April Knutson is lifestyle-focused journalist producing stories for the Forum News Service about people, health, community issues, and services. She earned her degree in both English Literature and Mass Communications. After working as a digital marketing specialist and web design consultant for a few years, she joined Forum Communications in 2015. She grew up on a farm near Volga, S.D. Follow her on Twitter @april_knutson.
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FARGO — I've come to terms with many unfamiliar phrases — first with gender neutral-pronouns, then with gendered phrases, through conversations with transgender women. This month, I spoke with two North Dakotan couples who shared their own "coming to terms" story. Although each relationship is different, these two couples have several things in common. Both met each other in high school while one partner was presenting as male; both are married and celebrate double-digit anniversaries this year; and both stayed together while one partner transitioned from male to female.
FARGO — In the Fargo-Moorhead area, new Americans share similar experiences to the Plymouth pilgrims: They both traveled to a new land and then had to learn about new cultural norms. Some of the new Americans living here shared how their first Thanksgiving shaped their perception of American life. "We didn't know about Thanksgiving before arriving in America," said Yadu Ghimire, who left Nepal in 2011 before arriving in a small southern Pennsylvania town and then eventually moving to Fargo in 2015. "We knew it was in November, but that was about it."
FARGO — Eating organic, vegan or gluten-free can help people become healthier, but their waistline may not be the only thing that's shrinking. According to a 2015 Consumer Report, organic food was 47 percent more expensive than food by conventional means, on average. The accessibility of these dietary options are increasing in the Fargo-Moorhead area, but the affordability can still be an issue.
MOORHEAD — While avid astronomers booked their totality travel plans months ago, novice skywatchers plan to witness the Great American Eclipse closer to home by attending viewing parties, making do-it-yourself viewing glasses and planning that picture-perfect photo.
Winter can wreak havoc on the carpet in a home or apartment, thanks to the combination of salt, rocks, ice and snow being tracked in by its occupants. The carpet then traps those outside pollutants, which can remain even after every nook and cranny is dusted and vacuumed. "During the winter, over-salted roads and sidewalks can bring more debris in the home from the outside," says Brandon Schimke, director of construction at Renovation Systems. "Carpet cleaning increases in the common areas like entryways and hallways."
Finding an item in a certain size or style is difficult anytime, but especially in a thrift or resale store. Online resale platforms can save thrifters time by offering large and easily-searchable catalogues, marketing services to secondhand sellers and a space for both to interact.
FARGO — In the dead of winter, the opportunity to sweat can be hard to find. However, saunas, which are an ancient Finnish tradition, offer more than just a relaxing getaway. Saunas, as we know today, may have been created by ancient inhabitants of Eurasia who threw water and hempseed on heated stones to create an stimulating steam. Yet historical evidence indicates that Finns built the first wooden structures like the saunas we know today in the fifth or eighth century, according to an entry in the Encyclopedia Britannica.
FARGO — More than 150 Girl Scouts gathered at Cookie University at North Dakota State University to learn about money management, financial literacy and entrepreneurial skills before the 2017 cookie sale season kicked off Friday, Feb. 3. This year, the organization is celebrating its centennial of the first-known cookie sales.