5 things to know today: Downtown plan, Parks projects, NDSU president, Finding formula, Candidate panel

A select rundown of stories found on InForum.

Craig Thompson drives his first Uber fare May 14, 2015, through downtown Fargo on the company's first day of operation there.
Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
We are part of The Trust Project.

1. Fargo leaders advance downtown plan for taxi, ride-share pickup areas

A tentative plan to create five designated cab and ride-share pickup areas in downtown Fargo near Broadway squeaked by the City Commission on Monday night, May 16.

In the works since last December, the plan would allow cabs to park in the designated areas and provide easier access for Uber and Lyft drivers to pick up downtown bar and restaurant patrons from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. Thursday nights through early Sunday mornings.

On-street parking would be restricted in the areas during those times.

The vote to have city police finish planning and developing the new law, which would require ordinance changes, was 3-2.

Voting for approval were Mayor Tim Mahoney and Commissioners Arlette Preston and John Strand.


Commissioners Dave Piepkorn and Tony Gehrig were opposed.

Read more from The Forum's Barry Amundson

2. Minnesota Senate approves $159 million plan for clean water, parks, heritage projects

Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment
Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment

The Minnesota Senate on Tuesday, May 17, voted to spend $159 million from the state's Legacy Amendment funds to pay for clean water, park, trail and outdoor heritage projects around the state.

On a 55-9 vote, the chamber approved the slate of projects based on recommendations from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council. The panel makes annual recommendations to lawmakers about how to spend the state outdoor heritage, clean water, parks and trails, and arts and heritage fund dollars, and this year, members received more than 314 million requests.

Minnesota voters in 2008 approved a constitutional amendment protecting the state's clean drinking water, wildlife, and natural resources and supporting and preserving arts and cultural heritage. In 2009, the state adopted a three-eighths of one percent sales tax to collect money for each of those efforts.

Read more from Forum News Service's Dana Ferguson

3. NDSU welcomes David Cook, the university's 15th president

North Dakota State University President David Cook holds a press conference on his first day in office Tuesday, May 17, 2022, outside Old Main, Fargo.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum

David Cook spent his first full day as North Dakota State University’s 15th president meeting and talking with administrative staff and taking questions from the news media.


Cook gathered with reporters outside the Old Main administration building on campus on Tuesday, May 17, and said he was excited to have received text messages from both Gov. Doug Burgum and University of North Dakota President Andrew Armacost on his first day.

“That’s pretty cool that the governor cares about higher ed, cares about NDSU. I'm pretty sure he said ‘Go Bison’ in there,” Cook said.

Cook said he’s already spoken several times with Armacost about ideas for collaboration.

“Whether that's academic programs, whether that's research … how we work together across the state, how we work together with the Legislature, there's going to be great opportunity there,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Cook met with his cabinet, including Provost Margaret Fitzgerald and vice presidents.

“It's been a fun, overwhelming first day,” he said.

The State Board of Higher Education voted unanimously to hire Cook in February from a list of three finalists for the job.

Read more from The Forum's Robin Huebner


4. On the hunt for formula: Empty store shelves leave parents scrambling

Near empty baby formula shelves at a Fargo big box store.
Ben Morris / WDAY News

For Anders and Allison Nygren, keeping their son, Leighton, fed should not be this hard.

But a shortage of baby formula that has hit the nation has the couple concerned.

“The shortage really didn't hit Rochester until about three, four weeks ago," Anders Nygren said. "You walk in and there's absolutely nothing on the shelves. You then start searching online and everything says sold out, I mean, it’s not a pleasant experience.”

The struggles are not limited to Rochester or even Minnesota. The shortage began after the Food and Drug Administration cited unsafe practices committed by Abbott Nutrition Laboratories, where baby formula products resulted in the deaths of two infants due to a rare bacterial illness. Since the FDA shut down production at the Abbott plant where the illness was traced back to, formula shortages have become all too common on store shelves.

While stores carrying baby formula continue to be bare across the country, families with infants have turned to community pages on social media platforms to assist one another in finding and providing formula to each other when they can.

The Nygrens, of Rochester, are one of those couples.

Read more from Forum News Service's Theodore Tollefson

5. West Fargo School Board candidates answer questions at candidate panel

West Fargo School Board Candidates spoke to voters at a panel sponsored by the League of Women Voters Red River Valley, Tuesday, May 17. From left, Jon Erickson, Cole Davidson, Jessica Jackson, Mark Staples, Jessica Jones and Jim Jonas.
Wendy Reuer/The Forum

Six of the seven West Fargo School Board candidates who will vie for four open seats in the June 14 election were open to answering questions, Tuesday, May 17.

League of Women Voters Red River Valley sponsored a candidate panel Tuesday evening. Incumbents Jon Erickson, Jessica Jackson and Jim Jonas, as well as appointed member Mark Staples, were joined by newcomers Cole Davidson and Jessica Jones. Candidate Scott Daniel Kasprick did not attend.

Each candidate was given about 1 minute to answer submitted questions from audience members. The questions ranged from specific candidate ideals to those that touched on national issues such as policies addressing transgender students, student behaviors and teacher retention policies.

Davidson was raised on a ranch in western North Dakota and worked in higher education at North Dakota State University. He now works in sales for a large corporation. Davidson said he is running for his family, including his children who are students in the district. He said he sees controversial social ideologies being promoted in schools and he is concerned distance learning is a detriment to learning. Davidson said he doesn't like what he is seeing in schools across the nation.

Read more from The Forum's Wendy Reuer

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of "staff." Often, the "staff" byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.
What to read next
The North Dakota Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.
Follow this Fargo-Moorhead news and weather podcast on Apple, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.
A select rundown of stories found on InForum.
Smoke bombs and crowd control tactics were employed as protesters took to the streets in an unpermitted protest that police say challenged their ability to keep everyone safe.