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12/29/2004 – News

Wednesday, December 29, 2004                     Volume 121, Number 48

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Youngsters visit oldsters
Leeds first graders Katelyn Nelsen (left) and Taylor Bisbee (right) enjoy visiting with Bernice Wolf, a resident of the Heart of America Medical Center Long Term Care Unit in Rugby. Kindergarten, first and second grade students spent a recent afternoon at the unit singing Christmas carols and visiting residents. Young and old enjoyed the visiting and outing. (photo by Karyn Nathan)

Money believed missing from housing authority funds
The Benson County Commissioners heard a report from the Benson County Housing Authority indicating it is believed funds are missing from the authority’s treasury. Eide Bailey is auditing the books and a report is expected before the first of the year. If money is missing Benson County State’s Attorney James Wang will prosecute. If federal funds are missing there will be federal charges.
The name of the individual alleged to have taken the money was not revealed at the meeting, but there is no doubt it is Faye Nystrom of Leeds, the former executive director of the housing authority.
All members of the housing authority were present at the meeting, as were all commissioners. Housing authority members are Donna Rice of Maddock, Carol Finley of Oberon, Ray Scherr of Minnewaukan and commissioners Ed Ripplinger of Leeds and Jason Lee of Maddock. To complicate matters, Faye Nystrom is the daughter of Ed Ripplinger.
Wang recommended that Ripplinger resign from the Benson County Housing Authority to remove any possible appearance of conflict of interest. Ripplinger agreed to do so. Wang said there are no allegations against Ripplinger but considering the circumstances his resignation was the correct path to follow.
Mrs. Rice said none of the occupants of the housing are suffering in any way. “We have some savings we’ll probably have to dip into, but nobody is hurting as a result of this.” She added that the housing authority’s apartments and homes are full except for one apartment in Maddock.
The Benson County Zoning Board will meet on Jan. 4 at 10:30 a.m. to consider a request from the State Water Commission to grant a variance for construction of a power line to the two pump sites for the state’s outlet. The power line will not be set back 250 feet from existing roads, as is required by the county’s zoning ordinance. Commissioners were concerned that the power line would interfere with new US 281 in the Round Lake and Long Lake vicinity. Representatives from the State Water Commission will be asked to attend this meeting.
Members of the zoning board are Ralph Olson of Maddock, Erling Karlsbraaten of Esmond and commissioners Ed Ripplinger, Barry Cox of Warwick and Curtis Hvinden of Maddock.
At the same time an informational meeting of zoning of animal feedlots will be discussed at the Jan. 4 meeting. The final meeting for adoption of the animal feedlots zoning ordinance will be held Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. at the courthouse in Minnewaukan. Townships will be asked for their views on this ordinance.
Olson asked the commissioners what they thought of raising the dues of townships from $50 per year to $100 per year to help pay for a lobbyist at the ND State Legislature. “There are some groups that are looking at grabbing the 1c gas tax that goes to townships,” Olson said. “That means about $3,000 to my township (Albert),” he added. Commissioners felt asking the townships to spend $100 to retain $3000 was as good an investment as the townships could get.
A contentious issue in Aurora Township concerning the State Water Commission’s plan to close a section line and move the road was heard by commmissioners. Present were Aurora Township supervisors Norman Heisler, Bob Buckmier, Gerald Schlenker and clerk Dale Yri. Also present were Tilford and Lorraine Fossen and Leo Walker Jr. of Maddock and Carl Duschscher of Knox. Duschscher has been hired by the State Water Commission to bring the concerns of landowners and others to the commission.
A lengthy discussion ensued. Walker said he had been lied to and Duchscher disputed that. Fossen said he had been misled, which was also denied by Duchscher.
Commissioners were not convinced the design of the outlet in this area should go forward as presented. Representatives of the State Water Commission were asked to be present at the next meeting to explain the design. Walker claims a siphon would do the job rather than closing the section line. There was also concern that the design would result in drainage onto Fossen’s land.
The county commissioners will apparently have to handle this hot potato. The Aurora Township Board said it would not approve closing the section line as long as property owners are opposed.
Commissioners discussed trees growing in a ditch in Broe Township near the Mavis Maloney farm. Wang explained that it is the responsibility of the township to enforce the rules and see to it that the trees are cut down. It is the responsibility of the landowner to pay for the cost of removing the trees. Neither are doing what is required, Wang said.
County Agent Scott Knoke said plans are going forward for the multi-purpose building at Maddock, which will serve as the home of the Benson County 4-H. Knoke said it was a “long shot” that the building will be ready for the 4-H Achievement Days in July.
Paul Kallenbach of Maddock, DeWayne Streyle of Leeds and Gary Elfman of Warwick were reappointed to the Benson County Job Development Authority for three-year terms. Jean Olson of Harlow was reappointed as superintendent of schools for a one-year term. Ellen Huffman of Harlow was reappointed director of tax equalization for a one-year term. Darrell Biby of Churchs Ferry was reappointed to the Benson County Weed Board for a four-year term. Alvhild Olson of Minnewaukan was reappointed to the Lake Region Human Service Center Advisory Council for a two- year term.

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Send items to Haiti
Leeds first graders are pictured with Courtney Larson (back), Leeds School FCCLA president, as they prepare to send school supplies to underprivileged children in Haiti. Left to right are Carley Baker, Richelle Darling, Tyler Blegen, Nikara Nelsen and Mathias Follman.

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