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, N.D.—An attorney for Grand Forks County property owners who resisted construction of a oil pipeline on their land welcomed Enbridge Energy Partners' decision to suspend its Sandpiper Pipeline project. The company announced Thursday it had shelved the project, which would carry crude oil from western North Dakota to Superior, Wis., citing market conditions and regulatory delays in Minnesota. It will withdraw applications pending with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.
GRAND FORKS, N.D.—Grand Forks Herald veteran Kirsten Stromsodt was named the newspaper's editor Tuesday afternoon. Herald Publisher Korrie Wenzel informed the news staff of the decision on the day Steve Wagner left the editor post. Wagner was hired as the Forum News Service director in Fargo earlier this month. While he was disappointed by Wagner's departure, Wenzel called Stromsodt a "reader-first" kind of journalist. "That, coupled with her lifetime connection to the Grand Forks region, will mean great things for the Herald," he added.
BISMARCK—An audit of the North Dakota Department of Human Services found child care providers were allowed to continue operating while the state's largest agency was aware of instances of illegal drug use and "inappropriate touching from adults."
GRAND FORKS, N.D.—North Dakota Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley repeatedly called the protest over an oil pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation "unlawful" Tuesday and called on tribal leaders to pull people out of what he described as an increasingly dangerous situation.
SPOKANE, Wash.—A city in eastern Washington has backed down from a proposal to fine railroad companies for hauling crude oil and coal through town, a move that was welcomed by a group representing North Dakota's oil industry. The Spokane City Council voted in late July to ask voters to approve an ordinance outlawing rail transportation of certain crude oil and uncovered coal through its downtown or within 2,000 feet of a school, hospital or the Spokane River. The civil infraction would amount to a $261 fine per rail car.
GRAND FORKS, N.D.—Internet retail giant Amazon has proposed paying more than $845,000 to terminate its lease at a city-owned building in west Grand Forks. The Seattle-based company had been occupying about 29,000 square feet of the building at 1400 S. 48th St. in the Grand Forks Industrial Park since September 2011. But Amazon notified the city in April that it was exercising its right to terminate the lease after September 2018, according to a city staff memo published ahead of today's Grand Forks Growth Fund Committee meeting.
BISMARCK—North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger said last week it's too early to say what forms of identification will be accepted for voting in November's election, but a plan is being developed after a federal judge recently ruled against the state's new voter ID laws.
FOSSTON, Minn.—As Leah Palubicki strode through the grocery store that bears her family's name, she noted one of the aging building's deficiencies: The aisles are too narrow. "They're about five, five and a half feet," she said. That will be just one of the improvements the new Palubicki's Family Market will have over its old location. The grocer is building a new, 43,000-square-foot store next door to its current building on Fosston's main drag, more than doubling its existing square footage.
GRAND FORKS, N.D.—A candidate for the North Dakota House was arrested and charged with driving under the influence in late July. Emily O'Brien, who is running as a Republican for Grand Forks' District 42, was arrested in the early hours of July 27 near the intersection of North Third Street and First Avenue in downtown Grand Forks, according to court records. A breath test showed her blood alcohol concentration was .147 percent, above the .08 legal limit, according to a copy of her citation. Court records don't include a narrative of the incident.
GRAND FORKS - Altru Health System’s ambitious plans to remake its main campus on South Columbia Road in Grand Forks are on hold for now, but leaders say it remains their vision for the future of the city’s dominant health care provider. The 2012 acquisition of its facilities on South Washington Street opened the door for delaying Altru’s master plan, which calls for a new procedure center, clinic, imaging and emergency department as well as a bed tower.