2014 Year in Review: October-December

Here is the final of four reviews of the top news stories from 2014.


Posted on 1/17/15

By Melissa Anderson

• The Langdon Area Schools and the Cavalier County Emergency Management Services kicked off October with a emergency situation drill. The drill, which was a school shooter scenario, was orchestrated by Wenck Associates from Mandan.

• Charlie Olson was the 2014 Langdon Area Chamber of Commerce Employee of the Year. Olson was nominated by the Cobblestone Inn and Suites of Langdon for his exceptional work ethic and fun attitude while working.

• Tatiana “Tati” Davis took over the Langdon Floral Shop from long time owner Cindy Samuelson. Davis planned on making many “unique and modern changes” beginning in January 2015.

• The North Dakota Farmers Union hosted a informational presentation for local producers on the 2014 Farm Bill in mid October. The presentation went over the changes to payments and the new programs that were introduced in the bill.

• Tammy Zidon was named Postmaster of the Langdon Post Office in mid October. Zidon has a plethora of experience with six years as the Walhalla Postmaster and time spent in the western part of the state conducting interviews and overseeing other post offices.

• October had many articles and op-eds written about the measures that were being presented to North Dakota voters on the November ballots. The Farm Bureau shared their position on Measure 5, which was the Clean Water, Wildlife, and Parks Amendmend which would have the ND legislutre setting aside funds to purchase lands for preservation of water quality, wildlife habitat, etc. The Farm Bureau advised voters that the amendment was drafted by outside special interest groups “whose only interests is their interests” Leon Pederson  President of the Cavalier County Farm Bureau stated.

• Lyle Lutman, the owner and head pharmacist at Langdon Community Drug gave his opinion on Measure 7 which was the amendment to the pharmaceutical laws in the ND Century Code stating that pharmacies in ND would no longer need to be majority owned by a licensed ND pharmacist. Lutman informed the communities of Cavalier county that this measure was also mostly influenced by outside special interests of Big Box stores who were mostly interested in “volume” and not in providing the best service for peoples health care needs.

• Tragedy struck the communities of Langdon and Wales as three teenagers were involved in a fatal crash. Two of the teenagers, Justin Kruk and Ashley Ratzlaff were killed in the accident.

• Helyne Raile Wiese shared her unique connection to the JFK assasination. Raile Wiese was the 3rd grade teacher to the Secret Service Agent  Clint Hill. Hill, who was First Lady Jackie Kennedy’s agent, was present and the first Secret Servicemen to reach the vehicle after the president was shot.

• The NDSU Langdon Research Extension Center held a 2014 Soil Health Tour in late October. The tour and presentation instructed local producers on how they could use crop strategies and grasses to help reduce the excessive soil moisture along with salinity and sodicity many producers experience in the area.

• The Maple Manor Care Center was part of  the North Dakota Council on the Arts and the Northern Lights Art Council documentary project this past fall. The Art for Life project featured Maple Manor residents and Langdon Area Elementary school students. The program’s goal is to bring artists into the nursing home to help dispel three plagues: loneliness, boredom, and a sense of helplessness.

• Farmers and Merchants State Bank (F&M Bank) of Langdon said goodbye to long time employee Diane Close. Close began her career at F&M Bank on its opening day in 1974. Close worked her way up the ranks from a teller to her position as Vice President of Operations.

• The November ballot had many candidates up for election to the open Cavalier County positions. Those who ran for Cavalier County Commissioner were: Stanley Dick, Elsie Magnus, Nick Moser, Shauna Schneider, William Thom and Tom Valentine. The position for county auditor had two candidates, Lisa Gellner and  Stephanie Nelson. The three candidates who won county commissionjer were Stanley Dick, Elsie Magnus, and Nick Moser. Lisa Gellner won the position of county auditor.

• The Leever’s “Stuff a Truck” event was held late October. The event helps to fill the Cavalier County Emergency Food Pantry leading into the holiday season.

• The Cavalier County Transit  received a grant from the North Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs. The grant allowed the Cavalier County Transit to purchase a new vehicle that will be used to take veterans to any medical appointments.

• The former ethanol plant in Walhalla was repurposed as two different investors bought the facilities. Brothers Mike and Joel Smith purchased the grain handling portion of the plant and plan to operate a small grain elevator, S&S Grain, Inc.  Bob Thornberg purchased the wheat-gluten and storage portions of the facility to expand his company, Sweet Pro Feeds. Both companies planned on making updates to their facilities to help expand and improve their businesses.

• The Cavalier County Job Development Authority(CCJDA) created a new intiative to encourage past residents of Cavalier County to move back to the area. The CCJDA created a website that lists open positions or provides potential employers with information about those looking for work. Along with this effort the CCJDA was working on creating more housing such as apartments for those who do move back.

• The Langdon City Commission had a year long project of getting a new city water source. The project  focused on tapping into the Munich aquifer to supply water to the city of Langdon. The Northeast Rural Water favors getting the water supply from Devils Lake.

The city commissioners also heard complaints concerning the Messner house over the latter part of the year. The city hopes to have this issue resolved early in the new year.

The comissioners also heard complaints about the property assesments. The assessments had very large disparities across the city with older homes having a higher assessment than recently built homes. The city had Mel Carsen come in and explain the reason behind the large increases to the property assessments.

• Steve Hart of Wales competed in his first ultramarathon in late October. The race was held in Turtle River State Park near Arvilla.

• Madi, Elli and Gabi Eisenzimmer had a succesful season of barrel racing and horse shows from May to October of 2014. The girls brought home an assortment of awards from Madi Eisenzimmer’s Youth 4D Championship in the National Barrel Horse Association (NBHA) to Elli placing in the Youth 4D at the NBHA as well. Gabi also won several prizes in the Peewee Division.

• Malinda Lill-Schwandt became the official owner of Stables Resturant this past fall. Lill-Schwandt had entered into a contract for deed with the previous owners and was able to pay off the sum in a year and half.

• The Langdon Motor Inn owned by Alex and Vanessa Chaput sponsored their second annual Giving Tree. The Chaput’s fulfilled every gift request on their Giving Tree this year.

• The Good Times Bar and Grill in Osnabrock was purchased by Dave and Daniel Brink. The Brinks had no major renovations planned for their new business but planned on letting the good times keep rolling at the bar.

• The Dakota Spirit Arena in Langdon held the First International Ice Breaker Hockey Tournament. The tournament kicked off the hockey season for the Langdon Blades with six teams facing off, three from the U.S. and three from Canada.

Dakota Spirit Arena also had some major updates including a much needed dehumidifer for the facility. Other improvments include a Cavalier County Social Services held their annual Christmas Cheer program to help families in need celebrate the holiday season.

• The Langdon Area School Board revisited the idea of combining the elementary school and the high school in one building. The board is approaching the subject with much thought as they want to make sure they do not rush any decisions.

• The Cavalier County Commissioners named Pam LaFrenz as the new Cavalier County Tax Director after the previous Tax Director’s contract was discontinued.

• Late November saw area farmers meeting once again with representatives from the North Dakota Department of Agriculture (ND Dept. of Ag.) to discuss the overpopulation of honeybees in Cavalier County and the surrounding areas. At this meeting, which had well over 20 individuals in attendance the same concerns were discussed with not only the representatives of ND Dept. of Ag but District 10 Representatives Chuck Damschen and Joe Miller. The representatives gave the farmers hope as they not only provided answers and possible solutions but also promised to work on legislation that would address the issues at the 2015 ND Legislative session.

• Quite possibly the biggest news of late 2014 was the announcement of the ALCO bankruptcy and subsequent closing of the local ALCO store in Langdon.

• The Langdon City Commission raised the assessed values of homes in Langdon after Mel Carson, the Langdon Property Assessor conducted a study and found that sale prices of homes in Langdon to the current assessed value of said homes was on average only about 70 percent. The State of North Dakota requires that the disparity be only 90 to 100 percent. Letters to home owners explaining the situation are scheduled to be mailed out in April of 2015.

• The Langdon Daycare Center expanded their facility thanks to a donation from the Langdon Eagles Club Aerie #3454. The center created a new room strictly for mobile infants which can accommodate eight more children bringing the total number of children the center can care for to 70. Even with the expansion, the center, like so many daycares in the Langdon area, has a waiting list with several names on it.

• Lisa Karas was named Teacher of the Year at the Langdon Area Schools annual dinner. This was Karas first time winning the award as well as being nominated.

• Gavilon Group, LLC purchased the Wales Elevator. Gavilon, which has 14 locations in North Dakota with the Wales purchase, has a services in origination, storage and handling, transportation and logistics along with marketing and distribution of grain, ingredients,  and fertilizer. Gavilon has no plans to make changes to the Wales elevator and plans to continue to operate it .

• The 18th annual Canola Expo was held at the Langdon Activity Center in early December. The expo had a few presentations concerning a wide range of subjects such as the Clubroot of Canola pathogen that has spread from Canada to local North Dakota fields, Jerry Gulke of the Gulke Group gave a presentation on the oilseed market and some future predictions of the market for 2015, and many other informative presentations relating to Canola and farming.

The Canola Expo also held a presentation by John Nowatzski of NDSU concerning the two year research project he is currently heading to determine if drones could be used in the future for agricultural purposes. The study uses two types of drones, the rotocopter and the fixed wing, that have cameras attached to them. The cameras have been equipped with thermal, color, and infrared sensors to detect crops and animals from the air. The attached cameras on the drones are used to determine many differnt aspects of crops such as emergence and count and with livestock the thermal and infrared are used to assess the health of the animals.

• The Cavalier County Commissioners made appointments prior to the new year. Richard Flanders and Ted Dahl were named to the Social Welfare Board. Larry Gellner was reappointed to his position on the Cavalier County tWater Board.

• The end of December saw many without power as heavy frost caused havoc with local powerlines. As many as 2/3 of the Cavalier Rural Electric system were without power over a period of 21 hours. Thanks to the help of numerous linemen crews from other power companies in the area, Cavalier Rural Electric was able to get the power back to residents.