Ryan Johnson has been a Forum reporter since 2012 and previously wrote for the Grand Forks Herald.
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MOORHEAD — A Fargo man accused of using a water gun to commit an apartment robbery in Moorhead was sentenced Monday, Jan. 22, to 60 days in jail. Lavri Samuel Jacobawi, now 19, previously pleaded guilty to a felony charge of coercion in connection to the incident. At Monday's hearing, Jacobawi was sentenced to 60 days in Clay County Jail and given credit for one day already served. He was also ordered to five years of supervised probation and given a fine of $1,000.
FARGO — Manda Palya knew her ex-boyfriend wasn't lost yet, even if drug addiction had overpowered his life. Last spring, Joshua Fonder messaged her about wanting to try treatment again. He asked if he could move in with her, saying he needed someone to keep him accountable. Things started to fall into place to offer a way out for the 33-year-old, Palya said. "We had a plan," she said. Instead, Fonder would be critically injured within a week of their last messages and die from his injuries May 29.
FARGO — The ice at Lincoln Park is ready for skaters. There's just a couple of things missing: lights to illuminate the rink at night and a warming house to get out of the elements. But that's not an oversight, according to the Fargo Park District, and Lincoln isn't alone. This season, the district has 17 outdoor skating rinks, but only six have an open and functional warming house. Those six are also the only ones to have operational lights at the moment.
FARGO — A downtown concert and events venue has fired its general manager after discovering "numerous financial discrepancies," and police have opened an investigation. The management and ownership of Sanctuary Events Center, 670 4th Ave. N., confirmed in a Monday, Jan. 15, statement to The Forum that Richard Pallay III is no longer associated with or representing the venue, which opened in June 2016. Pallay was the venue's first general manager.
WEST FARGO — Mark Berntson got to be creative when his new house was being built here in 2000. "I thought, 'Oh my gosh, I can paint my walls and I can do whatever I want. And what do I really care about? I really care about the Vikings,' " he said, explaining why nearly every surface in his bedroom is purple and gold. That includes a painted Vikings team name that covers three walls, not to mention a Vikings lamp, chair and framed game-used jersey. He's single, so there wasn't a spouse around to tell him no, he said.
MOORHEAD – Warehouse retailer Sam’s Club will close its location here in the coming weeks, according to Mayor Del Rae Williams. Williams said city staff on Thursday, Jan. 11, got confirmation of the upcoming Jan. 26 closure of the store, 2800 27th Ave. S. “They didn’t contact us, nor do businesses need to contact us” about closing plans, she said.
FARGO—On a wish list full of high hopes for downtown, one item stands out not for its extravagance but a plain, practical goal. The Downtown InFocus master plan approved by city commissioners last month to serve as a blueprint for the neighborhood includes developing a homeless "day center." It's a goal local leaders in the field have championed for years—these experts helped get it included on the InFocus plan—and it could become a reality sooner than imagined.
FARGO -- A downtown restaurant and bakery will soon close. Josie’s Corner Cafe & Bake Shop, 524 Broadway N., will open at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 23, and close for good at 3:30 p.m. that afternoon. The shop will also be open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 21, and Friday, Dec. 22, and the owners are inviting friends and family to stop by Friday evening for an informal gathering.
FARGO—A new hotel is now being built near the new Sanford Medical Center in south Fargo. Sanford Health announced Wednesday, Dec. 20, that construction has already started on a Courtyard by Marriott, which will be located at Veterans Boulevard and Interstate 94 just west of Sanford Medical Center, 5225 23rd Ave. S., which opened in July.
KRAGNES TOWNSHIP, Minn.—Shane Friesz left North Dakota in his 20s to "go be gay" somewhere more progressive. The native of New Salem, N.D., is back now and recently opened a gay bar—the only one of its kind near Fargo-Moorhead in several years. Friesz and his partner, Shawn Weber, opened The Sanctuary Bar & Bistro on Saturday, Dec. 16, drawing patrons to check out how the couple converted a small-town watering hole into a gay bar.