1. October is Arts and Humanities Month: North Dakota is home to two major statewide arts and humanities organizations: the North Dakota Council on the Arts (NDCA) and the Humanities North Dakota. Both organizations have missions to provide educational and cultural opportunities to all citizens in the state.
2. Youth e-cigarette use jumps in Minnesota: Gov. Tim Walz released data from the 2019 Minnesota Student Survey showing another jump in youth e-cigarette use. The survey found one in four 11th graders had used an e-cigarette in the past month, and the rate of e-cigarette use nearly doubled among 8th graders from 2016 to 2019.
3. This Day in History: In 1995, O.J. Simpson was acquitted of the murders of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.
4. Look for roosters: A youth pheasant hunt takes place from 7-11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 5 at Hankinson Farm.
The Rotary Club of Wahpeton-Breckenridge will be holding community blood screenings at a discounted price from 6-9:30 am from Monday, Oct. 28 to Friday, Nov. 1 and will be held at CHI Health St Francis in Breckenridge, Minnesota.
This community service will be provided by Rotary Club, Essentia Clinic, Sanford Clinic and CHI Health St. Francis.
“It wouldn’t work without the clinics and hospital labs all working together,” said Pam Erlandson of the Rotary Club. “The staff from the clinic work so well and so smoothly. It only takes about ten minutes.”
These blood screenings are a preventative health service to assess and detect your risk of diseases, conditions and potential illnesses. The cost of the screening is $50. The average charge for a screening is often more than $300. Additionally, it is more cost-effective to take steps to prevent disease through screenings and health management rather than pay for treatments.
The screenings include kidney function, liver function, cholesterol, sodium, potassium, triglycerides, glucose and much more. Results will be mailed out to participants the following day. Those participants can utilize their results from the screenings with their primary physician.
The Rotary Club holds this event in the spring and in the fall of each year. This is their 11th year of holding the screenings. Their volunteers make the appointments with the hospital and also call participants the night before to remind them of their appointment as well as to fast 8-10 hours before their scheduled time.
“It’s a way to support our community and the health of our community. It’s so much more affordable and for some people, it gives them so many results. It’s a good way to keep track of your health,” Erlandson said.
Pre-registration and fasting is required for these limited appointments. If you would like to make an appointment, call 218-643-0123.
The purchase of three Wahpeton apartment complexes, originally expected to close by Tuesday, Oct. 15, will likely be delayed while officials seek additional information.
Wahpeton Northland Apartments LLC is the intended buyer of the three Northland Apartment buildings. Northland Apartments includes a single story building on 14th Avenue North, Wahpeton, and two multi-story buildings on 12th Street North, Wahpeton.
The Wahpeton City Council was scheduled to vote Monday, Oct. 7 on an over $85,000 allocation to assist in the LLC’s $1,050,000 project. That vote is expected to be tabled.
“There are concerns that the residents did not receive appropriate notice to submit opinions in writing in addition to unknown variables related to the proposed buyers’ intentions with the rent structure and current occupants. (These are) valid concerns sufficient to table this topic pending additional information,” Finance Director Darcie Huwe wrote Tuesday, Oct. 1.
Mike Stepien, a public information officer in Bismarck, said the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development office has not approved prepayment for Northland Apartments.
“The sale will not take place on Oct. 15,” Stepien said.
Jerri Lynn is a resident of the Northland Apartments on 14th Avenue. She provided Wahpeton City Hall with a letter each tenant received from the USDA. The letters were received, but incorrectly addressed to Loy Avenue rather than 14th Avenue.
One of the conditions the USDA Rural Development office can apply to a prepayment approval is that a property is to be sold to a non-profit, Lynn continued.
Corey Gregg, the contact person for Wahpeton Northland Apartments LLC, submitted paperwork for a Bank of North Dakota Flex PACE interest buy down. Wahpeton finance committee members voted 3-0 for conditional approval of the allocation, citing questions about how Northland Apartments will be operated.
Gregg has not responded to Daily News’ requests for additional information.
“Who is the current gentleman ‘developer’ known as Wahpeton Northland Apartments?” Lynn asked. “Why is ‘he’ chasing to get financing through the Bank of North Dakota (not on the current list of USDA Rural Development lending institutions)?”
Lynn has concerns with the proposed sale and an intended prepayment exit from the USDA Rural Development rent subsidy program, Huwe wrote. Lynn’s seeking more information about the potential displacement of residents and the potential loss of subsidized housing for elderly and disabled residents.
During the finance committee meeting, the term “Section 8 housing” was used to describe Northland Apartments. Stepien clarified the difference between Section 8 and rural development housing.
“Section 8 is a project-based assistance program administered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and could be in urban areas as well as rural areas,” Stepien said. “The rural development program is also project-based, but we only assist in rural areas and the program is administered through USDA.”
The rural development office’s rental assistance program is tied to a project having a loan with USDA Rural Development, Stepien continued.
“Any owner who accepts a tenant with a voucher has to follow USDA regulations regarding the voucher,” he said.
The Northland complexes are presently owned by a limited liability corporation named Northland Apartments. The principals of the corporation were not disclosed during the finance committee meeting.
Following the meeting, Lynn used North Dakota Secretary of State records to determine the owners are Erika Meier of Baraboo, Wisconsin, and Gregory and Jerry Meide of Wahpeton. Lynn said she will attend the next Wahpeton City Council meeting.
A meeting of rural development tenants, regarding the prepay and sale of Northland Apartments and the tenants’ options, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21. It will be held at Rainbow Court, 97 Seventh Ave. S. in Wahpeton.
Daily News will continue to follow this story.
The next Wahpeton City Council meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 7 at City Hall, 1900 Fourth St. N. in Wahpeton.
With a 5-0 vote, commissioners in Richland County, North Dakota, approved the filling of a vacant corrections officer position.
Corrections Officer Jerry Arneson resigned from his position effective Monday, Sept. 30. Arneson had served Richland County for 19 years.
Chief Deputy Gary Ruhl and Chief Corrections Deputy Todd Christie, Richland County Sheriff’s Office, sought approval from the commissioners during their Tuesday, Oct. 2 meeting. Sheriff Larry Leshovsky was attending a conference in Pierre, South Dakota.
Richland County has 11 jailers, the commissioners learned. The county jail, located in the Richland County Law Enforcement Center, must have two jailers present at all times.
In January 2017, the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation began requesting the Law Enforcement Center have one female staff member on duty at all times as long as males and females are being held.
“We’ll hire the most qualified candidate, but will look strongly toward hiring a woman,” Christie said.
The Richland County Jail is a small facility, getting by with what it has, Christie continued. From there, commissioners and law enforcement discussed why inmates from Ransom and Sargent counties, North Dakota, weren’t being housed as often in Richland County.
Richland County has contracts to hold men and women for the two counties, as well as the U.S. Marshals Service, Daily News reported in January 2017.
“They’re not bringing (inmates) to jail, they’re citing and releasing them,” Christie said.
Commissioner Nathan Berseth introduced the idea of speaking with law enforcement in the two counties to learn more about the reduced inmate housing.
Sheriff Darren Benneweis heads the Ransom County Sheriff’s Office in Lisbon, North Dakota. Sheriff Travis Paeper heads the Sargent County Sheriff’s Department in Forman, North Dakota.
“We are still taking our prisoners to Wahpeton,” Sheriff Paeper said. “We aren’t taking them somewhere else.”
Two prisoners were brought to Richland County on the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 2, the sheriff continued. There are situations where a warrant from another jurisdiction pertains to a prisoner, requiring housing in another jurisdiction’s prison, he said.
Decreases in the number of housed inmates can also be attributed to the courts’ sentencing habits, Sheriff Paeper said.
“We make a lot of arrests in Sargent County, but we don’t always take people to jail,” the sheriff explained. “If they’re not a danger to the public or a flight risk, there’s no sense taking them. We’re finding the same thing happens: they’re put in jail and the judge releases them on a personal recognizance bond. Meanwhile, we’ve taken a deputy off the street, put them on the road for two hours and they’re not doing anything different there than they would be here.”
The Richland County Jail is still the primary location for transported inmates in his jurisdiction, Sheriff Benneweis said. Southeast North Dakota also includes jails serving Cass, Stutsman and Barnes counties.
In other news, Richland County will hold its minimum sale price hearing for delinquent tax properties on Tuesday, Oct. 15. A total of 78 properties, including two from previous years, are expected to be up for sale.
The next commissioners meeting is scheduled for 8 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15 at the Richland County Courthouse, 418 Second Ave. N. in Wahpeton.
Area high school students had the opportunity to tour several local manufacturers on Wednesday, Oct. 2 in celebration of National Manufacturing Day.
The surrounding schools that had the opportunity to tour local companies were Wahpeton, Hankinson, Richland, Milnor, Wyndmere, Lidgerwood, Campbell-Tintah and Fairmount.
Having a day dedicated to manufacturing is meant to inspire and educate the next generation for modern manufacturing careers. Local manufacturers displayed their products and exhibited their operations to students to present career opportunities.
Students had the opportunity to look inside local manufacturers for a chance to see first-hand the design and implementation process these companies have when creating a product.
The city of Wahpeton coordinated with Bigwood, Bobcat, Inc., ComDel Innovation, GIANT Snacks, Inc., North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS), WCCO Belting, Wil-Rich, and Woodcraft to provide tours to students. Local manufacturers were able to exhibit their equipment and provide an overview of the process of product creation.
Tana Erbes, a program outreach specialist at NDSCS, said the tour is a great opportunity for students to learn about local manufacturing and how NDSCS programs can prepare them for these careers.
“There are a lot of opportunities in trade and technology right now. There are so many students that don’t know they can get good jobs in these fields,” Erbes said.
The day helped students understand the type of schooling necessary to gain skills and also the type of jobs they can attain.
At NDSCS, students had a variety of opportunities. In the precision machining technology tour, students saw how precise machines had to be to produce an accurate product. In robotics, automation and mechatronics technology facilities, they saw how a robot can be designed to perform programmed tasks in facilities. Observing welding, the students learned the importance of fusing and cutting metal while seeing machines that are used in this process.
WCCO tours were led by leadership and production teams from all departments. Students were able to see how WCCO creates rubber belts for agriculture, light industrial, construction, sand, and gravel, packaging and recycling industries. Part of the tour included hands-on activities.
Manufacturing is changing due to the advancement of technology. Consequently, there is a high degree of importance to educate the next generation of workers for this modern career.