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9/10/2008 – News

Volume 125, Number 32           Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

Bremer gives $140,000 grant to LRSC for farm business program
The Otto Bremer Foundation recently awarded a $140,000 grant to the Lake Region Community College Foundation. The funds will be used for the Farm Business Management program.
The three-year grant will fund several regional farm management education teacher in-service programs. Included in the grant is a North Dakota Farm Management teacher mentorship program and a workshop for early experience farm management teachers coordinated by the National Farm and Ranch Business Management Education Association (NFRBMEA), said Jay Olson, coordinator of the Lake Region State College (LRSC) Farm Business Management program.
"This grant will directly benefit the 15 Farm Management programs in North Dakota, the 90 programs in Minnesota and the 60 programs in Wisconsin and will indirectly benefit all 400 farm management programs nationally," Olson said.
These programs are administered by local educational institutions and are supported in North Dakota by the Board for Career and Technical Education.
The Community College Foundation serves as fiscal agent and the grant is administered by NFRBMEA.
"The Otto Bremer Foundation and Bremer Banks are committed to building healthy communities in North Dakota," said Jim Helgeson, president of Bremer Bank in Devils Lake. "I’m delighted that our owner and partner, the Otto Bremer Foundation, is offering its support to the Lake Region Community College Foundation. These dollars would not be available without the great support of our Bremer Bank customers. When clients bank with Bremer, we generate profits which we deliver to the Foundation which then uses those funds to make grants in communities like ours."
The LRSC Farm Business Management program serves about 110 farm families from 10 counties in north central and northeastern North Dakota.
The average farm enrolled in the program had gross cash sales of about $500,000 and farmed more than 2,400 acres.
Participants receive individual and group instruction, updates on marketing of crops and livestock, join marketing clubs, and attend specialized classes and workshops to increase profitability and attain their personal and business goals. Farmers enrolled in the Farm Business Management programs in North Dakota grossed nearly $300 million dollars. With a multiplier effect, this would account for as much as $1 billion of new money coming into the state of North Dakota.
Bremer Financial Corporation is a privately-held, $7.5 billion regional financial services company jointly owned by its employees and the Otto Bremer Foundation. This unique ownership structure is the only one of its kind in the nation. Founded in 1943 by Otto Bremer, the company is headquartered in St. Paul, Minn. and provides a comprehensive range of banking, investment, trust and insurance services to more than 100 locations in Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. Company profits are distributed in the form of charitable grants by the Otto Bremer Foundation to communities served by Bremer.
In 2007, more than $30 million in charitable donations were given across the Bremer footprint and employees donated nearly 93,000 volunteer hours to their communities.

Left to right are Lake Region State College President Dr. Mike Bower; Jim Helgeson, president of Bremer Bank in Devils Lake; Jay Olson, Farm Business Management Coordinator; and Dr. Paul Gunderson, director of Dakota Center for Technology-Optimized Agriculture/grant writer.

Fire damages biodiesel plant
A fire at the All American Biodiesel plant in York the early morning hours of August 25 destroyed one of its four buildings. Apparently a passerby on US 2 saw the flames at about 12:30 a.m. and called in the alarm.
The Leeds Fire Department responded but had difficulty putting out the fire because acid and oil in the materials preparation and final filtration building burned, resulting in acrid smoke which smelled "like burned plastic," said Mayor Randy Silliman. He and his family were sleeping in their house about 200 feet from the burning building when they were awakened by a call from someone who told them the plant was on fire. "It really stunk," said Silliman.
The ND Fire Marshal will investigate the blaze, but hasn’t completed the investigation yet because of acid vapors in the area.
Servicemaster of Devils Lake spent two days removing the smell from the Silliman home.
Silliman was quite vocal at the time the plant was built, warning that an industrial accident could happen. "I’m a farmer, so I’d like to see these biodiesel plants spring up all over the countryside, but they shouldn’t be allowed to be built in residential areas," Silliman said.
However, most of the 22 residents of York were in favor of the plant which was built in the city limits on the east side of York.
Also close to the plant are three other homes, the Moller blacksmith shop and fertilizer plant and an elevator. Silliman is worried that fumes from the plant could drift over to the blacksmith shop and be ignited by welding or the forge. On the west side of town are the anhydrous and propane tanks of the Farmers Union Oil Co. The whole town could go boom, and in fact there was an anhydrous leak a few years ago. Silliman said he’s seriously considering moving to nearby Leeds.
Silliman has contacted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the ND Health Department to no avail. "There’s no protection for small towns," Silliman laments. "The regulations state these plants can be built 50 feet from a house. When did they write that law, 1890?"
Silliman urges people who live near a plant or proposed plants to check with their insurance companies to make sure they’re covered in case of an accident. Some insurance companies do not cover homeowners in nearby industrial accidents.
According to Silliman the plant has been tooling up to produce biodiesel the past few months and has been producing batches of biodiesel, but nothing good enough to go on the market just yet.
The principal owner of the plant, Lee Dirkzwager of rural York, could not be reached for comment. Both his phone and the phone at All American Biodiesel have been disconnected.

The All American Biodiesel plant at York. The second building on the left is the one that burned the early morning hours of August 25. All the equipment in the building was destroyed and acid vapors remaining delayed the investigation by the state fire marshal.

Leeds Homecoming planned
Leeds High School will be hosting several Homecoming activities during the week of September 8-12. Students and teachers will take part in a variety of theme days: Monday is Pajama Day, Tuesday is Twin Day, Wednesday is Class Theme Day, Thursday is Lions Day and Friday is Raiders Day. Classes will also be decorating floats for the parade on Friday.
Friday’s activities are as follows: 2:15 p.m. – parade, 2:45 p.m.- coronation, 3:15 p.m. – pep rally, 5 to 7 p.m. – tailgate supper sponsored by United Community Bank of Leeds, 7 p.m. – NCB Raiders vs.
St. John Woodchucks and from 9 p.m. to 12 midnight a homecoming dance at the Leeds High School gym. All patrons and students are encouraged to take part in homecoming events.
Homecoming royalty are Denage Braaten, daughter of Joel and Carol Braaten; Steven Hausmann, son of Jim and Karen Hausmann; Kayla Bingham, daughter of Jerry and Karen Bingham; Cameron Leibfried, son of Albert and Carol Leibfried; Abbie Brossart, daughter of Ronnie and Rita Brossart; Daniel Luhman, son of Mike and Val Luhman; Ashley Manley, daughter of Jeff and Michelle Manley; and Elliott Gunderson, son of Randy and Sue Gunderson. Crown bearers are Macy Engstrom, daughter of Terry and Janelle Engstrom and Jarrell McGarvey, son of Jody and Janel McGarvey.

Members of the royal court at Leeds are, left to right, back row, Elliott Gunderson, Daniel Luhman, Cameron Leibfried and Steven Hausmann. Middle row, Ashley Manley, Abbie Brossart, Kayla Bingham and Denage Braaten. In the front row are Macy Engstrom and Jarrel McGarvey.

School donation
Western State Bank of Devils Lake recently donated $1,000 to the Warwick School District to help fund an innovative curriculum coming to the district. Receiving the donation are, left to right, Business Manager Carol Walford, Board Chairman Larry Thiele and Superintendent Charles Guthrie. Presenting the check is Gary Lochow, president of Western State Bank.

Chili masters
A chili cookoff fundraiser was held Friday, Sept. 5 at the Maddock School prior to the football game with North Central Benson. Proceeds went to the bleacher fund. Ready to have their special chili recipes judged are, left to right, JoAnn Oksendahl, Rolf Berg, Linda Faleide, Marilyn Allen, Dave Daeley, Lynn Arnold, Jacob Arnold and Mary Hoffner.

Jacob Arnold was the winner of the competition and was the youngest competitor. Joleen Risovi was the costume winner.

Receive handbooks
Eleven 9th grade members of the Maddock A.S. Gibbens FFA Chapter received The Official FFA Student Handbook sponsored by the Rugby branch of the Farm Credit Services of North Dakota. The handbook outlines what the FFA is, what is in the FFA for each member and how each member can make the most of their FFA experiences. Farm Credit Services has sponsored the FFA handbook for more than 30 years. Left to right are Michael Lunde, James Johnson, Karl Kenner, Mathew Aabrekke, Matt Knudson, Trevor Knutson, Megan Lauinger, Zach Johnson, Dylan Gigstad, Kirby Kallenbach and Megan Wald.

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