October 23, 2008

Keeping the courthouse courtly

By Allan Tinker

Sylvia Schell follows a long line of dedicated custodians of the Sheridan County Courthouse, each leaving their personal stamp of improvement to the premises. In the front of the courthouse, the mounds of dirt, along with carefully lined flower beds and just-past-blooming plants, is the focus of Schell’s idea for courthouse front yard improvement. The removal of a tree and repair of water lines left the lawn in need of tender loving care. It is receiving it in spades, literally. Schell is focusing on sturdy plants, such as Four o’clocks, that will take the brunt of North Dakota weather with minimum upkeep. There are landscape timbers outlining some beds and tulip bulbs for spring early beauty planted. The yard improvement comes on top of the day-long mowing tasks that are necessary to keep the entire yard neat. She has some help from city maintenance worker Steve Murray and the county’s own Bernie Richter for keeping heavy snow off of the sidewalks and the back parking area. The bagged leaves in the fall, along with grass clippings go into a trailer and the "shop guys" take them away. She balances the help with a batch of homemade "thank you" cookies. Inside, the touches of home décor have brought out the marble and wood accents of the courthouse. Along with other workers and past employees, the courthouse changes for the four seasons and for holidays, especially in the little corners.

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