5 things to know today: School board, UND lawsuit, Joint powers, Checkpoint scanner, Press dismantled

A select rundown of stories found on InForum.

Fargo School Board 2-21-2020
The Fargo School Board met Friday, Feb. 21, to give its final approval to a new two-year contract with the district's teachers. C.S. Hagen / The Forum

1. North Dakota School Board Association withdraws from national organization over Biden letter

The North Dakota School Board Association has decided to withdraw from the National School Board Association in the wake of a controversial letter the national group issued late last year.

The North Dakota School Board Association alerted its membership to the change in a letter of its own that was recently sent to school board members, superintendents and school business managers.

The move was taken, according to the North Dakota association, after the national association sent a letter in September to President Joe Biden advocating for federal intervention in confrontations that were occurring at school board meetings around the country.

In the letter, the national organization said the confrontations "could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes."

Since that time, the North Dakota School Board Association has been making it clear it was not involved in the decision to send the letter to Biden. At its annual planning and budgeting meeting on June 17, the North Dakota School board Association's board of directors voted to not renew the association's membership in the National School Board Association.


The letter the North Dakota organization sent to its members states that while it commends the national association for steps it took to clarify how the letter to Biden came about, "it has become clear to us the long-term viability of the NSBA is in question."

Read more from The Forum's David Olson

2. McFeely: Lawyer representing women suing UND says reviving women's hockey his 'only goal'

Dan Siegel.jpg
Oakland attorney Dan Siegel is representing four North Dakota women suing the University of North Dakota to reinstate women's hockey.
Contributed photo

Dan Siegel is a high-powered Bay Area civil rights attorney, described by one news article as a "counterculture catalyst" and by his own Twitter profile as a "radical Oakland activist." His exhortation — "Take the park!" — led to a deadly riot between police and protesters over a tiny spit of land in Berkeley, Calif., in 1969.

Siegel is well-known in Oakland for fighting — and beating — City Hall. He's won a number of high-profile sexual harassment and employment discrimination claims, including a $4.5 million settlement for former Minnesota-Duluth women's hockey coach Shannon Miller for being wrongly fired in 2014.

The dude has a history of being tough on the big boys.

But speaking with Siegel via FaceTime this week, one didn't get the impression he was readying to storm Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks with pitchforks and torches. The attorney came across as a mellow grandfather, with gray hair encircling a bald head and reading glasses perched on his nose.

He sounded hopeful, not confrontational.

"Maybe they'll reinstate women's hockey. They could choose to do that," Siegel said.


Read more from Forum columnist Mike McFeely

3. West Fargo city, school district consider partnership for new development

west fargo.JPG
West Fargo City Hall. Special to The Forum

The West Fargo City Commission and West Fargo Public Schools plan to partner on a plan for development near the West Fargo Sports Arena and The Lights that could bring more business to the city and provide the school district with a third sheet of ice.

On Monday, June 20, the West Fargo City Commission approved a joint powers agreement with the school district to brainstorm development ideas. The agreement was passed on a 3-2 vote, with Commissioners Eric Gjerdevig and Brad Olson voting against the measure.

The two commissioners who voted against the measure are concerned that a joint powers agreement will lead to additional money being spent to develop the area.

City Attorney John Shockley said the school district would likely contribute the land that is located west of the West Fargo Sports Arena and the city-owned Essentia Health Plaza at the Lights.

"So, that by itself is a huge investment by the school district," Shockley said.

The city and school district would then seek out a developer to present a plan that could best use the area around the two event centers.

Read more from The Forum's Wendy Reuer


4. Checkpoint scanner installation to create delays at Fargo airport

Hector International Airport
The airport is expecting an equally busy 2021 Thanksgiving travel season, compared to 2019. WDAY News file image.

Travelers flying out of Hector International Airport may see delays and longer lines at the security checkpoint while a new Homeland Security project is underway this summer.

Preparations to install new “state-of-the-art” 3D imaging scanners have already begun, but the Transportation Security Administration will begin installing the machines starting July 5, and the work will finish on July 22, said Shawn Dobberstein, Airport Authority executive director.

“They’re trying to standardize all the units in the state of North Dakota. We actually started the project a few weeks ago to move the walls out,” Dobberstein said.

Lanes may be closed during the installation process, a TSA press release reported.

Dobberstein said the construction may cause longer waiting periods, but the airport’s main concern is passenger safety.

“With the addition of this technology, we feel we are offering Fly Fargo travelers the best security solution, which also means convenience and efficiency,” he said in a press release.

The equipment will create clear images of a bag’s contents and will be able to automatically detect explosives, including liquids, by shooting hundreds of images with an X-ray camera spinning around the conveyor belt.


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

5. With The Forum now printing in Detroit Lakes, 30-year-old downtown Fargo press dismantled

Two workers in stained white jumpsuits and white hardhats are dwarfed by the machinery they're working on.
Work continues on the dismantling of the MAN Roland printing press at The Forum building in downtown Fargo.
David Samson / The Forum

It might have been considered a special delivery.

Parts for a huge printing press began arriving on flatbed trucks in 1992 for assembly inside an addition to The Forum building in downtown Fargo.

Recently, that process was playing out in reverse, as the once state-of-the-art press was dismantled.

The MAN Roland Mediaman press, capable of churning out 40,000 copies per hour, enabled a full color newspaper for the first time and played a crucial role in keeping people of the region informed over the past 30 years.

Jack Zaleski, The Forum’s former longtime editorial page editor, called it the end of an era.

Read more from The Forum's Robin Huebner

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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