1. As hospitals struggle amid delta surge, North Dakota puts extra ambulances on standby

The North Dakota Department of Health is positioning extra ambulances on standby as a “safety net” to be available to transfer patients as hospital capacity is strained during the latest surge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Four or five ambulances are stationed in Bismarck-Mandan to transfer patients, a precaution to beef up the standard fleet of ambulances, Tim Wiedrich, the health department’s chief of emergency preparedness and response, said Monday, Sept. 27. Health officials hope to have as many as seven additional ambulances available soon.

Read more from The Forum's Patrick Springer

2. Fearing more strain on hospitals, North Dakota urges residents to get flu shot

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Gov. Doug Burgum on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, receives a flu shot at the North Dakota Department of Health Division of Emergency Medical Systems building in Bismarck. Michelle Griffith / The Forum
Gov. Doug Burgum on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, receives a flu shot at the North Dakota Department of Health Division of Emergency Medical Systems building in Bismarck. Michelle Griffith / The Forum

North Dakota officials on Monday, Sept. 27, strongly advocated for people to get the influenza vaccine to spare additional pressure on already overburdened hospitals in the state.

Gov. Doug Burgum urged residents to receive a flu shot to help preserve hospital capacity and to protect vulnerable populations and the health care system.

"We want to make sure that we protect that health care system and vaccines are one of the safest and easiest ways to ensure that," Burgum said at a news conference Monday. "(Vaccines are) one of the miracles that have helped not just our nation, but the world achieve things that had never been achieved in the history of humankind."

Read more from The Forum's Michelle Griffith

3. Most passengers of derailed Amtrak train have left the area, but only one victim identified

People wait at the side of train tracks at the scene of an Amtrak train derailment in north-central Montana  on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, in this still image obtained from video. 
Courtesy of  Jacob Cordeiro / Social Media via REUTERS
People wait at the side of train tracks at the scene of an Amtrak train derailment in north-central Montana on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, in this still image obtained from video. Courtesy of Jacob Cordeiro / Social Media via REUTERS

Family members have identified one person killed in a Saturday, Sept. 25, Amtrak derailment in rural northern Montana, but authorities have not released the names of the other victims.

According to various media reports, family members identified Zach Schneider, of Fairview Heights, Illinois, as one of the three who died in the Saturday derailment. Authorities are not releasing the names of the other victims until family members are notified. The westbound Empire Builder 7/27 had made recent stops in Minnesota and North Dakota, including Grand Forks, but an Amtrak spokesman on Monday, Sept. 27, would not say how many people boarded the train at specific stops.

Read more from Forum News Service's Adam Kurtz

4. Reduced frost depth requirements expected to lower Minnesota housing costs

A new home under construction in the 6100 block of Marigold Loop South in Fargo. Despite the pandemic, new home starts in the Fargo-Moorhead area were up in 2020 from what they were in 2019.
David Samson / The Forum
A new home under construction in the 6100 block of Marigold Loop South in Fargo. Despite the pandemic, new home starts in the Fargo-Moorhead area were up in 2020 from what they were in 2019. David Samson / The Forum

Due in large measure to advocacy from Minnesota state Reps. Kent Eken, DFL-Audubon, and Heather Keeler, DFL-Moorhead, and Paul Marquart, DFL-Detroit Lakes, construction costs for new houses may come down in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

A task force created by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry and the Construction Codes Advisory Council have reduced frost depth requirements in the state. Previous frost depth requirements were believed to be making some houses in Minnesota more expensive than their counterparts in bordering states, which both Eken and Keeler believed made the state less attractive to potential home-buyers.

Read more from The Forum's Thomas Evanella

5. '42 gallons of nuts': Red squirrel stuffs Fargo man's truck with nuts

The engine compartment of Bill Fischer's Chevy Avalanche stuffed with walnuts
The engine compartment of Bill Fischer's Chevy Avalanche stuffed with walnutsSubmitted photo

Bill Fischer just cannot win the war in his yard. It's the home of a beautiful black walnut tree produces nuts that a red squirrel in the neighborhood finds irresistible.

The problem is the squirrel has picked Fischer's Chevy Avalanche as the winter storage hideout for hundreds of nuts; each about the size of a small lemon.

"The squirrel will come behind, run along the frame rail and all the way up to the front (of the truck)," Fischer explained. "Mostly under the hood and in the fenders."

Watch the full story from WDAY 's Kevin Wallevand