Showing posts from March, 2009

Interesting birth story

Seems odd we were just talking about birthing last night at a friend's home. In fact one of our expectant friends came over from their water surrounded Moorhead home for a meal and strawberry shortcake. Needless to say here's the piece on the unusual birth.

Ready for the flood

Despite being on a higher elevation than the rest of Fargo, this resident is prepared for the worst. In the front yard a canoe sits atop of a snow bank. Just blocks away is an emergency shelter. This is one of the only parts of Fargo that is not part of the evacuation plan. This is mostly due to the height of the land in the portion of Fargo I call Middle Fargo.
Who could blame the resident? The Red is an unpredictable and wily foe.

And now the snow

Winter weather returned to the Fargo Moorhead area this afternoon creating a lack of visibility. No snow removal is planned to my knowledge. Its a very wet and sticky snow that could be compacted fast to make for slippery roads. I did a grocery run this afternoon and this is certainly a powerful storm. Picture to the left is at a grocery store on the corner of 13th Ave and 42nd St. The electronic sign in the distance says "Thanks Volunteers."
Sandbagging re-started in Dilworth and Moorhead today shortly Fargo ceased its operations at the Fargo Dome. Travel advisories have been issued for the region plus at the Fargo city briefing it officials advised that only emergency travel should be done. Also at the afternoon meeting, the use of the Predator drone data collection was demonstrated.

Hendrum Update

You can read about the Hendrum situation here.
It appears about 200 answered the call to help on Sunday.
Ada-Borup students were helping this morning.

An evening at the Fargo Dome

A slight haze hung over the field, but this was not pyrotechnic. No, this was fine sand particles hanging in the air inside the Fargo Dome. Since 8 AM on Sunday, Fargoans and others have rejoined their efforts to increase the city sandbag supply. People from all walks of life and numerous nations gave of their time and energy to complete the task. I joined them Sunday evening.
Not wanting to expend gasoline, I biked up the street to the dome. Arriving at 5PM I found the floor of the dome to be crowded and chaotic. How on earth was I going to lend a helping hand when it seemed there were some many hands helping already. I watched and waited for a few minutes in the stands. There were other who were doing the same (or so I thought.) Finally I wafted my way to the floor and looked for a place to help. Nothing. Finally I went to the west side and began to pile empty sandbags with 2 junior high girls (or so I thought they were.) At last I spied a job. Piling the bags on the pallet. Who knew…

King Louis reigns in Fargo

King Louis XIII made an appearance in Fargo a few weeks ago. Being a young king I think he drew on a mustache to appear older. His Royal Highness obliged us with a photo op while his body guard flirted with nearby ladies.

Man dies twice while people idly watch

This young man performed a death scene for the audience of The Three Musketeers at Fargo South High School back a few weeks ago and then did it again for my camera after the show. Superbly done. Bravo young thespian!

Another flood blogger

This IVCF blog (posting by alums of IVCF in Morris I suspect) has pictures of a group from Morris that came up to Fargo to help a friend dike entirely around his house after the city placed a dike in front of his home. There are pictures.
Click here

Downtown church holds service

With no bathrooms and no water, a church just blocks from the Red River on Main Avenue held its regular worship service this Sunday morning as National Guard units patrolled just across the street.
Most of the audio and visual equipment plus the chairs had been stowed earlier in the week as a precaution. About 2 dozen folding chairs were rounded up and the video projector was brought out. Nearly a dozen were in attendance to worship and hear interim pastor Neil Thielke share a message.
2 families in the church from Moorhead were especially hit hard by flood waters. It was good to hear that both were safe. Neil had aided one family in diking around the entire house when the City of Moorhead installed a temporary dike in front of the home. Most church members helped in the sandbagging efforts around the city in addition to evacuating one family from their home.
Neil's message emphasized the need for God's grace- which he stated could be thought of as God's supply. He elaborated…

A great webisode from Grand Forks

I like this concept that this church is taking with making a webisode- lots of content to re-enforce teachings.

7 year anniversary video I have never seen

Obama's address on March 28

Watching and waiting

A distant train waits for the go ahead to cross the bloated Red River from Fargo.

To understand flooding in the Red River Valley look here

Another picture of trains and a historic flood in Fargo.

Main Avenue closed to Moorhead for now

I arrived downtown Saturday night to check on a building I work in and overheard from the traffic minders that in order to get to Moorhead, people need to use I-94 instead of the Main Avenue bridge. I suspect this may be only temporary but have found nothing to verify my assumption. They were only letting utility trucks and heavy equipment through and I also overheard they were increasing a dike someplace. That explains the amount of trucks with clay I witnessed drive pass.
In the picture you can barely make out the National Guard and police at each intersection. I didn't want to press my luck to get a closer shot. In the picture below you can see a line of trucks with clay heading east toward the Main Ave bridge.
Most major sandbagging operations have ceased but smaller sandbagging efforts continue elsewhere.

Business closures

Downtown was somewhat deserted today. I saw a few pedestrians. I tried to get to my bank ATM but it was sandbagged shut. National Guard had a small convoy behind Old Broadway.

Looking at Morris and theater past

I found a the recent copy of Profile, the leading alumni publication of my alma mater, at my friend's home. This quarter's edition features a look at the dramatic alumni. Noted Twin City actress Ann Michels and Morris alum gets a feature. She was around during my term there but mostly did musicial pursuits. She was an incredible vocalist. After college it was and long and steady progression until she got more involved with theater. I actually saw her a while back in a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Chanhassen Dinner Theater. I think I wrote about that on the blog. However, I can't seem to find it.
Few compatriots of my era are mentioned although there is one reference to a Natalie Diem. We were in Marat/Sade together. As I recall, she was intense. I made an effort not to get in her way. And, to complete the rhyme, she appeared as Charlotte Corday.
Brent Roske gets no mention in here (The Profile) albeit because he never graduated from UMM.…

Bison basketball go from dance to flood

Finally tracked down an article which took the angle I was expecting to be mined earlier this week- Bison Men's Basketball go from the tournament to the front lines of defending Fargo from the Red River. I spotted it on MSN today after a long sleep but it had been up since Wednesday. The article is here. For you Bret Winkelman fans there is even a quote from him.
Compared to Kansas, the Red is a more formiable opponent- often unpredictiable and vastly larger than Cole Aldrich. The Bison men had their hands full...of sandbags. However, 2 different keys lead to the sustainment of Red's rise- bone chilling temperatures and a vastly larger bench. Right now it appears the Red has crested- 40.82. Now defense will be the key to keep the Red in check.

An eery look at the Red River

This is a pretty scary picture of rising Red River taken early this morning.

A Flood Fighter CodeRed

Further narrative of my time fighting the Red River flood in Fargo.
I settled down for a few minutes after returning from my earlier foray sandbagging in South Fargo. The phone rang just after I devoured an Extreme Pita. A CodeRed was issued to gather volunteers to increase the height of the main earthen dike just south of downtown. I a couple of moments I revived my wardrobe with some warmer attire and headed east about a half mile to the dike by foot. Hundred of citizens had already gathered and were heaving the sandbags up the dike. I joined the fight immediately and met up with some co-workers.
Earlier in the day while I was waiting, the crest forecast had risen to to something between 41' to 43'. Most of the dikes in town would need to increased especially the first line of defense along the Red River. The Island Park Dike only can contain about 41' from my recollections. At least 2' would need to be added to ensure security.
The weather was not very cooperative. Th…

Fargo Flood Watch Blog

The Area Voice blog site has an informative blog detailing the hour to hour decisions and operations for the flood. It can be found here.

I finally got a hand on a sandbag

More narrative of my time embedded with the Fargo volunteer flood fighters on March 26
A plea for more volunteers swelled the flood fighter numbers drastically. With the system stressed by the larger turnouts, there was much waiting and confusion. Squads of Carhart clad volunteers sat on bleachers in the Assembly of God volunteer center eating and hoping to get out there to help. Buses were lining up outside. Some returned workers to the Fargo Dome and others took volunteers to possible work sites. I had been riding the bus most of the day and each time I got to the site the whole bus was told to return because there were too many workers.
As the sun began to set, I boarded another bus bound for some dike in south Fargo. On that bus I met up with a man who just arrived from Omaha with a friend from Hong Kong. Based on some phone calls made to the Red Cross hotline, Doug was unsure if he should make the trip. Nevertheless, Red Cross called him back and gave him to go ahead.
We arrived at …

Waiting to flood fight

A further report while embedded with volunteer forces in south Fargo.
After much waiting I eventually went out on another bus on Thursday around 5PM to the an area around Drain 27. This creek-like drain swelled to enormous proportions and threatened numerous homes, apartments, and businesses. I saw many volunteers hard at work en route. However, this trip proved no better than the previous- too many volunteers. We stayed on the bus and returned to the Assembly of God. Quite a few were disappointed. I overheard many speak of the same scenario I found myself in- on a bus for a while to get to a work site but only to be turned away. I was nearing frustration at this process. Certainly there was someplace that needed a workforce ready and willing to work? I was doubting my decision to use the official channels for volunteering. It just seemed to be breaking down.

The fight continues

After a short day at work on Thursday, I headed to the closest volunteer center (Assembly of God) but found no parking available. Not dismayed I continued down the street to Hope Lutheran where plenty of parking spots were available. Unfortunately I arrived when there was an all city work stoppage. I signed in and waited and ate. The food spread at Hope was incredible. I ate light in preparation to go out.
After about 45 minutes I got on another bus that took me to the Assembly of God. A short wait, I got on yet another bus which drove us to the River Dr neighborhood in South Eastern Fargo. It took about 45 minutes to get there due to the weather. The previous days' winter storm had left plenty of snow which the city was not able to plow. A crew got off the bus but a foreman sent us back to the bus because there were too many volunteers. So I took another 45 minute bus ride back to the Assembly of God.
It was hurry up and wait for almost 2 hours. The volunteer effort must of been so…

The fight against the flood

Fargo flood fighters of all shapes, ages, and races were in force last evening. However college aged certainly outnumbered most at the central sandbagging centre. I volunteered from 8 to almost mid night on the sandbag production line.
The night started at the Fargo Dome where I need to sign a volunteer waiver. Afterward I waited for a few minutes and then bordered a city bus which took a stand room only crowd to an undisclosed location (public works garage) to bag sand. I then followed a person in a vest into the facility and was placed near a sand spout on the "spider." I thought I snapped a picture but I didn't. The apparatus directs the incoming sand to 12 spouts where there is usually a team of 3-4. One puts the bag on then when full passes it onto another who will fasten it. Yet another will put the next bag on. There were 3 "spiders" in operation last night in addition to numerous shovelers, lifters, and stackers. The Red Cross was on hand with food. I …

Flood omen?

Yes the flood was forecasted pretty well in advance. The severity usually can be judged until the water begins its rise. The Go is awaiting a 41 foot crest this weekend.
Rewind about a month and a half ago. The Mayor was in DC testifying concerning preparedness for a major flood in the region. He noted other cities in the Valley have received the aid to build adequate dikes (i.e. Grand Forks has one at around 61 feet I think.) since that last big one in 1997. I believe he was quoted as saying "It's our turn." Now the Go is up against a record swell.
Coincidence? I'm just grasping at straws but certainly this should get DC's attention especially since its on the heels of NDSU's first NCAA appearance. I had to add that :)
The dike in GO is something like 40 feet, having been raised a few feet in the last decade. Temporary dikes have been assembled when needed but with a 41 foot crest coming it is going to be taxing. The good part is the volunteers have come out…

From March Madness to Flood Madness

The Bison gave us a great show on Friday. It was an exciting game until the finish (except that CBS flipped the coverage about a minute before the game officially ended). Despite losing to the defending champs here are some of my highlights.
Ben Woodside put in 37 points. If he wouldn't have missed a few free throws he'd be at 40 but he kept apace of Sherron Collins. I believe he has the most single game points for this tournament. Quite a finale for the point guard.

Brett Winkelman captures a double double. A fine curtain call to a subperb season.

Cole Aldrich- a simply unstoppable hulk. Moorman fouled out trying to contain the 6'11'' Kansas center. There was just no answer from the Bison for this future NBA player. Aldrich really made the difference.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T. The Bison showed a national audience that their program is willing to do what it takes to go head to head with the big guns of division I. Altough it ended with a loss, it was an incredible game. The Biso…

The Hand Out

I've always been torn concerning giving money to beggars. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. I don't see them often in the Go as I did in DC a 15 yrs ago. This article from Relevant speaks concerning that topic although it comes to the same conclusion I usually have: it depends.
I'm of the opinion that money is not my own. I'm only taking care of it and eventually through the economic forces it will either tranfer to somebody else or turn into something. A weird definition but true I suspect as we don't use dollars or cents in that great beyond.
One book that opened my eyes up more to homelessness was Under the Overpass. I actually saw the author in the Go a few years ago. But the discoveries of 2 young men who decided to become homeless were insightful and compelling. I don't remember what the authors said about hand outs but they seemed cautious as they encountered many on streets who were there because of poor choices (drugs and alcohol abuse). A third …

Bison Fab Four Face Biggest Challenge Yet

In less than 12 hours North Dakota State will play Kansas in their first NCAA Tournament game ever. It's a steep task to face the defending champions Kansas Jayhawks. However, the NCAA has thrown them a bit of a golden parachute by placing the game in Minneapolis- a mere 240 miles from campus. Will Bison Nation be there? You bet they will be. Almost a half year removed from the Bison football victory over Minnesota, the men's basketball team is in the same venue looking for an upset. I wouldn't bet against it even if Kansas do look bigger and badder than anything the Summit League can throw at NDSU. But hey, they made the field of 64. Minnesota is out after a loss to Texas. Maybe the Gopher State will get behind ND State. Both Winkelman and Woodside are Minnesota natives plus there's a guy on the bench from Willmar- also in Minnesota. My guess is that it's going to be great fan support. I was pretty impressed with Minnesota early in the season but they just faded a…

Cheerios is doing good

Today I supported this. Do you eat Cheerios? Perhaps you too can help.

Twas a great day to be green and not drunk

Well another St. Patrick's Day is done and dusted. Nothing spectacular in the Go this year. The parade this weekend was rather ho-hum but it definitely looked more like a St. Patrick Parade- lots of people walking and hardly any floats. I suspect this is what it evolves to become. However, I think there should be some more imagination and creativity put into it. And there needs to be more music!
I digress. In the States, St. Patrick seems to have become the patron saint of drinking. Perhaps this is the case elsewhere. I know no other day to celebrate a Christian pioneer that is celebrated with numerous pints. Somehow we lose track of Patrick and celebrate all things Irish by drenching ourselves with green beer. Although one website notes that binge drinking is normal in Ireland, I highly doubt that is for what the Irish want to have a reputation. And the cost of a pint in Ireland, I can hardly believe this is affordable behaviour.
In other Irish news- violence again erupted in the N…

2008 Radio show recording

Today reminded me of the 2008 radio show which a cast, band and I recorded back in December of 2008. It was supposed to be a big event with lots of people coming to be part of the studio audience. However, the weather would gain the upper hand and create fear and loathing amongst the potential crowd which would be attending. The eye of the storm came the next day.
But for those who missed it and those who never heard of such a crazy show which never airs on real radio (I'm told it's only for professionals) you have chance to hear it.
Go to this URL: and then click on 2008 Radio Show.
Hopefully more will hear it online than actually heard/saw it live.

In one last gasp NDSU breaks into the dance

As a blizzard ravaged the Bison homeland and I sat home wondering if there was cable television anywhere, NDSU overcomes the Oakland Grizzlies 66-64 in the final minutes for the Summit League Championship and a berth into the NCAA Tournanment.
The history between these 2 teams certainly suggested an epic match-up but for the Bison it was mostly a catch up affair in Sioux Falls. They were down as many as 14 points at one point. The Herd only held the lead in the final minutes. I'm sure most Bison fans were biting their nails. Oakland kept Woodside and Winkelman mostly quiet. However, underclassman Michael Tveidt stepped up to aid his Bison brethern by scoring 21. Winkelman's double digit scoring streak ended, Brett finished with 9 points but he grabbed 8 rebounds to place himself as NDSU's #2 all time rebounder.
When I looked at the stats to discern how this game was won- other than by sure determination of the upper classmen (i.e. Ben Woodside's jumper with 3 seconds l…

Bison men advance to final

A Thundering Herd gained at place in the Summit League championship game.
Read here.
As a blizzard descended upon the Go, the Herd turned on the heat in Sioux Falls shooting 51% from the field. Mike Nelson (#31) deserves the game ball for 22 points and holding Southern Utah's Davis Baker to just 8 points. Davis had scored 17 in the previous meeting with the Bison.