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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BISMARCK—State Rep. Rick Becker, R-Bismarck, told the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education Tuesday that the state could probably do with fewer campuses. Becker questioned the need for the current roster of 11 North Dakota University System schools in an opening address at the board's monthly meeting. He attributed the number of colleges solely to a drive for "parochialist economic development" at a time when North Dakota "had little white schoolhouses every couple miles."
GRAND FORKS—The stowaway snake in Alyssa Kennelly's SUV first appeared when it wriggled up onto her windshield from her engine block while driving down Interstate 29 in northeast North Dakota. It picked an inopportune moment to reveal itself. Kennelly of St. Thomas, N.D., was driving on the interstate and was, understandably, a bit shocked. Her first thought when she saw the scaly passenger?
UND is submitting to the State Board of Higher Education plans to raze a set of 39 apartment buildings occupied by upper-level students and a child care facility. The buildings are clustered in two groups known in the university housing system as the Northwestern Drive and 6 Plex apartments. They're located, respectively, in a horseshoe-shaped street of the same name and in rows along State Street and Stanford Road, both near the University Place student housing complex.
GRAND FORKS — The North Dakota University System is in transition, but the rhythm of the messages around that depends on who you're listening to.
GRAND FORKS—Recent University of North Dakota graduate Joseph Aymond wore a skullcap to be fitted with dry electrodes as he prepared to have his thoughts read and displayed for all to see on the two computer monitors before him. Or, rather, he modeled the cap in a demonstration of what one might look like during testing in the university's biomedical engineering lab. The cap wasn't actually hooked up the machine, so Aymond's "thoughts" appeared as a yellow line squiggling across the glass of one monitor as the other presented groups of letters arranged in hexagonal patterns.
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.
A partnership of local companies and institutions is finalizing research this week to drive forward a NASA project to better manage flight plans for unmanned aerial systems, or drones. The latest round of testing is the second time in as many years that the Northern Plains UAS Test Site has been included in the aeronautic agency's national campaign to develop a more cohesive platform for its UAS Traffic Management system.
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.