When many think of historic sites, old homes or ancient statues may come to mind. In one North Dakotan community history is right beneath their feet. Communities constantly mend and re-mend roads. But an area of roads in Grand Forks, N.D. has gone a long time without replacement. "I ride my bike through there and it's shaking the handles pretty good," says Hal Gershman, City Council President. The cracked pavement provides drivers with a bumpy ride. Some avoid the rough roads but others look past the cracks.
"Walk down or drive down them, you really can picture yourself back a 100,” explains Peg O'Leary, Historic Preservation Commission. Grand Forks is home to Blome Granitoid paved streets. Composed of layers of cement inlaid with various sizes of pebbles , the sturdy pavement is often mistaken for cobblestones or bricks. "People think that they're blocks, they're not its stamped concrete,” explains Gershman. Each block was individually stamped by hand giving the pavement its brick-like look. Although attractive, the finish was meant to accommodate horses as the roads were made during the transition between horsepower and automobiles. "It's amazing, we rebuild roads all the time, it doesn't even occur to a person that they could be a hundred years old…and they are," describes O’Leary.
Constructed in 1910 and 1911, the granitoid roads are now more than a century old. "They really have outlasted modern technology and I think you're right, that is ironic. I don't think people intended them to last 100 years," explains O’Leary. But last they did. The cement roads have remained usable. But however impressive their longevity has been, many begrudgingly take their modern day vehicles on streets that once transported horse and buggy.
For years, the crazy people during the holidays were usually extended family members at the Thanksgiving dinner table. But now you can find them among the throng of millions of people looking for a good deal on Black Friday. A record 247 million shopper's opened their wallets last weekend. The National Retail Federation calls this "as impressive as we've seen." Black Friday may be known as the most chaotic time of year for shopping. But with chaos come insane discounts and deals. People may think that working on one of the busiest days of the year would be a drag. But some say otherwise.
"It's the funnest day of the year to work, because of the simple fact that the associates are excited, our customers are excited, people are waiting for this day. In year's past, you opened later, and now it's opening earlier and earlier," says Kevin Flynn, JC Penny Store Leader. After years of belt-tightening in a tough economy, Americans were apparently in the mood to shop this year. U.S. retailers' sales over the four-day holiday weekend increased an estimated 12.8 percent. More than 35 million Americans visited retailers' stores and websites Thanksgiving Day, up from 29 million last year. Besides having some stores open on what's now called Gray Thursday, an earlier Thanksgiving has allowed even more days for shopping.
"It should be better for us because of the simple fact that you pick up an extra weekend this year, compared to last year. So it should benefit us," explains Flynn. ComScore, an internet technology company, that measures online behavior says sales online topped over one billion dollars for the first time.
Norwegian Oil in North Dakota | Dag Amdam reporting
When Norway discovered oil forty years ago, they had to ask the U.S. for help to exploit its natural resources. With the Norwegian company Statoil’s 4.4 billion dollar purchase of Brigham Oil Company last year, the roles are now different. The Norwegian oil adventure started in 1969 when oil was discovered on the Norwegian shelf in the North Sea. We knew that we didn't have the skills to do this alone, but we also knew that we were going to develop these skills, these capacities," says Ola Borten Moe, Norwegian Minister of Energy and Petroleum. More than 40 years later the Ekofisk oil field is still operational and companies like Phillips, Conoco and Exxon still works on the Norwegian shelf.
They have been instrumental in developing Norwegian resources, and they still are and I hope that these countries will continue to invest in Norway for decades in to the future," explains Moe. But with Statoil's purchase of Brigham and the official visit from the Norwegian ministry to North Dakota we now see that the roles have changed. "It's good that we are able to go global with our capacities and our knowledge,” explains Moe. Owned 67 percent by the Norwegian State, Statoil announced earlier this year that they hope to triple its oil and natural gas production in America within the next decade. This creates jobs in the U.S., but it is clear that Norwegian public companies like Statoil and the Norwegian pension fund is making profits, from its investment in natural resources on the American continent. “Today this fund has grown into being the biggest sovereign wealth fund in the world,” describes Moe. It holds a value for between 6 and 7 hundred billion US dollars and it is increasing quite fast. So more than forty years later the Norwegian oil adventure has gone full circle, from the wild North Sea to the new wild west.
In athletics, most coaches believe that winning is the most important thing. But one Grand Forks hockey legend believes there is much more to the game. It is only fitting that Serge Gambucci's life began in Eveleth, Minn. because it is home to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. As a kid growing up in Northeast Minnesota, he spent his days playing sports including football and hockey. After high school he served overseas during World War Two. Then attended St. Cloud State University where he decided he wanted to teach and coach. His coaching career did not take off until he arrived in Grand Forks, North Dakota in 1955. He began teaching and coaching hockey at Grand Forks Central High School. His success did not take long, winning not one, not two, but ten state championships in a row from 1961 to 1970. These were the first ten state championships in North Dakota hockey history. Gambucci is a man who believed in teaching his players about the sport, but more about the tools needed for life after sports. “I would mention, you know if you did this on the job you'd probably get fired, so change your attitude, change your style,” explains Gambucci. Statistics, wins and losses weren't the most important things to him. Teaching them responsibility, to be accountable, and get along with one another were specific things he preached to players.
“I treated them all alike, and if they needed a kick in the rear I gave it to them or a pat on the back I gave it to them,” describes Gambucci. He says he was not looking to win ten state championships when he started coaching, he simply wanted to make a difference in his players lives, winning was just the added bonus.
The holidays are known for sharing gifts with others. A group of artists in Grand Forks, N.D. host a holiday tradition. They open their homes to present and sell their collections to the public. We had the chance to become acquainted with the event's organizer and her own artistic style. Albert Einstein once said that "true art is characterized by an irresistible urge in the creative artist.” For Jackie Uthus, this quote mirrors her own artistic style. "I just dive into it. It's a dumb way to do it really," says Jackie Uthus. It's this impulse that inspires her eclectic masterworks from gourds, glass, woodwork, and wool. "There's so many possibilities and you're just thinking which one are you going use, which one are you going go for," explains Jackie Uthus. The ongoing evolution of ideas never gives Jackie "artist's block."
"I have ideas that are always there and sometimes I wish they weren't cause I drive myself sort of nuts," describes Uthus. After dragging her daughters to galleries when they were knee high to a canvas, inspiration grew. "I can see how seeing all those master works at the Smithsonian and all these really great museums across the country how much that affected my life," says Amy Uthus. Though their artistic styles aren't mother like daughter, the same passion did not skip a generation. "It is something I love and I guess you could say I am a little obsessed with it," explains Amy Uthus. The public usually see art by pressing their faces against a glass window, but Jackie opens the door to her own home. "There's a certain element of risk I think inviting people into your home because it is your own personal space,” describes Jackie Uthus. Yet unlike her ceramic pots and gourds, Jackie's greatest creative accomplishment would be "molding" her own daughter's artistic aspiration.
Winter storms are one of the most important events of winter. From bringing snow to see a white holiday to travel complications, people need to be aware of them. This year, it may be a little easier to keep track. In areas that see harsh winters, it's not unlikely to hear a story about that blizzard from back in the day. A new naming scheme put into use by the Weather Channel now gives a name to these cold weather rogues.
"Probably the reason that they would like to name storms is the similar reason why we name hurricanes. It really helps the emergency managers and the National weather service to communicate with the public about threats that would threaten lives and property,” says Dr. Matt Gilmore, Assistant Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at UND. Naming winter storms is not a new concept. In Europe winter storms have been named since the 1950's. In the United States however, this concept is still under the weather. Although the Weather Channel's intentions are good, the National Weather Service has declared that even a named storm such as this one may only yield light snow and therefore the criteria aren't strict enough to adopt this policy. In addition to concerns about what criteria a storm must meet before it is named, are concerns about who gets to do the naming.
"It has the potential to confuse the public. For instance, what if every different media organization, all the newspapers and all the television stations, gave the same storm a different name?" explains Matt Gilmore. Until there's an official naming procedure, winter storms will just have to keep living on as “that blizzard from back in the day.”