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 two people involved in a fatal shooting Thursday , May 17, were mother and son, police say. Officers responded about 11:30 a.m. to a home on the 2500 block of Seventh Avenue South after a report of a gun discharge in an apartment. Once there, police found an injured woman and a deceased man, both whom appeared to have suffered gunshot wounds.
GRAND FORKS—The Rev. John Golv, of Zion Lutheran Church in Thief River Falls, had a solemn task to carry out. Though funerals come with the job for a minister, Golv had arrived Thursday at Hope Church in Grand Forks to conduct a memorial ceremony for three children who died in unsettling circumstances.
GRAND FORKS—The daughter of Ralph Engelstad, a trustee of the Engelstad Family Foundation, said Wednesday, May 9, that her working relationship with UND President Mark Kennedy has deteriorated, possibly resulting in fewer Engelstad Foundation dollars donated to the university. Kris Engelstad McGarry said in the two years since she first met Kennedy their relations have been marked by the university's "veiled threats" of litigation over the Ralph Engelstad Arena contract. Communications have been "very passive aggressive."
GRAND FORKS—Authorities confirmed Monday, May 7, that three children found dead last week were killed by their mother, who then committed suicide. Astra Volk, 35, and her children Arianna Talmage, 6, Aidan Talmage, 10, and Tyler Talmage, 14, were found dead Thursday morning by a school resource officer dispatched on a welfare check when the children didn't arrive at school in the morning. Police said the family members appeared to have died from gunshot wounds.
GRAND FORKS—A community is grappling with the specters of mental illness and self-harm in the wake of an apparent murder-suicide that left a Grand Forks mother and three children dead. Residents down the Red River Valley and beyond have taken to social media to discuss the context of the events leading to the Thursday morning, May 3, discovery of Astra Volk and her children, Arianna Talmage, 6; Aidan Talmage, 10; and Tyler Talmage, 14, who police say died of gunshot wounds in their home on the 1000 block of South 12th Street.
GRAND FORKS -- Police have opened a homicide case -- but aren’t currently seeking any suspects -- after a Grand Forks woman and her three children were found dead in their home Thursday morning. The bodies of Astra Volk, 35, and her children Arianna Talmage, 6, Aidan Talmage, 10, and Tyler Talmage, 14, were found in their home on the 1000 block of South 12th Street during a welfare check requested by Lewis and Clark Elementary School, where the two younger children were students.
GRAND FORKS—University of North Dakota students have selected their champion. More than 2,300 campus voters cast digital ballots earlier this week to choose the look for their new university mascot, a costumed character based on the Fighting Hawks athletic logo. The option "Z" Hawk, a serious-looking bird with a head of ruffled feathers, won the day with 843 votes. Option "X," the next runner-up, received 775 votes and option "Y" finished with 684.
GRAND FORKS—While sagging public pensions in states like Illinois now resemble earth-bound, budgetary comets, North Dakota pension plans aren't likely to sink anytime soon. At least, that's the goal behind a set of legislative changes now being weighed to head off future disruption to one of the state's largest pension funds, the North Dakota Public Employees Retiree System—NDPERS, for short—which could otherwise run dry in decades to come.
Almost half a year after claiming the Miss America crown, Cara Mund wears it well. The pageant winner and Bismarck native has been living on the road for more than six months now as she works through the year of service that comes with the title and its $50,000 scholarship prize. But for someone whose life is now packed into two suitcases, Mund, 23, was true to Miss America form Tuesday while delivering the keynote address at the Women for Philanthropy luncheon on the UND campus. In some respects, she was an ideal candidate to speak to the organization.
Winter just won't let up. Meteorologists currently are tracking storm activity into the the Red River Valley and expect the region to soon be on the receiving end of two possible weather events. Andrew Moore of the Grand Forks office of the National Weather Service said the Valley could see another round of wintry conditions as early as Wednesday night before catching a heavier follow-up this weekend that could dump as much as several inches of snow.