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On Bump Outs, Logistics, and Citizenship in a Small Town

North Dakota Quarterly

Over the last few months, I’ve been contributing some short essays on small town life from North Dakota Quarterly’s back yard in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Here’s one, In Praise of Trucks,and another, Alone Together in a Small Town. Maybe someday, I’ll write a little book or something. 

– Bill Caraher, Editor

Recently, there’s been a pretty interestingdebate in our home base of Grand Forks, North Dakota  on bumpouts. Bump outs are a form of curb extension generally designed to protect pedestrians crossing busy streets by narrowing the road and slowing traffic at intersections. The Grand Forks City Council has installed a few temporary bump outs in downtown Grand Forks on an experimental basis and, as one might expect, they have attracted both positive and negative comment before eventually being voted down by the local city council.

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What’s been particularly interesting to me…

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Alone Together in a Small Town

North Dakota Quarterly

In the summer months, I spend a part of my week on the lovely Grand Forks Greenway system in my hometown of Grand Forks, North Dakota. The walking and cycling paths of the greenway run for some dozen miles along the Red River of the North adjacent to downtown and various neighborhoods in town. On a good day, I can see some deer, a prairie dog or two, a few little frogs, and maybe one of the bald eagles who lives in the area. They all go about their business without paying much attention to me and I try to let them do their hoping, prancing, sniffing, and gliding without much interruption.

Grand Forks is a small town but it’s not as small as some towns, though. It’s the local county seat and market center with a big hospital, lots of banks, two malls (although one has a church as an anchor…

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Freddie Gray & Rodney King

Freddie Gray in Baltimore reminds me of the March 3,1991 Rodney King beating in LA. Soon after the incident Officer Stacey Keen sp? was interviewed on late night talk in Mpls.,WCCO. Keen was the commanding officer at the beating scene in LA. As Keen answered questions I tuned in & got on the line & asked a question about the MO for LA police. I had read the police radio transcript in the NY Review of Books a while before this. It included a conversation between the squad car & the operator back at the station. The police in the car described their interest in a car they spotted speeding. They said they “were up for a beating tonight”. Base radio responded with, “well, back off & light up”. This was to sucker the driver, King, into thinking he could outrun them giving the cops with the excuse for a beating. This was the basis for my question to Keen on the talk show. My turn came & I said, “Mr. Keen is it true that the LA cops are in the habit of finding ways to administer beatings during traffic stops?” The moderator said,” well Mr. Keen, how about that?” Mr Keen said,”well when I was there that wasn’t the case.” So he in fact admitted he could only talk about his time there. Unlikely the case, considering The NY Review of Books art documented the history of the LA PD with a profile of the Klan & neo Nazi contingents within the force. It had been cultivated by the 1991 chief (Gates) & his predecessor.

Lee Fang: Mall of America Security Catfished Black Lives Matter Activists, Documents Show

Rise Up Times

Metadata from some of the documents lists the software that created them as belonging to “Sam Root” at the “Mall of America.” A Facebook account for a Sam Root lists his profession as “Intelligence Analyst at Mall of America.”  The fake Larson account featured a profile photo that a Google reverse image search shows is identical to a photo associated with a woman who is Facebook friends with Root.

BY LEE FANG  The Intercept  March 18, 2015

Featured photo - Mall of America Security Catfished Black Lives Matter Activists, Documents Show

Documents obtained by The Intercept indicate that security staff at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota used a fake Facebook account to monitor local Black Lives Matter organizers, befriend them, and obtain their personal information and photographs without their knowledge.

Evidence of the fake Facebook account was found in a cache of files provided by the Mall of America to Bloomington officials after a large Black Lives Matter event at the mall on December 20 protesting police brutality. The files included briefs on individual organizers, with screenshots that suggest that much of…

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