Volume 123, Number
Active Women of Maddock spread miles of smiles
Editor’s note: The following article appeared in the October issue of North Dakota Living, the official publication of North Dakota’s electric and telephone cooperatives.
BY SUSANNE RETKA SCHILL
North Dakota Living
The people of Maddock happily await the next witty or wacky promotion from the Active Women of Maddock.
One time, the women marched in the Maddock Fourth of July parade led by the sign: "Are Active Women of Maddock active?" They wore adult diapers with "D-E-P-E-N-D-S" written on their behinds.
Another year, they did a precision lawn chair drill.
This year, the parade theme was "pickups." So, they marched in the parade declaring themselves Maddock’s best pickups — with their phone numbers on their backs.
The Active Women of Maddock may have fun, but they also are the ones to call when a local cause is in need. It’s a small group, just 13 women, in the small town of Maddock, just 500 people. But a couple years ago, they donated $9,000 in one year to a myriad of causes.
Beth Olson, administrator of the Maddock Memorial Home, nominated the group as the Great North Dakota LIVING! Local Community Service Organization. "They’re a good organization willing to work for the good of the community," she said, "and I admire them for having a lot of fun doing it."
The Memorial Home was the beneficiary of the first "Hometown Saturday Night" organized by the Active Women. The first show sold out, packing the new activity room at the home. So, for the past six years, it has moved to the school auditorium which seats 260. They sell out every time.
"We don’t call it a talent show; some don’t have any talent," laughed Jennifer Benson, the youngest member of the group. She’s on the committee that organizes the show. They pick a theme, find the songs for the community choir and suggest songs for the adults and kids who perform. And, the Active Women of Maddock plan a "surprise" for every show — a skit or some silliness, often at the expense of their emcee, Brian Bubach, superintendent of the Maddock School.
"They are a great group of ladies to work with," said Bubach, admitting that they often catch him off guard doing the show. "If something has to get accomplished or somebody needs help, they are the group to go to. They are one of the most outgoing and organized community groups I’ve ever worked with."
The school has benefited a number of times. "They spearheaded the project for new chairs in the auditorium," Bubach said. "That’s a $40,000-plus undertaking." (The variety show’s theme was "Musical Chairs" that year.) Once the women got the momentum going, the alumni association finished the fund-raising campaign.
"They help fund the Artists in Residence Program and provide volunteers to come to the school," he said. "And they sponsor a book giveaway for the elementary grades two or three times yearly."
Typical of the group, the book program started as a national program, but when the program didn’t fit their needs, they modified it. They call theirs BARF — Books Are Really Fun. And they give the kids books in BARF bags. "The kids think it’s great," laughed Joann Bergrud.
"We do that to encourage reading," said Bergrud, the senior member of the group. "The national program gives coupons to Hardee’s and places like that — so we give BARF coupons that can be redeemed at stores in Maddock for pop or candy."
Bergrud explained the organization started more than 30 years ago as Mrs. Jaycees. It became Jayceettes, and then Women of Today — all national organizations. They decided to drop the national affiliations about 10 years ago, but continue as a service group, calling themselves Active Women of Maddock.
The Active Women of Maddock meet monthly, to plan activities and approve donations. "We even follow parliamentary procedure in some modified fashion," said Bergrud with a smile. "We have agendas and committee reports and we vote." Officer positions change yearly. This year Val Karlsbraaten is president; Karen Smith, vice president; Jennifer Benson, secretary; and Kaaren Duren, treasurer.
What motivates them?
"It’s fun," Benson said. "We have kids of all ages. It’s nice to provide something for all of them."
"It’s a social event that gets something accomplished," said longtime member Bergrud. "For me, it’s giving back. If we are a community of takers, it will all fall in. We can’t all be takers. And, somebody has to do it."
Susanne Retka Schiff is a freelance and business writer from Langdon.
The Active Women of Maddock "paint the town red" with their community commitment. Shown on Maddock’s Main Street are, left to right, Sally Campbell, Karen Smith, Sara Plum, Paula Duren, Jennifer Benson, Val Karlsbraaten, Kaaren Duren, Ann Sears and Joann Bergrud. Not pictured are additional members Amber Neppl, Becky Brandvold, Marla Kenner and Pam Swanson. (Photo courtesy of North Dakota Living magazine)
Play goes to state competition
In its first attempt in many years, students from the Minnewaukan School competed in the regional play competition in Rugby November 7.
The students presented "Not An After-School Special," written by Jeffrey Smart. Minnewaukan’s play tied for second place at the regional contest, which allowed the play to advance to state competition held at the Mandan High School on November 20. Alyssa Erickson received superior actor honorable mention at the regional level. Left to right are Alyssa Erickson, Jordan Callahan, Aaron Tollefson, Katie Clifton, Carrie Hillebrand and Dawn Teigen. Jean Callahan and Diane Straabe are co-directors. Travis Myklebust is an assistant.
Christmas production set at New Rockford
The Opera House in New Rockford will be filled with Christmas comedy when Phil Olson’s, hot-off-the-press, stage play "Don’t Hug Me Christmas Carol" is presented. The show opens Saturday, Dec. 2 with 13 performances slated for weekends in December.
"Attaining this show was unique," says Deb Belquist, director for the show and artistic director for Dakota Prairie Regional Center for the Arts (DPRCA). "Because we had such success with Phil Olson’s ‘Don’t Hug Me,’ he contacted us while he was writing his new show and asked us if we would like to produce his new show." Belquist related that it only took a second to agree to produce Olson’s new show.
"Don’t Hug Me Christmas Carol" takes place Christmas Eve in Bunyan Bay and cantankerous Gunner gets into an argument with his wife, Clara, tells her he’s skipping Christmas, he storms out of the bar and goes snowmobiling across the lake. He hits a soft spot, falls through the ice on his skidoo and goes into a coma. He then comes back to the bar in his dream and witnesses what goes on when he’s not there. He’s visited by the world famous folk legend, Sven Yorgensen, who plays the Ghost of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. Sven takes Gunner (Scrooge) on a journey similar to that in Charles Dickens’ "A Christmas Carol," only very different.
"Don’t Hug Me Christmas Carol" features 17 original songs.
The Opera House in New Rockford will be one of five cities to host this show for its national premiere. "Don’t Hug Me Christmas Carol" will also be presented in Los Angeles, Calif., St. Cloud, Minn., Batavia, Ill. and Hudson, Wisc.
Exact dates for the production are listed on the DPRCA Web site at www.dprca.com. All seats are $15 and reservations can be made by calling 701-947-2174.
Cast members of "Don’t Hug Me Christmas Carol" are, left to right, Michael Cudworth as Kanute, Sam Bennefeld as Bernice, Dr. Jay Bauer as Sven Yorgenson, Lynnae Lies as Clara and Rock Rindy as Gunner.
Play at LRSC
The LRSC Playmakers will present "The Odd Couple" by Neil Simon on November 30 and December 1 and 2 at 7:30 p.m. and December 3 at 2 p.m. at the Robert Fawcett Auditorium at the Lake Region State College in Devils Lake. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students. The play is directed by Jeanette Kenner. Cast members include John Neis as Oscar, Peter Foss as Felix, Brandon Helseth, Jimmie Robinson, Cole Jossart, Sarah Boone and Emilie Plemel.
Leeds Elementary School student Spencer Follman tries his turn at the violin following a string instrument demonstration by area musicians Arlene Johnson and Carol Thompson. (Photo by Karyn Nathan)
15-year-old earns Eagle Scout rank
Austin Anhorn, at the age of 15, has earned the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank in the Boy Scouting program. He was awarded the rank August 23 as a member of Boy Scout Troop 73 of Bismarck.
The son of Leigh and Kevin Kaeding of Bismarck and Todd and Carol Anhorn of Fargo, he began scouting as a Tiger Cub with Pack 70 at Robert Miller Elementary School in September of 1997. He graduated from Tiger Cubs and earned his Bobcat, Wolf, Bear and Webelos Badges; Webelos Colors with 20 activity pins; five silver and two gold arrows; his Compass Point Emblem with all compass points, and the Arrow of Light Award. During Cub Scouts he also earned the Light of Christ and Parvuli Dei Religious Awards.
Boy Scout Troop 73 was formed in 2002 and Austin was among the first members of the new troop. He has the honor of being Troop 73’s first Eagle Scout. Along his trail to Eagle he advanced and earned badges for all ranks of Boy Scout (Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life and Eagle), completed the COPE course at Camp Wilderness and earned 30 merit badges. He served Troop 73 in several leadership positions, including senior patrol leader, assistant senior patrol leader, troop guide, librarian and den chief. He earned his den chief cords in March of 2006 after working with Pack 70 for two years. He was inducted into the Boy Scouts honor organization, the Order of the Arrow and completed his ordeal in May of 2006. He attended and completed National Youth Leadership Training in June of 2005. He attended summer camps at Camp Wilderness, Minn., Medicine Mountain, SD and the Troop 73 organized camp in Medora.
His Eagle Leadership Service Project consisted of designing, organizing and supervising the building of a 10×12′ shelter for the aoudad sheep exhibit at the Dakota Zoo, Bismarck in the spring of 2006. Along with his crew of volunteers, a total of 288 service hours went into the planning, coordinating and completion of the project.
An Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony was held for him Sunday, Nov. 12 at the Church of Corpus Christi in Bismarck.
Austin is a sophomore at Century High School and is active in Century football and basketball. He is the grandson of Elmer and Bea Wolfe and the great-grandson of Katie Wolfe, all of Esmond.