Road classification, funding discussed for roads
GRAFTON – A previously condemned house in Grafton won’t be demolished, at least not yet. The Grafton City Council, at its regular meeting Monday, unanimously passed a motion to allow the owners of the house at 644 Stephen Avenue in Grafton time to remodel the structure that was damaged by fire last winter.
Randy and Martin Franco purchased the home, built in 1924, from Dale Paulson in May.
In a public hearing at Monday’s meeting, city building officer Scott Boura told the council that Randy Franco visited him early last summer and asked if the house could be restored. Boura gave him the go ahead and said some work was done in the course of a week or so, but after that no more “reasonable progress” was made for several months. Boura said he did not give the Francos a specific period of time in which the work needed to be completed when he spoke to them last summer. (more…)
Road classification, funding discussed for roads
KLJ approved by 5-4 vote
GRAFTON – By a 5-4 margin, the Grafton City Council voted Monday to hire the firm of Kadrmas, Lee and Jackson (KLJ) to do the engineering work and develop a plan for the city’s proposed flood diversion project.
As part of the request for qualifications or RFQ process, the city council interviewed four engineering firms last Wednesday and Thursday at two separate special meetings of the council meant to identify each firms qualifications to handle the project.
Council members scored each firm on eight different criteria on a scale of 1-10. Criteria included technical capabilities, experience and performance records, understanding of project and proposed work approach, knowledge of regulations and local conditions, project personnel assignments and qualifications, ability to respond in a timely manner, funding/marketing capacity and overall presentation.
As well as KLJ, candidates included the engineering firms of AE2S, Grand Forks, HDR, Thief River Falls, Minn., and Ulteig Engineering, Fargo.
Grafton Mayor Chris West thanked representatives of each firm in attendance for their excellent presentations and informed them that after the tedious scoring process, both KLJ and AE2S had identical scores. (more…)
Two three-year terms expire
GRAFTON – The Grafton School Board met on Tuesday morning at 7 a.m. at the Grafton High School for their regular monthly meeting. The Jan. 15 meeting minutes were approved without discussion as was the consideration of bills, payroll and financial reports.
The school board positions currently held by Tom Torkelson and Donald Suda expire this year. Any interested parties, one from the rural area and one from the city may run for the open positions. Candidates must file 60 days prior to the election which will be held June 10, 2014. It has been recommended and approved to hold the school board election at the county courthouse on Tuesday June 10, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The June school board meeting will be held on Monday, June 16, at 5:30 p.m.
Superintendent and business manager evaluation forms were given to board members to be filled out and returned by March 5. A composite evaluation will be forwarded to the board chair, then a meeting will be held between the board chair and the superintendent to discuss the evaluations. Both the evaluation forms and the meeting needs to be completed by the March board meeting. (more…)
COUNTY – At Monday’s regular meeting of the Walsh County Commission, commissioners approved a motion to increase taxable valuation of agricultural land in the county by 8 percent for 2014.
The state recently set the value of agricultural land in Walsh County at $909.62 per acre, an increase from $819.71 in 2013.
Walsh County Tax Equalization Director Mary Wild said Walsh County’s agricultural land per acre is the fifth highest valuation in the state. The average acre of cropland in the county is valued at $1,72.45 per acre and non-cropland is valued at $162.24 per acre.
The computations are done by the Agribusiness and Applied Economics Department at North Dakota State University.
The commissioners have the authority to adjust that figure by10 percent, up or down.
Commissioner Luther Meberg made the motion for the 8 percent increase, it was seconded by Karen Anderson and passed unanimously.
In other business Monday, commissioners discussed the county’s storm policy for closing county offices in the event of bad weather.
Commissioner Meberg referenced Wednesday, Jan. 22, when the county offices first closed until noon and then decided to close for the rest of the day, while several schools in the county remained open. (more…)
Lysengen, Smith remain in custody, Howe out
GRAFTON – Two Walsh County men and a long-time Grand Forks defense attorney face life in prison after being arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, a Class AA felony.
Paul Francis Lysengen, rural Minto, and his attorney, Henry H. Howe were arrested without incident when they appeared in Northeast District Court last Thursday before Judge Lee A. Christofferson.
Howe was defending Lysengen and they were in court for a preliminary hearing on charges Lysengen is facing for delivering a controlled substance, methamphetamine and several other drug-related charges.
A third man, Wesley Wayne Smith of St. Thomas, was arrested along North Dakota State Highway 18 between St. Thomas and Grafton.
The three men are accused of conspiring to murder a confidential informant related to the charges Lysengen was in court for last Thursday.
Howe, 72, told the court that he has lived in Grand Forks County since 1980. He is married and he and his wife, Mary Seaworth had practiced law together for more than three decades. They have four children and five grandchildren. (more…)