Brad Dokken is a reporter and editor of the Herald's Sunday Northland Outdoors pages. Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and joined the Herald staff in 1989. He worked as a copy editor in the features and news departments before becoming outdoors editor in 1998. He also writes a blog called Compass Points. A Roseau, Minn., native, Dokken is a graduate of Bemidji State University.
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GRAND FORKS, N.D.—The latest entry in the blizzard brigade from the stormy winter of 1996-97 is Christopher, which blew into the region 20 years ago today—Dec. 20, 1996—and dropped 4.2 inches of snow. Mike Jacobs, who was the Grand Forks Herald editor at the time, described the Friday night storm as "only an annoyance, hardly a memorable storm—unless, of course, you were out in it."
"B" was for Betty, and she blew into the Red River Valley with a vengeance 20 years ago on Friday, Dec. 16.. Betty—so named by the Grand Forks newspaper—was the second major blizzard of the miserable winter of 1996-97 that culminated in the disastrous Flood of 1997. In Betty's case, "B" could have stood for "Bah" ... as in "Bah, Humbug."
GRAND FORKS — It all started 20 years ago today, the first in a string of eight blizzards that culminated in the Red River Flood of 1997. Blizzard Andy, named by the Grand Forks Herald newspaper, and it dumped 12 inches of snow on Grand Forks and East Grand Forks. Buffeted by 45 mph winds, Andy whipped up a frenzy of white that created near-zero visibility and brought the region to a screeching halt.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Deer hunters hoping for brisk temperatures and snow for tracking are going to be disappointed by the weather forecast for the first few days of rifle season, which opens at noon Friday, Nov. 4, in North Dakota and Saturday morning in Minnesota. The National Weather Service is forecasting sunny conditions and highs in the low 60s through Sunday in Grand Forks and across northwest Minnesota. There's a slight chance of rain Sunday afternoon.
FERGUS FALLS, Minn.—A Fergus Falls, Minn., man who grows giant pumpkins is hoping to earn a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. Rick Swenson says he plans to launch a giant pumpkin Saturday morning on the Red River in Grand Forks and paddle downstream to Oslo, Minn., a distance of about 26 river miles. The existing pumpkin-paddling record is about 8 miles, Swenson said, set earlier this year on a river in Pennsylvania.
GRAND FORKS—The love triangle that threatened to turn Grand Forks' peregrine falcon nest into a bit of a soap opera has been terminated—you might say—and life appears to be settling back into a normal spring groove atop the University of North Dakota water tower. Grand Forks raptor expert Tim Driscoll on Monday said he has confirmed the identity of Terminator, the matriarch of Grand Forks' contribution to the peregrine recovery, who was spotted back in town Thursday.
DEVILS LAKE -- Authorities are urging anglers to use caution after recent reports of vehicles breaking through bad ice on northeast North Dakota lakes. Paul Freeman, northeast district enforcement supervisor for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Devils Lake, said a pickup went through the ice Friday on North Golden Lake northeast of Finley. A vehicle also broke through thin ice a few days earlier on the Mauvais Coulee, which flows into Devils Lake, he said.
GRAND FORKS—Grand Forks is on track to produce a record peregrine falcon hatch this spring, while a hatch in the Twin Cities also is looking good. Rain, however, wiped out a nest north of the border on a Winnipeg hotel. Local bander and raptor expert Tim Driscoll said he has verified four peregrine chicks in the nest atop the University of North Dakota water tower.
GRAND FORKS -- Wayne Mortrud was a teenager, barely old enough to hunt, when he joined his dad on a deer hunting trip to the Riverdale, N.D., area, in 1964. Norval Mortrud — or "Mort," as his friends called him — had made the trip on previous occasions and knew the area. "We went out there in a Volkswagen bus and slept right out there in the bus," Wayne Mortrud said. "We took the middle seat out, and we both got our deer that first year." "Mort" died in 1993, but that early excursion 50 years ago launched a family tradition that burns strong as ever.
GRAND FORKS — As a 26-year northern Minnesota legislator who spent 15 years as chairman of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee in the state Senate, Bob Lessard saw time and again how conservation and the outdoors fared come budget time. Education, health and human services and local government aid — all important needs — consumed more than 70 percent of the state’s annual budget, Lessard recalls. “So, what we got for outdoor resources, we didn’t even show up on a pie chart, and yet sportsmen and women contribute direct sales tax to the economy,” Lessard, 83, said.