9/23/2009 – News


Volume 126, Number 34           Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009


Minnewaukan contractor enters the big time with $21 million bid
BY RICHARD PETERSON
A Minnewaukan business has broken into the big time. News reports last week indicated that an unnamed Minnewaukan-based firm had the low bid on raising the levee on Creel Bay to protect the city of Devils Lake.
The bid of Mi-Ty Trucking and Excavating of Minnewaukan was $21,215,000. If the zeros confuse you, that’s more than 21 million dollars! No other business in Minnewaukan has ever snagged a contract anywhere near that big.
Not many people know about Mi-Ty (pronounced my tie) Contracting because the business does most of its work in other areas of the state.
The sole owner is Diane Schroeder-Monda and the business is named for her two sons, Geremiah and Tyson Holy Bull. Shane Monda, her husband, is the company’s superintendent. He is also a certified public accountant and oversees the bookkeeping. Diane has a degree in business administration from UND. Diane and Shane put their heads together to do the estimates on which their bids are based.
Geremiah is attending college at United Tribes in Bismarck and Tyson is attending Minot State University, but they work for the business during summers. The Mondas hope the two young men will take over the business when they step aside.
Diane is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and is a native of Belcourt. As a woman and a member of a minority, Diane has some advantages in bidding on federal projects designated as 8A projects. She is also certified to bid on federal projects in HUB Zones. And she is certified as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, a Women’s Business Enterprise, a Minority Business Enterprise and a state Disadvantaged Business Enterprise.
However, in the case of the project at Creel Bay, that preference did not come into play because it was not an 8A project. It is, in fact, a Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Zone because it is located in an area which generally has a high unemployment rate. She received no advantage in this bid and won it by having the sharpest pencil.
The only other bidder on the Creel Bay project was Clay Products of East Grand Forks, Minn., which bid $22,222,000. The US Army Corps of Engineers estimated the cost at $25,400.000. "I left a million dollars on the table," Diane said, "but that doesn’t bother me because I wanted this job and know it can be done within our bid."
The project consists of raising the levee on Creel Bay five feet over a 1.5 mile distance. This is the first phase of three phases of the protection project for the city of Devils Lake. The total cost for the three phases is expected to exceed $113 million.
Some formalities remain on the Creel Bay project. The city of Devils Lake has not actually awarded the contract, but it is unlikely the project would go to the highest bidder. The Devils Lake City Commission is expected to give its approval this week so the Corps of Engineers can award the contract.
Diane started the business in 2000 when they were living in Grand Forks. But they really didn’t get started until moving to Minnewaukan in 2001. The Creel Bay project is by far the biggest project Mi-Ty has tackled, but it hasn’t been dealing in pocket change the past few years.
Mi-Ty completed a $3 million dike in Wahpeton this year for the Corps of Engineers. It is in the process of finishing up a $715,000 job of removing a temporary levy at Lisbon.
Last year it completed a buildings demolishing project at the Minot Air Force Base (MAFB) which totaled $1.5 million. Another job done at MAFB was a 14" water main replacement for $1.1 million. For three years running the company has completed three regrading jobs to take care of run-off water at MAFB totaling $2.1 million. So relatively big projects are in its history.
The Mi-Ty brochure states the company is proficient in general construction, excavation, remediation, water and sewer lines, landscaping, trucking, site clearing, demolition, grading, drainage improvement, wetland mitigation and enhancement and lake and pond projects.
Diane says she currently has 13 trucks and will probably purchase three more. Other equipment owned by Mi-Ty are excavators, dozers, packers, skid-steer loaders, etc. The business currently has 17 employees but that number fluctuates. Diane has had as many as 40 employees in the peak of the construction season.
Park Construction of Minneapolis, Minn. will be a subcontractor and will handle construction of a pumping station on Creel Bay. Park will also provide expertise, equipment and personnel for the project wherever Mi-Ty requests it. Park is one of the largest contractors in Minnesota.
Diane and Shane are hoping the contract will be awarded soon so they can begin construction in October. The project is supposed to be finished November 15, 2010.

Diane Schroeder-Monda and Shane Monda stand in front of an excavator on their machinery lot in Minnewaukan. Her company, Mi-Ty Contracting of Minnewaukan was the low bidder on raising the levee on Creel Bay which protects the city of Devils Lake.


Hazel Williams earns prestigious VFW award
BY SHELL EYL
Meet Hazel Williams. She lives in Maddock and is a charter member of the Robert Tovsrud VFW Post 757 Auxiliary of Harlow. She recently won the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States Community Service Award. This award is given once a year to a VFW volunteer who shows outstanding service in her community.
Inez Klein, president of the Harlow Auxiliary, nominated Hazel for the award. Nominees then submit a form and various letters of recommendation, which go through a screening process and are judged by three people before a winner is chosen. She received the award at the VFW district convention in Jamestown in June.
Hazel Williams is unique. She is a 5’5" 91-year-old ball of energy. It was hard to nail down a time to talk to her about this award because she is so busy volunteering for various causes and too humble to talk about all the things she still does in the community.
She said she started volunteering in 1981 after her husband, Clarence passed away ."It was either sit in a chair and feel sorry for myself or get up and get moving." And she hasn’t slowed down since.
She is best described by those who have benefited from her volunteer efforts and wrote letters of recommendation during the nomination process.
Inez Klein had this to say in an introduction speech at the awards ceremony: "Hazel is a charter member of the Harlow VFW Auxiliary, which was established in 1956. She has given selflessly of herself to promote the American spirit, pride and honor due our veterans. She sadly became a Gold Star Mother with the loss of her son in the Viet Nam conflict and continues to show nothing but respect and love for the country and flag that he died for.
Currently, she volunteers at the Maddock Memorial Home twice a week fixing hair for the residents. The local Meals on Wheels counts on her to help on a weekly basis. She is also a regular volunteer for blood drives and is always willing to sell raffle tickets for a worthy cause. I am sure it would be astounding to actually know how many Campbell’s Soup labels she has collected for Auxiliary projects and how many lap robes she has stitched for veterans. Not to mention other sewing projects like adult bibs and wheelchair bags given to nursing homes and the VA hospital."
Beth Olson, administrator at the Maddock Memorial Home wrote, "Almost every Tuesday morning you will find Hazel coming across the street to our 25-bed basic care facility to roll anywhere from two to five ladies’ hair. The unique thing about her is she is older than many of the residents she is helping and many are friends from way back. And those that didn’t know her in the past not only have someone to do their hair but have found a new friend. If she is part of your organization, you have found a dedicated, hard worker. Her dedicated and generous ways make her anyone and everyone’s volunteer of the year."
Hazel comes from a long line of people who fought and sometimes gave their lives for their country. During World War II she had five brothers, three brothers-in-law and three nephews all serving in the military at the same time. Sadly, one brother, Norman Togstad, did not return home from the war. As a result Hazel’s mother was also a Gold Star Mother.
Hazel’s son, Corporal Norman Paul Williams fought and died in Viet Nam. She doesn’t say much about it but the pain and pride in her eyes as she showed his medals and the flag from his coffin is a small clue as to how great a sacrifice she made and how heavy that burden still is on her heart.
In her acceptance speech Hazel said, "To me volunteering is not a job. It is a joy to do these things for older people. I have always enjoyed that. It is so rewarding to see people enjoying the simple things in life. Their big hugs really make my day. And most of all I thank my children and their families for being here with me today."
Why doesn’t she slow down? After all she just turned 91 so she’s definitely earned it. Well, she says she has. She had to quit carrying buckets of warm water at the Memorial Home foot clinic because of back problems. She doesn’t mention the fact that she’s older than most of the people she helps or take any credit for her ability to keep up the pace. She just says God has blessed her with good health so the least she can do is help those who can’t help themselves.
God has indeed blessed Hazel Williams and her example of selfless volunteerism is a blessing to everyone who knows her.

Hazel Williams of Maddock received the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States Community Service Award for North Dakota. Left to right are Inez Klein, president of the Harlow VFW Auxiliary; Hazel Williams; and Robert Tovsrud VFW Post 757 Commander Loren Knutson. The photo was taken during the awards ceremony in Jamestown June 4-7.



Steam threshers
The annual steam threshers reunion was held Sept. 18-20 at New Rockford with beautiful weather all three days. This big Case steam engine led the 2 p.m. parade each day.

Doris Griffin of Oberon had a tent-sheltered display of early day washing machines and other antiques used in washing and processing clothes. Looking on is Rudy Severinson of Devils Lake, formerly of Oberon.

Fr. Bernard Pfau of New Rockford drove this IHC tractor in the parade, one of half a dozen or more owned by Fr. Larry Haas of Carrington. Fr. Pfau is a native of Esmond.

Dean Hagen of Maddock put on blacksmithing demonstrations at the event.



Earns 30 year award
Warwick’s Barb Eversvik has spent decades making a difference in the lives of her students. That’s three decades to be exact and that’s just in North Dakota. Mrs. Eversvik (left) receives an award for 30 years of service from the State Family and Consumer Science Superintendent Vicki Newhart (right). This award acknowledges 30 years serving as chapter advisor and will be formally presented at the state leadership meeting in Bismarck in April. Mrs. Eversvik served six years in Minnesota prior to moving to North Dakota.



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