5 things to know today: Officer shooting, Coronavirus restrictions, Distance learning, Floyd protest, Mail-in voting
1. Two dead, including police officer, after Grand Forks shooting
A Grand Forks police officer is confirmed to have died after an attempt to serve eviction papers elicited gunfire Wednesday, May 27, at a south Grand Forks apartment building.
The officer – whose name is being withheld pending notification of relatives – was a member of the Grand Forks Police Department. He is the second death related to the incident, which also took the life of a woman who was in the apartment at the time.
It started around 2:30 p.m. as a routine service of eviction papers at the residence of Salamah Q. Pendleton, 41, of Apartment 303 at 2627 S. 17th St., according to Lt. Derik Zimmel, a spokesman for the Grand Forks Police Department. It quickly escalated into gunfire, initiated by Pendleton, according to Zimmel.
2. Fargo mayor wants coronavirus rules eased to let bars, restaurants serve more patrons
Mayor Tim Mahoney is urging North Dakota officials to allow a greater reopening of businesses, including increasing the allowed capacity at bars and restaurants to increase from 50% to 75%.
Despite a significant increase in testing capacity, the state’s coronavirus infection rate has been trending down, from 6% to 8% testing positive to 2% to 4%.
“You can look at national data,” Mahoney said. “You won’t see that in any other state.”
Also, he said, the state’s death rates are below expected levels — all factors that justify an expansion of reopening the economy in Fargo, he said in remarks Wednesday, May 27, during a briefing by the Red River Valley COVID-19 Task Force.
Read more from The Forum's Patrick Springer
3. Survey reveals Fargo parents' views on distance learning
A survey of parents showed that the distance learning program Fargo Public Schools used during the coronavirus pandemic was mostly successful at a secondary level, but elementary students need better access to digital devices.
With 3,715 responses, the survey found that nearly 88% of parents felt all students should have access to devices to improve distance learning, Associate Superintendent Missy Eidsness said Wednesday, May 27.
“The purpose was that distance learning was new to our district, and that the possibility that we have to be prepared for reentry might include distance learning again, and we wanted to make sure we heard from the parents,” Eidsness said.
All students in grades 6-12 had access to devices, but not all elementary students did, she said.
Read more from The Forum's C.S. Hagen
4. Protest set for Saturday in Fargo to remember man who died after Minneapolis arrest
A demonstration and march is planned for 10 a.m. Saturday, May 30, in downtown Fargo to remember George Floyd, who died Monday night after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on Floyd's neck for several minutes during an arrest.
Organizers of the local march, which is to start in the area of 207 Fourth St. N., posted details on a Facebook event page , including these sentiments:
"Every week there is a new story about an unarmed black man being killed. WE ARE TIRED!" the post reads.
"This peaceful march is to show the people of Minneapolis that we wholeheartedly stand with them in this time of crisis. The worst thing we can do as citizens of this country is to turn a blind eye and stay silent to the injustice in this country," added the post, which noted that everyone was welcome to join the march regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation or religious beliefs.
Read more from The Forum's Dave Olson
5. North Dakota may break primary turnout record with mail-in ballots going strong
It looks like it might be a record-setting primary turnout with the state's first-ever mail-in only election.
With just about two weeks before the primary election on June 9, the state has seen 174,141 ballots mailed out to residents by county auditors.
"We still have people requesting ballots, too," said Secretary of State Al Jaeger on Wednesday, May 27.
The previous high turnout for the primary in the last decade was 175,303 voters in 2012, when there were four controversial ballot issues for voters to decide, including the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux nickname, a religious liberty measure, elimination of property taxes as a source of state revenue, and whether to allow appointing state legislators to full-time state offices.