1. Speakers urge change, end to racism at peaceful OneFargo rally
People of all colors and ages were gathered Friday afternoon, June 5, at Island Park in downtown Fargo to try to show love, listening, self-examination and action are needed to make inroads to changes that will improve the treatment of black people in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo in the days and years ahead.
The speakers were as varied as the crowd of almost 2,000 that were spread among the shade trees near the park's gazebo.
Speakers were members of the Black Lives Matter group, mayors, the North Dakota Teacher of the Year and Native Americans, with all of them urging that things have to change after the death of George Floyd after a now-fired Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes more than a week ago.
One of the organizers, Wess Philome of BLM, asked if this would be North Dakota's "ceiling or floor" in the effort to seek change.
"The world is watching; the youth are watching," he said.
2. Leak about officer going undercover during rioting was 'inexcusable and sickening,' Fargo chief says
"Inexcusable and sickening" — that's how Chief David Todd described a leak of information from within his department regarding a former deputy chief's unauthorized undercover work.
In a Wednesday, June 3, email to Fargo Police Department staff, Todd said one of his employees told a Forum News Service columnist that former Deputy Chief Todd Osmudson went undercover during rioting last week without permission.
The columnist, Rob Port, later obtained the email from Todd to his staff that described how Osmundson would face a work performance complaint. In that email, Todd criticized how Port found out about the situation.
"First, it's pretty sad someone from our agency made the media aware of (Osmundson’s) email when we are in a state of emergency and about to be under siege again," Todd wrote. "Whoever did that handed the other side some ammunition to use against us as a department -- i.e. our brother and sister officers. That's inexcusable and sickening.”
3. Burgum doubles down on political donations as ads go negative in North Dakota's GOP primaries
Over the last two weeks, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum more than doubled the amount of money he has contributed to a political committee that is targeting several competitive Republican primary races.
In all, the first-term Republican and former tech mogul has given $1.85 million to the newly formed Dakota Leadership PAC since the beginning of May.
The committee has paid for negative ads against powerful state House Appropriations Chairman Jeff Delzer, R-Underwood, and promotional ads in support of his intra-party challengers, David Andahl and Dave Nehring. The committee has also gotten involved in five other state legislative races and backed Fargo Rep. Thomas Beadle's run for state treasurer against fellow Republican Rep. Dan Johnston.
4. Walz dials back COVID-19 business closures: Opens theaters, gyms, museums and more
Just in time for summer, Minnesota is dialing back coronavirus-related closures and size limitations for Minnesotans as Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm says new cases may have hit a "plateau."
At a Friday, June 5, news conference, Gov. Tim Walz announced the state will be entering its third phase of reopening starting June 10. Starting next Wednesday, gyms and fitness centers will be allowed to reopen, as well as entertainment and recreation facilities like museums, theaters and bowling alleys.
The next phase also means more relaxed gathering size requirements: For social gatherings, 25 people or fewer will be allowed to gather outdoors, and 10 or fewer indoors. Restaurants will be allowed to serve guests indoors at 50% capacity, with a 250 maximum. All businesses will also be required to have a COVID-19 preparedness plan by June 29. Officials say Minnesotans should continue to social distance, wear face masks and wash and sanitize their hands frequently.
Malcolm said Friday that, though the future of the respiratory illness is difficult to predict, it seems that Minnesota has reached a "plateau with some small waves." The state's hospitals have not hit max capacity at this point, though she said some hospitals in the metro have been "very busy."
5. Hyper-local social media groups ask that you give where you live
A strong community can have everything it needs for one another.
That’s the principle behind Buy Nothing Fargo and Moorhead, two hyper-local social media groups who ask that members give generously and show gratitude in hopes of strengthening the social fabric of their communities.
“The whole purpose of the group is to bring the community together,” ReNae Simmons, administrator of the Buy Nothing Fargo group, said.
It does so by offering up, or asking for, whatever may be needed by the local community: Pickling spice, aloe plants, rides to the doctor, the desire for a game night, advice, even an emergency request for a broken snow shovel replacement can be found on the Fargo group’s page.
A bittersweet memory, Simmons said, was a neighbor who would ask for food and, eventually, a suitcase for a hospital trip.
“She passed away,” Simmons said. “One of her gratitude posts was she was grateful to wake up every day.”
Each group is limited by boundary lines, meant to service an immediate area. Simmons started the boundary line for the Fargo group quite small, but she was turning away so many people she increased the boundaries to include all of Fargo. She hopes more splinter groups will form in the metro area.