Odometer Watching | by Steve Silverman

I’m one of those people that watches automobile odometers. Yep. One of…those people. Sure, there are bird watchers, armed with super-duper binoculars and expensive scopes with cameras built right in them, birder books in their backpacks, trooping through field and forest looking for that one bird. There are also people watchers. You know the ones: They go to the mall or to Vegas, not so much for the shopping or the gambling, but to sit in front of the M&M’s Store or in the lobby of the Bellagio and just watch the people go by. Turning their heads from side to side. Watching. All. Those. People.

North Dakota Nice: Warm Blanket Hugs

Twelve-year-old Olivia is on a mission to wrap the world in love.  After a hospitalization introduced her to the comforting power of a really great blanket, Olivia created the Warm Blanket Hugs Foundation – which makes and distributes blankets to absolutely anyone in need of a good cuddle.

Olivia’s wonderful mother, Wendy, has kindly offered to tell us a bit more about how Warm Blanket Hugs is spreading hope, healing, and a whole lotta fleece:

North Dakota Nice: Journey Home Animal Rescue

It’s no secret that dogs make paws-itively great pets, which is why we’re mutts about Journey Home Animal Rescue a brand-new volunteer-driven foster organization serving the Grand Forks area. While Journey Home officially opened its doors January 2019, the great people behind the scenes have helped home thousands of animals over the years.

The fantastic Leslie Rethemeier has kindly offered to tell us a bit more about how Journey Home is caring for and connecting North Dakota’s four-legged friends with their forever families. Read on.

North Dakota Nice: Brave the Shave

If you think one small act can’t make a big difference, then you haven’t heard about Brave the Shave. In 2008, a small group of Basin Electric employees decided they wanted to shave five heads to raise $10,000 to fight childhood cancer. Today, over 2,200 volunteers have raised over $3 million shaving their heads to help North Dakota kids focus on getting well. Read on.

North Dakota Grows: Stacy, Dan, and Cottonwood Cider House

Stacy Nelson-Heising and her husband, Dan, have found a new apple-y ever after for her family’s 100-year-old Ayr farm – now reinvented into Cottonwood Cider House and Orchard, North Dakota’s original cidery. The wonderful Stacy has kindly offered her thoughts on biodynamic farming, building a cider culture in North Dakota, and some valuable advice for readers on planting apple trees. Read on.

North Dakota Grows: Cindy and Turtle Mountain Artistry

For being a relatively small (but mighty) state, North Dakota is the fortunate home to many truly exceptional artists – like Cindy Roth of Turtle Mountain Artistry, who brings blocks of tupelo wood to life. The wonderful Cindy has kindly offered up her thoughts on how she has carved out her own piece of North Dakota. Read on.

North Dakota Grows: Tyler and Red Pine Distillery

We got the beet on a sweet new use for one of our favorite North Dakota-grown products: sugarbeets. Red Pine Distillery invites grown-ups to “drink in the beauty of distilled nature” in the form of Sugarbeet Vodka, as well as two “rum-style” Spiced and White Sugarbeet products. Having just celebrated Red Pine’s first anniversary, the fantastic Tyle Seim has kindly offered up his thoughts on what it takes to craft excellence. Read on.

North Dakota Nice: #SayYESS

One of the many reasons it’s great to be a North Dakotan is knowing that you live in a community that cares about you. Introducing YESS (Youth Empowering Social Status) – a brand-new organization that brings together young people with and without disabilities to build peer relationships and make sure no one is left behind.

Board President Erin Pasley kindly offered to give us a little insight on what the community is doing to #sayYESS. Read on.

North Dakota Grows: Karen and Karen’s Kuchens

If you live in North Dakota, chances are you’ve fought the desire to not eat a panful of kuchen in one sitting. Somewhere between a cake-y pie and a custard, this dessert came to North Dakota via Germans from Russia – and if you ask me, tastes the best when it’s made by a German grandma.

Fortunately, we have plenty of those in North Dakota – such as Karen Schwandt, who is the namesake, brains, and heart behind the famous Karen’s Kuchens. Read on.

#NorthDakotaNice #NorthDakota

North Dakota Grows: Lisa, Greg, and 4e Winery

We’ve got our ion 4e Winery – a husband-and-wife team who have combined a love of chemistry and North Dakota to create an experience of white, red, and non-grape wines “born of the prairie.” Read on for how Lisa and Greg Cook are in their element celebrating the flavors and people of North Dakota.

North Dakota Grows: Brenda, Dan, Adam, and Woodward Farm

On 80 acres of pure country near Cathay, ND sits Woodward Farm, home to a smorgasbord of homemade magic courtesy of Brenda Gorseth. Brenda has spent the last six years cooking up everything from “Man in a Can” onion pepper relish to custom kuchen to – ready for it – “North Dakota Nice” salsa. Read on.

North Dakota Nice: Caps for Kids

Do you like to sew (or can you wield a scissors)? Do you like kids? Are you ready to start your day off feeling great? Thank you to Mavis Fayette for this wonderful story about a group of volunteers working wonderfully to make surgery more comfortable for children. And guess what – the group is recruiting! Read on to learn more.

#NorthDakotaNice #NorthDakota

North Dakota Nice: Grand Forks educators elected to Teachers Hall of Fame

In a state full of exceptional educators, it’s hard to put into (grammatically-correct, structurally-accurate) words what makes a teacher truly outstanding. However, at the 2018 Grand Forks Public Schools Teachers Hall of Fame induction ceremony, a few common traits rose to the top. Compassionate and attentive. Enthusiastic. Expecting the best. Encouraging.

North Dakota Nice: Donors, volunteers fund Home Visits program

Going home after a hospital stay can be scary – What does this pain mean? Am I taking my medications properly? Is something wrong? – which is why Altru Health System created the Home Visits program. Home Visits connects nurses, residency doctors, respiratory therapists, and paramedics to recently-discharged patients to make sure the patients continue to improve after hospital care. This crucial service is not covered by insurance – and so, to ensure it can remain totally free to patients, a team of community volunteers came together to raise funds to not just pay for, but grow, Altru’s Home Visits program.

Read more.

North Dakota Nice: Skien plans a Norwegian adventure for MSU choir students

For the past 37 years, Minot, N.D. and Skien, Norway have held “Hands Across the Sea” through a Sister City relationship that includes annual voyages by both communities to keep the Scandinavian cultural heritage alive across generations of North Dakotans. The Hands Across the Sea program is especially important to connecting the younger population directly to Norwegians and the modern Norwegian culture. That’s where Minot State University comes in.

Read more.

North Dakota Nice: A game-changing festival in pursuit of what matters most

The amazing people behind Humanities North Dakota didn’t want you to have leave the state to encounter some of the most powerful thinkers in the world, and so they created the GameChanger Ideas Festival – a day-long adventure across multiple voices on a single issue that is challenging North Dakotans today. Held in Bismarck on October 13, 2018 and inspired by the Aspen Ideas Festival and the Atlantic Festival, the goal of the GameChanger Ideas Festival is to create more thoughtful and informed citizens that can help lead our state and country through these challenges.