1/12/2005 – News


Volume 121, Number 50             Wednesday, January 12, 2005
 


Beth Horner bounces back from serious injuries in ATV accident
BY JO ANN WINISTORFER
North Dakota Living
Editor’s note: North Dakota Living has a special connection with Graham’s Island native Beth Horner, the 20-year-old featured in the article.
In 1987, when Beth was 3 years old, she appeared on the magazine’s September cover as part of a Year of the Child event held at the North Dakota Capitol grounds in July.
We printed her photo (taken by Jay Simes) without knowing her identity, because — well, the picture was too cute not to print! We then queried our readers as to the little girl’s identity.
Right after the issue was mailed, the mystery child’s mother, Jane Horner, called, excited and delighted: She and her husband, Dick, then living in Bismarck (now Northern Plains Electric consumers from rural Devils Lake), spotted their daughter on the cover — as did relatives and family friends.
We got so many calls, we had to take the phone off the hook, Jane reported at the time. Beth’s identity was revealed in the next issue of the magazine.
Over the years, we had discussed doing a follow-up on Beth so readers could meet our mystery child as a young woman. Never did we dream that her story would turn out to be so traumatic . . .
At noon on June 20, 2003, Dick and Jane Horner of Devils Lake were having lunch. As they ate, they commented on an article in the newspaper that day about an ATV accident that had just claimed the life of a young North Dakota boy.
That afternoon, the Horners got a phone call telling them their own daughter had been involved in an ATV accident, that she had a traumatic brain injury and was about to be airlifted via helicopter to MeritCare in Fargo.
The caller’s first words were: Are you sitting down?
Beth has no memory of the all-terrain vehicle (ATV) accident that nearly took her life that afternoon. No memory of the harried ambulance ride to a Devils Lake hospital. No memory of her flight via helicopter to MeritCare in Fargo.
She does remember gradually becoming conscious over several weeks in the hospital and wondering how she got there. I didn’t know what had happened; I thought it was a dream and I’d wake up, she says.
Beth, then 19, had never ridden an ATV before that day. She had gotten off work early and agreed to go riding with a girlfriend — who lent her an ATV. The two young women on separate three-wheelers, accompanied by two young men on four-wheelers, began riding over the open fields of Beth’s friends farm east of Devils Lake.
One of the riders behind her witnessed the accident and later filled her in on how it happened. I hit a dip and tried to stabilize the ATV, then hit another dip, Beth says. I was thrown from the three-wheeler and landed on the left side of my head. She was not wearing a helmet.
When Beth hit her head, her brain slammed against the right back side of her skull, leaving her with a right-brain injury. There was also pinpoint bleeding on the brain, Beth’s mom says.
In addition, Beth suffered damage to her left eye and road rash on her shoulder and chest.
What Beth learned the hard way that afternoon is that ATVs (especially three-wheelers) can be dangerous.
Beth was unconscious for three of the six days she spent in the intensive care unit at MeritCare Hospital. Part of that time she was in an induced coma to keep her brain from swelling.
Her parents and her older sister, Jessica, were by her side during those critical days and nights, keeping vigil, watching for any ominous blips on Beth’s brain wave patterns displayed on a bedside monitor.
During this time, the family coped by living one day at a time. We went by baby steps, Jane says. Every day, we were seeing some improvement.
Helping them cope, Jane says, were their network of family and friends, and a prayer chain that stretched across Canada and the U.S. and into Europe.
Meanwhile, Beth drifted in and out of consciousness. When she came to, she was paralyzed on her left side. She couldn’t see out of her left eye. She couldn’t talk or feed herself. Her short-term memory was gone.
On July 3, Beth was transferred to MeritCare’s rehabilitation unit. There, she underwent intense speech, physical and occupational therapy. Two weeks into therapy, her left side began to respond, Jane says.
Over time, Beth graduated from a wheelchair, to a walker, to a cane. Her left hand was the last to regain sensation. We didn’t think she’d be able to move her fingers. Then a miracle happened: Her thumb started to move, her mom recalls.
A number of things helped aid her during this period. For one thing, Beth always had a very positive attitude, Jane says.
Another plus: She was in good physical condition before the accident, her father says. She played hockey and rollerbladed.
While in rehab, Beth missed her two cats, Mittens and Toby. She also missed a hobby that had earned her awards in the past: sewing. Beth had won several Make It Yourself With Wool contests in past years, crafting garments from wool and modeling them in state and national competition.
I kept telling Mom, We’ve got to get home so I can start sewing, she says.
After her discharge from the hospital in July, Beth stayed in Fargo for an extra month of outpatient therapy. She returned home to Graham’s Island State Park (where her father manages the Devils Lake State Parks) near Devils Lake in August.
That fall, Beth enrolled at Lake Region State College in Devils Lake, taking two classes. During her spare time, Beth plugged in her sewing machine and went to work, creating a dark wool jacket and a colorful skirt of assorted wool plaids.
Jane says sewing has been a good occupational therapy tool for Beth, giving her a goal when her friends started college without her. It has also been a mother-daughter bonding experience.
Beth’s injury affected the amount of time she was able to spend at her sewing machine. Plus, she had trouble with her vision. I had to use a bifocal for my injured left eye, Beth says.
Her disabilities didn’t keep her from entering her outfit (and winning first place) in the North Dakota Make It Yourself With Wool contest.
Or from advancing to the national contest for the fourth time. In January 2004, Beth flew to California to compete at the national level, finishing as second runner-up.
Long after she came home, Beth continued to make weekly trips to Fargo. There, MeritCare speech/language therapist Janet Grove helped Beth deal with the short-term memory loss and decreased attention span brought on by her injury. The two young women have since become good friends.
In my eyes, Janet is my hero, Beth says.
Today, Beth is a sophomore at North Dakota State University in Fargo. She’s pursuing a career in apparels and textiles, as well as family consumer science education. She still tires easily, and finds it harder to stay focused, problems she continues to work on during her therapy sessions.
Already, Beth is busily working on her next wool garment for the upcoming North Dakota Make It Yourself With Wool competition. And during a recent hunting trip with her father, she bagged her first deer — a first-rate, father-daughter adventure.
Beth is grateful for the excellent care she received following her injury. We couldn’t have asked for any better, she says.
Her advice to others undergoing similar traumas: I had a goal I wanted to achieve and I stuck with it, she says. If you stick with it, you can overcome it.
Adds her mother: You always think it can’t happen to you. Yes, it can happen to you. And it changes your life in an instant.

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Beth Horner first appeared on the cover of North Dakota Living in 1987, when she was three years old. Here, she holds the magazine’s September 1987 cover photo, which was taken during a Year of the Child event held at the North Dakota Capitol grounds in July.

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Beth Horner’s ATV accident has not kept her away from her hobby of sewing. Not long after her accident, she entered, and won, the North Dakota Make It Yourself With Wool contest. Today, Beth is a sophomore at North Dakota State University in Fargo, where she is pursuing a career in apparels and textiles, as well as family consumer science education.

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Beth gives a welcome home kiss to her father, Dick Horner, who is a state park manager.

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Beth and her mother, Jane Horner, who are both involved with the North Dakota Make It Yourself With Wool, share mother-daughter time looking over some new fabrics.


Commissioners hear contentious issues concerning state’s outlet
The Benson County commissioners met for the first meeting of 2005 on Tuesday, Jan. 4. Jason Lee of Maddock was elected chairman for 2005, succeeding Dwain Brown of Sheyenne, and Ed Ripplinger of Leeds was elected vice chairman to replace Lee. Other commissioners are Curtis Hvinden of Maddock and Barry Cox of Warwick.
Two contentious issues concerning the state’s Devils Lake outlet being constructed in Benson County were reviewed by the commissioners.
The first issue, granting a variance for a power line to the two pumping stations, was discussed by the commissioners; the Benson County Zoning Board; attorney Matt Sagsveen and engineer Bruce Engelhardt of the State Water Commission (SWC); a representative of Central Power; and a representative of KBM, the engineering firm hired by the State Water Commission to design the power line. Members of the Benson County Zoning Board are commissioners Barry Cox, Curtis Hvinden and Ed Ripplinger, along with Ralph Olson of Maddock and Erling Karlsbraaten of Esmond. All were present.
It was pointed out that the power line would not be at least 250 feet from existing roads, as is required by Benson County zoning ordinances. The reason for the 250-foot setback is because if the road has to be moved or rebuilt, the poles for the power line would have to be moved at a current cost of about $1,000 per pole. The zoning board appeared to be in agreement to grant the variance if the power company agrees to sign a document stating it would stand all costs of moving the line in case of road rebuilding or moving. The representative from Central Power said he would take the proposal back to his superiors and return with their reply at the next meeting.
The second issue, a proposal from the SWC to close a portion of a section line and reroute traffic off the section line was discussed a second time. In attendance were Aurora Township supervisors Gerald Schlenker, Bob Buckmier and Norman Heisler. Also present were Leo Walker, Kathy Walker, and Tilford and Lorraine Fossen of Aurora Township; and SWC personnel Engelhardt and Sagsveen and Carl Duschscher of Knox, who is a liaison person for the SWC.
Engelhardt said this particular location has resulted in a great deal of planning because of the slope of the land. We’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to make this spot work for the outlet, he said. The SWC has agreed to make the road as wide as necessary to accommodate the machinery of Tilford Fossen. Engelhardt said a siphon at this location was out of the question because it would cost several hundred thousand dollars more and the outlet would lose head with a siphon at this location.
Fossen claimed he was misled when he signed a petition approving the closing of the section line. Duchscher disputed this. I want my name off that petition, Fossen said.
Schlenker, speaking for the Aurora Township supervisors, said the township was in favor of whatever the landowners want. Since at least two landowners, Walker and Fossen, oppose closing the section line, the township would not approve the closing. However, the decision has apparently been taken from the township and dropped in the laps of the commissioners.
We don’t want to go against the township, said Ripplinger. There should be some way to come to a compromise on this issue.
State’s attorney James Wang pointed out that the SWC could petition to close the section line without building any road off the section line, leaving the landowners without a way to access their property.
Engelhardt was asked to look at the design of this spot again and return to the commissioners at their Jan. 18 meeting.
Wang advised the commissioners that they can’t keep putting off making a decision on this issue and that they should make a decision at the Jan. 18 meeting.
County nurse Shelley Aabrekke told commissioners she was going back to having shot clinics at Leeds, Maddock and Minnewaukan on a monthly basis.
A bill for $940 from the Minnewaukan Ambulance Service for transporting a man who had a seizure in the Benson County courtroom to medical facilities at Devils Lake was referred to Wang for his opinion. Earl Landers of Tokio was in custody at the time he had the seizure on August 9.
Sheriff Ned Mitzel reported he was using approximately $20,000 in Homeland Security money to purchase new digital radios in four police vehicles. The money is earmarked for radios.
Melissa Buckmier of Maddock was appointed to the Benson County Housing Authority following the resignation of Ed Ripplinger.

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Commissioners reorganize
The Benson County commissioners reorganized at their first meeting of 2005. Jason Lee of Maddock, seated right, was elected chairman for 2005. Ed Ripplinger of Leeds, seated left, was elected vice chairman. Standing left to right are commissioners Barry Cox of Warwick, Curtis Hvinden of Maddock and Dwain Brown of Sheyenne. Lee succeeds Brown as chairman.


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New Year’s Baby
The New Year’s Baby for 2005 at the Heart of America Medical Center in Rugby is Cody Alan Remeika, who was born Jan. 3, 2005 at 3:15 p.m. He is pictured with his parents, Alan and Jessica Remeika of Leeds and his sister, Julianne. Cody weighed 8 lbs., 14 oz. and was 22 inches long. He was delivered by Dr. Harriet Enubuzor. It is interesting to note that Julianne was the HAMC’s New Year’s Baby in 2002.


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New official dog
The Maddock Memorial Home received a special gift this Christmas. The home has had a black lab/golden retriever dog named Rusty who has stayed at the home the past six years off and on, going home part of the time with owner Beth Olson. Rusty is 12 years old and aged to the point that it was getting harder for her to move out of the way of residents. She now stays at her farm home.
Goldie has taken her place as the new Maddock Memorial Home Official Dog. Although it is believed Goldie may be as old as Rusty, she’s still moving around pretty well. Goldie is a golden retriever that was a stray found by a pipeline worker this fall. The story goes that she showed up at the work sight on a Friday and the workers gave her some scraps. The following Monday she was still there and waiting. A family took her in and Floyd Dressen and this family got her shots, etc. and offered her a nice home. When the family moved back to Minot at Thanksgiving, Floyd got another dog. Floyd had heard the home was looking for another nice dog.
The dog had no name, and after a day, everyone knew she’d work out. The residents gave their ideas for names and then voted on naming her Goldie. It didn’t take her more than a couple of times to be told no to stay out of the dining room and kitchen so she’s a fast learner and obedient. She will stand or sit by people and nudge with her nose to be petted all day long.


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Students selected
Two Leeds High School students were selected to attend the Northwest International Festival of Music. The festival was held at Minot State University Nov. 5 and 6. Patrick Dunlap, left, a senior, son of Jeff and Debbie Dunlap, was selected to play the trombone in the honor band. Bryce Zietz, a junior, son of Betty Anderson, was chosen to sing in the mixed choir.

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Brenna Stone, a 7th grader, has been chosen to sing in the America Choral Directors Association Junior High All-State Choir. The choir rehearsed in Bismarck on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 7 and 8 and ended the weekend with a concert on Saturday. Brenna is the daughter of Kim and Kelly King of Leeds.


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Scholarship given
The Farmers Union Oil Company of York offers a $500 college scholarship each year to graduating seniors of patrons of the York Cenex. The 2004-2005 recipient is Laura Fragodt, daughter of James and Marie Fragodt of Harlow. The recipient was determined by a drawing from a list of applications received. Manager Clarence Nelsen, left, and Rod Wurgler, right, board president, presented the check. Scholarship applications for the 2005-2006 school year are available at the station. Application deadline is March 31. The scholarship for the 2005-2006 school year will be awarded at the York Cenex annual meeting in April.


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Earns award
The late Ernie Hagen of Devils Lake was presented the Water Stewardship Award posthumously for his many years of activities on behalf of water in this area. Shown are members of the Hagen family with Larry Gellner (seated, center) of Cavalier County, chairman of the Devils Lake Basin Joint Water Resource Board, which sponsors the annual award. Seated, left to right, are Harland and Marilyn Pederson of Devils Lake, Gellner and Roger Hagen and Bruce Hagen, both of Bismarck. Standing, left to right, are  Michael and Kristin Jones of Maddock (great-granddaughter of Ernie) and Caroline and Dr. Boyd Hagen of Lakota.


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OWLS project wins award
The Minnewaukan School’s Outdoor Wildlife Learning Site (OWLS) Project was the winner of the 2005 Devils Lake Basin Water Stewardship Award, along with a posthumous award to longtime water activist Ernie Hagen of Devils Lake. The OWLS Project, spearheaded by Lori Cline and Annette Schmid, features a stream and a wildlife-friendly environment on the school grounds. Present to receive the award at Devils Lake January 5 in conjunction with the Lake Region Extension Roundup were, seated, left to right, Robin Greene, Crystal Welch, Devils Lake Basin Joint Water Resource Board chairman Larry Gellner, Charmayne Thomas and Sarah Friestad. Middle row: Lori Cline, Travis Myklebust, Katie Clifton, Dawn Teigen, Brandi Weed, Carrie Hillebrand, Katrece Thompson, Louis Swiftbird and Annette Schmid. Back row: science instructor Ed Tomlinson, Kenny Schmid, Aaron Tollefson, Alyssa Erickson and Jordan Callahan. Back center: Ben Cline, Tyson Holy Bull and Ben Grann. All students in grades 7-12 are involved with the project.


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