Teens needed for traffic safety contest

North Dakota teenagers can win cash prizes for creating a 30-second traffic safety video or a billboard design.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation, AAA North Dakota and the North Dakota Safety Council are sponsoring the 2nd annual NDTeenDrivers Traffic Safety Contest.

The contest is open to teens ages 14 to 19 enrolled in a North Dakota school. Students may work individually or in a group of up to five students. They need to focus on distracted driving, underage drinking and driving, or seat belt use.

In addition to creating a video or billboard design, each entry is required to conduct one traffic safety event at their school. Contestants have the chance to win up to $1,000 and a $1,000 traffic safety grant for their school.

“I think this contest is a great way to get teens involved in traffic safety and focus on their driving behaviors,” Mark Nelson, DOT safety director, said in a statement.

All participants must register by 5 p.m. CT Feb. 11 to participate in the contest. All participants in a group must attend the same school. Once the registration form is complete, teens may begin creating their traffic safety video or billboard.

For more information about the contest and its rules, visit NDTeenDrivers.com or Facebook.com/NDTeenDrivers.

N.D. tourism sites receive funding

BISMARCK—Ten North Dakota tourism attractions received grants to support expansions.

The Tourism Infrastructure and Expansion Grants are matching grants requiring the sponsor to provide $1 for every $2 of grant money requested. The total amount of grant dollars awarded for this program is $99,312, a Tourism Division news release said.

The 2011 recipients are:

– Bagg Bonanza Farm, Mooreton, to construct a new basement for the Main House. This is to ensure the safety and integrity of the building as well as increase exhibit space.

– Bottineau County Agricultural Society, Bottineau, to place bleachers from the former State Fair grandstand in Minot on a new foundation at the Bottineau County Fair site.

– Save Coghlan Castle Inc., St. John, for continued restoration of the Coghlan Castle Turtle Mountain Scenic Byway site.

– Enchanted Highway Inc. Regent, to construct the “Enchanted Castle,” a 20-room lodging facility in the former Regent school building.

– Grant County JDA, Carson, to add restroom and shower facilities to a 20-site campground at Lake Tschida.

– McKenzie County Tourism, Watford City, to expand the existing oil display at the Pioneer Museum with scale models of drilling and work-over rigs, showing below-ground activity.

– Wimbledon Community Museum, Wimbledon, to restore the 1913 Midland Continental Depot. Included will be information and artifacts from Peggy Lee, who lived in the depot’s upstairs living quarters as a teenager when her father was the depot agent.

– Dickens Village, Garrison, to restore the “Queen Elizabus,” an authentic double-decker English bus. The project includes construction of a shelter with a clear wall to display the bus all year.

– North Dakota Coon Hunters Association, Fort Ransom, to complete the Sheyenne River Lodge facility to host bench shows, hunter education programs and events chartered by three national kennel clubs.

– Plains Art Museum, Fargo, for construction related to the installation of “The North Dakota Mural” by North Dakota native James Rosenquist. The project also includes the construction of the Center for Lifelong Learning within the museum for arts education.

North Dakota Department of Commerce Commissioner Shane Goettle said the program provides an opportunity to combine economic development and Tourism Division dollars to enhance the state’s tourism attractions, thus drawing more visitor dollars to North Dakota.

Tourism Division promotes Halloween activities

The Tourism Division released a list of Legendary places to get “spooked” in North Dakota. Here’s its list. Do you recommend any others?

1. Haunted Places

Legend says the ghost of Libbie Custer, Lt. Col. Custer’s widow, torments the rebuilt “Custer House” at Fort Abraham Lincoln where she and the Lt. Colonel lived before his tragic death. See her and the spirits of the Seventh Calvary soldiers at Fort Lincoln’s Haunted Fort.

In Devils Lake, the Haunted Hotel’s guests who checked in, but never left, will surely provide a frightening experience. Get ready for a hauntingly good time at the Acres of Terror in Leonard or the Legends of Terror haunted house in Grand Forks.

2. Mazes and Patches

Get lost – literally – at Nelson’s Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze. See how long it takes to escape this maze near Emerado. Then tour the Gruesome Granary Halloween exhibit. Berry Acres west of Minot is an eight-acre corn maze sure to test your navigational skills, and Papa’s Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze in the trees in the Missouri River Valley north of Bismarck has enough fun and games to keep children and adults busy the entire day.

3. Halloween for the Grown-ups

What do grown-ups do for Halloween? The same things kids do – they have fun. Their outfits may be a little more elaborate, but the fun of the season doesn’t change. The All Hallows Eve Ball at the Former Governors Mansion State Historic Site is one such monster mash.

4. Jaunts and Haunts

Work off Halloween candy by participating in the Empire Arts Center’s Halloween Howler 5-K & Munchkin Mini Mile in Grand Forks. Wear your costume for a chance to win some “spooktacular” prizes. Looking for a slower pace? Try Fort Buford’s Cemetery Walks. Visit some “ghostly” former residents of Fort Buford during an evening walk through the old fort cemetery.

5. RU Afraid of Ghosts or in Search of One?

R U up for a REAL haunting experience? It could be at a local attraction, fort, school or library near you. We challenge you to find the ghosts of North Dakota! Several websites can get you started on your way to a possible paranormal experience.

Real Haunts – Home Sweet  Home, Minot

Ghosts of America – Harvey Public Library, Harvey

Ghosts of America – Argusville High School, Argusville

The Shadow Lands – Haunted Places in North Dakota

6. Trick or Treat

Those looking for a more family-friendly Halloween outing won’t lack activities. Gateway to Science in Bismarck uses All Hallows Eve as a learning experience at Haunting Arts and Spooktacular Science. Night Eyes at Red River Zoo, Fargo, gives kids a chance to trick or treat with the animals, while some communities like Dickinson offer parties for youths.

7. It’s a Parade

Kids of all ages will dress up in their costumes to parade down Main Street in Cavalier and then receive a bag of goodies.Bring your favorite pumpkin for the pumpkin decorating contest, following the parade. In Fargo, Broadway is the site of the Boo-Galoo parade with decorated floats and costumes.

N.D. Tourism hopes to grow agritourism

BISMARCK – The state Tourism Division wants more North Dakotans to get involved in agritourism, an industry it says is in big demand right now.

The first “rolling workshop” is set for Oct. 18 and is designed for people interested in starting or expanding an agritourism business.

The workshop will take participants to successful agritourism sites across North Dakota. Along the way, they will take part in educational seminars covering topics ranging from licensing to taxes to promotion.

Visits to ranches are popular with international tourists, said Dean Ihla, North Dakota Tourism development manager. In addition, more people are interested in knowing where their food comes from as the population becomes more urban, he said.

The workshop departs from Bismarck and is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sites confirmed are Riverbound Farm south of Mandan, Papa’s Pumpkin Patch in Bismarck, Midstate Lodges near McClusky and Rolling Plains Adventures of rural McKenzie.

The cost is $50 per person, with an additional $20 for a family or business partner. Registration includes a resource guide and related materials, noon meal and transportation. Limited space is available.

If there’s enough interest, additional workshops will be offered in the future, Ihla said.

For more information, contact Ihla at (701) 328-2525.

Legislative week ahead

Three legislative meetings are scheduled for this week in Bismarck.

The Education Committee meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the Roughrider Room in the Capitol.

Lawmakers will hear a presentation from Lt. Gov. Jack Dalrymple regarding the work of the Commission on Education Improvement and the Early Childhood Council.

The committee will also hear a report about the work of the Autism Spectrum Disorder Task Force and hear reports from the Department of Public Instruction.

The Higher Education Committee meets at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the Roughrider Room.

The North Dakota University System will report on North Dakota academic and career and technical education scholarships.

The University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences Advisory Council will provide an update regarding the strategic plan, programs and facilities of the school.

There will also be a presentation by the university system regarding the development of an internal audit plan for the system and for institutions.

Full agendas can be found at www.legis.nd.gov/council/interim/meetings.

Parks nominations

The North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department is seeking nominations for the Cal Renner Award of Excellence.

The award, the department’s highest honor, is presented annually to an individual, group or business having demonstrated a long-term commitment to enhancing North Dakota state parks and North Dakota’s quality of life through outdoor recreation and natural resource stewardship.

Nominations will be accepted until Nov. 1. Award guidelines and nomination forms are available at www.parkrec.nd.gov or by calling the department at (701) 328-5358.

New Salem cow makes “Really Big Things You Can’t Miss” list

Salem Sue is No. 9 in a slideshow of “Really Big Things You Can’t Miss.” Here’s what the entry says:

Big Things: World’s Largest Holstein Cow

The World’s Largest Holstein Cow: New Salem, N.D. Salem Sue, the world’s largest Holstein cow statue, was built to honor the area’s dairymen and celebrate the history of this dairy-dependent community. Sue stands 38 feet tall and 50 feet long, and even though it’s hollow and made of fiberglass, it weighs in at 12,000 pounds.

Find it: Salem Sue is on School Hill, just outside New Salem, and is visible from five miles away. Look for it on Interstate 94, by Exit 127.

Here’s the website to look at the full list: http://www.bing.com/travel/content/search?q=Really+Big+Things+You+Can’t+Miss&cid=msn1163878&form=TRVCON&GT1=41000

Delta Sky update and today’s Ask Your Government

The new issue of Delta Sky magazine featuring North Dakota is now available online. Go to  deltaskymag.delta.com and find the Read the Magazine box. Click on Read the Current Edition. The piece starts on page 115.


Today’s Ask Your Government:


One of our farm trucks was stopped hauling wheat from our dryer bin to the local BTR terminal elevator. (The trooper) was very polite, professional and not confrontational.

The truck in question was licensed for 80,000 pounds with a combination fall harvest and winter 10 percent overweight permit. (The trooper) issued us an overweight ticket for 11,000 pounds.

I am not disputing the 91,000-pound gross weight. But I strongly feel that the provision that states the permit applies to only the first point of unload is confusing. How do I research this law and go about getting it changed to read the first point of commercial unload?

Who and how are these overweight regulations and fines established? Any help would be appreciated.

JR Gibbens

Cando, N.D.

Thanks for writing! Here’s what Jamie Olson from the state Department of Transportation had to say:

“The current law is part of the North Dakota Century Code, Section 39-12-05.3 Subsection 4 and 5. To summarize, the harvest permit allows the agriculture industry to exceed the axle weight limitations by 10 percent over the legal weight allowed from July 15 to Dec. 1 from the field of harvest to the point of initial storage.

“39-12-05.3. Weight limitations for vehicles on highways other than the interstate system.

“4. The director and local authorities, as to the highways under their respective jurisdictions, may issue permits authorizing a specific motor vehicle to exceed the weight limitations stated in subsections 1 and 2 by 10 percent.

“The permits may not provide for a gross weight in excess of 105,500 pounds. The permits must provide only for the movement of agricultural products from the field of harvest to the point of initial storage site, and for the collection and transport of solid wastes, during the period from July 15 to Dec. 1, and for the general movement of products during the period from Dec. 1 to March 7.

“The appropriate jurisdictional authority shall establish an appropriate fee for the permits and direct how they shall be issued. The Highway Patrol shall issue the permits authorized by the director.

“5. The director and local authorities, as to highways under their respective jurisdictions, may issue permits authorizing all vehicles carrying potatoes or sugar beets to exceed weight limitations stated in subsections 1 and 2 by 10 percent during the period from July 15 to Dec. 1.

The permits may not provide for a gross weight in excess of 105,500 pounds. The appropriate jurisdictional authority shall establish an appropriate fee for the permits and direct how they shall be issued. The Highway Patrol shall issue the permits authorized by the director.”

Olson said these regulations and fees are determined by the state Legislature.

So, if you’d like to see a law changed, you can contact state lawmakers and express your concerns. You can find the North Dakota Century Code at www.legis.nd.gov. Click on Century Code in the bottom left corner.

Do you have a question for a state government official or agency? Send us your question, and we’ll do our best to find an answer.

E-mail politics@wday.com (Subject: Ask your government).

You may also write to Teri Finneman c/o Forum Communications, Press Room, State Capitol, Bismarck, N.D. 58505. Please include your name, town and a phone number to reach you for verification.

Travel alert for Europe

How will the travel alert for Europe affect your plans?

From the U.S. State Department:

Travel Alert
Bureau of Consular Affairs


October 3, 2010

The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to the potential for terrorist attacks in Europe.  Current information suggests that al-Qa’ida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks.  European governments have taken action to guard against a terrorist attack and some have spoken publicly about the heightened threat conditions.

Terrorists may elect to use a variety of means and weapons and target both official and private interests.  U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure.  Terrorists have targeted and attacked subway and rail systems, as well as aviation and maritime services.  U.S. citizens should take every precaution to be aware of their surroundings and to adopt appropriate safety measures to protect themselves when traveling.

We continue to work closely with our European allies on the threat from international terrorism, including al-Qa’ida.  Information is routinely shared between the U.S. and our key partners in order to disrupt terrorist plotting, identify and take action against potential operatives, and strengthen our defenses against potential threats.

We recommend U.S. citizens register their travel plans with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy through the State Department’s travel registration website. Travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada, or on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444 from elsewhere in the world.

For information on general crime and security issues, U.S. citizens should also consult the Department of State’s Country-Specific Information as well as the Worldwide Caution, which can be found on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website. For further information on safety tips while traveling abroad, U.S. citizens should also consult the following website: http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/tips_1232.html

This Travel Alert expires on January 31, 2011.

UPDATED: Delta Sky update

I’ll let you know when the Delta Sky issue featuring North Dakota is available online. A few days ago, the magazine’s marketing manager told me, “The digital version will be available on the web on October 1, Friday.”

I don’t see it up yet, so I asked Delta Sky to let me know when the website is updated. I’ll pass along the word when I hear something.

PS: The video story with images from the magazine can be found here: http://vimeo.com/15414208

UPDATED: Here’s what Delta Sky tells me as of 11:15 a.m.: “We are having problems with our website vendor and the new magazine won’t be live until this afternoon.  Usually they are updated first thing in the morning, but due to these unexpected issues that we are working furiously on, it won’t be live until this afternoon.”

More from Delta Sky piece

Here are some other tidbits from the Delta Sky magazine piece on ND:

“According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, North Dakota is the hardest-working state in the nation. Each day, North Dakotans sleep a half-hour less–and work an extra hour and a half more–than the average American.”

“North Dakotans are among the most highly educated people in the nation. Students score big when it comes to grades, placing among the top in SAT scores, in addition to having the fewest high school dropouts of any state.”

There are mini profiles on MDU and Packet Digital.

“Move to North Dakota for the thriving economic environment, stay for the quality of life.”

“Clear air, ample recreational opportunities and affordable housing are just some of the amenities that make it easy to convince businesses both large and small to move to the state.”

“Nearly every tourist destination worldwide insists you’re welcomed with open arms, but North Dakota really means it.”

N.D. featured in Delta Sky October magazine

BISMARCK—Millions of airline passengers from around the world will soon know all about North Dakota.

State leaders unveiled the October issue of Delta Sky magazine Wednesday night in Bismarck.

The international magazine includes a 30-page section about North Dakota that explores the state’s diverse economy and business environment, said Lauren Peyton, marketing manager for Delta Sky.

The section also discusses why North Dakota is a great place to work, live and visit, she said.

The piece begins by discussing the state’s billion-dollar surplus and lowest unemployment rate in the nation.

“When it comes to keeping people employed, sparking technological growth, coming up with unique energy solutions, growing vital foods and building innovative products, North Dakota doesn’t wait for talented people to move here; the state grows its own talent,” the magazine states.

A “Six to Know” section features Don Morton of Microsoft, Al Christianson of Great River Energy, Lynn Helms of the state Department of Mineral Resources, Jerry Jurena of the North Dakota Hospital Association, Rick Collin of the State Historical Society and Randy Hatzenbuhler of the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation.

Other pages describe the state’s education system, history, celebrities and tourism.

Delta Sky Publisher Marialice Harwood said North Dakota has the best story to tell right now. The magazine typically features cities, but North Dakota was so appealing that the entire state is featured, she said.

North Dakota has been “very progressive, very forward thinking,” Harwood said. She praised the state’s diversification, workforce, health care, tax incentives for businesses and energy development.

“I think North Dakota has done this better than just about any other state has done it,” Harwood said. “We think the story is really compelling and something that our readers will find valuable.”

North Dakota Tourism Director Sara Otte Coleman said the piece gives a good image of the state for readers who haven’t had any experience with North Dakota and who like to travel.

The photos in the magazine will open a lot of eyes to the great places across the state, she said.

The magazine will reach a “dream audience” of well-connected, influential business travelers, Commerce Commissioner Shane Goettle said.

“We’ll really have a captive audience for the 31 days of October while the Delta Sky magazine sits in the Delta chairs,” he said.

The Minneapolis-based magazine reaches more than 5 million readers each month, Peyton said.

Gov. John Hoeven praised the piece, saying it captures the reality of everybody in the state working together.

“We are so excited about it, and we are thrilled that people not just all over this country but all over the world are going to hear that story,” he said.

If you aren’t planning to fly Delta in October, the North Dakota piece can also be found at www.deltaskymag.com starting Friday.

Delta Sky magazine fast facts

Circulation: 600,000

Estimated monthly readership: 5.3 million 

Delta flies about 13 million passengers every month. 

Destinations served: 354 (111 international; 243 domestic) 

Countries served: 65

Sources: Delta Sky magazine and delta.com