5 things to know today: Deleted emails, University address, Wholestone Farms, Hurricane damage, Sneak peek
A select rundown of stories found on InForum.
1. After months of inaction, North Dakota tech agency hires private firm to help recover deleted AG emails
Six months after the January deletion of former Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem’s email account, North Dakota information technology officials assured state leaders there was no way the erased messages could be recovered.
But an investigation released this week by State Auditor Josh Gallion and follow-up reporting by Forum News Service reveal the North Dakota Information Technology Department (ITD) did not bring in any outside firms to help recoup Stenehjem’s emails despite public pressure.
That changed Thursday, Sept. 29, when ITD Chief Technology Officer Duane Schell said the department has begun the process of hiring private consulting firm Planet Technologies to help with email salvage efforts.
Schell said miscommunication with the attorney general’s office caused ITD to delay in contracting with an outside company, but critics suspect the state’s sluggish search for the lost emails suggests a deliberate attempt to conceal information.
ITD officials remain firm in their belief that the deleted data cannot be reclaimed, Schell said.
2. NDSU President Cook cites challenges, opportunities in 1st State of University address
North Dakota State University President David Cook gave a message filled with hope and optimism but peppered it with concerns during his inauguration and first State of the University address.
Cook was installed as the school’s 15th president during the 10 a.m. ceremony at Festival Concert Hall on campus on Friday, Sept. 30.
He succeeds former president Dean Bresciani, whose contract was not renewed in 2021 and whose last day as president was in May, after 12 years on the job.
Cook's nearly 30-minute address was bookended by standing ovations from those in attendance.
He began with a shout-out to those who’ve helped him get his footing thus far, and to people in the audience and those watching online, including family, friends, his mom and dad and his mother-in-law.
“I do know I have a newborn relative who I got a photo of an hour ago dressed in a Bison onesie, so I kind of feel like I'm doing my part already,” he said, with a laugh.
Cook outlined multiple challenges relating to enrollment on campus, which has slid to its lowest level in 15 years, a trend seen throughout the Midwest due in part to population and demographic changes.
3. Aerial video shows site of Wholestone Farms' proposed pork processing plant
The controversy over Wholestone Farms plans to build a pork processing plant begins with geography.
The major subtopics of odor, water quality, traffic, labor supply and economics all relate to location.
It can be hard to visualize through descriptions, or even photographs, from the ground.
Changing the perspective can change the impression and technology gives us the ability to do that without growing wings or getting in an airplane.
Forum News Service produced this drone video to give readers some context of the where.
4. Area snowbirds who winter in southwest Florida check on hurricane damaged homes
There are many people from Fargo-Moorhead who spend the winter in Florida, and now many are watching as news reports show widespread devastation at their home away from home.
"I've just talked to a few now who are on their way down," Roger Reierson said.
Like many, Reierson, a Fargo business owner, has watched the incredible damage Hurricane Ian left behind. But for Reierson, and so many others, it hits home.
"Pictures are coming in of cars wiped away, and shoved right into the water. Boats coming up either on roads, or docks, or gone," Reierson said.
He and many others from the community call Bonita Springs home in the winter.
"It will be years. it will be years (to repair the damage). We are going to stay where we are. We love it.," Reierson said.
5. 'This is a love letter to the Midwest', WDAY gets a sneak peak inside Molly Yeh's new restaurant
A Food Network star living in East Grand Forks has spent most of 2022 transforming one of the city's most iconic bars into a new space, while keeping it's Midwestern charm.
"The design process started a year ago, and then the build out started in January," owner Molly Yeh said.
"So excited to be able to showcase them in this space and just have it be this Midwest wonderland of food," she said.
The restaurant opens at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1 for breakfast and lunch.