods chain prepares to move from its cramped space on Columbia Road by June. It will mark another in a series of expa
GRAND FORKS — The dean of the University of North Dakota’s College of Arts & Sciences said a French professor should receive a promotion and tenure, despite her department’s recommendation to the contrary. Dean Debbie Storrs sent a letter to Tom DiLorenzo, provost and vice president for academic affairs, in support of professor Sarah Mosher on Dec. 4. “I make a recommendation based on what the department criteria (are), looking at her file,” Storrs said in an interview.
GRAND FORKS -- In light of repeated revelations over the past six months about the federal government’s surveillance activities, some members of North Dakota’s congressional delegation said they favor reform. But what kind of changes may come to fruition remains unknown.
GRAND FORKS -- Voters will have the opportunity to change the structure of higher education governance next year when a constitutional amendment appears on the ballot. But some legislators in Grand Forks are raising concerns that the proposed constitutional amendment puts academic freedom at risk and diminishes the authority of university presidents.
Devils Lake officials are emphasizing that any plans to build an oil refinery there are extremely preliminary. On Tuesday, WDAZ-TV reported that American Energy Holdings plans to build a $250 million refinery with a capacity of 20,000 barrels per day that would employ up to 100 people.
GRAND FORKS -- Expansion of a CHS Inc. facility in Grand Forks County is causing a border dispute between a neighboring property owner and the company. The controversy centers on a piece of land on the southeast corner of the Larimore Municipal Airport and the use of a roadway running through the property. That parcel of land is owned by Roland Riemers and is adjacent to land owned by CHS, a large agriculture company that’s expanding a fertilizer facility.
GRAND FORKS — Kylie Oversen will travel to Washington this week for a White House holiday reception. That much is known to the Grand Forks state legislator and Killdeer native, but what exactly the reception will entail and why she was invited remain a bit unclear. “It was a complete surprise,” Oversen, a Democrat who represents the University of North Dakota area in the state House. “I have no idea how it happened. I assume it was something through the state Democratic Party.”
GRAND FORKS — North Dakota’s skilled labor workforce is among the youngest in the country. The portion of skilled laborers — electricians, welders, machinists — approaching retirement age in North Dakota is well below the national average, according to data compiled by an international labor market analysis firm.