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GOODLIFE: Wildcats adjust to early winter weather

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‘Heroes of Hope’
Goal of $100K for 2019-20 fundraising season

The 2020 Relay for Life is shining its light on “Heroes of Hope.”

A fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, Relay for Life will be held from 3-9 p.m. Saturday, April 4 at North Dakota State College of Science’s Blikre Activity Center.

“Our heroes come in many forms,” Chairwoman Carol Poppel said. “We have our superheroes, as well as our military heroes. We also have our people who have shown heroics against cancer.”

Twenty-one teams participated in the 2019 Relay for Life, held Sunday, April 14 in Wahpeton. While adverse weather required the event to be rescheduled and abridged, organizers say it was something to be proud of.

“We raised over $78,000 from our team fundraising and generous donations from corporate sponsors,” Poppel said.

The year’s top-earning team, once again, was 50 Shades of Brave. Captain Barb Hagstrom led her team to raise $15,702.50 for the American Cancer Society.

“We have four new teams and they hit the ground running,” Poppel said. “They were very successful with their fundraising and brought wonderful enthusiasm to the event.”

The 2018-19 season saw a growth in fundraising. Relay for Life participants, including teams and sponsors, raised $75,755 during the 2017-18 season.

Once again, Relay for Life is setting a goal of $100,000. The website for team registration and individual donations, RelayForLife.org/richlandwilkinnd, is up and running.

“We’ve raised $535,” the website stated Friday, Oct. 18. “(There are) 169 days left.”

Teams are encouraged to form and start their fundraising early. Donations may be dropped off at First Community Credit Union, submitted through the Relay for Life website or given to a team member. The website includes a list of current teams, including 50 Shades of Brave, Mountain Movers and Walmart 3875.

Poppel and the Relay for Life Committee will meet at 5:45 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24 at the Wilkin County Community Room, 505 Eighth St. S. in Breckenridge, Minnesota.

“We encourage anyone who would like to know more about Relay for Life, as well as anyone who may want to be involved with planning, to join us,” Poppel said. “Regular team captain meetings will begin in January.”

Relay for Life remains a cornerstone of the American Cancer Society’s outreach. The organization’s activity includes funding cancer research, providing free lodging for patients through the Hope Lodges, transportation and fuel assistance, the Look Good Feel Better Program and continuous personalized support.

“This money is funding education and recommendations for healthy living and cancer prevention. It’s funding www.cancer.org, which provides updated information. It’s funding the 24/7 helpline, 1-800-227-2345, and a whole lot more,” Poppel said.

The Blikre Activity Center is located at 800 Sixth St. N. in Wahpeton.

For more information, call organizer Susan Davids at 701-640-2942 or Poppel at 701-403-9232.


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‘Something going on every 10 minutes’
Games, raffles and more at Community Center event

Starting at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, the Red River Area Sportsmen’s Club will host its annual Sportsmen’s Smoker at the Wahpeton Community Center, 304 Fifth St. S.

The Sportsmen’s Smoker, which has a $20 admission fee, is a fundraiser for the Sportsmen’s Club. Guests will enjoy wild game stew and chili. The event is open to ages 21 or older, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.

“We’ll have enough going on to keep everyone there involved and engaged,” Club President Greg Gerou said. “We try to have something going on every 10 minutes.”

This year’s Sportsmen’s Smoker is scheduled to include the gun boards, numerous raffles and games. Proceeds will be used to support local youth programs, wildlife projects and Chahinkapa Zoo.

“It is a bit of a challenge for us, holding this event at a new venue. We do have the opportunity to make some changes,” Gerou said.

St. John’s Catholic Church, Wahpeton, is allowing Sportsmen’s Smoker organizers access to its kitchen. This is beneficial to the organizers, who appreciate the Community Center kitchen but know it wasn’t as accommodating as the one at the now-demolished Wahpeton Eagles Club.

“Your admission gets you as much chili and stew as you want until it’s gone,” Gerou said. “We prepare about 10 roasters worth of each, which lasts a good share of the night. Everyone’s certainly full when it’s gone.”

Although they’re required to attend with a parent our guardian, underage guests are frequently seen at the Sportsmen’s Smoker.

“They get to see the work that goes behind some of our fun events,” Gerou said.

Projects benefitting from the smoker’s success include:

• development and access of the Red, Otter Tail and Bois de Sioux rivers

• development of fisheries and other projects on Mooreton Lake in Richland County, North Dakota

• the Junior Wildlife Club, providing outdoor activities for youth aged 8-16

• wildlife and nature education for area youth

The Red River Area Sportsmen’s Club and its partners holds four youth fishing derbies every year as well as the Family Fishing Nights. They are designed to teach all ages how to enjoy fishing.

Earlier this fall, area youth participated in the annual duck and pheasant hunts. Youth with serious illness were also able to participate in the Twist of Fate archery hunt and the Hunt of a Lifetime.

Secondary students and young adults are supported through the club’s involvement with clay target shooting, as well as college scholarships for wildlife management and enforcement majors.

Additionally, the Red River Area Sportsmen’s Club partners with organizations including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the North Dakota Game and Fish bureau.

“Our goal is to make sure that there is an opportunity in the future for youth and adults alike to be able to enjoy nature and its inhabitants,” Gerou said.

It’s not too late to donate a prize, including a gun, to the Sportsmen’s Smoker. For more information, contact Rich Truesdell at 701-640-5136.

“We are most grateful for all the donations,” Gerou said. “Many of our prizes have been donated by local businesses and individuals. We’s so thankful to all who have donated and helped the RRASC in any way.”

More than 30 years of fundraising has created several proud memories. Gerou will never forget a perfect storm, so to speak.

“One year, the weather was just right,” he recalled. “All the harvesting was complete for the time being and it was perfect outside. Everyone was free and able and wanted something to do. They came to us. We ended up having to stand, there were that many people. I wouldn’t mind something like that.”


COWGIRLS: Breckenridge wraps up regular season with tournament

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4 Things to Know Today

1. The Sydney Opera House, an Australian landmark, held its first performance on this day in 1973. It had been under construction since 1959. Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom formally opened the opera house.

2. “Science Made Simple,” a new column, debuts on the Opinion page. To learn more about your hands, behavior and more, turn to A4.

3. Wahpeton Middle School will hold an open gym Sunday, Oct. 20. It’s open from 12-2 p.m. for grades 1-5, 2-4 p.m. for grades 6-8, 4-6 p.m. for grades 9-12 and 6-8 p.m. for adults.

4. Today’s Birthdays include “Dracula” star Bela Lugosi (1882-1956), pop psychologist Dr. Joyce Brothers (1927-2013), baseball legend Mickey Mantle (1931-1995), rocker Tom Petty (1950-2017) and presidential candidate Kamala Harris (1964-).


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Creativity handed down through generations

“I’m so proud of what the Erdrichs have built in our community, and other local and regional artists. It’s really quite remarkable,” said Dee Jensen, president of the Red Door Art Gallery’s board of directors, during Thursday night’s artists’ reception.

The Native American Art exhibit up now features works from various members of Ralph and Rita Erdrich’s family. Jensen welcomed guests, which included many immediate and extended Erdrich family members.

“As someone who’s only been working as a volunteer here for four years, this is a dream for me,” Jensen said. “I’ve known Rita, serving as secretary for collections committee, I think she’s a lifetime appointment to that committee and has really been influential in what happens here at the gallery. More significantly, as awesome as this gallery is, is the family that she and Ralph have raised.”

Jensen said as she walked through the gallery and looked at the exhibit, the first thing that came to mind was, “What a phenomenal legacy.”

“The thing I liked the best about meeting these family members, is they are so humble,” Jensen continued. “They are the most humble people and in so many ways, the most gifted. They’ve paid it forward in our community, they’ve paid it forward in their family and their neighborhoods, and they’ve shared their gifts with their children. The legacy continues.”

Heid Erdrich spoke about her family and those in attendance.

“I’m (number) six of seven,” she said of her siblings. “We have artwork here from my youngest sister, Angie, some artwork from some of my nieces and nephews, Alec, and Jules is my son, Eliza is my daughter, they have artwork here. We also have Aaron, he’s going to share some of his musical art soon.

“My brother Louis, who is skilled in woodworking, besides gardening and krauting. My brother Mark in the back, practices the art of pharmacy,” which got a laugh from the guests.

“My brother Ralph just walked in, if anyone went to school with Ralph they know he was a skilled cartoonist and note passer. Ralph is a nurse and a gardener, one of our stalwarts,” Heid continued. “My sister Lise is here, Lise is a birchbark artist and one of the finest draftsmen in our family. She can create the most amazing works, both painting and drawing, and is actually a trained draftsperson as well.”

She said her mother, Rita, credits her own grandmother, Eliza, as being the first artist in the family to sell her work and encourage others to make beautiful things.

“She made bead work and sold it on trains, that was a big part of how she helped support her family of 13, 13 kids,” Heid said. “Dad is also a very capable visual artist and most people don’t know that, so we got it from both sides. He’s the writer in the family.”

Lise Erdrich gave a lengthy and humorous introduction to her nephew, Aaron, before he played the traditional Native American wooden flute. She shared a list of 10 things about him, including that we was most determined taekwondo student she’d ever seen.

“Once he learned a move to score all the points on his opponents and go home with a trophy, he used them over and over again. It was predictable,” Lise said. “I had to counsel him to never be predictable to his opponents, but it was a different town every time. It was almost comical to see him go after them like a can opener.”

Their other sisters, Louise Erdrich and Angela M. Erdrich, were unable to attend the reception.

After the flute performance by Aaron, guests socialized and enjoyed refreshments.

“I hope all of you that have come feel as proud as I do, as fortunate as I do that we have the gift of the Erdrichs in our community, in Wahpeton,” Jensen said.

The Native American Art exhibit is up through Nov. 16 at the Red Door Art Gallery, located at 418 Dakota Ave., Wahpeton.


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Serve-a-Thon
St. Mary’s School serves community

Students at St. Mary’s School, Breckenridge, Minnesota, held their first annual Serve-A-Thon fundraiser on Tuesday, Oct. 15 to serve others in the community.

The students and staff at St. Mary’s School had their days filled as they went to senior resident homes for various activities and acts of service. Some activities include playing games, art projects, reading and visiting.

“We think it was amazing and we look forward to more interaction between the residents and the students,” Executive Director of Twin Town Villa Mary Wolfgram said. “Your heart just melts, the pictures really don’t do it justice. The smiles of the residents are priceless.”

Student classrooms paired up older grades to younger grades for visits to senior residential homes. Eighth- and second-graders visited St. Francis Nursing Home, seventh- and first-grade students visited St. Catherine’s-Siena Court, sixth grade students and kindergarteners visited the Leach Home, and fourth- and fifth-grade students visited Twin Town Villa.

Third graders stayed at school to write letters to soldiers, decorate pumpkins for delivery to businesses around Breckenridge, and also pick up garbage along streets and in parks.

“It filled my heart. As principal, I couldn’t be at each activity for the whole time. But each time I went to a new place, it brought tears to my eyes to see students fulfilling our mission at St. Mary’s and being the hands and feet of Christ,” St. Mary’s Principal Tom Haire said. “It was really an incredible day.”

This fundraiser is part of a three-week donation campaign with a total goal of $20,000. The funds raised would go to STEAM materials, technology, faith-based activities and resources that would help the students in the classroom and continue to serve their community. STEAM is an educational approach that includes science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

Principal Haire said this fundraiser is really about carrying the school’s mission to give back and provide acts of service to others.

The school is hoping to gain donations to reach their goal and is providing reward incentives. The top-earning classroom of the week will enjoy the honor of being rewarded the traveling trophy as a sign of their hard work.

When an entire class works as a team to reach their classroom goal the students will be awarded a movie and pajama party with popcorn and beverages provided by the school.

If the students and staff at St. Mary’s are able to reach the school goal of $20,000, the students will have the opportunity to duct tape Mr. Haire to the gymnasium wall.


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Quilts of Valor come to Twin Town Villa

Fergus Falls’ Quilts of Valor chapter honored four veterans and Twin Town Villa residents in Breckenridge, Minnesota on Wednesday, Oct. 16.

“Today we have four men here who will be receiving a quilt and I’m not sure they know who they are or not,” Quilts of Valor member Marietta Bullis said. “You probably have a lot of metals that are hard, but this is your soft metal to give you comfort and peace and warmth.”

The men who received the quilts were William Grosz, Charles Sweetmilk, Grant Unkenholz and Timothy Vetter.

Sweetmilk was in the U.S. Navy for three years, serving in World War II for two years, 1940-1942. Unkenholz was in the U.S. Navy for three and a half years. He served in World War II for three years, 1943-1946.

Vetter was in the U.S. Army for two years, serving in the Vietnam War for 11 months in 1971. Grosz was in the Army National Guard for three years. He served in the Korean War for one year, 1953-1954.

“The ones that receive the quilts, must be touched by war. So if you’ve been in the service and stayed in the states and were not in a warzone, you don’t qualify. That’s the national guideline and we have to go by that,” Bullis said.

Karen Kreller, Beats Meyer, and Bullis are members of the Fergus Falls chapter. They came to Twin Town Villa to honor the men and wrap them in their quilt. They have traveled to many towns and forts in Minnesota where they honor the veterans.

There are approximately 40 women in their chapter who have been making quilts for veterans for 12 years. Some come to Fergus Falls to sew together as a group, while others will pick up their sewing kit and sew at home. They make an average of 350-400 quilts per year.

Quilts of Valor Foundation is meant to honor the service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor. This organization was founded in 2003 by Catherine Roberts, whose son was deployed to Iraq.