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5/5/2006 – Editorials

By Richard Peterson

Official predictions are that Devils Lake’s level will hit a new record this year. According to the National Weather Service the lake at Creel Bay has a 90 percent chance of exceeding 1449.5. The previous high in modern times was on June 17, 2004 when it reached 1449.1. The level of the lake on Sunday was 1449.01.

Earlier predictions were that the lake would not exceed its 2004 high so it was something of a surprise to find that the lake would be rising above its previous high. There was hardly any run-off in this area. There must be a lot of water north of the lake.

Meanwhile, water is pouring out of Devils Lake into Stump Lake. Stump Lake is rising approximately 1/20th of a foot a day. The water ran all winter long from Devils Lake to Stump Lake. The level on Jan. 1,

2006 was 1436.17. Sunday the level was 1439.8, a rise of about 3.5 feet so far this year.

You understand the basic facts here. Devils Lake has not risen much above its present level because the excess water has been flowing into Stump Lake. Once Stump Lake rises an additional eight feet, the two lakes will stabilize at approximately 1448 and will rise in unison if the wet cycle continues. The lakes are likely to stabilize the end of this year.

The relief valve that Stump Lake provided the past five years or so will be gone. Devils Lake will once again continue its rise if the wet cycle continues.

There will be no protection from the state’s outlet. As long ago as January of 2002, before construction even began, I predicted the outlet would be ineffective and that it was a waste of money. After I got wind of the State Health Department’s restrictions on operation of the outlet, there was no question in my mind that it simply could not work. Many times this column sang the same old song, but the politicians pressed ahead. What have we got now? A $28 million outlet that can’t be used.

As an aside, I want to point out that the reason the outlet cannot remove water from the lake is because of restrictions placed on it by the State Health Department’s permit to operate the outlet. The outlet itself is an engineering marvel. It works just fine.

Minnewaukan native Bruce Engelhardt was the engineer in charge and he deserves a pat on the back for a job well done. It’s just too bad that the politicians insisted on doing the job in the first place.

But, the state has plenty of money to waste, I guess.

Gary Doer, the Manitoba premier who loves to play politics with the Devils Lake situation, doesn’t want the Devils Lake Outlet to begin pumping without an additional filter. There’s no need for an additional filter, but the US government is likely to waste more money installing one. Doer doesn’t have to worry. Only a slight trickle of water will leave the lake through the outlet this year, if any leaves at all.


An article in this newspaper concerning factory farms appears on Page 11. I completely agree with the views of the Republican author. These factory farms are immoral. We don’t need them here, period!

And because of the possibility the manure from such operations could contaminate Devils Lake, we especially don’t need them in the Devils Lake Basin.

I’m sure I’ll be denounced as a tree-hugging fool in league with PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). I’m not a fan of PETA, nor of the Farm Bureau, which apparently endorses factory farms.

When those accusations start flying, I’ve got some dandy accusations of my own.


From the e-mails:

Most people don’t know that back in 1912, Hellmann’s mayonnaise was manufactured in England. In fact, the Titanic was carrying 12,000 jars of the condiment scheduled for delivery in Vera Cruz, Mexico, which was to be the next port of call for the great ship after its stop in New York. This would have been the largest single shipment of mayonnaise ever delivered to Mexico.

But as we know, the great ship did not make it to New York. The ship hit an iceberg and sank, and the cargo was forever lost. The people of Mexico, who were crazy about mayonnaise and were eagerly awaiting its delivery, were disconsolate at the loss. Their anguish was so great they declared a National Day of Mourning, which they still observe to this day.

The National Day of Mourning occurs each year on May 5 and is known, of course, as Sinko de Mayo.


A fleeing Taliban, desperate for water, was plodding through the Afghanistan desert when he saw something far off in the distance.

Hoping to find water, he walked toward the object, only to find a little old Jewish man sitting at a card table with neckties laid out on it.

The Arab asked, "My thirst is killing me. Do you have water?"

The Jew replied, "I have no water. Would you like to buy a tie? They are only $150. This one goes very nicely with your robes."

The Arab shouted, "Idiot! I do not need an overpriced tie. I need water!"

"OK," said the old Jew, "it does not matter that you do not want to buy a tie, and that you insult me. I will show you that you have not offended me. If you walk over that hill to the east for about two miles, you will find a lovely restaurant. Go! Walk that way! The restaurant has all the water you need!"

The Arab staggered away toward the hill and eventually disappeared.

Four hours later the Arab came crawling back to where the Jewish man was sitting at his table.

The Jew said, "I told you, about two miles over that hill. Could you not find it?"

"I found it all right," rasped the Arab. "Your brother won’t let me in without a tie."

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