Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Reba and Kelly in Grand Forks

Reba and Kelly in Grand Forks. No, I don't mean next month's concert at Ralph Engelstad Arena. Yes, country superstar Reba McEntire and American Idol season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson are coming to the Ralph on October 23, but the two singers have already become rather familiar with the Grand Cities. That's because, according to the word on the street, Reba and Kelly spent a couple of days in Grand Forks last week.

The second leg of the 2 Worlds 2 Voices tour kicked off on September 25th in Winnipeg at the MTS Centre. Rumor has it that - for whatever reason - Reba and Kelly stayed in Grand Forks last week before their Winnipeg concert. Apparently, numerous reports around Grand Forks had the two performers staying at the Canad Inn, eating at downtown restaurants, and even catching a movie at East Grand Forks' River Cinema 12.

Kind of cool, huh?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Open Thread #96

Off-topic ramblings go here.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Business names that drive me nuts

Recently, Mark's Amoco gas station at 1301 University Avenue was renamed to University Landing Strip gas station.  What?  Who came up with that name?  Is this supposed to be some sort of parody of the University Station gas station at University Village?  At least that building was built to somewhat resemble a train station.  Calling a gas station University Station is kind of cute, but calling a gas station University Landing Strip is just bizarre.

Simply put, there are some local businesses around Grand Forks-East Grand Forks that make me stop and wonder just what exactly someone was smoking thinking when they came up with the business's name.

How about Trojan Promotions in downtown Grand Forks?  A new visitor to our downtown might think we have a condom superstore right across from Town Square. Or what about People Barbers in the Grand Cities Mall?  Why do they feel the need to point out that they "barber" people?  What else would they be barbering?  Monkeys? Then there's He/She's Salon...Grand Forks' own transsexual hair salon.

And we wonder why small businesses have a tendency to fail from time to time!  What business names drive you nuts?

Allegiant Air starting service on Monday

On Monday, Allegiant Air, will debut its twice-weekly, non-stop flights between Las Vegas and Grand Forks International Airport.  (press release

The discount airline is utilizing 150-seat planes for the flights.  Allegiant Air has advertised one-way ticket prices as low as $99 between Grand Forks and Las Vegas.  However, a search of the airline's website shows ticket prices as low as $29 (Monday, October 6) and as high as $329 (Friday, December 5).

Are you excited to see Grand Forks finally getting service from another airline?  Are you planning to utilize these flights in the near future?  What other destinations would you like to see added by Allegiant or other potential airlines?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hugo's to enter liquor business

Hugo's, Grand Forks' locally owned grocery store chain, will soon become the city's newest liquor retailer.  The company is applying for a Class 2 off-sale license from the city to operate a liquor store in a portion of the Hugo's on South Columbia Road.  Floor plans seem to show a liquor store with its own outside entrance and exit separate from the grocery store space.

What do you think of this news?  Do you think Hugo's will have success in the liquor business?  What does this mean for Grand Forks' locally owned chain of liquor stores, Happy Harry's?  Do you think that Hugo's is planning to add liquor stores to their other metro grocery stores?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Alerus Center's makeover

We've been hearing about the Alerus Center's plans for renovations the past couple of months now.  Currently, Alerus Center executive director Steve Hyman is asking for an additional $465, 569.83 from the city to fund exterior and interior renovations for this year.  Further renovations are being planned for next year and an additional financial request will be made at a later date to fund those plans. Take a look at the Alerus Center's 2008 plans in the city council packet for the upcoming September 15th city council meeting.

The plans for this year call for for new signage on the exterior of the center.  The "Alerus Center" signs will be moved to more prominent locations and a new "Alerus Center" sign will be added to the building's east side which faces 42nd Street.  Additionally, signage promoting the Alerus as the home of UND football will be added to the building's southwest corner.  Some landscaping will also take place outside.  Interior renovations for this year include new display walls in the center's lobby area.

Is this money well spent?  What other renovations or capital improvement projects would you like to see the Alerus Center undertake in upcoming years?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Alerus Center turning to "Plan B"

The Alerus Center commission and facility director Steve Hyman recently presented plans to spend millions of dollars remodeling portions of the interior and exterior of the building as part of the Alerus Center's plan to "reinvent" itself. Now, the reinventing seems to have moved beyond mere physical changes. The facility appears poised to debut a whole new genre of events.

"Plan B" is the name that the Alerus Center is giving to their new event format. The Alerus plans to create a new "nightclub style area" for smaller concerts. In the past, such concerts have often skipped over Grand Forks because the city had only very large-scale and very small-scale concert settings...bands that wanted to play more mid-sized venues in the region traditionally performed in places such as The Hub (previously Playmakers) in Fargo. Plan B will be able to take on different formats including a nightclub, a concert hall, or a cabaret.

According to a recent story in the Dakota Student, a Canadian rock band called Big Dick Cadillac is supposed to play at the new venue on October 11 with the U.S. band Lifehouse performing there on October 30. Interestingly, a cached version of the Alerus Center's website lists the October 11 concert, but the current version of the website lists no such concert. The October 30 concert isn't listed on either version.

What do you think of "Plan B?" Is it the kind of thing that Grand Forks needs? What types of concerts or other events would you like to see in Grand Forks? How about the other changes proposed at the Alerus Center? Would spending some money on the facility be a waste or a reasonable investment?

Friday, September 05, 2008

Open Thread #94

You guys really filled up that last open thread.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Open Thread #93

Anything interesting going on, guys?