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5/26/2010 – News

Volume 127, Number 16           Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Ramsey and Benson County commissioners discuss road situation south of Churchs Ferry
The Benson County commissioners, Ramsey County commissioners, representatives from the Federal Highway Administration, the ND Department of Transportation, FEMA, township supervisors and interested parties met in the courtroom of the Benson County Courthouse May 18 to discuss road problems in Normania and Riggin Townships of Benson County and Coulee and Pelican Townships of Ramsey County.
The meeting was arranged by Benson County Highway Superintendent Don Trnka, who termed the road situation in this area as "terrible." When it’s raining even four-wheel drive vehicles can’t make it through in places.
Since the Brinsmade Road is going to be removed from the Federal Aid system, and the county does not have funds to match funds to bring the bridge adjacent to Old US 281 out of the water, the people living in this area are threatened with being isolated. Seven bridges spanning the Mauvais Coulee in this area have gone under water.
Paul Benning of the ND Department of Transportation said the Brinsmade Road will be removed from the Federal Aid system because it does not meet the requirements of the Federal Highway Administration. "The road lacks connectivity," Benning explained. To be eligible for federal aid, a road must connect one road to another. The Brinsmade Road does not have a connection on the east end, but instead joins Old US 281, which is closed.
Four households in Benson County and five households in Ramsey County are threatened with isolation.
All nine farmsteads are well above water, so flood insurance will not help them. Eventually, they will probably be forced to move their homes at their own expense because the roads are going to go under water if the wet cycle continues.
The two counties don’t have enough money to fix all the roads, so the meeting was called to see if a consensus could be reached as to which road would be repaired. It is unlikely more than one road will be repaired and it is uncertain if even one road will be repaired because of the cost.
Jeff Frith, manager of the Devils Lake Basin Joint Water Resource Board told the gathering that predictions of the lake’s level are difficult to make, but experts appear to be 100 percent certain that the lake will continue rising in the near future.
If the lake rises to its natural outlet level of 1458, the lake will stretch from north of Tolna to south of Cando. At 1458 everything adjacent to the lake today will be under water, including the entire area under discussion.
Ramsey County Disaster Emergency Manager Tim Heisler advocated a road for cars and light trucks south of the Howard Dressen farmstead in Normania Township east to a mile south of Penn as an emergency route for people to get in and out of their farmsteads. He said it may not be feasible to build roads to carry trucks and tractors in this area without tremendous expense.
Ramsey County Commissioners Scott Diseth and Mark Olson spoke strongly in favor of an east end outlet to Devils Lake instead of spending time and money raising roads. However, any relief an east end outlet to the lake would be some time in coming, and certainly not this year.
Ramsey County Commissioner Joe Belford said the city of Devils Lake will probably take the lead on an east end outlet because it owns the land where the lake will flow out naturally. "But this won’t happen overnight," he cautioned. "The city will have to get permits, which takes time."
Normania Township Supervisor Ardon Herman said the structure to let water out of the east end should be constructed as soon as possible and urged the commissioners of both counties to pass resolutions in favor of an east end outlet.
Trnka steered the conversation back to the immediate road problems.
Belford suggested that Trnka and Ramsey County Highway Superintendent Kevin Fieldsend get together and make a recommendation to the two counties, along with cost estimates.
It was decided this was probably the best alternative because there appeared to be no consensus on specific roads to repair.

Benson and Ramsey County commissioners and federal, state and township officials met May 18 to discuss the "terrible" road situation south of Churchs Ferry. Several farmsteads are in danger of being isolated after seven bridges in that area have gone under the water of Devils Lake.

Earn scholarships
Scholarships have been awarded to five honor students of the 2010 graduating class of the Leeds School from the Bennett and Marie Medhus Scholarship Fund.
Those receiving the awards were Morgan Leapaldt, Brenna Stone and Abigail Brossart $300 each; and Cody Hoffert and Sadie Valier $200 each.
The Bennett and Marie Medhus Scholarship Fund started in 1979 with money received from the Bennett Medhus Estate. Each year scholarships are awarded to graduating honor students from the money received from interest on the fund. The first scholarships were awarded in 1980. Since that time 243 students have received scholarships totaling $89,400.
A five-member committee administers the fund. The current members are Kelly Fischer and Mona Jorgenson, representing the community; Matthew Swanson, a faculty member; and Linda Young and Randy Silliman, Leeds Public School District school board members.

Leeds students who received Bennett and Marie Medhus Scholarships are shown. Left to right, back row, are Sadie Vallier and Morgan Leapaldt. In the front row are Abigail Brossart, Cody Hoffert and Brenna Stone.

FCCLA winners
Leeds High School students Morgan Leapaldt and Hannah Anderson competed at Family, Career and Community Leaders of America in Bismarck in STAR Events Illustrated Talk competition. They placed first in the state competition and have the opportunity to compete on the national FCCLA level in Chicago, Illinois in July. Also competing in STAR Events were Brenna Stone and Sadie Vallier, who received a silver STAR in their "Focus on Children" project and Blake Darling and Logan Gunderson, who received a bronze award in their "National Program in Action" STAR events. Ashley Manley, state FCCLA District III officer, helped plan and carry out the entire State Family, Career and Community Leaders of America leadership meeting which was held in Bismarck. FCCLA advisor to the students is Jane Brown. Left to right are Morgan Leapaldt, Hannah Anderson, Ashley Manley, Blake Darling, Miss Brown, Logan Gunderson, Sadie Vallier and Brenna Stone.

Fair at Four Winds
Four Winds School held its annual parent and student fair April 16. Over 800 people were in attendance, including students and staff from the Warwick School. Everyone browsed among the 67 informational booths and enjoyed visiting Smokey the Bear. Guest speaker at the fair was D. J. Vanas, author of The Tiny Warrior. His motivational message uses warrior concepts and Native American wisdom to inspire others.

Preparing for big day
Warwick School’s industrial ed teacher Wayne Hooey (far left) works with the seniors in constructing the massive graduation stage first built and assembled last year. Left to right are students Zephren Jetty, Mitchell Owlboy and Dancia Jackson.

Senior Rock Baer works with Mr. Hooey in attaching a brace to Warwick’s graduation stage built by the shop class.

4-H’ers honored
Area 4-H’ers had success at the Communication Arts, Project Expo and Consumer Choices events held in Maddock recently. Left to right are Kevin Johnson, reserve champion, Consumer Choices; Ben Backstrom, grand champion, Project Expo and Consumer Choices; Preston Gilderhus, grand champion, Communication Arts and reserve champion, Consumer Choices; Will Rice, grand champion, Communication Arts; Ethin Johnson, blue ribbon, Consumer Choices; and Becca Johnson, blue ribbon, Consumer Choices.

Kristine Keller received a buckle at the 4-H Leaders Banquet for winning the senior overall showmanship award at last year’s Achievement Days. Not pictured is George Wang who receive the buckle for winning the junior overall showmanship award.

Perfect attendance
Students at the Warwick School who had perfect attendance for the 2009-10 school year were Sage Bertsch, Shelby Stevenson and Jordan Bertsch.

Jump Rope for Heart
Some of the Warwick School students who participated in the jump rope fund-raiser for heart health were, left to right, Mrs. Holly Retzlaff, Jordan Bertsch, Chandler Redfox, Drew Cavanaugh, Shanae Jetty (top fund raiser), Samantha Owlboy, Amber Redfox, Devin Cavanaugh, Mallory Demarce, Riley Cavanaugh and Sage Bertsch.

Celebrate May 17
The Devils Lake Heim Lodge Sons of Norway celebrated "Syttende Mai" (17th of May) with a variety of activities and an authentic Norwegian smorgasbord May 16 at the lodge hall in Devils Lake.
"Syttende Mai" is Norwegian Constitution Day, and is widely celebrated throughout the US by Americans of Norwegian heritage.
The Devils Lake Sons of Norway held an open house "fest" that included demonstrations of rosemaling (rose painting) by JoAnn Copeland, wood carving techniques by Monte Engel and making Hardanger kake (bread) by Irving Thompson. Sam and Mary Ann Johnson demonstrated Norwegian folk dancing.
The "Syttende Mai" Fest was capped off with a meal of authentic Norwegian foods.

Alta Bloomquist shows her special Syttende Mai "kransekake" (almond cake).

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