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3/24/2010 – News

Volume 127, Number 7           Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Township officers have annual meeting; officers re-elected
Officers of the Benson County Township Officers Association were re-elected at the annual meeting of the organization held March 18 at the Benson County Events Center in Maddock.

Erling Karlsbraaten of Maddock was re-elected president; Ralph Olson of Maddock was re-elected vice president; and Bonnie Erickson of Graham’s Island was re-elected secretary-treasurer.

Greg Wilz, director of Homeland Security for North Dakota, gave a slide presentation on the 2009 disaster in North Dakota, which he termed "unprecedented." The cost of cleaning up after the disaster exceeded

$166 million, Wilz said. At the height of the flood there were more than 1,000 federal people in North Dakota working on the flood.

He revealed that Minnewaukan currently has 111 flood insurance policies in force.

He stated that with extensions townships should have plenty of time to get all the damage repaired and the paperwork submitted for FEMA reimbursement for the 2009 flood.

He urged those present to volunteer to be cooperative weather observers to take precipitation readings on a year-around basis.

Sen. Joan Heckaman, D-New Rockford, said she was pleased so many people volunteer to be township officials. "You deserve a pat on the back for your efforts," she said.

Rep. Arlo Schmidt, D-Maddock, said one issue that needs to be fixed in the next legislative session concerns fines from violating county rules, such as load limits. Currently, only home rule counties might be eligible to keep these fines in county coffers. Other counties are prohibited from doing so.

Benson County Highway Supt. Don Trnka told the gathering of township officials that road restrictions are currently in force.

"If any rural farmsteads are in danger of being isolated, please call me because I’ll try to do everything possible to provide access for them," he said.

He said if township officers have problems with culverts they should first contact the Benson County Water Board.

He also touched on the problem of county line roads and township roads on a county line. This issue is covered in the report on the meeting of the county commissioners on March 16 which appears in this issue of the Farmers Press.

Sheriff Steve Rohrer told the gathering that his office has served what seems like a record number of processes this year.

He urged farmers to keep their loads light (below the 80,000 lb. limit) so the roads aren’t torn up. "Please keep your weights down," he said.

The ND Highway Patrol has been contacted to enforce the county’s load limits.

Benson County FEMA Applicant Agent Dawn Flemmer told those present that the flood of 2009 resulted in 133 township PW’s (work projects), each of which can contain up to 10 sites. There were a total of 1,166 township sites which sustained damage in 2009. Cost of repairing the township sites came to $1,463,350.66. The paperwork for almost all the sites has been completed, but the actual repair has not yet been completed, primarily because of lack of contractors and uncooperative weather.

She added that the county damages came to about the same amount of money as the township damages.

The 2010 declaration related to emergency protection measures means that FEMA will cover 75% of the cost of protection, such as sandbagging, flagging, monitoring, etc.

Lowell Haagenson of Leeds, chairman of the Benson County Commission, gave a report from that organization.

Larry Severson, president of the North Dakota Township Officers Assn., said North Dakota Century Code 24-06-28 provides that townships can force the removal of any obstructions from a township road right-of-way, including trees.

He said all road signs must meet federal retro-reflectivity standards by 2015. He recommended that beginning next year and each of the succeeding three years that one-quarter of the signs be replaced with signs which meet this requirement.

"If you don’t replace the signs, there won’t be sign police going around to check on you. But if there’s an accident, the lawyers will get involved and without legal signs, you’ve given them a gift," said Severson.

Ken Yantes, long-time township lobbyist at the ND State Legislature said he also serves on the board of the national organization. The past few years, Yantes has been trying to get the requirement of submitting payroll forms to the IRS lifted for township officials. He said the lobbying organization for the national organization has not done the job it was expected to do and the national organization didn’t press the lobbyists to do so. As a result, North Dakota and South Dakota have dropped out of the national organization.

Representatives of the two states plan to meet with Minnesota and Wisconsin township officials to get them to lobby as a block outside the national organization to get the requirement lifted.

The principal officers of the Benson County Township Supervisors Association were re-elected at the organization’s annual meeting March

18 at the Benson County Events Center in Maddock. Left to right are President Erling Karlsbraaten of Maddock (Arne Township — longtime Isabel Township resident), Secretary-Treasurer Bonnie Erickson of Graham’s Island (2nd Commissioners’ District) and vice president Ralph Olson of Maddock (Albert Township).

Leeds man promoted to sergeant in Kosovo
March 13 was day to remember for the Dodds brothers, who have been serving together at Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo since late October 2009.

Sgt. 1st Class David Dodds promoted his brother, Joshua Dodds to the rank of sergeant in the North Dakota National Guard.

"Today I am an extremely proud big brother," said David. "On the enlisted side of the house, in my opinion, there is no more important rank as that of sergeant. Whenever you put on the rank of sergeant all eyes fall on you waiting to see what kind of leader you will choose to be."

The brothers, who are natives of Dickinson, are both members of the 116th Public Affairs Detachment, based in Bismarck. David is the unit’s commander and Joshua serves as a print journalist. They are deployed to Kosovo with Multi-National Battle Group East on a NATO peacekeeping mission.

"I encouraged Josh to see this promotion as more than an increase in pay. I told him to embrace his role as a leader and take on more responsibility and lead by example," David said. "I have every confidence in the world that he will."

Joshua has been a member of the North Dakota National Guard for 11 years. He previously deployed to Iraq with the 142nd Engineer Combat Battalion in 2003-2004. A Guard member for more than 20 years, David deployed to Southwest Asia and served in Qatar, Bahrain and Iraq, in 2006-2007.

The brothers worked closely together during the 2009 North Dakota flood fight, when they were both activated to do public affairs work with the 116th PAD.

"It was a unique experience being promoted by my brother," said Joshua.

"But with about 40 family groups serving on this deployment, I’m probably not the first person to be promoted by a relative."

In civilian life, Joshua works on the family farm near Leeds, where his parents, Lyle and Darlene Dodds still live. David works for the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, where he lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their three daughters, Emma, Eliza and Josephine.

Multi-National Battle Group East is a US-led unit, commanded by Brig.

Gen. Al Dohrmann. This Battle Group is comprised of nearly 2,200 soldiers, including Task Force Hellas and Task Force POL/UKR

(Polish/Ukraine) and Turkey. The charter mission of MNBG-E is maintaining a safe and secure environment and providing freedom of movement for the people in Kosovo.

Sgt. 1st Class David Dodds (right) talks about the new responsibilities his brother, Sgt. Joshua Dodds (left) will have because of his promotion to the rank of sergeant in the North Dakota National Guard on March 13 in Kosovo, where the brothers are deployed.

Leeds students take part in Iditarod race
The Leeds Elementary School participated in the 3rd annual Leeds Iditarod on March 12. The Leeds Iditarod is an event that simulates the Alaskan Iditarod with the exception that Leeds does not have dogs to pull the sleds around the course. Instead students acted as dogs and they pulled the sleds.

Two of the sleds were Scandia kick-sleds and one was a homemade sled. A tug-line was attached to each sled with a handle every five feet for each dog on the team. The teams were divided by classes. The kindergartners had the largest sled team with 16 dogs and the first graders had the smallest sled team with 10 dogs.

The big change this year was the course itself. In the past, the course went on the streets of Leeds. This year, due to the melting snow and ice, the course was moved to the school grounds. It started at the playground, maneuvered around the playground equipment toward the football field, north to Old US 2, along the tree row to the east, south to the football field, around the bus barn and finally toward the finish line back at the playground.

There were checkpoints along the trail where the musher and Iditarider would have a job to do to keep the "dogs" happy and healthy. They had to feed the dogs, rest the dogs, check the dogs’ paws and there was even a vet check. These are actual tasks that are done to protect the dogs in any dog sled race.

Many new challenges were encountered this year. The snow was deep in many places with large puddles of water and mud under the snow. Small hills and sharp corners became a challenge in keeping the sled upright while on the trail. The children (dogs) learned to use teamwork while pulling the sleds.

Many volunteers helped with the afternoon activities. The junior and senior class students were team handlers and checkpoint helpers. They were actually the biggest fans for the elementary students; they provided lots of cheering and encouragement. Some of the teachers ran with their classes, others kept the race clock. Other teachers and faculty provided the hot chocolate, built the standard for the Burly Arch, created the award buttons and certificates and provided "veterinarian" services when needed. Parents helped with the cookie awards, setup and take down of the trail markers and encouragement during the race. Some businesses in Leeds sponsored the event with dog treats, water, hot chocolate, baking goods, cups, napkins and monetary donations.

Last week the classes watched and kept track of their favorite Alaskan Iditarod teams via the Internet and reading books about the Iditarod.

Susan Hawn, head cook, checks a dog, Garrett Johnson, before the race begins.

A.J. Weixel proudly shows his Iditarod number.

Hailey Gunderson and Kim Nelsen are ready to go.

Logan Gunderson checks the health of "dogs" Nathan Elverud and Declan Ritterman.

Kindergarteners Holdyn Kersten, Caleb Jorgenson and Kurtis Nelsen pull hard on their sled.

Third graders rush to the finish line.

Bouret’s Dam emergency

Bouret’s Dam in Twin Tree Township is showing the wear of its more than 70 years of backing up water on the Sheyenne River. The concrete in the water on the left is the west bridge abutment. Water has caused it to deteriorate and the flow has diverted itself around the abutment. The flow of water will continue to erode the riverbank between the dam and the bank. The dam is expected to be repaired, but unless emergency repairs are made to stop bank erosion, the repair may become very expensive. In the backgroun d is the farm of Leona Bouret.

Left to right are members of the Benson County Water Board, John Beckstrand of Warwick and Brian Maddock of Maddock, with Benson County Highway Superintendent Don Trnka discussing emergency repairs. Trnka said his men would begin hauling rocks into the breach on March 22, so the emergency repairs may be completed by the time this is read.

Learn archery
The Warwick School’s phy ed department is teaching archery to students. Teacher Holly Retzlaff (center) gives instruction to Traci Owlboy (left) and Vanessa Volk (right).

Warwick phy ed teacher Trevor Yetterboe gives bow and arrow instruction to Johnson Tollefson. Equipment was purchased through the Physical Education Programs Grant awarded to the Warwick School last fall.

County spelling bee
The 29th Annual Benson County Spelling Bee was held February 27 at the Minnewaukan School under the direction of Benson County Superintendent of Schools Jean Olson.
Pictured are the top five spellers in grades six through eight who competed in the oral round for a chance to go to state competition. Left to right are Justin Johnson, eighth grade, Maddock School; Kaleb Westad, eighth grade, Maddock School; Maria Sears, seventh grade, Maddock School; Shelby Jorgenson, eighth grade, Leeds School; and Nora Duren, sixth grade, Maddock School.

Shelby Jorgenson, the daughter of Eric and Chris Jorgenson of Leeds, is the 2010 Benson County Spelling Bee champion. The eighth grader will compete at the state bee in Bismarck March 26.

Justin Johnson, the son of Jeff and Coreen Johnson of Maddock, was runner-up at the competition. The eighth grader will also compete in Bismarck.

Eighth grade spelling bee winners, left to right, first to sixth place, were Justin Johnson and Kaleb Westad of Maddock; Shelby Jorgenson and Bo Lauckner of Leeds; and Nakia Hill and George Brown of Oberon.

Winners in the seventh grade, left to right, first to sixth place, were Maria Sears of Maddock; Julissa McGarvey and Colbi Charette of Leeds; Arlete Lohnes of Tate Topa in Fort Totten; and Blake Buckmier of Maddock.

Sixth grade spelling bee winners, left to right, first to sixth place, were Nora Duren of Maddock; Adam Fischer of Leeds; Tesa Sherman of Minnewaukan; Jaydin Risovi of Maddock; Isaac Owlboy of Warwick; and Lisa Lohnes of Tate Topa in Fort Totten.

Winners in the fifth grade, left to right, first to sixth place, were Emily Sears and Spencer Sears of Maddock; Ricardo Littleghost of Warwick; Desiree Cameron of Oberon; O’Shea RedFox of Minnewaukan; and Spencer Follman of Leeds.

Fourth grade spelling bee winners, left to right, first to sixth place, were Dani Schwanke of Leeds; Louis Blacklance of Minnewaukan; Greta Duren and Spencer Olson of Maddock; Richelle Hansen of Leeds; and Sage Bertsch of Warwick.

Winners in the third grade, left to right, first to sixth place, were Brady Kallenbach of Maddock; Hailey Gunderson of Leeds; Abby Grossman of Maddock; Dylon Littlewind and Rose Brown of Tate Topa in Fort Totten; and Nathan Elverud of Leeds.

Second grade spelling bee winners, left to right, first to sixth place, were Marissa Gourd of Tate Topa in Fort Totten; Jenna MakesGood of Minnewaukan; Mady Sears of Maddock; Truth Robertson of Warwick; and Jarrel McGarvey and Zoe Lauckner of Leeds.

Winners in the first grade, left to right, first to sixth place, were Blayne Anderson of Leeds; Halle Littlewind and Laila de la Paz of Tate Topa in Fort Totten; John Fischer of Leeds; Dason Longie of Minnewaukan; and Sarah Anderson of Warwick.

Rice donates historical items
Jay Rice of Maddock did some housecleaning and came across a display he put together concerning the Minnewaukan School. The display shows a photo of the old Minnewaukan School; a 1929 graduation invitation from Carolyn J. Hanson; a list of 1929 graduates; a 50-yard dash ribbon from the May 12, 1916 grade meet; a photo and card featuring the Benson County Courthouse; a WWII food ration certificate for the Minnewaukan Junior Class allowing it to purchase 12 lbs. of sugar; a list of the 1943 graduates; a small advertising mirror from the William Plummer Co. in Minnewaukan; and a WWII "Remember Pearl Harbor" window sticker. He donated the display to the Minnewaukan Museum, along with advertising trinkets from Minnewaukan.

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