Kevin Bonham covers regional news, mostly from northeast North Dakota, for the Grand Forks Herald. A North Dakota native who grew up in Mandan and Dickinson, he has been a reporter or an editor with the Herald and Forum Communications for more than 30 years. Find his articles at: www.grandforksherald.com. He welcomes story ideas via email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone, (701) 780-1110.
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RUGBY, N.D.—A Rugby implement dealership will receive a $1 million federal loan to build a John Deere equipment facility. The loan, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program, was approved recently for Moure Equipment, doing business as Gooseneck Implement.
CRARY, N.D. -- The Ramsey County Commission wants the North Dakota Health Department to conduct unannounced inspections of Dakota Dry Bean’s pea processing facility in Crary after residents complained about residue they claim is coming from pea flour production .
EGELAND, N.D. -- Strong winds fanned the flames of a massive grass fire Wednesday between Egeland and Cando, N.D., as volunteer firefighters worked to keep it from spreading. The fire in Towner County was just one of many blazes that have started in recent weeks throughout North Dakota as extremely dry conditions persist, prompting a succession of countywide burn bans.
OSLO, Minn.—A grassroots group of landowners along the Red River wants to study a series of potential measures that could help to prevent chronic flooding near Oslo. A Minnesota Senate committee this week approved a bill sponsored by Sen. LeRoy Stumpf, D-Plummer, that would pay $187,000 for half of the study cost. The study would require matching funds from North Dakota, he said.
CAVALIER -- Construction is expected to begin in July on the long-awaited $2.3 million Pembina-Walsh Livestock Processing Plant. The meat locker, which will be owned by area producers and other investors, should be operational by February or March of 2017, said Julius Wangler, a Grafton, N.D., livestock producer and board chairman. When it reaches full production, the plant will have an annual capacity to slaughter 1,500 head of cattle, 1,000 hogs, 150 bison, 100 elk, as well as sheep.
PARK RIVER, N.D. -- Three brothers and a cousin are distilling potato vodka in a still at their Park River family potato farm. But the vodka being produced and sold at their Moon River Distillery is no moonshine. Thompson Brothers Vodka is a licensed vodka produced from homegrown products and a vatful of family connections. The idea -- even the distillery name -- grew out of a tradition of family outings for the partners, brothers John, Mark and Jack Thompson and their cousin, Scott.
Six months after losing a bidding battle for the mothballed anti-ballistic-missile complex in Nekoma, N.D., the Cavalier County Jobs Development Authority still is trying to buy the property. "The offer remains on the table," said Carol Goodman, executive director of the Langdon, N.D., -based group. "We're waiting for a reply." The CCJDA has been negotiating for the past two or three months with the Spring Creek Hutterite Colony, the new owners of the Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard Complex.
An economic development group wants to open a custom slaughter plant in Pembina or Walsh county. Such a plant would provide a market for locally-raised cattle and hogs, as well as deer and other wild game, according to Julius Wangler, executive director of the Red River Regional Council A steering committee will meet this month with a consultant who recently completed a feasibility study for a similar plant in Bowdon, N.D. "There are very few of these plants around," Wangler said.
Two recently mothballed pasta plants in northeast North Dakota could be finding new life soon. The Noodles by Leonardo pasta factory in Devils Lake, which closed earlier this year, will open by year's end, not as a pasta plant but as Ultra Green, a company that converts wheat straw fiber into biodegradable products. Meanwhile, officials in Cando, N.D., are working with a prospective buyer of the Leonardo plant there.
Tuesday's record rainfall in Grand Forks and other parts of the Red River Valley should help some area crops, but it is too early to tell whether the moisture signals an end to the region's nearly year-old drought. "One rain does not a drought break," said Mark Ewens, climate forecaster with the National Weather Service in Grand Forks. The agency reported that 1.96 inches of rain fell at Grand Forks International Airport. That breaks the record of 1.30 inches, set in 1993.