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5 things to know today: Reopen protest, Pandemic relief, Business aid, COVID-19 vaccine, UFO history

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

The Boardwalk Bar and Grill in East Grand Forks stayed open despite a state lawsuit and subsequent restraining order on Friday, Dec. 11. The restaurant, like others in the city, is chafing under Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz's order banning dine-in meal service to slow the spread of a novel coronavirus. Joe Bowen/Grand Forks Herald

1. Minnesota businesses plan to reopen early in protest of state pandemic restrictions

An informal group of small businesses in Minnesota plans to defy state coronavirus pandemic safety guidelines and reopen prematurely this week.

Calling itself the ReOpen Minnesota Coalition, the group is plotting the move as Gov. Tim Walz weighs whether to re-impose restrictions on bars, restaurants and other public-facing businesses. Curfews and capacity limits went back into effect last month amid a statewide increase in cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, and are set to expire Friday, Dec. 18.

The group is calling on businesses in rural Minnesota to reopen Wednesday, Dec. 16, and for businesses in the Twin Cities metro area to reopen Friday, Dec. 18. Approximately 150 businesses have pledged to participate, according to Darius Teichroew, who helped organize the group.

Read more from The Forum's Matthew Guerry

2. Bar, restaurant owners happy with pandemic help from Fargo commission; other businesses say 'Why not us?'


Michelle Cody, studio director of Fly Fitness in Fargo, would like to see the Fargo City Commission offer gyms a break on utility charges similar to what will be offered to bars and restaurants in 2021. David Samson / The Forum

Fargo bar and restaurant owners are breathing a little easier thanks to the Fargo City Commission’s decision to rebate liquor license and inspection fees and waive city utility charges for the first six months of 2021.

At the same time, owners of other businesses are saying, “Why not us?” when it comes to getting help to keep their doors open, too.

Warren Ackley, whose business interests include the JL Beers and Vinyl Taco franchises, Borrowed Bucks and the Old Broadway, said the bar and restaurant industry needs all the help it can get to survive the restrictions on capacity and hours that have come with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We appreciate anything the city does to help us out,” Ackley said Tuesday, Dec. 15. “We’re going to do the best we can through this thing. And, hopefully, we can get open completely sooner than later. But we appreciate the city’s efforts to help our industry, because it’s a pretty hard-hit section of the business community.

Read more from The Forum's Helmut Schmidt

3. Fargo area legislators discuss state aid for businesses ahead of 2021 session

Four of the Fargo area's state legislators — District 13 Sen. Judy Lee, District 45 Sen. Ron Sorvaag, District 46 Sen. Jim Roers and District 44 Rep. Karla Rose Hanson — participated in a panel discussion which covered business issues in advance of the North Dakota legislature's 2021 session. Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo Chamber of Commerce / Submitted Photo


The Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo Chamber of Commerce hosted a panel discussion Tuesday, Dec. 15, with four of the Fargo area's state legislators to discuss business issues in the run-up to North Dakota's 2021 legislative session.

District 46 Sen. Jim Roers, District 45 Sen. Ron Sorvaag, District 13 Sen. Judy Lee and District 44 Rep. Karla Rose Hanson participated in the panel discussion that covered the government's role in aiding economic recovery and workforce issues.

Sorvaag argued the state government was obligated to assist businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic since the state mandated the business shutdowns that took place in the early stages of the pandemic. He advocated staying involved wherever possible while focusing on any small thing that can be done to help businesses.

Read more from The Forum's Thomas Evanella

4. NDSU infectious disease expert sits down to discuss COVID-19 vaccine arrival

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Infectious disease expert and public health leader in North Dakota Dr. Paul Carson makes one thing clear about the newly released vaccine.

"To have a vaccine that was 95% effective puts it in the pantheon of our best vaccines, so I feel very good about that," Carson said.


And it's showing. In North Dakota, the numbers are going down. And we need to do that in the foreseeable weeks and months, so that we get to where we have enough of a vaccinated population that we can finally start to think about returning to normal.

Watch the full interview by WDAY's Kevin Wallevand

5. Fargo's most famous UFO sighting happened in the skies above a Bison football game

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Dacotah Field was located where close to where the current Memorial Union at NDSU is now. It moved to it's current location in the 1950's. Photo courtesy: NDSU Archives

It’s almost as though Fargo Forum Sports Editor Eugene Fitzgerald had a tiny crystal ball sitting beside his typewriter in the smoke-filled newsroom that day in the fall of 1948 when he wrote his headline for Oct. 1: “Aerial Display Likely in Bison-Augustana Game Tonight.” Of course, in this case, "aerial display" referred to Fitzgerald’s prediction that the game would feature more passing than rushing.

NDSU won that night 14-6, hardly a show of aerial dominance. Nonetheless, Fitzgerald's headline turned out to be strangely prophetic as there was a pretty spectacular aerial display in the sky that night. It became the subject of a U.S. government investigation, the files of which have only recently been declassified and open for the public to see.

It’s come to be known as the "Gorman dogfight" and is one of the most well-known 20th century UFO stories. It's also one of the most credible, considering the man who claimed to see the flying saucer was an accomplished World War II pilot and at least three other witnesses were experienced aviators.

Read more the Forum's Tracy Briggs

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