Andrew Haffner covers higher education and general assignment stories for the Grand Forks Herald. He attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he studied journalism, political science and international studies. He previously worked at the Dickinson Press.
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GRAND FORKS—Kris Engelstad McGarry, daughter of University of North Dakota alumnus and mega-donor Ralph Engelstad, caused a stir Wednesday, May 9, when she told Forum News Service that relations had become strained between her family's foundation and her father's alma mater.
GRAND FORKS—The daughter of Ralph Engelstad, a trustee of the Engelstad Family Foundation, said Wednesday, May 9, that her working relationship with UND President Mark Kennedy has deteriorated, possibly resulting in fewer Engelstad Foundation dollars donated to the university. Kris Engelstad McGarry said in the two years since she first met Kennedy their relations have been marked by the university's "veiled threats" of litigation over the Ralph Engelstad Arena contract. Communications have been "very passive aggressive."
GRAND FORKS—A community is grappling with the specters of mental illness and self-harm in the wake of an apparent murder-suicide that left a Grand Forks mother and three children dead. Residents down the Red River Valley and beyond have taken to social media to discuss the context of the events leading to the Thursday morning, May 3, discovery of Astra Volk and her children, Arianna Talmage, 6; Aidan Talmage, 10; and Tyler Talmage, 14, who police say died of gunshot wounds in their home on the 1000 block of South 12th Street.
GRAND FORKS -- Police have opened a homicide case -- but aren’t currently seeking any suspects -- after a Grand Forks woman and her three children were found dead in their home Thursday morning. The bodies of Astra Volk, 35, and her children Arianna Talmage, 6, Aidan Talmage, 10, and Tyler Talmage, 14, were found in their home on the 1000 block of South 12th Street during a welfare check requested by Lewis and Clark Elementary School, where the two younger children were students.
GRAND FORKS—While sagging public pensions in states like Illinois now resemble earth-bound, budgetary comets, North Dakota pension plans aren't likely to sink anytime soon. At least, that's the goal behind a set of legislative changes now being weighed to head off future disruption to one of the state's largest pension funds, the North Dakota Public Employees Retiree System—NDPERS, for short—which could otherwise run dry in decades to come.
GRAND FORKS—A day after his budget guidelines hinted at future cuts to higher education, Gov. Doug Burgum described part of his vision for the state university system as one of increasingly flexible campuses operating in a more decentralized environment. "There's lots of things happening in higher ed that require attention, in terms of the business models, the competition, roles of research," Burgum, a former tech executive who has promised to reinvent government, said Thursday, April 19.
GRAND FORKS—The governor's early budget guidelines could mean a higher education cut of more than $50 million, deepening reductions handed down last spring to the North Dakota University System. Tammy Dolan, NDUS chief financial officer and a vice chancellor, said the 10 percent cut recommended Wednesday, April 18, by Gov. Doug Burgum "will have a significant impact" on the state's 11 colleges and universities.
Almost half a year after claiming the Miss America crown, Cara Mund wears it well. The pageant winner and Bismarck native has been living on the road for more than six months now as she works through the year of service that comes with the title and its $50,000 scholarship prize. But for someone whose life is now packed into two suitcases, Mund, 23, was true to Miss America form Tuesday while delivering the keynote address at the Women for Philanthropy luncheon on the UND campus. In some respects, she was an ideal candidate to speak to the organization.
Winter just won't let up. Meteorologists currently are tracking storm activity into the the Red River Valley and expect the region to soon be on the receiving end of two possible weather events. Andrew Moore of the Grand Forks office of the National Weather Service said the Valley could see another round of wintry conditions as early as Wednesday night before catching a heavier follow-up this weekend that could dump as much as several inches of snow.
GRAND FORKS—Ammonia might be something of an unsung hero when it comes to feeding the masses. The substance—a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen also known as NH3—is ubiquitous to agriculture, where it carries needed nitrogen to plants. Human-made, ammonia-based fertilizers have been a major contributor to increased crop yields over the past century and, in fact, the stuff is so prevalent that studies estimate as much of half the nitrogen in your body is originally from synthetic ammonia.