North Dakota schools will all fail to meet national standards next year, according to Department of Public Instruction officials. “We expect all of our schools will be in a (Annual Yearly Progress) failing status,” State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler said. “It’s just the reality. We are in pretty good company because some of the best states in the (country) will have school districts that are 100 percent failing.” Students across the state are sitting down for hours taking the test for AYP, a report that determines how school districts are performing academically. The test that was intended to help “close the gap” between high and low performing schools, but it has been a headache for school officials, Baesler said, adding the requirements have gotten more unrealistic with each year. DPI has called on congressional help to overturn NCLB, but Baesler agreed that Congress is focused on farm bills and presenting a budget to prevent another government shutdown. “We continue to work with our congressional delegation,” she said. “Education seems to take a back seat. It can be frustrating for educators.”
North Dakota is in the midst of one of its wettest years, and that isn’t helping the corn harvest, officials said. “Basically right now the ground is getting so soft that we can’t get the crops dried down. That’s the big issue,” Oliver County Extension Agent Rick Schmidt said. The state has seen above normal rain, National Weather Service meteorologist Rich Kinney said. Oliver County averages less than an inch of rain for October, he said. But a late rain season has pushed precipitation measurements up to six inches for the month to date. “We are well above normal,” he said. “Bismarck is up to 4.64 (inches) for the month. That’s 3.75 above normal.” Bismarck recorded its fifth wettest year with 25.26 inches, according to NWS. The wettest year on record was in 1876 with 30.92 inches.
After 36 years in the Hazen Armory the North Dakota National Guard will leave the city for one final time. Officials announced Thursday the decision to close the Hazen and Cavalier facilities by December. “Those are the two smallest armories in terms of number of soldiers, Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk Many states are moving toward regional armories, he said. More than 70 percent of North Dakota’s Guard members live within 10 miles of the state’s 10 largest cities. Hazen has 26 Guardsmen in the troop known as Detachment 1 of the 818th Engineer Company (Sapper). Sixteen members are part of the 134th Quartermaster Detachment in Cavalier. None are from the two cities. Sprynczynatyk was surprised that there were no soldiers from the towns where the armories were located, adding Cavalier once had 65 members, all from that town. “We’ve seen a change in the demographics, he said. We are seeing that change significantly across the state. Hazen’s soldiers will more than likely be relocated to Minot while Cavalier’s will transfer to Grand Forks, Sprynczynatyk said. Some may also be transferred to other units depending on skill sets and location. “This decision did not come quickly or easily, but challenging times require difficult decisions,” he said. “We are facing a future of uncertainties, both in North Dakota and around the United States, due to new national strategies regarding the size and composition of our military force.”
State superintendent visits C-S Schools By April Baumgarten Kirsten Baesler had one message for the children of Center-Stanton Public Schools – Luck is preparing yourself for future opportunities. “It’s not about luck. It’s not about where you were born,” the superintendent of Public Instruction said. “It’s about what you do with yourself.” The educator of 22 years spent her Thursday morning touring the halls of CSPS, walking from classroom to classroom and observing the students as they worked. The energy and happiness at the school radiated as she spoke with the children and teachers, she said. “They really seem to enjoy their time at Center-Stanton Schools,” she added. “(The students) were so eager as I communicated with that group of eighth-graders and they were sharing their books with me. I’ve seen a lot of students, and the Center-Stanton students were some of the most articulate and the most competent young people that I have ever come across.” Baesler says she has a passion for education that has inspired her entire adult career, but she had no idea where life would take her. She grew up in Flasher, a city about 50 miles southwest of Bismarck and her office at the State Capitol Building. Like Center, her hometown is a small with a population of 230. She told the Center Republican that she thought she may be at a disadvantage when she went to a large university.
Affinity Salon set to style on Main Avenue By Michael Johnson BHG News service Making someone feel beautiful is no easy task. Kelli Folk-Murrey, the new owner of the salon downtown in Washburn is ready for that task. The sale of the business was final Aug. 30. It reopened as Affinity Salon Sept. 5 and has been open since. “It felt like a good opportunity,” Folk-Murrey said. “Washburn and the area is growing.” Folk-Murrey is a native of the Center-Stanton area, but has called Wilton home for the past three years. Her experience in hair started about five years ago while working as a receptionist at Spa D’ Athena in Bismarck. She called it an early mid-life crisis. She would stare at the hair stylists doing their work on the many customers everyday and others finally talked her into taking up some scissors and learning the trade, too. The trade came naturally for her. She attended the Hair Academy and soon returned to working at Spa D’ Athena and at Glance Spa and Salon in Bismarck.
The City of Center will look at limiting waived fees for groups that use its hall for celebrations. “We shouldn’t waive it for the Lutheran church,” City Councilman Dallas Morast said. “We shouldn’t waive it for the Methodist church, we shouldn’t waive it for the Catholic church.” The Center City Council discussed the issue Monday during a meeting at City Hall. A request was submitted by Kristen Henke to waive the large hall fee for a daycare breakfast. The board passed the waiver 3-1. Councilman Keith Erhardt dissented. Councilman Eric Casson was absent. The issue came after the council voted to increase fees for the large hall to $75 a day to recoup expenses. It also decided to charge out-of-city groups a higher price.
A high-speed chase last week through three counties ended with a car fire. The U.S. Marshal Service arrested Kelly Touche Redroad, 40, Oct. 2 after a 75-mile chase. Redroad was wanted for a supervised release violation after being convicted for conspiracy to commit bank fraud, Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Dan Orr told the Hazen Star. A warrant for her arrest was issued Sept. 24 by a federal court in Fargo. “Some of our deputies in Bismarck had received some information that Kelly Touche Redroad was in the area,” he said. “The investigation led them to the Walmart parking lot in Mandan.”
ABATE is at it again, but this year they are expanding their toy fundraiser to local grocery stores. The motorcycle group, which collected toys for children in McLean and Mercer counties, is setting up boxes at local grocery stores including Krause’s SuperValu in Hazen, Washburn and Garrison and Bronson’s SuperValu in Beulah. “We decided that everybody has to buy groceries,” said Brenda Mattheis, North 9 and 10 District representatives for ABATE of North Dakota. “Somebody mentioned we should try it.”
Center could be a focal point for transporting natural resources out of the state, officials said last week. Minnesota-based ALLETE announced its vision for a comprehensive energy corridor to move natural gas, petroleum, water, waste water, wind energy and carbon across the state. The 465-mile path would run from Center to Duluth, Minn. “We see the ALLETE Energy Corridor as a comprehensive infrastructure solution in North Dakota that could serve many products and producers across the region,” said Alan Hodnik, the energy company’s president, chairman and CEO. “ALLETE has been invested in North Dakota for decades. We are confident that our rich history of partnering with others can help forge creative solutions to today’s new challenges facing energy markets in the Upper Midwest.”
Despite more than normal rainfall the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has continued drought conservation measures at Garrison Dam. “Reservoir levels at the upper three large reservoirs – Fort Peck, Garrison and Oahe – are 3-9-feet below their desired elevations,” said Mike Swenson for the Missouri River Basin Water Management office.