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1/23/2008 – Editorials

By Richard Peterson


Cory Christofferson of Tolna writes a letter to the editor in this week’s issue expressing his appreciation to those who have supported him in his fight with the State Health Department over tires he’s using as fences on his property.

Christofferson has collected some 300,000 tires that serve as fences.

That’s a lot of tires and the State Health Department is concerned about them.

But it wasn’t so concerned initially, because it gave him a permit to haul the tires onto his land in 1994 and granted a 10-year permit in 2000. So he had permission from the State Health Department to transport the tires to his property in the first place.

The basic question is this: is using these tires as fences a "beneficial use" of materials that would otherwise be buried in a landfill? The State Health Department says no.

The tires obviously work very well as fences. Once they’re in place there’s very little maintenance involved, unlike conventional wire fences. If Christofferson has to bury all these tires, he’ll lose an effective fence and will have to construct new fences made of wire.

Is this wasteful, or what?

I think the State Health Department is wrong. I think Christofferson is being railroaded by an overzealous agency of government. He’s got until January 31 to present a plan to the State Health Department for disposal of the tires.

Christofferson says he’s not going to bend. That’s probably part of his problem. I think he’s probably been pretty abrasive with the State Health Department people and now they’re out to get him.

The claim that the tires present a mosquito problem is ludicrous.

Anyone with an ounce of common sense can see that there are sloughs all over the area. Those are far better breeding grounds for mosquitoes than the tires. And who are the mosquitoes going to bother, anyway? The fifteen people who live in Minco Township?

The threat of fire is also a trumped up threat. Tires are notoriously hard to start on fire. Anyway, if by some miracle lightning struck the tires and started them on fire, the fire could be put out by pushing tires out of the way of flames with a tractor and loader.

The State Health Department claims rodents could find homes in the tires. Well, maybe so. But if they do there are poisons that can eradicate them. It’s a phony argument.

These silly claims by the State Health Department are nonsense. And the basic premise of the State Health Department that this is not a "beneficial use" of the tires is simply not supported by the evidence.

This issue has gone through an administrative court of the State Health Department, a district court and the North Dakota Supreme Court. Christofferson lost all three times.

It would certainly be nice if a heavyweight politician such as Gov.

John Hoeven would look at this situation and bring some common sense to bear. It’s unlikely he’ll become involved though, because this issue has gone through the legal system. I think the State Health Department has Christofferson scheduled for the full shafting.


An old tired-looking dog wandered into the yard. I could tell from his collar and well fed belly that he had a home. He followed me into the house, into the kitchen, and stretched out on the couch.

An hour later he went to the door, and I let him out. The next day he was back, resumed his position on the couch and slept for an hour.

This continued for several weeks.

Curious, I pinned a note to his collar, "Every afternoon your dog comes to my house for a nap."

The next day he arrived with a different note pinned to his collar, "He lives in a home with 10 children. He’s trying to catch up on his sleep. Can I come with him tomorrow?"


Ole and Sven are on vacation in Texas and walk by a store window with the sign, "Suits $5.00 each, Shirts $2.00 each, Trousers $2.50 a pair."

Ole says to his pal, "Sven, look at dat! Ve could buy a whole bunch of dese clothes, take ’em to Iowa, sell ’em to all da dumb Yermans dere, and make a fortune!"

Ole continues, "Now ven ve go in dere, don’t you say a vurd, okay?

Yust let me do the talkin’ cause if dey hear your accent, dey might tink ve’re ignorant Norvegians, and dey von’t vanna sell dem clothes to us. Now, I’ll talk like I’m a Texan, so dey von’t know."

Ole and Sven go in and Ole says with his best fake Texas accent, "Howdy, y’all. Ah’ll take 50 of them there suits at five dollahs each, 100 of them there shirts at two dollahs each, and 50 pairs of them there trousers at two-fifty each. So, ah’ll just back up mah pickup and . . ."

The owner of the shop interrupts, "Ya’ll are a coupla Norwegians from Minnesota, ain’t you?"

"Vell, yah," says a surprised Ole. "How’d you know dat?"

The owner replies, "Cause this here’s a dry-cleaners."


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