Thursday, May 03, 2007

Open Thread #23

Property taxes, the always popular local dining scene, the weather...whatever. Your choice!


GrandForksGuy said...

What's up with all of the streetlights around the 32nd Avenue/Columbia Road area? They've all been off for a couple of days now. Very dark and I think quite dangerous. Does it have something to do with the Columbia Road/24th Avenue reconstruction project? Whatever the reason, it's a bit ridiculous to have all streetlights off in the busiest part of town. Somebody should get moving on this!

Anonymous said...

Every now and then I notice that in some areas of town. Usually it is fixed within a couple of days.

ben said...

My house valuation went up 20,700...holy cow! This city certainly does have stones doing that immediately after the legislature gave cities a tounge-lashing. Hopefully next time they do something about it.

Anonymous said...

The values of houses in this town are shooting through the roof in the 120k-160k range... there is a lot of action in the market in that price range. The assessors switched to a new system to grade your house against actual 2006 sales of other houses in town with the same amenities.

Why did your house go up 20k? Because others are paying that much for it. It has nothing to do with "stones." If you want to argue about it specifically, post your address and we can do that.

Now if the county, city, park district, or school board raises or fails to sufficiently drop the tax rate... now you can talk about stones.

The fact is property values in grand forks are rising. That is fact, and this is true during a crappy national market. Considering the massive amount of jobs available in this town right now, that may not change any time soon, especially if those available jobs spur domestic migration. In over 50% of the other markets in this nation, any complaint that your housing costs are high will result in the other party laughing in your face.

Property tax here is high, and we don't pay jack in state income tax, that's the way the state is structured, and it results in a middle of the road tax burden.

ben said...

ouch...I wasn't exactly saying I disagree with the assessment. It just gets a little tough to pay these taxes when they are basically adding on nearly $100/month each year to your tax bill. Hopefully with the large influx of state money to the K-12 system, they will drop the mills a little (although with the history of the school district, I doubt it)

ben said...

oops - did my math wrong...$50/month over the last three-four years.

Anonymous said...

Grand Forks is so funny. The property values go up dramatically, and the explanation is "That's the way it is everywhere, so why not here?"

I'll tell you why, because unless you are a farmer, your land in ND is worthless. Property values go up in places like California, Arizona and Florida because people actually WANT to live there. Private property is at a premium in those places because owners get to have great amenities like good weather, good job markets, access to worthwhile entertainment and shopping and an actual view among other things.

What can Grand Forks offer that a planned community in a nice state cant? Nothing.

Artificially inflating land values won't make people come to a city that offers nothing, it will only make the poor buggers that already live there more miserable.

ec99 said...

Have to agree with anonymous above on this. Taxes go up, but services haven't. Years ago, garbage was collected twice a week 2 out of three it's once a week. The city council, park board, and school board spend money like water. They build an Arnold Palmer golf course for whom? Houses on the fairways, for whom? Downtown, for whom? Quality of life has not improved in GF, while the media refuse to report the negative underbelly. Where IS the money going?

Anonymous said...

ec99, get out much?

Proud Resident of EGF said...

Well...count me as someone who wanted to live here. I recall seeing the 1997 flood on TV in a state quite a bit south of here and it was my goal to come up and live in Grand Forks/East Grand Forks so I can make it a better city. There is no doubt it is a better city now in my opinion.

ben said...

My tax gripe was in no means a complaint about services in grand forks. We have some of the best rated schools in the country, good police and fire departments, and nice little perks like curbside recycling, leaf pickup, etc. As much as we complain about it, I can't remember a time my street hasn't been cleared within 12 hours of a big snowfall. (and I live in on a very infrequently traveled street) The services here really are first rate. Not to mention the attractions like the raph, alerus, kings walk, and downtown. The quality of life here is great (especially now that it is sprintime)

Anonymous said...

I, for one, am sick of hearing all this "Grand Forks is so much better now". What a frickin' joke! Lincoln Park neighborhood...Gone! The amazing neighborhoods of Central Park and Riverside....Gone! The historic Lincoln Golf Course and surrounding grounds...Gone! Absolutely no vision in the redevelopment! There are so many other examples. Flood insurance was only about $500/year. I would bet that the VAST majority of Grand Forks citizens would pay twice that to have our beautiful river town back. This earthen, and concrete, fortress sucks!!! If you're new in town and town and want some way to express your appreciation for your new home, there are other ways.

City officials blew it with our rebuilding plan. No surprise there.

Anonymous said...

":What can Grand Forks offer that a planned community in a nice state cant? Nothing."

Having lived in a few diferent cities in my short lifetime, GFK is actually quite nice. For the property taxes, we seem to get a decent amount of services. The biggest crime around here is typically robbery which is much better than most other places. The problem is in the statement above. The problem with ND and GFK is that not many people know about it... do they even know about the large numbers of $50-100k scientist jobs open at EERC?

In my opinion, GFK should work on marketing itself to the outside world. With the University, EERC, and LM GlassFibre, we have a natural avenue for alternative energy type research/companies. If you can build upon a certain field (ESPECIALLY THIS FIELD), GFK's future will be secure.

I know some will say the problem is GFK being so far removed from "the world" and the cold winters. Show them things such as the Greenway System, and perhaps you can change that problem.

dale said...

I, too, would like to know where the additional tax money is being spent. My home value has gone up about $50,000 in the last five years or so. I don't have a problem with that if the proceeds are being well spent. But I haven't seen anything that discusses that. Isn't the Greenway paid via the two-part dike special assessment?

A couple of years ago, I was refinancing my mortgage through GMAC, and when we got to the bit about taxes, I told the guy at GMAC I paid $4,000. He said "no, just taxes, don't include your insurance or anything else." When I assured him that it was only the property tax, he said "Wow, that's the highest tax rate I've ever seen."

Again, if the city/county is celebrating a windfall as a result of much higher property values and increased sales tax revenue, what are they spending the money on that's impacting me and my family? We had award winning schools when my assessed value was $50,000 less, and, while my taxes went up 8% over last year, that's more than inflation would account for.

If I was living on a fixed income, such an increase might cost me to have to move, not a very good thing.

Anonymous said...

Enlighten me: how does one "artificially inflate housing prices" across an entire market? even a small one like gf? Interest rates are up, and the supply is up dramatically in GF in the past 2 years, yet prices still rise. If people are not continually paying those prices, then how is it "artificially" happening?

And, no, it's not happening in most other markets across the US.

dadingf said...

Well said Dale. What ever happened to McNamara's plan for property taxes in GF? Every year we are going to be getting these letters in the mail that tell us we will be paying more taxes, but how do these increased taxes go to better serve the public?? How efficient is our city government?? These questions are not often raised in this town, I agree with many of the comments that we have great services, but we often are arguing over tax incentives, and very seldom are hearing about where and how are tax dollars are being spent.
If the city or county argue that they are as efficient as possible then we need to talk to our state reps to see if the state government is doing all they can to spend wisely. I would argue however, that we have a very frugal state government, maybe too frugal, and that our city government is not quite as efficient as it can be.

Goon said...

I am in the 120,000 to 160,000. Our hour value of the house went up 9600 in one year. Something is fishy here. I suppose the tax bill will be the next thing to come around. Funny thing I wish my wage had gone up that much in the last year.

Anonymous said...

"I know some will say the problem is GFK being so far removed from "the world" and the cold winters. Show them things such as the Greenway System, and perhaps you can change that problem."

You know, you are absolutely right. I'm going to forego a life in a warmer place with entertainment options and a job that pays a living after seeing some brown grass by a dirty river in the middle of nowhere that spends 3/4 of its existance under a sheet of ice. I'm calling U-Haul right away!

There isn't one person I've talked to about North Dakota that hasn't said "Eww. How did you survive up there?" That's BEFORE I actually tell them about Grand Forks. There is a reality here that you are not seeing. NORTH DAKOTA SUCKS and EVERYONE in this country knows it but you.

I live in a VERY large city, and my neighborhood (pop. 43,000 BTW) had a crime rate, based on a crimes per 100,000 people formula, of about 40% LESS crime then your little Utopia. Especially in the Robbery, Theft, Car Theft, Assault, Burglary and my personal favorite, Murder categories.

But you have a hockey arena and a new CanadInn...that's good, right?

Anonymous said...

You obviously don't like it here and that is why you live eleswhere. Tell me what VERY large city you live in and I'm sure we could find a thing or two wrong there as well. No place is perfect and everyone chooses to live where they are for their own reasons. That being said you've made your opinion known so take it easy on the negative waves your spouting.

Matthew said...
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proud EGF resident said...

I agree with the prev poster...I often look at the forum and let me tell you everyplace in the U.S. is a bad place to live if you believe all the posts. Weather is one negative factor for some as some just cannot take the cold and that is fine...there are warmer places for those folks. As for me, I moved up from southern Missouri several years ago because I hate the heat and long summers and wanted the opposite....tree-less prairie...wind...very cold and some snow. I'm in heaven! But it took me many years to find this place and luckily my job was here too.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I DO like it up there, I wouldn't spend time on this blog from 2000 miles away if I didn't. I would just say "To Hell with Y'all" and move on.

I left because there was no way for me to earn a living up there without working in the service or manufacturing sectors. Grand Forks is my hometown. I just can't stand to see you people fool yourselves into thinking that everything is just fine up there, all the while going to the bars at night and drinking your silent troubles away. (Of course there will be those that don't, so save the hate mail, but statistics say that is the case for a large number of the population up there.)

Watching Grand Forks from afar is like watching an alcoholic family member you love dearly make terrible choices with their life over and over again, and not being able to help them from making their life a horrible train wreck. On the one hand, you want to tie the whole damn city to a chair and scream at them to get their lives together and stop electing the same assholes who are obviously only there to serve their own needs, and on the other hand you steel yourself for the inevitable phone call that will come in the middle of the night that says "Grand Forks died tonight from self inflicted wounds. There was nothing you could do."

I'd come home and run for office myself if I didn't already know what happens to people who desire a little change up there. They get run out of town for not toeing the line and speaking in soft non-confrontational tones about the same things over and over, ("We have a great hockey arena. The Greenway is a real marvel. We've come a long way since the flood. LM Glassfiber is hiring. Have you been to Cabela's?").

Who here would actually desire a little change up there? Maybe I'll have to take a chance and look up the requirements to run for Mayor and come home to establish residency. Hmmmm....

proud EGF resident said...

You sound very intelligent but many a careers do take people away from their hometown. I left mine and do not regret. I was wondering since you are from here and all what changes you would like? Growth is here...esp since about 2002 when we built our house on the south end of the pointe.

Will we be like will always be bigger and have more shoppes, opportunites, etc Location down there is more ideal. Nothing wrong with that. Let GF find its own niche. But in the 9 years here...and doing some communication with those in city hall in my job just quite dont see the horrible conditions you see I suppose. Discussion on change is good....but not all change is good.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the compliment.

What changes would I like? I actually had to think this one out for a moment. What changes would benefit the residents of Grand Forks, while keeping the better things about the city intact?

I think you nailed it on the head when you stated that GF will not ever be like Fargo. Fargo is at a crossroads for two major interstates, so commerce will ALWAYS be Fargo's strong point. Bismarck is the center of policy and governance. So what can set GF apart from the others?

Culture and the Arts.

Grand Forks cannot beat Fargo in landing big companies, but it sure as hell can take on any city in ND in the Arts. The local governments, municipal and county, should be looking for ways to make GF a destination city not only for Canadians, but for other North Dakotans as well.

We will never be able to draw a national tourism to GF. That is reality. There is nothing to look at. There are no mountains, no major bodies of water, no forests, or any other environmental draws there. So I propose that GF play on it's strengths as a center for culture for the state.

Here are some ideas I have for GF, in no particular order:

#1. Seek funding for an official state aquarium. It would feature native aquatic animals like catfish, walleye, pike, Perch, etc along with more exotic ones like stingrays and sharks. It's just too cold to have a viable outdoor zoo, so I think a large, well designed, modern indoor aquarium would be perfect. The ND Game and Fish Dept. could team up with UND to add classrooms and use the facility to offer course work in marine biology and conservation.

#2 Establish a private cultural advocacy and networking organization, seperate from the ND Council on the Arts, representing the entire state, connecting performing, literary and visual artists and cultural organizations with each other, with local audiences and with visitors, using a new facility as incentive. By establishing this liason between the private and public sectors of the Arts, Grand Forks will position itself as the cultural hub of ND, with communities across the state having contact with GF on a constant basis.

#3. Encourage UND to offer a film major. A number of students attend Moorhead state for their film program. Grand Forks would benefit from a superior film program offered by UND, in the fact that a film program would tap into local arts resources for student projects every semester.

#4. Encourage, through short Tax Abatements, the development of an arts and entertainment district to be established in downtown GF. The North Dakota Ballet is located in the Grand Cities Mall, hardly the place for an arts organization. A Grand Forks arts district would help place organizations like the GGF Community Theatre, the Empire Arts Center, the North Dakota Ballet, and the GGF Symphony Orchestra in the heart of the city along with private entertainment venues like comedy clubs, upscale restaurants and live music venues along the Greenway.

#4. City beautification is key to a cultural center. There needs to be a dialog on whether it would be more beneficial to relocate the airport to the south end of town, or to use eminant domain to forclose on properties along the Gateway corridor who do not adhere to a determined standard. The North End is a wreck. It's time to shine up the area around the city's prized hockey arena. When you put in new furniture in your home, you vacuum the carpet first, right? The same standard should apply to your municipal home as well.

#5. Grand Forks needs to attract new jobs without using cheap labor as a selling point. I believe with a solid cultural base, Grand Forks will be in a better position to attract companies who will need to pay competitive wages to their workers.

I have MANY more ideas on this subject, but I'm sure I've lost most of the readers already with this long rant.

proud EGF resident said...

Hey....great post and I admire your vision and enthusiasm. You really should come back up and run for office....good ideas. I esp like the art and entertainment idea downtown. Shopping will always be hard to sell downtown just with the perceived lack of parking, etc....and we are well past the time when we can reel in the idea of shopping malls and shopping strips developing on the outskirts of town. But your ideas would give downtown an alternative that you could only find downtown (i.e. symphony, ballet, etc).

Good post and gave me lots to think about. Take care....Dan

dale said...

Execellent ideas in that post, thanks for your creative input. I agree 100% with pretty much everything you've laid out, though I'm still not completely sure on the "if we build it, they will come" philosophy of arts and cultural growth. I'm not sure that the market is there yet.

We went to see "Arsnic and Old Lace" at the Empire last weekend, and there were about thirty people at the Friday night show (with zero publicity, I'm sure, but still...)

Even so, absolutely no one will go if it isn't there, so I like your plan!

Matthew said...

This seems as good a place as any to annouce this:

Hey, grandforksguy and everyone else, I just wanted to announce that Dakota Roar (UND student forums) and the forums from have merged to form Campus Dakota-----check it out at!

We decided to do this to bring more students together from North Dakota. It should also expand the entertainment opportunities that Dakota Roar showcased.

I hope everyone can stop by and drop a note in the Guest forum--tell us what you think!

Anonymous said...

#1. Seek funding for an official state aquarium. It would feature native aquatic animals like catfish, walleye, pike, Perch, etc along with more exotic ones like stingrays and sharks. It's just too cold to have a viable outdoor zoo, so I think a large, well designed, modern indoor aquarium would be perfect. The ND Game and Fish Dept. could team up with UND to add classrooms and use the facility to offer course work in marine biology and conservation.
Like your ideas! A Penquin Paradise type aquarium / outdoor display would go over well in all weather. GF can do selective niches extremely well if it so choses.

Have you ever talked to anyone at UND about a film major?

Anonymous said...

You know what? In all honesty, I wouldn't know who to suggest that to. Would I need to talk to the administration, the Board of Higher Education, or a state legislator? I imagine that would be a pertty big issue that would require lobbying, as a film department would require new instructors, new equipment, and perhaps new facilities.

I just think a Film program there would be something that would draw students from all over...myself included, not incidentally! No offense to the Aviation department at all, but UND really should focus on diversifying a little more, especially as a potential D-I school.

Anonymous said...

Send an e-mails to the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, to the Chairs of the Theatre Arts and Communications department, or even to Weisenstein or Kupchella himself.

Express your ideas coherently just as you did and incorporate Film into UND's strategic vision (see below) and see what kind of response there is.

Notice that the Strategic Plans includes a new Theatre Arts building. Why not expand it to include film?

From UND's Strategic Plan:

26. New Theatre Arts/Office Building. Estimated cost: $7,000,000

Purpose: Provide a new home for the Department of Theatre Arts, including classrooms and faculty offices.
Status: Proposed

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for that information.

I was not aware of the fact that UND was planning to build a new building for the Theatre Arts department. My girlfriend is actually a recent alumni of UND's Theatre program.

I was a theatre major years ago at UND, but I felt my calling was more in film than live theatre. Couple that with a serious ideology difference with the department's social politics(stubbornly Republican student versus overwhelmingly Democrat teachers) and you end up with an articulate blog junkie without a proper education!

I will have to start planting the seeds for this in the right gardens. Thank you again for the direction!

ec99 said...

I get the impression that any spare cash UND has lying around will be earmarked for its D I plans.

Matthew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew said...

Just have to convince them that they need to expand their curriculum for DI.

You might tell them that they could steal the rights for student films and sell them. That would probably get them interested.

UND's student forum:

Anonymous said...

I was not aware of the fact that UND was planning to build a new building for the Theatre Arts department.
With some of the building projects on that list, there are some benefactors who have already been identified who may become even more enthusiastic by ideas. Not saying that is the case here, but one never knows.

I was a theatre major years ago at UND, but I felt my calling was more in film than live theatre. Couple that with a serious ideology difference with the department's social politics(stubbornly Republican student versus overwhelmingly Democrat teachers) and you end up with an articulate blog junkie without a proper education!Wow! How unusual: a Republican theatre major. I applaud your diversity of thought in what must have non-tolerant of your views. Your diverse background makes it even more important that your voice gets heard.

I will have to start planting the seeds for this in the right gardens.Seems you have the passion and calling!! Please, don't get discouraged if the wheels turn ever so slowly.

Lynsey said...

FYI -- Film studies falls into the English department moreso than the Communications department due to the critical analysis element in film study. Christopher P. Jacobs would be a great guy to talk to -- he teaches the Intro to Film class at UND, and he's taught classes on screenwriting and will teach other specialized film classes as the need arises.

observer said...

Anon film studies guy,

Although eloquent, I disagree with most of your post. The LAST thing G.F. needs is ANOTHER gov-funded attraction, ANOTHER organization, or, ANOTHER tax abatement for a business with already established competitors.

Very simply, what it will take is a key "doer" to make it happen. I've come to accept that those types of people simply would not want to live in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

I've lived in town my whole life and pay very close attention to the arts and entertainment scene. It is currently at an all-time low. We all need to remember, not long ago, this community was home to an individual that practically single-handedly culturally enriched the entire region. The best in stand-up comedy, the best of traditional and comtemporary blues artists, GREAT rock bands, and even artists diverse as zydeco and reggae. Not to mention, simply amazing special events. The dude lived here 10 years, and like a switch, overnight town was happening. He moved, and that switch turned off. So, it can be done. Again, it takes the key individual...not government or an organization.

I would encourage you to not move back. You're better off elsewhere.

On a side note, I'm on an extended vacation checking out parts of America with my wife. It's so refresshing to see beautiful communities with so much to offer. Honestly, we're talking again about moving and starting over in another location. Hopefully, we'll make it happen this time.

Anonymous said...

I was at The Empire Arts Center in February. What the heck is going on down there? The place is trashed! The walls are all beat up, the bathrooms are real bad, and the place is generally a dump. Has it been repaired since then?

It was a heart breker to see the place so run down.

Matthew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew said...

Maybe if we got enough people together, we could form some sort of arts&entertainment co-op that could/would rent out performance space for groups?

UND's student forums--and NDSU's too!

Anonymous said...


I guess I was only trying to come up with some ideas to make GF a better place by using the existing channels.

Of course, it would be wonderful if these types of things could become a reality using only private money. I, personally, would prefer it that way on a philosophical level. But even 'successful' communities have to use incentives to attract businesses willing to put time, effort and treasure into a long term investment.

What it comes down to is whether or not the community investment (tax forgiveness, etc.) offered to the potential investors will create a return by way of benefits to the community by and large.

The main question should be: Would offering tax forgiveness to arts organizations so they can afford to obtain tangible 'shop fronts', for the purpose of consolidating into a marketable district, bring a favorable return versus collecting the current property taxes on the existing district? If you look at government from the point of view of a business structure, one might say that the government isn't merely giving the people's money away, but rather investing the people's money in future returns.

To me, THAT is what the city and county governments SHOULD be doing for GF.

On a side note, who is this individual you mentioned who "practically single-handedly culturally enriched the entire region"?

Anonymous said...

When did you live in Grand Forks?

KC said...

I have to stop signing my posts as 'Anonymous', because It's getting confusing here, so just call me KC.

If you are asking me, I lived in GF until 2004.

Anonymous said...

The gentlemen being referred to is the fellow who ran the Westward Ho. He brought in some great acts, and a steady stream of good performers all year round, since he left, the GF entertainment scene has not even been close.

ec99 said...

Is this the same guy who declared bankrupcy, made off with a bunch of people's deposits for wedding recetions, and left them all in the lurch?

KC said...

While I agree that the Westward Ho was an entertainment option in GF that was ended before it's prime, to say it, and Chris Lindgren, 'single handedly culturally enriched the entire region' is VERY misguided.

I don't believe that encouraging rampant underage drinking is a hallmark of culture. Nor are cheap sports bars, bad Chef Boyardee recipes disguised as 'Italian' cuisine and a decor reminicient of a cartoon western whorehouse.

I guess I just believe that there are those up there that are far more deserving of the 'Culture Progenitor' title then Chris Lindgren. If he was so gifted as to be dubbed GF's entertainment Messiah, I guess I don't understand why the former Babylon club tanked so quickly under his tender wing. With such supernatural prowess, I would think bouncing back from bankruptcy would have been the least of his worries.

If that truckstop roadhouse was the high watermark for culture in GF, then, sir, there IS no hope at all for culture in GF. But, I, and many others of real substance, don't believe that to be true.

The Ho is dead...let it's memory rest with the dignity it was not afforded in life.

anonguy said...

Nice! One person's opinion, of course (or two, whatever).

Ec99, you are a funny dude. The answers to your questions are no, no, and no. Well, I guess you're right on a technicality on the last question. Generally, when a business closes, the future customers are left out in the lurch (as you say). FYI...most of that B.S. was just your Grand Forks Herald's way of a kiss goodbye, and what they'll sink to to sell papers.

K.C., FYI, Lindgren only did some special events at Babylon. The Herald misreported that he had more of a relationship. He banged out some shows until his house sold, packed up, and hit the road. I know because I saw Tab Benoit, The Mike Plume Band, Mitch Hedberg, Bob Zany, Chris Porter, and Iffy there.

So...your idea of a good band is The Johnny Holm Band. Good for you. I'll take the real deal, thank you. I saw countless amazing acts at The Ho. Bo Diddley, R.L. Burnside, Dick Dale, and so many other greats on a regular basis. I was also treated to some surprises that became some of my favorites. Fred Eaglesmith, Mike Plume, Richard Buckner. And, that's not to mention the amazing local acts that came out of Peanut Bar Live.

As a matter of fact, last Saturday, all I could think is how amazing The Ho would have been that day with The Derby and the De La Hoya-Mayweather fight.

I would have paid 2 hundred bucks just to sit in the lobby all day and night! Instead, I stayed home and watched it on tv. :-(

Damn how I miss that "truckstop roadhouse" and the "Messiah".

FYI...I was just an acquaintance of Chris from being a regualr there. He'd always greet me and my friends and take amazing care of us. Here's some of my fond memories...

The acts listed above and...
The Fabulous Thunderbirds
Vic Chestnutt
Stacey Earle
Slaid Cleeves
Freedy Johnston
The Reggae Festivals
The old Blues dudes...
Long John Hunter
Guitar Shorty
Philip Walker
The contemporary blues acts...
Kenny Neale
Walter Trout
There are so many more.
Also, the punk shows and seeing great local acts like Heidi Gluck, Tom Brosseau, and Georges August Brew in the Peanut Bar.

Can you tell I miss that place!
Grand Forks will never be the same without it!
You're was 6 years ago, let the joint rest in peace.

(The food was good to, at a great price)

anonguy said...

Oh man, I just have to give my props, I forgot to mention...The Jayhawks! They are one of my ALL TIME favorites! Again, regualrs at The Ho. Which brings to mind all the great Minneapolis bands...
Gear Daddies
Tina and the B Sides
The Honeydogs
Slim Dunlap many more.

KC said...

The Johnny Holm band?

I'm sorry, at what point did I mention the Johnny Holm band? Are you referring to the drivel that plays over at Sensations? Because I don't believe that the Colony West is much of a Mecca either.

There are those who miss the fun the Ho had to offer very much, but on the whole, it shouldn't be dwelled upon. Grand Forks needs a new beginning on the arts and entertainment scene, and I believe that a district made up of arts organizations and private entertainment venues would be a wonderful start. To make this a reality, GF needs more than one person to do it. I'm willing to put in the time necessary to help lobby for change, but I can't do it alone from 2000 miles away.

If there is ANY intrest among readers to perhaps do more than just opine, perhaps we should get in contact with each other, and we'll start from there.

anon7 said...

Shame on you Kelly Clow!!! Or, do you prefer "kc" on the blogosphere? You have to be the most ungrateful human in the history of man!

For those that don't know, Kelly was a founding member of Nine and Numb, a local Improv group that got their start at The Ho. Lindgren gave them The Peanut Bar every Tuesday night. When they outgrew that, he gave them The Gaslight Lounge. Also, the "rampant underage drinking" was Nine and Numb's crowd. I'm guessing Chris let it slide because he respected that the group was a developing locally based group, and not running the show as "all ages", would have killed them. Again, could anyone be more ungrateful?

I wonder why you're so bitter? I'll take a shot. When Lindgren started doing shows at Babylon, you were not invited along for the ride. I'll also guess why. He was just an event promoter at another individual's venue. If you don't generate enough door money, why would an event promoter care to work with you? You probably could have gone to the property owner and made a deal. Instead, you ended up at Sensations, crashed, and burned. I don't know, maybe you did contact the Babylon, however, you're crowd was underage so they had no incentive to work with you.

Kelly Clow...flake.
Lindgren...messiah (your word).

Since we're on the topic, here's a Ho memory. I, like probably everyone in town, have many.

I am a huge fan of Rich Hall and Emo Philips. Rich, since the early 80's, and Emo, since the late 80's. They both became regulars at The Ho. It was amazing seeing, and hanging out with my heroes. I saw Rich at The Comedy Gallery Saturday night, then I ran into him at The Chuckhouse the next morning. He invited me to join him. Rich is very quiet offstage. I explained to him that a year before that day, I saw him at The Ho, he was working out a new bit at the end of the show...and then did it 2 days later on Conan! It was the "Rich Hall One Millionth Joke" bit. They even credited The Westward Ho. Rich explained to me that he came to town twice a year, once in the off season, and once in peak season. He went on to say that he lived in London for years and would only play 2 clubs in the U.S., and do The Conan O'Brien show. He stated that he came in the on season to pay back Chris for the favor. He told me that he would come to G.F. the week before The Montreal Festival to tune up before his appearance there. This was in the summer. He insisted to buy my breakfast, we shook hands and I told him I'd see him next time he was in town. Two days later, I saw him live on Conan again! It was when he brought the Otis Lee Crenshaw show to Grand Forks. When they were done, Conan said something like, "You can see Otis (Rich), this week at The Just For Laughs, Montreal Comedy Festival".

I'm sorry but, that stuff just doesn't happen in town anymore!

BTW, Rich is a health food nut that said he couldn't stop breaking his diet that week at The HO because the food was so good. That morning, all he ate was 3 orders of those AWESOME Chuckhouse hash browns. Just hash browns, tabasco, and water. A memory a true fan could never forget!!!

Thanks Chris!

Again, shame on you Kelly!

P.S., sorry for the long post. Maybe someday I'll tell the story about eating cole slaw with Emo at The Big Sioux at 3 o'clock in the morning. BTW...the middle act with Rich that week was K.P Anderson. The current Executive Producer and Head Writer for The Soup on E!.

ec99 said...

" The answers to your questions are no, no, and no."

So what you are saying is that when the Ho went belly up, no who had made deposits for wedding receptions lost their money? Now why would the Herald and KNOX and KCNN report that they had?

Anonymous said...

Whoa, Mr Clow. You bring a new low to the meaning of scumbag.

BTW...I've seen your "stand up"...Sucked!
Nine and Numb?...barely passing grade, extra credit applied for effort and youth. You, BTW, were the weakest member.
You warm-over Rocky Horror Picture Show every year? Oh my, how original?

You are an assclown dude.

Anonymous said...

All the various personal bashing aside, whether you thought the Ho was great or a dive, it provided some entertainment besides dinner and drinks.

Now, the Ho ain't coming back, so what to do? If I knew how to be a promoter and bring in the acts I'd do it. But I don't. So, in the meantime I'll support what there is and hope someone who knows how to do it comes along.

It seems like the downtown has not become an arts/entertainment district, but as of late, is a drunk-fest district. The upside is that there are actually people downtown in the evenings, the downside is that the main entertainment is drinking and watching other drunks.

Kelly S. Clow, President/CEO-Nine and Numb Entertaiment. said...

Well... I see we want to get personal here. Okay. I'm game.

How about you reveal your names here as well so we can have an open discussion about this.

As for the Babylon thing, yes, I was invited along for the "Ride" as you call it, but I, along with the more intelligent members of Nine and Numb declined because the illustrious Mr. Lindgren owed my troupe money, just like he owed a lot of other people.

We went to Sensations because of all the places who called me to book us, Sensations was the largest venue with a stage and a lighting system. We happened to be pretty happy there until about a third of our troupe got called up by the guard.

You want to call me a scumbag or ungrateful, at least have the nuts to put your name to it.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to weigh in on this whole thing. Kelly Clow is one of the most honorable people I have ever met. His comedy group has put on many fundraisers for the Fire Hall Theatre, the Empire Arts Center and the Dakota Science Center at no charge. He was a regular actor at the Fire Hall for years, and is a very gifted performer. If anybody should have a shame on them, it's those who call him a flake and an a**clown. Ps. I happen to be a fan of Rocky and if he didn't put it on every year people like me wouldn't get to see it live like in other cities.

JoshTee! said...

Wow. I just read this whole thread since the last comment I made. Intense. Haha.

Kelly Clow, you sound alright to me. Heh.

Kelly Clow said...

Thank you, Anonymous, for the kind words. And joshtee!, you sound alright to me too!

Clearly, as we have seen here, a new direction for the arts and entertainment scene up there will be met with heavy, almost violent, opposition from the old guard.

As I have already stated, I'm genuinely willing to put the energy and time into helping make things a reality up there, and I'm willing to take the personal shots at my character for it. In fact, it just makes it that much more apparent to me that change is needed.

Besides, if these guys are who I think they are, it definately won't be a problem to just walk past them toward our goals anyway.

Matthew, I believe you stated an intrest in getting an organization like Fargo's 'Independent Artist Coalition' together? Count me in. I've booked a flight up to ND this Friday, and I will be there for the next 11 days and I would love to meet with you and anyone else who is interested.

Let's get this started....

wasthere said...

For starters, I highly doubt Chris has ever met, or spoken to Kelly Clow. Kelly wasn't the contact for N&N at the time. Also, "kc" attempted to chime in under an anonymous screen name, throw some dirt, and run. He was blown out of the water by another poster. Then, he jumps all in with his name and other B.S. You're a flake dude, give it up. BTW, what's up with all the "ceo" and "president" crap in your screen name on a prior post? Again, I guess that's how flakes "roll".

It's highly likely that there never would have been a N&N if it weren’t for The Ho's generosity, and specifically Chris Lindgren. It was a very simple arrangement. N&N got the showroom, the use of all the production equipment, ran their own door, and The Ho took the bar and food sales. A very typical arrangement for these types of deals. Also, Chris tagged lots of Ho advertising and mentions for N&N at his expense. Kelly attempted to rant about Chris owing them money...and everyone else in town. This is a joke, again, they ran their own deal, and it was a generous, equitable arrangement. The Ho paid nothing for N&N's services.

It's well documented; the Ho took over one million dollars damage in the flood without flood insurance. They elected to close about 4 years after the flood. It has been a massive loss for Grand Forks. It's unfortunate that The Herald went after Chris personally, but I guess these are the times we're living in.

Kelly, give it up dude. I'm embarrassed for you and your rambling. You had a good deal. It came to an end. Get over it!

Anonymous said...

Here is a thought for an upcoming poll.

Who would win in a fight - Chris Lindgren or Kelly Clow?

Don't know either personally but would like to see them throw down.

Anonymous said...

That's too funny!

Lindgren would kill the fat little bitch...even though he's probably twice his age.

Anonymous said...

You mean Clow is 30 years old? I am sure he still has some fight left in him.

Anonymous said... bad. Chris is only about 15 years older than Clow (fatass).

Kelly Clow said...

Still taking personal shots at me without giving your real names, huh?

Ok. Keep talking.

Now, here's some facts.

#1, I was not Nine and Numb's contact to Lindgren at the time, thats true. But I don't believe anyone ever made any point of that before you. We had POOR management running the show during those times, and they were dealt with in a lawsuit where the judge found in favor of myself, and the other intelligent members of Nine and Numb.

THAT's why I posted as the President/ CEO. Because I AM the current owner of Nine and Numb, and I wanted to be as transparent as possible about who I am and what I am representing. I am not a coward who hides behind an anonymous moniker. I will freely admit to my opinions about the Westward Ho, even if it means having my character attacked (and my weight, by the way. Are we in Jr High here? Because it didn't bother me then either. I'm not 12, I'm pretty sure calling me names about my weight isn't going t make me go running away with tears running down my fat little cheeks.)

#2, The Money. Nine and Numb was performing in the Charlston Room during the final months at the Ho, because the GFPD had cought wind of all the underage drinking going on during our shows, and had required us to literally rope off a section for our underage viewers. Nobody was happy with that arrangement, but we dealt with it.

Suddenly, out of the blue, Chris tells us he would like us to do a big show back in the Gaslight. No ropes, screw the cop's rules, etc. And he wanted us to perform on a Thursday night, when our regular night was Tuesday. OK, fine, let's do it. He advertises the hell out of it, and we get a capacity crowd, charging $3.00 at the door. One of our biggest hauls, right? We were still floating around, happy at our new found wealth, when the Herald Reports that the Ho has been shut down just 3 days later. No phone calls, no warnings, nothing. It did not take Chris by surprise, as he claimed. He knew it was coming, and he used us to get him enough undeclarable cash in a box so he could run. We tried calling him for weeks about our money, but he had disappeared. Finally, he has the guts to call and see if we wanted to do a monthly gig at Babylon. Not a weekly like we had at the Ho, or like we were currently getting at Sensations.

The inept little children who were in charge of Nine and Numb at the time let the debt slide like fools, and tried talking us into going back to Chris after we met with him. I, and the others who saw the deal for what it was overrode the idiots and continued on at Sensations after they broke off and formed a new troupe and went to Babylon under the name 'Not It!'.

Now I know why he only wanted a monthly gig from us there. He wasn't running the place, and couldn't take half our door each week. He didn't give two damns about us past what cash he could make off us. Don't paint the man as a saint who cared about local talent. It was the dollars we brought him that he cared about.

#3. A fist fight? I hold some grudges, but I don't think I would ever take an unprovoked swing at the man, nor do I think would he to me. We're both grown men and wouldn't have to settle things like cave men. In my opinion, he may have wronged a few people, but for God's sake he's still a civilized human being. Let's not make this a schoolyard thing.

He's moved on, and I've moved on.

Kelly Clow said...

PS, for the record,I'm sure the man has thought of me about as much as I have thought of him in the past six years, which is 0 times.

I started on this thread talking about a new arts and entertainment district among other things, and got dragged into a borderline libelous (against me AND him) argument.

For those on the outside looking in, I made a lot of enemies in the entertainment scene in GF for standing up for what I believed in over the years, but I made a lot of friends in the Arts community as well. Nine and Numb is doing quite well in Fargo and in Tampa right now. We've had over 50 members come and go in various cities since the Westward Ho incident happened six years ago.

We are more profitable than ever, and that pisses some people off. The notion that I, or any aspect of Nine and Numb, owes anyone other than Sensations, the Empire Arts Center, the Fire Hall Theatre, the University of North Dakota, the Grand Forks School System, the Chamber of Commerce, the Summer Performing Arts program, or First Night in Grand Forks anything is the product of those who feel (rightfully so) that we moved on without them.

I have taken great care to turn Nine and Numb into something more than just tired dick and fart jokes in a smokey room, and that has worked out pretty well us.

I have been attacked again, and again up there by a certain faction made up of angry ex-mambers of N&N who we had to sue to stop dragging our name through the mud and a couple of former comedians who opened for us that were not very successful on stage and were subsequently removed from the show because their punchlines were being shouted back to them by the audience before they even told the joke.

This has been going on for years.

I was featured in a big article in the Herald a few years back as "Grand Forks' Class Clown", and the night it was published, I got an anonymous phone call telling me that neither I, nor my girlfriend, was safe in GF anymore because I had "stolen the spotlight" from more deserving comedians. The night I opened for Weird Al at the Fritz, I went out to my car after the show and found key marks all over the car door and a slashed tire.

I didn't ever think I or my girlfriend were in any danger, but it just goes to show how far some will go up there, and attacking me anonymously on this messageboard is nothing new.

Anonymous said...

You know what? Until you guys reveal yourselves, you will only be spineless cowards taking pot shots at a man who obviously bested you at your own game.

Anonymous cowards = pwned

Kelly Clow = pwner

'nuff said!

Cynthia said...

It is painfully obvious that the fact people are attacking Kelly for such minor details as his weight is proof that there is nothing else to deride the man for. Kelly is an amazing comedian; the best to ever come out of the stinking hole that is Grand Forks. Others ought to consider their own glass shacks before throwing rocks at Kelly's glass mansion.

Mark T said...

Seriously, who spends their time "making fun" of people from behind the safety of their computer screens? If you people actually had lives apart from the time you spend playing World of Warcraft and Dungeons and Dragons, you'd be too busy to bother yourself with what other people are choosing to do with their own lives. God bless Kelly for getting out of here and making something of himself. That is likely more than any of you could say for yourselves.

formerhodude said...

I admit this has nothing to do with this thread, but I just wanted to add this story. BTW, I lurk on these blogs because I went to UND and enjoyed my days in Grand Forks.

I worked at The Ho in college, it was an amazing experience. I always thought it was the best part-time job while going to UND, some opinions may differ. Well, I graduated and moved on. Out of the blue, I got a call from Chris. He said that he was the tour manager for the Mitch Hedberg/Stephen Lynch tour that was coming to town. He asked if I wanted tickets and the chance to get together and catch up. I felt like an idiot, but before I thought, I blurted out, "can I get four?". Without hesitation, he said of course. When we arrived at will call, there were four tickets with backstage passes. The tickets were fourth row center. It was awesome! After the show, we stopped backstage for a beer and to say hi. Chris gave us all beers, we hung out for about 15 minutes and talked to Mitch and Lynch. Chris then explained to us that he had to go settle the show with the promoter, and asked if we could catch up at the bar down the street in a half hour. He pulled a hundred bucks out of his pocket, handed it to me, and insisted that he wanted to pay for the drinks. Sure enough, thirty minutes later, their entourage came rolling in. We chilled out for like two hours. It was great to catch up. We said farewell, and Chris hit the road. Then, Mitch overheard that my two buddies drove in from out of town. Mitch pulled out another hundred dollar bill and insisted that we get a room and not drive. Four guys, 2 hundred bucks worth of tickets, backstage passes, and two hundred cash. Another great memory, courtesy of Chris. The next day, I called my buddy in Grand Forks and told him the story. He laughed and said two years earlier, Mitch and Chris were in town and played two shows at The Empire. He and his buddies were hanging out with Mitch after the show. Mitch overheard my friend complaining that their apartment was very hot and uncomfortable. The next morning, Mitch showed up at their door with a brand new $400 air conditioner in the box.

Great memories! Great guys!

Thanks, Chris from The Ho!

Anonymous said...


Chris throws money around like a big shot pimp when he comes to town, but doesn't pay his debts?

Yeah, he sounds like a GREAT guy. We are really missing a true gentleman there. But I guess the Herald, WDAZ and KNOX were totally lying about him, right? Damn media cartel.

Scott Wells said...

Seriously, a bunch of anon cowards best attack is "shutup U R fat?"


The fact of the matter is simple - When the Ho closed, Chris owed people money. It's not uncommon for a business to go out of business with unpaid debt - it happens all the time.

Also, "fatass" as you anonymous mouth-breathing assholes put it, has raised thousands of dollars for the empire arts center, because he wants to help promote the arts in Grand Forks. What have you people done? Umm...nothing?

I bet you've never worked at First Night at a reduced rate, either. Or flown for thousands of miles to put on Rocky Horror every year so people have something to do on halloween if they don't want to do the same old get shit-faced drunk routine. Believe me - it ain't for the money. After expenses, N&N doesn't make much money from Rocky, and could make much more money doing something different.

And yes, N&N was invited to perform monthly at the Babylon, and yes, they declined, based on their last experience at the Ho.

No, I don't hate Lindgren. So don't try to play that card, either.

And if you're going to attack, don't be an anonymous douchebag. The smell is hard to wash off.

GrandForksGuy said...

This thread has more comments than any other thread in the history of this blog...too bad it's all about the past, name calling, and people's inflated egos.

Anonymous said...

There's so much misonformation in this thread, I'm hesitant to add anything. I am curious however, Scott Wells, just exactly what do you mean by this line concerning Kelly Clow...

"has raised thousands of dollars for the empire arts center".

Just wondering.

Kelly Clow said...

I would like to apologize to GrandForksGuy for my part in all that has happened on his blog. Sir, I'm sorry for the rabble rousing.

And thanks for the kind words everyone.

I should straighten a few things out though.

I am flattered by the compliment, but I am sure I am NOT the best comedian to come out of Grand Forks. There are a lot of funny people from here that work very hard to get recognized, and deserve praise for the hard work they put in.

It hasn't quite been thousands of dollars raised for the Empire, more like a few hundred here and there. But I have helped out because the the Empire and the Fire Hall have been so good to me, and to Nine and Numb. Our Red River Comedy Jam fund raisers for the Empire, and our monthly family shows we put on for the Fire Hall didn't put a whole lot of money into the coffers, but hey, we tried. We will continue to try as well, because these organizations deserve all the help they can get.

Without them, Nine and Numb and a lot of other local artists wouldn't have had nearly as much success as we have all had in GF. I think we are ALL indebted to the arts organizations in town for the culture they bring, and we should do everything we can to help promote the arts as much as possible.

Bottom line. ANY debt I, or my company, Nine and Numb Entertainment LLC, EVER owed to Mr. Lindgren or the Westward Ho, was paid in full the day he failed to have the common courtesy to at least tell us about why we were putting on one last show, for cash no less, just days before the Ho was shut down.

I would also like to note, that Mr. Lindgren is not here to defend himself (at least I don't THINK he is!), and any more talk about him here wouldn't be fair. I have not said anything here that I would not say to his face, but at least under that scenario he could answer for himself personally.

As for the BS anonymous personal attacks against me on here, I guess all I can say is, at the end of the day, I freely admitted to my opinions when I got called out while you remained cowards and took shots at me from the shadows without ever really standing up for what you said.