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 day – October 30, 2019

Did you know North Dakota recently received The Attorney General’s Award for Fraud Prevention for the state’s efforts to combat fraud against the elderly and most vulnerable?

And did you know today’s news is about some Germans in North Dakota, a lifesaving Dakotan, and a custom casket?  Read on.

My coworker’s family hosted a student abroad student from Spain last year, and it was such a positive experience for all of them – they even went as a family to stay with her family after it was over – that my coworker is now hosting the family’s son, too.  Based on the happy faces in this photo, I’m guess the Williston High School study abroad families and students had a similar experience. (Williston Herald)

When North Dakota Nice becomes North Dakota Life: Four years ago, Dawn Degidio tried to kill herself by smoking crystal meth.  She collapsed on the side of the road between Thompson and North Dakota, and an anonymous man saved her. (Grand Forks Herald)

We certainly can’t hide from death, so Hillsboro’s El Olsen decided to make the most of it by designing and building his own casket with his family’s help.  Side note: he’s not sick or anything; he just wanted to make his own super-tricked-out coffin.  Believe it or not, this story is pretty cute. (Hillsboro Banner)


Image by artist and photographer Daria Khoroshavina

Nice news of the day – October 8, 2018

Almost 100 volunteers surprise Larimer family with home renovation during cancer treatment (Grand Forks Herald)

Kerri-Lynn and Dean Larimer, a school teacher and social service worker, respectfully, returned from a treatment trip to Mayo Clinic to find new floors, a new bathroom, a new furnace, new light fixtures, repainted walls, more trim, and a tidied yard – all thanks to a host of volunteers who wanted to show their love and support for the family during Kerri-Lynn’s melanoma fight.  All of the materials and labor were free, including the assistance from the University of Minnesota-Crookston baseball team.  Kerri-Lynn’s friends have also set up a GoFundMe to assist with the cost of treatment because, according to the GoFundMe site, insurance has chosen to stop coverage on her oncologist-recommended Chemotherapy.  You can donate here.

Sweet Briar School stays alive with love and learning from educators and 12 families (Bismarck Tribune)

Sweet Briar School, located near Mandan, is one of a few remaining small rural schools in North Dakota, but it is as strong as ever.  The school has 22 children from Kindergarten to 7th grade, although it can go to 8th grade if the students exist.  And just because it’s small, doesn’t mean it’s behind the times; Sweet Briar School has all of the latest 21st century learning mechanisms available to all North Dakota schools, including Lego robotics and extracurriculars.  Take a few minutes and read the whole Bismarck Tribune’s spotlight on the District; it will make you want to move to Sweet Briar.

Vel Rae Burkholder celebrated with AARP’s most prestigious award for community service (KVRR)

After 22 years of volunteering for the AARP, 82-year old Vel Rae Burkholder of Fargo has been presented with the organization’s 2018 Andrus Award.  As a part of the award, AARP will donate $500 to Moorhead’s Theater B, a charity Vel Rae selected.  From the story on KVRR:

While she says she’s both humbled and honored to receive the award, she says volunteering has always been her the best prize of all.

“It just seems like something that means more to you then. You learn from them as well as they learn from you and I just feel that it makes you happier,” Burkholder said.