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 — The biggest planet in the solar system will shine even brighter in the night sky on Friday, April 7. Friday marks the point of the year when the orbits of Jupiter and Earth draw the planets as close together as their tracks allow. Of course, in space, close is a relative term. Even when Jupiter draws near to us on the same side of the sun, the stormy planet is about 365 million miles away.
BISMARCK — A pair of North Dakota bills connected to higher education are winding to a close in the ongoing legislative session. The two proposals — Senate Bill 2193 and House Bill 1329, dealing respectively with campus police departments and freedom of speech — have very different fates, with the former heading to the governor for final signature into law and the latter sent to its defeat by the Legislature.
GRAND FORKS—Some North Dakota parents of autistic children are skeptical they'll receive promised insurance coverage for a costly therapy regimen after the Senate defeat last week of a mandate bill. Lawmakers rejected House Bill 1434 after debating the necessity of using legislation to compel insurers to provide coverage for applied behavioral analysis, or ABA, a specific behavioral treatment for autism disorders not currently included in most insurance plans offered in the state.
BISMARCK — The State Board of Higher Education approved a policy Thursday to allow North Dakota college presidents to authorize individuals to keep firearms in campus residence halls. The policy was drafted in response to House Bill 1279, a proposal to allow individuals to store firearms or other deadly weapons in state-owned or managed buildings, provided the individual resides in the building, stores the weapons in his or her "assigned residential unit" and secures the consent of "the state, the governing board or a designee."
When she's not behind the counter at Al Amin Grocery in Grand Forks, Ilhaam Hassan is helping fellow members of the local Somali refugee community find their way in a new land. Hassan, a native of Somalia, came to the U.S. in 1999 when she was just a child. Now in her early 30s, Hassan's fluency in English has opened a role for her as an interpreter with the local office of Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota, the agency tasked with resettling refugees, many of whom are Somalis, in the state's most populous cities: Fargo, Bismarck and Grand Forks.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. - For Kirstie Syverson, a nurse practitioner of internal medicine in the Altru Health System clinic in Devils Lake, working as a primary care provider has given her role a new meaning. “They see you for just about anything,” Syverson, a recent UND graduate, said of her rural patients. She said long distances between the demand for services and the supply of specialists in Grand Forks means rural health care workers “need to be, within reason, a jack of all trades.”
BISMARCK—A bill requiring North Dakota insurance providers to expand coverage for autism services was rejected Tuesday by the state Senate.
BISMARCK—University of North Dakota President Mark Kennedy suggested Monday that North Dakota lawmakers should consider raising tuition rates for state residents before issuing any further budget cuts to higher education. Kennedy testified as part of a UND delegation joined by leaders from across the North Dakota University System sent to address a division of the House Appropriations Committee in advance of a March 9 state budgetary forecast.
GRAND FORKS — The State Board of Higher Education approved a policy change Thursday which would cut down the required timeline for dismissing tenured faculty in the North Dakota University System. Discussion of the change during the board's monthly meeting hinged on themes of dire straits for state appropriations and rapid change in the context of an increasingly technology-driven economy. Opponents of the policy shift warn that reducing the timeline is perceived as a shot at tenure itself, an issue they say could hurt NDUS recruitment efforts and employee morale.
GRAND FORKS—Budget cut recommendations submitted last week to the UND president's office by campus leaders have been returned for further editing. A UND news release stated the president's office would not be issuing reduction targets to college deans and department heads Friday, Feb. 10, as earlier announced. Further, the office has given campus leadership another week to rewrite their proposals with an eye to more structural reductions as opposed to one-time cuts.