Colton Fliflet was under the impression he was attending a banquet to celebrate his brother Jackson’s 14U Babe Ruth baseball team on Monday, Aug. 26.
The players lined up at Bois de Sioux Golf Course and took a few hacks at a piñata designed as a baseball. They offered Colton a chance to break it open and he swung away like a lumberjack.
The 10-year-old was happy to get the first Tootsie Roll when he cracked it open and tried to book it back to his group. His mother, Ashley Fliflet, encouraged him to keep looking around when he pulled out a rolled-up banner. Colton unveiled it to read “COLTON YOUR WISH HAS COME TRUE!!” He was headed to Legoland in Florida.
“(Make-a-Wish) came in June of this year and said, ‘We don’t want to push this off anymore. This kid deserves his wish,’” Ashley said. “We have a trundle under his bed and most people put clothes and stuff in that or sheets, but no. All of his are Lego pieces that are built that he doesn’t want to get ruined. They told him about Legoland and he said, ‘Oh, I want to go there.’”
Colton had a non-cancerous brain tumor removed last year. His trip has been a long time coming and there was a lot of work done behind the scenes to make it possible.
“We were told about Make-a-Wish by our social worker. They kind of helped get the ball rolling because a lot of the paperwork has to be filled out by physicians and they have to sign off and say he’s healthy enough to travel and stuff like that,” Ashley said.
Colton thought he was going to meet with Kaycee Fuder, who he calls his “Make-a-Wish friend” to tell her about his trip to Alabama. It was “coincidentally” the same location as what he thought was the baseball banquet, which was actually held after Colton’s celebration at a different location. He was happy to have the team he followed to Kentucky and Alabama at the event.
“I showed them who actually knew how to hit,” Colton said.
Colton’s a creative builder that tries to keep his sets intact once they’re finished. His love of Legos is shared with the video game Minecraft, which is also for people to use their imaginations to create. His original wish was to meet YouTuber, “DanTDM” who makes Minecraft videos for his more than 22 million subscribers, but they couldn’t make an international trip to the United Kingdom work out.
“(Make-a-Wish) helped him brainstorm asking what he liked to do, which is of course play Minecraft and the other one was build with Legos,” Ashley said.
Colton was thrilled when he learned Legoland was a possibility. Other stops on the trip will include Magic Kingdom Park, Universal Studios and Kennedy Space Center. Space is an interest that came about during his time in the hospital.
“On his first MRI they put him in a hospital gown, but it was an astronaut uniform is what it looked like. They put this big MRI over his head and that was his spacesuit and then he was going into a space shuttle,” Ashley said. “It can be kind of intimidating if you don’t know what to expect. Ever since then he’s kind of been obsessed with astronauts and all of that so that’s why he wanted to go to Kennedy Space Center.”
Colton will be joined by mother, his brother Jackson and his grandpa Steve Mann.
“No matter what they’ll have in store for us, it’ll just be an amazing trip. He deserves it. He’s had a really tough year and a half,” Ashley said. “Lots of therapy, lots of doctor appointments. It’ll be nice that just for a week he can go have fun and not worry about when his next appointment is or anything like that.”
Wine lovers descended on Crooked Lane Farm in Colfax, North Dakota, Saturday for the Dakota Vines first annual grape stomp. The two businesses are next-door neighbors along the Wild Rice River and co-hosted the event.
The family-friendly afternoon featured Dakota Vines wine, food trucks, live music by The Fladlands and Beyond Blue, vendors and even a cork craft class. It attracted approximately 300 people.
Sixteen teams competed in four heats of grape stomping, the winner of each moving on to the final four. Some wore matching outfits or T-shirts, and even “Lucille Ball” showed up, portrayed by Linda Anderson of Moorhead, Minnesota.
One team member entered the barrel and stomped while their teammate collected the juice during the timed competitions. The team collecting the most juice won.
The semi-finalist teams competing for a case of wine were Cast Away — Shonie Christensen and Marijo Bjorlin, Here for the Right Riesling — Tristan Miller and Kari Callenius, Like Mother, Like Daughter — Cindy Shone and April Shone, and The Toasted Travelers — Tracey Steffes and Glenda Larson. The crowd cheered while Crooked Lane Farm’s Mary Jo Schmid announced and Dakota Vines’ Bob Grosz refereed.
The final winners were The Toasted Travelers.
“We were thrilled with our first grape stomp,” Deb Grosz, Dakota Vines, said. “Everything went well and we’re already planning next year’s event. It will be Saturday, Aug. 29 at Crooked Lane Farm.”
She and Bob said they are grateful to their neighbors at Crooked Lane for co-hosting the event.
“We’d like to thank our awesome vendors and all who came out to support us. Special thanks to our volunteers who helped the event run so smoothly,” she said.
“We had an excellent time and enjoyed the folks who stopped out to the farm,” Schmid added. “The stomp was crazy fun and the folks who participated were great sports. We’re already thinking about next year and changes we can make to add attractions and activities.”
She noted the grape stomp was a perfect complimentary event between Crooked Lane Farm and Dakota Vines.
Dakota Vines Vineyard and Winery is now on their autumn schedule, open 12-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through Oct. 27.
The business will also be open this year for Small Business Saturday on Nov. 30.
Back to school season continued Saturday, Aug. 24 in Wahpeton.
North Dakota State College of Science opened its residence halls and by mid-morning, the Wahpeton campus was full of activity.
“It’s been constantly busy,” said Sye Skjefte, a senior resident assistant. “Everything’s been going really well and very smoothly.”
Classes began Monday, Aug. 26 for NDSCS students in Wahpeton, Fargo and online. The college’s new student orientation activities will continue through Friday, Aug. 30.
“(They) will include outdoor evening activities for new and returning students,” NDSCS stated.
Eilish Neff is a first-year student majoring in wildlife management. The Ashburn, Virginia, native comes to Wahpeton so she can play softball.
“She’s the third of my four daughters and the first to come here,” Matt Neff said.
Neff and her roommate, Demi Uffelman, have much in common. Both are softball players and newcomers to the Twin Towns Area. A land surveying and civil engineering student, Uffelman hails from Hardin, Montana.
The incoming freshmen are just two members of NDSCS’ student community this fall. While move-in can be stressful, observers said that wasn’t the case Saturday morning.
“People have been friendly as we’re getting them checked in,” said Issac Joerger, another resident assistant.
North Dakota’s education year began Wednesday, Aug. 21. Districts in Minnesota are set to begin classes on Tuesday, Sept. 3.
“The start of school is like the beginning of our growing season,” North Dakota state School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler said previously. “It’s a time for new, fresh perspectives, energy and innovation.”
Look to Daily News and News-Monitor for education coverage throughout the 2019-2020 school year.
1 Season Wrap-Up: Kroshus and Krew performs at the the summer’s final Music in the Park concert, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 28, band shelter at Chahinkapa Park.
2 Today’s History: In 1859, the first successful oil well in the United States was drilled by Edwin L. Drake near Titusville, Pennsylvania.
3 Give the gift of life: Valley Christian Church is hosting an American Red Cross blood drive from 1-7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29, 721 Main Street, Breckenridge.
4 Open House: Breckenridge Public Schools will hold its K-6 Open House from 4:30-6 p.m. Wednesday Aug. 28. The first day of school for the district is Tuesday, Sept. 3.
The boiler room of the Masonite PrimeBoard plant, 2441 15th St. N. in Wahpeton, caught fire at approximately 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23.
Flames began at the floor and rose, Wahpeton Fire Chief Dale Rubish said. A pump that supplies thermal oil to heat PrimeBoard’s presses was on fire.
The oil fed the fire, but after a half-hour, the pump ran out of oil and the fire burned itself out. Initial reports indicated the fire was fed by natural gas.
Damages were confined to the boiler room. The area’s electrical and mechanical systems received extensive damage.
It is unsure how much the fire affected Masonite PrimeBoard’s operations. A plant representative did not return Daily News’ call.
Firefighters from Wahpeton and Dwight, North Dakota, responded at the scene. No injuries were reported. Masonite PrimeBoard was evacuated when the fire began.
Shortly after 9:30 p.m. Friday, bulldozers began digging outside the plant. Crews were called in to clean the scene and make repairs, Rubish said.
Ambulance Service Inc. and the Wahpeton Police Department also responded at the scene.
In March 2019, an explosion occurred at Masonite PrimeBoard. A tank ruptured and tore out a section of the plant’s roof, Rubish said previously.
Although there was an explosion, there was no actual fire.
No injuries were reported.