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Sep 30, 2009, 11:31 PM
Developer gets an earful from residents of historic Moorhead neighborhood
By: Dave Olson, INFORUM

Residents living in a historic Moorhead neighborhood where a $10 million student housing complex is proposed told the developer Tuesday his plan is too big and would generate too much traffic.

“It’s just going to be chaotic,” said Jay Forster, who attended a neighborhood meeting at the Moorhead Public Library, where developer Dean Ahmann described plans to build a four-story housing complex at the junction of Seventh Avenue South and 10th Street.

The area is home to some of the oldest houses in Moorhead, including what is known as the Comstock House at 506 8th St. S.

What is being called “Campus Commons” envisions 30 four-bedroom apartments, three three-bedroom apartments and four one-bedroom units.

Teresa Shume spoke for many of the 40 or so people attending the meeting when she said the plans are just too big.

“It’s a family neighborhood,” said Shume, adding that a four-story building “would be a fundamental shift in our neighborhood.”

Stacy Nicholson, who owns a home directly adjacent to the proposed development, added her voice to the chorus of those who stated the idea, as planned, wasn’t a good fit for the neighborhood.

“It just seems like it will be a big eyesore,” Nicholson told Ahmann.

“But,” she added, “I do thank you for trying to do something for Moorhead.”

Ahmann said because of the economics involved, the size of the project is not something that can change if it is to be a success.

However, he expressed a willingness to quash plans for a parking ramp, as well as commercial space that called for a neighborhood pub.

The latter was perhaps already a moot point. Acting City Planner Kristie Leshovsky said current city rules would not allow a liquor establishment on the site.

Leshovsky said the size of the project would require the installation of a bigger water main in the area and she said if that was done the cost would likely be passed on to benefitting properties in the development.

Leshovsky said given all of the necessary hearings for rezoning and other issues, it would be at least a year before any project could expect to receive approval.

John Rowell, a member of the City Council and the city Planning Commission, promised residents they would be kept up to date on the status of the proposed development.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555


Sep 30, 2009, 11:33 PM
Slower traffic, trees favored for downtown Fargo one-ways
By: Helmut Schmidt, INFORUM

Slowing traffic, and adding trees, wider sidewalks and bicycle lanes to Fargo’s NP Avenue and First Avenue North got a good reception Tuesday at a public meeting to gather input on what to do with the one-way streets.

But opinions were divided on whether the downtown arterials should remain one-ways or become two-way streets.

Steven Strege, who has an office in the Black Building, was among about 70 people at the meeting in the Fargo Public Library’s downtown branch. He said things are fine the way they are.

Strege said narrowing the number of lanes on the one-ways, or turning them into two-way streets will clog traffic and make it difficult for semis and other trucks to make deliveries.

On the other hand, John Adams, co-owner of the Radisson Hotel, said he’d like the streets converted to two-way traffic.

One-ways are “probably what killed downtown in the beginning,” Adams said. “Anything to keep people downtown rather than just going on through.”

HWS Consulting Group of Omaha, Neb., was hired by the city of Fargo to study the paired one-ways to determine what to do with the traffic corridor. Mike Gorman is the project manager.

Gorman said feedback from Tuesday’s meeting, and two others planned in February and April, will be important in forming the study’s conclusions.

The $130,000 study will include a detailed analysis of traffic patterns, and the economic effects of any potential changes, he said.

In the 1950s and ’60s, many cities converted two-way streets to one-ways to speed traffic. In recent years, there has been a realization that streets are about more than traffic movement, Gorman said.

“Really, it’s more to get the most out of the street system,” he said.

The streets are downtown traffic workhorses.

NP Avenue averages 3,800 to 7,500 cars a day in the study area, which runs from University Drive to Second Street North by the Red River.

Roughly 7,100 to 8,900 cars are on First Avenue North daily, according to a 2005 traffic volumes study by the Metropolitan Council of Governments. Main Avenue handles 13,200 to 17,100 cars a day in the area.

Randy Thorson, who co-owns several bars in Fargo, including downtown’s Old Broadway, says he wants to be sure that whatever is decided, that the streets can still accommodate deliveries for businesses.

“I like the idea. I like the project,” Thorson said. “I also believe it has an economic value.”

His preference? Thorson said he’d like to see the streets converted to two-ways, with two lanes running in one direction, and one lane in the other.

Joseph Curry of Fargo was one of several bike enthusiasts who showed up at the meeting.

“Definitely a bike lane for sure,” Curry said. “Fargo is somewhat slow-moving there.”

Curry added that slowing traffic and making it more pedestrian and bike friendly is important.

The aim is to wrap up the study by July 2010, Gorman said.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583


Oct 1, 2009, 7:23 PM
Then go, get out of here.

Typical Fargo-an. I will and I won't look back. :) Keep on "Investing in Your Valley." I wasn't trying to be rude in my comment, but if you want to get upset over something so minor then be my guest. I think that if I've lived in the state my entire life I can give an opinion without being shouted down.

Oct 1, 2009, 9:19 PM
okay lets stay on task

Oct 4, 2009, 10:40 AM
We'll have more flights coming and going from Chicagoland, so feel free to stop back and check in. I can certainly relate, as I was ready to leave Phoenix, pollution, and the sprawl after college. To each their own.

Does anyone have pix of the inside of the new cityscapes NDSU building? Anyone?

Oct 6, 2009, 11:04 PM
My apologies, I was not trying to turn this into a fight by any means. Some people like smaller cities, some like larger cities. Different strokes for different folks, right? I'm just ready for something new.

I could probably get pictures of the inside of NDSU buildings, but to be honest they're all pretty generic on the inside. Downtown might be a little fancier than the main campus, though.

Oct 7, 2009, 9:24 PM
Surprised FMisthebest didn't post this:


Fargo’s downtown named one of best neighborhoods in nation

Fargo’s downtown has been named one of the country’s top 10 neighborhoods by the American Planning Association.

The APA cited downtown Fargo’s historic character and its successful revitalization in naming it one of the “10 Neighborhoods for 2009” in its Great Places in America program.

“It feels great. If it had been suggested 15 years ago, people would have scoffed at it,” Fargo Planning Director Jim Gilmour said Tuesday. “There’s been quite a transformation of the downtown over the past decade.”

City Commissioner Mike Williams called the recognition “icing on the cake” for the work done with the Renaissance Zone.

Investment has made the downtown a place “where people are living where they work, shop and play,” he said.

“It’s good national recognition. We’re becoming a more vibrant community where people want to live,” Williams said.

More than $100 million in public and private investment has been made in Fargo’s downtown, turning blighted buildings and vacant lots into apartments, condominiums and retail shops.

The result has been that the value of buildings has risen from $103 million in 2000 to more than $218 million in 2009, the APA noted in a news release.

“The revitalization of downtown Fargo shows what can be accomplished when city leaders, business interests and citizens create a common vision and plan for their future,” said Paul Farmer, CEO of the national planning group.

Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker said he is pleased with the award.

“We are returning our historic downtown area to the attraction it used to be, not only for commercial, retail and housing development, but for our younger population with the addition of North Dakota State University’s downtown campus,” Walaker said.

Other cities on the APA great neighborhoods list:

Bungalow Heaven, Pasadena, Calif.; Faubourg Marigney, New Orleans; The Haymarket, Lincoln, Neb.; Village of Kenmore, Kenmore, N.Y.; Ladd’s Addition, Portland, Ore.; Franklin Historic District, Franklin, Tenn.; Montrose, Houston; Historic Hilton Village, Newport News, Va.; and Browne’s Addition, Spokane, Wash.

Oct 8, 2009, 12:05 AM
beat me to it

Oct 10, 2009, 4:57 PM
Airline passenger traffic in September at Hector International Airport showed an increase as compared to the same month in 2008. In September 2009, the passenger enplanements were 27,997. This is an increase of 12.4% when compared to the September 2008 passenger enplanements of 24,902.

So far this year 524,851 people have gone through which is 34,000 more than this time lat year.

Oct 17, 2009, 6:52 PM
ND top state in personal income growth
By: Associated Press, INFORUM

BISMARCK – North Dakota led the nation in personal income growth during the second quarter due to a thriving agriculture industry, according to estimates in a federal report released Friday.

U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis estimated that personal income in North Dakota was up 1.5 percent for April, May and June – the best performance of any state during the quarter.

That compared with a 0.2 percent growth nationwide, which the bureau said was offset by inflation. It was the first growth in a year for the U.S. and for 15 states.

Overall, personal income increased in the second quarter in 36 states. The bureau said federal economic stimulus money and rising unemployment benefits were the main reasons for the increase in all of those states except North Dakota, where the farm sector was the main factor.

Net earnings and property income declined in every state except North Dakota, where net earnings grew 0.9 percent, and in Iowa, where they were unchanged.

Farm personal income in North Dakota grew 0.62 percent in the second quarter, while personal income in the mining sector, which includes oil and gas development, dropped 0.20 percent, the federal report said.

David Lenze, a Bureau of Economic Analysis economist, said the second quarter figures are estimates based on projections and are subject to “large revisions when the actual numbers come out.”


Oct 19, 2009, 2:03 AM
You know Fargo folks, if anybody fucks with ya'll, just tell them ho sit down and let those bitches bitch about your bitch. Don't show any of those bitches love.

Oct 19, 2009, 3:24 AM
I guess we'll have to wait for that to happen.

What the hell happened to NDSU this week? Whisky Tango Foxtrot?

Oct 19, 2009, 3:31 AM
OH my god i know! I hope NDSU can continue to grow and prosper without Chapman

Oct 20, 2009, 3:38 PM
Anyone know more about the possible Buffalo Wild Wings in Moorhead?

I see they've started a little remodeling...

Oct 23, 2009, 4:07 AM
You know Fargo folks, if anybody fucks with ya'll, just tell them ho sit down and let those bitches bitch about your bitch. Don't show any of those bitches love.

Fo sho'. I hate when bitches bitch about bitches though ya know. Bitch please.

Oct 26, 2009, 1:21 AM
Fargo leads home sales uptick across Midwest
By: Associated Press, INFORUM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Led by Fargo’s 23 percent gain, home sales in the Midwest increased in September as a soon-to-expire tax credit for first-time buyers and glimmers of an economic recovery brought more people to the closing table.

The National Association of Realtors said Friday that there were an estimated 110,000 resales in the Midwest, up 5.8 percent from September last year. The median sale price for the region fell 1 percent to $147,600, marking the smallest decline in the country.

Nationally, home resales rose almost 8 percent from a year ago, without adjusting for seasonal factors. The median sale price fell

8.5 percent to $174,900, the Realtors association said.

To varying degrees, economists and local housing experts say the federal tax credit has boosted sales. First-time buyers can receive a credit of 10 percent of the sales price, up to $8,000. The real estate industry is pushing for Congress to extend the credit past the Nov. 30 deadline.

“I do think we’re going to see some real solid gains in the third quarter in the Midwest” because of the tax credit, said David E. Clark, economics department chairman at Marquette University in Milwaukee. “You’ll see that everywhere, but especially here in the Midwest where our homes are already very affordable.”

The jobless rate in the Midwest dipped from 10 percent in August to 9.8 percent in September, the only region to show a decline last month. But the rate is still up from 6.4 percent in September last year as automotive layoffs took their toll.

Here are some of the highlights from the region:

•Biggest sales gain: Fargo saw the number of sales jump 23 percent from a year ago. Meanwhile, median price declines were moderate, slipping about 3 percent year-over-year to $139,950.

While the city had to deal with devastating floods this spring, it has so far avoided the economic tumult of other markets, said Kimberly Van Hal, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker-First Realty.

North Dakota’s unemployment rate was far below the national average last month at 4.2 percent, which was only about 1 percentage point above a year ago.

Van Hal said the tax credit has made up a large part of recent sales, especially as the market’s average home price is well within the range of first-time home buyers.

“We really picked up speed and have been a very active market since early summer,” she said.

•Biggest sales loss: Sales in Cleveland were the worst in the region, falling almost 12 percent from a year ago. The median sales price, however, was stable, gaining almost 2 percent to $116,000.

The manufacturing-heavy city has suffered numerous plant closures and layoffs in recent years.


Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

Oct 26, 2009, 12:08 PM
Sanford Health Arena. Does that have a nice ring to it, North Dakota State basketball fans?
By: Kevin Schnepf, INFORUM (http://www.inforum.com/event/article/id/257579)

Sanford Health Arena. Does that have a nice ring to it, North Dakota State basketball fans?

There have been plenty of rumors flying around the metro area lately that Sanford Health, the Sioux Falls-based health care giant, has expressed interest in possible naming rights for a basketball arena to be built onto the Fargodome.

“I’m hearing the same rumors,” says NDSU athletic director Gene Taylor, who emphasized he has had no discussions with Sanford officials. “I think people are making major assumptions.”

As long as people are assuming, let’s throw this theory out there: Sanford Health, based on its history of “community support,” will eventually express interest in helping build a new basketball arena.

Mark Johnston, vice president of corporate communications for Sanford Health, said he is not aware of any talks going on with NDSU. When asked if such talks could occur in the future, he answered:

“We’ve got a long, long history of investing in our community,” Johnston said. “Those things take a big community-wide effort.

“I’m not surprised, though, that those rumors are out there. We’re all about community support. Sports is huge for Sanford.”

Sanford is 71-year-old T. Denny Sanford, who made his fortune as owner of First Premier Bank and has a reported net worth of $2.5 billion. His $400 million gift helped create Sanford Health in Sioux Falls, the largest employer in a five-state region with 10,000 workers.

Sanford has already invested in Sioux Falls sports – like the Sanford Health Sports Complex at Sioux Falls College, a 3,000-seat football stadium with a 10-lane track and the Sanford Gym, a state-of-the-art practice facility for Augustana College basketball teams.

Sanford, who has said he wants to “die broke,” could end up spending some of that money in Fargo – if the proposed merger with Sanford Health and MeritCare goes through, as expected.

“They are someone that is on our list,” said Erv Inniger, the fundraising guru for NDSU athletics.

Because of the recent trying economic times, donors on Erv’s list have not been willing to pony up $15 million – NDSU’s share of an estimated $30 million – to a Fargodome arena project.

But a guy like Sanford might be willing. To make matters even more intriguing, Sanford’s chief honcho in Sioux Falls has plenty of Fargo and NDSU ties.

Kelby Krabbenhoft, CEO of Sanford Health, grew up in Northwood, N.D., and attended college at Concordia. He is a cousin of the wife of Pat Simmers, NDSU’s senior associate athletic director.

Krabbenhoft is also good friends with NDSU men’s basketball coach Saul Phillips, who before coming to Fargo helped recruit Krabbenhoft’s son, Joe, to play at Wisconsin.

Sanford Health Arena? Perhaps it’s more than just a rumor.

Nov 1, 2009, 10:40 PM
Two health care giants, one mission: MeritCare-Sanford combine Monday
By: Patrick Springer, INFORUM

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - The merger of MeritCare with Sanford Health will require blending management expertise, linking sophisticated information systems and a melding of corporate cultures.

It also will involve a lot of bus trips.

The merged health system, expected to be completed Monday, will operate its own fleet of two buses to routinely shuttle staff and physicians between medical campuses in Fargo and Sioux Falls, where Sanford is based.

The buses, equipped to allow traveling staff to work on the road, are emblematic of the logistics that will be required in meshing two health systems combining nearly 14,000 full-time employees and $1.9 billion in assets.

When needed, managers and other staff, not patients, will do the traveling, said Kelby Krabbenhoft, who is Sanford’s chief executive and will take the helm of the merged organization.

“These markets are so separate and unique,” he said. “It’s not a shuttle health service. You can’t do it. What you can do is shuttle leadership.”

The merger will cap eight months of talks between the two large health systems – each dominant in its service area.

The united system will be called Sanford Health & MeritCare, with the separate names continuing in their traditional service areas for the foreseeable future.

“Our priority has been uninterrupted service,” Krabbenhoft said. He added: “I don’t see any bumps” in the road leading toward a completed merger.

Sanford Health & MeritCare will have a coverage area of 130,000 square miles, encompassing parts of five states, with a service area that is heavily rural – perhaps the most rural in the nation, administrators believe.

One of Krabbenhoft’s first steps will be to name his management team. “I’m playing a lot of the cards that were dealt to me,” he said.

For now, he’s keeping those cards close to his vest, although an announcement is possible Monday. Dr. Roger Gilbertson, MeritCare’s chief executive, will remain as a consultant until his contract expires at the end of 2010.

Krabbenhoft said floor plans have been drawn up for new executive offices in downtown Fargo, with a site yet to be announced that offers a visible presence.

Strategic planning will begin immediately, and Krabbenhoft has already said he envisions a $250 million to $300 million health complex in five or six years at MeritCare’s Agassiz Crossing location in southwest Fargo.

Someday, in fact, those Sanford-MeritCare buses could be parked outside a hotel-convention center connected to the Agassiz Crossing health center.

Layoffs not discussed

Preparations have been under way for months to draft plans to integrate physicians, corporate governance, finances and information systems, among other areas – necessary steps Krabbenhoft said will be mostly invisible to patients.

“It really will be a lot of things that the general public won’t see,” he said.

Last week, in a decision that cleared the way for the merger, North Dakota’s attorney general concluded the merger would be in MeritCare’s “best interest.”

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, who has limited review authority involving ownership changes of major nonprofits, found that a merger would enable expansion of services.

The review also concluded that cost reductions through greater efficiencies through staffing reallocations or reductions, such as combined business operations, also should result.

Still, Krabbenhoft has reiterated earlier statements that no layoffs are planned. In fact, he said, the possibility hasn’t even been discussed.

“That topic has not even made it – and I can swear to it – into any of our conversations,” Krabbenhoft said.

Instead, the merger will create opportunities for advancement. “The new structure will prompt movement of people around the organization,” he added. “That’s the sign of a healthy company.”

Similarities, differences

Billed as a “merger of equals,” the two health systems are of similar size and have much in common, including roots as Lutheran hospitals founded a century ago.

Both are examples of “integrated health systems,” that bring together doctors and hospitals to deliver a spectrum of health care.

But MeritCare has placed a greater emphasis on clinics and large group practices of physicians, while Sanford has focused more on a network of hospitals.

Sanford also provides its own health insurance coverage, an option it plans to extend to North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota, pending regulatory approval.

Krabbenhoft’s 14-year tenure at Sanford provides a preview of how he will manage a combined health system, his colleagues said.

He inherited a well-funded and established Sioux Valley Hospital, and aggressively expanded services while acquiring hospitals and clinics to form a regional network, said Michael Myers, a law professor at the University of South Dakota who teaches health policy and is a former hospital administrator.

The result, Myers said, is “very sophisticated systems of moving patients through sections” in a way that maximizes revenue.

MeritCare’s network of clinics acts similarly to funnel patients to its specialists in Fargo-Moorhead, who also travel to satellite locations.

Recently MeritCare announced it will merge with Union Hospital in Mayville, N.D., and it has a hospital in Thief River Falls, Minn., in addition to its two Fargo hospital campuses.

Further mergers are possible, especially involving unaffiliated hospitals in MeritCare’s service area. But Krabbenhoft said alliances evolve by mutual agreement.

“These are things that come when two organizations think it’s time,” he said. “It’s something you never push and never sell.”

Sanford expansion

Sanford’s network includes 23 hospitals as well as 19 nursing homes, 18 assisted and congregate living centers and 43 clinics.

The Sanford-USD Medical Center west of downtown Sioux Falls occupies two city blocks, dominated by its hospital, with 545 licensed beds.

Construction of a new $78 million heart center, including 58 beds, is the latest in a string of projects that have expanded services and upgraded facilities during Krabbenhoft’s tenure.

Other significant upgrades include new orthopedic and cancer centers, trauma center and a new surgery tower – as well as a new $60 million children’s hospital, with distinctive castle architecture and story-land artwork theme.

Sanford’s medical research program, a partnership launched in 1998 with the University of South Dakota Medical School, started with two employees and no lab space.

Soon, its three labs will be under one roof in a sprawling building that also will house corporate offices. Funding, now

$25 million, is targeted to reach $100 million by 2017, and new researchers are being brought on staff at a rapid rate, Benjamin Perryman, Sanford’s research director said.

“We’re actively recruiting,” he said. Sanford’s signature research initiative is its goal to find a cure for childhood diabetes, but it also involves other areas of basic research. By contrast, MeritCare has been more involved in clinical studies.

Market power

Sanford’s gross revenues grew more than five-fold during Krabbenhoft’s tenure, from $294 million in 1996 to $1.8 billion this year. Total employees almost tripled during that period, from 3,863 to 10,200.

A combined Sanford-MeritCare will have much greater market clout that it can wield in negotiating with public and private health insurers, Myers said.

“They’re going to have significantly more market power,” he added. “It’s pure, raw market power, which converts into political power.”

At the same time, as Stenehjem’s analysis concluded, the merged organization has economies of scale and greater efficiencies.

The merger did not require an antitrust review, however, because the service areas of MeritCare and Sanford do not overlap, resulting in greater concentration within an area.

Mark Johnston, Sanford’s vice president of administration and corporate communications, said the two organizations have not discussed prices and are prohibited from talking about prices in advance of a merger.

Krabbenhoft, a native of Sabin, Minn., said there were some apprehensions when he first took charge at Sanford and started charting a new course. The merger with MeritCare also comes with understandable concerns, he said.

“Early on we had the same questions here,” he said. “Where is this new team going to take this organization?”

That will become clear, he added, when his team maps out its strategy and goals.

For months, colleagues of the two health networks have been meeting and talking about how they can preserve “the best of the best” when combining systems, said Becky Nelson, Sanford’s chief operating officer.

The medical staffs of the two organizations can teach one another better methods and efficiencies, said Dr. Charles O’Brien, president of the Sanford-USD Medical Center.

“There’s things to be learned on both sides,” he said. “Ninety-five percent of what we do in Sioux Falls and Fargo will stay the same.” O’Brien added that the other 5 percent will involve growth opportunities and new services.

“We’re looking forward to that exchange,” he said.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522

Nov 4, 2009, 10:59 PM
Bartram buys Moorhead sites
By: Tracy Frank, INFORUM

New plans are in the works for a Moorhead property that has been vacant for almost two years.

Kevin Bartram, president of Sterling Cos. and Mutchler Bartram Architects, has purchased the former Corwin Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep car dealership property at 904 Center Ave.

Bartram, the developer behind the mixed-use development of apartments, condos, restaurants and service businesses on Main Avenue and Fourth Street in Moorhead, has also bought Simon Warehouse at 8 10th St. N. in Moorhead.

The properties will take a lot of work and planning but may eventually become multifamily housing, Bartram said.

“We’ve had good success in downtown Moorhead with the rest of our properties there, and we wanted to build on that success,” he said. “We like the fact that it’s so close to the heart of downtown.”

Moorhead Storage and Transfer built the warehouse in 1922, mostly for storing potatoes, according to documents at the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County.

Bartram plans to keep it a warehouse for a while, he said. He said it’s a viable business that various businesses use for storage.

The former dealership building has served as an automobile dealership for decades. It started out as an armory in the early 1920s. In the mid-1930s, a new armory was built and Harris Bros. bought the building to use as a farm implement and auto dealership.

“We’d like to try to restore that (building) as best as we can,” Bartram said.

Restoration will take some time because of contamination on the site, he said. He said he plans to work with the city on options for grant funding to help with cleanup.

One possibility Bartram is considering is turning the property into a multi-family housing development, he said, adding that plans will firm up once he knows demand is there.

The riverfront complex of 52 apartments Bartram is working on near the Veterans Memorial Bridge on Main Avenue should be finished in the spring.

Moorhead Mayor Mark Voxland said that when urban renewal happened in the 1960s, it was from Eighth Street west, so Eighth Street east has never really been looked at.

“It’s exciting to have a good developer with a great track record in Moorhead looking to do something like that on the east side of Eighth Street,” he said.

In January 2007, Corwin Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep closed its Moorhead dealership and moved it to the dealership at 301 38th St. S. in Fargo.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526

Nov 7, 2009, 7:00 AM
Five Guys burger restaurant will be opening a location in Urban Plains

Nov 7, 2009, 7:20 PM
Big on brew, not space
By: Craig McEwen, INFORUM

A new eatery will be serving up burgers, beers and fresh-cut chips Monday morning in downtown Fargo.

JL Beers and Great American Burgers, 518 1st Ave. N., is being launched by Fargo entrepreneurs Warren Ackley and Randy Thorson.

Cosmetically drenched in chrome, aluminum, stainless steel and neon lights, the compact 13-foot-7-inch wide, 1,000-square-foot restaurant offers barstool seating for 24 people, 32 tap beers, 33 bottled import beers, 13 domestic can beers, non-alcoholic beers and sodas, five types of burgers, chips and fries, said Ackley.

Beer is king, available in all sizes from “flights” (containing six, 4-ounce glasses) to 24 ounce bottles, 64-ounce growlers, on- and off-sale beer only, said Ackley, noting that no other wines or liquors will be offered.

The restaurant will employ about 23 full- and part-time employees and be open from 10:30 a.m. to 2 a.m., seven days a week, Ackley said. Dan Vogel has been named general manager.

Take-out of all menu items will be available. “You can also get a can of beer to go,” said Ackley.

Thorson and Ackley purchased the building, which also houses First & Deli Restaurant, about a year ago.

“The space dictated what we could do,” said Ackley. “It’s a small space, but we’re big on beers. We think we can do fine in this size space.”

Ackley said there are no plans at this time to expand the layout of the downtown location.

“This is the first of what could be more to come,” he said.

“The idea behind it was to set it up to duplicate it,” said Thorson.

Similar-styled restaurants have become popular in larger cities around the country, Ackley said.

“We thought it would work in downtown Fargo,” he said.

“I think it’s just going to be a really neat addition to downtown Fargo,” said Dave Anderson, president of the Downtown Community Partnership.

“It has the feel that you just stepped from New York or Chicago into Fargo,” he said. “I’m really anxious to see how people are going to react to it. I think it’s going to be a really big hit.”

The restaurant’s logo is a tribute to late friend Jim Lauerman and the former downtown restaurant that bore his name, said Thorson.

“We were friends with Jim. We sat many nights having some beers and talking about everything, right up until his death,” Thorson said.

Thorson and Ackley bought the former Jim Lauerman’s Chili, Sandwiches and Beer, 64 Broadway, with plans of reopening a restaurant. Instead, they sold the property that now houses The Flag/AM1100 radio station.

To reach JL Beers, call (701) 492-3377.



Readers can reach Forum Business Editor Craig McEwen at (701) 241-5502

Nov 8, 2009, 4:11 AM
Five Guys burger restaurant will be opening a location in Urban Plains

Finally, you guys are gonna love it.

Nov 8, 2009, 6:23 AM
i ate at one in savannah. it's so good

Nov 13, 2009, 6:54 PM
Airline passenger traffic in October at Hector International Airport showed an increase as compared to the same month in 2008. In October 2009, the passenger enplanements were 29,891. This is an increase of 11.1% when compared to the October 2008 passenger enplanements of 26,908.

October 2009 was the busiest October on record.

Total passenger count for the month was 59,145, which is up 10.9% over the same period last year.

There's been a total of 583,996 passengers so far this year. A 7.5% increase over last year.


Nov 19, 2009, 9:48 PM
FYI: Hilton Garden Inn is now open for business located off 17th Ave SW next to the US Bank Service Center

Nov 20, 2009, 3:32 AM
RE: Hilton Garden Inn:

From what I remember about this hotel, they were supposed to have a waterpark. It doesn't look like they built this part. Anyone hear if this was removed from the project or just postponed until next year?

Nov 20, 2009, 5:19 AM
^ I work at the visitors center and from what I've heard the hotel was supposed to open in late september and the waterpark in March. so i would expect the waterpark to open sometime in the summer next year

Nov 23, 2009, 11:26 PM
Hector takes off: Fargo airport sees growth, strives for more
By: Jon Knutson, INFORUM

Fargo’s Hector International Airport is flying higher than ever.

Boardings and the number of flights have risen sharply in the past decade, and increased competition among carriers has pushed down fares to some cities.

But area business leaders say the airport – on track for its second straight year of record boardings – must reach even greater heights if the Fargo-Moorhead area is to continue growing.

“This is the single most important issue affecting the economic future of our community,” said Brian Walters, president of the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corp.

“We’ve made considerable progress, but there’s still work to do,” he said.

Without more air service, particularly to major hubs, the metropolitan area will struggle to attract new businesses in high-paying, fast-growing fields such as biotechnology, he said.

Some existing metro businesses won’t be able to grow unless more Hector service is added, he said.

The big prize is direct access to more hubs that offer more connections to the East Coast and abroad.

"We need more connections east,” said Kathi Schwan, who leads the Fargo office of Navteq.

Her company, which produces digital maps, has 192 offices in 43 countries.

More connections in major hubs, such as the Atlanta airport, would cut travel time for Navteq employees traveling to or from Fargo, she said.

The development corporation identified expanded air service as a priority about six years ago, Walters said.

He’s met repeatedly with officials of multiple airlines to make the case for more Fargo service.

The push has included financial aid to airlines launching Hector service.

Earlier this fall, American Eagle Airlines, the regional affiliate of American Airlines, announced it will begin service in April between Hector and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

The development corporation will reimburse American up to $134,000 for start-up fees and expenses at Hector, Walters said.

That’s much less than some communities offer to attract air service, he said.

More Minnesotans

Businesses and individuals in western Minnesota increasingly make use of Hector rather than driving to Minneapolis and using the airport there, said Nancy Straw, president of the Fergus Falls-based West Central Initiative.

Her organization seeks to improve Minnesota’s economy by supporting families and businesses.

“It’s wonderful to be able to use an airport that’s as convenient and efficient as Hector,” said Straw, who flies out of Hector herself.

Employees of Douglas Machine in Alexandria, Minn., sometimes use Hector instead Minneapolis, said Rick Paulsen, company president.

“We’d like to use it more often” and would do so if Hector had more and lower-priced flights, he said.

Douglas Machine, which makes packaging products, would like more flights to the Midwest and southeastern United States, where food and beverage manufacturing customers are located, Paulsen said.

Flying out of Minneapolis generally costs less than comparable flights at Hector, according to development corporation figures.

This fall, the average low fare for a round-trip flight (21-day advance with Saturday night stay) between Fargo and 20 selected cities was $328.

That number – and all other fare prices mentioned in this article – don’t include taxes.

For the comparable flights between Minneapolis and 20 selected cities, the average low fare was $257, or $71 less than the average low fare at Hector.

But the difference in the average Hector and Minneapolis fare prices has shrunk in recent years, according to the development corporation numbers.

That’s encouraging more folks in northwestern Minnesota to use Hector, especially if they live much closer to Fargo than the Twin Cities, said Shawn Dobberstein, executive director of Hector.

Remember, average fare prices are just that – an average. Sometimes a Fargo flight is less expensive than a comparable one in Minneapolis, he said.

Even if the flight at Hector costs more, it might be a better deal if gas costs, parking fees and convenience are factored in, he said.

Microsoft connection

Microsoft is working on its own to establish regular flights between its Fargo campus and Seattle, said Don Morton, Microsoft’s Fargo site leader.

The company’s headquarters is in Redmond, Wash. Non-stop air service between Fargo and Seattle would cut Fargo/Redmond commute times by 75 percent, he said.

Before the recession hit, Microsoft was close to an agreement with Houston-based ExpressJet for regular 50-seat Fargo/Seattle flights, Morton said.

Microsoft was considering committing to half of the 50 seats, with remaining seats available for other area residents who wanted to fly between Hector and Seattle.

Morton said he’s optimistic that Hector/Seattle service ultimately will be offered, possibly beginning in the next 12-18 months.

Service and fares

Four years ago, three airlines – Northwest, United Express and Allegiant Air – offered a combined 16 weekly regularly scheduled flights at Hector.

Today, four carriers – Northwest Airlines / Delta Air Lines (the two merged last year and operate as Delta) – United Express, Allegiant Air and Frontier – offer a combined 24 weekly scheduled flights.

That number will increase in April when American Eagle begins offering three daily round-trip flights between Hector and Chicago O’Hare.

The number of flights at Hector changes through the year as carriers make seasonal adjustments.

Four years ago, Hector had regularly scheduled air service to four cities: Minneapolis, Denver, Chicago and Las Vegas.

Today, the airport has regular flights to eight cities – the four above, and Salt Lake City, Phoenix-Mesa, Los Angeles and Orlando-Sanford (Fla.).

Increased competition has led to lower fares.

The arrival of Denver-based, low-cost carrier Frontier in the spring of 2008 was particularly important, Hector and development corporation officials say.

One example of that:

In February of 2008, before Frontier began Fargo service, a round-trip flight (21-day advance with Saturday night stay) between Fargo and Atlanta cost $512 on Northwest and $514 on United, according to development corporation statistics.

In late October of this year, a round-trip flight (21-day advance with Saturday night stay) between Fargo and Atlanta cost $340 on Northwest/Delta, $434 on United and $330 on Frontier, according to the development corporation statistics.

But average fares at Hector remain relatively expensive, according to Eugene, Ore.-based Sixel Consulting Group, which works with Hector.

Fargo’s average fare of $212.74 was 14th highest among the 150 largest U.S. passenger airports in the 12 months ending this past June.

To be sure, geography played a role in that number, calculated by dividing total revenue by the number of passengers paying a fare.

Anchorage, Alaska, had an average fare of $272.04 to top the list.

Other cities with higher average fares than Fargo include Fairbanks, Alaska, Jackson, Wyo., and Bozeman, Mont.

Inevitably, Fargo-Moorhead’s location will continue to influence rates and the amount of service offered at Hector, said Mark Sixel, who’s been a consultant to Hector for about five years.

“The biggest hurdle that Fargo faces right now, going forward, is its geographic position,” he said.

Assume, for instance, that an airline is weighing adding service to Fargo from a hub, say, 1,000 miles away.

“An airline planner can decide, ‘I’m going to fly it (the plane) twice to a city that’s 500 miles from me or I can fly it once to Fargo,’ ” Sixel said.

Growth galore

By any measure, Hector has seen significant growth. A few statistics:

•Hector has set monthly boarding records in 10 of the past 12 months.

•Enplanements at Hector rose 8.5 percent from 2007 to 2008.

Nationally, boardings dropped 1.5 percent in the same period, according to the U.S., Bureau of Transportation.

•Last year, Hector ranked 145th in enplanements among U.S. commercial service airports, the Federal Aviation Authority said.

That’s up from 165th in 2000.

•Annual enplanements at Hector rose about 29 percent from 2000 to 2008.

Nationwide, annual boardings rose about

11 percent in the same period, according to Transportation Bureau figures.

But keep the growth in perspective. Hector remains a minor player in the airport industry.

Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta led the nation last year with

43.7 million enplanements, according to the FAA.

That’s roughly 134 times the boardings that Hector had last year.

The FAA divides airports with more than 10,000 annual enplanements into four categories, based on the percentage of total passenger boardings nationwide for which each airport accounted.

Despite its growth, Hector remains in the smallest of the four categories.

“We’re still a drop in the bucket,” said Dobberstein.

Still, Hector’s success hasn’t gone unnoticed by airlines, Sixel said.

“We’ve done a good job the last couple of years letting the airlines know what’s happening in Fargo,” he said.

Hector’s higher passenger numbers this year – when the recession cut enplanements nationally – has made a big impression on airlines, he said.

“Fargo has great potential,” he said.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Jonathan Knutson at (701) 241-5530

Nov 30, 2009, 12:23 AM
a dairy queen grill and chill is opening in moorhead down by their new walgreens.

Dec 3, 2009, 4:00 PM
Hi everyone. :) I always read your posts, so I decided I would join and see if I can contribute information as well. I was told that a Chick-Fil-A is coming to Fargo. Has anyone else heard news of this?
Also, a new doggy day care is opening on Main Avenue in Fargo, Chasing Tails. Owners are Dave & Monica. I do not have a last name at this time.

Dec 3, 2009, 4:14 PM
Congratulations Fargo! Omaha must be the largest market in the nation without a Chick-Fil-A. We've got about everything else... I guess we just don't have anyone who measures up to their moral standards. :)

Dec 4, 2009, 6:30 PM
Congratulations Fargo! Omaha must be the largest market in the nation without a Chick-Fil-A. We've got about everything else... I guess we just don't have anyone who measures up to their moral standards. :)

But you guys have a million Sonics and we're still waiting for our first one in Fargo. I think ND is one of the last few states without a Sonic.

Dec 7, 2009, 12:19 AM
that would be great if a Chick-Fil-A came to Fargo. where did you hear that??

anyways, some Hector news...

Airline passenger traffic in November at Hector International Airport showed an increase as compared to the same month in 2008. In Nov 2009, the passenger enplanements were 27,145. This is an increase of 12.5% when compared to the Nov 2008 passenger enplanements of 24,126.

Year to date the airport has had 638,238 people which is an 8.1% increase over the 590,506 people from last year.

Dec 7, 2009, 11:27 PM
Two downtown housing projects on horizon
By: Helmut Schmidt, INFORUM

Fargo civic and business leaders say at least two downtown housing and retail projects are on the horizon.

While no plans have been released for review, both projects would be well-positioned to take advantage of North Dakota State University’s expansion into the old city center.

Longtime Fargo developers and restaurateurs Randy Thorson and Warren Ackley hope to build a retail and housing complex on the NP Avenue parking lot between Old Broadway and North Dakota State University’s Renaissance Hall.

Thorson said he and Ackley have worked on the possibilities for months, and have drawings for various sizes of projects.

He envisions a four-story building, with the top two floors dedicated to studio and one-bedroom apartments, with some two-bedroom units.

The bottom two floors would be a mix of retail and commercial, he said.

“We’re just going to wait a little while,” Thorson said. “We want to determine what size to build it.”

Thorson said any plan would have to go before the City Commission, and he wants to be sure the property isn’t needed for parking.

Thorson and Ackley own 40 percent of the parking lot, which is kept full by tenants and Old Broadway patrons. However, the city part of the lot is not fully used, Thorson said.

“I think this is something we’ll look at in the spring,” Thorson said.

‘A big, big, big win’

West of the city center and a block from NDSU’s Richard H. Barry Hall, the former Taco Bell at 1001 1st Ave. N. was sold and will probably be demolished soon to make way for another project.

Fargo assessor’s office files show the property is owned by Rodney G. Miller and Josh Brekke. They list a Fargo post office box as an address.

Jim Lokken, an area man who brokered the sale and identified himself as a partner in the project, said plans are not finalized.

“We’re not absolutely final, final with everything that’s going on there,” Lokken said.

He said the plans could “change substantially.”

No answer was received to several calls to Brekke seeking comment.

“That (a project on the Taco Bell site) is definitely in the works,” said City Commissioner Dave Piepkorn, who expects ground will be broken in the spring.

John Serati, former owner of the restaurant, said one plan considered by the new owners includes apartments with underground parking.

“I think it’s going to be a big, big, big win for the city. It looks good,” he said.

Depending on the size of the project, the developers of the Taco Bell site may need to buy land or air rights north of their lot.

Or, they could seek land to the west.

Pierce Printing President Rick Graalum told The Forum in a September interview that the firm has been visited by several groups of investors.

“There’s a whole lot of things going on downtown,” Piepkorn said. “It’s very exciting.”

Prime area

A project civic and business leaders fervently hope succeeds is the Kilbourne Group’s effort to reinvigorate a prime chunk of downtown: the U.S. Bank plaza and surface parking lot on Broadway between Second and Third avenues.

In August, Kilbourne Group obtained an 18-month option on the property, with an 18-month extension, giving it three years to fill the 48,000-square-foot space.

So far, the firm has little news to share.

“At this time, we actually do not have any plans drawn. We’ve been meeting with potential tenants and finding out different levels of interest,” said Mike Allmendinger, general manager for the Fargo-based firm.

When enough interest is found, “then we’ll go through some design development for the actual project,” he said.

“There’s a lot of moving parts there,” Piepkorn said of the Kilbourne project. “It will be developed, but it will be a matter of time to get everyone on the same page.”

Meanwhile, the Cityscapes building’s first-floor commercial area at 630 1st Ave. N. will soon have a 5,000-square-foot NDSU bookstore, said Paul Johnson, senior commercial Realtor for Cityscapes Development.

He said it should be done by the middle of this month. Another 2,000 square feet is being leased to NDSU campus security.

Johnson said conversations are under way with two restaurants, a fitness center and a retail store to fill the other 33,000 square feet of first-floor space.

“A grocery store we’d love to see … but we’re meeting dead ends so far,” Johnson said.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583

Dec 8, 2009, 1:34 AM
^ I work at the visitors center and from what I've heard the hotel was supposed to open in late september and the waterpark in March. so i would expect the waterpark to open sometime in the summer next year

The waterpark is not going to open until 2012 at the earliest. I attended a pre-opening event at the hotel and that question was brought up in the event and answered.

Dec 8, 2009, 8:21 PM
I heard about the Chick-Fil-A from a banker at Alerus Financial. I am trying to get more information on this. I will post when I do. :)

Dec 11, 2009, 7:02 PM
^What is this infatuation with crappy chain restaurants amongst forum members in Fargo? By the way I will be in Fargo in January, please name a couple of good places to eat, I was grossed out by the food at the new Mexican Village and at Golden Corral on my last visit.

Dec 12, 2009, 7:08 AM
I recently ate at Stella's downtown, I got the pizza and it was good, im sure everything else on the menu is amazing as well. Its a unique atmosphere, the owner is nice but when i was there the service was a bit lack luster. Im assuming it was because its fairly new. Price is in the $10-$25 range.


Dec 12, 2009, 9:45 PM
^What is this infatuation with crappy chain restaurants amongst forum members in Fargo? By the way I will be in Fargo in January, please name a couple of good places to eat, I was grossed out by the food at the new Mexican Village and at Golden Corral on my last visit.

Basies in the Ramada Plaza Suites Best steak in the State and possibly upper Midwest

John Alexanders - Moorhead downtown

Granite City

Doolittles Woodfire Grill

Lela Thai - Great cozy Thai food the soups are great here too

Old Chicago - Pizza

Juanos Mexican - Downtown Fargo

Hu Hot Mongolian Grill

Dec 12, 2009, 10:47 PM
Silver Moon - downtown fargo $$$

Usher's House - downtown moorhead $$$

Normans Steak House - west acres area fargo $$$

Montes - downtown fargo. i think it's $$$ but it could be $$

Old Broadway - downtown fargo $$

JL Beers - amazing burgers and wide beer selection $. downtown fargo

Drunken Noodle - downtown fargo and south fargo. $

Speak Easy - south moorhead $$

Sarello's - downtown moorhead $$$

Grazies - west acres area fargo $$

Santa Lucia - west acres area fargo $$

Toscana - downtown fargo $$$

Acapulco - west acres area fargo. not sure on prices

Casa Ramos - west acres area fargo. not sure on these prices either

Passage to India - heard good things. never been there. don't no prices

Dec 13, 2009, 3:21 AM
^ Thanks for the recommendations, I will definitely check a couple out.

Dec 17, 2009, 7:57 AM
^What is this infatuation with crappy chain restaurants amongst forum members in Fargo? By the way I will be in Fargo in January, please name a couple of good places to eat, I was grossed out by the food at the new Mexican Village and at Golden Corral on my last visit.

Golden Corral might be the worst chain I have ever ate at. rrskylar you should have said something, I would have warned you.

Dec 30, 2009, 6:18 AM
Cass County is the best place for jobs in the USA


Back to Newsroom

Fargo-Moorhead Area Named to 10 best places for jobs list

We looked at Money's top 100 Best Places to Live and found these lucky towns that also enjoy jobless rates far below the 10% national average.

1. Cass County, N.D.

The home of Fargo is not nearly as eerie as the Coen Brothers would have you believe. It's actually a bustling community with friendly neighbors and job opportunities.

"People do not move here because of the nightlife or the weather," explains Brian Walters, president of the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation. "The main selling points are good jobs, low unemployment and a welcoming community feeling." According to Walters, new job opportunities are luring more families to the northern state.

Cass County is the central hub for the surrounding area's health care, retail, manufacturing and educational needs. While the biggest employers have traditionally been concentrated in farm and construction equipment manufacturing, tech companies like Microsoft are now breaking ground alongside John Deere and Bobcat.

By Jessica Dickler


Dec 30, 2009, 6:19 AM
Also FM showed high rankings for men and women

Back to Newsroom

Fargo-Moorhead men, women receive high marks in health magazines

FARGO — Snow and cold may test the resolve of people living here, but Fargo received high marks for its livability and health of its residents.

The city ranks as the fourth best city for men and sixth best city for women in the latest issues of Men’s Health and Women’s Health magazines.

The magazines ranked 100 metropolitan areas across the country. To see the top 10 and bottom 10 cities for men and women, see below.

To determine which cities were the most male and female-friendly, the magazines’ editors factored in 35 key criteria, including air quality, employment, life expectancy, commute times, death rates from more than a half dozen causes, the propensity of men and women to become overweight, and the ratio of singles of each gender.

The rankings are part of the January/February issues of both magazines, which were released on newsstands last week.

Other than Fargo, there were six other cities receiving high marks for both men and women: Minneapolis, Madison, Wis., Salt Lake City, Utah, Lincoln, Neb., San Jose, Calif., and Seattle.

In its ranking for Fargo, Men’s Health said “few men … die of diabetes because of their penchant for running in races and marathons. Joining a pack in your town for five 30-minute runs a week has been shown to slash diabetes risk by 58 percent.”

Minneapolis, which ranked fifth for women in Women’s Health, has “one of the lowest breast-cancer death rates, which may be attributed to the fact that the city has the fourth-highest number of female joggers. Regular workouts may help prevent the disease by lowering levels of estrogen and other hormones, which have been linked to the formation of breast tumors. Aim for 45 minutes of exercise five days a week,” the magazine reports.

10 Best Cities for Men

1) Seattle, WA

2) Madison, WI

3.) San Jose, CA

4) Fargo, ND

5) Burlington, VT

6) Manchester, NH

7) Minneapolis, MN

8) Salt Lake City, UT

9) Lincoln, NE

10) Austin, TX

10 Worst Cities for Men

91) Toledo, OH

92) St. Petersburg, FL

93) Louisville, KY

94) Charleston, WV

95) Memphis, TN

96) St. Louis, MO

97) Detroit, MI

98) Jacksonville, FL

99) Philadelphia, PA

100) Birmingham, AL

10 Best Cities for Women

1) San Jose, CA

2) Madison, WI

3) Seattle, WA

4) Aurora, CO

5) Minneapolis, MN

6) Fargo, ND

7) San Francisco, CA

8) Lincoln, NE

9) Salt Lake City, UT

10) Colorado Springs, CO

10 Worst Cities for Women

91) New Orleans, LA

92) Baltimore, MD

93) Jacksonville, FL

94) Oklahoma City, OK

95) Toledo, OH

96) St. Louis, MO

97) Detroit, MI

98) Memphis, TN

99) Birmingham, AL

100) Philadelphia, PA


Jan 1, 2010, 7:45 PM

Found this neat shot of the skyline

Jan 2, 2010, 4:15 AM
Back to Newsroom

Fargo-Moorhead Tops Most Secure Places to Live in the U.S.

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- In this time of economic uncertainty, a safe and secure environment in which to live, work and raise a family has become an even greater priority to many Americans.

According to the sixth annual Most Secure U.S. Places to Live rankings from Farmers Insurance Group of Companies®, The Fargo (N.D.)-Moorhead (Minn.) area is the most secure mid-size U.S. city.

The rankings, compiled by database experts at www.bestplaces.net, took into consideration crime statistics, extreme weather, risk of natural disasters, housing depreciation, foreclosures, air quality, terrorist threats, environmental hazards, life expectancy and job loss numbers in 379 U.S. municipalities. The study divided the communities into three groups: large metropolitan areas, mid-size cities and small towns.

Read the entire article and view the entire list here http://ca.sys-con.com/node/1225561


Jan 2, 2010, 4:20 AM
From that above article here were the other mid-sized city results

Mid-Size Cities (150,000 - 500,000 residents)

1. Fargo, N.D.-Moorhead, Minn.
2. Olympia, Wash.
3. Sioux Falls, S.D.
4. Bellingham, Wash.
5. Rochester, Minn.
6. Kennewick-Richland-Pasco, Wash.
7. Lynchburg, Va.
8. St. Cloud, Minn.
9. Duluth, Minn.-Superior, Wis.
10. Las Cruces, N.M.
11. Bremerton-Silverdale, Wash.
12. Killeen-Temple, Texas
13. Charlottesville, Va.
14. Provo-Orem, Utah
15. Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Ark.
16. Green Bay, Wis.
17. Fort Collins-Loveland, Colo.
18. Boulder, Colo.
19. Yakima, Wash.
20. Yuma, Ariz.

View the complete lists at http://ca.sys-con.com/node/1225561

Jan 4, 2010, 4:54 PM
Published January 04 2010
Moorhead power plant ideas sought
By: Dave Olson, INFORUM

Mark Chekola believes Moorhead still has time to create a new life for the city’s old power plant.

He said an open house set for Wednesday aims at keeping the brainstorming alive by encouraging feedback on a report released late in 2009 by the Moorhead Power Plant Study Group.

Chekola, the chairman of the study group, said one conclusion reached after a year of gathering public input was that the city “sit tight” for up to two years while ideas are sought and discussed.

He said nothing has to be done right away because the city will need the plant as a backup source of power until about 2011.

Based on resident input, the study group concluded that people would like to see the building put to a public use, preferably as a gathering place for the community.

Chekola said some have suggested turning it into a venue for the performing arts, similar to the role Ralph’s Bar played in downtown Moorhead before the bar was torn down.

The study group has concluded that the city should hold off inviting any private proposals until all potential public uses have been explored, but Chekola acknowledged there are challenges to accomplishing the latter.

He said they include the shaky economic times and the lack of a key player coming forward who possesses the vision and resources to make a project happen.

Chekola said anyone who cannot attend Wednesday’s open house but wants to share comments can do so by going to the city’s Web site anytime after Wednesday.

The Web site can be found at www.cityofmoorhead.com.

If you go

•What: Open house hosted by the Moorhead Power Plant Study Group

•When: 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday

•Where: Moorhead Center Mall fountain area


Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555

Jan 14, 2010, 9:22 PM
Hector International Airport set a 2009 record with nearly 700,000 people.

Jan 16, 2010, 12:15 AM
I don't mean to spam on this forum and if this message is inappropriate, I apologize, but I think some folks here might be interested...

I was unable to find a forum that discussed a wide range of topics that effect this region, the Red River Valley... and at any given point this area has something to talk about ... it floods, Roger Maris, NDSU, natural resources, Christmas blizzards, the greatest people in America, big time concerts, tornadoes, crooks and crimes and tons more that many want to discuss but there is no place for any of us to go to... The Forum is a joke and can't even host a message forum that is in realtime, allows morons to pollute their forums, and delay posts for undetermined times and that is for the SELECT few articles they allow you to even comment on... is this the best we have out there? It made me sick...I was surprised I could not find a place where people of the Red River Valley congregated to share their personal experiences and debate the topics of the day.

So I started a message forum for people of the RRV to have a real-time discussion of news and issues and share their personal experiences.

It is literally brand new so any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance and if this post is inappropriate, delete as necessary...

Link to forum here. (http://f-m.proboards.com/)

Jan 19, 2010, 4:44 PM
Checked out Famous Dave's last week while passing through Fargo. Food wasn't half bad and actually well prepared. If you can get by the shtick and food hauled around on trash can lids the place wasn't bad.

Surprised by the amount of snow in Fargo, more than twice what Winnipeg has received so far.

Not at all impressed with the suburban sprawl in south Fargo, what's with that isolated new Wal-mart, it was laughable to see sidewalks nears it's perimeter.

Jan 19, 2010, 11:00 PM
Well sorry that your experiences have been less than pleasureable. We can't really control the amount of snow we have so sorry about that.

Believe it or not, there will be other buildings by that Wal-Mart. It's the FIRST part of a master planned development called the District at Fargo. There will be a couple other big box stores, restaurants, office buildings, and an outdoor mall complete with sidewalks.

Jan 20, 2010, 4:28 AM
^ What I tried to get across was that the new Walmart is fairly isolated in relation to anything residential and I'm not sure this bodes well for the future nor does Fargo planning seem to do much to stop needless sprawl. Some of the new downtown development in Fargo is really positive.

Jan 21, 2010, 3:28 AM
I enjoy running on the sidewalks by the new Walmart. :) On another note...Jalapeno's (Ramon Vazquez) is scheduled to open on Monday, January 25th. Panchero's second location will open in front of Walmart on 13th Avenue around March 2nd.

Jan 22, 2010, 4:14 AM
^ What I tried to get across was that the new Walmart is fairly isolated in relation to anything residential and I'm not sure this bodes well for the future nor does Fargo planning seem to do much to stop needless sprawl. Some of the new downtown development in Fargo is really positive.

umm nope, you must not have driven east or west on 52nd, you will find a LARGE concentration of Residential, everyone south of 32nd ave from Horace to the River will use that place and thats ALOT of people, Wal-Mart corp doesn't put stores in low traffic areas.

Jan 22, 2010, 3:27 PM
Well okay then, just out of curiosity have any of you checked out this city to the north?


Jan 23, 2010, 2:54 PM
Well okay then, just out of curiosity have any of you checked out this city to the north?


yep, and I'll head to Minneapolis anyday instead

Jan 24, 2010, 12:12 AM
yep, and I'll head to Minneapolis anyday instead
not looking to start another flame just plan curiosity rskyler don't respond to his responce

umm curious why that is? plane curious is it just the boarder being a hassle or more then that?

better shot of the pegcity lol

anyhow looks forward to your responce.

Jan 24, 2010, 5:56 AM
I think it means he likes Minneapolis over that option. People don't have to think like you.

Jan 24, 2010, 8:57 PM
Winnepeg is wonderful. Minneapolis is marvelous. Fargo is fantastic.

All have Walsprawl. We're doing our best to increase density in the urban core, and, frankly, are doing as well or better than any small city in North America on that count. Walmart, on the other hand, is still building in the exurbs. Glad you enjoyed the BBQ. Come back in a few years, when that part of town fills out.

Take a look at some of the planning: http://www.upfargo.com

Come again!

Jan 24, 2010, 10:58 PM
My question was to F-M who basically is the Fargo-Moorhead thread, it was a simple question and nothing more, some of you seem to have read more into it and that's too bad. I pass through and spend time (and $$$) in Fargo a few times a year, I enjoy my time in Fargo. If you don't like my comments on my observations too frickin bad.

Jan 24, 2010, 11:14 PM
I think it means he likes Minneapolis over that option. People don't have to think like you.


Jan 25, 2010, 8:10 AM
Fargo is pretty much set up to be sprawlville, Fargo sits on large clay deposits so any building of significant size requires multiple concrete caissons that go anywhere from 105-135 feet down to the glacial drift. The Fargodome for example sits on 230 caissons. Add in the fact that nothing but flatness surrounds the city for miles and well you get the drift. It is just cheaper to build out rather than up...

That said, Fargo has recently tried to encourage more density in new developments though.

Downtown is a gem though and it only keeps on getting better. NDSU's presence will only make it better.

Jan 26, 2010, 2:18 AM
The city on stilts makes it tough, but Fargo's downtown is doing incredibly well, especially considering the downturn everywhere else.

Jan 27, 2010, 1:36 AM
Fargo is pretty much set up to be sprawlville, Fargo sits on large clay deposits so any building of significant size requires multiple concrete caissons that go anywhere from 105-135 feet down to the glacial drift. The Fargodome for example sits on 230 caissons. Add in the fact that nothing but flatness surrounds the city for miles and well you get the drift. It is just cheaper to build out rather than up...

That said, Fargo has recently tried to encourage more density in new developments though.

Downtown is a gem though and it only keeps on getting better. NDSU's presence will only make it better.

Baton Rouge and New Orleans LA are worse, their ground sinks a couple inches a year, to a point were the sidewalks are lower than the house steps, its crazy at least our soil stays were put

Feb 5, 2010, 10:32 PM
Anyone else think Cass and Clay county (2-county MSA) will reach 200,000 by the next estimate in March?? Hopefully Wilkin and Richland counties won't shrink too much and the 4-county will go well over 220,000.

Feb 12, 2010, 11:43 PM
I hope it will but I doubt it will happen. I think it will be close but I don't think it will reach 200,000. However, the 4 county MSA i think will be over 220,000.

A.K.A. Men's clothing has moved from downtown to the strauss clothing strip mall. Good news for the downtown space though, a restaurant called the Spicy Pie, a pizza place and bar, will be moving in.

Feb 14, 2010, 3:33 PM
1. The Cityscapes apartments are lowering their rent (trying to finish filling them).

2. The Green Market moved into the spot on 4th St. and 1st Ave. where Mosaic used to be (Mosaic moved back into the Plains Art Museum). Green Market is now open on Saturday and is open at night (as a dinner place). It's small, but it was packed this weekend. Now we have another option downtown for dinner.

3. Nichole's pastry is renovating the space next door, has bust out a wall, and will be expanding. We may finally have a respectable breakfast spot (no insult to Fry'n Pan, but they don't hold a candle to the baked goods there).

Feb 16, 2010, 5:17 PM
They're starting to widen the 45th Street bridge over county drain 27. 45th Street from 26th Avenue to 52nd Avenue South will be six lanes. Construction will start in late april or early may.

Feb 17, 2010, 12:54 AM
New Dons carwash and Conv. store to be built and open this summer at 52nd South and 25th St, by Shanley

Feb 17, 2010, 3:21 AM
I cannot believe they are tearing down all those trees for a dons car wash

Feb 18, 2010, 1:54 AM
Fargo Planning Commission to decide on Hawthorne apartment project
By: Helmut Schmidt, INFORUM

Fargo planning commissioners will be asked to decide today if builder Al Carlson’s plan to put up 58 luxury apartments in the Hawthorne neighborhood is a good fit, or if the two five-story buildings should be modified to fit historic overlay rules.

The apartments would be built where the vacant MeritCare Island Park clinic stands at 370 and 390 6th Ave. S.

City planners say the five lots of the site should be removed from the Island Park Historic Overlay because they contribute nothing to the historic nature of area homes. The property is also surrounded by condos, a former hospital that’s now Prairie St. John’s, and flat-roofed apartments a few blocks to the west.

“The initial overlay was really geared to single-family homes,” planner Mark Williams said. “If you look at this piece of property and the area around it, it’s really non-contributing historically.”

Carlson hopes there is some room for compromise with neighbors.

“The first thing you learn in development is to try and be a good neighbor,” Carlson said Tuesday.

At the same time, “obviously we need to have a certain type of project to make it work,” he said.

In letters to the Planning Commission, neighborhood residents warn that the apartments will block views of Island Park, and cause parking and traffic problems. They also say the apartments will erode efforts to promote single-family housing.

“I would ask you to consider lowering the height of the proposed apartment building(s) so that the view of the Renaissance Condominium owners would not be obliterated,” wrote Janice Jackson.

Joanne Drenkow, president of the Fine Arts Club, said disregarding the historic overlay would be a bad precedent.

“We believe it is wrong to undermine the integrity of the entire historic district for this single project,” Drenkow said. “We believe this would open the door to a continual erosion of all the historic districts by cutting out parcels one by one.”

Jiwon Kim and Jaeha Lee predicted the “project will decrease the existing property value by increasing traffic, blocking views and raising privacy issues,” and the building’s materials and construction won’t blend with existing properties.

Carlson has built condominiums in the Hawthorne area at 404 8th St. S. and 385 7th Ave. S. (just south of the MeritCare clinic).

Carlson said the site is less of a single-family home area and more of a transitional zone with commercial properties and condos.

“We’ve done what we believe is due diligence,” Carlson said. “Have we convinced everyone they’ll love it? No.”


Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583


Feb 26, 2010, 10:52 PM
I think it means he likes Minneapolis over that option. People don't have to think like you.

What if I told you I live in Minneapolis and would actually prefer Fargo?

Feb 27, 2010, 6:52 AM
What if I told you I live in Minneapolis and would actually prefer Fargo?

Well then, my friend, you'd be someone who lives in Minneapolis but prefers Fargo.

Unless of course you were lying when you told me. Then you'd be a liar.

Mar 1, 2010, 2:09 AM
Does anyone know what the plan is for the US Bank Plaza on Broadway in downtown Fargo?

Mar 2, 2010, 1:51 PM
I know that Burghum has the rights to it, but I haven't heard about any concrete plans.

Mar 13, 2010, 3:58 AM
Any inkling to how bad the flood will be this year? Is it expected to go over the levees?

Mar 14, 2010, 4:35 PM
It looks like a big one is coming, but we'll just have to build the levees higher.

Mar 15, 2010, 4:30 AM
on another note, yuki hana is reopening in april.

Mar 16, 2010, 3:17 AM
on another note, yuki hana is reopening in april.

in the same location? Why did they close? I do know their food was good but the service was HORRIBLE, you could expect to get seated and then left alone for A LONG time

Mar 16, 2010, 1:27 PM
Wasabi and Kobe both have pretty good sushi, so Yuki Hana is going to come back to a very different restaurant scene for them. I think that the owners lost a lot of money in the downturn and tried to downsize to hold onto their Vegas restaurant. They must have rebounded financially.

Mar 16, 2010, 11:12 PM
Community profile: Fargo-Moorhead
By: Ryan Schuster, Prairie Business Magazine

As the floodwaters rose last spring in the Fargo-Moorhead area, everyone from executives to college students stood shoulder to shoulder filling and placing sand bags. International corporations, small businesses and community organizations also pitched in to lend their equipment and expertise to the effort.

At the height of the flood fight, Bobcat Company had more than 100 employees operating machines like skid-steer loaders and excavators 24 hours a day in shifts out of its West Fargo international headquarters, assisting the National Guard building dikes.

“We had everyone from vice presidents to managers operating machines all day long,” says Rich Goldsbury, president of Bobcat Americas. “Everyone in the community helped out. That just shows the level of community involvement we have. I knew we could all count on each other.”

The community’s coordinated and successful response to recent floods underscores the collaboration and innovation that has helped make the Fargo-Moorhead metropolitan area a vital and growing regional hub of economic activity. Plans are under way to provide the metro area with permanent flood protection.

While the national recession has led to layoffs and softening business conditions in some sectors of the local economy, Fargo has fared better than most metro areas nationwide. Moody’s Economy.com recently ranked Fargo-Moorhead as the top metro area in the nation in its economic vitality index.

The Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Cass and Clay counties, led the nation’s 372 largest metro areas with a preliminary not-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate of 4.0 percent in December.

“We have seen a pretty good pace of activity in the face of a really difficult recession,” says Brian Walters, president of the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation. “We have some companies that have been down and have had layoffs, but we also have some companies that are doing really well and are building new buildings.”


Regional health care giants MeritCare and Innovis Health are both considering future expansion plans and a number of construction projects in the Fargo area are still planned or under construction despite the economic downturn.

Fargo-based Swanson Health Products is building a $4.3 million, 70,125-square-foot addition to its Fargo facility and adding $2.4 million in new equipment.

A $16 million expansion project is under way at McNeilus Steel that includes construction on a 100,000-square-foot plant that will be the company’s second Fargo building when it is completed this fall.

Fargo Automation is also planning a $1.5 million expansion that will add 11,000 square feet.

Gate City Bank has also started a more than $4 million renovation of its downtown Fargo building that houses the company’s corporate headquarters and a branch office.


Fargo’s population has grown from 74,111 in the 1990 U.S. Census to a 2009 Census Bureau estimate of 97,650. Fargo’s Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Cass County in North Dakota and Clay County in Minnesota, now has a population of more than 200,000.

The Fargo metro area is not experiencing the fast growth of some cities in other parts of the country, but its sustained, consistent population and business growth have helped strengthen and diversify the local economy.

“We don’t have the peaks and valleys that other areas do,” says Tom Boyle, president of Moorhead, MN-based D&M Industries, a material supplier for residential and commercial construction projects. “We just have standard growth. Our growth and housing growth has been pretty predictable the last three to four years. Our housing market hasn’t gone the direction of the national housing market.”

Despite an increase in foreclosures, a number of layoffs and the effect of spring flooding, the Fargo-area housing market has remained stable. In 2009, total residential housing construction starts increased for the first time in four years in Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo and Dilworth, MN, according to the Home Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead. Single-family construction increased by 5 percent in the Fargo area in 2009. Existing home sales and home values also continued to rise in 2009.

“In the last decade, the average sales price of an existing home has gone up 58 percent,” Peggy Isakson, president of the Fargo-Moorhead Area Association of Realtors, said in a prepared statement.


The Fargo metro area has so far avoided much of the nation’s economic malaise, but it has not escaped completely unscathed.

A number of employers, including many in the hard-hit manufacturing sector, have laid off employees. Some larger companies like Bobcat have cut back on staffing despite the relative strength of local sales because of their heavy dependence on struggling national and international markets.

But many Fargo area companies have remained strong and some had their best years ever in 2009.

“The economy is still doing pretty darn well considering what has gone on in the rest of the country,” says Dean Hornbacher, who just retired as president of the Hornbacher’s supermarket chain, which has six locations in the Fargo-Moorhead area. “We haven’t been totally immune from the recession, but we are certainly insulated from it. Unemployment is up, but nowhere near where it is in rest of the country. I think some of our strength is because of the conservative values in this part of the country.”

Despite a challenging year, business at the West Acres Shopping Center in Fargo was only off by “low single digits from 2008” last year, according to Rusty Papachek, the mall’s general manager. Papachek says the flood and local job losses played a role in last year’s decline, but with solid sales and a vacancy rate of just 3 percent, things could clearly be worse.

“I’m thankful that we’re in Fargo,” he says. “We still have a lot of good things to talk about. We are not down nearly as much as other malls nationwide. Some places are down 15-20 percent from 2008. You only have to go as far as Minneapolis to see the impact on other places.”

Papachek says he is “cautiously optimistic” about the mall’s performance in 2010.


The local economy has continued to add new components, evolving from its traditional dependence on agriculture and manufacturing. The Fargo area is a regional retail center, hosts a number of major concerts and events at the FARGODOME and other venues and has become a transportation hub thanks to its location at the intersection of interstates 29 and 94 and improved air service.

Financial services, higher education, health care and technology have also been growth sectors.

Innovation has played a major role in the city’s rising technology influence. Great Plains Software, which was acquired by Microsoft in 2001, helped put Fargo on the map for technology. The North Dakota State University Research and Technology Park and tenant Phoenix International Corporation, a John Deere company, has also played a big role in raising the metro area’s profile in tech circles.

“It all starts with economic diversity,” says Cole Carley, president and CEO of the Fargo-Moorhead Convention & Visitors bureau. “One of the reasons our community has done better than many others is that we don’t have only one thing to hang our hat on about the economy, where if that one thing falls apart, the whole economy falters. The economy has a lot of angles to it. That is important to sustaining growth. We’ve never had boom growth here. But that’s fine because booms are inevitably followed by a bust.”

Fargo has recently been ranked as one of the nation’s best performing small cities and one of the best places to start a business.


Fargo’s Hector International Airport had a record 348,961 outbound passenger boardings in 2009, a 7.6 percent increase from the previous year.

American Eagle Airlines, an American Airlines affiliate, will begin scheduled service between Fargo and Chicago in April.

“American returning to our market provides for more competition with Delta and United,” says Shawn Dobberstein, executive director of the Municipal Airport Authority, which owns and operates Hector International Airport. “It lowers fares and provides more one-stop access to international destinations.”

Delta Air Lines will also add a second daily direct flight between Fargo and Salt Lake City starting in June.

But last month Frontier Airlines announced that it would drop its Fargo to Denver service in April. Frontier’s arrival in the Fargo market in May 2008 was lauded as an important step in lowering fares and increasing competition at the airport.

The Fargo airport is served by Delta, American, United Airlines and Allegiant Air. The airport offers roundtrip service to Minneapolis-St. Paul, Chicago, Denver, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix and Los Angeles.

While air service has improved dramatically in Fargo in recent years, many local business leaders say there is still room for improvement and better service is needed.

Dobberstein says he hopes the new American Airlines service will prove successful enough that it will help Fargo attract direct flights to American’s Dallas-Ft. Worth hub. He also is working on attempting to get non-stop Delta flights to Atlanta and United direct flights to Washington, D.C. or San Francisco have also been discussed. Getting more destinations from leisure travel company Allegiant is also a possibility.

“Air service is a critical component of a community’s success in retaining and attracting businesses to a region,” Dobberstein says. “Air service can be a barrier to entry for some businesses. It is a very important part of economic development.”


Fargo’s downtown has been transformed in recent years with a bevy of new construction and renovation projects that have retained downtown’s historic look and feel, while injecting a needed jolt of activity and energy to the city’s core.

The addition of new downtown shops, restaurants and night spots and more housing options have helped create a more vibrant business district. North Dakota State University’s new downtown campus, renovations of the Fargo Civic Center and Fargo Theatre and the Plains Art Museum’s new location have also added to downtown’s offerings and charm.

Downtown Fargo was named one of the nation’s 10 best neighborhoods last year by the American Planning Association, which lauded downtown’s historic character and successful revitalization efforts.

“As more and more people and businesses go downtown, it has been revitalized,” says Jim Parsons, vice president of the Chamber of Commerce of Fargo Moorhead. “There are more people living downtown. It is more livable now. There have been some modifications to the streets. Buildings are being spruced up. It is just a much better feel downtown.”

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Mar 16, 2010, 11:16 PM
Fargo-Moorhead: A growing health care hub
By: Ryan Schuster, Prairie Business Magazine

Like many parts of the country, health care is one of the Fargo-Moorhead area’s growth industries.

MeritCare and Innovis Health, the area’s two dominant health care providers, have experienced plenty of growth in recent years and both expect to see more expansions in the future.

“Health care is a key industry in the Fargo-Moorhead area,” says Kevin Pitzer, chief administrative officer of Innovis Health. “The area has become a regional center for health care delivery and specialty delivery. We expect to see continued growth. We have an expanding population and an aging population. Those people will have an expanded need for health care in the future.”

MeritCare merged with Sioux Falls-based Sanford Health late last year, leading to some concerns about local control of MeritCare’s Fargo-area operations, future employment and financial expenditures in Fargo.

But officials from the consolidated Sanford Health-MeritCare organization say they expect to see eventual growth, not contraction in the Fargo market. The new organization will maintain joint corporate offices in Sioux Falls and Fargo and will be governed by a board with equal numbers of Sanford and MeritCare representatives.

“The Sanford-MeritCare merger brings a lot of strength,” says Dennis Millirons, president of MeritCare Medical Center. “With 30 hospitals part of the merged system, we have strong regional operations in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska.”

Last year MeritCare opened its new 2801 Medical Building, the new home of its sleep disorders center and dialysis services. MeritCare officials are also working on a master facilities plan.

Innovis Health will open a new 18-bed inpatient surgical unit in its existing Fargo facility by expanding and reconfiguring its women and children’s floor. More patient rooms will also be added and the size of the neonadal intensive care unit will also double.

Officials initially considered adding a third four-story tower to its Fargo facility, but instead decided to delay the tower construction project for the time being. Innovis continues to work on long-range plans to expand its campus and 23 clinics.

“In looking at the economics and the financial market, we decided (the tower project) wasn’t the direction to go at this time,” says Pitzer of Innovis. “We were able to add half the space the additional tower would have given us by building out our current facility.”

Mar 16, 2010, 11:18 PM
Fargo-Moorhead: A strong higher education system
By: Ryan Schuster, Prairie Business Magazine

North Dakota State University, Minnesota State University Moorhead and Concordia College give the Fargo-Moorhead area a strong representation of higher education offerings for a community its size.

The three colleges are all part of the Tri-College University consortium that allows students at any of the three institutions to take classes at either of the other two colleges at no extra charge and without additional admission procedures.

North Dakota State University alone has approximately 14,000 students and more than 5,000 employees. Minnesota State University Moorhead, Concordia College and the Minnesota State Community & Technical College campus in Moorhead have a combined student population equal to one third of Moorhead’s total population.

“The educational resources that we have in this community, I’m not sure where you would go to replicate that,” says Roger Degerman, senior director for communications and marketing at Concordia College. “It is a powerhouse of talent and programs that are offered here. Higher education is incredibly important to the vibrancy of the community.”

NDSU’s national and regional profile has been growing as it becomes more of a player in research and continues its transition to Division I athletics. The university’s rapid growth and rising enrollment has had some unintended consequences as university leaders were forced to institute a hiring freeze in December that has since been lifted as they search for ways to keep up and perform long-term financial planning.

“We have had to slow down and understand where everything needs to be so we can get the money in the right places,” says Richard Hanson, NDSU’s interim president.

The university is also in the process of compiling and prioritizing a list of future capital projects.

MSUM recently completed a new campus strategic plan and this spring will finish its campus master facilities plan. The university is also in the process of administrative restructuring and reorganizing its processes to achieve greater efficiency and improved service.

Remarkably, MSUM has closed a $9 million budget gap without resorting to staff layoffs. The university imposed a hiring freeze a year and a half ago in anticipation of a state revenue shortfall cutting its funding appropriation. MSUM also completed a review of its academic, administrative and support programs that led to the phasing out of three academic programs, improved efficiency and the consolidation of some support units.

“The initiatives are designed to help secure our fiscal sustainability and our position as an exceptional university,” says Edna Mora Szymanski, MSUM’s president.

Concordia College has taken study abroad to the extreme. In the coming year the Lutheran college will have students studying in 25 foreign countries. Concordia also sports strong language programs.

“We really do global education on a grand scale,” Degerman says. “Our mission is preparing responsibly engaged global citizens. We prepare students to succeed whether you are going to live in Moorhead or Morocco.”

Concordia recently constructed a $32 million campus center. Future projects include searching for existing space or building a future home for the college of business that Concordia is launching and completing new laboratories and classrooms for its science program.

Mar 19, 2010, 7:56 PM
I saw we are getting a Panchero's Mexican Grill. Can't wait to try it! :)

Mar 19, 2010, 8:41 PM
Isn't there one in Moorhead already?

Mar 22, 2010, 11:17 PM
There is one in Moorhead. Its in way south Moorhead but not really centrally located. This new one will be next to the 13th Ave South Wal-Mart.

Mar 23, 2010, 8:53 PM
It's not in the news yet, probably due to flood coverage...but the 2009 Census estimates did come out yesterday and they did put the F-M metro (Cass and Clay counties only) over the 200K mark.

The precise number is 200,102:
Cass County, ND: 143,339
Clay County, MN: 56,763

Cass is up 16.41% since the 1990 Census, Clay is up 10.80%

Apr 8, 2010, 9:40 PM
Cool population stats. I'm glad we're over 200,000.

5 Guys Burgers and Fries and Pancheros are now open in Fargo

Apr 15, 2010, 2:35 PM
Furniture store to open in Moorhead Center Mall
By: Tracy Frank, INFORUM

The Moorhead Center Mall has a new anchor store.

Furniture For Less, a full-line furniture store based in West Fargo, is opening a 30,000-square-foot store in the Moorhead Center Mall this summer. Remodeling is starting immediately, said Jeremy Horst, mall leasing director.

“It’s great to see a locally owned and operated business expand in our community, create new jobs and extend their reach to better serve Moorhead customers,” Horst said.

The mall is working on relocation plans for The Classic and Foss Drug, Horst said. The Classic will move to a vacant space across the hall from its current location. Plans for Foss Drug have not been finalized, Horst said.

“Both local and national businesses have expressed interest in the Moorhead Center Mall, and the opening of the furniture store will help gain momentum for additional stores to open in the near future,” he said.

Much of the space Furniture For Less will occupy has been vacant for the past few years. With the economic recession, Horst said the majority of national retailers are either not expanding or are closing stores.

“We’ve been working really hard on finding new tenants,” Horst said. “To find a new tenant like Furniture For Less, it’s a big win.”

Mary Kay Fabre, who owns Merle Norman Cosmetics in the mall, is excited about the new store and the possibilities it will bring.

“They do a lot of advertising, so I think it will create a lot more awareness for the Moorhead Center Mall,” she said. “Once they’re in, then we’ll just have more and more stores that want to come into the mall.”

Furniture For Less had been looking for another location and wanted a bigger Moorhead presence when the mall approached company officials about being an anchor store, said Barry Sundlie, who owns Furniture For Less with Darrell Hansen and Tom Birrenkott.

“They gave us an opportunity we couldn’t pass up,” he said.

Having a second location will help the business with its buying capabilities, Sundlie said.

“We’ll be able to offer even more competitive prices than we already have,” he said.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526

Apr 19, 2010, 12:24 AM
Some good news from Hector


Airline passenger traffic in March at Hector International Airport showed an increase as compared to the same month in 2009. In March 2010, the passenger enplanements were 36,075. This is an increase of 24.5% when compared to the March 2009 passenger enplanements of 28,978.

Total passenger count for the month was 73,384, which is up 22.1% over the same period last year.


Apr 20, 2010, 12:39 AM
new sushi place coming to town. Ichiban Sushi Bar will be located in the Liberty Square mall thing. i think this is the fifth sushi place in town now. Sushi Time, Kobes, Wasabi, and the soon to be open Yuki Hana.

Apr 20, 2010, 10:09 PM
new sushi place coming to town. Ichiban Sushi Bar will be located in the Liberty Square mall thing. i think this is the fifth sushi place in town now. Sushi Time, Kobes, Wasabi, and the soon to be open Yuki Hana.

I wonder if that would have anything to do with the Ichiban Japanese steak house we have here in downtown Mpls.

Apr 29, 2010, 4:01 AM
Fargo has been recognized as one of the cities with the cleanest air in the country.


May 2, 2010, 1:25 AM
I was checking out the census website and the Fargo-Wahpeton CSA population is 222,433. Thats pretty cool!

May 9, 2010, 2:28 AM
new sushi place coming to town. Ichiban Sushi Bar will be located in the Liberty Square mall thing. i think this is the fifth sushi place in town now. Sushi Time, Kobes, Wasabi, and the soon to be open Yuki Hana.

Ive had Sushi all over and Wasabi downtown is the Best in Fargo, and right up there with other locations around.


May 18, 2010, 7:06 PM
there are three new stores coming to the west acres mall. apricot lane, the finish line, and forever 21 will be here by the end of the year. forever 21 is taking the old walgreens spot and the other small stores around it. i think that means maps, maps, and maps will have to leave

May 18, 2010, 11:19 PM
there are three new stores coming to the west acres mall. apricot lane, the finish line, and forever 21 will be here by the end of the year. forever 21 is taking the old walgreens spot and the other small stores around it. i think that means maps, maps, and maps will have to leave

Forever 21 is coming to West Acres?? That's pretty nice. It's a fairly classy store.

May 31, 2010, 1:15 AM
Looks like another Jimmy John's is opening in South Fargo. In the strip mall at the corner of 25th/32nd. The one with Moe's and Starbuck's by Sunmart.

Jun 9, 2010, 3:16 PM
Sanford-Meritcare is starting to make some big waves in Fargo...

Sanford-MeritCare, YMCA announce plans for $12 million fitness center in Urban Plains

FARGO – Sanford Health-MeritCare and the YMCA of Cass and Clay Counties announced a partnership today to build a 78,000-square-foot fitness and wellness center in Fargo’s Urban Plains development at 5225 31st Ave. S.

The project's $12 million cost will be split evenly between the two partners, according to a joint news release.

The facility will employ 25 to 30 people and is projected to serve 3,500 members.

“Fitness is clearly a key component of helping people stay healthy. By partnering with the YMCA, we are proud to be able to work together to inspire people to improve their quality of life. This will be one of the premier facilities of its kind in the region and serves the entire greater Fargo-Moorhead area,” Dennis Millirons, president of MeritCare Medical Center, stated in the news release.