5 things to know today: Bob Harris, Restaurant closure, Revenue losses, Business assistance, Speech lawsuit
A rundown of some of the best stories found on Inforum.
1. KFGO's Bob Harris dies after battle with COVID-19
Longtime Fargo radio personality Bob Harris of KFGO died Friday, Dec. 11, after a battle with COVID-19.
The Fargo-Moorhead Community Theatre's Facebook page posted:
"FMCT is heartbroken to hear of the passing of our friend, Bob Harris. Bob was a kind-hearted man with a laugh that could fill any room. A tremendous supporter for theatre and music in our community, his arts advocacy on the KFGO airwaves will never be replicated."
Harris, who was 65, held a variety of roles at KFGO. He was an on-air personality, producer and podcast host.
Read more from The Forum's Mike McFeely
2. UPDATED: Judge orders closure of northwest Minnesota bar and grill
A northwest Minnesota bar and restaurant was ordered to close Friday after the state attorney general filed a lawsuit that said the business refused to comply with Executive Order 20-99, which prohibits on-premises dining through Dec. 18.
Minnesota Attorney General Ellison announced shortly after 5 p.m. that Polk County District Court granted his office’s motion for a temporary restraining order to prohibit Boardwalk Bar and Grill from remaining open to the public for on-premises dining. He said the establishment had been operating in violation of the order for approximately 72 hours.
Boardwalk owners Jane Moss and Dan Stauss reopened on Wednesday afternoon despite the order , which Gov. Tim Walz signed in mid-November in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Read more from Forum News Service's Joe Bowen
3. F-M area bars and restaurants grapple with new restrictions, revenue losses
Weeks after North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz implemented new COVID-19 restrictions for bars and restaurants in their states, an industry that has been battered by the pandemic is dealing with the fallout.
North Dakota's newest restrictions,
which Burgum announced Nov. 13
, toughened the state's approach by implementing a statewide mask mandate and forcing bars and restaurants to operate at 50% of capacity, with a maximum capacity of 150 patrons. The restrictions, which were originally scheduled to last until Monday, Dec. 14, also included a 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. curfew during which in-person dining is prohibited.
Five days later , Walz announced a mandated closure of in-person dining at all restaurants in Minnesota. The closure took Minnesota's restrictions one step further after the state had previously implemented a curfew similar to its neighbors. Like North Dakota's, Minnesota's newest restrictions were slated to last four weeks, concluding Friday, Dec. 18.
Read more from The Forum's Thomas Evanella
4. Fargo City Commission to vote on waiving utility bills, license fees for bars, restaurants
Rhombus Guys co-owner Matt Winjum said the proposed business assistance program Fargo city commissioners plan to vote on Monday night, Dec. 14, might not be a whole lot of savings for his Main Avenue business.
"What means more is the gesture," he said in an interview on Friday.
Gov. Doug Burgum announced this week that regulations on bars and restaurants would remain in effect statewide until Jan. 8 as COVID-19 cases fall but deaths and hospitalizations remain a major problem.
Read more from The Forum's Barry Amundson
5. Valley City man sues for right to speak at public meetings in North Dakota
A Valley City man wants to overturn a longstanding stance in North Dakota that residents don't have the right to speak at public meetings after claiming that his elected officials unjustly refused to let him and others bring up critical and potentially criminal issues.
Robert Drake, 67, filed a civil rights complaint Friday, Dec. 11, in federal court against Valley City commissioners and North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem. He wants a federal judge to declare residents should be allowed to address leaders at public meetings in North Dakota without permission.
That would reverse Stenehjem’s opinions that speaking at meetings is a privilege, not a right.