1. Cocaine rumors defamation lawsuit

A jury trial is underway in a defamation lawsuit brought by a West Fargo man against the Oxbow Golf Club, alleging the country club and others damaged his reputation by spreading false rumors that he engaged in “rampant cocaine use” at the club.

Aaron Greterman, a real estate agent, filed the suit in January 2018 against the club and its board members Bill Short, of Fargo, Britton Mattson and David Campbell, both of Horace, N.D., and Scott Differding and Roger Campbell, both of Oxbow, N.D.

Greterman is seeking more than $50,000 in damages, alleging the defendants slandered his name by claiming he used cocaine and, by defaming him, hurt him economically, court papers show.

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2. Noor

Former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor leaves the Hennepin County Government Center after the first day of his trial in Minneapolis in April. Evan Frost / MPR News
Former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor leaves the Hennepin County Government Center after the first day of his trial in Minneapolis in April. Evan Frost / MPR News

A former Minneapolis police officer sentenced to 12 1/2 years in prison for fatally shooting a 911 caller in July 2017 is now an inmate at the North Dakota State Penitentiary in Bismarck, according to online prison records.

Exactly when the former officer, 33-year-old Mohamed Noor, was transferred to the Bismarck prison is not known. The Star Tribune reports that officials with the Minnesota Department of Corrections said the transfer happened sometime late last week due to safety concerns.

The shooting happened when Noor was responding to a 911 call placed by 40-year-old Justine Ruszczyk Damond. She was unarmed and reporting a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her Minneapolis home on July 15, 2017.

The Star Tribune reported Noor was previously held in Minnesota's Oak Park Heights prison.

Noor's estimated release date is Aug. 30, 2027, according to the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation website.

3. Diversion Authority appeal

The Metro Flood Diversion Authority is appealing a Minnesota water board's refusal to issue a permit for the $2.75 billion diversion project.

The appeal was filed in a complaint with the Minnesota District Court in Becker County, diversion officials announced yesterday, and contends the watershed board violated Minnesota law.

The legal action comes after a divided Buffalo-Red River Watershed District board, based in Barnesville, voted 4 to 2 to deny a proposed permit and conditions. The denial followed six months of negotiations with diversion officials aimed at resolving concerns in order to win permit approval.

In December, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources granted a permit to enable construction of a dam across the Red River, south of the Fargo-Moorhead, to temporarily store water during extreme floods to enable a controlled release of water through the diversion channel, which would bypass the metro area.

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4. FAR-PHX

Frontier Airlines announced Tuesday it will begin offering nonstop service from Fargo to Phoenix Nov. 14, 2019. The low-cost carrier will offer flights Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

To celebrate, Frontier is offering an intro fair as low as $59 available Tuesdays and Thursdays. Fares must be purchased by 11:49 p.m. Wednesday, July 17, for nonstop travel.

Travel is valid Nov. 14, 2019, through Feb. 12, 2020. The following blackout dates apply: Nov. 22 through Dec. 2, 2019, Dec. 20, 2019 through Jan. 6, 2020, and Jan. 17 through Jan. 20, 2020. Fares are one way and do not require roundtrip purchase.

5. Skywatchers

This July 20, 1969, photo provided by NASA shows Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong on the lunar surface. Apollo 11 astronauts trained on Earth to take individual photographs in succession in order to create a series of frames that could be assembled into panoramic images. This frame from Aldrin's panorama of the Apollo 11 landing site is the only good picture of mission commander Neil Armstrong on the lunar surface. Special to The Forum
This July 20, 1969, photo provided by NASA shows Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong on the lunar surface. Apollo 11 astronauts trained on Earth to take individual photographs in succession in order to create a series of frames that could be assembled into panoramic images. This frame from Aldrin's panorama of the Apollo 11 landing site is the only good picture of mission commander Neil Armstrong on the lunar surface. Special to The Forum

Juan Cabanela was only a few months old when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed the Apollo 11 lunar module on the surface of the moon on July 20, 1969.

The magic of that moment helped fuel subsequent moon missions into the 1970s, and Cabanela, now a professor of physics and astronomy at Minnesota State University Moorhead, said the initial moon landing helped set the trajectory for his own career in science.

"You can imagine growing up in that world. We thought it would be a short time and we would be all over space," Cabanela said.

But while NASA's moon missions — there were six human-crewed landings between 1969 and 1972 — focused attention on space, space travel in general did not take off in a major way after the Apollo program ended.

"I think what happened is, we realized that next step was a huge one," Cabanela said.

More from The Forum's David Olson