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Thanks for 150 Years opens Friday
Last of Wahpeton’s four birthday celebrations

“Thanks for 150 Years,” Wahpeton’s last of four sesquicentennial celebration weekends, begins Friday, Nov. 29.

Lasting through Saturday, Nov. 30, the event will feature activities expected to be staples of future celebrations.

Pre-weekend festivities begin Tuesday, Nov. 26, with the first of Wahpeton’s annual holiday celebrations. The Wahpeton Christmas Tree is scheduled to be lit at 6 p.m. A Santa’s Workshop at Heritage Square, downtown Wahpeton, opens that afternoon at 4 p.m.

“Santa’s Workshop is sponsored by Heritage Insurance,” according to wahpeton150.com. “There will be prize drawings after the lighting.”

Beginning at dusk that evening, Holiday Lane opens for the season. A free, public lights display, Holiday Lane is located along Laura Hughes Drive in Chahinkapa Park. It will be open every evening from Tuesday, Nov. 26-Tuesday, Dec. 31.

Daily News has the final schedule of Thanks for 150 Years events. All are located in Wahpeton.

Friday, Nov. 29

Free rides on the Prairie Rose Carousel, 4-6 p.m.: Sponsored by Lies, Bullis & Hatting and Farmers Union Insurance.

Holiday Lights Parade through Chahinkapa Park, 6 p.m.: Santa, cider, treats and music to follow at Rosemeade Chalet. Treats sponsored by Ag Country Farm Credit Services. Parade participants are asked to line up by 5:45 p.m. For more information or to enter, email Community Development Director Chris DeVries at chrisd@wahpeton.com or call 701-642-8448.

Fireworks display at John Randall Field, approximately 7 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 30

“Pages Ago” open, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.: Recall the history of Wahpeton. Browse old newspapers dating back to the early 1900s. Enjoy reminiscing with friends and share a story for the memory wall. Pages Ago is located at 521 Dakota Ave., with entrance on Sixth Street South. Its regular hours are 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Red Door Art Gallery open, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.: The gallery, located at 418 Dakota Ave., is the 150th anniversary headquarters. Items on display through Saturday, Jan. 4 includes holiday-themed pieces. There’s also artwork suitable for gift giving.

150th Celebration reception, 5-8 p.m.: This finale event is located at the Wahpeton Event Center, 995 21st Ave. N. It will include:

• free admission

• free hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar

• a vendor fair; organizers encourage supporting local small businesses

• music by the Soggy Bottom Science Boys

• drawings throughout the evening

• souvenir sales

“The raffle drawing for a new colt custom cap and ball black powder period-correct pistol will take place at the reception,” wahpeton150.com stated. “You need not be present to win.”

Sesquicentennial organizers are proud of the events’ sponsors, volunteers and community supporters.

Look to Daily News, in print and online, for coverage of “Thanks for 150 Years.” Additional sesquicentennial photos are available at www.wahpetondailynews.com.

Editor / Carrie McDermott • Daily News  

Membership appreciation

The Red Door Art Gallery in Wahpeton held its membership appreciation reception Thursday, Nov. 21. Guests were treated to hors d’oeuvres created by the culinary arts students from the North Dakota State College of Science, and desserts provided by gallery board members and volunteers. Pictured, gallery board President Dee Jensen welcomes guests and thanks them for their support. The holiday showcase exhibit is up now through Jan. 4 and features artwork and hand-crafted items suitable for gift-giving. The gallery will also host the annual Holiday Vendor Show on Saturday, Dec. 7, and Gallery Director Noah Dobmeier encourages residents and visitors to stop in while shopping locally for one-of-a-kind artwork and gift items. See’s Candies are also available for sale at the gallery through the holidays.

Minn. auditor releases 2018 town finance report

Minnesota State Auditor Julie Blaha released the 2018 town finances report Friday, Nov. 22. The report showed trends in revenues and debt service expenditures had decreased while the expenditures increased. The report includes multiple highlights of Minnesota towns.

Breckenridge 2018 budget totals provided are not actual but rather indicate totals represented in a January 2019 public utilities newsletter. The 2018 actual numbers came out in June 2019, once an audit was done. City Administrator Renae Smith will update the actual numbers in the near future.

Minnesota towns reported in 2018 total revenues of $317.3 million, representing a 2.4 percent decrease over the total revenues reported in 2017. Breckenridge reported its 2018 budgeted total revenues to be $3,184,722, compared to 2017 actual total revenues at $3,773,807.

Towns reported total expenditures in 2018 of $312.2 million, representing a 1.9 percent increase over the amount reported in 2017. Total expenditures for Wilkin County in 2018 was $17,535,351. Breckenridge reported its 2018 budgeted total expenditures to be $2,681,343, compared to 2017 actual at $3,018,329.

Towns had debt service expenditures of $11.1 million in 2018, representing a 16.3 percent decrease from 2017. Breckenridge reported its 2018 budgeted total debt service-principal at $420,488, compared to 2017 actual at $426,475. Debt service expenditures are the principal and interest payments on outstanding indebtedness.

“We’ll be analyzing this data further, once we issue the 2018 city and county financial reports,” Blaha said. “Early next year, we’ll be taking a collective and in-depth look at all local government financial information and we’re looking forward to sharing those findings.”

Daily News will report coverage of 2018 actual numbers, 2019 budget and the adopted 2020 adopted budget upon release.

5K Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving 

Valley Lake Boys Home (VLBH) will be holding its first annual 5K Turkey Trot on Thursday, Nov. 28 at Breckenridge Family Community Center. The proceeds will go to the boys’ home to fund a Christmas and New Year party.

Runners and walkers of all abilities will start the day at Breckenridge Family Community Center with registration from 7:30-8 a.m. and at 8:10 a.m. the race will begin. Registration will be $25. Waiver forms and payment can be dropped off at Breckenridge City Hall, Breckenridge Schools, Breckenridge Drug, Wahpeton Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce or a check can be mailed to VLBH, PO Box 411, Breckenridge, MN 56520. Make checks payable to Valley Lake Boys Home.

“I was hoping to get at least 50 (runner/walkers), there have been some registrations still coming in, but I am thinking there will be closer to 75,” Executive Director Joanna Etzler said. “I got a lot more responses than I expected for this being the first year. Next year I hope to add a one-mile walk/run for kids or those who don’t want to do the full 5K.”

The proceeds from the fundraiser will go to the boys’ Christmas and New Year party. There will be a Christmas party where all of the boys will be there to play games, such as bingo, and win prizes. Everybody will get a present that is donated or comes from fundraising. There will be some boys that will not be going to their hometown and will stay at the home on Christmas day. These boys will have other gifts to open that are also from donations.

“We try to do something special to show them that they can have a family-friendly place of clean fun,” Etzler said.

“We do a lot of community service events. For instance, if someone is having a pancake breakfast, we’ll go set up and takedown for those sorts of events. We help out at the Wilkin County Fair and we’ve helped out at Relay for Life. There are certain groups that call on us to do those things and the boys do it with no reward, they just do them,” Etzler said.

VLBH is a private non-profit residential treatment facility for juvenile delinquent boys, ages 12-18. The facility provides supervision and programming for boys with behavior problems and delinquency issues. The home is a place where boys learn to respect others and themselves. There are currently nine boys in the 14-bed residence.

“They come to us from social services and probation. We take kids from a wide variety of places, typically from Minnesota but some from North Dakota. They have a wide variety of backgrounds. They typically stay for about six months, some longer or shorter. We provide structure. We try and teach them some skills and tools to become productive citizens and go back to their home communities and remain law-abiding,” Etzler said.

For more information, call VLBH at 218-643-4036.

4 Things to Know

1. This Day in History: In 1971, the hijacker known as D.B. Cooper parachuted from a plane over Washington state with $200,000 in ransom money and was never seen again.

2. Today’s Birthdays: William F. Buckley Jr. (1925-2008), columnist; Oscar Robertson (1938-), basketball player; Pete Best (1941-), drummer; Billy Connolly (1942-), actor/comedian; Spider Robinson (1948-), author; Russell Watson (1966-), singer; Stephen Merchant (1974-), actor/comedian; Katherine Heigl (1978-), actress.

3. Celebration Finale: The last celebration for Wahpeton’s Sesquicentennial year will be a reception that includes free hors d’oeuvres , a vendor fair, live music by the Soggy Bottom Science Boys, drawings, gun raffle and more. The free event runs 5-8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30 at Wahpeton Event Center and Catering.

4. Jingle and Mingle: Tangled Hair Studio in Wahpeton will host a vendor show from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3. Holiday drinks and snacks provided.

Career and Technical Center gets big USDA grant
Will affect southeast region schools and facilities

The Southeast Region Career and Technical Center is receiving an early present this year.

A $390,475 grant was approved Wednesday, Nov. 20 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Rural Department. Allocated from USDA’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant program, the money will be be used for expanding rural education access.

“It was approved to upgrade and replace distance education learning equipment and teleconferencing capacity in the 10 southeast North Dakota public schools and career and technical centers in Oakes and Wahpeton,” said Dan Rood, Jr., the center’s director.

The southeast center and its member schools were notified by the offices of U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer and U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, both R-N.D. Hoeven is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s agriculture subcommittee, which also includes Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont.

“These grants will help grow our health care workforce by providing equipment and broadband infrastructure that will enable North Dakota students to better access important career training, supporting development and growth in our rural communities,” Hoeven said.

An additional $214,366 grant was awarded to Bismarck State College for the expansion of its nursing education program and the funding of interactive, broadband facilities. Up to 150 rural nursing students are expected to benefit from the grant, Hoeven’s office stated.

Nearly 2,000 students, including 1,607 secondary students and 280 adults, are expected to benefit from the Southeast Region Career and Technology Center’s grant.

“This investment comes as part of a $42.6 million nationwide investment by the USDA into the expansion of rural education and healthcare access,” Cramer’s office stated.

Altogether, $604,841 was allocated to North Dakota facilities.

The “Greater Southwest” interactive learning consortium began in 1991 as an analog video network backed by Dickey Rural Networks and Red River Telephone. In the nearly 30 years since, it has evolved and been upgraded to include digital technology.

“This grant award will allow public schools to increase the quality and depth of classes and programs offered to area high school students,” Rood said.

Courses offered include dual-credit math and language arts classes from North Dakota State College of Science, plus foreign language, art, advanced placement biology, computer classes, health and medical science, marketing, psychology and sociology, sports marketing and patient care technician/emergency medical training.

“(The training) is crucial for helping our rural communities staff their volunteer ambulance services,” Rood said.

Grants were allocated throughout the United States, the USDA stated. More than $700,000 was allocated for programs in Minnesota.

A $500,000 allocation to the Education Innovation Partners Coop Center is earmarked to provide distance learning services to 28 sites across six northeastern Minnesota counties. Up to 21,000 students and 1,500 teachers are expected to benefit.

A $234,648 allocation to CentraCare Health System is earmarked to establish a telemedicine program to address a rural shortage of specialty care physicians. Video equipment will be placed at 10 locations in nine central Minnesota counties.

Four grants, totaling nearly $1,6 million, were allocated for programs in South Dakota. Two grants, totaling nearly $850,000 for Avera Health, are earmarked for medical facilities in South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska.

Upgrades in the ever-changing digital world, in addition to the state of North Dakota’s commitment to better broadband technology, are considered key factors to helping rural schools provide opportunities in the communities they serve.

“This upgrade will also help school districts meet staffing challenges in specialty areas and provide early college access on a larger scale,” Rood said.

Equipment, ITV studio and delivery upgrades are scheduled to be completed in early 2020. Daily News will continue to follow this story.

Levi Hasbargen is a student in Lori Randall’s second grade class at Breckenridge Elementary School.