10/17/2007 – News
Volume 124, Number 37
Minnewaukan boasts totem pole
BY RICHARD PETERSON
People driving through Minnewaukan to check out this neat little town invariably do a double-take when they drive by the home of Gene and Shirley Laverdure. On the front lawn of the Laverdure residence stands an honest-to-goodness totem pole.
Gene had always wanted a totem pole and his son-in-law, Joe Martin recently fulfilled that wish by carving one for him out of a highline wire pole. Standing 14′ above the ground, the pole is 3′ in the ground. It took the muscles of half a dozen people to place the pole in its present position. Nobody knows how much it weighs, but it’s heavy!
This wasn’t Joe’s first carving. He’s always had an artistic streak and did some beautiful acrylic paintings which hang in the living room of the neat home he and his wife, Jeanine, have occupied in Minnewaukan the past 12 years. On the entry walls are driftwood carvings. In the screened porch on the east side of the house are several wood carvings, an eagle, a beaver, a fish and a turtle.
Outside a carved fish hangs above the garage. Driftwood art is placed beneath a tree. A nautical art work in progress consists of three poles bound by a thick rope. A carved seagull will perch on top of this.
In the yard outside a large fish is carved out of a cottonwood from the Leeds area. Joe has donated that carving to the Minnewaukan Beautification Committee, which will be placing it in another location next spring, or perhaps even this fall. The committee also purchased a carving of an Indian brave from him and that is located on the north side of the FSA-Bank Building on Main Street.
His only instruction was art classes during high school at Devils Lake.
The art is his labor of love. "I’m just having fun," he says. His real job is in materials planning at Sioux Manufacturing in Fort Totten. He’s worked there 23 years.
Joe, of Chippewa descent, said he gets along fine at Fort Totten, a Sioux reservation. The Chippewa and Sioux were enemies in the past. "I get along with everybody," Joe says. Well, obviously, if he’s been working for the Sioux for 23 years.
His father-in-law, Gene, is also of Chippewa descent. Both thought there was a tradition of totem poles among the Chippewa. Joe has even included some Chippewa symbols on the totem pole. Totem poles are thought to have originated among the tribes of the Pacific Northwest.
Joe was reared in Devils Lake and Jeanine is a native of Minnewaukan. Joe’s carving hobby began several years ago when the couple took a trip to the North Shore of Minnesota in the Duluth area. They saw a carved fish they wanted and paid $150 for it. When they got it home, Joe looked it over and said, "I can do that."
He bought a chain saw equipped with a special carving blade made just for that purpose and his first work was an eagle. When working with the chain saw, he keeps safety in mind by donning Kevlar chaps made by his mother-in-law, Shirley. He also wears ear protection and goggles to protect his eyes.
He’s done a few carvings on commission — an eagle for a buyer at Fort Totten and the Indian brave for the Minnewaukan Beautification Committee. He’s willing to do more and his phone number is 701-473-5455.
But most of his art so far has been for his own enjoyment and the enjoyment of his family. Mother-in-law Shirley has a small bear carved by Joe in her driveway.
Whether he sells his sculptures or not, he’s content to fire up his chain saw and let the chips fall where they may.
Shirley and Gene Laverdure, left, stand in their yard beside the totem pole which was sculpted with a chain saw by their son-in-law, Joe Martin, right. Beside Martin is his wife, Jeanine, daughter of the Laverdures.
Joe Martin is pictured in his yard with the walleye sculpture he donated to the Minnewaukan Beautification Committee. The sculpture will be placed in a public location.
These acrylic paintings done by Joe Martin hang on the wall of their living room.
Martin picked up a piece of driftwood and his eye saw something few would see. The eye is a knothole. The only carving on the piece of wood is the beak.
The Indian brave carving is located on the north side of the FSA-Bank Building in Minnewaukan.
This nautical scene is a work of art in progress. The seagull is not yet finished and will have legs.
The first chain saw carving made by Martin was the eagle. The next item is a beaver with large teeth. A fish is next, followed by a turtle. The carved fish they bought in Duluth is in the background.
This little fishing bear is located in Shirley Laverdure’s driveway.
This driftwood art is supported by a stand on top of a moose head.
This sculpted walleye hangs on Joe Martin’s garage.
Duane Howard honored
A standing room only crowd gathered for a steak supper at Ostby Hall in Sheyenne October 12 to recognize Duane Howard of Sheyenne, left, formerly of Minnewaukan, on his rodeo achievements. Howard will be inducted into the National Rodeo Hall of Fame October 20-21 in Oklahoma City, Okla. He is shown here visiting with his former neighbor, Clifford Johnson of Minnewaukan. Tony and Vina McDonald of Fort Totten presented Duane and Orpha Howard with a star quilt and sang four numbers. Fr. Chuck Leute gave the invocation and Donna Grann was master of ceremonies.
Take part in festival
Three Leeds High School senior boys participated in the second annual Young Men’s Choral Festival in Minot Sunday and Monday, Oct. 14 and 15. They are, left to right, Shawn Swanson, son of Mark and Cindy Swanson; Michael Anderson, son of Duane and Lisa Anderson; and Tanner Larson, son of Gene and Sharon Larson. The guest conductor was Paul Gulsvig of Wisconsin.
Chosen for festival
Four Leeds High School seniors have been chosen by taped audition to take part in the 29th annual Northwest International Festival of Music to be held at Minot State College November 2 and 3. Left to right are Michael Anderson, son of Duane and Lisa Anderson, who was chosen for the Festival Honor Band; Amber Bracken, daughter of Richard and Melody Bracken, who was chosen for the Mixed Honor Choir; Alisha Strand, daughter of Mike and Donna Strand, who was chosen for the Women’s Honor Choir; and Shawn Swanson, son of Mark and Cindy Swanson, who was chosen for the Mixed Honor Choir.
Sing in Grand Forks
Six Leeds Elementary students partipated in "Surround the State in Song" in Grand Forks on October 6. SSIS is a children’s choral festival sponsored by the American Choral Directors Association.
Festivals were also held in Minot, Bismarck and Jamestown that same day. A 4 p.m. concert was held at each location with the idea that children across the state would all be singing at the same time.
Participating from Leeds were, left to right, Mylie Herman, Shelby Jorgenson, Julissa McGarvey, Andrea Jorgenson, Taryn Bjerke and Alyssa Anderson. Their music teacher is Lucia Jacobson.
Minnewaukan students raise $1,200 for Northwood School The Ray Student Council challenged each student council in North Dakota to raise at least $100 for the Northwood School to use in coping with losses incurred when a tornado tore through their town, uprooting not only their school, but many lives as well.
As a result, the Minnewaukan School Student Council sponsored a "Penny Drive" from September 19 through October 3. After the signs were posted, teachers were notified, collection jars were placed and Supt. Myron Jury offered an incentive in the form of a pizza party to the class which raised the most money.
Students brought in not only pennies, but nickels, dimes, quarters and paper money as well. After a week some classes weighed their collection jars and a few weighed more than 50 pounds.
After two weeks of collecting money it was taken to the bank to be counted. There was so much change the counting of the money took almost three hours. In change alone, the school raised $933. The total amount raised by Minnewaukan School students was $1,246.83.
After seeing the impressive fund-raising totals, Mr. Jury offered ice cream floats to the classes which raised more than $100. The third grade class raised the most money, bringing in $197.52 and winning the pizza party.
The classes receiving ice cream floats were the fourth grade class, which brought in $172.50, the fifth grade class, which raised $159.75, the 10th grade class, which brought in $157.86, the first grade class, which brought in $118.09 and the ninth grade class, which raised close to $100 at $98.88.
Other class totals were as follows: sixth grade $49.08, seventh grade $40.74, second grade $38.17, kindergarten $29.37, eighth grade $27.13, 11th grade $15.80, pre-kindergarten $8.61 and the 12th grade $7.85. The teachers and staff brought in a combined $125.49. Many teachers added money to their class collections to boost their collections as well.
In addition, the Minnewaukan Education Assn. donated $500 to the Northwood School in early September.
The third grade class at the Minnewaukan School raised the most money, $197.50. Left to right, back row: Shaylynn Martin, Tayea Thomas, James Robertson, Chayton DuBois, Tristian Whitetail and Stephon Littlewind. Middle row: Talissa Ami, Dominique Brien, Brenden Lenoir, Brandon Alberts, Kendrick Pearson and Angela Young. Front row: Sadie Gourneau-Yankton, Paul Azure, Brett O’Connell, Xavier Lenior, Evan Thompson and Mayan Fox.
The fourth grade class is pictured. Their teacher, Mrs. Heser, is the student council advisor. They raised $172.50. Left to right, back row: Dusti Greywater, Lisa Lohnes, Aisha Sargent, Taylor Nestell, Jace McKay, Michael Morgan and Ambrosa Littlewind. Middle row: Tesa Sherman, Koltin Three Irons, Rolynda Herald, Angelica Chavelas, Cequoia Santos, Shandiin Goodbird and Julian Cavanaugh. Front row: Jason Feather, Nadean Goodbird, Todd Hernandez and Anthony Charboneau.
Change collected at the Minnewaukan School in its "Penny Drive" is pictured. There was $933 in change alone. The large bags in the back are full of pennies.