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Morning headlines: Moorhead man to plead guilty to trying to arrange sex with a 10-year-old child

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Here is your InForum Minute for Friday, Dec. 17.

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James Van Raden
Booking photo / Cass County Jail

FARGO — A Moorhead man is expected to plead guilty in a case accusing him of trying to arrange sex with a young girl and spying on a child while the minor used the bathroom.

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James Dwayne Van Raden Jr., 47, signed a plea agreement this week saying he would plead guilty to one charge of attempted sex trafficking of children and two counts distribution of materials containing child pornography, according to documents filed Tuesday, Dec. 14, in federal court. The first charge has a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, though he could face life in prison. Full story here.

Fargo's Famous Dave's Bar-B-Que restaurant now permanently closed

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The Famous Dave's restaurant in south Fargo, seen in this Nov. 22, 2021, file photo, has permanently closed according to the eatery's Facebook page.
Helmut Schmidt / The Forum

FARGO - A popular south Fargo barbecue restaurant is now permanently closed.

Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Que, whose owners announced before Thanksgiving that the restaurant would temporarily close , is listed on its Facebook page and in a Google search as permanently closed. It is also no longer listed on the Famous Dave’s corporate website.

The restaurant building at 2581 45th St. S. is listed for lease on the Kilbourne Commercial Real Estate website. The “formerly Famous Dave’s” standalone restaurant was listed Tuesday, Dec. 14, as available for $30 per square foot. The broker is identified as Property Resources Group.

The restaurant closed Friday, Nov. 26, the day after Thanksgiving. Full story here.

Fargo governance task force can't get enough members

FARGO — With only five applications for a proposed nine-member Election & City Governance Task Force, the City Commission has delayed forming the group.

Mayor Tim Mahoney told the commissioners this week that he suggested waiting until after next June's election to see if it was still a priority.

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The task force would have taken a look at such items as term limits, increasing the number of City Commission members and switching to a City Council form of government with members elected from wards or districts in different parts of the city.

The city was going to hire strategic planning consultant Jeff Schatz, a former Fargo school superintendent, to serve as the liaison for the group and select members to keep City Commission influence out of the process. Full story here.

Minnesota job growth outpaces US, unemployment at 3.3%

ST. PAUL — Minnesota had a higher rate of job growth than the U.S. in November and saw its unemployment rate continue to drop, the Department of Employment and Economic Development announced Thursday, Dec. 16.

In its monthly jobs report, the agency found Minnesota added 8,600 jobs in November, up 0.3% on a seasonally adjusted basis. The U.S. gained about 210,000 jobs, a 0.1% increase.

Unemployment dropped from 3.5% in October to 3.3% in November, according to the jobs report. The agency said the state reached prepandemic unemployment levels in October, though workforce participation has not yet fully recovered.

Wages continue to rise as the number of jobs in the state grows. The report shows the average hourly wage in Minnesota grew 43 cents to $33.79 in November. Hourly wages grew by $1.73, or 5.4%, since the beginning of the year. Full story here.

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