7/9/2008 – Editorials


By Richard Peterson

There’s just too much going on during our short summer. My brother, Jim and his wife Sue of Waterloo, Neb. came for the Sheyenne All-School Reunion and 125th anniversary of the town July 4-6. My wife’s family had a family reunion July 6. It was a busy weekend.

I got to Sheyenne on the 4th of July to take some photos at the parade and my brother-in-law, Merlin Foard, who was staying at our place, also took photos. I was stuck at the office all day July 5 trying to get this issue of the paper together. Merlin and his son, Eric Foard, volunteered to go to Maddock to take photos of the parade there. But I ran out of time to process them and find room for them this week. They’ll be in next week’s paper. Probably the 4-H Achievement Days photos, too, if we get them this week.

This coming weekend is the Esmond School reunion and I hope to get over there for a couple hours because I spent five years attending that school in the 1950s. But Saturday is a working day for me, so it’s not certain I’ll get there.

The Leeds Day is traditionally scheduled the third Saturday in July but we haven’t received any information on that event yet.

The ND State Fair is held July 18-26. It’s almost a certainty that I won’t make it to that event because of Minnewaukan’s All-School Reunion and 125th anniversary of the city. Plus we have Legion breakfasts July 20 and 27 and I’m one of the volunteers at that event.

It would sure be nice if all this activity could be spread out a little, but we have to capitalize on our short summer. We’ll muddle through.

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We’re looking for correspondents to write the news at Leeds, York and Warwick. As an incentive we have doubled the rate we pay all our news correspondents. On July 1, the rate went from 50c per published inch to a dollar per published inch. Nobody will get rich doing this job, but it isn’t pennies, either. Call 701-473-5436 if you’re interested.

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Everywhere I go people ask about Devils Lake and its threat to Minnewaukan. There is little chance of Minnewaukan flooding this year. It would take some horrible downpours for that to happen. But it has to be considered a possibility in the backs of our minds.

The lake is a little below a level of 1446.9. I think it would have to rise to about 1451 before it would threaten Minnewaukan’s sewer system. That’s the weak link in the chain. When the infiltration of ground water into the sewer system, caused by the hydrostatic pressure of the lake, becomes too much to pump to the lagoon, it’s curtains. There will be sewer backups into basements. A town without a sewer system is not habitable.

The highest point the lake ever reached in modern times was 1449.2 in 2006. It has been higher, of course. The lake overflowed into Stump Lake (the two lakes are essentially one today) many times in the past 1,000 years, but apparently it only flowed out of Stump Lake once in that period of time. One can see that the lake at one time was much higher than today by looking at the ancient beaches on the Schneider farm north of Minnewaukan. The natural outlet from Stump Lake to the Sheyenne River is filled with something like 18 feet of sediment, so when the lake flowed into the Sheyenne it was at a much lower level than today. There was a tremendous amount of water here to create those beaches north of Minne-waukan, so the outflow must have gone on for years.

When the settlers first came to this area in 1883 the lake was lower than it is today, probably at a level of approximately 1433, a full

13 feet lower than it is today. We know that because in his book "Recollections and Reminiscences of Graham’s Island," Usher Burdick says there was a spit of land on the north side of the island which connected to the mainland at the time his family arrived in 1883.

According to my US Geological Survey maps, that spit of land goes underwater at a contour level over 1435.

The Minnie H operated on Devils Lake for 15 years, from 1883 through 1908. The Minnie H only came to Minnewaukan from 1883 to 1888. The water dropped too much for it to continue in 1889.

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The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we all believe that we are above average drivers.

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The main accomplishment of almost all organized protests is to annoy people who are not in them.

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When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command.

Very often, that individual is crazy.


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