Grafton will host its first ever Fashion Night out at 7:00 p.m on Friday night at Marketplace on 8th. The event is mainly the brainchild of Mary Kippen, owner of Grafton's Luscious Boutique. Kippen says it'll be a night full of fashion, music and art. She says four local clothing stores will each have a short fashion show to start the evening off. Mary's Ladies Fashion's and Gifts, The Squire Shop and Embroidery Plus of Grafton will each present models. Some of the stores will have their products available for purchase as well. Live music will be performed in between each fashion display. Kippen says one of the performers scheduled for Friday night is a viola player with the Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra. The evening will also include an art display by local artist Sarah Hultin and Photographs from Tweten's Photography. A dance will follow the fashion and art displays at 9:00 p.m with music by VH2. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Advanced tickets may be purchased at the Grafton Area Chamber of Commerce or any of the Fashion Night Out sponsors.
North Dakota's 2014 deer season is setting aside the fewest number of licenses since 1980. State Game and Fish Department wildlife chief Randy Kreil says 48,000 licenses will be available to hunters this fall, 11,500 fewer than last year. Kreil says harvest and survey data indicate deer numbers are still declining, especially in the eastern part of the state. He says that even after five years of reducing gun licenses, deer populations are still below management objectives in most units. Currently, only three units meet or exceed management goals. High quality deer habitat continues to be lost statewide and will limit the potential for population recovery. Hunters are able to draw one license for deer gun season and one for the muzzleloader season. Online applications will be available May 5.
Grafton's Life Skills & Transition Center will be hosting a a 5K Fun Run for this years Walsh County Relay for Life on June 6th in Grafton. The run is titled "Ready Set Glow." Collette Fitness Center assistant manager Sadie Koehmstedt (Kem-sted) says that participants are encouraged to come dressed in their favorite glow gear to raise money for cancer research. Entry fee is $25 with the proceeds going to Relay For Life. Registration begins at 10:00 p.m in Lestikow Park, with the fun run scheduled to start at 10:30. However Koehmstedt says to be guaranteed a "Ready Set Glow" t-shirt, participants must pre-register by Friday May 2nd. Those wishing to pre-register may do so at the front desk at the Collette Fitness Center. The specific route has not been planned for the event at this point, but it will start and end at Lestikow Park.
MDU and Otter Tail Power Company customers could see their monthly electric bills go up to pay for pollution control equipment being installed at the Big Stone power plant in northeast South Dakota. The plant is adding scrubbers and other equipment to comply with new EPA guidelines. North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak says Otter Tail customers are already paying an average of $3.61 per month to cover the cost. She says the utility wants to raise that to $6.57 per month. Fedorchak says for MDU electric customers, the charge on the monthly bill would rise from an average of $2.03 to $4.63. She says there is an opportunity for a hearing on those proposed charges – but the hearing has to be requested by May 30TH
The National Weather Service, the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services and other state, county and local agencies have come together to host Severe Summer Weather Awareness Week activities. Simulated tornado watches and warnings will be issued to test the statewide warning and communications systems. At 11:15 AM tomorrow (April 30th), The National Weather Service will issue a simulated tornado warning for all counties in the state. Due to the ongoing significant spring flooding in many eastern North Dakota Counties, the Weather Service will issue a Special Weather Statement as part of the Tornado Drill initiation. The use of local sirens may be adjusted on a town by town basis. Cavalier County will sound local sirens at 11:30. Grafton will initiate the County Alert and Warning Annex once the Walsh County Communication Center is notified, sometime between 11 and noon. Emergency Management offices urge everyone to practice their tornado drills during this timeframe.
The renovations continue at the Strand Twin Theater in Grafton. Strand Projectionist Chris Larson says the new screen and digital projector have been ordered for the upstairs theater. Larson says the equipment was scheduled to be in place by now, but that installation was delayed due to scheduling conflicts with installer Brian Vita out of Peabody Massachusetts. Larson says they now hope to have the new projector installed sometime in early May, depending on Vita's schedule. He says work has also been started on upgrading the theater's restrooms. The mens room was fully functional last weekend as work continued. Larson says the ladies room should be up and running by this coming weekend. Work is being completed by Pete Holland Construction of Grafton. Larson says the Save Our Strand Committee will be holding more fund raisers this summer to raise money for the next big projects, which will include the concession stand and carpet in the entryway.
A state's attorney in North Dakota has changed the charges against a Grand Forks lawyer accused of conspiring with two other men to kill a confidential informant. Walsh County prosecutor Barbara Whelan has amended the murder conspiracy charge against 72-year-old Henry Howe to tampering with a witness or informant. The maximum punishment for a murder conspiracy charge is life in prison, while conspiring to tamper with a witness is punishable by up to five years in prison. Defense attorney David Thompson says the case against Howe should be dismissed because the credibility of the prosecutor's main witness is questionable. He says the witness has lied to police several times in the past.
Local author Benjamin Hylden will be signing copies of his book “Finding Faith in the Field” at Hugo’s Family Marketplace in Grafton tomorrow from noon to 3:00. This will be the first of Several stops at Hugo's stores throughout the region. Hylden's book recalls a near fatal accident and the injuries he suffered after his vehicle rolled over onto a frozen field in April of 2007. Hylden says he was compelled to tell his story because he believes God gave him a second chance that day. And he believes it's his responsibility to tell others about it.
The Chairmen of the Walsh County Board of Commissioners proclaimed the week of April 28th-May 2nd "Severe Summer Weather Awareness Week" in Walsh County. Ernie Barta signed the proclamation on Tuesday at the Board's regular meeting. The proclamation states that emergency preparedness is dependent upon the leadership of elected officials and the efforts of dedicated volunteers. It also notes that outdoor activity increases significantly during the summer months. And that officials and citizens need to be aware of the potential dangers of severe weather and protective actions during that time. Earlier on Tuesday, Walsh County Emergency Manager Brent Nelson presented the Commission with a county flood update. Nelson says the recent flooding was pretty minor. He said the main issue was on the Forest River in Minto, when an ice jam caused the river to rise to the point where Highway 81 through town had to be closed. Nelson says The Park River in Grafton crested about a foot above flood stage but mainly only impacted Lestikow Park. He says the crest on the Red River only affected some low water crossings in the county this year.
Today is Minnesota Statewide Tornado Drill Day. simulated tornado watches and warnings will be issued to test the statewide warning and communications systems. All counties in Minnesota normally participate in the first drill at 1:45 p.m. unless actual severe weather is expected. The National Weather Service will issue an "End of Test" message using the Severe Weather Statement product at 7:10 this evening. Tornado Drill Day for North Dakota is April 30th beginning at 11:15am.