Nice news of the day – October 29, 2019

Happy birthday to Olga Hovet of Watford City, who turned 100 this month!

And did you know today’s news has a DIY heated gazebo, Chevy Camaro, and poetry?  Read on.

Ambercrombie’s Guy and Yvette Klosterman built a heated gazebo out of a grain bin and the Brainerd Dispatch has a very detailed account of the construction process if you want to build one yourself. (Brainerd Dispatch)

Richardton’s Charlotte Renner Locklear wrote a book on her family’s farming history, and celebrated its launch with a poetry workshop. (Dunn County Extra)

When I was younger, I had a Ford Tempo that I loved.  LOVED.  It was a total piece of crap with two temperatures (hot and off), automatic seat belts, and an ignition switch so loose you could take the key out while the car was on.  My parents sold it after I graduated from high school and it made it only a few months before dying for good.  So I’m totally jealous that Jodi Cook’s sons, Shea and Nick Gaier, tracked down her actual car – not the same make and model, the EXACT car – that Jodi had in her youth, and restored it…and now it’s the coolest car you’ll see this year. (Grand Forks Herald)

Nice news of the day – October 9, 2018

Three North Dakota schools added to national blue-ribbon list (KVRR)

Every year, the U.S. Department of Education honors schools in which students achieve high marks, or dramatically improve moderate marks, for learning, based on a measure of philosophy, instruction, curriculum, motivation, testing, support, and environment. This year, Central Valley School in Buxton, Freedom Elementary in West Fargo, and Richland Elementary in Abercrombie were recognized as a part of a group of 300 schools nationwide.  Freedom Elementary celebrated with a game show-style school program and blue treats.

Volunteers help with fall clean-up at Roosevelt Park Zoo (KFYR TV)

With fall in the air (and on the ground), volunteers are helping to tidy up the Roosevelt Park Zoo before the snow flies.  On Saturday, October 6, the local Air Force JROTC and a group of helpful individuals raked, shoveled, painted, and swept the nearly 100-year old zoo.  There is another clean up day scheduled for Saturday, October 13 for anyone who missed out.

Story update: 89 veterans participate in Honor Flight (Wahpeton Daily News)

As you may recall, Don Roberts and his fellow volunteers were recently looking for veterans and donations for the Honor Flight program, which sends vets and related volunteers (doctors, nurses, and others to assist on the trip) to Washington D.C.’s historical sites, including Arlington National Ceremony.  On October 1, 2018, 89 veterans who served after 1959 returned to Fargo after a two-day trip to our nation’s capital.  Each flight costs $150,000, and the trip was sponsored by TV station WDAY.  Donations for future flights can be sent to Veterans Honor Flight of North Dakota/Minnesota, P.O. Box 644, West Fargo, ND 58078.

photo by Mark Basarab

North Dakota Nice: Steve Lies and Brad Bekkedahl honored for their civic service

When you are in a position of leadership in a city government, you typically don’t get to leave your job behind at the end of the day – because your home is your work and your work is your home. While we should all make the effort to thank the thousands of civil servants who keep our sidewalks and roads clean and safe, our water running, and communities growing and thriving, the North Dakota League of Cities selects two individuals each year who deserve extra appreciation and gratitude.

This year, Wahpeton (and Abercrombie, Christine, Davenport, Dwight, Fairmount, Great Bend, Hankinson, Lidgerwood, Mantador, Mooreton, Walcott, and Wyndmere) City Attorney Steve Lies was named the Outstanding City Appointed Official, and Williston City Commissioner Brad Bekkedahl was awarded Outstanding City Elected Official.

Thank you to the great staff at the League of Cities for the following in-depth look at Steve and Brad’s service to Wahpeton, Williston, and North Dakota:


Steve Lies

Steve served as Wahpeton Assistant City Attorney from 1979-1984 and was appointed as City Attorney in 1984, a position he still holds. He is noted as an “enduring institution of knowledge” for his legal advice and political strategy analysis.

Steve not only uses his legal background to serve in the jurisprudence arena but has used his legal expertise to resolve issues with the EPA, FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers, saving cities hundreds of thousands of dollars and providing substantial economic development for all the cities he serves. Some examples of his work include:

  • securing a Housing and Urban Development Small Cities Grant that funded repairs on improvements on over 100 homes in Wahpeton;
  • serving as attorney for the Home Rule Charter Commission and the implementation of a local sales tax that has funded over $30 million in local economic development, infrastructure, recreations and flood mitigation;
  • negotiating with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for an additional $5 million in federal funding for water resources;
  • writing a lease and purchase agreement which netted the Community Development Corporation over $2.5 million in profits on the sale of a building vacated by a Fortune 500 company; and
  • creating numerous special assessment districts for infrastructure construction and repair that qualified for over $30 million in bank qualified municipal bonds for small cities.

As an attorney for many surrounding cities, Steve has written ordinances to streamline budget processes, purchasing rules, and even how businesses providing goods and services to North Dakota cities are paid. He has helped cities move from municipal to rural water and shepherded ordinances for special elections adopting local sales tax and lodging taxes. The cities of Wahpeton, ND and Breckenridge, MN enjoy the only golf course in North Dakota located in two states because of his legislative amendment.

Steve has received recognition by the Southeast Judicial Bar Association for contributions to community service such as North Dakota Catholic Charities, Kiwanis Club, St, Catherine’s Living Center, St. Francis Medical Center, Wahpeton Chamber of Commerce, Elks’ Club, President of North Dakota City Attorneys Association, North Dakota Deputy Secretary of State and Richland County Bar Association President.

In addition to his position as city attorney for Wahpeton, he also serves as city attorney for Abercrombie, Christine, Davenport, Dwight, Fairmount, Great Bend, Hankinson, Lidgerwood, Mantador, Mooreton, Walcott and Wyndmere.

Photo L to R: Blake Crosby, NDLC Executive Director; Dan Stenvold, NLDC President; Steve Lies, Patty Lies, Katie Andersen, NDLC Past President


Brad Bekkedahl

Brad’s nomination form began with the following statements: “Brad is the epitome of a civil servant. He has guided his city through economic prosperities and hardships, infrastructure buildouts and declines, and dramatic population swings with all that brings to the job of city government. Leadership and work ethics are the values he exhibits.”

In his announcement that the Outstanding City Appointed Official award was being presented to Brad, NDLC Executive Director Blake Crosby outlined a few of his many accomplishments that support these statements in his nomination:

Brad joined the United States Army Reserves in 1984, enlisted in the North Dakota Army National Guard in 2002 and served a tour in Iraq at Camp Adder in Tallil, Iraq. He has received many awards and commendations for his military service such as the Global War on Terrorism Medal, North Dakota National Guard Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal and Meritorious Service Medal. He still is a member of the Guard and puts in his one weekend per month and two weeks each summer…another indication of his selfless service.

In the city of Williston, Brad has served on the Park Board, as city Finance Commissioner from 1996 to present (22 years), represented District 1 in the North Dakota Senate since 2015 and has been a dentist for more than 30 years.

As a North Dakota Senator, Brad has worked tirelessly to champion the needs of cities. His experience on the Williston City Commission brings invaluable expertise and knowledge to his position on the Senate Political Subdivisions standing committee. His colleagues on that committee frequently look to him to guide their decisions and Brad is always looking out for the best interest of all North Dakota cities.

Brad actively and generously supports a variety of hometown organizations including Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Boy Scouts, Amateur Hockey, a number of resource conservation and economic development councils, Theodore Roosevelt Expressway, NDDOT Strategic Statewide Transportation Forum and the North Dakota oil and gas producing counties.

Photo L to R: Tate Cymbaluk, Williston City Commissioner and NDLC Executive Board Member; Howard Klug, Williston Mayor; Brad Bekkedahl; David Tuan, Williston City Administrator Photo Credit: Andrea Duntz

Thank you, Steve, Brad, and all of the amazing city staff across North Dakota!