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Published January 06 2013

The Forum takes look at year ahead

FARGO – There was no crystal ball involved, but reporters for The Forum’s news, sports and features sections did peer into the next 12 months to identify issues, projects and events they figure will make headlines in the coming year. Here is some of what they are expecting in 2013:

Winter

North Dakota and Minnesota state lawmakers will begin the 2013 legislative session Tuesday on vastly different fiscal footing. In North Dakota, a budget surplus of $1.6 billion is forecast. In Minnesota, estimates predict a budget deficit of $1.1 billion.

The saga involving Fargo doctors Jon and Alonna Norberg continues with their divorce trial, scheduled to begin Jan. 14. A jury in November found Jon Norberg not guilty of criminal charges that accused him of drugging and sexually assaulting his wife.

Courts Plus Community Fitness is on track to complete its addition and remodeling project in early February.

As early as late January, Fargo police are expected to bring forward a proposed ordinance to the City Commission to regulate adult entertainment services in the city, with the ultimate goal of curbing prostitution and related illegal activity.

The $1.45 million, 4,400-square-foot student-funded Fitness Center will officially open its doors Jan. 14 on the Moorhead campus of Minnesota State Community and Technical College.

The Fargodome has a busy start to 2013, including “A Chorus Line” on Jan. 16, Monster Jam the first weekend in February and Larry the Cable Guy and Bill Engvall on March 15 – not to mention the annual Kiwanis Pancake Karnival on Feb. 9.

It’s shaping up to be a funny year. Lisa Lampanelli, brings her insult comedy to the Fargo Theatre on Friday and Tracy Morgan from “30 Rock” plays there March 23. Larry the Cable Guy and Bill Engvall return to the Fargodome on March 15. “Puffy” funny man Gabriel Iglesias plays the Fargo Civic Center on April 19.

A river corridor study is expected to gain steam in Moorhead, which is looking at designing public spaces along recently bought-out riverfront property.

Spring

Area officials are hopeful that a Fargo-Moorhead flood diversion project will receive federal authorization sometime in 2013, perhaps as early as spring.

The Blarney Stone, a popular bar and restaurant in Bismarck, expects to begin construction early this year on a location in West Fargo.

In Pelican Rapids, Minn., voters will go to the polls this spring to consider

$18.5 million in bonding to modernize school facilities.

Sanford Health begins construction on a new 47,000-square-foot clinic in Moorhead. The $13 million project will add pediatrics, women’s services, behavioral health, orthopedics and occupational medicine programs at a new location near the 34th Street exit ramp on Interstate 94.

2013 could be a make or break year for the former Fergus Falls (Minn.) State Hospital, which has been on the brink of demolition for years. Early spring could be when the city starts making some final decisions on demolition.

Downtown traffic signals in Moorhead will receive upgrades, modifying the way they now work with railroad signals to improve signal timing.

Initial results from the 2012 Minnesota Homeless study, which was conducted Oct. 25, are expected to be available in April. The Amherst H. Wilder Foundation conducts a triennial statewide study to provide comprehensive information and data on homelessness in Minnesota.

Summer

The skyline in southwest Fargo will begin to transform as structural steel starts rising in June for the new $541 million, 1.2-million-square-foot Sanford Medical Center. The 460-bed hospital is scheduled to open in 2016, and the clinic in 2018.

The city of West Fargo is expected to have in hand proposals from architectural firms on how they would build a police station for the city.

Remodeling is expected to start about midyear on the former Sunmart complex at 25th Street and 13th Avenue South in Fargo. It will take about a year to ready the building as the new home of the Fargo Cass Public Health Department.

A new restaurant and bar in downtown Fargo is expected to open by mid-July at 520 1st Ave. N., the site for nearly a decade of First & Deli before it closed its doors Dec. 20.

The final phase of construction on the $33 million Agricultural Experiment Station research greenhouse complex at North Dakota State University is expected to be completed by June 30. Once opened and with the proper certification, the facility’s newest space will enable researchers to work with invasive pests and weeds that haven’t made it to the region yet.

The Band Perry plays the Red River Valley Fair, which is July 9-14. The band was scheduled to play the fair in 2012, but postponed that appearance to take time off to record its second album.

A year after her concert at the Fargodome, Carrie Underwood returns to headline WE Fest, set for Aug. 1-3. Keith Urban and Eric Church are the other headlining acts.

The 38th annual Downtown Fargo Street Fair is slated for July 18-20.

The U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels will return to the Fargo AirSho Aug. 10-11.

August is when Kilbourne Group’s extended purchase option expires on the US Bank plaza on Broadway. Kilbourne Group has announced a vision for transforming the area – including retail, housing and hospitality space – and is in the processing of identifying tenants.

Trollwood’s annual summer musical opens July 17 with “Shrek,” but the south Moorhead arts center could be buzzing well before this about whether the facility attracts concerts in 2013.

Fall

Health insurers will be busy preparing for major new changes under the health reform law taking effect in 2014, including the new health insurance exchanges. Enrollment is targeted to begin Oct. 1 for the exchanges, which will serve as online marketplaces to allow consumers to comparison shop for coverage.

As the new facilities open, West Fargo Sheyenne’s football program officially begins its split from West Fargo High School, fielding separate freshman and sophomore teams. Sheyenne could field a varsity football team as early as 2014.

In August, Liberty Middle School and Sheyenne High School are expected to open in the fall.

Taylor Swift plays the Fargodome on Sept. 6 in support of her mega-hit album “Red.”

After kicking off its 2013 season on Aug. 31 at Kansas State in a matchup of two highly-ranked teams in different divisions, NDSU will play its home opener Sept. 7 against Montana State.

Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton School District will be asking voters to re-approve its existing $500 per pupil operating levy.

Half of the Moorhead City Council – and Mayor Mark Voxland – will be up for re-election, including Luther Stueland, Brenda Elmer, Mark Altenburg and Mark Hintermeyer.


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