2/3/2010 – Editorials


By Richard Peterson

Sharp-eyed viewers asked if we put out two papers the week of January 20. The answer is no, although we had two papers with the front page labeled January 20. For some reason we forgot to change the date on the front page. To determine which newspaper is the January 27 edition, turn the paper over and look at the date on the back page. Then take a pen and change the date to avoid any further confusion.

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Another glitch occurred in the January 20 issue. An article stated Minnewaukan native Glen Chapman of Arizona was going to celebrate his 90th birthday. He had a birthday, all right, but it was his 91st.

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During the 2009 operating season, the Devils Lake Outlet ran for 166 days, from May to November. In total 27,653 acre-feet of water were removed, which accounted for about 2.04 inches off the lake.

The state is currently working to increase the pumping capacity of the outlet from a maximum of 100 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 250 cfs. To accomplish this increase, two additional 75 cfs pumps will be installed at Round Lake and the Josephine pump sites.

The State Water Commission is waiting for a permit to increase the capacity of the outlet from 100 cfs to 250 cfs. This permit would be granted by Ramsey and Towner Counties. Benson County, where the outlet is located, has been excluded from any regulatory powers as far as the outlet is concerned.

The State Water Commission is also asking the ND Health Department to make permanent the allowable sulfate levels in part of the Sheyenne River as high as 750 milligrams per liter of water. Until July of 2009, the limit was 450 milligrams per liter.

Construction of the 100 cfs outlet cost about $26 million. The $15 million expansion to 250 cfs is already underway without the permit from Ramsey and Towner Counties or the permit from the State Health Department.

Do you think those permits will be granted?

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Running at 250 cfs, the outlet can be effective. It would remove a significant amount of water.

The Benson County Water Board is concerned, however, that leakage from the outlet is already damaging private property adjacent to the outlet.

With more water running through the outlet there will undoubtedly be more damage.

This is something we’re going to have to keep an eye on. The State Water Commission has an obligation to compensate landowners if damage occurs.

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There have been many occasions I have called the outlet a boondoggle.

The reason I came to that conclusion is because the rules of water quality in the Sheyenne insured that the outlet would be ineffective.

The change in rules last summer suddenly made the outlet a viable flood prevention tool. When it is increased to 250 cfs it will be much more effective. The outlet with the new rules and new capacity will definitely do us some good as far as flood protection is concerned.

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It’s a little early to predict what the lake is going to do this year.

Last year the lake rose three feet to 1450.74 and there wasn’t much lost to evaporation. The level today is 1450. I sure hope we don’t have another three foot rise this year.

An awful lot of farmland will go under water with another three feet on the lake. Many rural residents north of Minnewaukan will find it impossible to even get to their farmyards.

But I think Minnewaukan will survive at a level of 1453. A level of 1454 is iffy. I don’t think the town could survive at a level of 1455.

According to a map of the town in a book prepared by Barr Engineering, the water tower would be standing in water at a level of 1455. The school gym would be filled with water.

Maybe this will be the last year the lake will rise. Maybe not. Nobody knows.

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A group of 40-year-old buddies meet and discuss where they should gather for supper.

Finally it is agreed upon that they should meet at the Gausthof zum Lowen restaurant because the waitresses there have low cut blouses and are well-endowed.

Ten years later, at 50 years of age, the group meets again and once again they discuss where they should meet. Finally it is agreed upon that they should meet at the Gausthof zum Lowen because the food there is very good and the wine selection is outstanding.

Ten years later, at 60 years of age, the group meets again and once again they discuss where they should meet. Finally it is agreed that they should meet at the Gausthof zum Lowen because they can eat there in peace and quiet and the restaurant is smoke-free.

Ten years later, at 70 years of age, the group meets again and they discuss where they should meet. Finally it is agreed that they should meet at the Gausthof zum Lowen because the restaurant is wheelchair accessible and it even has an elevator.

Ten years later, at 80 years of age, the group meets again and once again they discuss where they should meet for supper. Finally it is agreed that they would meet at the Gausthof zum Lowen because they have never been there before.


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