January was a hot month for news in Langdon as the Cavalier County Memorial Hospital held a community forum that was widely attended to discuss the outlook for the facility. Then CEO Chris Wyatt, along with the hospital board and members of the administration, addressed the large crowd that gathered in the Langdon Area High School gymnasium seeking answers to rumors and accusations that had been swirling for months.
By Melissa Anderson
In the end, the reasons were explained and questions were answered as best of the ability at that time by Wyatt and the CCMH legal team of Hall, Render, Killian, Heath, & Lyman Law Firm. CCMH was fined $750,000 by the Office of the Inspector General as a result of provider overpayments as well as other legal violations.
A landmark of Langdon’s main street, the Boyd Square building, caught fire on the evening of Thursday, January 4. The 115-year-old building burned to a hollowed out husk of history by morning after valiant attempts by Langdon, Munich, and Cavalier Air Force Station fire crews to subdue the blaze.
The fire was an all night battle with temperatures reaching over 1000 degrees at times and 100,000 gallons of water used. When the fire reached the lower floor of the building, visibility became so low that the decision was made to switch to containment rather than trying to save the building.
The owner of the building, Alex Chaput, had two tenants living in the building at the time. The tenants lost all of their positions but were able to save their pets from the flames.
Students from the Langdon Area Elementary School 5th and 6th grade classes were definitely feeling the holiday spirit as they made 60 blankets that were donated to residents of Maple Manor, the Cavalier County Social Services Department, and Cavalier County Cancer Crusaders. The teachers- Deborah Dawley, Katie Olson, and Alison Podhradsky- wanted to use the opportunity to teach their students that it is better to give than to receive and the importance of community.
February saw happier news stories from the international event of the Winter Olympics to the local renovation of Walla Theater in Walhalla. The theater had been undergoing renovations since 2007 and was about 75 percent complete when the article was published on February 5, 2018. The funding for the renovations came thanks to generous donations and the Gorge Arts & Heritage Council.
Jeff Ratzlaff saw his Ratzlaff Motorsports break two world records in Green Bay, Wisconsin, during the 2018 Ice Drag Racing World Series. “The Grinch”, a lime green custom sled, was raced by Danny Steinmetz in the Outlaw Class. The sled completed an eighth of a mile in 4.25 seconds topping speeds over 160 miles per hour. The team wasn’t done breaking things as the next class, the Pro Mod 1000, saw them going an eighth of a mile in 4.97 seconds with a top speed of 131 miles per hour.
The county also saw an increased interest in insuring that mental health was taken seriously. A Behavioral and Mental Health Taskforce was created after Cavalier County Extension Agent Macine Lukach attended a workshop sponsored by NDSU extension and Prairie St. John’s Hospital that identified gaps in service some service areas. The members of the taskforce include Lukach, Barb Boesl, Lindsey Mehlhoff, Terri Gustafson, Steph Welsh, Karl Breddin, Rebecca Breddin, Patty Metzger, Leeann Knudson, and Greg Fetsch.
The Vanguard tax equalization assessment was completed and had many in the county seeking the ear of the County Commission to express their opinion on the result.
Cavalier County Republican readers learned about the inner working of county government as the getting to know you government officials series featured the county recorder, county auditor, county treasurer and the Cavalier County Public Health District. The informative series highlighted what each office did day-to-day as well as the responsibilities they held.
Cavalier County Memorial Hospital shared that despite the fine received from the Office of the Inspector General, the hospital was projected to clear a net profit 20 times greater than any year since 2012. There was, however, one drawback that was hindering an accurate projection as an individual’s continuing request for information required CCMH’s legal advisors to review and remove line by line items relating to the hospital that could not be shared publicly.
Jon Iverson of Langdon closed March with a big win. Iverson placed first in North Dakota wheat yield and second overall in the 2017 National Wheat Yield Contest sponsored by the National Wheat Foundation. Iverson recorded a yield of 97.57 using Croplan HRS 3530.