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Plan ahead for out-of-country travel

Any of you planning on doing some out-of-country traveling more than likely know that for destinations previously not included you now need a passport. As of January 23 of this year, citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda are required to present a passport to enter the United States when arriving by air from any part of the Western Hemisphere; and as early as next summer, passports will be required at land and sea ports of entry.

And because it currently takes up to 12 weeks to receive a passport, the U.S. State Department advises anyone considering taking a trip outside the country to apply early.

Toward this end, AAA North Dakota wants to help by offering free passport photos in each of its branch offices tomorrow only (Thursday, Aug. 16) from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Therefore, it's the perfect opportunity to get your photo at no charge and begin the process that could save you headaches later.

AAA members and non-members can receive a set of passport photos for each member of their family. Currently, a set of passport photos cost $8 for members and $12 for non-members. Branch offices are located in Fargo at 406 Broadway, (701) 293-7733; and 4950 13th Ave. S, (701) 282-6222.

Information on the new travel requirements, passport applications and travel assistance will also be available at each office.


The PGI Fireworks extravaganza was certainly the talk of the town this last week, with individuals either taking in the event at the Fairgrounds or viewing from their driveways or on their decks in true party atmosphere to catch a glimpse of the brilliance the nightly 'Firestorm' seemed to shoot in every direction.

Red River Valley Fairgrounds Office Manager Judie McKay summed up the six-day long event in simple terms saying "everyone loved it."

The shows were all "very well attended," in particular the closing production on Friday night, with an estimate of approximately 10,000 filling the sold-out grandstand and the parking area.

McKay said the rained-out show on Wednesday that was held Thursday evening also met with great response, as did the Fairgrounds camping facility, which was filled by fireworks enthusiasts all week long.

The true economic value of the event will not be known for at least a week's time, but organizers are hoping that will result in a positive assessment also.

No matter how that ends up, those having the opportunity to witness any night of 'Firestorm 2007,' already feel like they are real winners, and will no doubt be counting down the time until their 2011 return.


Just an update on the reusable grocery bag giveaway last week at the Osgood Hornbacher's store. Some 2,000 shoppers were given the bright green, reusable bags last Wednesday, to carry their groceries home.

The program, promoted by the N.D. Department of Agriculture, is aimed at encouraging consumers to help the environment by carrying their groceries home in reusable bags, instead of plastic.

Organizers are hoping this event is the first of several across the state, and will now be working to partner with grocery stores in other North Dakota cities to organize similar events.

As you've also likely noticed, gas prices are also down again, making those trips to the grocery store to use those little green bags a little less expensive.