Here is your InForum Minute morning briefing for Friday, Nov. 19.



Fargo School Board member Jennifer Benson
Fargo School Board member Jennifer Benson

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FARGO — Fargo School Board member Jennifer Benson is at risk of being censured once again as other members allege that her efforts to lobby state legislators on pandemic issues violated the board's policies.

On Nov. 11, Benson began lobbying North Dakota lawmakers by sending them emails in an attempt to sway votes on issues she personally believed in, according to emails provided to The Forum.

Although the Fargo School Board has not taken stances on the issues that Benson addressed in her emails, board protocol states that to publicly voice differing and personal opinions as a board member goes against policy, said Board President Rebecca Knutson. Full story here.

Minnesota unemployment rate drops to pre-pandemic levels

Electrician apprentice Ndihoreye Soliba wires a circuit Monday, Feb. 8, 2021, at the Joint Apprenticeship Training Center in Fargo.  Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
Electrician apprentice Ndihoreye Soliba wires a circuit Monday, Feb. 8, 2021, at the Joint Apprenticeship Training Center in Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

ST. PAUL — Minnesota's unemployment rate reached a low in October 2021 not seen since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic in March 2020, the state's economic development agency reported Thursday, Nov. 18.

The state's unemployment rate hit 3.5% in October, down two-tenths of a percent from September, according to the Department of Employment and Economic Development's monthly workforce participation figures. The national unemployment rate stands at 4.6%. Full story here.

Moorhead lifts mandatory water use restrictions

MOORHEAD — Moorhead Public Service has rescinded mandatory water use restrictions for Moorhead and Dilworth residents.

The change, announced Thursday, Nov. 18, reflects a recovery from extremely dry summer conditions. MPS will continue with voluntary watering restrictions, noting the Red River Watershed remains abnormally dry, and water conservation efforts are still needed.

The state Department of Natural Resources has revised the watershed's drought status as being in a Drought Watch Phase, characterized as a moderate drought.

Long-serving Cass County state's attorney announces plans to retire

Birch Burdick speaks during a news conference held at the Fargo Police Department in 2018 regarding a fatal stabbing. 
Dave Olson / The Forum
Birch Burdick speaks during a news conference held at the Fargo Police Department in 2018 regarding a fatal stabbing. Dave Olson / The Forum

FARGO — Birch Burdick, who has been the Cass County state's attorney for more than two decades, has announced he will retire on Dec. 31, 2022, when his latest term expires.

Burdick informed Cass County commissioners of his decision in a letter dated Nov. 17. In the letter, he states he will be 67 years old in late 2022 when he plans to step down from the position he was first elected to in 1998. Full story here.

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