Saturday, December 30, 2006

Choice Financial to open second bank in GF

Choice Financial, which already has a Grand Forks bank on 42nd Street near the Alerus Center, is currently constructing a second location in town. The new bank is being built as a part of the new strip mall complex under development on South Washington Street across from Aurora Medical Park.

As some of you may remember, this is the same area that Wells Fargo has announced plans to build a new bank at. I'm not sure if Wells Fargo is still coming. For that matter, construction may be already underway and I might have failed to notice it. Either way, this part of town seems to be really heating up. There are currently two strip mall buildings going up; one of which is two stories. In addition, a new Valley Dairy will soon be built and a large new senior citizen apartment complex - called "The View" - will also soon call the area home.

Great to see a new commercial district being developed to serve the extreme southern portions of the city. I wonder what else might be on the way?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Denny's coming to Grand Forks

For those of you who haven't seen the classified ad in the Herald or who didn't notice the handful of comments under Open Thread #9, it sounds like the Denny's restaurant chain is planning to open a new location in Grand Forks within the near future. They are already looking for managers and assistant managers. No word yet on where the restaurant will be or when it will be opening. I'll have to see what I can find out. Great to see even more dining options coming to town!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

Wishing you and yours a joyous Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

City Christmas decorations...

I was listening to Dakota Huseby on the radio today and she was talking with Kevin Dean about some new Christmas lights the city of Grand Forks is testing out.

As you're probably very well aware, the current Christmas decorations that the city has on streetlights throughout town are...well, horrible. They are decades old. Also, apparently it is impossible for the city to change burnt out light bulbs (certainly impossible to replace them with the correct color, at least) and they have clearly not been properly stored throughout the years. They are now bent out of shape, very faded and worn looking, and you'll be lucky to find one with half of the lights actually operating. In other words, they need replacing! (Read an earlier story about the city's decorations here.)

So that brings us to these new lights the city is testing. Apparently, a company that sells decorations for city Christmas displays has lent a few streetlight decorations to the city of Grand Forks to see what citizens think of them. The company is hoping that the city will, in turn, buy enough decorations for streetlights throughout town next year. I was excited to hear this news. New city Christmas decorations is something that I've been waiting for for years now. The lights on loan to the city are located on DeMers Avenue right east of Washington Street towards downtown.

The city wants to gauge public opinion on these lights. My opinion? Hmmm...can't we do better than this? Almost all of the designs are very unattractive, in my opinion. It is actually difficult to distinguish what most of them are. I'm just not very impressed with the designs. They are really very "small town" looking...something that I've thought we've always tried to NOT emulate in Grand Forks.

Really, the only design that seems halfway decent to me is the snowflake. I kind of like the snowflake. It is rather attractive and easily recognizable. Also, I like having something that doesn't scream Christmas. That way, the city can keep them up a while after Christmas without seeming lazy. Also, no one can accuse a snowflake of being politically incorrect. We are known for our winters here, so a snowflake seems like a logical design for the city to use as streetlight decorations for the winter months. I also want to point out that I think it is best for the city to stick with one design for all streetlights. Having many different designs throughout town would look cluttered and "small town".

So that's my opinion. The only design I would be happy to see the city choose is the snowflake one. Now, tell me what you think of the decorations. If you haven't had a chance, I encourage you to drive downtown and take a look.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Open Thread #9

What's on your minds?

Finished your Christmas shopping, decorating, baking, etc. yet? I'm guessing the answer is "No" I right?

Topics covered: RiverWalk Center troubles, Texas Roadhouse opening date, Denny's coming to town

More love for Smiley

Check out what Gordon Iseminger, a distinguished history professor at UND, has to say about Smiley's place in our community. Kudos to Iseminger for taking the time to put his feelings into words.

Some excerpts:

"In one breath, these individuals profess the need to make Grand Forks a destination city and, in the next, they call for the demolition of the very structures that make the city distinctive, the historic structures that would draw visitors and revenue to the city."
"Tourism is North Dakota's second major industry, and those in state government do not insist that historic landmarks and natural formations pay their own way. The Badlands and the Burning Lignite Beds do not generate rent. The statues of Sakakawea and Gov. John Burke on the state Capitol grounds do not return a profit. All, however, pay dividends by drawing tourists to the state."
"For the “bargain” price of $50,000, the cost of demolishing Smiley, the city will gain an unattractive, bare piece of ground, unsuitable for anything. For $200,000, the cost of preservation, the city will preserve a landmark that has greeted tens of thousands of people for decades and which will continue to do so as the city fulfills the dream of those who want to make it a destination city."

Friday, December 15, 2006

A war for a good cause

It's still not too late to get out there and support your favorite side in the Salvation Army Ring-Off challenge! The Herald crew will be at Michael's and the WDAZ crew will be at Home of Economy until 8 tonight. The onslaught of self-promotion by both sides has been almost impossible to miss so I'm sure this isn't really news to most people.

Still, remember that this isn't just about bragging rights between the two rivals. This is a good cause and the money that is (hopefully) pouring into both kettles will do good in the community.

So get out there and support your favorite Forum Communications media outlet. Yep, that's right...they're now both part of the same conglomerate, yet they still feel so competitive. It's kinda cute.

Update - 12/16/2006 - 4:20 PM
No word yet on the Herald site, but apparently the radio is reporting that WDAZ came out on top yesterday. Stay tuned for actual amounts raised.

Update - 12/16/2006 5:38 PM
The Herald is saying "Not so fast!"

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Open Thread #8

Since I'm too lazy to ever come up with any new content on here lately, I'll just make another open thread. This time, I'll start it off...

Topics covered: Olive Garden coming?, Boston's closing?, First Night, Mama Maria's, Suite 49, tipping and service in local restaurants, Winnipeg dining scene

Friday, December 08, 2006

"Da Boss" making changes at Capone's?

While driving down Gateway this afternoon, I couldn't help but notice that the sign on the old Capone's building and the sign in front have both been removed.

As you may remember, Capone's had a fire a couple of months back. They seem to have been spending the time since cleaning up after the fire. Now, with the removal of both signs, I can't help but wonder if the owner has come to her senses and ditched the kitschy name and theme.

I've never understood the whole idea behind Capone's: probably the most expensive restaurant in town locating themselves on ugly Gateway Drive across the street from the smelly Simplot factory and then choosing a "gangster" theme. Really, can't we make some better choices here?

Before you nag me for "picking on" a local establishment, keep in mind that the owner's daughter doesn't mind calling anyone critical of her mother's business formula a douche bag. I mean really, grow up. I just don't feel overly sympathetic towards people who treat their potential customers in this manner.

Regardless, I'll be interested to see what direction the restaurant will take when it finally re-opens under who knows what name and format.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Open Thread #7

About time for another one of these, huh?

Topics covered: "wish lists for Grand Forks", Jamba Juice, bagel places, GF triathlon?