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3/17/2010 – News

Volume 127, Number 6           Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Minnewaukan girds for probable flooding – Public meeting scheduled March 30
The Minnewaukan City Council met in regular session at the Minnewaukan Library. The threat of flooding from Devils Lake was the most urgent topic.
Council members present were Mayor Trish McQuoid, Mark Motis, Steven Huffman, Rita Staloch and Shane Monda. Also present were City Auditor Deb Trnka and her husband Don, librarian Cathy Burkhardsmeier, city maintenance man Ward Christensen; Benson County commissioners Lowell Haagenson of Leeds and Jason Lee of Maddock; Benson County Sheriff Steve Rohrer; Benson County Disaster Emergency Manager Dawn Flemmer and her husband Mark; North Dakota Mitigation Officer Ray Morrell; Mark Lithun; John Hennager; and Richard Peterson of the Farmers Press.
Infiltration of lake water into the sewer system is occurring in the north part of town. This was expected to be repaired last fall, but the contractor engaged to do the job never got to it. The city’s engineer has been preparing plans to reroute the sewer to three homes and cut off that portion of the sewer where infiltration has been occurring. Cost is estimated at about $20,000. About $13,000 would be covered by CDBG funds from the governor’s office and the city would have to stand the remaining cost.
The North Central Planning Council has been tasked with coming up with funding to fight the flood, but there will be a local match, probably 25%. If the cost of fighting the flood this year reaches half a million dollars, the city would have to come up with $125,000, an almost impossible task.
Plans are also being made for a temporary dike to protect the school and the water tower. The city’s engineer is looking into the cost of a dirt barrier or portable concrete barriers.
It is feared the ground around the water tower is saturated to the point that the water tower may be unstable. Huffman said the cost of core samples near the water tower would be $3,500 for the samples and about $6,000 to analyze the samples. Monda said he thought this would be a waste of money because it’s almost certain the ground is saturated and the water tower would have to be relocated.
It was pointed out, however, that without core samples to prove the ground is saturated, the federal and state governments may not help with funding in moving or building a new water tower. County Commissioner Lowell Haagenson apologized because the county’s disaster mitigation plan is not yet written. "We thought this was being done, but we found out Tuesday that it wasn’t," he said. Commissioners were assured on several occasions that this was being worked on, but it turns out that the last time the plan was submitted was in 2008.
North Dakota Mitigation Officer Ray Morrell said the plan that was submitted was "grossly incomplete." Commissioners thought they had hired Nick Of Time to write the plan a couple years ago, but this is disputed by Nick Of Time. "We were led to believe they were working on it," Haagenson said.
The mitigation plan is necessary for a buyout for the town, if one is needed. The mitigation plan gives a course of action to make all types of disasters less severe. Morrell said it would take a minimum of three months to get an acceptable plan written. "Most plans take about a year to get completed," he said. Public meetings with notices two weeks prior to the meetings are required for portions of the plan.
Mayor McQuoid said she and Huffman would meet with a representative of Sen. Byron Dorgan’s office at Devils Lake prior to a meeting conducted by Morrell the next day.
She also said Supt. Myron Jury was in Washington, DC in an effort to obtain funds to help in construction of a dike to protect the school.
It was decided to have a public meeting to get input from citizens on Tuesday, March 30 at 7 p.m. on the stage at the Minnewaukan School.
Mayor McQuoid suggested the council meet weekly because of the flood emergency. The council also officially declared a disaster emergency in Minnewaukan.
The next meeting will be the public meeting on March 30. The next regular meeting will be April 6 at 5:30 p.m. in the city library.

It is feared the ground under Minnewaukan’s water tower is so saturated from the water of Devils Lake that the tower may be unstable. The lake is shown in the background less than a block from the water tower. The city’s options will be discussed at a public meeting on March 30 at the Minnewaukan School.

Oberon native helps UND students with careers
Editor’s note: The following article concerns Oberon native Mark Thompson. He is a 1968 graduate of Oberon High School and is the son of the late Bronald and Inga Thompson. He is a 1972 and 1998 graduate of UND in Grand Forks.
UND Alumni Review
Today’s job market isn’t getting any easier. Graduates face tough global competition, steep tech requirements and fast-paced change. The US Department of Labor recently figured the average college graduate will have 14 jobs by age 40.

Not to worry, though. UND career services director Mark Thompson delivers a positive, can-do message that’s helped thousands of job seekers get to where they most need to go right after they collect that UND degree: a job, a career, a place to work.

Thompson, an Oberon native who studied political science as an undergraduate, started his UND career in 1984 after a stint in the State Capitol’s print shop and several years with Job Service North Dakota. He earned a master’s degree in educational administration, also from UND, and became career services director in 1991.

The job requires a big heart, good listening skills and a friendly disposition.

"I found early on that I wasn’t a ‘things’ person, I was a ‘people’

person," said Mark, who’s been working in career-related work for 35 years. "And I knew early on that I wanted to work in some aspect of government, more specifically in a human resources area. Now, I’m really fortunate to be working in a place and in a career area in which I am really passionate." Mark helps people find their niche.

"I’ve helped people all across the spectrum, from unskilled through professional job seekers," he said. "After I came back to UND, I was mentored by a director who really brought a passion to career services

— she really got me fired up for this work."

Good thing, too, because working in career services means dealing with economic cycles.

"Oh, sure, times were tough when I started in this field in 1974," he said. "Even though, like today, North Dakota was experiencing an energy-related boom, job seeking overall was a big challenge."

Even in good times, finding the right job at the right time is never just one, two, three.

"There’s nothing easy about finding a job," said Mark, a friendly and energetic person who’s clearly enthusiastic about the whole process of working with students. "It’s really all about helping students connect with relevant opportunities in their academic area."

And though he’s eager to assist students, Mark points out that it’s the job seeker who does the heavy lifting.

"In bad times or boom times, I tell students they’re the ones who have to invest the time and energy into searching for opportunities that might be out there for them," he said.

"Nowadays, we try to work with students even before they come here to learn about the career process," he said. "To do this, we work closely with students as well as our career counseling colleagues in the UND Counseling Center. It’s all about helping students go into a field where their passion lies."

That relates to assisting about 3,500 students annually, plus setting up dozens of career/job fairs and other recruiting opportunities over the years. Mark also helps students connect individually with employers, setting up valuable contacts here on campus and elsewhere. He delivers numerous presentations a year in classrooms, residence halls, at student organization meetings and other venues, delivering the message about job-seeking skills such as resume and cover letter writing, interviewing skills, etc.

"The methods of communications have changed dramatically," Mark said.

"No more blizzard of postcards. Now career services has a Facebook page, we now have a Twitter — it’s all about trying to reach students where they are."

Bottom line for Mark and his career services’ colleagues: "How can we help a student get to the point where they can do what it takes to go after the job they want. Our vision is ‘Empowering Students to Realize Their Dreams.’ "

There’s no half way about this commitment, he said.

"To do this job, you really have to enjoy, and be passionate about working with people, because that’s the biggest thing we do in this profession," Mark said. "We work with job seekers, we work with employers, we work with community members, we work with faculty, staff and administration of the university. It’s not a profession where you can close the door and do everything on the computer."

UND career services director Mark Thompson helps UND students land jobs after graduation. A 1968 graduate of Oberon High School, he was featured in the spring 2010 issue of the UND Alumni Association’s Alumni Review.

The article is reprinted here with permission. (UND photo)

Snuggly feet
The Benson County VFW Auxiliary to Post 4251 of Esmond recently made foot snuggle blankets for veterans. The Auxiliary’s adopted veteran, Sylvester Hoffner models the blanket he received.

‘Sam Ting’ visits
Leeds Elementary students recently enjoyed an afternoon of entertainment by "Sam Ting," who, in conjunction with the North Central Soil Conservation District, demonstrated the importance of conserving wildlife, water, soil and the earth. Left to right, back row: Gary Retdezke, Kaylee Lybeck, "Sam Ting," Richelle Darling and Arnikka Thompson. Middle row: Talayah Brown, Jarrel McGarvey, Ashley Thayne, Luke Pepple, Hannah Jensen and Rochelle Hansen. Front row: Kaleb DeMontigny, Carson Tracy, Holdyn Kersten and Izik Burtchell.

Theater at Leeds
The Fargo Moorhead Community Theater recently performed "The Wizard of Oz" musical for Leeds Elementary School students, as well as "Romeo and Juliet" to Leeds High School students. The cast is part of a professional touring company based out of Fargo. Left to right, back row: Arnikka Thompson, Andrew Follman, "Dorothy," Dani Schwanke, "The Scarecrow," "The Tin Man," Katelyn Nelsen and Cameron O’Brien. Middle row: Kimberly Ritterman, Reganne Ritterman and Izik Burtchell. Front row: Katlyn Bingham, "The Lion," Samara Blegen, Taylee Cavanaugh and "The Good Witch."

Reading results in bowling
During the month of February Leeds Elementary School students participated in a program titled "Olympic Golden Hearts," involving the promotion of reading. Louise Nelson and Jane Brown coordinated activities with Family and Consumer Sciences students and staff. Student guidelines were established whereby for every 25 pages of reading students would receive a bowling pin. Students met their goal and will be able to go for an afternoon of bowling. The fifth grade class had 250 pins, the most bowling pins. Coming in second was the kindergarten class with 230 pins. Placing third was the third grade class with 182 pins.
The top individual winners who won a ticket to the "Magic of Jay Owenhouse Show" are: first place, McKenna Tofsrud with 166 pins; second place, Danielle Schwanke with 73 pins; third place, Andrew Follman with 63 pins; fourth place, Erin Jorgenson with 56 pins; and fifth place, Reganne Ritterman with 45 pins. Left to right, front row, are Reganne Ritterman and McKenna Tofsrud. Back row: Erin Jorgenson, Andrew Follman and Danielle Schwanke.

Winners at Maddock science fair announced
Results of the 2010 Maddock Science Fair held March 9 have been announced by science instructor Sam Gutormson.
Senior high: first, Preston Gilderhus — Mold Identification and Analysis of Zea Mays; second, Ben Backstrom — Taking Sides; third, Mackenzie Bullinger — Comparison Test for Finding Sand; Psychology Award, Ben Backstrom, Taking Sides; Chemistry Award, Nikita Wright and Samantha Baesler — Which Affects Do Chemicals Have on Hair?; Biology Award, Mackenzie Bullinger — Comparison Test for Finding Sand; Microbiology Award, Preston Gilderhus — Mold Identification and Analysis of Zea Mays and Rachel Olson –Analysis of Bacteria in Soil.
Qualifying for the regional science fair are Preston Gilderhus, Ben Backstrom, Mackenzie Bullinger, Rachel Olson, Nikita Wright, Samantha Baesler, Erin Yri, Erik Broten, Trey Benson and Sharisa Yri.
Junior high: first place, Shelby Brandvold — Is My Cat a Righty or Lefty?; second, Renae Lauinger — How Much Bacteria is Under Your Fingernails?; third, Kaylin Corrington — Can Dog Saliva Kill Bacteria?Psychology Award, Shelby Brandvold — Is My Cat a Righty or Lefty?; Chemistry Award, Kaleb Westad — What Effect Does HCl Have on the pH of an Apple?; Biology Award, Shawn Aabrekke — What Will Keep Apples Fresher Longer?; and Alexis Huffman — Rotten; Microbiogy Award, Renae Lauinger — How much Bacteria is Under Your Fingernails? Kaylin Corrington — Can Dog Saliva Kill Bacteria? Jamie Buckmier — What Cleans Your Table? and Kelsey Smith — Which Soap Cleans Your Hands Better?
Regional qualifiers are Shelby Brandvold, Kaylin Corrington, Kelsey Smith, Renae Lauinger, Jamie Buckmier, Dylan Lauinger, Justin Johnson, Kaleb Westad, Alexis Huffman, Alecz Hill, Zane Paulson and Shawn Aabrekke.

Preston Gilderhus took first place at the Maddock Science Fair with his project "Mold Identification and Analysis of Zea Mays." He will head the Maddock contingent to the regional science fair in Devils Lake.

Hippology teams busy
The Benson County 4-H hippology team traveled to Minot February 6 to compete at the state fairgrounds. In the beginner division Will Rice, Jacob Arnold, Emily Nolden and Kevin Johnson earned first place. The junior division team of Hannah Pierson, Ethin Johnson and Becca Johnson placed fifth. Both teams are coached by Janna Rice.
Pictured, left to right, are Ethin Johnson, Kevin Johnson, Becca Johnson, Emily Nolden (front), Hannah Pierson, Jacob Arnold and Will Rice.

Competing at the Little I hippology contest at NDSU in Fargo February 12, the Benson County senior team earned fifth place and Katie Rice was high individual. Left to right are Jesse Johnson, Katie Johnson and Kelly Fragodt.

For the junior team members the Little I contest consisted of a written test, five stations testing their knowledge of horses, four horse judging classes and one team problem to solve. Team members, left to right, Ethin Johson, Becca Johnson, Hannah Pierson and Will Rice, placed ninth.

On February 27 there was a hippology contest held at the Benson County Events Center. Left to right are Becca Johnson, Hannah Pierson and Ethin Johnson who were in the 11 and over beginner division. In the individual events, Ethin, Becca and Hannah placed third, second and first, respectively. The team placed first.

Left to right are Kevin Johnson, Jacob Arnold, Emily Nolden and Will Rice. They were in the 10 and under beginner contest. In the individual ratings Will Rice placed first and Kevin Johnson placed third. The team placed first. The Benson County Senior Team was composed of Katie Rice, Kelly Fragodt and Jesse Johnson. Their team placed third high and Katie Rice placed second individually.

Pool gets donation
Kent Neppl of the Maddock Park Board accepts a check for $230 from Karen Smith of the Active Women of Maddock. The money represents the proceeds from the sale of beads, masks and hats (throws) from the Mardi Gras Ball held in Maddock earlier this month. This donation will help pay to replace the pump at the Maddock Swimming Pool.

Spelling bee winners told
The Benson County Spelling Bee was held February 27 in Minnewaukan under the direction of Jean Olson, county superintendent of schools.
The 2010 champion is Shelby Jorgenson, an eighth grader from Leeds School and the daughter of Eric and Chris Jorgenson.
Runner-up is Justin Johnson, an eighth grader from Maddock School and the son of Jeff and Coreen Johnson.
Both students will compete at the state spelling bee on March 26 in Bismarck. They are holding trophies donated by Richard Peterson, editor of the Benson County Farmers Press.

Grocery winners
In observance of North Dakota Farm Bureau Week, March 7-18, the Benson County Farm Bureau held contests in three grocery stores in the county.
Grocery carts were filled with grocery items and participants were invited to guess the value of the groceries. The person whose guess came the closest to the actual value won all of the groceries in that cart.
The winner at Tracy’s Market at Leeds was Traci Hansen, whose guess was within 34c of the groceries in the cart.

The winner at Tracy’s Market at Maddock was Francis Hellerud whose guess was within 58c of the groceries in the cart.

The winner at McQuoid’s Grocery in Minnewaukan was Cathy Nord, whose guess was within $2.52 of the groceries in the cart.

Head Start visits bank
Children from Maddock Head Start received a tour of the Ramsey National Bank from Judy Kallenbach in February. The tour showed children what a bank in the community provides. They learned about how to save money for a want or need and that a bank also loans money. They discovered that banks have safety deposit boxes and many different kinds of machines.
They already knew that the bank had a water cooler and that the employees of the bank give treats! Back in the classroom, children set up a bank to support the trucking business they were establishing in their centers. Left to right, back row, are Aiden Huffman, Wyatt Hakanson, Shawn Foss, Lane Benson, Grant Hagen, McKenzie Melaas, Paige Jones and Judy Kallenbach. Front row: Rakel Follman, Paxton Neppl, Andrew Brown, Kaylee Knatterud and Hannah Abrahamson.

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