3 children were injured when an inflatable bouncy house blew into the Park River this weekend during Grafton's Summerfest. The incident happened around 2:45 Saturday afternoon in Lestikow Park. Grafton Area Chamber of Commerce Director Todd Morgan says the recent heavy rains forced the inflatables to be moved to higher ground closer to the river. Morgan says he'd been monitoring the weather that morning and anticipated two storm cells would hit the area between 11:00 a.m and 4:00 p.m. After the weaker first system dumped some heavy rains around 12:30, Morgan says he began telling vendors to shut down for the day, He says the plan was to have everything closed up by 3:00 p.m. But the second system ended up hitting suddenly around a quarter to three. Morgan says by that time the inflatable games were the only vendor left in the Park. He says they were in the process of shutting down but the wind picked up suddenly and ended up blowing some of the games into the water. There were three children on the "Boot Camp" inflatable when the wind hit. Morgan couldn't comment on the injuries to the three children, but says it was an unfortunate accident and that his heart goes out to all those involved.
On a lighter note, before a downpour put a damper on the activities downtown on Friday night, there was still time to crown the winners of this years Ribfest. Buck Carroway of Diverse Energy Systems took first place, Josh Moe from the Country Smokehouse in Grafton came in at second place, while Chris Misialek from the Harvey Avenue Saloon in Minto took the third spot. People's Choice went to Grafton's Louie Knudson for the second year in a row.
photos courtesy Travis Craig of Grafton
The North Dakota Highway Patrol will conduct a sobriety checkpoint at a predetermined location in Walsh County tomorrow night from 7-9 p.m. Delay will be minimal for sober drivers passing through the checkpoint. The patrol says the purpose of a sobriety checkpoint is to deter the deadly practice of drinking and driving, not to apprehend a large number of alcohol or drug-impaired drivers. Public information and education play an important role in increasing the perception of “risk of apprehension” of motorists who choose to drive while impaired.
Officials with American Crystal Sugar Co. say they should not have to testify in a lawsuit involving the sugar and corn syrup industries. American Crystal is not part of the suit, but the Moorhead, Minnesota-based company is being asked to provide information on genetically-modified sugar beets. The complaint filed in California accuses corn syrup marketers of misleading consumers by claiming that sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are nutritionally the same. Lawyers for American Crystal say the information wanted by corn syrup marketers is "confidential, irrelevant or obtainable from other sources." A judge has not ruled on the motion.
The Grafton City Council held its organization meeting last night. The meeting began with all newly elected members filing their Oaths of Office. New council member Brian Sieben, the only non incumbent elected, now officially begins his four year term as Council Member-At large. Sieben replaces the outgoing Tim McDonald who was presented with a plaque and thanked by Mayor Chris West for his years of dedicated service to Grafton. Later by unanimous vote, Len Wysocki was elected council president with Greg Young unanimously elected as vice president. The Council also approved all the Mayor's various commission, committee and city official appointments. Those appointments will become effective on July 1st. The council also later approved First Reading of an ordinance for Grafton to annex around 40 acres of land West of town. The land lies between Marvin Windows and Morton Buildings off Highway 17. Second Reading and Final Passage is set for the July 14th council meeting.
The Grafton City Council will hold its organization meeting this evening at 6:00 p.m. at the Grafton City Hall. Agenda items include the filing of Oaths of Office by all newly-elected council members, the election of President and Vice-President along with the mayor's appointments of department heads and various committees and boards that will be effective as of July 1st. The City Council will act on those appointments. Tonight's agenda also includes mayoral appointments to various Ad Hoc committees which do not require council confirmation.
The first concert of the summer for the Park River Bible Camp was held last night. Last night's entertainment was Sacred Variety. The camp will be having concerts every Sunday night at 7PM, except for July 6th, for the rest of the summer. Program Director of the camp, Luke Berntson says that the concerts are for everyone. He says the kids will be having ice cream and other treats after the concerts. Brent Hermans, a pianist from Grafton, will be performing this Sunday. The concerts are held at the chapel at Park River Bible Camp.
A rare car that belonged to a prominent North Dakota businessman and philanthropist who donated his land for a popular state park is coming home. The 1925 Case Model X Suburban Coupe was owned by G.B. Gunlogson, who grew up near Cavalier. It was bought at an auction after a fund-raising effort sponsored by Icelandic State Park and the Pembina County Historical Museum, groups that Gunlogson supported. Gunlogson's parents immigrated to North Dakota from Iceland. He left the state at a young age and became sales manager of the motor car division at Case, the Wisconsin company known for its farm equipment. The car will be displayed at the museum and used for special occasions at the park, including the 50th anniversary celebration this year. Gunlogson died in 1983.
The Walsh County Board of Commissioners approved the new Township Road Certifications for 2014 at their last regular meeting yesterday morning. Highway Department Administrative Officer Stacy Sevigny speaking before the commission said the townships in Walsh County reported maintaining just over 1,584 miles of roads, 28.2 fewer miles than were reported in 2012. The number of miles maintained determines how much funding the townships receive. Road certifications do not include minimum maintenance roads. The certification process is conducted every two years.
Commissioners later approved the purchase of new cages for this year’s Walsh County Fair in Park River. County Extension Agent Brad Brummond requested permission to purchase 10 new rabbit cages, enough to hold 35 rabbits, 21 new chicken cages which will hold around 39 chickens and 10 turkey and geese cages with enough room for up to 6 of the animals. Brummond says no one will morn the loss of the old cages, which he says have been around for quite a few years now. The new cages will come at a cost of just over $1,635.
North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger says he has received signed petitions for a proposed statewide ballot measure on parental rights that could go before voters in November. Advocates of the proposed law giving both parents equal rights and decision-making responsibilities in child custody cases on Monday turned in petitions totaling 13,521 signatures. Many supporters of the initiated measure are from Walsh County. Voters here passed a similar law in 2012 but state Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem has challenged the local initiative, saying it usurps state authority. Jaeger's office has until July 21 to determine whether the signatures are valid. North Dakota voters would decide the fate of the measure on the Nov. 4 election should Jaeger clear the proposal. A similar measure failed in 2006.
The first meeting of the newly formed Grafton Flood Risk Reduction Citizen Advisory Group was held last Wednesday night at the Grafton City Hall. The group met with representatives from three engineering firms; KLJ, Barr and Moore Engineering Inc. During his introduction, KLJ's John Markusen said the groups purpose was to identify issues and alternatives which will be addressed during the environmental phase of the project to remove Grafton from the 100 year floodplain. Markusen said the group will act as a public sounding board as the plan moves ahead. Throughout the evening the engineers presented slides illustrating the different options available to remove the city from the floodplain. These options included flood bypass channels, overbank excavations, tieback and ring levees and different channel modifications. The preferred option was Plan 2A which included a flood diversion bypass channel and tieback levee that would extend West of town on Highway 17. The flood diversion plan would cost around $52 million, but its the preferred plan of the Army Corps of Engineers and its already been approved on environmental grounds. Choosing a different option could add an additional 18 months or more to the project while environmental studies were conducted. And most in attendence agreed that the project should be completed as quickly as possible. The CAG includes a flood committee made up of Mayor Chris West, City administrator Nick Zeigelmann and city council members Greg Young and Chris Lipsh. The full city council forms the groups executive committee. The citizen portion contains local business owners, representatives from the general public, Chamber Director Todd Morgan, Walsh County Commissioner Ernie Barta, Councilmen Don Hutson and Len Wysocki along with rural representative Kevin Hoenke. Moving forward the CAG plans to meet approximately four to six more times during the environmental and design process over the next 1-2 years.