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Dave Olson, Published March 22 2013

TRADE TALK: Moorhead Center Mall fountain disappears

The fountain area of the Moorhead Center Mall, a shimmering focal point of the shopping center for decades, has vanished.

In its place is a carpeted lounge containing couches and chairs.

The common areas of the mall are owned by the city of Moorhead, which made the decision to remove the fountain in conjunction with the mall, said Renee Thomas, the mall’s general manager.

“The fountain has been there a long time; it was a bit dated,” Thomas said. Removing the structure freed up space to give people a place to sit while they sip coffee, wait for their significant other to finish shopping, or to enjoy the mall’s free Wi-Fi, she said.

The project was timed to tie into the mall’s 40th anniversary celebration, which will be observed during the month of April, Thomas said.

There will be at least one special event each weekend in April at the mall and sometimes more.

Lift’n Buddy sold

The company that builds the Liftn’n Buddy, a device invented by Fargo resident Aaron Lamb, has been sold to Maine-based Southworth International Group, the world’s largest manufacturer of ergonomic materials-handling equipment.

“I am extremely pleased that I was able to make good use of North Dakota state resources in growing my venture here,” said Lamb, who along with other core developers of the Lift’n Buddy will play important roles in the company that is now a division of Southworth.

Liftn’n Buddy, which combines the benefits of a standard hand truck with the functionality of automatic lifting and lowering, was developed at the North Dakota State University Research and Technology Park and Technology Incubator in Fargo.

The company’s marketing and technology office will remain in the Technology Incubator for now, but the company is looking to move to a new location somewhere in the Fargo area, Lamb said.

He said the device will continue to be built in Winona, Minn.

Guard friendly

Nine North Dakota Guard and Reserve members have nominated their employers for the 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.

The award is the Department of Defense’s highest recognition for employers supporting workers who serve in the Guard and Reserve.

Nearly 3,000 businesses nationwide were nominated for the award and up to 15 award winners will be announced this summer and honored later in Washington, according to the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, an operational committee of the DOD that organizes the award.

Nominees from North Dakota are:

Basin Electric Power Cooperative and the U.S. Department of Energy: Western Area Power Administration (Upper Great Plains Region), both Bismarck; Bell State Bank & Trust and Wanzek Construction, both Fargo; Lisbon Area Health Services; Central Transport, Rugby; Cargill, Wahpeton; and Jacam Chemical and Noble Completions, both Williston.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555