5 things to know today: combating COVID, Grand Forks politics, moving out-of-state, ND higher ed COVID cases, Polk County Republicans

With the unprecedented emphasis on combating COVID-19, Grand Forks Public Schools and UND are working with a company that’s developing a cutting-edge device, which detects and disinfects biological contaminants possibly carrying coronavirus.

SafetySpect Inc., a California-based company, is developing the Contamination and Sanitation Inspection and Disinfection (CSI-D) device, which scans surfaces to find respiratory droplets and other substances not visible to the naked eye, but could endanger health.

In Grand Forks politics, 2016 was a near-total rout for Democrats.

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As election night arrived, the Democratic-NPL started with six north-side legislative seats. In District 42 — UND and surrounding neighborhoods — the party had won comfortably in 2012. Mac Schneider, the Senate minority leader, took more than 57% of the vote in 2012. Not far away, in District 18 — mostly downtown Grand Forks and surrounding neighborhoods — the story was more or less the same. Democrats had done well in their last cycle, and were running hard into this one.

North Dakota has the lowest population of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual people in the U.S. With many queer teens and young adults moving out of the state, and few queer adults moving in, many say those who are left frequently face isolation and a lack of support.

Coronavirus cases at North Dakota colleges and universities continue to be a mixed bag as institutions wrap up their first month of classes.

Some schools, such as UND and Dickinson State, are seeing a dip in COVID-19 cases, while others, including Minot State University, are seeing a slight uptick in active cases.

UND’s numbers topped 300 earlier this month, but dropped to around 40 in recent days.

Polk County Republicans have picked up a cause that was put on hold in the spring when the pandemic hit. After gathering signatures over the weekend in support of making Polk County a Second Amendment Designated County, the group aims to take the resolution before the Polk County Commission in the coming weeks.

Sherry Hoaas, the chairperson of the Polk County GOP, said that, in an anxious, unsettled year, a Polk County Second Amendment Designated County resolution would aim to express a commitment to the U.S. Constitution. The resolution wouldn’t do anything by itself, she said – but should the question of Second Amendment rights ever arise in Polk County, the framework laid by the county commission’s vote would be there.



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