Against advice of chiefs, Grand Forks city leaders say race participants don’t have to wear life jackets in river
Against the advice of the police and fire chiefs, a Grand Forks City Council committee recommended allowing participants in an upcoming race to swim across the Red River without requiring life jackets. The Service/Safety Committee said Tuesday that the city should waive a law banning swimming in the river for the Extreme North Dakota Uff Da Mud Run on Sept. 6. The run is an approximately 5K obstacle race that crosses along the Greenway in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks. Grand Forks fire Chief Peter O’Neill and police Chief Mike Kirby wanted participants to be required to wear life jackets. They said multiple law enforcement agencies from both sides of the river agreed. “We have a lot of concern,” O’Neill said. In last year’s Uff Da Mud Run, the Grand Forks Sheriff’s Department pulled 12 swimmers out of the river, O’Neill said. Swimming across the river is at the end of the race, when participants are likely most tired, he added. But the 12 swimmers pulled out of the river were a minority compared to the 685 people total in the race, said Andy Magness, an organizer for the event. “We had 673 people cross the river, including many children, without incident,” he said. Event organizers are further emphasizing the difficulty of the river swim this year, he said, including a warning online where people sign up for the race. There will be two lifeguards instead of one this year, and the sheriff’s department will still be on site as a precaution, he said.
Grand Forks Herald
Fargo fire crews to train on Red near Lindenwood Park
Starting Friday, firefighters will be training on the Red River near Lindenwood Park. The Fargo Fire Department is notifying the public that these are only training exercises and that there is no emergency in the area, according to a press release. The training, which will continue through Aug. 8, is meant to prepare firefighters for mitigating incidents and providing care to victims of emergencies occurring on and around the Red River and other flooded areas, the release said.