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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CRYSTAL, N.D. — The potato crop at Lyle Shephard's farm near Crystal was looking good. So good, in fact, that he took a picture of the young plants to send to his son, Thomas. "It was looking beautiful," Shephard said. But that was before last weekend's storms brought tornadoes, hailstones and scattered downpours across the region and "right in line" with Shephard's land. Though the standing water in his fields has receded, he said that at one point the potato plants shown in his photo were covered in water for about three hours.
GRAND FORKS — The finalization of a series of University of North Dakota employee buyouts and phase-downs initially scheduled for an early May completion has been pushed back into next month.
GRAND FORKS, N.D.—A decorated University of North Dakota professor who made a controversial social media post about the recent winner of a national spelling bee said her digital remark was meant as sarcasm. Roxanne Vaughan, a UND Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, said she felt an urge to comment on Facebook after observing the story of Ananya Vinay, who won the Scripps National Spelling Bee last Thursday. Vinay is a 12-year-old, sixth grade student who is from from Fresno, Calif., and is of Indian heritage.
GRAND FORKS — Peter Johnson is a man of many hats, though most know him for his primary gig—spokesman for the University of North Dakota. Johnson has held that role for all of his 29 years of employment at the university. During that time, he also picked up a few others, the most recent being the interim vice president for university and public affairs. Technically, Johnson now holds two high-level administrative titles.
GRAND FORKS—Ray Richards Golf Course isn't as well manicured as it used to be. The University of North Dakota-owned property shut down at the end of last season as the university chose to divest from the public-use, nine-hole golf course in Grand Forks. The course's greens won't be up to par for a game of golf this season, but UND facilities leader Mike Pieper said the course won't look like a prairie either.
GRAND FORKS — Easternwings Airlines Flight 576 departed recently from Sioux Falls, S.D., much as it always has, bound for Grand Forks International Airport. It didn't make it—not in one piece, anyway. The plane is very real, but the flight is a work of fiction. Even the airline is fake, a dreamed-up carrier that only operates a route from Sioux Falls to Grand Forks.
DEVILS LAKES, N.D.—The Tuesday spill of hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel into Devils Lake is not expected to seriously harm the lake and its fishery, said a representative of the North Dakota Department of Health. Karl Rockeman, director of the health department's division of water quality, said Thursday that about 500 gallons of diesel fuel seems to have dissipated after leaking into the water from a faulty pump at a North Dakota Army National Guard station.
GRAND FORKS—North Dakota's Board of Higher Education has approved allowing Mayville State University to renovate a residence hall to the tune of $777,000 to fix damages caused by improper design and construction.
A public program to entice private donations to North Dakota higher education will be funded at a reduced level in the upcoming two-year budget after initially losing its state dollars.
GRAND FORKS — What does identity mean for an institution in flux? And, more specifically, how do you pinpoint what it means to be a part of a university?