1. The dreaded ’S’ word: The first winter storm of the season is expected to hit the Southern Red River Valley Thursday, with daytime rain turning to snow Thursday night. Snow and blowing snow is expected Friday and Saturday with temperatures in the low 30s.
2. NDSCS Homecoming: It’s Homecoming Week at North Dakota State College of Science. The Wildcats play Minnesota West Community and Technical College at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12. The college’s parade has been cancelled, but there will be an indoor celebration from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the Blikre Activity Center.
3. Winter storm closes Haunted Fort: Due to the severity of the upcoming winter storm, Haunted Fort in Mandan, N.D. will not be open for the nights of Oct. 11 and 12. Haunted Fort will reopen next weekend on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. To request a refund on tickets purchased for the 11th or 12th, please email email@example.com or contact Haunted Fort through the event website at www.hauntedfort.com. For more information, contact Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park (701) 667-6340
4. Today’s Birthdays include Oscar winner Helen Hayes (1900-1993), author Nora Roberts (1950-), rocker David Lee Roth (1954-), singer Tanya Tucker (1958-), actor Bradley Whitford (1959-), quarterback Brett Favre (1969-) and actor Mario Lopez (1973-)
Wilkin County Board Commissions met Tuesday, Oct. 8 to meet the new communication link to the FM Diversion Authority.
Executive Director for the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Project Joel Paulsen, FM Diversion Authority, introduced himself to the commissioners as well as present a new project for flood map insurance rates.
Paulsen will be the consistent face of communication for being able to provide factual information, impacts, mitigation, and solutions regarding flood diversion. His position will be the replacement of politicians or consultants to establish a consistent relationship.
There has not been adequate communication in the past regarding the FM Diversion and so Paulsen’s position is meant to mend this issue and provide a consistent level of communication to those impacted.
“I would like to focus on moving forward and implementing a communications plan with affected landowners,” Paulsen said. He is focusing on implementing a periodic communication plan.
“What brings me here today is twofold. One, I wanted to introduce myself to you face to face and start a relationship,” Paulsen said. “What else brings me here this morning is CLOMR. It stands for Conditional Letter of Map Revision. This process really relates to flood insurance rate maps that cover Wilkin County.”
This would be anything that is going to affect flood insurance rate maps through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
CLOMR is FEMA’s comment on a proposed project that would affect the characteristics of the flooding source. This will not revise the current National Flood Insurance Program Map (NFIP). It will only outline whether a project would be recognized by FEMA.
CLOMR would be submitting to FEMA what the floodplain would potentially look like if the project is implemented. If the project is implemented, there would be an initiation of map revision request which FEMA would process.
“We are continuing to work with FEMA to incorporate any comments into hydraulic models and Wilkin County can provide comments at this point about CLOMR,” Paulsen said.
In other board news, Olafson Consulting presented to commissioners in urgency to file an individual county lawsuit regarding the opioid litigation. There are currently 23 counties in Minnesota that have signed on to this proposal with Olafson Consulting. The commissioners ultimately decided that further discussion was necessary and no action was taken.
The Solar Power Development section amended to the Wilkin County Land Use Ordinance was also approved by the board.
The next county board meeting is at 8 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15.
Citing forecasted weather, including a potential snow event, North Dakota State College of Science is cancelling its 2019 homecoming parade.
The parade was scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 12. It would have followed a route through downtown Breckenridge, Minnesota, and Wahpeton. As of 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9, the NDSCS Wildcats are scheduled to face Minnesota West Community & Technical College at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12.
“The winner (clinches) first place in the Minnesota College Athletic Conference West Division and home field advantage in the playoffs,” Daily News previously reported.
NDSCS is inviting the public to participate in its homecoming tailgate celebration, held from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturday at the Clair T. Blikre Activity Center on the college’s Wahpeton campus.
The indoor celebration will include free food, music and candy; a recognition of the 2019 homecoming court; giveaways; a photo booth and yard games.
NDSCS is still expected to host its athletic hall of fame social and banquet following the homecoming game. The events are scheduled beginning at 6 p.m. Saturday at The Alley, Hektner Student Center on the Wahpeton campus.
Coronation of NDSCS’ homecoming king and queen was still scheduled for 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct 9 as of that afternoon. Look to Daily News for coverage of the event and other homecoming activities.
“We have to continue to evolve,” Dr. John Richman, the college’s president, said.
Richman’s comments, not weather-related, came during the State of the College Address. It was delivered Tuesday, Oct. 8, viewed at the college’s Wahpeton and Fargo campuses and online.
NDSCS, according to the address, has a student body of 2,977. The college includes 86 career path courses, a faculty of 287 and 193 staff members.
“Our largest growth this year in the enrollment buckets is our dual credit students,” Richman said. “We increased from last year’s dual credit to this year’s dual credit by 86 students in one year.”
NDSCS also saw an increase in its hybrid students, those receiving education in multiple locations or through multiple methods.
“The evidence indicates that we are extremely well-positioned. All but two of our academic programs have been identified as high demand for occupations by the North Dakota Department of Commerce and by the North Dakota Workforce Commerce,” Richman said.
Lasting approximately 25 minutes, the State of the College included no mention of the North Dakota-conducted negative audit NDSCS received earlier this year. In July, the state Legislative Audit and Fiscal Review Committee declined forwarding the audit to Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.
The parade cancellation marks the second time in six months NDSCS has had to modify an annual event due to weather concerns. The DREAMS Auction, moved ahead a day, was held Saturday, April 13 at the Blikre Activity Center.
Then as now, potential wintry weather was cited for the change.
Breckenridge Active Living Committee met Wednesday, Oct. 8 to discuss the Highway 75 light banners and posters.
Joel Hoistad, Breckenridge building official, addressed the committee to report that 98 percent of the light poles on Highway 75’s pedestrian path have been placed. Hoistad is working on completing the wiring and the attachment of the top light to ensure sustainability through the wind.
This committee is addressing purchasing banners to hang from the light posts. The committee would like to attract visitors by showing images of Breckenridge such as the helicopter, Red River, and the caboose.
Initially, the committee will purchase 20 banners and are looking into prices of 30 and 60 banners for the future.
With choosing the banners the committee had to discuss cost, durability, design and business sponsorship.
They are also researching the type of material for the banners. Due to the area’s high winds, the committee is searching for a material that can last long through wind, rain and snow.
The committee will be reaching out to five local businesses to determine if they can produce the banners to support local business growth. Those businesses are Creative Stitches, North Dakota State College of Science, Bold Print, Jawaski and Tag Up.
Ultimately, the committee has decided to reach out to businesses to determine their willingness to sponsor these banners to welcome and attract visitors into the community as well as to their businesses.
The next Active Living Committee meeting will be held at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at Breckenridge City Hall.
Jesse Scott and Bobby Grant saw Wahpeton and Breckenridge, Minnesota, from a different angle.
The men climbed and sealed the roofs of St. John’s Catholic Church, Wahpeton, on Tuesday, Oct. 8 and Wednesday, Oct. 9. Scott is owner of Bat Pros, a pest control service in Elizabeth, Minnesota.
“We seal up particular things and deal with areas where bats are getting in,” Scott said.
In most cases, Scott and Grant would only encounter a bat if it had died and hadn’t been moved.
“They’re nocturnal. We just see the evidence that they were there,” Scott said.
Each roof is different. Grant recalled seeing a space in one building where it was obvious that a colony of bats had gathered.
“We’re here (in the Twin Towns Area) almost weekly,” Scott said. “Things slow down in the wintertime, when bats go into hibernation. But in the summertime, there are a lot of bats in Breckenridge-Wahpeton. We do get a lot of clients in the area.”
This recent assignment was the first time he’d worked with St. John’s, Scott said. He and Grant have worked on tall structures including barns and other churches, as well as individual homes.
Butch Nelson, custodian for St. John’s, said Scott and Grant did a great job. He’s just waiting to see how well the sealing holds.
“We’ll see in a week or two,” Nelson said.
Two bat species are found throughout North Dakota: the big brown bat and the little brown bat.
“The big brown bat resembles the little brown bat but for its larger size,” North Dakota Game and Fish stated. “An adult bat can reach (a weight of) 20 grams.”
The big brown bat has dark brown fur. Its tragus, located in the ear, lacks hair, the wildlife organization continued. So does its uropatagium, or the area between the thighs including the tail.
“Big brown bats are documented as hibernating in the state. They are found in both urban and rural habitats. Insect availability tends to be the limiting factor versus a type of habitat and they are commonly associated with trees,” North Dakota Game and Fish stated.
The little brown bat also has brown fur, with its top being darker than its underside. It is also characterized by darker hair in its shoulder, with hairless wings and uropatagium area.
“Roosts are established in structures in the summer months, but they can also be found in dead trees,” North Dakota Game and Fish stated.
Although common in North Dakota, both bat species can fall victim to white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease. The fungus grows in cold, dark and damp places, attacking bare skin and creating behavioral changes.
“Bats become active more than usual and burn up fat they need to survive the winter,” according to whitenosesyndrome.org. “Bats with white-nose syndrome may do strange things like fly outside in the daytime in the winter.”
Richland County, North Dakota, is among the locations placed in a winter storm watch by the National Weather Service. As of 3:30 pm. Wednesday, Nov. 9, the watch is under effect from 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10-1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12.
Look to Daily News for updates on winter weather, affected wildlife and potentially hazardous conditions.