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Tree, power line break, cause brief outage

A power outage briefly affected Wahpeton’s south side and the immediate vicinity Wednesday, July 31.

Diane O’Meara, Wahpeton, was in her home at the Red River Mobile Home Court. At approximately 10:35 a.m., she heard a loud bang.

The tree next to O’Meara’s home was broken. A large portion of the V-shaped tree landed hard on the home. In its descent, the snapped off portion jerked adjacent power lines, Wahpeton Fire Chief Dale Rubish said. The force was strong enough to break an electrical pole, sending its top portion to the ground.

“I never would have dreamt anything like this would happen,” O’Meara said.

No injuries were reported, although O’Meara said she was shaken up by what happened. She and neighbors were thankful for her health and that no one, particularly children, was where the electrical pole landed.

“I didn’t even think or get a chance to look. I just walked to the door. I don’t know if there’s damage to the house,” O’Meara said.

O’Meara, whose birthday is July 31, was entertaining two neighbors when the tree and pole came down. She lives in the home with her ex, O’Meara said.

“We own the house. We’re the only ones who own ours,” O’Meara continued.

Saying she had no prior warning about the tree, O’Meara added that she had brought up the idea of having it cut down. Otter Tail Power Company had been at the site in winter to cut branches off of power line.

“The power will be out in the trailer park until 2 p.m.,” Rubish said Wednesday afternoon. “Everyone else affected had power restored within a half-hour.”

While Rubish didn’t have an exact number of affected power customers, he said the brief outage affected a good chunk of south Wahpeton and further into land north of Fairmount, North Dakota.

A cause for the tree’s breaking is not yet known. Weather conditions in Wahpeton were forecast to include south-southeast winds ranging from 10-20 miles per hour, or gusts from 15-22 miles per hour.

Damage to the home was not immediately known. In addition to the Wahpeton Fire Department and Otter Tail Power Company, the Wahpeton Police Department responded.

Red River Mobile Home Court is located at 418 11th St. S. in Wahpeton.

In the Community
‘Major: A Soldier Dog’ depicts collie’s WWII service
Pet of former Wahpeton resident takes center stage

Nearly 75 years after his service, a World War II veteran from Wahpeton is in the spotlight.

Major, a border collie, was one of the more than 17,000 “Dogs For Defense” donated by Americans to aid in wartime. Prior to his training, Major was the pet of Sid Moore, now 81.

“I got him before I started school, when I was four years old,” Moore said. “He was the only playmate I had and he was with me all the time.”

“Major: A Soldier Dog,” recently published by Six Foot Press, tells of the canine and others like him. It’s written by Trevor Jones and illustrated by Ming Hai. Jones is also director and chief executive officer of History Nebraska.

“Fort Robinson is one of historical sites. Many things happened there, including this massive dog training center. We wondered how to tell this amazing story about people donating their pets and thought, what better way to do so than through the story of a child and his dog?” Jones said.

During World War II, the U.S. military established the Fort Robinson War Dogs Training Center. Dogs were trained to be deployed at battlefields and installations worldwide. They would serve as guards, scouts, messengers, sled runners and more.

Early in the program, the government asked civilians to volunteer their dogs for service.

“I think I’m the last surviving donor to the program,” Moore said.

Moore is a retired schoolteacher who reached the rank of lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army. In 1943, the five-year-old lived with his family and Major in Wahpeton.

“There was a farmer who had some sheep that he said my dog was chasing,” Moore said. “He was always on my father about that. Collies have a natural herding instinct, but Major always stayed around the house, close to me. After my dog was sent away, there was still someone chasing his sheep.”

Dogs For Defense was advertised in the Richland County Farmer-Globe, forerunner to today’s Daily News. At the time, approximately 5,000 people had donated their dogs.

“My teachers and everyone were solidly patriotic. My uncle was fighting in the South Pacific. I thought, ‘Well, maybe this was a good idea,’” Moore said.

A pivotal moment in “A Soldier Dog,” Jones and Moore agree, was when Major had to leave for Fort Robinson.

“We took the dog down to the depot,” Moore recalled. “Some guy was hollering, ‘Where’s that dog? We’ve only got three minutes left.’”

Major did not want to go. It was a struggle to get him into the boxcar. He growled, wrestled with the men transporting him and bit one. Moore’s dad suggested that Sid be used to help Major get the right idea.

Major would have followed Moore anywhere, Jones said.

“They lifted me up and put me in the boxcar. I was hugging him. One of the first things that crossed my mind was, maybe they’d let me go with him? But no, they said, ‘Get out of there.’ They reached in, grabbed me by the arm and I was standing there on the platform when the dog closed on the boxcar. It was traumatic,” Moore said.

It is unknown exactly where Major served during World War II. “A Soldier Dog” depicts he and Richard “Zeke” Zika of Detroit, Michigan, as being sent to Italy. According to Moore, Major remained in Nebraska, acting as a sentry on the home front.

The spring and summer of 1945 was filled with momentous events. President Franklin D. Roosevelt died that April, followed soon after by Adolf Hitler. May 8, 1945, became known as Victory in Europe Day. A few months later, Victory over Japan Day was celebrated on Aug. 15, with the formal surrender occurring on Sept. 2.

When the war ended, Moore said, he and his family lived in Wahpeton. Their neighbors included a young woman, approximately 22 or 23 years old, whose husband was fighting for the 101st Airborne Division in Germany.

“They announced over the radio that the armistice had been signed and all the women up and down the street just went nuts,” Moore said. “That woman, that young wife, she came out with two pans. She was beating those pans up over her head. It was kinda fascinating to see as a kid.”

Dogs For Defense might have concluded, but Fort Robinson remained an active location.

“Here’s the crazy part,” Jones said. “They shipped the dogs back to Fort Robinson and re-trained them as pets, then shipped them back to their families. These dogs had discharge papers. Of course, not every dog came home.”

Major’s homecoming was tough for Moore.

“I felt like I had betrayed him. I could hardly look him in the eye. He was trying to be friendly and stuff and eventually he started hanging around with my younger brother, Don,” Moore said.

Not long after, Major went to live on a family friend’s cattle ranch. Sid Moore ended up never seeing his childhood friend again.

“My last memory of Major was around milking time,” Moore recalled. “Dad said, ‘Go get ‘em, boy.’ He went zip, rounded into the pasture and rounded those cows into the corral for milking.”

Written from the dog’s perspective, “Major” is intended to appeal to both children and adults.

“I have a grandson who will be eight. He really liked the story. His name is Sid and we call him ‘Little Sid,’” Moore said.

Reading “A Soldier Dog” brought back vivid memories for Moore.

“I would like for readers to realize the sacrifices people make during war,” he said.

“A Soldier Dog,” Jones said, is ultimately a fun book. He hopes it will help parents and youth talk about matters like patriotism.

“Would you give up your pet for something larger than yourself?” Jones asked. “It’s a true story, a little-known story and this is a great way to make that picture come to life.”

Community helping team that's Bama bound

It’s all hands on deck to help out the Wahpeton 14U Babe Ruth baseball team. The team advanced to the Babe Ruth World Series, which is hosted in Demopolis, Alabama, and the Twin Towns community is organizing a variety of fundraising activities to help with the finances that come with the trip.

“It’s unbelievable. No. 1, the community is proud of these boys. No. 2, they understand what a big deal this is. And No. 3, they understand the financial burden that is unfortunately behind it,” Wahpeton coach Chris Kappes said. “They’re reaching out and pitching in to do what they can do to help out. We’re going to do our darndest that when we’re back and everything’s said and done that we get out and thank these places and people for helping us out.”

The money will be divided amongst the families to help with their travel and hotel costs.

On Wednesday, July 31 the players got together and helped pick weeds for local farmer Luke Mauch, who paid them for their efforts.

“They understand that today was as good as any practice we can do off the field. It’s the part of giving back. We’re being supported by the community and their giving back,” Kappes said. “For them to go out and do some physical labor this morning to show their work ethic, appreciation and gratitude for what everybody’s doing for us, that really makes me proud as a coach.”

On Thursday, Aug. 1 the players will be selling raffle tickets at the Twin Town Gardeners’ Market in Wahpeton. The tickets are $1 apiece for a chance to win 10 market bucks. There will be five winners selected.

On Friday, Aug. 2 there will be a tailgate party at Creative Stitches in Breckenridge. It’s a free-will offering with the ballpark franks, chips and water being handed out for free. From 11 a.m.-1 p.m. KBMW will be on-site for the party.

World Series T-shirts, which were designed by Kappes, will be sold and 25 percent of the money from Wahpeton Huskies attire will go to the team.

Gripper’s Sports in Wahpeton are also doing shirts for the occasion with all the proceeds going back to the players.

Hart’s Hub is donating $2 from every 16-inch pizza sold.

On Sunday, Aug. 4 the 14U squad is hosting a spaghetti feed at the Wahpeton Community Center. It’s $10 a plate and runs from 4-7 p.m. There’s also a bake sale and a raffle with prizes that include Twins and North Dakota State football tickets along with a Redhawks basket.

Another activity for supporters to partake in is Sponsoring a Player. Packages include the Play Ball package for $50, the Single package for $100, Double for $200, Triple for $300 and Grand Slam for $500. Checks can be made payable to Tori Hockert Wahpeton 14U and contacts for the program are Amy Schultz (701-899-1929) and Jenn Beyer (701-403-0135).

Other ways to help the team out is by visiting their GoFundMe page at Wahpeton 14U Babe Ruth Baseball Team or by dropping off donations at Bremer Bank.

“It’s awesome to feel the support. The boys are well aware of it,” Kappes said.

The support from the community isn’t a surprise to anyone who saw the team’s reception when they came into town with an escort after winning their regional tourney.

“The reception when we came into town with the escort and seeing how the streets are flooded with people, that’s a pretty special moment for these kids and for the town,” Kappes said. “To see signs made up, people wearing Wahpeton baseball jerseys, the younger kids below us and the smiles on people’s faces, that’s a memory that’s etched in my mind and will always be there. It’s fun to be part of the Wahpeton-Breckenridge community.”

4 Things To Know Today

1. Mosquito spraying: The city of Wahpeton will do aerial spraying for mosquito control from 8:30-11:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1. More info on page A2.

2. Aber Days: Three days of fun including a parade and rodeo in Abercrombie, North Dakota, kicks off Friday, Aug. 2.

3. National Night Out: The annual event bringing together the community and law enforcement for a meal and family-friendly activities runs from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 6 at OxCart Trail Park in Breckenridge, Minnesota. The event is free and open to the public.

3. Today’s Fact: “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles was the first music video aired on MTV when the network launched on this day in 1981. Read more about it on page A4.

Rural beauty

Paintings of peaceful country scenes, wildlife and farm animals cover the walls of Wahpeton’s Red Door Art Gallery.

The gallery is featuring its fifth annual Rural Art Exhibit, running from July 30-Sept. 28. The gallery currently features art from 22 different local artists, according to gallery director Noah Dobmeier.

“The artwork is with a rural theme, anything depicting a rural landscape, any depiction of pursuit of a rural lifestyle, which is really resonant with the area of the world we live in,” he said.

The Rural Art Exhibit is one of the most popular exhibits among artists and viewers.

“We do a viewer’s choice award,” Dobmeier said. “Viewers get to vote on their favorite piece of artwork and the winner receives a cash prize, so there is a lot of excitement around this show.”

Viewer’s choice is not the only award given at the exhibit. Breckenridge, Minnesota artist Laura Youngbird, who works as the Native American Arts program director at the Plains Art Museum in Fargo, North Dakota, will be this year’s juror for the exhibit. The juror awarded prizes include a first and second place in the categories of fine art and photography, merit awards and “Best in Show.” Cash prizes will be given for every prize except the merit awards.

According to Dobmeier, this year’s exhibit is a mix of new artists and regular participants. Returning artists include Doug Stuckle, Karen Bakke, Penny Meyers, Barbara Benda Nagle and Laura Von Bank among others. New artists to the competition include Nancy Little and Vickie Watnemoe.

An artists’ reception will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15 at the Red Door Art Gallery. The event is free and open to the public. Prizes will be awarded at the event and the artists will be invited and welcomed to speak.

Two more events coming up this fall for the Red Door Art Gallery are the Paint Party and Jessie Veeder Concert. The Paint Party class is for ages six and up from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14 in the gallery classroom. Visit the gallery website for more information. The Jessie Veeder concert will be held Thursday, Sept. 26 at the Wahpeton Event Center. Tickets can be purchased at the gallery or online at reddoorgallerywahp eton.com.

{p class=”p1”}The Red Door Art Gallery is located at 418 Dakota Ave., Wahpeton.

Student Art

Max Reinke

In Josette Rodriguez and Mikayla Gessell’s class

St. John’s School Daycare