GRAND FORKS — Not halfway into October and cases of the flu are already occurring around the state, but that isn't a sign we're in for a tough flu season, said an official with the North Dakota Department of Health this week. "We're seeing clusters of cases popping up here and there," said Jill Baber, epidemiologist with the department's Division of Disease Control. "That is normal for this time of year. It doesn't necessarily mean we're going to have a bad season. We could see this little bump and it could go away. Unfortunately, it's very unpredictable."
BISMARCK — Three North Dakota schools, Central Valley School in rural Buxton, Freedom Elementary in West Fargo and Richland Elementary in Abercrombie, have been named National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2018, state Superintendent Kirsten Baesler announced Monday, Oct. 1. Each year, the U.S. Department of Education recognizes select schools across the country as Blue Ribbon Schools, but not every state is represented, Baesler said in a news release. Selection is based on evidence of students achieving high learning standards or making substantial improvements in learning.
GRAND FORKS — For women in rural areas, having a baby has become more complicated than it used to be. For years, more rural hospitals have been shutting down maternity units, forcing expectant mothers in small rural and farming communities to travel longer distances to deliver their babies. It didn't used to be this way. "Virtually every rural hospital in North Dakota, probably 40 years ago, was doing obstetrics," said Brad Gibbens, deputy director, UND Center for Rural Health.
GRAND FORKS — Cirque du Soleil is bringing an entirely new show to Ralph Engelstad Arena next week — one that introduces an ice rink into the equation. In the aptly named production, "Crystal," the company's 43 gymnasts and skaters explore the artistic limits of performing on ice for the first time in its 34-year history, said Julie Desmarais, publicist for Cirque du Soleil. The performances run from Wednesday, Sept. 26, through Sunday, Sept. 30.
GRAND FORKS—Jane Olson remembers vividly the day she got to meet Sen. John McCain in the fall of 2012. The Arizona Republican was visiting North Dakota, along with Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., in support of Rick Berg's ultimately unsuccessful campaign against Heidi Heitkamp for the U.S. Senate. On the same trip he toured UND's aviation facility at the Grand Forks airport. Meeting McCain "was the highlight of my life," said Olson, of Grand Forks. "It was very emotional for me."
GRAND FORKS — Growing up on a farm near Wyndmere, N.D., Chuck Klosterman never pictured himself becoming a successful writer or author. "No, I didn't really think like that," said Klosterman. "The idea of being a writer didn't even seem plausible, because I had never met a writer in my life." Yet the farm kid from the Red River Valley built a career, writing for media outlets including the Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal; ESPN; Spin, GQ and Esquire magazines; The New York Times; and The Washington Post.
GRAND FORKS, N.D.—Mental health professionals say patients they see engaging in cutting and other self-harm are resorting to the behavior to relieve the intense emotions they are unable to manage in a healthy way. Ajeng Puspitasari, a clinical psychologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said such behaviors are more prevalent "in younger populations—adolescents and young adults, but adults do engage in self-injurious behavior."
MOUNTAIN, N.D.—From the back seat of a red convertible, Her Excellency Katrin Jakobsdottir, prime minister of Iceland, waved to hundreds of excited onlookers who lined the parade route Saturday at the August the Deuce celebration in Mountain, N.D. The prime minister was the honored guest at the four-day event and keynote speaker at the August the Deuce Heritage Program, led by Curtis Olafson, of Mountain, president of the Icelandic Communities Association.
GRAND FORKS—The suicide rate in North Dakota between 1999 and 2016 is the highest in the country, according to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With a 57.6 percent increase, the state's suicide rate is "a much steeper increase than the national average rate," said Alison Traynor, director of the North Dakota Suicide Prevention program in the state health department. "The next highest state is Vermont, at 10 points less," she said. "It's deeply concerning."
GRAND FORKS—About 40 people marched, chanted and held signs in protest of Vice President Mike Pence's record on civil rights Wednesday afternoon in Grand Forks. The demonstration began at the Alerus Center and continued north to a grassy area, monitored by local police, just south of Hilton Garden Inn where some of the protesters spoke.