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Its offices burned, Grand Forks newspaper publishes from St. Paul, Minn.

April 21, 1997

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) _ Its presses were underwater and its newsroom gutted by fire, but the Grand Forks Herald managed to publish with help from a sister paper.

``A City Scarred″ was the headline of the special 12-page Sunday edition, telling residents about the Red River flooding that devastated the city and the fire that destroyed several downtown buildings, including the newspaper offices.

Some 50,000 copies of the paper, printed at the Saint Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press, were flown in and distributed free at emergency shelters and other locations in North Dakota and western Minnesota. Another special edition was published today.

The fire took with it the newspaper’s archives, the file cabinets that held much of the river town’s history in brittle clippings and yellowed photos that took decades to collect.

``It makes me feel like I want to cry,″ said Jenelle Stadstad, manager of the newspaper’s library. ``I feel helpless.″

Stadstad is among the staffers now working at a temporary newsroom set up at a school in Manvel, about 10 miles northwest of Grand Forks.

``I can’t even imagine all of the files we lost,″ she said. ``Our microfilm went back to 1879, our first paper,″ she said. ``It’s just unbelievable.″

When the city’s downtown was flooded, staff members at first set up shop at the nearby University of North Dakota on Saturday. But they had to move when the campus was evacuated as the flood worsened, and staffers moved to Manvel.

They communicate with St. Paul, where a few other staffers are stationed, by phone, fax and computer links.

Both the St. Paul and Grand Forks newspapers are owned by Knight-Ridder Inc. of Miami. The company is drawing on experience from 1992, when the Miami Herald kept publishing in the wake of Hurricane Andrew.

``At time like this, people are going to be starved for news,″ said Arden Dickey, circulation director for Knight-Ridder’s newspaper division.

Dickey went to St. Paul to help plan the arrangement, which will continue until the Grand Forks paper can return to regular operations. The Herald normally has a circulation of about 38,000.

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