5 things to know today: COVID-19 spread, Pastor death, New citizens, Online classes, Presidential support | INFORUM

Local News 3 weeks ago IN FORUM 24

1. North Dakota, Minnesota together could slow rapid COVID-19 spread, Walz tells Moorhead group

Saying COVID-19 is now “spreading exponentially” in Minnesota, Gov. Tim Walz said there is still a "window of hope" to beat the virus back.

Walz met with COVID-19 survivors at the Hjemkomst Center on Wednesday, Oct. 28, to hear their stories and discuss the importance of Minnesota and North Dakota communities and governments working together to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“Minnesota is at a really critical juncture," Walz said. "Some of our early preliminary data from our new saliva lab is showing infection rates up here above 20%. Of course 5% is where you start to lose control, and 10% is uncontrolled community spread. Twenty and above is, you’re going to know someone who gets sick."

Read more from The Forum's C.S. Hagen

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2. Jamestown church pastor dies of COVID-19 complications, diocese announces

Monsignor Jeffrey Wald, center left, pastor of St. James Basilica in Jamestown, attends the blessing of the new child care addition at St. John's Academy in January 2020. Bishop John Folda, right, of the Catholic Diocese of Fargo, gives the blessing. The diocese announced on Wednesday, Oct. 28, that Wald had died of complications of COVID-19 on Tuesday, Oct. 27. Kathy Steiner / Sun file photo

Monsignor Jeffrey Wald, center left, pastor of St. James Basilica in Jamestown, attends the blessing of the new child care addition at St. John's Academy in January 2020. Bishop John Folda, right, of the Catholic Diocese of Fargo, gives the blessing. The diocese announced on Wednesday, Oct. 28, that Wald had died of complications of COVID-19 on Tuesday, Oct. 27. Kathy Steiner / Sun file photo

The pastor of St. James Basilica in Jamestown, N.D., died Tuesday, Oct. 27, of complications from COVID-19, the Catholic Diocese of Fargo announced on its website and on Twitter Wednesday.

The diocese said Monsignor Jeffrey Wald, 56, died at Jamestown Regional Medical Center.

“Monsignor Wald was a kind shepherd and gifted speaker, a champion for Catholic education, and will be sorely missed by me, his brother priests, his parishioners and the faithful of the diocese who knew and loved him,” said Bishop John Folda of the Diocese of Fargo. “My prayers go out to his family, friends and parishioners at this tragic loss.”

Read more from Forum News Service's Kathy Steiner

3. New Americans achieve citizenship just in time for election

Participants in a naturalization ceremony stand during The Star-Spangled Banner on Wednesday, Oct. 28, in the Sanctuary Events Center, Fargo.
Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

Participants in a naturalization ceremony stand during The Star-Spangled Banner on Wednesday, Oct. 28, in the Sanctuary Events Center, Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

About 160 people swore oaths of allegiance to the United States here Wednesday, Oct. 28, as they became newly minted citizens of the country.

In the past, such events took place all at once, with family and friends in attendance.

Because of COVID-19, however, what has traditionally been one event was divided into four, with the first ceremony taking place at 9:30 a.m. at Sanctuary Events Center in downtown Fargo. Only those about to become citizens were allowed to attend.

Read more from The Forum's Dave Olson

4. MSUM to finish semester online after Thanksgiving

Anne Blackhurst, president of Minnesota State University Moorhead, says the economic fallout from the pandemic will present budget issues for the school but also might spur more people to enroll in college. Special to The Forum

Anne Blackhurst, president of Minnesota State University Moorhead, says the economic fallout from the pandemic will present budget issues for the school but also might spur more people to enroll in college. Special to The Forum

A documentary pulling together the events leading up to a North Dakota college student’s death after he became a confidential drug informant will premiere next month at a North Dakota film festival.

“The Dakota Entrapment Tapes,” directed by Trevor Birney, aired Tuesday, Oct. 27, on streaming service Sundance Now. The film about 20-year-old Andrew Sadek, whose parents believe was killed more than six years ago because he was recruited to work as a confidential drug informant, also will show Nov. 8-15 at the North Dakota Human Rights Film Festival.

“I think that what we do for the first time, we believe, is actually bring the story in its totality together,” Birney said in a video interview from Ireland.

Read more from The Forum's Barry Amundson

5. Gauging presidential support in rural Minnesota

A Donald Trump political message is engraved into the grass at a farm in southeast Minnesota. The state hasn't backed a GOP presidential candidate since Richard Nixon in 1972. Noah Fish / Forum News Service

A Donald Trump political message is engraved into the grass at a farm in southeast Minnesota. The state hasn't backed a GOP presidential candidate since Richard Nixon in 1972. Noah Fish / Forum News Service

Societal values and policy will be the driving factors for rural Minnesotans voting in the upcoming presidential election.

Minnesota hasn't backed a GOP presidential candidate since Richard Nixon in 1972, but some in rural Minnesota think this could be the year the state goes red. Doug Felton said he "hopes and prays it does."

Felton owns and operates around 3,000 acres of irrigated crops at Felton Farms in Northfield. Felton, who turns 74 next week, said he's farmed his entire life.

Felton's list of reasons he's voting for Trump is long, but most of the issues are about personal values rather than agricultural policy that directly influences him. The importance of values is what separates rural America from the rest of the country, Felton said.

Read more from Forum News Service's Noah Fish


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