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5 things to know today: Fargo teacher contract, Child support bill, Unharvested wheat, School auction, 'Antiques Roadshow'

012820.N.FF.FARGOSCHOOLS Dave Olson 2020 photo
Fargo Education Association President Jen Mastrud, left, speaks during a meeting of the Fargo School Board Tuesday evening, Jan. 28. Dave Olson / The Forum

1. Fargo teachers, school board to meet again in effort to compromise with 1-year contract

The Fargo School Board on Tuesday night, Jan. 28, agreed to hold another negotiation session with the Fargo Education Association after the teachers union suggested it was possible the two sides could reach an agreement on a one-year contract.

Following a meeting of the School Board last week, it appeared the board was heading toward imposing a one-year contract after the board said it was willing to adopt recommendations of a fact-finding commission and teacher negotiators said their union members couldn't ratify such an agreement.

During last week's meeting, the school board's chief negotiator, John Rodenbiker, told FEA members the board was willing to accept the North Dakota Education Factfinding Commission's recommendation of increasing teacher pay by 1.5% the first year of a new two-year contract and 1.1% the second year.

FEA President Jen Mastrud said last week that the union could not support that proposal, but it was prepared to agree to a two-year contract that included a 1.5% increase each year of the two-year contract.

Read more from The Forum's Dave Olson


2. Bill would make child support possible at conception

Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D. Forum file photo

Sen. Kevin Cramer has introduced a bill in Congress that would give a pregnant mother the ability to receive child support payments before her baby is born.

Cramer, R-N.D., announced his sponsorship of the Unborn Child Support Act, which he introduced on Tuesday, Jan. 28.

“Life begins at conception,” Cramer said in a statement. “Our laws should reflect that truth, especially when it comes to helping mothers provide for the welfare of their children.”

Five fellow Republicans join Cramer as co-sponsors of the bill, which has no Democratic co-sponsors. “If we are going to be pro-life, we should be pro-all-of-life and ensure we give moms the support they need,” Cramer said.

If passed into law, the act would allow a judge, in consultation with the mother, to award child support payments from the father while the child is still in the womb and retroactively up until the point of conception, as determined by a physician.

More from The Forum's Patrick Springer


3. Unharvested wheat creates puzzling planting season

A strange sight of unharvested wheat in the snow is all too common in the Dickinson and New England, N.D., area. Farmer Jon Wert says he’s bought a disc to get rid of spring wheat that he couldn’t combine in 2019. Mikkel Pates / Forum News Service

Who would ever have thought farmers would have unharvested 2019 wheat crops left in southwest North Dakota fields, say nothing of the corn and sunflowers left standing.

And what will farmers do to plant their 2020 crops?

Kurt Froelich, NDSU Extension agent for Stark and Billings counties, which includes the areas around Dickinson and Medora, said the unharvested acres will affect 2020 production practices — and beyond.

The organizers of the annual Diversity, Direction and Dollars winter agronomy seminar in Dickinson on Jan. 14 tried to inform farmers on any research results that could help make choices, but there isn’t much of it around, Froelich said.

Read more from Forum News Service's Mikkel Pates

4. Everything's for sale in former Norman County West High School


Norman Co. West HS Auction
The entire contents of the former Norman County West High School in Halstad, Minn., are being sold in an online auction. The school closed in 2018. Chris Flynn / The Forum

Up until a month ago, a visitor to the former Norman County West High School might have thought it was business as usual for students and staff.

Brian Agather, of Resold Auction Services, had that impression when he met school administrators there late last fall.

“It looked like the school was fully operational, minus the food in the cafeteria … and the kids,” he said.

The 115-year-old school has been closed since May 2018 due to declining enrollment; however, the time has come for everything inside to be sold.

Read more from The Forum's Robin Huebner

5. 'Antiques Roadshow' clip filmed in West Fargo goes viral

Peter Planes (left) appraises a Rolex Oyster Cosmograph at Bonanzaville. Special to The Forum


The top find of this season of "Antiques Roadshow" was unveiled during the first of three episodes that were taped at Bonanzaville last summer.

Monday night, Jan. 27, viewers from Fargo-Moorhead, West Fargo and around the country watched as a man identified only as David fell to the ground when he learned his Rolex watch was actually worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

David and his watch were featured during an episode of "Antiques Roadshow" filmed at West Fargo's Bonanzaville in June 2019. About 4,000 artifacts were appraised during the taping. Among them was a Rolex Oyster Cosmograph watch with original documentation, which was brought in by a former U.S. Air Force service member.

Watch here

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