5 things to know today: Panhandler’s perspective, Park horses, Bed bugs, Crime lab, Sugar Mama – InForum

1. A look at daily life for Fargo panhandler who considers begging his ‘second job’

For five years, Troy Jacobson hath swallowed his pride, taken the insults and scorn, all to make a few extra dollars. He panhandles, mostly at interstate off-ramps, in the cold and heat for whatever he can get almost every day.

“I get lots of looks like I am a low-life, or like, ‘Get a job.’ Well, this is my job, my second job,” Jacobson said.

Although he has financial help for rent and utility bills, he said his body is worn out by illnesses, and he can’t keep a decently paying job. He’s been hit by vehicles twice in the past year. He’s often hungry. A part-time dishwashing job and occasional free groceries from food pantries aren’t enough.

“I’m the only one in Fargo that wishes for a red light,” said Jacobson, 58. “For me, panhandling is about survival, a meal at Burger King and a pack of cigarettes.”

He knows the city ordinances that state it’s illegal to panhandle aggressively or to panhandle in the city while within 20 feet from any intersection, crosswalk or bus stop, or on a median, bridge, across a public roadway or anywhere in the downtown area.

Read more from The Forum’s CS Hagen

2. Park officials say they have ‘no basis’ to keep horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Horses look down from a rock outcropping.

Wild horses roaming at Theodore Roosevelt National Park in July 2008.

Forum file photo

National Park Service officials said a legal review revealed that the enabling legislation for Theodore Roosevelt National Park does not allow it to maintain horses the park has kept for decades to memorialize the “historic scene” of the open range ranching era.

Park administrators recently identified the gradual elimination of the 186 horses and 12 longhorn cattle kept in the park as their preliminary preferred alternative for a livestock management plan at the park.

Park officials gave an online presentation the evening of Thursday, Jan. 12, to explain the history of management of the horses and livestock and to answer questions during the public comment period for the scoping process for the livestock management plan.

Angie Richman, superintendent of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, said the horses and cattle as livestock species aren’t covered in the park’s enabling legislation as well as the Organic Act of 1916, which requires the National Park Service toconserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein” in national parks.

“The park service has a very limited ability to keep livestock in any park and we don’t have any basis to keep livestock in this park,” Richman said.

Richman acknowledged, however, that the park’s policy since the 1970s has been to keep them to depict the “historic scene” of open-range ranching during Roosevelt’s time in the Little Missouri Badlands in the 1880s.

Asked what rules or laws would need to be changed, if necessary, to keep horses in the park, Richman said, “It would take a lot,” including amending the park’s enabling legislation and the Organic Act.

Read more from Forum News Service’s Patrick Springer

3. Bedbugs infest 4 apartments at Eventide in Moorhead

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Exterior view of The Linden addition at Eventide on Eighth Care Center in Moorhead. David Samson / The Forum

On Christmas Eve, Barbara Mohs was with her mother at Eventide Senior Living Communities when she noticed something crawling on her own leg.

“I grabbed it and immediately I cursed,” said Mohs, a social worker. Later, she realized it was a bed bug and it came from her elderly mother, who suffers from dementia and has been living in The Linden building, 2405 8th St. S., for about a year.

The bedbugs had completely infested her mother’s room, Mohs said.

Eventide spokesperson Carrie Carney confirmed Friday, Jan 13, that there was a bed bug problem and the facility was handling it.

“It wasn’t just the bedroom; they were in her bathroom and bad enough to spread out into the living room. The infestation has grown. Once the population becomes dense, they start crawling out and begin to multiply,” Mohs said.

As a social worker, she knew what to do. She dealt with bedbugs, lice and other problems before. She brought her mother and some necessities home with her and began calling for assistance.

She said she didn’t receive a call back until two days later, after the holiday weekend.

“It’s a little disturbing to me that nobody called me to ask me where my mom was,” Mohs said.

Read more from The Forum’s CS Hagen

4. Former ND State Crime Lab director calls firing a ‘witch hunt’; Wrigley cites performance issues

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North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley testifies Thursday, Jan. 12, on Senate Bill 2131, which would place the independent State Crime Lab under his office’s jurisdiction. Wrigley appeared before the Senate State and Local Government Committee.

Tom Stromme / The Bismarck Tribune

From the Bismarck Tribune via Forum News Service

North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley has fired the State Crime Lab director for what he says are “performance-based” issues, but Robyn Quinn is calling her termination a “witch hunt.”

Wrigley confirmed to the Tribune on Friday, Jan. 13, that he fired Quinn a week ago, just days before he tested in front of a Senate committee about a bill that would allow oversight of the lab by the state’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, a part of his office.

Quinn told the Tribune that “I did not agree with Drew’s agenda and supported my employees 100%.”

During Thursday testimony on Senate Bill 2131, Wrigley alluded several times to changes in leadership at the lab. He told the Tribune on Friday that he decided to fire Quinn after he didn’t see solutions to administrative challenges that he said he was unaware of when he took office.

“There were no complaints about the science. That’s not the challenge,” Wrigley said. “The challenge is backlogs, and the leadership didn’t put forth a plan that was going to get us out of that.”

Quinn was director and quality manager of the crime lab for 4½ years. In her statement to the Tribune, she said Wrigley lodged false accusations about a toxic work environment based on employee exit interviews she has “not seen to this day.”

Quinn claims Wrigley blamed her loss of staff on a training program that was too difficult. She said one employee was taken off casework and retrained twice when Quinn’s system of checking quality showed the employee was missing an understanding of analyses.

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5. School may be out in Hendrum but the Sugar Mama is in

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In keeping with her vintage style, Dena Bishop, founder of Sugar Mama, gives her best “Rosie the Riveter” pose Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023. Bishop is a cottage baker who has been selling her scones, cookies and sweets through vendor shows and pop-ups but will soon run her bakery out of the cafeteria of the Hendrum, Minn., school, which closed its doors in 2020.

Chris Flynn / The Forum

Here’s a recipe for success.

Take one highly motivated baker who is looking to expand. Stir in one school, which has sat mostly unused since closing its doors in 2021. Then season liberally with five or so communities who want to see the baker succeed and the school be put to good use.

What do you get? Sugar Mama Bakery and Catering.

That’s been the formula so far for Dena Bishop, an Ada, Minnesota, cottage baker who plans to lease the commercial kitchen of the former Norman County West Elementary School in Hendrum.

Bishop hopes to open her doors March 1. She says she can’t wait to begin baking out of the well-appointed commercial kitchen, with its roomy, stainless steel ovens, heavy-duty Varimixer-brand mixer, commercial dishwasher, dry storage room and multiple refrigerators and freezers.

“I have a home oven so I can only fit two pans at a time, but I can get six to eight things in there,” she says, motioning to the convection oven and double conventional ovens. “I’m ready to hit the floor running here.”

In fact, she feels pretty fortunate to have access to such facilities.

“Actually, when a school shuts down, the kitchen is the first thing to get pieced out and sold for auction,” Bishop says.

School officials made the decision to close the school — which serviced Hendrum, Halstad and Perley — when its enrollment dwindled to 50 or so students. Most of those pre-kindergarten to grade 5 students now attend the Ada-Borup-West School in Ada.

Read more from The Forum’s Tammy Swift

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