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5 things to know today: Essential workers, 'Forever chemicals', Limiting negotiations, Liquor board, Best bagel

A rundown of some of the best stories found on Inforum.

Sarah Nygaard, Sanford Health's nursing clinical services leader, preps a dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine at the former Gordmans store in Fargo on Friday, Feb. 5. David Samson / The Forum

1. Fargo Cass Public Health nearly ready to start vaccinating essential workers

Fargo Cass Public Health is expected to open up COVID-19 vaccination appointments for essential workers and residents with one underlying condition later this week or next week, director Desi Fleming said on Monday, March 8.

The public agency is still focusing on K-12 teachers, child care workers and others who are eligible for the jab, but it will move on to Phase 1C when there are no more names to call in the previous phase, Fleming said. All residents in previous priority groups, including health care workers and residents over age 65, will remain eligible.

Read more from Forum News Service's Jeremy Turley

2. 'Forever chemicals' contaminate sites across North Dakota, including in Fargo

PFAS story
The North Dakota Air National Guard Base in Fargo is one of several locations in North Dakota where man-made chemicals known collectively as PFAS have been found in groundwater and soil. David Samson/The Forum.


A group of human-made compounds sometimes referred to as "forever chemicals" can be found in the environment in many places around the United States, including the soil and groundwater under several military sites in North Dakota.

The contamination includes soil and groundwater under the Air National Guard base near Fargo's Hector International Airport as well as U.S. Air Force bases at Minot and Grand Forks, according to the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality.

The agency said those military installations have "elevated" levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known collectively as PFAS, with the contamination primarily due to chemical firefighting foams used to combat aircraft fuel fires.

Read more from The Forum's Dave Olson

3. Bills to offer private school tax credit, limit teacher contract negotiations advance in North Dakota Legislature

An exterior view of the North Dakota State Capitol building
The North Dakota State Capitol building as seen on Jan. 17. Michelle Griffith / Forum News Service

Two Republican-led bills targeting public education advanced and another two bills failed to make the crossover in the North Dakota Legislature last week.

The halfway point, known as the crossover, is when bills passed in the House go before the Senate, and bills passed in the Senate go before the House for consideration. To become law, a bill has to pass both legislative chambers.


The bills that failed at crossover will not have a chance of becoming law during the 2021 legislative session.

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

4. Makeup of Fargo's Liquor Control Board to be overhauled

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- Fargo Police and area businesses are trying to crack down on a problem on the rise.

Fargo's City Commission voted 4-1 on Monday night, March 8, to proceed with plans to change the makeup of the Liquor Control Board and also to put in place another city law to allow liquor license holders to have hearings when violations occur.

The current board is made up two city commissioners, Dave Piepkorn and Tony Gehrig, as well as Police Chief David Zibolski, City Auditor Steve Sprague and Fargo Cass Public Health Director of Environmental Health Grant Larson.

Under the new proposal, to be discussed again at a possible special meeting of the commission next week and at least two future commission meetings when an ordinance would have to be approved twice, the board would be made up of one city commissioner and four members of the public.

Read more from The Forum's Barry Amundson


5. BernBaum's in Fargo has one of the best bagels in America, according to Food & Wine

The Iceland plate at BernBaum's features gravlax, chevre cheese, fennel and capers. Forum file photo

Bagels may be associated with New York, but Fargo restaurant BernBaum’s has one of the 50 best bagels in the country, according to a new Food & Wine article .

The story doesn’t rank the leavened rolls, but BernBaum’s was thought of enough to be listed in the new roundup, which praised the appearance and called it “a very fine bagel.”

The article also praised the pricing of the bagel and schmear as “one of the best values in this list,” at $1.79. The piece also referenced a 2017 Food & Wine write-up on Fargo eating that praised BernBaum’s, stating, “the Jewish/Scandinavian deli routinely comes up in conversations about Fargo's best restaurants.”

Read more from The Forum's John Lamb

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