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5 things to know today: National surge, Test scores, Hydrogen project, Journalism jobs, Vaccine appointments

A select rundown of stories found on InForum.

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The east campus of Horizon Middle School is seen Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, in south Moorhead. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
Forum Communications Co.

1. Spate of threats against Fargo-Moorhead area schools in line with national, regional surge

Since mid-October, at least seven threats of violence against schools have been investigated by law enforcement and school administrators in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

So far, four of the threats have led to suspensions or arrests.

While local schools and police have systems in place to respond to school violence, they say they don't keep statistics on school threats. Nationally, school shootings and threats of violence are increasing, according to the Violence Project , a nonprofit research center .

Read more from The Forum's C.S. Hagen

2. North Dakota colleges may drop requirement for ACT, SAT scores

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North Dakota could follow a national trend of dropping requirements to have ACT and SAT scores to enter public colleges and universities.

Public campuses are collecting input on whether to keep or eliminate the mandatory standardized testing for entering public higher education schools, the North Dakota University System said. Officials are in the early stages of the process, and no decisions have been made.

The decision for the university system to facilitate the discussion comes as the majority of schools that offer bachelor's degrees decide not to require ACT and SAT scores for college entrance, said Lisa Johnson, NDUS vice chancellor for academic and student affairs. More than two-thirds of those schools dropped the requirement for the 2022 school year, according to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing.

Read more from The Forum's April Baumgarten

3. Coal counties ask North Dakota to pump brakes on $1.8 billion hydrogen project

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The Great Plains Synfuels Plant near Beulah. FNS file photo
The Forum

As a new North Dakota board prepares to dole out possibly hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for energy projects next week, coal-producing counties are urging the state to hold off support for an expensive hydrogen venture that they fear could be risky and deplete jobs in coal country.

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In a letter sent to Gov. Doug Burgum on Wednesday, Dec. 8, members of the Coal Conversion Counties Association, a group made up of elected leaders from North Dakota’s three coal producing counties, cautioned against putting state funds into a $1.8 billion retrofit of a synthetic fuel plant near Beulah that supports many coal-sector jobs, when the viability of plans to convert it to hydrogen production remain unclear.

Read more from The Forum's Adam Willis

4. Owner of Bismarck Tribune rejects bid from hedge fund known for cutting journalism jobs

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Lee Enterprises of Davenport, Iowa, owns nearly 100 newspapers in the United States. iStock.com / Special to InForum
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Lee Enterprises, the publisher of The Bismarck Tribune and dozens of other daily newspapers around the country, announced on Thursday, Dec. 9, that its board of directors unanimously rejected a bid for ownership from a New York-based hedge fund with a reputation for slashing the staffs in newsrooms to maximize profits.

The move comes a few weeks after Alden Global Capital sent a letter to the Lee board of directors announcing interest in buying the Iowa-based company at $24 a share.

“The Alden proposal grossly undervalues Lee and fails to recognize the strength of our business today, as the fastest-growing digital subscription platform in local media, and our compelling future prospects,” Lee Chairman Mary Junck said in a statement on Thursday.

Read more

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5. Fargo Cass Public Health shifting from walk-in vaccine clinics to shots by appointment only

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(WDAY file photo)

Starting the week of Jan. 3, Fargo Cass Public Health will alter its COVID-19 vaccine operation from conducting walk-in clinics to providing vaccines by appointments only at its immunization clinic.

The change is being made to improve operational efficiencies.

FCPH will continue to provide first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccine, as well as booster doses.

Starting the week of Jan. 3 the immunization clinic will operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Read more from The Forum's Dave Olson

What To Read Next
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The event will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., on Tuesday, Feb. 7.