Volume 127, Number 10
Minnewaukan native in charge of advanced technology in Iraq
The following article concerns Colorado National Guard Maj. Tod Fenner, a 1988 graduate of Minnewaukan High School. He is a brother of Ann Sears of Maddock and the son of Mary Neis of Devils Lake and the late Mel Fenner.
BY LANCE BENZEL
(Colorado Springs, Colo.)
They dubbed him "Buzz Lightyear" and made quips about "Star Trek."
But when battlefield commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan needed up-to-date satellite imagery for their missions, they set the kidding aside and called on Maj. Tod Fenner and Army Space Support Team 26.
The six-person Colorado Army National Guard team returned Monday from a year-long deployment that started in northern Iraq and included a mid-tour transfer to Afghanistan’s Kandahar province.
The about-face came with a new mission: to use military satellites to track bomb-makers, locate weapons caches and furnish maps and weather monitoring for offensives throughout southern Afghanistan, including the Marine-led assault on Marja in Helmland province.
"We were basically building on a white canvas," said Fenner, who returns to a wife and two children in Denver — and to a civilian job as a software programmer with 5280 Solutions.
"With the Army, nothing’s in stone until it happens," said Sgt. David Wilde, who works for a defense contractor in Colorado Springs.
The space support team — part of the Army National Guard’s 117th Space Support Battalion — was assigned to the Army 1st Space Brigade at Peterson Air Force Base upon being mobilized for its deployment last April.
In a welcome-home ceremony at Peterson, Col. Jeffrey Farnsworth of the 1st Space Brigade credited National Guard units like theirs with helping the country maintain its military footprint in the Middle East.
Without their help, he said, "you’d have to curtail the missions and do a whole lot less."
Wilde’s wife, Cassandra, had a supporting role: Keeping the home fires burning in Colorado Springs while watching over the couple’s four children, ages 10 to 3.
"It takes a lot of patience and a lot of help," she said with a smile, while making sure her children had plenty of napkins to clean up after cake served at the ceremony.
Maj. Tod Fenner with his wife, Merrilee and their children upon his arrival at the airport in Colorado after returning from overseas deployment.
Learning about music
MiChelle Nybo and her Leeds School kindergarten class spent a week adding some extra musical activities into their days. They studied about the instrument families, made musical instruments and added their rhythm instruments to poems, songs and nursery rhymes. Several guest musicians visited the kindergarten class, bringing in a variety of instruments for the students to explore. Curtis Nelsen is shown playing the harp.
Carol Thompson of Leeds taught the students about handbells, as well as how music is carried through vibrations. She also joined Arlene Johnson of Leeds with string instruments, including a guitar, violins, a shepherd’s harp, banjo and mandolin. The week of music concluded as guest drummer Neil Donnelly of Devils Lake taught students in grades K-6 about percussion. Neil also visited with the students about using music to enrich their everyday lives. Kylee Hansen is shown on the drums.
Five generations doubled
April 3 was a special day for little Mya Walter. The youngster celebrated her first birthday at the Great Northern Building in Devils Lake with five generations in attendance from each side of her family.
Left to right, back row, are Karen Irwin, paternal great-grandmother; Nikki Johnson, paternal grandmother; Marcia (Burgstahler) Jaeger, maternal great-grandmother; and Daniel Jager, maternal grandfather. Seated are Louise Roebuck, paternal great-great-grandmother; Alex Walter (holding daughter Mya); Mallory Jager (Mya’s mother); and maternal great-great-grandmother, Virginia Burgstahler. Roebuck is from Velva and the others are from Devils Lake. Virginia Burgstahler and her husband, Walt, operated a grocery store in Oberon for many years. Marcia is a 1959 graduate of Oberon High School. (Photo by Sue Kraft of the Devils Lake Journal)
Mrs. Pranke’s fourth grade class at the Warwick School was invited to Mr. Quam’s science classroom to view Madagascar hissing cockroaches. Mr. Quam, left, and Supt. Charles Guthrie, center, show students the cockroaches.
The live Madagascar cockroaches are pictured close up.
Students gaze at the cockroach on Mr. Quam’s gloved hand. Left to right are Jayryl Guy, Julia Hill, Waylin Azure and Jordain Smith. Raymond Peltier is in the foreground.
Mr. Quam is shown with fourth grade boys Weylin Azure (foreground), Mark Lufkins, Sage Bertsch and Raymond Peltier. "Most of the boys were brave and let the cockroaches crawl around on their hands and arms, but Julia and I kept our distance," said Mrs. Pranke.
Picking up litter
Warwick School students did their part for the environment last week by picking up litter in the school yard. First graders Ben Longie, Julian Hill, Jayla Guy and Marlin Demarce work on the front yard of the school.
Sixth graders Rece Jetty and Jace Baker help clean up the playground with their other classmates, who are not pictured.
Warwick students who had perfect attendance are, left to right, front row, Peyton Azure, Hillary Archambault, Khloe Cavanaugh, Shelby Stevenson, Cole Smith and Marlin Demarce. Back row: Samantha Owlboy, Jordan Bertsch, Gionni Robertson, Kristina Archambault, Elementary Principal Steve Jacobson, Aiana Richotte and Sage Bertsch.
On March 25th the third and fourth grade students in Mrs. Resler’s class at the Oberon School treated the students, staff and parents to a potlatch. A potlatch is a ceremony practiced by the clans of the Northwest Coast. Mrs. Resler’s students have been learning about the tribes of North Dakota and Northwest Coast. Left to right are students posing with their compare/contrast posters, Ryilee Littleghost, Jacen Deckert, Nathaniel DuBois, Jade Old Rock, Larissa Dunn, Destanee Black and Donise Old Rock.
The students did a lot of comparing and contrasting of the Native Americans. To culminate the project they hosted a potlatch. At the potlatch they read a traditional Northwest Coast story, students shared their compare and contrast posters and their dioramas depicting a Sioux camp, Northwest Coast village, Chippewa and M?tis village and a Mandan, Arikara and Hidatsa village. Posing with their diorama of a Sioux village are Destanee Black, Nathaniel DuBois and Donise Old Rock.
As the visitors roamed the displays the students answered questions and shared their knowledge. The event closed with tasting salmon and dried fruit, traditional foods of the Northwest Coast clans. Posing with their diorama of a Chippewa/Metis Village are Jade Old Rock, Jacen Deckert, Larissa Dunn and Ryilee Littleghost.
Parents of students participate in a crab race – a game.