Tuesday, October 31, 2006

New poll: smoke free UND?

Closing the old poll...
The old poll question was "Do you support UND's decision to sue the NCAA?". Click here to view the results. Of 126 voters, 52%(66) answered yes, 45%(57) answered no, and 2%(3) were unsure.

Opening the new poll...
The new poll question is "Would you like to see smoking banned on the UND campus?". Happy voting.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Open Thread #2

So what are we gonna talk about...

How about the "topping ceremony" for the Canad Inns? Maybe your thoughts on the 20/20 Initiative? Hey...whatever happened to that casino?

Topics covered: Canad Inns, New Horizons group, live music in Grand Forks, South Washington Dairy Queen, Jamba Juice, the Royal Fork "post Golden Corral", new South Washington Valley Dairy

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Where's the logo?

I can't help but notice that UND's "hostile and abusive" logo seems to be a little harder to find these days. Have you been in the new Wellness Center yet? There isn't a logo to be seen. That's right...while The Ralph is plastered with thousands of logos, UND's newest building doesn't appear to have even one logo. I thought that was very interesting.

Another noticeable absence...the Fighting Sioux Sports Network. The joint venture between UND and WDAZ has seemingly ditched artist Bennet Brien's logo for a much less "controversial" one.

Here's the old logo...
And here's the new logo...

I wonder if we will continue to see a decline in the logo's use by the University and by other entities? I'm thinking that if UND wins the lawsuit against the NCAA (I know...probably unlikely), there might be some sense of vindication there and we might see a little bit more of the logo than what we've become accustomed to. Who knows...

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Pita Pit

The Pita Pit is delicious. No, not "Deelishis" as in the girl that Flavor Flav chose to spend his life with on his reality show the other night..."delicious" as in yummy for my tummy. Yeah, I know...lame reality show reference.

Anyways, I went to the Pita Pit tonight and I really enjoyed it. I'm still a little confused why they chose to go into such an old building with such a small parking lot, but the fact that the restaurant sits on busy Washington Street does give the place good visibility and seems to be really bringing in customers. The place was packed and, at times, the line stretched to the door. They've gutted the interior of the building and it looks very similar to their restaurant in Fargo. Nothing fancy, but certainly a step up from the old Giovanni's Pizza.

I've heard some people say that the employees have seemed to be a bit confused and bewildered, but I think they've ironed out the kinks now. All of the employees I encountered were friendly and quite competent. The food was the big selling point for me, though. I had a chicken souvlaki pita...tasty and filling. I do think that prices are way too high at the Pita Pit. Call it "fast casual" if you want, but most people would come to this place expecting to pay fast food prices. $15-$16 dollars for two meals is too much.

On the minus side, the napkins were a little too thin and I couldn't help but think that the ambience might be a bit improved if each table had a little vase with flowers. Oh, sorry...I was channeling Marilyn there for a second. No offense, Marilyn...we love you!

Check out CoffeeGuy's review of the Pit.

Update - 11/1/2006 - 3:20 PM
Marilyn has reviewed the Pita Pit.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Bobbi's opening Saturday

Bobbi's Clothing, the new women's clothing store I've mentioned previously, will be opening for the first time this Saturday. It is located in the new strip mall in front of Kohl's. "Bobbi" was the manager of the old Casual Corner store in Columbia Mall. When that store closed, she decided to open her own store. The new store should sell coats, sweaters, career separates, denim, shoes, jewelry, etc.

I think it is great to hear of a new locally owned business opening up in the chain-heavy 32nd Avenue retail area. I like to see a mix of local businesses and chains. To me, that is indicative of a healthy business community.

Apparently, an "exclusive" shoe store will also be opening in the same strip mall early next year.

BTW, thanks to the GFL reader who sent me this tip by email. I always appreciate tips!

Update - 10/21/2006 - 3:00 PM
According to my tipster, Bobbi's is NOT open today. Guess all you professional women will have to wait a little longer....

Allied Health Facility coming to UND

The Dakota Student recently reported that, among other construction projects coming to the UND campus in the near future, work should soon start on a $20 million dollar "Allied Health Facility" directly south of the School of Medicine. I'm assuming that not everyone reads The Dakota Student so I thought I would mention this. I haven't seen anything about this anywhere else, so I was very interested in this article.

The building will bring several medical programs at UND together under one roof which should improve synergy and convenience between the programs. I think this is great news for the medical community at UND and great news for the University itself. I have always thought that having a medical school on campus is one of those things that makes UND seem like a truly "comprehensive" institution. In my opinion, it is important to keep the School of Medicine healthy and growing. It is a vital asset for the state of North Dakota (trains half our doctors), produces many of the country's Native American physicians, and is a leader in the area of rural health. It truly has a rich history and anything to keep it healthy is great, in my opinion.

Like the article states, this building will take up the exisiting parking lot at the School of Medicine, but the new parking ramp should make up for that. I'm thinking the University is going to have to start looking at that second parking ramp east of Columbia Road a little sooner than they figured...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wal-Mart Supercenter grand opening

The new Wal-Mart Supercenter in Grand Forks held its grand opening today. Then again, Wal-Mart grocery stores have practically poisonous meat, offer nothing but junk food, and are filled with nearly retarded shoppers...at least that's what some of you think.

I for one am happy to see the project finally completed. Grand Forks shoppers now have one more choice available to them. Do you realize that there are now five grocery stores (Hugo's, Super One, SuperTarget, Sam's, Wal-Mart) just on the 32nd Avenue corridor? Wow.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

GFL "mailing list" up and running

Grand Forks Life now offers a "mailing list" of sorts. If you click on "Subscribe via email" on the left side of the screen, you will be prompted to enter your email address. After signing up, you will be notified daily when I have updated this blog and you'll get a portion of each post (you'll have to click on the posts's title to come to the blog and read the entire post). Some of you have requested this kind of thing in the past so I hope this works for you.

More construction in Kohl's development

I was using my $10 coupon at Kohl's the other day and I couldn't help but notice all of the activity taking place next to the new store. Work has really started on a brand new building right to the east of Kohl's. The foundation for the store is already being put in...and to think it was just bare dirt a week or two ago! It gives the impression of being a large building and it looks like it will actually touch Kohl's.

I'm still not 100% sure what the building's tenant will be, but I'm almost certain it will be the new Ashley Furniture store I broke the news on a couple of months back.

I think it is great to see so much commercial development taking place in Grand Forks. There are so many projects on the south side that have just been completed, are currently under construction, or will soon be under construction...32nd Avenue is really experiencing a building boom!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Four new blogs

A few Grand Forks Blogosphere-related morsels...

•Conservative Yahoo, a regular on several local blogs, now has his own blog: TooMuchDogHair.

•Elucidarian has moved from his old Elucidarian's Nest blog to his new blog: Maze of Feathers.

Our friend Tu-Uyen has made a mini-blog about his recent trip to Scandinavia: Tuey's Travelogue.

•Tuey also has another blog, this one covering his thoughts on and experiences with all things edible: The Voracious Id.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

"Quite a comeback"

The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis has several interesting articles in their online "FedGazette" publication about Grand Forks and its recovery from the Flood of '97.

"High and dry"
"To save a city"
"Who needs downtowns, anyway?"
"Selected state and federal flood-recovery expenditures, Greater Grand Forks"

Open Thread #1

I'm going to blatantly rip off Dakota Huseby and start having an "Open Thread" from time to time. What can you talk about in an open thread like this? Anything you want! Use it like a message board and post anything that's on your mind. I think this might also be a good source of post ideas for me.

Comment away!

Topics covered: Grand Forks' new Kohl's store, southend traffic flow, GFK terminal

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

New poll: "Siouxing" the NCAA

Time for a new poll.

Closing the old poll...
In keeping with Grand Forks Life's one year anniversary this month, the old poll question was "In what month would you estimate you first visited this blog?". There were a total of 57 votes. Take a look at the results...

October '05 (4 votes, 7%)
November '05 (11 votes, 19%)
December '05 (0 votes, 0%)
January '06 (5 votes, 9%)
February '06 (6 votes, 11%)
March '06 (4 votes, 7%)
April '06 (2 votes, 4%)
May '06 (7 votes, 12%)
June '06 (3 votes, 5%)
July '06 (2 votes, 4%)
August '06 (4 votes, 7%)
September '06 (9 votes, 16%)

It looks like, of the 57 voters, 30 first visited this blog in the initial six months of its existence and 27 first visited this blog within the last six months.

Opening the new poll...
Here's the new poll question: "Do you support UND's decision to sue the NCAA?". I'll be interested to hear what you have to say about this issue.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Canad Inn pics

Canad Inns has been regularly posting pictures of their Grand Forks construction project on their website...take a look.

The main hotel tower has now reached its full height of thirteen stories. Sometimes when they build tall buildings, the workers put a flag on the tallest point. Maybe they should put an American and Canadian flag on this tower? It would be kind of cool and I'm sure the Manitobans coming south on I-29 would like that...put 'em in a spending mood!

(Images - Canad Inns)

Friday, October 06, 2006

In our thoughts

Eliot Glassheim, senior member of the Grand Forks city council and a Democratic state representative, is in St. Alexius Hospital in Bismarck (read Herald story). It appears that he has spent some time in intensive care. Apparently, Glassheim has a history of heart problems.

This hits close to home for me because my father is similar in age to Glassheim and he too has had heart problems including two heart attacks. Mr. Glassheim will certainly be in my thoughts.

Update - 10/6/2006
According to the Herald and Tu-Uyen, Glassheim is doing ok.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Is it a sculpture or is it a sign?

Grand Forks' new Furniture Row development will include at least one very interesting sign. At the southwest corner of the property (adjacent to I-29 and south of Lowe's), a 25 foot tall sign will be built. This isn't your typical sign, though...it will include a stack of 25 foot tall chairs. Yes, chairs.

Should be an interesting topic of conversation for visitors coming from south of town.

(Image - Furniture Row)

Groceries at Wal-Mart

On Wednesday, the new grocery section of Grand Forks' Wal-Mart Supercenter opened to customers for the first time. The official grand opening for the Supercenter is October 18.

I didn't have a chance to visit the store on Wednesday, but I hear that it was already very busy. I'm interested to know how their prices compare to the other grocery stores in town. I heard that they aren't yet stocking some perishable items (meat, bakery items, and produce).

I'm thinking that smiley kid in all of the Hugo's ads had a bad day.

(Image - GoHugos.com [with a little editing])

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Grand Forks Life turns one year old

Today marks the one year anniversary of Grand Forks Life. In the past year, this blog has had 29,002 visitors and 60,296 page views. Thanks to all of my readers and I hope you continue to visit this blog in the future!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Grand Forks theaters: promises unfulfilled

The other night, I went to the Carmike 10 on 32nd Avenue South to see "The Black Dahlia". Aside from the fact that I came to the conclusion that there were only two (three at absolute tops) employees in the entire multiplex, I also couldn't help but think about all of those promises made to us about new movie theater construction and renovation projects in Grand Forks...all promises that have gone unfulfilled...

•A new 8-screen stadium-style theater attached to the Canad Inns/Alerus Center complex. It was originally even supposed to have full food service (eat a meal in your seat) as well as state-of-the-art audio and video.

•A new 12-screen stadium-style theater at Columbia Mall in the old Target store space. It was supposed to be a Wallace Theater. That would have been such a boost for the mall and would have created much needed competition for Carmike.

•A renovated Carmike 10 with new stadium seats in the theaters. Certainly needed!

•A revamped Columbia 4 turned into a discount theater. We need a discount theater in Grand Forks badly. I used to go to the old Plaza Twin at South Forks Plaza often...I wish I could still see a movie for $1 or $2 dollars. The Columbia 4 is far too outdated to expect people to accept it as a theater for first-run movies. It would be much better suited for a discount format.

And here we are...not one of these projects has happened. Carmike really needs competition and Grand Forks really needs more movie screens in much more modern theater environments. As it is, going to the movies in Grand Forks currently means you put on your old clothes (those seats...ewww) and pay way too much to sit through a movie with poor video and even worse sound. What a shame!

Rydell's open house

This past Sunday afternoon, I attended the open house at the new Rydell's car dealership on South Washington. Don't ask me why they chose to hold the open house so long after the building was actually completed. Still, I enjoyed getting to see what the new Rydell's looks like.

All in all, it is a nice structure. I like the giant, curved roof that seems to tower over your head when you're inside the building (reminds me of a stadium) . My only problem with the building is the lack of signage on the outside. They must have spent millions on this building, yet apparently they couldn't spend the money it would take to put up a sign that says "Rydell" on the building. I'm not kidding...there is no sign other than a red neon one that hangs inside behind a window and is only visible in the dark (and even then it doesn't stand out).

My favorite part of the open house? The free food! Pulled pork sandwiches, chips, cookies, and beverages. Apparently, the great Chef NarDane (aka Dennis Narlock) prepared the food. Yes, there is actually a chef in Grand Forks who has come up with his own "celebrity chef" moniker...think what you will. Anyways, thanks to the Rydell's for the free food...now go put up a sign on the building!