5 things to know today: Police shooting, COVID numbers, THC edibles, Underpass opening, Spirits remain
A select rundown of stories found on InForum.
1. Jamestown man dies after he's shot by Fargo police officer
A Fargo police officer fatally shot a man after officers were called to a garage at an apartment complex on Friday, July 8.
Policed received a report about 8:07 a.m. regarding individuals slumped over in a vehicle in the garage near the 3400 block of 15th Avenue South and that the windshield had a bullethole in it, according to Fargo Police Chief David Zibolski.
Officers arrived at about 8:13 a.m., and a couple of minutes later there was a report of shots fired and a foot pursuit.
Zibolski said the officers had encountered a van in the garage that had three people inside, at which point the van quickly accelerated and left the garage.
2. Highly contagious strains spark highest summer COVID numbers yet
The coronavirus pandemic continues to simmer through summer as infections are heightened by a new omicron variant that is five times more infectious than the original strain of the virus.
The North Dakota Department of Health in its most recent weekly summary reported 1,583 new cases and 93 COVID-19 hospital admissions for the week ending Thursday, July 7.
On July 8, 2021, there were 96 new cases in the week prior, and on July 2, 2020, there were 433 new cases in the week prior, according to the Department of Health website.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now estimate that the BA.5 omicron variant accounts for more than half of cases — a sharp increase for an upstart variant that first was documented in the United States in June.
Dr. Avish Nagpal, the chief infectious disease specialist at Sanford Health, cautioned that publicly reported cases are grossly undercounted because many people do not bother to get tested because of mild symptoms or use at-home tests, which are not officially tallied.
“I think we are optimistic about the present, and the future is unknown,” Nagpal said. “We’ve come a long way, and we still have a long way to go.”
Sanford no longer maintains a COVID-19 unit but uses isolation rooms for people infected with the coronavirus. Inpatient beds filled with COVID-19 patients recently have been running between five and 10 per day — but only two or three of those were admitted because of COVID-19.
3. THC edibles are legal in Minnesota, but recreational pot isn't. How does that work?
Food and beverages containing THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis that gets users high, are now legal in Minnesota under a new law regulating hemp.
The law that went into effect July 1 took many Minnesotans by surprise , including some of the legislators who voted in its favor. But what exactly does it mean?
While anyone 21 or older can buy products that will get them “high” in Minnesota, it’s far from the legalization of recreational marijuana, which remains a long shot from gaining ground in the Minnesota Legislature. Technically, the bill Gov. Tim Walz signed into law provides new regulations for hemp products, including those containing psychoactive THC, short for tetrahydrocannabinol.
Consumable products containing less than 5 milligrams of THC per serving and 50 milligrams per package can now be sold in Minnesota, providing they are derived from hemp, which must contain less than 0.3% THC under federal law. Any cannabis containing more than that level is considered marijuana, which is still illegal nationally.
It’s worth noting that a form of THC called delta-8 had already been legal in Minnesota under federal legislation passed in 2018. A key point of Minnesota’s new law, which regulates hemp products, also made the more potent delta-9 THC legal in the state so long as it is derived from hemp.
4. Moorhead to celebrate railroad underpass opening July 18
After almost five years, the long-awaited Moorhead railroad underpass on Southeast Main Avenue by Moorhead High School is scheduled to open.
With construction starting back in the fall of 2018, traffic is expected to begin flowing on the $51 million underpass Friday, July 22.
To mark the occasion, the city of Moorhead is planning a celebration with a ribbon cutting, live music and food at 4 p.m. on Monday, July 18.
Mayor Shelly Carlson, other City Council members and neighborhood residents will be on hand for the event.
The remarks and ribbon cutting begin at 4 p.m., with music to follow. Food will be available for the first 400 guests, with parking available in the nearby high school parking lot.
The project has had its share of setbacks over the years, including instability issues with the temporary rail tracks, soil quality concerns, redesigns, working hour challenges, the pandemic and working with two railroad companies.
Work has steadily, but slowly continued on what is the largest public transportation project in Moorhead's history.
As of Thursday, July 7, 90% of the paving work has been completed under the two new railroad bridges for the Burlington Northern and Otter Tail Valley Railroad trains which opened last year. The paving under the underpass is expected to be completed by next Friday, July 15.
5. 'Their spirits are still here': Tribe, state to search for remains at North Dakota boarding school
On a cloudy October morning, Denise Lajimodiere walked through brambles and tall grass with her eyes to the ground.
Consulting a photo from the 1980s, the scholar scanned the prairie terrain near the Fort Totten State Historic Site for small, tan boulders that could mark graves long hidden from view.
After stumbling across one, she grabbed a plastic baggie of tobacco from her coat pocket, held a pinch tight in her left fist and said a prayer for the bodies that may have been buried under her feet more than a century ago.
Historic site employees believe the boulders could be the vestiges of a cemetery for U.S. soldiers buried in the mid-1800s. Lajimodiere thinks the gravesite may also contain the remains of Native American children who died while attending a boarding school at the former military post.
“We know their spirits are still here,” Lajimodiere said solemnly while walking the site on the Spirit Lake Reservation in northeast North Dakota.
Following last year’s discovery of graves likely belonging to Indigenous children who attended Canadian boarding schools, the United States has begun to reckon with the idea that the remains of students could be buried in unmarked graves near former American boarding schools.