WDAY First News anchors Drew Trafton and Se Kwon get you caught up on everything you need to know for Thursday, Sept. 23.





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Developers recently aired plans to raze the now closed south Fargo Kmart and replace it with a development featuring housing, new commercial property and a grocery store.  (Helmut Schmidt / The Forum)
Developers recently aired plans to raze the now closed south Fargo Kmart and replace it with a development featuring housing, new commercial property and a grocery store. (Helmut Schmidt / The Forum)

Headline story: FARGO — A plan for the vacant Kmart building and its huge parking lot took a step forward Monday, Sept. 20, when both the Fargo City Commission and the Cass County Commission approved tax breaks for the development of a 92-unit apartment building for low-income senior citizens.

There were also unanimous votes by both bodies for another affordable senior citizen housing building with 120 units in southwest Fargo at 3361 Westrac Drive S., which is a few blocks south of the Cass County Jail.

The need for more low-income housing for seniors has been apparent with vacancy rates in the 1% to 2% range in the past two years.

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Featured stories:

Sanford moves some patients to overflow as Fargo hospitals near capacity

Sanford Health’s three medical campuses remain near capacity as demand for hospital services continues to strain hospitals in the region amid the added pressure from the delta surge.

Because of persistent high admissions, Sanford is adding 32 more beds at Sanford Medical Center — but will run out of empty space once that unit opens, likely in February, Dr. Doug Griffin, a Sanford vice president and medical director, said Wednesday, Sept. 22.

Read more from The Forum's Patrick Springer

Effort to recall 4 Fargo School Board members fails

Allie Ollenburger, an organizer with the Recall Fargo School Board group, stands with others at the Fargo School Board meeting on Aug. 24, 2021. C.S. Hagen / The Forum
Allie Ollenburger, an organizer with the Recall Fargo School Board group, stands with others at the Fargo School Board meeting on Aug. 24, 2021. C.S. Hagen / The Forum

The Fargo School Board wrestled with the issue of masks again during a work session on Tuesday, Sept. 21, as the current requirement of wearing masks in schools is set to be challenged at the next board meeting.

A motion is slated to be raised at the Tuesday, Sept. 28, meeting to end the district's mask mandate and leave the decision of masking students during the COVID-19 pandemic up to parents. Board members pointed to differing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization and other health groups.

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

Company pleads guilty to criminal charges for largest oilfield spill in North Dakota history

Crews work to recover oil from Blacktail Creek north of Williston, N.D., on Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015, after a pipeline leak released nearly 3 million gallons of saltwater that included some oil. Photo courtesy of Environmental Protection Agency
Crews work to recover oil from Blacktail Creek north of Williston, N.D., on Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015, after a pipeline leak released nearly 3 million gallons of saltwater that included some oil. Photo courtesy of Environmental Protection Agency

A federal judge on Wednesday, Sept. 22, accepted a guilty plea, which comes with a $15 million criminal penalty, from a company responsible for spilling 29 million gallons of produced fracking water near Williston, North Dakota.

Summit Midstream Partners pleaded guilty for causing a spill of produced water for almost five months in 2014 and into 2015. The leak ultimately contaminated more than 30 miles of Missouri River tributaries and spilled 700,000 barrels of produced water — what is believed to be the largest inland spill in history, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Read more from The Forum's Michelle Griffith

Standing Rock calls on feds to scrap DAPL environmental review and start over

Protests over the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline grabbed the world's attention in 2016 and 2017. Forum News Service file photo
Protests over the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline grabbed the world's attention in 2016 and 2017. Forum News Service file photo

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is calling on President Joe Biden’s administration to scrap its ongoing environmental review of the Dakota Access oil pipeline and start over, alleging that the federal government has overseen a biased process and botched its tribal obligations.

In a letter sent to the Department of the Army’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Works Jaime Pinkham on Wednesday, Sept. 22, Standing Rock said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers “is already gravely off track” in its court-ordered environmental review of Dakota Access and laid out a series of requests for a revamped study.

Read more from The Forum's Adam Willis

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