area briefs

SE MAIN|20 ST|21 ST RAILROAD UNDERPASS RIBBON-CUTTING

MOORHEAD – The SE Main|20 St|21 St Railroad Underpass is days away from opening. This railroad grade separation is the largest public transportation project in Moorhead’s history, and it will greatly improve safety and mobility in Moorhead.

It’s time to celebrate! Please join the Moorhead City Council, key stakeholders and project neighborhood residents for a ribbon-cutting (and a party) Monday, July 18, 2022, 4 – 7 pm

In the underpass, of course!

Remarks and ribbon-cutting begin at 4 pm. Live music will follow; food available for first 400 guests. Parking available at Moorhead High School. Roadways are anticipated to be open to traffic on July 22. Intermittent lane closures are expected through the week of August 1.

M STATE AUTOMOTIVE STUDENT PLACES 1ST IN MINNESOTA, 4TH IN NATION AT SKILLSUSA CHAMPIONSHIPS

M State Automotive Technology faculty member Scott Ripplinger and M State Automotive Service Technology student Madyan Khidir were in Atlanta in late June for the 2022 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference, where Khidir competed in the SkillsUSA Championships and took fourth place in the Automotive Service Technology contest. He had previously taken first place in that category in the Minnesota state championship. (Photo by Scott Ripplinger, M State)

MOORHEAD – M State student Madyan Khidir is ranked fourth in the nation among his peers in Automotive Service Technology after an impressive performance at the 2022 SkillsUSA Championships, the largest competition in the country for career and technical education students.

The championships were held June 22-23 in Atlanta as part of the week-long annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. The championships brought together more than 6,500 students from schools in all 50 states to compete in one or more of 108 contest categories.

Khidir competed in the Automotive Service Technology category, placing fourth overall out of 28 entrants from two-year and four-year colleges. In a test of skill, knowledge and speed, he and the other entrants worked against the clock and each other to complete 12 hands-on challenges relevant to careers in the industry.

“It was very challenging, very difficult,” Khidir said of the competition. “But I enjoyed every second of it.”

Khidir advanced to the national competition after placing first in the Automotive Service Technology category at the SkillsUSA Minnesota State Championships, held in early April. Isaiah Specht, who is also a student in the M State program, competed at the state level in that same category, and placed third.

Khidir and Specht were among 286 students competing in 52 different trade, technical and leadership events at the state event.

“Competing and being able to win state competition, and win at a national level, speaks volumes about a program’s ability — and about the quality of the students,” said Scott Ripplinger, an Automotive Technology faculty member at M State. “We like to see students achieve their potential, and I think this is one of those cases where that’s happened. It’s a matter of teaching to the students’ strengths and allowing them to achieve their full ability. The students don’t get there by themselves — it takes everybody, the whole organization.”

Ripplinger attended the national conference and championships with Khidir. He described the event as “exceptional” in size and scope. Run with the help of industry leaders, trade associations and labor organizations from across the country, the conference offers an abundance of opportunity for learning and networking — and it’s huge, occupying a space equivalent to more than 20 football fields.

“Many large national companies were on hand to introduce the latest technologically-advanced products and trends that will help drive the trades industry and form future students,” Ripplinger said. “We were able to connect with many manufacturers and were introduced to some newly-released products that will impact the future of our automobiles.”

Khidir said he would “definitely” return to the event again in the future if given the opportunity.

“I got to meet most of the industry ‘giants’ that were there, and also got to meet people from every state in the U.S.,” he said. “It was a great experience.” 

Khidir, a Moorhead resident and graduate of Moorhead High School, recently received his Associate of Applied Science degree in Automotive Service Technology from M State and is now taking additional courses at the college. He plans to eventually transfer to a four-year university to obtain a bachelor’s degree in automotive engineering.

The M State Automotive Service Technology program, he said, “is a great gateway to get your foot into the door of the industry. It gives you what you need, and you can go anywhere from there.”

NEW APPROACH NORTH DAKOTA SUBMITS OVER 25,000 SIGNATURES FOR CANNABIS LEGALIZATION PETITION

The campaign collected more than 10,000 over the required 15,582 signatures to qualify for the November 2022 ballot

BISMARCK, ND – This week, backers of a statutory ballot measure to legalize cannabis for adults in North Dakota submitted 25,762 signatures to the North Dakota Sec. of State in an effort to qualify the initiative for the statewide general election ballot later this year.

New Approach North Dakota, the campaign spearheading the effort, began collecting signatures in late April after the committee’s petition was approved for circulation. In less than 12 weeks, the group gathered over 25,000 signatures from North Dakotans all across the state in support of the measure.

Mark Friese, an attorney and former police officer who serves as the treasurer for New Approach North Dakota, commented:

“So many people I spoke to were excited to sign our petition, strongly supporting the initiative for a wide variety of reasons. Having practiced criminal law for more than 20 years, and as a former police officer, it is obvious the status quo of arresting adults for small amounts of marijuana doesn’t make our communities any safer — it only wastes limited law enforcement and court resources. I’m looking forward to presenting the facts about this issue to more and more voters as November approaches.”

David Owen, campaign manager for New Approach North Dakota, said:

“This signature drive showed us that, from Williston to Grand Forks, people all across our state are ready for responsible cannabis policy reform. We are tremendously grateful to the tens of thousands of North Dakotans who signed and our terrific team of signature gatherers. We’re looking forward to all of our hard work paying off when we receive the official word that we’re on the ballot.” 

If the initiative qualifies for the ballot and is approved by voters, it will permit adults 21 and older to possess limited amounts of cannabis and purchase products from registered cannabis establishments in North Dakota. The measure would put policies in place to regulate retail stores, cultivators, and other types of cannabis businesses. Prior to being sold to consumers, the measure requires that cannabis products be tested for contaminants, labeled, and tracked through a seed-to-sale inventory system.

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