By Richard Peterson
That was one tough storm that went through Benson County early Sunday. I had just gotten up at about 5 a.m. and was preparing to take a shower when all of a sudden a fierce wind hit. Shortly thereafter the lights went out for about 20 minutes.
I had no idea how difficult it is to determine in the dark how much toothpaste is being squeezed onto the toothbrush. Combing hair in the dark is no snap, either, to say nothing of cleaning a cat box.
I didn’t think much of the storm, but when I left the house I noted there were some fully-leaved tree branches littering the weeds which make up my lawn. I checked the official rain gauge and found that only .30 of rain fell in town.
Then I started getting some reports. When I got The Forum at Oddens’
Grocery about 5:45 a.m. Alan and Cathy Nord were there telling of power lines down north of Minnewaukan. A little after 7 a.m. Pastor Budd called from Leeds to tell of power lines down in the Brinsmade-Harlow area. When I stopped at the store a little later it was reported Boyd Haagenson’s barn went down.
So I went out for a look-see. Power lines were down north of Ronnie Thompson’s along the road which will become US 281. Yup, the barn at the Haagenson place was flattened. A nearby pole barn also sustained major damage. Trees were twisted and broken. Half a mile east the big pole barn on the Glenn Tofsrud place had its north portion torn off and half the roof peeled off on the rest of the barn.
Near the Blasky place east of Brinsmade many large evergreens were toppled onto the power lines, bringing the lines down.
Three barns on the Duane Warner farm near Harlow were heavily damaged. The barn on the Delbert Bingham place was severely damaged, as was a trailer house. The barn on the Ruth Lunde & sons farm near Harlow went down. There didn’t appear to be much debris from the barn scattered around. Most of the barn was in place, but it looked like a giant hand just came down and squashed it.
The most expensive damage was to Great River Energy’s power line which runs through the center of the county. The power line was down for more than 30 miles from ND 3 to the Caroll Lalum farm near Minnewaukan. Virtually every double pole was snapped off.
Radio reports said the Paul Bingham farmstead south of Leeds sustained damage. A barn on the Ted Lommen farm near Brinsmade went down.
As soon as I got a little west of Minnewaukan, it was apparent the area experienced a downpour. Water was standing in fields everywhere. Some areas reported 2.5 inches in half a hour. Crops were flattened to the ground. I don’t know if they’ll be able to recover.
We always have more wind than we want, but this spring and summer have been especially windy. And especially wet, too. As of June 18 the official US Department of Commerce weather station at Minnewaukan has recorded 4.26 inches this month — and Minnewaukan has missed the really heavy rains.
The ground is soaked. At Minnewaukan the extremely high water table, coupled with the hydrostatic pressure of the nearby lake has caused portions of the town’s asphalt streets to boil up. I wouldn’t be surprised if the damage to the asphalt will require $100,000 to repair. Needless to say, if the city has to foot the entire bill, all the repairs simply can’t be done.
A man owned a small farm near Maddock. The North Dakota Wage and Hour Department claimed he was not paying proper wages to his help and sent an agent out to interview him. "I need a list of your employees and how much you pay them," demanded the agent.
"Well, there’s my field hand who’s been with me for three years. I pay him $600 a week plus free room and board. The cook has been here for 18 months, and I pay her $500 a week, plus free room and board. Then there’s the half-wit who works here about 18 hours a day. He makes $10 a week and I go into town and buy him a bottle of bourbon every Saturday night," replied the farmer.
"That’s the guy I want to talk to, the half-wit," says the agent.
"That would be me," replied the farmer sadly.
A news service reported that fire destroyed the personal library of President George W. Bush on his Crawford, Texas ranch. The fire began in the presidential bathroom where the books were kept. Both of his books were lost. A presidential spokesman said the president was devastated, as he had almost finished coloring the second one.
Ole bought Lena a piano for her birthday. A few weeks later, Lars inquired how she was doing with it.
"Oh," said Ole, "I persuaded her to svitch to a clarinet."
"How come?" asked Lars.
"Vell," Ole answered, "because vit a clarinet she can’t sing."
The Shortest Fairy Tale
Once upon a time a guy asked a girl to marry him. She said "No!"
And the guy lived happily ever after.