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Kinley Albertson is a student in Rachel Johnson’s second grade class at Breckenridge Elementary


HUSKIES: Wahpeton golfers brave the cold at state meet

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FALL HARVEST: Share your photos from the field

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4 Things To Know Today

1. This Day in History: In 1967, Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as the first black Supreme Court justice.

2. Defying NCAA: California will allow college athletes to hire agents and make money from endorsement deals just like the pros. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the law which is set to take effect in 2023 and could trigger a legal challenge.

3. BBB to be at Breckenridge Library: The Breckenridge Public Library will host a free talk by the Better Business Bureau at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8 on the topic of outsmarting scammers.

4. Today’s Birthdays include non-violence advocate Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948), comedian Groucho Marx (1890-1977), comedian Bud Abbott (1897-1974), rocker Sting (1951-), actress Lorraine Bracco (1954-) and TV personality Kelly Ripa (1970-).

Wahpeton man is acquitted of sexual assault charges

A jury trial was held on Sept. 27 at the Wilkin County Courthouse which led to the acquittal of Raymond Frederick Robinson, III, for sexual assault.

The Wahpeton man was tried for a felony third-degree, criminal sexual conduct of force/coercion charge and a gross misdemeanor, fifth-degree, nonconsensual sexual contact charge. Ultimately, the jury led to the unanimous verdict of not guilty to which Judge Charles Glasrud acquitted Robinson.

Robinson was charged with these counts Aug. 8, 2018, and consequently pleaded not guilty on both counts on Sept. 11, 2018.

Robinson was arrested for sexual assault in August 2018. The alleged victim contacted law enforcement to report being sexually assaulted by the defendant. The victim alleges the defendant was a friend of herself and her husband and had sexually assaulted her in their garage.

The defendant told law enforcement that he had been at the victim’s home and had consensual sex with the victim.

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School debuts $100K DON'T QUIT fitness center

If you were to walk into the Breckenridge Elementary gymnasium in the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 1, you would have heard the students cheer and stomp their feet to the beat of the band playing in excitement for the grand opening of the fitness center.

This fitness center will provide space for students to build their health. It also provides an area for students to utilize during the rainy days and winter months when outside play and exercise become difficult.

Elementary Principal Corinna Erickson welcomed the students and community to the opening of the new fitness center.

“This center will help our students see and feel all the benefits of a healthy and fit lifestyle. This opportunity will provide lifelong skills that our students can take with them wherever they go,” said Erickson.

Famed fitness icon and Chairman of the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils, Jake Steinfield, was welcomed to the podium, “Cowboys and Cowgirls, how are you doing this morning?” he cheered.

“I remember being back in elementary school,” Steinfeld said. “I was a really overweight kid and I had a really bad stutter growing up. One day, my dad bought me a set of weights and it changed my life. Because not only did the weights build my body, but it built my confidence and my self-esteem.”

Steinfeld credits building the strength of your body to building the strength in your confidence, self-esteem and health. For him, being in better shape will allow you to attend school and be more focused on learning.

“When you have your health and when you have hope, you have everything,” he said.

The elementary school was awarded this $100,000 center after they made a video explaining why this center was important for the students and community. This video was made by several students, Erickson and Miriam Tobola, director of innovation of learning and several students (https://youtu.be/YBYy88OH302E/).

“The video that was put together was simple and elegant. Because it told us about this school and this community. We heard about the snow days, we heard about the fact that six to seven months of the school year you guys are inside,” said Steinfeld. “What I loved the most about it was that you guys were being creative, that you cared, and that there are parents who care, teachers who care, this community cares about each other.”

After Steinfeld and his team saw the video, he shared, “We said, ‘that Breckenridge Elementary, they have great parents, they have great teachers, a great community, great students. They care, they love and understand that academics and fitness go hand and hand,’” Steinfeld said, “We know we chose the right school.”

A group of students were chosen and trained with the equipment. These students were able to show off their knowledge of equipment after the ribbon cutting. Utilization of the fitness center will begin with the students and eventually extend to the staff to see how that goes before they entertain the idea of opening to the public. They are in no hurry to do so as the Breckenridge-Wahpeton area has many fitness centers spread throughout the community.

This donation began with a phone call by Steinfeld to Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz. It was announced in May that Breckenridge Elementary School along with two other Minnesota schools had won a $100,000 fitness center through the DON’T QUIT! campaign. In addition to Breckenridge, Greenway Public School in Coleraine, Minnesota, and E-STEM Middle School in Woodbury, Minnesota, also won.

Steinfeld and his team have been to 31 states and have donated DON’T QUIT! fitness centers to 149 schools.

Dozenth ‘Day of Caring’ held
Volunteer teams worked for, visited with community members

Celebrating its 12th anniversary, United Way of Richland-Wilkin’s Day of Caring was held Tuesday, Oct. 1.

Numerous volunteers teamed up and went out into local communities. Visiting participating homes and businesses, the volunteers did everything from yard work to putting up Christmas decorations.

“We celebrate the volunteers who are here and willing to help the community, but it also takes the community members who are willing to let people who could be strangers come and help,” said United Way Executive Director Colette Barton. “It’s a win-win on both sides.”

Volunteer teams included a quartet of welding students from North Dakota State College of Science, Wahpeton. Alex Johannsen, Oscar Lindberg, Cody Rader and Gavin Reinke worked at the home of Michael and Evelyn Krug, Wahpeton. The youths’ activity included pruning trees and clearing gutters.

“We were in the process of redoing the deck, but had to stop due to the weather,” Michael Krug said.

Although an exact number of volunteers wasn’t available Tuesday morning, estimates indicate at least 120 participants.

“The students have really stepped up. We have some of the businesses in town that have their employees come and help out,” Board Director Perry Miller said.

Day of Caring is not only a great community event, Miller continued, but a really nice bonding event for volunteers.

“It helps folks get their homes ready for winter, whether it’s through inside projects or outside projects,” he said.

Alyssa Waskosky is a registered nursing student at NDSCS. According to Barton, Waskosky is one of the many participants who’ve embraced the giving spirit.

“This is my first time participating. We need volunteer hours, an e-mail about this event came up and I knew it would be a fun way to benefit the community,” Waskosky said.

Volunteerism is just one component of Day of Caring, Barton said.

“It’s also about the relationships we can create,” she continued. “It’s about the connections that people can create.”

People in the Twin Towns Area should always be proud of their neighbors, Barton said.

“We have great folks who live here and great folks who want to help each other out,” she added. “We see that time and time again, which is one of the awesome things about our community.”

Helping neighbors and community members isn’t limited to one day.

Wahpeton High School will hold its second annual Day of Caring on Wednesday, Oct. 9. For more information or to coordinate a student volunteer visit, call 701-642-2604.

Upgrades coming to 911 call centers
Cost-cutting, training aid and GIS improvements expected

Emergency and communications officials in Richland County, North Dakota, are supporting planned upgrades to the state’s 911 call centers.

The U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Department of Transportation announced an award to North Dakota’s 911 system Monday, Sept. 30. Through the 911 Grant Program, $1,473,805 will be allocated to call centers. These locations, also known as public safety answering points, will be upgrading to Next Generation 911 capabilities.

Jill Breuer, communications and 911 manager for Richland County, said the funding will eventually cut local costs, aid in telecommunication training and improve the county’s geographic information system.

“As a whole, 911 coordinators in the state work together as advocates to help make things better,” Breuer said.

North Dakota has 22 public safety answering points, the state association of counties stated. These locations have been in the process of transitioning to Next Generation 911 over the past five years.

“This grant will help fund the next phase of enhancements to upgrade equipment and operations so that citizens, first responders and 911 call-takers can use digital IP-based, broadband-enabled technologies to coordinate emergency response,” the association continued.

Richland County Emergency Manager Brett Lambrecht is looking forward to the enhanced experience.

“It’s important to have enhancement and improvement, making things better and safer for our public and our firefighters. We want people who are better trained and better equipped,” Lambrecht said.

Grant funding will absolutely have an impact on modernization, according to state Next Generation 911 Program Manager Jason Horning.

“This will enable the state to continue leading the nation on Next Generation 911,” Horning said. “North Dakota will be one of the first states to have an IP-based network from caller to dispatcher. That achievement is on the heels of North Dakota being the sixth state in the country to implement a statewide text-to-911 program.”

Enhancements will take some time, Breuer said. She’s expecting more information to come later this month.

“We’re expecting the funding to come within the next year,” Breuer continued.

There are three specific plans for the next phase of Next Generation 911 enhancements, Horning said.

“Implementation of advanced GIS mapping systems will make it easier to identify a 911 caller’s location,” he continued. “The second will create IP connections to our state’s telecommunications service providers.”

This feature will set the foundation for citizens to share pictures and videos with dispatchers in the future, expanding on the text-to-911 service currently available in North Dakota.

“Imagine the impact a picture or video will have in relaying information to first responders,” Horning added.

Finally, the funding will assist in dispatcher training.

“Our dispatchers are handling more information than ever before and that will only increase going forward,” added Karen Kemper, 911 coordinator in Cavalier County, North Dakota. “We need to make sure they have the training they need to do their job effectively and efficiently.”

North Dakota has three years to use its grant funding. The 911 Grant Program has awarded a total of $109 million to 34 states and two tribal nations.