5 things to know today: Worldwide response, FEMA clinicians, Weekend snowstorm, Diversity services, Mall memories

A select rundown of stories found on InForum.

One of the only pictures the Feldmann family has of Haley Gabriella Feldmann after her transition. Picture of Haley with her dog Lucy. Special to The Forum

1. Obituary for North Dakota transgender woman who took her own life prompts worldwide response

A heart-wrenching obituary for a 19-year-old transgender woman who ended her own life in November has been soliciting support from across the world.

Haley Gabriella Feldmann was born on Nov. 18, 2002. Six days shy of her 20th birthday, she died by suicide, according to her obituary .

Her story, based on her obituary, has been picked up by magazines like the Los Angeles Blade, south California’s LGBTQ news source , and on the tribute page of Silha Funeral Homes. People from across the world are expressing their support and sorrow.

Tara Kula, office manager of Silha Funeral Home Beach branch, said on behalf of the family she has been posting the obituary notice on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.

Read more from The Forums C.S. Hagen


2. FEMA sends clinicians to central Minnesota communities hard hit by COVID-19

Tri-County Health Care. Photo courtesy Tri-County Health Care

Hit by a surge of positive COVID-19 cases and the need for hospital staffing, a team of Federal Emergency Management Agency clinicians arrived for orientation training at Tri-County Health Care in Wadena on Friday, Dec. 3.

The Minnesota Department of Health, in conjunction with FEMA, has mobilized several clinician groups across central Minnesota, a total of 16 personnel.

Tri-County Health Care serves some of the most hard hit communities in recent weeks in and around Wadena, Todd and Otter Tail counties. Less than 20 miles to the east, Lakewood Health Systems in Staples is another hospital to benefit from FEMA's response to a urgent need for staffing to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Another 70 miles to the east is Onamia, where they too are receiving help from FEMA staff. FEMA has also arrived in Bloomington, at the Mall of America, where they are administering vaccines only.

Read more from Forum News Service's Michael Johnson

3. Snowstorm could drop up to 6 inches in some spots of eastern North Dakota, western Minnesota

The canopy over Eighth Street South glows as the morning sun strikes branches adorned with delicately accumulated snow Friday, Dec. 3, 2021, in Fargo. Temperatures in the 30s are expected until a cold snap arrives Sunday night. Low temperatures Monday and Tuesday could be below zero. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
Forum Communications Co.


Local meteorologists say it will likely begin to look a lot like Christmas this weekend.

A weather system moving across eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota beginning Saturday afternoon, Dec. 4, will bring heavy amounts of snow, according to the National Weather Service's Grand Forks bureau.

Area forecasters say the system itself is making it difficult to predict precisely where the heaviest bands of snow will fall, but it is likely that areas along the U.S. Highway 2 corridor from Devils Lake, North Dakota, to Bemidji, Minnesota, could see up to 6 inches fall.

The weather service has issued a winter storm watch for Cass County and areas to the north and west in North Dakota, and in Clay County and areas north and east in Minnesota.

Read more from The Forum's Robb Jeffries

4. South Dakota's public universities were ordered to drop 'diversity' for 'opportunity centers.' Some staff left

SDSU American Indian Student Center1
A view of the lobby of the newly built American Indian Student Center on the South Dakota State University campus.

On Monday, speaking atop a hotel in downtown Sioux Falls, two men overseeing public universities in the state dispelled notions that a whitewashing of diversity services was afoot by a shift to so-called "opportunity centers" in the coming year.


"Up at SDSU [South Dakota State University], they're looking at making an area designated for all support for everyone," Board of Regent Tim Rave, a former Republican House Speaker, told the Rotary Club of Downtown Sioux Falls.

What Rave and fellow Regent Tony Venhuizen didn't share, however, was the defection of staff in recent months.

Since the school year's beginning, four employees in diversity efforts at South Dakota State University have left their jobs. At the University of South Dakota, a new director of the opportunity center has yet to be hired. Meanwhile, other campuses are unsure what's in store for diversity and inclusion efforts beginning Jan. 1.

Read more from Forum News Service's Christopher Vondracek

5. As West Acres nears 50, Fargo mall's operators share trove of photos, memories

Shoppers crowd the main hall of the West Acres Shopping Center on its opening day, Aug. 2, 1972. The mall quickly became the shopping hub for Fargo and the region. (West Acres Photo)

In August 1972, kids were wearing bell bottom jeans and Earth shoes. Chicago was singing “Saturday in the Park,” Bill Withers was telling you to “Lean On Me,” and Alice Cooper was wailing that “School’s Out” for summer.

“The Godfather” was making offers you couldn’t refuse at the nation’s theaters.

And West Acres Shopping Center opened its doors.

Back then, what quickly became Fargo’s shopping mecca appeared more of a retail Hail Mary.

The biggest indoor shopping mall in the area was a mile from anything else urban, plunked down amidst farm fields along a still gravel stretch of 13th Avenue South.

Read more from The Forum's Helmut Schmidt

What To Read Next
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