1. Sanford faces crisis as COVID-19 cases surge and overall hospital admissions soar

Sanford Health is preparing for an expected peak in the surge of COVID-19 hospital patients in the next two or three weeks while dealing with a critical shortage of more than 200 nurses and other caregivers.

The surge of COVID-19 patients, driven by the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus, is coinciding with already high volumes of hospital patients, Dr. Doug Griffin, Sanford vice president and medical officer, said Tuesday, Sept. 14.

Read more from The Forum's Patrick Springer

2. Fargo School Board postpones vote on ending mask mandate

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live
Newsletter signup for email alerts

The Fargo School District headquarters are seen Wednesday, April 20, 2021, at 415 4th St. N.  The offices are moving to near Island Park into the old RDO headquarters this year.  Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
The Fargo School District headquarters are seen Wednesday, April 20, 2021, at 415 4th St. N. The offices are moving to near Island Park into the old RDO headquarters this year. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

Despite unrelenting motions and discussion points from Fargo School Board member Jennifer Benson to immediately end mask requirements in schools, the board voted 6-3 in a video-only meeting to delay any decision until its Sept. 28 meeting.

It was also decided to further discuss the issue and gather more data at the board's "work session" next Tuesday, Sept. 21, when they could start to gather more information on how the mask requirement is working and what policies might be if it's lifted.

Students and staff are currently required to wear masks in school as approved at the board's Aug. 10 meeting based on recommendations from Fargo Cass Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Read more from The Forum's Barry Amundson

3. Fargo area officers may resume aid to Minnesota agencies after judge suspends force law

Red River Valley SWAT members respond to a standoff in Moorhead in 2019. Officers from West Fargo, Fargo and Cass County have not been crossing the Red River to help Minnesota law enforcement agencies since a Minnesota law took effect in March 2021 that revises the standards for using deadly force. Forum file photo.
Red River Valley SWAT members respond to a standoff in Moorhead in 2019. Officers from West Fargo, Fargo and Cass County have not been crossing the Red River to help Minnesota law enforcement agencies since a Minnesota law took effect in March 2021 that revises the standards for using deadly force. Forum file photo.

A Ramsey County District Court judge has put on hold a Minnesota law that took effect in March imposing stricter standards on use of deadly force by law enforcement officers.

Local officials said Tuesday, Sept. 14, that one effect of the injunction imposed by Judge Leonardo Castro will be that local Minnesota law enforcement agencies can now resume collaborative efforts with agencies on the North Dakota side of the Red River that were stopped when the law took effect on March 1.

Read more from The Forum's Dave Olson

4. Construction of oil refinery to start in 2022 near North Dakota's only national park, CEO says

An aerial view of construction equipment at the site of the Davis refinery near Belfield, North Dakota, and Theodore Roosevelt National Park in 2018. Photo courtesy of Meridian Energy Group
An aerial view of construction equipment at the site of the Davis refinery near Belfield, North Dakota, and Theodore Roosevelt National Park in 2018. Photo courtesy of Meridian Energy Group

North Dakota regulators have determined that an oil refinery slated for construction near Theodore Roosevelt National Park has made enough headway to retain its coveted environmental permit after the developer twice took extensions on the commencement of the project.

The proposed, financially-troubled Davis Refinery has experienced multiple delays since state environmental regulators permitted the Houston, Texas-based Meridian Energy Group to build the facility in 2018. The North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality first allowed the company an 18-month extension on its permit after the refinery stalled during litigation with environmental groups, and, before the second deadline expired on June 12, state regulators granted the project an additional 90 days to start construction or risk forfeiting its permit.

Read more from The Forum's Adam Willis

5. Moorhead mayor appoints task force for new library, community center

The  water tower in Woodlawn Park in downtown Moorhead is shown here. Special to The Forum
The water tower in Woodlawn Park in downtown Moorhead is shown here. Special to The Forum

Moorhead Mayor Shelly Carlson has appointed an 11-member task force to further study the possibility of a new downtown library and community center.

She said the Minnesota Legislature has given the city the option for an added local sales tax to pay for the project. She said it could be put to a vote in November of 2022.

The panel would be tasked with coming up with conceptual ideas and a vision for the facility and would have its first meeting in a few weeks.

Read more from The Forum's Barry Amundson