1. As outbreak worsens, North Dakota keeps its COVID-19 dial 'in the green'
As COVID-19 surges through North Dakota at an unprecedented rate, the state remains "in the green," according to Gov. Doug Burgum.
The first-term Republican said Wednesday, July 29, the state is staying at a "low risk" pandemic designation even as the positive test rate rises, new infections mount, and other cities and states deem North Dakota a hot spot for the virus.
Evaluating the state's risk level is a complex task that requires his administration to consider multiple constantly changing variables, Burgum said. The governor noted that "the numbers are not moving in the right direction," but he said officially jumping up a risk level is not a decision to be made lightly because it affects businesses and schools in the state.
Burgum's Democratic-NPL challenger, Shelley Lenz, said he is misleading residents by refusing to acknowledge the growing severity of the outbreak.
2. Protesters, supporters gather at Fargo police headquarters on chief's last day
More than two dozen people took part in a demonstration Friday afternoon, July 31, to mark the retirement of Police Chief David Todd on what was his last official day as head of the Fargo Police Department.
The rally, organized by local activist group OneFargo and supported by representatives of Black Lives Matter, took place in front of the police department's headquarters.
"As devoted members of the community, we would like to make sure that Police Chief David Todd spends his last day doing what he loved to do best: pretending he's at war with the citizens of Fargo, and trying to quell peaceful protest," OneFargo said in a Facebook statement about the event, which was scheduled to run from 4-6 p.m. Friday.
3. Judge freezes Trump administration reversal of North Dakota tribes' ownership of mineral rights
A federal judge has put on hold a Trump administration determination that mineral rights beneath the bed of the Missouri River within the Fort Berthold Reservation belong to the state of North Dakota instead of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation.
The Trump decision in May reversed decades of federal policy holding that the tribes owned the riverbed within its borders and violated treaties going back more than a century, the tribes argued in two lawsuits against the federal government.
The reversal in federal policy came after the state of North Dakota asked the Trump administration Department of the Interior, which is responsible for managing trust lands for the tribes, for a reconsideration in 2017.
At stake is more than $200 million in oil and gas royalties the tribes say the federal government failed to collect on their behalf, hundreds of millions of dollars involving the value of the riverbed — now covered by sprawling Lake Sakakawea — and future royalties.
4. The Lights in West Fargo ready to host first concert, to the dismay of some worried about COVID-19
The first concert on the plaza of the new Lights in West Fargo is almost here, and concerns are building about it happening during a pandemic.
Famous 80’s throwback band Hairball performs at 7 p.m. on Saturday, August 1 at the MIDCO stage on the plaza.
Fargo resident Camille Brandt isn’t attending the concert, but she’s surprised the city is allowing it to be held when cases of COVID-19 in the community are at an all-time high. Several city commissioners have expressed concerns, but voted to allow the event and other concerts to go forward.
“The decision should be based not on what we wish it would be, but what the reality is now,” Brandt said.
5. Fargo man who tried to be conscientious objector to Vietnam War died 50 years ago trying to save a wounded soldier
There are countless numbers of people who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. They were brave and valiant, and answered the call when their country asked them to do so.
This is the story of one of them. His name is Bill Crary. He died in the Vietnam War 50 years ago, at age 25.
Bill grew up in a house at 615 Ninth St. S. in Fargo. He was a graduate of Shanley High School and Saint Louis University and a student at the University of North Dakota School of Law.
“He was a happy guy, smiling all the time,” said Maura Morberg, Bill’s sister. “He had an optimistic look on life. Everyone gravitated around Bill. He had this natural thought process about doing the right thing.”