Nice news of the week – February 13, 2020

Congratulations to Center’s Andy Riehl, who won $27,750 on Wheel of Fortune!  Did you know:

  • Bowman’s Chad Welch, bowled a perfect game on January 29?
  • North Dakota has five U.S. Presidential Scholars nominees in Career and Technical Education, including Rachel Craig, Aiden Fire, Gary Wu, and Katherine Liberman, all of Grand Forks?
  • The North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame is celebrating its 25th anniversary?
  • Every blood donation helps three people on average?  Good thing for communities like McClusky, which has donated 953 units since 2003 to potentially save 2,859 lives!
  • Saturday, February 15 is Winterfest at Cross Ranch State Park?  The day includes soup and s’mores, crafts, snow painting, a water balloon range, sled rides, and a snowshoe obstacle course.

And did you know this week’s news is about a Saturday Night outfit, rural grocery stores, and Miss Amazing?  Read on.


Whew – doing polar plunges (or in this case, Polar Pigs) in North Dakota is not for the lighthearted.  Valley City’s Chad Henningsgard has jumped TWICE, and raised $4,500 for Home Health & Hospice. (Valley City Times-Record)

I recently read a story about a 6-year-old girl who was in the ICU with pneumonia over Christmas.  She had gone into the hospital the week before, and was worried that she’d miss Christmas at home if she stayed.  So, her family just pretended like the “real” Christmas didn’t happen, and when she got out of the hospital a week or so later, they told her it was Christmas Eve and celebrated as if it was December 24.  Now she’s 13, and she still talks about the “Christmas miracle” that occurred that let her come home just in time for Christmas (and her family has never told her the truth).  I can’t think of a scenario where it’s better to miss a holiday than to hold off a holiday for love – like the Nienas family of Fargo, who waited until February to celebrate Christmas so their son could come home from deployment. (Fargo Forum)

An anonymous donor gave $120,000 to fund refrigerated food lockers and a distribution truck to help rural grocery stores. (KX Net)

Jessica Just sells vintage clothes out of her Mandan basement to TV shows like “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “The Astronaut Wives Club,” and now, “Saturday Night Live.”(Bismarck Tribune)

Grand Forks’ Kayla Robison will once again cook it out on “Guy’s Grocery Games” on the Food Channel. (Grand Forks Herald)

The Bismarck Library Foundation asked the community for $150,000 for a new bookmobile, and donors far exceeded that. (Bismarck Tribune)

Customers at Hornbacher’s in Fargo and West Fargo donated $80,000 in December to the Great Plains Food Bank. (KVRR)

What a COOL idea for a craft program: Fort Stevenson State Park taught people how to weave Ojibwa snow shoes. (McLean Independent)

North Dakota is spending the next three years improving stroke systems across the state, especially in rural communities. (KFYR TV)

The Jamestown High School Library has received a grant to bring in more books by North Dakota authors, and more graphic novels.  Awesome. (Jamestown Sun)

North Dakota is now home to a new “pageant-like event” thanks to Miss North Dakota USA Sam Redding: North Dakota Miss Amazing, for girls and women with disabilities.  The participants will show off their skills in a one-on-one interview, a passion performance, and an evening gown walk. (KX Net)

Fargo’s Tim Flakoll is building a library at the Cass County Jail. (Grand Forks Herald)

An update on the bikers behind the Not So Heavenly Bodies Calendar out of Bismarck – they raised $16,500 to help Heavens Helpers Soup Kitchen buy a van. (KX Net)

The community of Bowman came out for soup and sandwiches and to help 4-year-old Olivia Frie. (Bowman Extra)

Story of the Week: My grandmother put a high value on good manners – she used to say that my sister and I needed to be ready to go to Buckingham Palace at a moments’ notice. 🙂  I think she’d be thrilled to see students at Dickinson participate in “Manners Luncheons” to put their best behaviors forward. (Dickinson Press)

Nice news of the week – February 6, 2020

Happy Birthday to Minot’s Norma Hanson, who turned 100 years old on February 1! Did you know:

  • Fargo’s Karissa Mehr and Jason Melin are in the background in the new Kevin Smith movie, “Jay & Silent Bob Reboot?”  Karissa and Jason spent two days filming a scene at a Jay & Silent Bob convention, dressed as “Jay-lor Moon and Sai-lent Bob.”
  • The Roosevelt Park Zoo is about to get a new leopard habitat for its two snow leopards, Marty and Ramani, and its Amur leopard, Clover?
  • Erwin and Wilma Pfenning of McClusky just celebrated their 75th anniversary?
  • Casey Hillebrand of Fargo is on a mission to get North Dakota to “Unhide a Hydrant” by shoveling around fire hydrants to help firefights get to the water as quickly as possible?
  • North Dakota’s Department of Commerce is giving away two grants – one for $25,000 and one for $5,000 – to one filmmaker and one Instagrammer to tell the story of North Dakota?

And did you know this week’s news is about the Winter Deaflympics, the Grand Cities Children’s Choir, the Story of the Week – and much more?  Read on.


The GOD’S CHILD Project was founded in 1991 by Bismarck’s Patrick Atkinson to help care for orphans around the world.  After her children grew up and moved out and her husband passed away, 85-year-old Audrey Erickson Gerhardson decided to become an “adopted grandmother” to children in Guatemala through The GOD’S CHILD Project, and now she spends her days rocking her babies. (Fargo Forum)

David Zimmerman has been teaching at the North Dakota School for the Deaf for 30 years, and recently won his third gold medal coaching the US men’s national dead hockey team to the Winter Deaflympics. (Devils Lake Journal)

They aren’t just good for the latest in fez fashion and crazy cars – the Jamestown Shriners gave out $122,000 in 2019. (Jamestown Sun)

Minot’s Sarah Hanley has published a book entitled “Matka” that is loosely based on her grandmother, who came to North Dakota after being held as a POW in a German prison camp. (Minot Daily News)

Volaire’s Lacey Homen paints pictures of people’s beloved deceased pets as a way to preserve their memory. (KX Net)

The Williston Rainbow Girls bought and donated $2,000 worth of winter gear for students to keep warm this winter. (Williston Herald)

We’ve talked about Hunter Pinke on here before, and now KFYR TV has taken a look at the community rallying around him. (KFYR TV)

Knights, rogues, clerics, and wizards gathered in Fargo to raise money for 4 Luv of Dog Rescue. (KX Net)

Light from sadness: The Grand Cities Children’s Choir lost a long-time member, and so they dedicated their concert to his memory and donated the proceeds from the event, which were supposed to fund a trip to New York this month, to his family to pay for his funeral. (Grand Forks Herald)

After Dickinson’s Maggie Kessler was sidelined with an autoimmune disease, she decided to channel her energy into giving old sports equipment a second shot to “play it forward.” (Dickinson Press)

Grafton’s Glenn Paulson is 95 years old and still rockin’ for his fellow seniors. (Grand Forks Herald)

I have done event planning as a part of my job for 20+ years, and so I have the utmost respect for Chris Misialek – who is the party planner for all of Minto. (Grand Forks Herald)

Four families from Emerado and Thompson (and Shelley, MN) started a high-fiber pasta company and is donating part of the proceeds to Journey Home Animal Rescue of Grand Forks. (Grand Forks Herald)

Story of the Week: Williston’s Kievyn Waggoner celebrated his 11th birthday by donating his birthday presents to the Mondak Animal Rescue. (Williston Herald)

Nice news of the week – January 30, 2020

Congratulations to Mrs. North Dakota International Melanie Iverson and Miss North Dakota International LeAnne Brydl!  Did you know:

  • Mandan High School won the first state championship in eSports?  They competed against 14 schools, and went on to the Central Regional Championship in Louisiana.
  • The Fargo Force hockey team collects teddy bears (they are thrown on the ice during a “Teddy Bear Toss”), and then hands them out to kids at Essentia and Sanford Children’s Hospital?
  • Harvey’s Allen Sauter will be inducted into the North Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame for his seven decade career in flight?
  • The Jamestown Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign raised over $156,000 this year – $17,000 more than projected – thanks, in part, to a $40,000 donation and a gift of two rare coins?
  • “Give Kids a Smile” will be providing free dental care to kids ages 3-18 at North Dakota State College of Science on February 7?  You can sign up by calling 701-671-2333.
  • It was my birthday yesterday (Wednesday, January 29? 🙂

And did you know this week’s news is about an enthusiastic reader, a field full of helpers, the Story of the Week – and much more?  Read on.


Elgin’s Alina Maier is working her way through every book at the Elgin Public Library.  She’s at 1,200 books as of this publishing – and when she finishes, she’s going to start again.  (Note: the real gem of this article is the last line.(Grant County News)

Three Burleigh County deputies – Joe Gibbs, Joseph Walker, and Cpl. Jeremy Alm – risked their own lives to rescue a woman from the frozen Missouri River. (KFYR TV)

Congratulations to the South Heart six-graders who won the North Dakota Future City competition with an essay and what looks like an amazing diorama.  The kids are off to Washington, D.C. in February to compete on a national level. (Dickinson Press)

My husband is from a small rural community, and music education when he was growing up was basically non-existent.  So, Fargo’s Janna Lin, a senior at Davies High School, is bringing orchestral ensembles to rural schools with the hopes of sparking interest in music. (Dickinson Press)

Rugby’s Caroline Doucette is a watercolorist whose work will be exhibited in Boston through March 1 with the New England Watercolor Society.  This article is a good look at how she became a full-time professional artist. (Pierce County Tribune)

I love how North Dakotans will always rally around someone in need. (KFYR TV)

Like the Dakota Zoo?  You have the Brother’s Keepers Motorcycle Club to thank, in part. (KFYR TV)

As a person who loves the movies, I think this is a great idea: Daniel Bielinski is on a one-man mission to make North Dakota a movie-making hub. (Williston Herald)

Our four-year-old loves ice cream.  A few weeks ago, I whispered, “Do you want to go and get ice cream?” to my husband, and our 4-year-old came running from the other side of the house yelling, “I want to get ice cream!”  So, I’m guessing he will be pretty excited about You Betcha Ice Cream. (Grand Forks Herald)

The F5 Project helps former prisoners build new-and-improved lives.  One of the people behind the organization, Lenard Wells, was recently honored with one of three Martin Luther King Jr. Human Relations Awards for his work as the F5 housing coordinator.  The other two recipients are Zamzam Abid, who founded NDSU’s Somali Student Association, and the Legacy Children’s Foundation, who provides academic coaches for new Americans. (Fargo Forum)

Devils Lake’s Kyle and Karin Blanchfield are the 2019 recipients of the Honor Our Heroes Patriot Award, for helping “share the stories of our nation’s true heroes, while helping them heal in the great outdoors.” (Devils Lake Journal)

Tracy’s Sanctuary House in Bismarck has spent the last 15 years providing North Dakota Nice to out-of-town families whose loved ones are in the hospital in North Dakota with a life-threatening issue.  Now, they are in need of funds.  (KX Net)

When Fargo’s Vern Whitten had a heart attack, first responders brought him back to life – and so Vern took some time out to say thank you in person. (Fargo Forum)

More than 450 came out to see 60 student wrestlers raise money for the Sunrise and West River Health Services foundations. (Bowman County Pioneer)

Story of the Week: Mandan’s Jerry Zachmeier spends hours each week streaming Mandan High sporting events for family members to watch the games for free. (KX Net)