Volume 122, Number
Ester Sexhus 100 years old and still glowing!
BY LEANNA ANDERSON
At 100 years old, Ester Sexhus still cooks a full meal for herself every day. She also has quite a packed cleaning schedule.
Mondays are designated for vacuuming the big farmhouse she still maintains on her own. Tuesday is the day Ester vacuums the main floor. On Wednesdays there is no rest for the weary. That’s the day Ester keeps busy washing the kitchen floor by hand and cleaning the porch. She often takes a break from her vigorous cleaning schedule on Thursdays, Fridays and weekends.
“I rest those days, and read a lot of religious books,” Ester said. “My daughter Karen buys them for me all the time.”
Ester is celebrating her 100th birthday March 15.
Born in Springfield Township of Towner County in 1905 to David and Amelia Ahlberg, she grew up on the family farm north of Leeds and later moved with her family to Seattle, Wash., where she graduated from high school. Shortly after graduation the Alhberg family returned to Leeds. Ester then attended Valley City Normal College and soon began her teaching career at Wheatland Country School near Leeds. Teaching kept Ester busy for about eight years until she met Sanford Sexhus. The two married in 1939.
Ester is the mother of four children, Jimmie, Karen, Dennis and Sandra; a grandmother of four; and a great-grandmother to six. She’s lived on the Sexhus family farm her entire married life.
When asked about the highlights of her life, Ester reflects back to when she was a young girl. She remembers playing with her five younger siblings, Ruth, Ernest, Myrtle, Annabel and Ida.
One of the times Ester still laughs about was when she and Ruth climbed a windmill. “Dad had to coax us down with candy!” she said.
While Ester remembers many happy times during her 100 years, there is one time that still brings tears to her eyes. In 1966, Ester’s daughter, Sandra, died at the age of 24. She was a flight attendant for TWA and was killed in a plane crash in Japan. The loss is still difficult for Ester to talk about.
New Year’s Day, 1993 was another time of sorrow for her. That was the day she lost her husband to cancer.
“You have to take the good with the bad in life,” she said.
Remarkably, Ester said she has no aches or pains. In her 100 years, she’s never been hospitalized for an illness or had an operation. She’s sharp as a tack and only takes a low dose of blood pressure medication.
So what is Ester’s secret to longevity? She said she doesn’t really have one, but her daughter-in-law, Sue, thinks her eating regimen has something to do with it. “Ester eats very healthy,” Sue said. Every morning she makes a bowl of oatmeal. She drinks a cup of hot water with a tablespoon of vinegar and eats a spoonful of gin and raisins. That’s a little treat she’s been serving herself the past 30 years.
Still, there’s something to be said for genes. “Annabel tells me I’m the oldest and got all the genes,” Ester said. Her sister Annabel just turned 89.
When asked if she has any advice for people, Ester said, “Always take the stairs.” She said her husband gave her the same advice when the two first were married.
More importantly though, Ester said, “Believe in Jesus Christ.” Because of her strong faith, Ester is not worried about the future.
While she would like to be the oldest living North Dakotan, Ester said, “The Lord will take me home when the time is right.”
Leeds native Leanna Anderson is a reporter for WDAZ-TV in Grand Forks.
Official party is Saturday
Ester Sexhus will celebrate her 100th birthday with family and friends at an open house held in her honor on Saturday, March 19 at the Leeds Lutheran Church from 2 to 5 p.m. There will be a special program at 2:30.
State-sponsored outlet to Devils Lake nears completion
BY PATRICK FRIDGEN
ND State Water Commission Outlet quick facts:
•Total cost is estimated at $28 million.
•Construction began in 2002. By the end of the 2004 construction season, the project was 80 percent complete.
•Construction completion is scheduled for summer 2005, with operation to follow.
•Current design capacity is for 100 cubic feet per second (cfs) of water discharge, but could be expanded to 300 cfs in the future, with modifications and a new permit.
•The outlet will be operated in accord with permit constraints, including total flow, water quality in the Sheyenne River, and when Devils Lake is above 1445 feet above mean sea level (amsl).
•The outlet is approximately 14 miles in length — from west Devils Lake to the Sheyenne River.
•Includes four miles of pipeline, and 10 miles of open channel.
•Includes two pump stations — one at Round Lake, and the other south of Long Lake, named the Josephine Station.
The photos and information in this article first appeared in the March issue of North Dakota Water and is reprinted here courtesy of and with the permission of North Dakota Water and the ND State Water Commission.
Outlet Map (PDF format)
The Round Lake standpipe is 40 feet in diameter and 75 feet high. The Josephine standpipe is 40 feet in diameter and 90 feet high. Both standpipes are nearly completed, with only minor construction and painting remaining.
Canal: The 10 miles of canal are being constructed under two contracts. The first canal contract is 95 percent complete, and the second is 70 percent complete. The average slope of the canal is 0.04 percent.
Pipeline: The approximately four miles of pipeline are 95 percent complete.
Both 64-and 54-inch ductile iron pipe are being installed.
Pump Stations: The Round Lake and Josephine pump stations are 80 percent complete. Each station consists of two, 1,250 horsepower pumps, capable of pumping up to 50 cfs each, or 100 cfs together. Each station also includes a standpipe.
Siphons: A small amount of work remains on the siphon inlet and outlet structures, but all pipeline work has been completed. The siphons are constructed of three side-by-side 6-foot diameter reinforced concrete pipes.
Transitions: There are two transition structures included in the outlet design. They mark the areas where pipeline connects with canal. Transition
#2 is complete, and transition #1 is substantially complete, with only minor construction and cleanup remaining.
Drop Structures: Both drop structures are completed. One involves a 15-foot drop, the other is slightly larger at 17 feet of drop.
Terminal Structure: The terminal structure marks the end of the outlet, where water is discharged into the Sheyenne River. Construction on the outlet portion of the terminal structure is complete.
The Maddock Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) Gaming Fund presented a check for $500 to Kids on the Block in Maddock for their day-to-day operational costs of running the facility. Laura Every, right, board member of Kids on the Block accepts the check from Kaaren Duren of MEDC gaming.
The Maddock Economic Development Corporation Gaming Fund presented a check for $300 to the Maddock Park Board for a renovation project at the swimming pool. Tammy Haug of the Maddock Park Board, right, accepts the check from Kaaren Duren of MEDC gaming.
Chapter does well at event
Lake Region State College Delta Epsilon Chi members who took part in the annual Career Development Conference in Bismarck are pictured. Left to right, back row, are Justin Herman of Brinsmade, Sara Hoffner, Jorey Preston, Jill Garske, Terry Linde, Brad Gardner, Emily Jaeger, advisor Donna Gutschmidt, Lacie Fogelson and Sarah Sattler of Leeds and Marty Platz. Front row: Everett Ritterman of Cando, Levi Otis and Ryan Gardner.
Students with towns not listed are from Devils Lake. Advisor Donna (Stadum) Gutschmidt is a 1978 graduate of Esmond High School.