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5 things to know today: Snow storm, Homeless camps, Employee bonuses, Worker shortage, Speaking out

A select rundown of stories found on InForum.

Dave Zibolski
Fargo Chief of Police Dave Zibolski. Chris Flynn / The Forum

1. Light snow, extreme cold to follow crippling blizzard in Red River Valley

Light snow is expected Tuesday, Dec. 28, after a post-Christmas blizzard crippled the Red River Valley and stranded motorists, but what residents should watch out for the rest of the week is extremely cold weather, meteorologists said.

The blizzard that started Sunday dropped almost a foot of snow in parts of southeast North Dakota. The weather system left the state by early Monday afternoon, but piles of snow, ice and gusting winds still caused troubles for motorists, particularly on highways and interstates.

The Red River Valley and parts of south-central North Dakota still were under no-travel advisories in effect as of mid-Monday. The North Dakota Department of Transportation shut down Interstate 94 from Bismarck to Fargo, as well as Interstate 29 from Grand Forks to the South Dakota border.

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Read more from The Forum's April Baumgarten

2. After influx of citizen complaints, Fargo seeks solution to homeless camps along Red River

Tent along the Red River
This tent, discovered by Fargo police in late November 2021, was part of a homeless encampment along the Red River.
Special to The Forum


Homeless people have lived along the Red River for longer than Jillian Gould has been an outreach coordinator, but this past summer tents and trash caught the public’s attention.

“What is unique this year as far as the camps along the river is we had a lot of complaints from people,” said Gould, who's worked with the homeless in the Harm Reduction Division of Fargo Cass Public Health for six years.

During a downtown public meeting this month, Fargo Police Sgt. Brent Halverson said the groups encamped along the Red River — from South Terrace North to south of Main Avenue — were larger than before.

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On Nov. 24 many of the camps were taken down, personal items were stored and trash that filled two garbage trucks was hauled away, Halverson said.

Read more from The Forum's C.S. Hagen

3. Fargo rewards more than 900 employees with $1,000 bonuses

commissioner_john strand.jpg
Fargo City Commissioner John Strand / Special to The Forum

City employees here received a late Christmas present on Monday night, Dec. 27.

With Fargo city commissioners praising the work of the city staff during the pandemic of the past 21 months, they voted 4-1 to approve $943,250 in bonuses to 967 full-time and part-time employees.

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City Commissioner John Strand said his elected board has been discussing with administrators and Mayor Tim Mahoney what they could do to show their appreciation.

"We talked about what do good employers do to tell their employees they really care for them, respect them, honor them and appreciate them," Strand said. "Life is more than a paycheck. It's a culture. It's feeling like you fit in. It's being appreciated. It's being valued.

Read more from The Forum's Barry Amundson

4. Childcare worker, teacher shortage ripples across economy

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Kerissa Graden, child care coordinator for Lake Superior School District, plays with Declan Stewart at Little Mariners Daycare and Preschool in Silver Bay, Minnesota, on Dec. 14, 2021. Little Mariners opened in January as the first-ever child care center in Silver Bay.
Steve Kuchera / Duluth News Tribune

Before this year, a child care center was a new concept for Silver Bay.

The town of 1,700 about 55 north of Duluth, Minnesota, had one or two home daycares, and once had a daycare in a church basement. Parents largely depended on their family members or friends to take care of their children so they could go to work.

Parents now have another option. Little Mariners Child Care Center opened in January. The center has the licensed capacity to care for 15 infants, 21 toddlers and 16 preschoolers. The new center dramatically reduced local demand and was a welcome reprieve as COVID-19 roiled the industry.

But even the pandemic’s grip on the economy loosens, a new challenge is cropping up for child care professionals at the new facility, and for teachers, across the region: an apparent labor shortage.

Read more

5. Moorhead couple, natives of Ethiopia, speak out against civil war in their home country

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Feyissa Wagesso and Sofia Weyo stand in front of their Moorhead home showing a pose of defiance against the events happening in their native Ethiopia. They both have siblings and extended family living there and are worried for their safety during the current civil war.
David Samson/Forum Communications Co.

Natives of Ethiopia living in Fargo-Moorhead are standing up and speaking out for family members and friends enduring a devastating ethnic civil war in their homeland.

Feyissa Wagesso, 49, and his wife, Sofia Weyo, 41, of Moorhead, both have siblings and extended family living in the east African nation, which has been embroiled in fierce fighting for more than a year.

“It is a horrifying story of what’s going on,” Feyissa said.

Both had dealt with turmoil there before but nothing like what’s happening now. The worst of the violence is occurring in the Tigray region in far northern Ethiopia.

Read more from The Forum's Robin Huebner

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A select rundown of stories found on InForum.