Volume 126, Number
July 1st, 2009
Long-lost niece finally joins her
BY RICHARD PETERSON
This heart-warming story had its beginning a long time ago when Esmond
native Axel Robertson married Fillmore native Ida Slotto in 1941.
The Robertsons farmed in the Isabel-Baker-Esmond area before moving to
Minnewaukan in 1957.
They had three children, Marjorie, Bradley and Lana.
In November of 1973 Marjorie gave birth to a daughter. Lutheran Social
Services arranged the adoption of the daughter while she was still an
infant. The Robertson family knew of the birth but did not know the name
of the infant nor the name of the family who adopted her.
In March of 1975 Marjorie gave birth to another daughter, Amy. She was
determined to raise Amy herself, and she did. In 1978 she married
They lived in various locations, including New Rockford, Townsend, Mont.
and Carrington. In 1990 the family was involved in a car accident near
Miles City, Mont. in which Marjorie and Delbert were killed.
Fifteen-year-old Amy survived.
Amy went to private foster care and was reared by Larry and Kim Buck at
Dickinson. But she always maintained contact with Grandma Ida, Aunt Lana
and Uncle Brad and Lana's son, Derek Johnson and his family.
Amy knew she had a sister but didn't begin searching for her in earnest
until 2008. By that time Amy was married to Sid Edwards and had two
children, Paris and Brynn. They live in Sierra Vista, Ariz.
Lutheran Social Services agreed to contact her sister, but with some
restrictions. She had to write a letter about herself with no last names
in it, which would be sent to the sister, who could then decide whether
she wanted to begin contact.
Now here's where the story gets really interesting -- almost
unbelievable, in fact.
Katie Schaefer of Minot met her friend, Brent, also of Minot, at a
concert in Fargo. They had been best friends from kindergarten on.
While visiting with Brent, Katie told him about the letter she had
received from a sister she had never met. Then she showed him the letter
Amy had written about herself, which included references to Grandma Ida
Brent was astounded to read the letter and realize that Ida from
Minnewaukan was his great aunt! The best friends, Brent and Katie, were
Brent -- Brent Slotto -- is the son of Dwight Slotto, who is the son of
Alvin Slotto, Grandma Ida's brother.
There are some old-timers from the Esmond and Fillmore areas who'll
remember Alvin Slotto. In the 1950's Dwight Slotto and his sister,
Corinne spent a lot of time at Esmond as children visiting their
grandma, Julia Klein and their uncle, Jake Klein.
Brent immediately called his second cousin, Amy in Arizona, handed the
phone to Katie and the two sisters spoke for the first time. This was in
March or April of 2008. Katie has lived in Minot her entire life. She is
an LPN surgical nurse at Trinity Hospital in Minot.
She was adopted by Linda and Charlie Harris of Minot. Charlie has since
died and Linda married Ron Terfehr. They live in Hazen.
In June of 2008 Amy and her family came to Minot to visit Katie and her
daughter, Emma. They spent a week together and then all came to Red
Willow to visit their aunt, Lana Johnson of Minnewaukan, who has a cabin
On the 4th of July in 2008 the entire group had a family gathering at
Minot. Brad Robertson of Dickinson joined them at that gathering.
Brad and Lana went to Katie's for Thanksgiving last year. Lana, Katie
and Emma got together in January and May of this year and they're
planning more family gatherings.
Unfortunately, Amy is too far away to make frequent visits, but Lana
says she and Katie are likely to make a trip to Arizona to visit Amy
It's a heart-warming story, but joy is tempered with sadness as well.
Axel Robertson died at the age of 48 in a road grader-train accident at
Brinsmade in 1967. Alvin Slotto died in December of 2000. Grandma Ida
died in November of 2006 at the age of 87. She never got to meet her
It took a long time to gather the Robertson-Slotto family together, but
now that it's happened, everyone is glad to be a part of the extended
Minnewaukan resident Lana Johnson, left, is shown with her nieces, Katie
of Minot (center) and Amy of Sierra Vista, Ariz. when they visited at
Red Willow, where Lana has a cabin. The girls are the daughters of
Lana's late sister, Marjorie. Katie was reunited with her family only
Maddock native gets dispatcher award
The North Dakota Association for Public Safety Dispatchers has named
Margaret Emanuel of the Grand Forks 911 Center as the Dispatch
Supervisor of the Year. The award was announced at the association's
annual meeting earlier this month in Jamestown. Emanuel has worked at
the Grand Forks 911 center the past 21 years.
Emanuel was named the top supervisor because she exemplifies a positive
role model for all employees and because of her work ethic., according
to Grand Forks 911 Director Al Morken, who nominated Emanuel for the
award. "She provides input on issues that affect not only her, but the
entire department," Morken said. He added that Emanuel is always there
to ensure a smooth and efficient operation, and always keeps in mind the
safety of all emergency responders.
Public safety dispatchers are the first point of contact in emergencies
where police, fire, or ambulance assistance is needed.
Margaret Emanuel, left, was named the Dispatch Supervisor of the Year by
the ND Association of Public Safety Dispatchers. She is a native of
Maddock and is a 1981 graduate of Maddock High School. She is pictured
with her daughter, Hannah and her father, Art Duren of Maddock.
Take national honors
The Phi Beta Lambda National Leadership Conference was held in Anaheim,
Calif. June 20-24. Two students from Lake Region State College in Devils
Lake (LRSC) made it through the preliminaries and then competed in the
finals against other colleges and universities in the United States. In
the business ethics event Pam Lafrenz of Langdon, left, and Lisa Howard
of Sheyenne took seventh place honors. In the word processing event,
Lisa Howard took 4th place honors. Diane Karlsbraaten of Sheyenne serves
as the advisor to LRSC's Phi Beta Lamda chapter.
Yard looks great!
With all the moisture the area received in the past few months, the
flowers at the Maddock Memorial Home are very luxuriant.
In contrast, this was the view less than six months ago.
Barkley, the Maddock Memorial Home's official dog, along with residents,
enjoys the warm weather and the pleasing view.
Attend Norwegian camp
Seventeen members of Mollargutten Sons of Norway Lodge 478 of Maddock
attended the three-day Sons of Norway Trollfjorden Language and Cultural
Camp at Lake Metigoshe recently. Left to right, front row, are Jaydin
Risovi, Ashley Risovi, Amber Jaeger, Arnikka Thompson, Annika Arnold,
Megan Olson and Seth Jaeger. Middle row: Linda Summers, Carol Fossum,
Elaine Wright, Emily Beierle and Marilyn Poulsen. Back row: Jolene
Risovi, Darlene Erickson, Patty Hegland, Flo Kallenbach and Carol
"Power Knitter" Carol Fossum creates a red headband for winter.
Those attending the camp had two Norwegian Language classes per day and
many other activities such as: wood carving, Hardanger, knitting,
Norwegian baking, Rosemaling, needle felting, wool felting, small crafts
and chip carving. The finished product of Marilyn Poulsen in the chip
carving class is in the lower right hand corner.
Kimberly Randle, daughter of Diane and Wayne Randle, and Jordan
Backstrom, son of Carol and Philip Backstrom, were nominated for the
American FFA degree. The American FFA degree is the highest degree
bestowed on National FFA members. The award is presented to only two
percent of the National FFA membership.
Kimberly and Jordan were both active members of the AS Gibbens FFA
Chapter of Maddock. Kimberly was selected 2008 State Star in Agriscience,
winner of the State Food Science Proficiency and selected the
outstanding state FFA Agriscience Student for 2008.
Jordan was the 2007 State Swine Proficiency winner and was involved in
state agricultural mechanics contests at the basic, intermediate and
They will receive their American FFA Degree at the National FFA
Convention in Indianapolis, Ind. at the end of October.
During the past 80 years, 35 members of the AS Gibbens FFA Chapter have
received the American FFA Degree.