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5 things to know today: Cases climbing, Aquifer cleanup, Pool reconstruction, Denny Sanford, 'Devious licks'

A select rundown of stories found on InForum.

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A coronavirus graphic. Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

1. North Dakota COVID-19 cases and deaths climb

North Dakota reported six new COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, Oct. 6, and an increase in active virus cases, as hospitalizations continue to hold near their highest point since last December.

The state's delta variant outbreak has recently emerged as one of the worst in the country. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, North Dakota's per capita infection rate over the last seven days ranks behind only Alaska and Montana. Upper Midwest and Western states such as Minnesota, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho have all seen climbing case numbers in the last few weeks.

Read more from The Forum's Adam Willis

2. Enbridge Line 3 cleanup work remains at site of ruptured aquifer in Clearwater County

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Enbridge has until Oct. 15, 2021, to repair an aquifer at its Clearwater Terminal that was pierced during Line 3 construction, wasting at least 24 million gallons of water and threatening nearby wetlands. This image is from the site on Sept. 28, 2021. (Brian Peterson / Minneapolis Star Tribune / TNS)

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From the Star Tribune via Forum News Service

Oil started flowing through the newly built Line 3 pipeline in northern Minnesota on Friday, Oct. 1, bringing closure to one chapter of the large and bitterly disputed construction project.

Now comes a new one: cleaning up the mess left behind.

Forced by state regulators, Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge has launched a major cleanup effort in Clearwater County to repair the aquifer crews punctured during construction in January. Artesian groundwater has been welling up for more than eight months near this rural community, wasting at least 24 million gallons and threatening to dry out two rare and protected wetland areas nearby called fens.

Read more

3. Citing need for Island Park master plan, board delays pool reconstruction

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Island Park Pool in downtown Fargo on August 24, 2021. David Samson / The Forum

Fargo's Island Park Pool will stay open in its current state for one more year after the city's park board decided to postpone an up to $16 million improvement project planned for next spring.

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On Tuesday, Oct. 5, board members decided to have a master plan for all of Island Park completed by next spring before finalizing plans for the 44-year-old pool.

Park board commissioners approved the hiring of AGL Landscape Architects of Fargo, which will work with RDG Planning and Design of Des Moines, Iowa, to start on the plan for the park after negotiating a final price tag.

Read more from The Forum's Barry Amundson

4. T. Denny Sanford still can't give his billions away fast enough

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T. Denny Sanford, the namesake benefactor for Sanford Health. Special to The Forum

South Dakota's richest man has said he plans to die broke. If that's still the goal, T. Denny Sanford is falling behind.

The 85-year-old billionaire credit card mogul and philanthropist is worth $3.4 billion as of Wednesday, Oct. 6, according to Forbes. The magazine annually calculates the 400 richest Americans by net worth.

Sanford owns First Premier Bank in South Dakota. And while he's donated to a wide range of causes and concerns, his most notable and sizable giving has been to the Sioux Falls-based health system Sanford Health.

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Read more from Forum News Service's Jeremy Fugleberg

5. Fargo, West Fargo students face criminal charges related to ‘Devious Licks’ TikTok challenge

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High school students are seen leaving school on Monday, Jan. 11 at Fargo North High School. Alyssa Goelzer / The Forum

Some area students participating in the viral TikTok trend called “Devious Licks,” in which students steal objects and show them off on social media, are facing criminal charges, while the increasing severity of future online challenges is worrying administrators.

Although the online list of monthly challenges is being called a hoax by some national media outlets , schools across the state are issuing warnings that violence won’t be tolerated.

According to an email from Fargo North High School Principal Travis Christensen to parents, upcoming challenges include assault, indecent exposure and vandalism. In September and early October, other local public school districts reported students were participating in the Devious Licks trend, which included vandalism and theft of school property.

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

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