The Best of 2015
Fire at Coyote Station
Unexpected tests sometimes prove to be the most effective. For the Hazen Fire Department, the news of a fire at Coyote Station meant that all of the department’s training and experience had to come to the fore.
Joined by the Beulah and Zap Fire Departments, Hazen firefighters responded shortly after 5 a.m., remaining on scene for more than 11 hours. After the main fire was under control, focus shifted to dealing with smaller fires, with Hazen Captain Kasey Lesmann primarily concerned about roof damage.
Tigirlily wins awards
Local talent from Hazen was showcased for all of North Dakota to see.
The first North Dakota Music Awards Show was held Feb. 19, and sister duo Tigirlily won eight awards, including Song of the Year, Video of the Year, and Country Band of the Year. However, for the sisters who comprise Tigirlily, the U Rock Award was most valuable.
Elementary students raise money
Success is a wonderful thing, but nothing is more satisfying and enriching than surpassing your own numbers and goals.
In 2014, the Hazen Elementary School raised $11,000 for the American Heart Association by going door-to-door and asking for donations. Hoping to build upon that number, the school set a goal of $12,000 for 2015, but the elementary kids blasted past that number, raising $12,700 and ranking as the top school in the program out of 150 schools competing.
Library celebrates 50 years
Although the Hazen Public Library is a small building in a small town, it has been a vibrant place for people to read or meet together. In 2015, the library celebrated its 50th birthday.
There are books for all ages at the library, as well as computers and videos. There are also areas where you can simply sit quietly while reading and learning.
Vivid programs and performances can help to really display the consequences of bad choices, but the impact is even more powerful when those in the performances are well known.
For Hazen Middle School and High School students, a simulation held in May provided a very real sense of the dangers of drinking and driving. The simulation included students from the school district, as well as Hazen emergency responders from the police, ambulance, and fire services, and the arrival of a Sanford AirMed helicopter.
Miss ND Delanie Wiedrich
For the first time, a Hazen hometown girl was crowned Miss North Dakota at the June 13 pageant. Delanie Wiedrich claimed the crown.
Wiedrich was overwhelmed by the support from her family and from Hazen, pointing out that the other contestants all had so much to offer as well.
“It is every emotion that you could possibly feel wrapped into one single moment,” she said.
All School Reunion
Hundreds of former students from the Hazen School District (ranging from last year’s graduates to those who graduated about 70 years ago) came back to the community to reconnect with one another and experience a variety of entertainments the town provided for them.
Running from July 9 through July 12, the Hazen All School Reunion featured great weather that allowed for a variety of events, including golf, baseball and softball games, and a fireworks display. Other attractions included a photography exhibition by former Hazen Star editor Sheldon Green, a social at Jimmy’s Lounge and Pizza, and performances by Joe Friday and Maiden Dixie at the All Season Arena.
Ambulance board in turmoil
Ongoing tensions at the Mercer County Ambulance Service came to a head in August and September. The tensions were rooted in a sharp divide between the authority of the board and that of Ambulance Service Manager Angie Sayler.
Many of the concerns involved the budget, which the service needed to present to the Mercer County Commission before early September. Finances at the service had been in chaos for months, with attempts to bring the budget numbers in line.
Country music star Gwen Sebastian came to Hazen in late September as the city geared up for its annual Oktoberfest celebration. Sebastian performed on Main Street the evening of Sept. 26.
Although it was held at the end of September, Oktoberfest boasted summer-like temperatures and beautiful weather, which allowed people of all ages to enjoy the numerous activities. Other parts of the celebration included beer tasting, a color run, a craft show, and inflatables for younger children.
SMC breaks ground
Groundbreaking work on a new hospital for the community of Hazen was officially recognized at a warm October ceremony attended by hospital board and employees, local businesses, and state officials.
Site work at the location marks the first step in construction of the new hospital building for the Sakakawea Medical Center, which is designed to accommodate more patients, increase the ease of access, and streamline the layout of the hospital to provide a more efficient and effective mode of health care provision.
Clean Power Plan meeting
Mercer County found itself at the heart of state and national discussion regarding the energy sector and the environment. Following the release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Clean Power Plan, the North Dakota Department of Health prepared public meetings at four locations across the state, one of which was Beulah.
At the Beulah meeting, hundreds of residents came to attend the meeting, which provided information on the EPA’s climate plan and gave residents the opportunity to voice their opinions.
Warm weather seemed to be the recurring theme for the fall season in Hazen and, as the community gathered for the community Walk Around in early December, 50 degree weather came to greet them.
Hazen’s Walk Around included, besides numerous business deals for Christmas shopping, a visit by Santa to WRT, a vendor show, free bingo for kids at D’Andreas Hot Stuff Pizza, and other events. Farmer’s Union hosted a Christmas tree decoration competition, and then auctioned the trees off the day of the Walk Around, raising $1,250 for the Hazen Senior Center.