Volume 123, Number 9
New business serves reservation, adjacent areas
BY RICHARD PETERSON
A new business made its appearance in November on the Spirit Lake Nation and it’s unique in that it’s a business owned by a member of the tribe. Ed Brownshield, 57, is one of a handful of Native American businessmen on the reservation.
One day a couple years ago Brownshield was driving in the area and noticed five different propane trucks from off the reservation making deliveries. The thought struck him that there should be a supplier on the reservation. He pushed the thought out of his mind because he had enough to do as program director of the Spirit Lake Recovery and Wellness Center in Fort Totten.
But it didn’t leave his mind completely. About a year ago he wrote a business plan for a propane business and submitted it to the Small Business Administration. His application for a small business loan was accepted and he was off and running.
He obtained a 25-year lease from the tribe on 10 acres of land at the junction of US 281 and the Oberon Road. Next, a 300×300 foot plot was fenced with seven foot high chain link fence and three strands of barbed wire above that. The fence alone cost $25,000. Next a 30,000 gallon propane tank was installed, a 2006 Freightliner truck with 3200 gallon tank for making deliveries was purchased and a 16×80 manufactured home was placed on the site. Vining Oil of Jamestown and Carrington is his supplier. Sioux-Per Propane, LLC opened for business November 15. The phone number is 701-996-2141 or 1-866-910-4328. Brownshield emphasized that the business is not limited to the reservation.
Ironically the property he leased from the tribe was once owned by his grandfather, Old Ed Brownshield. "So it comes back in a circle," says Brownshield.
Brownshield now has almost 200 customers and he recently obtained a contract to supply the Spirit Lake Casino & Resort with propane and motor fuels at the marina.
Mary Willert of Devils Lake is the office manager and Douglas Longie of St. Michael and Gary Swart of New Rockford are sales and delivery personnel. The manufactured home on the site also serves as Brownshield’s living quarters.
He’s traveled another big circle. As a young man he attended a Catholic High School in South Dakota, but dropped out before graduating. In later years he obtained a GED degree from Little Hoop Community College in Fort Totten.
"I was 43 when I finally grew up, changed my life and went to college. I had never been on a college campus before going to Valley City State University. I had never operated a computer. The closest I had been to a computer was an electric typewriter in high school," he says. He received a bachelor’s degree in 1997 and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in social work.
"I haven’t done any drinking or smoking since 1991," Brownshield says proudly. "There’s nothing wrong with alcohol if it’s used right, but it’s not right for me." He changed his thinking, his attitude and his behavior. "You have to have commitment, consistency and choices — making good choices every day," Brownshield says.
He went to work as a mental health care specialist at the ND State Hospital at Jamestown in 1994. In 1996 he returned to the reservation to implement alcohol prevention programs before returning to the State Hospital for his practicum as an addiction counselor. He continued the practicum at the Lake Region Human Service Center and was an addiction counselor intern before being named program director of the Spirit Lake Recovery and Wellness Center in Fort Totten.
The center is a 15-bed residential component which provides treatment to those afflicted with addiction. There are 15 staff members. Brownshield said it was a model program for the nation.
But in 2005 the idea of the propane business caused him to resign as director to devote his full efforts to building a business. It looks like he’s well on his way.
But he still has other interests in addition to the propane business. Gov. John Hoeven recently appointed him to the ND Legislative Council’s Committee on Alternatives to Incarceration.
Oh yes, he’s got another goal in mind. He received the endorsement of the 23rd District Dem-NPL to run as a candidate for the State House of Representatives in November’s general election.
Office manager Mary Willert and owner Ed Brownshield stand in front of the 30,000 gallon propane storage tank and the new delivery truck of Sioux-Per Propane. The business is located at the junction of US 281 and the Oberon-Tokio Road. Brownshield is a lifelong resident of the Spirit Lake Nation and he traveled a big circle to get to his present situation.
Leeds native Dennis Fogelson, left, is the new superintendent of the ND School for the Deaf in Devils Lake. He is pictured with ND Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Wayne Sanstead, who is the elected representative responsible for the school. Sanstead introduced Fogelson to the community at a gathering March 29 at the school. Fogelson is a 1958 graduate of Leeds High School and he has a master’s degree in education from NDSU and a bachelor’s degree from Mayville State University. He is the son of Kelly Fogelson of Leeds and the late Donald "Bud" Fogelson.
Has high score
Ben Grann, a junior at the Minnewaukan School, compiled the highest score in Benson County in the Know Your State competition. He will compete in the state finals on May 8 at the University of Mary in Bismarck. He is the son of John and Donna Grann.
Dollars for scholars
Leeds Superintendent Joel Braaten, left, is pictured receiving donations for the Leeds Dollars For Scholars Scholarship Fund from two area couples, Magnus and Junice Lysne and Kaye and Chad Nelsen.
These Oberon students completed the reading requirements for March.
Left to right, front row: Tiffany Thomas, Louis Blacklance Jr. and Larissa Dunn. Middle row: Bryson Robertson, Bryeann Robertson, Brock Azure, Emily Thumb, Sierra Charboneau, Darica Deckert and Bailey Thumb. Back row: Chelsea Hook, Cyril Shaw, Lacey Brown, Tanya Two Hearts, George Brown, Myron Wanna Jr., Mikellene Applebee, Jamie Jetty and Dakotah Greywater (hidden).
Oberon students who had perfect attendance for the past six weeks are pictured. They went on a field trip for ice cream on March 31. Left to right, front row: Levi Thumb, Louis Blacklance and Bailey Thumb. Middle row: Bryson Robertson, Bryeann Robertson, Emily Thumb, Sierra Charboneau and George Brown. Back row: Chelsea Hook, Cody Greywater, Sarah Hook and Jamie Jetty.
Honored for service
Personnel at the Benson County Social Services were honored for years of service to the agency. Left to right are Carole Lysne, 35 years; Barb Ambers, 30 years; Shirley Laverdure, 25 years; Laurie Rodriguez,5 years; and Janis Lunde, 30 years.
The Maddock Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) recently presented $1900 to area organizations from gaming activities at Maddock and Minnewaukan. Minnewaukan librarian Cathy Burkhardsmeier holds a $500 check which will be used for the library’s book lease. Mark Motis, right, a representative of the Benson County Amateur Radio Club, holds a $250 check the club will use for equipment. The presentations were made by Laura Every, center, gaming manager for the MEDC.
Sally Campbell, left, representing "Super Youtherans" received a check for $250 toward a youth trip to Texas this summer. Cindy Smith, right, representing Kids on the Block, received a check for $500 toward operating expenses. Also pictured are clients from Kids on the Block.
The Maddock Academic Challenge Teams competed in a meet at Drake on March 21. The junior high team consisting of (left to right) Preston Gilderhus, Noah Engels, Beau Buehler, Kaidi Kenner and Erin Leier placed third out of the 12 teams competing.
The senior high team placed first out of 13 teams. Members of the team were (left to right) Courtney Foss, Michelle Olson, Isaac Engels, Elisa Buehler and Kara Gutormson.
The annual Named Endowment Recognition event was held February 14 at Lake Region State College (LRSC). The event is sponsored by the Community College Foundation, which supports LRSC. This year’s recipient of the Harley and Viola Summers Toolbox Scholarship is David Burgard. He is the son of Mary and Randy Burgard of Anamoose. He and his wife, Sara, live in Esmond with their two children. Harley and Viola Summers established an endowment to benefit students in LRSC technical programs. A large toolbox is awarded annually to students enrolled in the automotive technology program. One of the Lake Region’s leading businesses got its start in 1965 in Harley’s Blacksmith Shop when Harley Summers purchased the patent for Goebel Brothers truck hoists. That investment was the springboard for a wide variety of agricultural technology innovations. The Summers Manufacturing, Inc. of today continues that resourceful spirit. Left to right are Summers family representative Deb Anderson, LRSC auto technology instructors Rick McAllister and Randy Olson, Summers family representative Larry Summers and David Burgard.
Make comfort pillows
The seventh and eighth grade home economics classes at Tate Topa Middle School at Fort Totten recently completed a service project. Members of the classes made comfort pillows for young cancer patients. The pillows will be given to the Roger Maris Cancer Center in Fargo. Comfort pillows are intended to "help hug away pain" while patients are undergoing treatment. Seventh graders, left to right, are Nicholas Jetty, Dylan Herman, Daryl ThreeIrons, Reiny Hill, Stevie Bull, Adriane Shaw, Shanda Chaske and Kareena Whiteshield. Not pictured are Darian WalkingEagle, Ulonda TwoHearts and Brittney Roulette.
Each pillow has a note attached with the name of the person who made it and a short note. The Comfort Pillow Project was developed by the Husqvarna Viking Sewing Machine Company. Jane Horner of Graham’s Island teaches the classes. Left to right are eighth graders, Austin Lamrose, Sean Dauphinais, Ashley Brown, Brittney Owlboy, Jerrica Guy and Chelsey WalkingEagle. Not pictured are Jesse Feather, Elizabeth Ironhawk, John Lightning and Brittany Omen.
Easter Cantata to be presented at Cando church Sunday, April 9
The Cando Area Community Chorus will present the Easter Cantata "We Were There" on Palm Sunday, April 9 at 2:30 p.m. in the sanctuary of Sacred Heart Catholic Church (304 Third Avenue) in Cando. A 20-minute piano prelude will precede the cantata beginning at 2:10 p.m.
In place of a narration that runs through the cantata, this year’s music includes local actors portraying some of the people who were at the cross when Jesus died on that first Good Friday. Brent Heisler plays John, Brenda Vesterso of Munich plays Mary the mother of Jesus, R.J. Miller plays the centurion, Kathy Miller plays Mary Magdalene and Greg Culver plays Peter. All the actors will be costumed and set apart from the chorus. In addition, Mark Motis of Minnewaukan, a bass in the chorus, will make closing statements before the final anthem.
Babe Belzer is directing the chorus, with Kathie Denison at the piano. Special music during the free will offering will be provided by Wayne Freund, accompanied by his wife, Marguerite. The offering will be given to the Cando Ministerium for its ongoing expenses helping people in need.
The cast and chorus will travel to Munich’s Salem Mennonite Church to perform the cantata at 7:30 p.m. that same evening. A 20-minute piano prelude by Kathie Denison will precede the concert beginning at 7:10 p.m.
The 2006 Cando Area Community Chorus, which will perform Sunday, April 9 at Sacred Heart Church in Cando, is pictured. Left to right, back row: Wayne Freund, Tom Belzer, Dick Noyes, Bob Curl, Dick Lybeck and Merlin Hochstetler. Third row: Mark Motis (Minnewaukan) Bob Denison, Kent Vesterso (rural Munich), Terry Lutz, Gene Rosinski and Larry Moser. Second row: Meghan Freund, Lynette Lybeck, Claudia Nikoliasen (rural Egeland), Elsie Hochstetler, Judy Bulie, Rosemary Culver and Brenda Halverson (rural Egeland). Front row: Laona Eggl, Darlene Albertson (Churchs Ferry), Joyce Freund, Jolene Myers, Esther Sailer and Gladys Fluge (rural Egeland). Not pictured are Clarice Demeyere, Peggy Hendrickson, Ruth Lutz and Arlys and Al Wiens (Munich).