Andrew Haffner covers higher education and general assignment stories for the Grand Forks Herald. He attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he studied journalism, political science and international studies. He previously worked at the Dickinson Press.
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GRAND FORKS—Surviving family members have set funeral plans for the three siblings police say were killed by their mother last week while they slept at home. Arianna Talmage, 6; Aidan Talmage, 10; and Tyler Talmage, 14, will have a memorial service at 3 p.m. Friday, May 11, at Hope Covenant Church in Grand Forks. The service will be preceded by an hour-long visitation, with all funeral services to be provided by Amundson Funeral Home.
GRAND FORKS—Authorities confirmed Monday, May 7, that three children found dead last week were killed by their mother, who then committed suicide. Astra Volk, 35, and her children Arianna Talmage, 6, Aidan Talmage, 10, and Tyler Talmage, 14, were found dead Thursday morning by a school resource officer dispatched on a welfare check when the children didn't arrive at school in the morning. Police said the family members appeared to have died from gunshot wounds.
GRAND FORKS — The deaths of four people in an apparent murder-suicide Thursday, May 3, has left a community wondering if more could have been done. Longtime social services and domestic violence experts Kate Kenna and Kristi Hall-Jiran weighed in this week on what individuals can do to spot potential crises early on. The insight comes after the bodies of Astra Volk, 35, and three of her children—Adrianna Talmage, 6, Aidan Talmage, 10, and Tyler Talmage, 14—were found dead in their home on the 1000 block of South 12th Street.
GRAND FORKS—A community is grappling with the specters of mental illness and self-harm in the wake of an apparent murder-suicide that left a Grand Forks mother and three children dead. Residents down the Red River Valley and beyond have taken to social media to discuss the context of the events leading to the Thursday morning, May 3, discovery of Astra Volk and her children, Arianna Talmage, 6; Aidan Talmage, 10; and Tyler Talmage, 14, who police say died of gunshot wounds in their home on the 1000 block of South 12th Street.
GRAND FORKS -- Police have opened a homicide case -- but aren’t currently seeking any suspects -- after a Grand Forks woman and her three children were found dead in their home Thursday morning. The bodies of Astra Volk, 35, and her children Arianna Talmage, 6, Aidan Talmage, 10, and Tyler Talmage, 14, were found in their home on the 1000 block of South 12th Street during a welfare check requested by Lewis and Clark Elementary School, where the two younger children were students.
GRAND FORKS—University of North Dakota students have selected their champion. More than 2,300 campus voters cast digital ballots earlier this week to choose the look for their new university mascot, a costumed character based on the Fighting Hawks athletic logo. The option "Z" Hawk, a serious-looking bird with a head of ruffled feathers, won the day with 843 votes. Option "X," the next runner-up, received 775 votes and option "Y" finished with 684.
GRAND FORKS — The internet can be a strange place. For a world with no physical substance, seemingly populated entirely by cat videos, contentious politics and endless social media preening—and griping—our online interactions have a way of raising some strong emotions in people. At times, our blood boils online in ways seldom seen in the "real" world. Even worse, sometimes we find ourselves getting mean in the comments. Why is that?
GRAND FORKS—While sagging public pensions in states like Illinois now resemble earth-bound, budgetary comets, North Dakota pension plans aren't likely to sink anytime soon. At least, that's the goal behind a set of legislative changes now being weighed to head off future disruption to one of the state's largest pension funds, the North Dakota Public Employees Retiree System—NDPERS, for short—which could otherwise run dry in decades to come.
GRAND FORKS — Some North Dakota higher education leaders have begun calling for urgency in fighting a potential continuation of budget cuts to public campuses. Casey Ryan, a member of the State Board of Higher Education, described the prospect of deeper cuts as "incongruent" with the state's goal of improving the higher education system, particularly the research institutions at the University of North Dakota and North Dakota State University.
GRAND FORKS—The University of North Dakota has partnered with education giant Pearson to promote some online programs over at least the next decade, a move that has pleased school leaders while leaving some faculty wary. The university struck a deal in mid-March to push two master's-level courses starting next year with Pearson, a company that, among other things, prints textbooks and handles digital coursework as an online program manager, or OPM. School leaders hope the deal will give UND an edge as the campus extends its reach for online-only students.