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WALSH COUNTY—As dry conditions persist throughout the region one county is dealing with a spike in the number of grass fires this year. Walsh County has already had about a dozen fires in the last few weeks, about as many as the area usually sees each year. The area around Grafton, North Dakota has not had much rain causing the grass to dry out. The emergency manager says they have about two dozen volunteer fire fighters ready to respond within minutes, and on Tuesday their guard is up as they anticipate more fires are imminent.
GRAND FORKS—With sidewalk art and prayers children in Grand Forks are mourning the loss of their classmates. Kids at Lewis and Clark Elementary used chalk in front of their school to write messages to Aidan and Arianna Talmage, two of the three victims. Many of the drawings were from the fifth graders at the school. Counselors were on-hand at all of the schools in the district for children to talk to on Friday. It's all in an effort to comfort kids who may not know how to deal with sudden losses.
GRAFTON, ND -- A Grafton family struggling to keep their child healthy and in school. WDAZ's Kenneth Chase tells us why one parent says bullies are taking teasing too far.
THIEF RIVER FALLS—A small town police department is calling in some extra help to fight opioids in the community. Thief River Falls PD recently approved an agreement with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in Minnesota. The anti-heroin task force will allow the department to use BCA resources to solve crimes involving drugs like fentanyl and heroin. Police say they've seen a surge of drugs resulting in a handful of deaths.
POLK COUNTY—In Polk County, a local family is grieving after someone mysteriously killed their dog and left bullet holes in cars nearby. Molly Bye's dogs were outside Thursday night when she says someone shot and killed her labrador retriever named Shiloh. The family found the dog's body Friday morning. Nearby their neighbors found bullet holes in their cars and windshields. Bye says she's also concerned the shootings could've ended with more injuries or worse.
GRAND FORKS—Construction companies search for helping hands ahead of summer as they expect thousands of additional jobs to open up across the region. Representatives from RJ Zavoral and Sons say they expect to see a boom in construction projects. The HR manager says more projects require more crew members to drive trucks and do other construction work. The company joined 70 other employers at the Alerus Center on Thursday including some other construction companies searching for their next new hire at a job fair.
GRAND FORKS—A warning for military families asking you to watch what you say about a service members deployments. The Grand Forks Air Base posted this video on Facebook to remind friends and family be careful not to reveal any specific information about a deployment. It's all part of the military's operational security plans often called OPSEC. Department of Defense documents say you should not post details about departure or arrival dates on Facebook. They say that information can be easily accessed even if your account is private.
GRAND FORKS—The number of calls to 911 in Grand Forks last year rose by about 6,000, as more people reach out for help. That's a seven and a half percent growth. Staff at the Public Safety Answering Point say they received a whopping 87,000 calls altogether last year. Many of the calls were for domestic violence situations and concerned families asking police to check on a relative. Several others were for people considering suicide. Dispatchers say over the last decade the number of calls has risen each year.
GRAND FORKS—It's a rough ride for drivers across the region and in Grand Forks pot holes have gotten so common locals are making t-shirts about it. Signs By Design, a family-owned business is making shirts that say Grand Forks is the Home of 10,000 potholes, which is a nod to Minnesota's nickname. The company started selling the shirts on Friday online and they've received hundreds of inquiries since the initial post.
LARIMORE—Three years after a deadly bus accident in Larimore, North Dakota families say they're still struggling to pay their children's medical bills. A BNSF train hit a Larimore Public School bus in January of 2015 when a dozen children were on board. The driver and a 17-year-old girl were killed. The State Supreme Court recently ruled against the families of the crash victims maintaining a state cap for damages payment which is $500,000 dollars. That breaks down to about $41,000 dollars per child, but parents say it isn't enough to cover their costs.