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In the Community
Who let the dogs — and pig — out?
Wet and windy weather doesn’t stop Penny’s Pup Crawl

Four-legged friends of more than one species braved wet and windy weather Monday, Aug. 26 in Wahpeton.

Pets and the humans who walked them participated in the inaugural Penny’s Pup Crawl, sponsored by WCCO Belting. The Pup Crawl began at 6 p.m. and included a 3K walk from WCCO’s office, down 18th Avenue North to “Wahpper” the catfish in Kidder Recreation Area.

“We hope to continue this every year,” said Karley Serati, marketing services and customer relationship manager for WCCO. “We’re holding this to celebrate the beloved dog of our founder, Ed Shorma.”

Penny was a poodle owned by Ed and Pat Shorma. She was known for cheerfully visiting the WCCO office, saying hello with tail wags and a wet nose. Although Penny has died, she is fondly remembered.

“This Pup Crawl is to honor Penny and all animals in this life and the next,” according to an event flyer.

Pets were required to be walked on a leash. WCCO did not charge a formal registration fee for the Pup Crawl. Participants were asked to donate supplies to the Humane Society of Richland-Wilkin Counties.

“We’re always in need of paper towels and kitty litter,” said Brigette Holkup, president and social media coordinator of the Humane Society.

Several of the Humane Society’s adoptable animals were walked in the Pup Crawl. Most participating animals were dogs, but there was also a pink surprise. Arnold, a pot-bellied pig, took part in the event.

“Dad is aware of this. He wanted to be here tonight, but he’s taking care of mom. This is just our chance to get our feet wet,” WCCO CEO and President Thomas Shorma said.

Feet, paws and more got wet shortly after the Pup Crawl began. Leading up to the walk, participants gave mildly nervous glances at the dark clouds overhead. Some insisted the worst weather would occur north of Wahpeton.

Within minutes, however, rain began falling on the humans and pets. Many had just turned onto 18th Avenue North. With a few exceptions, they continued to travel the Pup Crawl path.

Several participants were WCCO employees.

“I’m walking Bruiser, who is a Lhatese-Maltese-Lhasa Apso mix,” Stefani Mikkelson said. “He’s six years old. I work for WCCO and this is a wellness event.”

Mikkelson brought family members including sons Chase and Zane and husband Ty. No matter a participant’s age, many enjoyed getting to see the numerous animals.

“He’s a Chiweenie,” Karla Heldenbrand said.

Heldenbrand, another WCCO employee, walked Keta.

“I have to come out and support this wellness event and memorial for Penny the puppy,” Heldenbrand said.

For Wendy Burhans, Penny’s Pup Crawl was a family affair. While husband Pat walked their German Shepherd, Champ, Wendy walked her dalmatian niece, Stella.

“She’s six months old,” Wendy Burhans said.

Champ and Stella were kissing cousins, affectionately licking each other’s faces just prior to the Pup Crawl.

The Humane Society is located at 18039 79 1/2 St. SE, Wahpeton. Its office hours are 3-5 Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Saturday. Volunteer hours are 1-7 Monday-Friday and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.

Members of the Humane Society, or anyone interested in becoming a member, have 7 p.m. meetings every third Tuesday of the month at the shelter. For more information, call 701-672-1676.

The Shorma family has been in business for 65 years, beginning with the Wahpeton Shoe Hospital in 1954. WCCO Belting, Inc., located at 1998 Ninth St. N. in Wahpeton, has expanded five times in the past 15 years.

“Our legacy is all the people that have been there with us on the journey,” Tom Shorma said previously. “It’s really everybody’s legacy and that’s what makes it special.”


Wahpeton is one of the four creditors in the 400 Block projects on Dakota Avenue. The city received a partial refund from the Bank of North Dakota. Nearly $32,000 would have been received through a PACE interest buy down.


4 Things To Know Today

1. Locally-grown produce: Twin Town Gardeners’ Market runs 4-7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29 in the parking lot east of Sears in Wahpeton.

2. Today in History: In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. made his “I Have a Dream” speech during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom event in Washington, D.C.

3. Fall edition out: The fall edition of our Southern Valley Living magazine is now out and on sale at Econo Foods in Wahpeton and Breckenridge, and Miller’s Fresh Foods in Hankinson. Subscribers received it in their Tuesday newspaper.

4. Today’s Birthdays: Ben Gazzara (1930-2012), actor; Lou Piniella (1943-), baseball player/manager; Luis Guzman (1956-), actor; David Fincher (1962-), film director; Shania Twain (1965-), singer-songwriter; Jack Black (1969-), actor; LeAnn Rimes (1982-), singer-songwriter; Armie Hammer (1986-), actor.


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West Central Initiative to receive increase

A trio of employees from West Central Initiative attended the Wilkin County meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 27 to discuss their Live Wide Open movement. Live Wide Open’s mission is to get more people to move to and stay in west central Minnesota as part of the workforce.

The board agreed to support West Central Initiative with a commitment of $2,250 in 2020, $2,500 in 2021 and $2,750 in 2022.

“The reason we’re asking for an increase is rather than go to our cities and counties twice, we’d only have to come to you once. We haven’t asked for an increase in 10 years from any of our cities or counties,” Director of Development Rebecca Petersen said.

There’s been two Live Wide Open events in Breckenridge so far, which were hosted by Breckenridge Public Library and The Wilkin Drink and Eatery, respectively.

Wilkin County Public Health Director Deb Jacobs gave some insight on the upcoming Tobacco 21 law, which will be implemented on Sunday, Sept. 1. All the Wilkin County tobacco sellers have signed on.

Wilkin County Human Services Director David Sayler requested to allow their agency to remain the fiscal host for the Region 4 SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) Employment Training Program, which passed unanimously.

Tony Frisch brought forth information about forming a Corrections Board Joint Powers Agreement. Commissioner Jonathan Green was the representative for the county and Commissioner Lyle Hovland serving as the alternate.

The board passed the Wilkin County Cellular Phone and Other Wireless Communications Device Use Policy. The policy states the County expects all employees who are required to drive as part of their job to drive safely and legally while on County business. It also spells out proper use of cell phones or other wireless communication devices while in the workplace.

The 2020-2021 Wilkin County and Tribal Child Care Fund Plan also carried.

Commissioners Green and Eric Klindt wrapped up the meeting by discussing their recent trip to the nation’s capital where they listened to multiple speakers, including Vice President Mike Pence.

“That was really eye-opening to meet with the other county commissioners and talk about the problems they have,” Green said. “It was interesting that a lot of the pains we have here are the pains they’re having in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. Even though we feel like we’re in our own little world here, we’re really not. At least that’s what I learned from this.”

County offices will be closed Monday, Sept. 2 in observance of Labor Day.