June 1, 2023
RRRC adds three to team
The Red River Regional Council (RRRC) has recently added three new members to its team, Angelle French, Lule Naas, and Lisa Rotvold. Each is leading specific initiatives, projects, or programs to address needs in rural Region 4, which includes Grand Forks, Nelson, Pembina, and Walsh counties.
Angelle French has been hired as the Pembina County Job Development Authority (JDA) Director. The JDA was formally established in 1991 and has contracted for professional staff services with the RRRC since its inception.
In early 2023, the Pembina County JDA hired French as its first full-time director. She had previously served as the Walsh County JDA director.
French holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Minnesota-Crookston and a Master of Business Administration from the University of North Dakota. French currently serves as the President of the Rendezvous Region Tourism Council and an ex officio for the Pembina Gorge Foundation.
French resides near Hamilton, ND with her husband and young son.
Florija “Lule” Naas has been hired as the Destination Red River Project Manager and the Nelson County Job Development Authority (JDA) Director. The Destination Northeast ND Project is a four-county initiative focused on rural tourism and visitor attraction. Lule joined the Regional Council in December of 2022 on a part-time basis but has served as a volunteer on this initiative since September of 2021.
Lule has been an active Nelson County JDA board member since 2020 and recently resigned that position to move into the Director role. This position is contracted through the RRRC.
Naas holds a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Safety & Environmental Health from the University of North Dakota, and a Master of Science in Emergency Management from North Dakota State University. Lule is a Community Champion for Find the Good Life North Dakota, serves on a volunteer committee for Arts Across the Prairie, and actively volunteers for numerous community organizations and events in her community and county.
Naas resides in McVille, ND with her husband, a fourth-generation crop farmer, and their daughter.
Lisa Rotvold has been hired to lead the Red River Community Housing Development Organization (Red River CHDO), a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization started by the RRRC in 1996. The organization was established to help address affordable housing needs in the region. After a period of inactivity, Red River CHDO is ramping up operations to help spark new housing development in the region. Rotvold joins us with 28 years of experience in the affordable housing industry resulting in more than 1,000 housing units across North Dakota .
She holds bachelor’s degrees in environmental science and architecture from North Dakota State University. She is certified as a Housing Development Financial Professional, and a Housing Credit Certified Professional. Rotvold also earned a non-profit management certificate from Minnesota State University Moorhead.
Rotvold lives in Hillsboro, ND with her husband and has two adult children.
“We are delighted to have these professionals join our energetic and passionate team focused on a rural transformation in northeastern North Dakota,” said Dawn Mandt, Executive Director. “Each bring areas of expertise that will increase our collaborative impact.”
Commissioners in Pembina and Walsh counties recently awarded funds to cities for community betterment projects as part of each county’s Self-Help Program. The program is currently administered by the Red River Regional Council (RRRC) on behalf of the counties. Beginning with the 2023 program, administration will be transferred to JDA staff in each county.
The main objective is to promote community betterment projects within the cities of Pembina and Walsh counties. There are three program criteria:
- Requests cannot exceed one-half of the total project cost, nor can the request exceed $1,500.
- The county funds must be matched 1:1. Funds will be released on a reimbursement basis with supporting documentation.
- A copy of a resolution or minutes of the meeting when the applicant authorized the project must be included with the application. The city must include in its minutes that it plans to apply for self-help funds for a specific project.
Applications for 2022 funds were accepted through December 2022 and were reviewed by commissioners in each county in March 2023.
Pembina County Commissioners allow each of the county’s 11 cities to submit applications for two separate projects, up to a $1,500 county match for each. The commissioners reviewed 14 applications from seven cities. Total requests totaled more than $19,000 for projects costing more than $83,000.
Commissioners awarded funds for each request as follows:
- Bathgate, $2,259: Two projects – reusable flood tubes and bleachers for the ball diamond
- Cavalier, $2,500: Two projects – folding tables for the auditorium and replacement of youth baseball and softball equipment
- Crystal, $2,500: Two separate sidewalk replacement projects
- Mountain, $2,500: Two separate sidewalk replacement projects
- Pembina, $1,662: Two projects – Updates at park washrooms and shower and purchase tractor and snowblower attachment
- St. Thomas, $2,500: Two projects – demolition and lot maintenance for three residential structures and replacing water lines for sites in the city camper/trailer park
- Walhalla, $2,500: Two projects – Replacing playground mulch after the spring flood and crack sealing streets
Walsh County Commissioners reviewed the requests from nine cities requesting $13,000 for projects totaling more than $85,000. The award to each city was $1,000.
Walsh County cities and projects receiving funds are:
- Edinburg: Asphalt patching
- Fairdale: Maintenance and mowing of the city park
- Fordville: Replace damaged curb
- Forest River: Replace roof at Community Center
- Grafton: Assist with energy costs for Carnegie Regional Library
- Hoople: Purchase product for city’s lagoons
- Lankin: Purchase lawn mower
- Minto: Tree trimming
- Park River: Replace windows and siding at City Office building
All cities in Pembina and Walsh counties will receive notification of their award from the county auditor. The correspondence will include information on how to seek reimbursement.
Applications for the 2023 program will be sent in April and cities in both counties are encouraged to apply for funds to assist with city betterment projects.