The U.S. Corps of Engineers made history March 24 when they made the decision to close the Garrison Dam and allow no water to be released into the Missouri River. The recent risk of flooding in the Bismarck-Mandan area drove the Corps to make their decision. The water in the Missouri had risen near Bismarck to an estimated 15.5 feet, less than half a foot from the 16-foot flood stage. The Corps had been carefully watching the river flow, ice dams and other factors that contributed to the area's flooding. Paul Johnston, spokesman for the Corps, said that on March 21, the Garrison Dam, which usually releases 19,000 cubic feet per second, was taken down to a 6,000 cfs release, a near record for the dam.
Lace up those skates, winter isn't over yet as the recent snowstorm has displayed. Six young skaters from Center brought home gold, silver and bronze as competitors at the annual Capital City Winter Classic skating competition held Feb. 28 in Bismarck. All students at Center Elementary School, the skaters are Ashlyn Haag, 5, Kaitlynne Haag, 7, Madeline Henke, 10, Teegan Henke, 8, Abby Hintz, 9, and Teanna Hintz, 6.
Despite what the calendar says, the weather isn't indicating spring yet. Center residents woke up to blizzard conditions Tuesday. Bismarck meteorologist Tom Szymanski said there was no official report from Center, but he estimated 5-7 inches of snow had blown in by 11 a.m. He expected another 1-4 inches before the front moves out of the area with partial clearing by Tuesday night.
Center-Stanton School Board members discussed the future of the girls' basketball program at their monthly meeting March 16. Head coach Michael Bergstrom met with girls last week to assess interest in playing basketball next season. According to his count, seven or eight girls said they would play basketball. To get a team on the court, he would have to play eighth graders on the varsity. This year's Lady Wildcats placed third in Region 5 with nine girls on the team.
While Trudy made lunch in the kitchen and Shelly worked on the laptop at the dining room table, he came rolling down the hallway in his wheelchair. He had the familiar smile on his face, and his attitude was as cheerful as usual. Although he has sustained a variety of serious injuries, Trent Sack isn't about to let them keep him down, and he's optimistic that he's well on the road to recovery. It's been about two months since the miner was injured in a Jan. 11 dragline explosion at the BNI Coal mine. On this sunny March day, Trent's sister, Trudy Hatzenbihler, had come to Center for a week to help out. His wife, Shelly, was working at her job as a collection officer with the Bank of North Dakota from home using the phone and the computer.
Milk N' Honey is no longer flowing in Center with the Feb. 27 closing of the downtown grocery store owned by Rick and Lisa Reichenberg. The store was the only full grocery in the community. The Reichenbergs began scaling back operations early last fall, but would not officially confirm that they were closing the business until the door closed that last day. Customers, however, had noticed that the store's shelves gradually became more bare.
How do you stop the wind from blowing? Answer: you can't, but you can keep it from blocking your road every time it snows by planting a living snow fence. JD Hanson, Oliver Soil Conservation District technician, appeared at the Oliver County Commission meeting March 5 to share information on funding for establishing living snow fences. He referred to an e-mail he received from Tom Hanson, of the North Dakota Association of Soil Conservation Districts, stating the possibility of funding for living snow fences through the stimulus package currently making its way through Congress.
Walk into the Center-Stanton High School Vocational Ag shop around 11:15 in the morning and you'll see that it's glowing so hot you can't even look at it. That's when Duane Schmidt's advanced Ag welding class is heating it up, metal, that is. Schmidt's 14 juniors and seniors are working their way through 32 required welding and cutting procedures using high-tech equipment. Missouri River Educational Cooperative, one of eight regional education centers in North Dakota, provided the department with two Lincoln Power Metal Inert Gas No. 350 welders last fall at no cost to the school.
Center councilwoman Sandy Olin believes in the famous line from the movie "Field of Dreams," "If you build it, they will come." Also chairperson of the Housing Authority, at the March 2 meeting of the City Council, Olin proposed the city put its backing behind government bonds to finance construction of a four-plex structure in the Hazel Miner Addition. The bonds would be obtained from Security First State Bank and would act as a guarantee that the bank's loan would be paid back by the city. "I think it's a shame nobody has bought any of those lots," she said prior to the meeting. "I think if we get development started with a rental property, others will start building too."
Center-Stanton Superintendent of Schools Royal Lyson informed the school board at its meeting Feb. 12 that the North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board has reported a problem with the license of the district's preschool teacher, Laurie Thompson. The standards and practices board is the teacher licensing entity with the North Dakota Department of Education. It notified the Center-Stanton administration this month that Thompson is not "highly qualified" according to the No Child Left Behind requirements.