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5 things to know today: Supplemented wages, Romantix lawsuit, Court justice, Business revealed, Shared career

A select rundown of stories found on InForum.

A woman hands a magnet shaped like an apple to a young girl.
Telma Jamore works with children at Bright Futures Learning Center in south Fargo on Thursday, Sept. 29,2022.
David Samson / The Forum
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1. Coalition calls for state-supplemented wages to fix North Dakota's child care crisis

A statewide grassroots coalition is calling on legislators to adopt a policy concept that it said could fix North Dakota’s child care crisis.

The North Dakota Child Care Action Alliance is recommending creation of a Child Care Workforce Fund as a long-term solution for families, child care workers, providers and local businesses in the state.

The workforce fund would increase child care worker pay through state-supplemented wages, paid for annually by Legacy Fund earnings or other funding mechanism sources, the NDCCAA said in a news release.

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The Legacy Fund, approved by voters in 2010, is North Dakota’s massive oil tax savings account that sits at $7.8 billion.

The workforce fund would also create more incentives for people to pursue early childhood education and child care as a career.

Erin Laverdure, spokesperson for NDCCAA, said the extent of the child care crisis requires innovative solutions and significant investments.

“Without this investment to recruit, retain and grow this workforce, our already fractured child care system is not sustainable,” Laverdure said.

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The policy concept grew out of six “listening sessions” held by NDCCAA from May to September of this year, to hear how the child care crisis has impacted families, child care workers, providers and local businesses.

Read more from The Forum's Robin Huebner

2. 'Selling sex toys is not speech:' Fargo seeks to have Romantix case dismissed by court

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The owners of the Romantix adult entertainment store want to move the shop into a new location in the Syndicate Building, at 74 Broadway in downtown Fargo. The Syndicate Building is seen on July 28, 2022.
Chris Flynn / The Forum

The city of Fargo is asking a federal district court to dismiss a lawsuit against the city brought by the Romantix adult entertainment store, asserting that sexually-oriented products do not qualify for free speech protections.

The owners of the Romantix store in downtown Fargo are suing the city and the city’s director of planning and development Nicole Crutchfield for preventing the company from moving into the Syndicate Building in downtown Fargo.

The company says the city's actions violate their First Amendment and due process rights and are therefore illegal.

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Fargo says the store cannon be given First Amendment free speech protections because they are not selling books or magazines.

“Selling sex toys is not speech,” the city said in court documents.

Because Romantix would not be selling books or magazines at their new location, city ordinance would classify the company as an adult bookstore, allowing the city to prevent the move.

Since neither books or magazines will be sold at the proposed location, the city alleges the case does no quality for free speech protections.

Crutchfield also previously denied Romantix a "change-of-use" permit because the store did not meet zoning regulations, which don't allow adult bookstores in that location downtown.

“Romantix’s planned store would sell dildos, not discourse,” the city said, adding they feel this case concerns sexual devices, not speech.

Read more from The Forum's Melissa Van Der Stad

3. 7 apply for North Dakota Supreme Court justice opening

Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle
North Dakota Supreme Court Justice Gerald VandeWalle was awarded the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award in 2015. Tom Stromme / Bismarck Tribune

Several judges and attorneys have applied to fill a vacancy on the North Dakota Supreme Court.

South Central District Judge Doug Bahr, North Central District Judge Stacy Louser and Northwest District Judge Daniel El-Dweek are hoping to take the seat of Supreme Court Judge Gerald VandeWalle. Attorneys David Hagler, Kiara Kraus-Parr, Angela Elsperger Lord and Jake Rodenbiker also have applied for the opening.

Citing health reasons, VandeWalle announced last month that he would retire in January. The 89-year-old is the longest-serving justice in the history of the North Dakota Supreme Court.

He was appointed to his position in 1978. He also served as a chief justice from 1993 into 2020.

Read more from The Forum's April Baumgarten

4. New business revealed for former Taco Shop on north University Drive in Fargo

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Sarah and Mike Liljestrand, owners of Holland's landscaping and garden center in Moorhead, are pictured Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. They have confirmed their business will move to the 400 block of North University Drive in downtown Fargo, the former location of a Taco Shop restaurant.

Holland’s landscaping and garden center is moving to downtown Fargo.

Owners Sarah and Mike Liljestrand on Monday, Dec. 5, finalized the purchase of the land and building that used to hold a Taco Shop on the 400 block of North University Drive.

The Liljestrands already have contractors turning the former restaurant into a new retail store, they said Tuesday, Dec. 6. They also plan to add a glass and cedar greenhouse that will double as a classroom in the fall and winter.

A spring 2023 opening is planned for the new location.

The current store will remain open through the end of this year, Sarah said.

The Liljestrands have been looking for a new home for their business for three years.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation has been buying properties to prepare for construction of a railroad underpass for 11th Street. Holland’s was one of the businesses that had to go to make that happen.

Read more from The Forum's Helmut Schmidt

5. Same school, same room. Two Fargo teachers meet and discover a shared career

A smiling woman leans down next to a smiling older woman, who is seated in an armchair.
Helma Mitchell, 102, of Fargo, meets Fargo teacher Emily Netland. Netland's parents deliver Meals on Wheels to Mitchell. A random meeting brought these two teachers together, and they made a great discovery.
Contributed / Judy Seibel

Fargo resident Helma Mitchell sure looks forward to when her Meals on Wheels team of Bruce and Judy Seibel and grandson Eddie deliver noon lunch to the retired Fargo School teacher during the week.

"Well, thank you. You brought my lunch. You're a good guy," Mitchell said to young Eddie, who helped deliver her meal.

Mitchell — who is about to turn 102 — was born on a farm near Kindred. She taught school in Aneta in 1940 and later came to teach at Horace Mann Elementary and Washington Elementary in Fargo.

"I love teaching. Every day was special, because you have different students and they inspire you as much as ever," Mitchell said from her Fargo home.

When she told her Meals on Wheels family that she was a teacher in Fargo schools for 35 years, they told her about their daughter, Emily Netland, who is also a Fargo teacher. Netland wanted to meet Mitchell.

"One day, there was no school, so I went with (for meal delivery) and walked in with Eddie," Netland said. "And then we were talking, and she asked me where my classroom was, and I said, ... 'You go up the stairs, you take a right.' She said, 'That was my classroom.'

"It's just really neat and special to have that connection," Netland said.

Watch the story from WDAY's Kevin Wallevand

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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