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5 things to know today: Deleted emails, University address, Wholestone Farms, Hurricane damage, Sneak peek

A select rundown of stories found on InForum.

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Forum file photo
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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.

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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.

Read more from Forum News Service's Jeremy Turley

2. NDSU President Cook cites challenges, opportunities in 1st State of University address

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North Dakota State University President David Cook delivers his State of the University address during his inauguration as NDSU’s 15th president Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, in Fargo.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum

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.

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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.

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Read more from The Forum's Robin Huebner

3. Aerial video shows site of Wholestone Farms' proposed pork processing plant

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Aerial view of the Wholestone Farms customer butcher shop under construction near Benson Road exit on Interstate 229 in Sioux Falls.
Forum News Service

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.

Read more from Forum News Service's Patrick Lalley

4. Area snowbirds who winter in southwest Florida check on hurricane damaged homes

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The devastation of Hurricane Ian has left many snowbirds in the Fargo area with destroyed neighborhoods and homes where they spend the winter months.
Contributred / Lee County Sheriff's Office

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.

Watch the full story from WDAY's Kevin Wallevand

5. 'This is a love letter to the Midwest', WDAY gets a sneak peak inside Molly Yeh's new restaurant

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Christopher Vondracek / Forum News Service

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.

Watch the full story from WDAY News

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.
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A select rundown of stories found on InForum.
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