Saturday, March 28, 2015

Foster County ND "HIGH"-LIGHTS: Repairing the Very Top of the Courthouse Dome

We need to thank Foster County's new custodian, Russ Heidt, for discovering some serious damage that needed to be repaired at the very top of our Courthouse dome.  The large gold sphere had a hole in its top big enough for pigeons to enter and nest in the actual dome-area below it.  In fact, before repairing the dome, Russ spent the previous week cleaning out many years' worth of pigeon droppings and dead/decomposing pigeon bodies, and accessing the amount of water/dry-rot damage to the interior.

In the video, you will see Russ at the top of the courthouse where he waited to help direct Leo Straley in making repairs to the sphere.  Down below, you can see Leo giving Scherbenske's crane operator some last-minute directions before climbing into the basket for his upward trip. 
By the way, not just any person would attempt such an acrobatic repair at such impressive heights!   Not only was Leo willing to hang above the Courthouse dome, but he also possessed all the intricate skills necessary to do an excellent job. 

In case you don't know, Leo is a very exceptional, experienced metal-fabricator who owns a local standing-seam metal roofing business.  When asked if he had done any other jobs comparable to this one... which seemed terribly precarious to onlookers... Leo said with a smile that he had actually  worked on a very tall church steeple where he "feared for his life."  Compared to that, this job he said "was a cinch."  He actually enjoyed it!

At the end of the video, you will see our Foster County Commission chairman, Bill Bauer, walking over to congratulate Leo on a successful trip and confer with him about his findings.  Other onlookers waited to say hi to Leo and ask about his experience at the top of the Courthouse.  One onlooker in particular had a big smile on his face... Leo's dad.  He had watched the whole event from beginning to end, and  from the expression on his face, you could tell that he was very proud of his son. 
So, here's a big THANK YOU, to Russ Heidt for discovering the damage and cleaning up the Courthouse dome... to Leo Straley for braving the elements to repair the hole at the top of the world... and to Bill Bauer and the Foster County Commission for being good caretakers of our beautiful Courthouse... so the community can enjoy it for many, many years to come.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Another Taxpayer Ripoff Discovered in Foster County, ND

Another Taxpayer Ripoff Discovered in Foster County, ND

During the Foster County Commission Meeting on Tuesday, March 17, 2015, Ted Keller asked questions about the 3% pay increase that county employees and officers received on January 1, 2015. His questions were based on payroll reports that all employees got a 3% increase with one exception - that being Foster County Treasurer, Noreen Barton.

It appeared on the surface that Ms. Barton had received a 10% increase. When the commissioners were questioned, no one had an explanation for the discrepancy, so they requested Ms. Barton to join the meeting.

When Ms. Barton was asked for an explanation as to why she received a 10% increase in pay, she answered by stating that she had assumed a "new" additional position from the County. According to her, she had assumed the position of Risk Management, and former officials Straley/Risovi/Greger had penciled in $3,000 for this position in the 2015 budget.

It's interesting to note that up until this time, there was no such position budgeted because it had always been part of the Auditor's office and duties. It is simply the job of making sure that insurance gets paid and proper payroll reports are made to WSI. This responsibility was part of the Auditor's job and covered by her regular salary.

How convenient that Straley/Risovi were able to pad one of their friend's payroll for such a nice sum of $3,000, a job which previously cost the taxpayers nothing.

Along with the missing $5,500 Game & Fish money, what other unethical, perhaps corrupt, actions will the present Foster County Commission find as they continue to investigate what took place during the past Straley/Risovi administration?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Avery Gets a Bath at Pampered Paws

It was fun taking Avery to Pampered Paws to get a bath.  Katie Geske, who runs the business, obviously likes her furry clients and does a good job of caring for them!  

Katie had quite a few critters in her care... for different reasons.  There were several waiting to be groomed, some were being cared for while their parents were on vacation,  and some like Avery needed a bath and nails clipped.

I stayed for a while and watched Katie do some hair-clipping.  The pup she was grooming at the time seemed very happy with what she was doing and actually stretched at different times so Katie could get better access to all his parts.

Since this was Avery's first time to a groomer, he was a little concerned about getting up into the bath area.  He objected fairly strongly at first and turned into a 110 pound slippery eel, but Katie was insistant, and her experience won out.  Once Avery was in the tub, he accepted his fate and became very docile while Katie ran warm water over his back.  That was when I left.  When my husband and I returned about two hours later, Avery was prancing around with some of the other pups looking very sleek, shiny and happy.

While I was at Katie's shop, I had the pleasure of meeting Anne Geske, Katie's grandmother.  She came in for a moment to see which dogs wanted to walk with her to the mailbox which was located about a half mile away at the end of their driveway.  Katie said that her grandmother liked to walk to the mailbox on pretty days, and the dogs loved to follow her.  At this point about six dogs happily took off after Anne, obviously looking forward to the walk.

If anyone asks my husband or me about our experience with Pampered Paws, we would both give Katie a big 5 stars.  Our community is lucky to have such an exceptional person to help us take care of our furry family members.  Thank you, Katie, for putting so much effort and energy into your much-appreciated service!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Deuces Wild (Dueling Pianos) Performs at CrossRoads

Saturday night at CrossRoads was LOADS of FUN! The entertainers, Deuces Wild (Dueling Pianos) had the crowd going wild from the moment they started their show till the very end. Right now I want to apologize profusely to anyone who was there who may not like the pictures I took! But please, I'm praying you have a sense of humor when you see yourself in a variety of rather abnormal positions with all kinds of interesting expressions on your faces. I mean, there are laughing faces, scrunched up faces, puzzled faces, hiding faces, frowning faces, mischievous faces, hysterical faces, maniacal faces, inebriated faces... all kinds of WONDERFUL faces having a good time. I really did try to sort through and pick out a few photos to represent the night's entertainment, but in the end I published all of them but the blurry ones. I hope you find a picture you like... one that makes you smile.

Personally speaking, I really enjoyed all the fun and laughter last night and watching everyone have a good time. The thing that impressed me most though, was when everyone just spontaneously stood up and gave Dolly Footitt a big round of applause when she was introduced. Deuces Wild was trying to think of a song to play for her era, gave up and settled on "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," which was written in 1939. For those of you who don't know, Dolly was born in 1914, so you can understand why they had a problem thinking of a special song written during her first decade here on Earth. What the guys didn't know, though, and what was so perfect about their choice, was that it was the special song that was played at her daughter Joanne's memorial service this last year. When I was driving Dolly home later, that was the first thing she wanted to talk about, about how surprised and pleased she was that they chose that song to play for her. As far as I'm concerned, I wouldn't be surprised if Joanne didn't have a hand in it... 

As someone who bought a ticket for the show, I just want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who made Saturday night such a big success. Not only were the entertainers, Dave Elchholz and Ted Manderfield, absolutely amazing, but there were so many local people who contributed to the festivities. The CrossRoads board and Sue Fangman, the manager, chose well when they selected the entertainment. Brenda Gorseth from Woodward Farm and her crew did a great job of catering the event. They even had excellent help from local high school students who are members of the CHS Golf Club. Thanks to them, the meals were served quickly to approximately 200 people. Quite an effort on everyone's part! And, last but definitely not least, I want to applaud all the people in the audience who didn't hesitate to get up front and become part of the entertainment. You were funny and crazy and talented, and your sheer enjoyment of being there was absolutely contagious.

Congratulations to all of you who participated in helping CrossRoads become an even more exceptional golf course that can be enjoyed, not only by our whole community, but by visitors from all over the state and country.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Concerns about Doctors Leaving Carrington Health Center

I've received several messages this afternoon, March 7, 2015, regarding the recent resignation of doctors at Carrington Health Center. 

In case you haven't heard, The Independent announced today that Dr. Page has also resigned from the hospital staff. As you know, Dr. Schaffer had turned in his resignation a few months earlier.

It sounds like there may be a community rally in order to address this situation. I will let you know any information as I get it. In the meantime, here is one of the messages that I received today:

"I am sending you the following info: For people to call this # and demand answers why CHI cannot keep our doctors. Michael Romano National Director, Media Relations Catholic Health Initiatives 303-383-2720 (c) 303-549-8948

Also, contacting the Board of Directors at the Health Center might be a good way to start getting facts about the situation.

Carrington Health Center’s Board of Directors 
Board Chair - Michael Murphy
Board Members:
Scott Buchholtz
Sister Sharon Altendorf
Doug Harildstad
Jeff Pepple
Lori Solberg
Dr. Kathy Hendrickson
Renee Riedesel

Carrington Health Center
800 4th St N- PO Box 461-Carrington, ND 58421
(701) 652-3141 or (800) 532-8623

Whether you want to act on this information is up to you. Just know that I would like to help in any way I can to keep our hospital thriving. It's such an important asset to our community! 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Message to CarringtonNews.Com Facebook Followers

Sincere thanks to every one of you who participated in on Facebook this past year.  At the beginning of 2014, we had around 300 followers; now, thanks to your participation, we have over 2200.  This means that every time you post something on, your message goes to over 2200 people.  

For those of you who like statistics, Facebook tells me that 363 of you are from Carrington, 215 from Fargo, 207 from Bismarck, 167 from Jamestown, 75 from New Rockford, 77 from Minot, 43 from Devils Lake, 36 from Valley City, 36 from Williston, 28 from Sykeston, 24 from Fessenden, 19 from Harvey, 18 from Glenfield, 16 from Bowdon, 13 from Grace City... and many others in between. When I consider the small populations of some of these towns, I'm very happy to welcome such a large number of followers.

Local folks might be surprised at how many people from other states tune in to  Many of them have connections with Carrington/Foster County in the past, having been born here, gone to school here, or lived here at some time.  The states most represented are Minnesota, Arizona, Texas, Colorado, Washington, Florida, and Tennessee. Thanks to each one of you who have visited my site, particularly to those of you who come back again and again and take the time to comment. I especially enjoy your information about Carrington's past.  

As far as countries represented, has followers from Canada, England, South Africa, Italy, Germany, Colombia, Uruguay, Norway, Mexico, Australia, India, Indonesia, Cambodia, France, and Turkey...many of whom are probably relatives/friends of local people.  I have no idea how some of you from so far away found us, but WELCOME! It has been especially interesting when I've used a translation app in order to communicate with a couple of you.  Fascinating and fun!

At the beginning of the 2014 year, most of our followers were women, and percentage-wise that is still true.  However, when we started including more politically oriented posts and videos, the percentage of men-followers started rising, and has actually doubled since March of last year.  

When we first started writing commentaries about our local county government in March, 2014, I was concerned that would become less popular.  In fact, I apologized to viewers at that time and asked them to just skip the political commentary/videos at the top of our timeline and go on to the regular guide to Carrington and the surrounding areas.  However, judging from the 1800 new followers, it seems that people like having a place to comment on local government issues.  In fact, articles and videos relating to our local Foster County government usually get the most views and feedback from viewers.

Other than local government issues, when it comes to the popularity of posts that have been published on, the ones which normally get the most views are heartfelt stories about people in need or people who have accomplished something special.  The post that overwhelmingly got the most views in a short time (over 100,000!) was an appeal to support the local Kulsrud family in their effort to get the FDA to approve the use of a special medicine to treat their children.  As viewers, you are big-hearted and generous when it comes to helping people, and that shows up by the way you view those kinds of posts.

Also, I love the fact that so many of you like the posts about animals...animals that are just so cute that I can't resist sharing their pictures/shenandigans... as well as animals that are in distress and need rescuing.  Those of you who follow this site closely know that I have a special committment to help homeless animals find their forever homes.  As you also know, I've recently become enamored with the wild horses who live in or come from Theordore Roosevelt National Park, and I notice that many of you like their pictures, too.

Posts about local people in our community are very popular among viewers on - both happy and sad.  Most of you want to know the news/details about both kinds of situations.  You send lots of supportive thoughts and prayers out to people in sad situations and lots of congratulations go out for happy occasions. For instance, Dolly Footitt's 100th birthday announcement got over 8,000 hits! 

Posts about farmers, firemen, police officers, and sports events get lots of views.  If I put up a picture of a local farm or a local firetruck, the numbers rise quickly.  When our local bank was robbed, I think every viewer shared the post with every friend which equaled thousands of hits.  And, I can pretty much bet than any post about NDSU or UND will get at least 500+ hits quickly!

Of course, the weather in North Dakota is always a popular topic.  Almost every weather posting gets several hundred hits, and an extreme weather report can get up to 1000 views almost immediately.  I'm sure that doesn't surprise any of you who live in North Dakota since most of our economy, livelihood, social events, and general plans depend on the weather.  

Lastly, I just want to remind you that if you have a special announcement, event, occasion or any kind of news (either social or business-wise) that you would like the local community to know about, please post it on my timeline, and I'll publish it as soon as possible. Also, please remember that I'm not on here 24/7.  I do sleep, take breaks, work for my husband (and me), cook (a little), visit with friends, go shopping, and actually take a vacation once in a while.

In conclusion, please remember that even though this site is called Carrington "News," it is actually my own personal blog and subject to my own personal likes and views.  If you want the official news from Carrington's offical newspaper, you can subscribe to the Foster County Independent which is published once a week and available online for $32 a year.  (I recommend it because Erik Gjovik's local sports coverage and impressive photography is worth much more than that!)

Now, if you've read all the way to the end of this long report, you're quite a trooper!  I hope you continue tuning in and hopefully contribute your ideas as you see fit.

Most sincerely,  Judy Keller

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Thanks to DakTel for Televising Foster County Commission Meetings

Notice DakTel's camera running steadily in the background.

I was just looking at an ad on FaceBook recommending DakTel's business services.  The following is a quote from the ad:

 "It's time to get busy with business network solutions from DCT. Whether you need data, voice, video, security or other services for your business, we have the technology you need to make your business run smoothly! So go ahead and get busy, and we'll make sure you can keep working it as effectively and efficiently as possible!"

When my husband and I first moved to Carrington around 10 years ago and opened a call center for our business, we were impressed with DakTel's service, even that many years ago.  They were intent on being a "state of the art" telecommunications service, and as far as I'm concerned, they accomplished their goal.  Having just moved from California, and not that far from the Silicon Valley, we were used to the latest Internet technology being created there.  We were not only happy with the quality of DakTel's service and support, but we were thrilled with the speed of the Internet connection.  It was actually faster than our service in California!

Over the years, in addition to DakTel's excellent business service, I've come to  appreciate their other services to our community... in particular the fact that they record and televise many community meetings so we can see what's happening in our local government.  In fact, it was one of DakTel's televised Foster County Commission meetings on March 4, 2014, that spurred me into writing critical articles about the way the meetings were being run.  I was appalled at the way Commission Chairman Paul Straley was yelling at community members, not allowing them to speak, and having them escorted from the meeting by Sheriff Tufte if he didn't like their input.

Later, it was due to DakTel's televised videos that my husband and I were able to defend ourselves against restraining orders brought against us by Foster County's Ex-Auditor Teresa Risovi. I suppose she didn't like the negative attention that my blogs were directing toward Straley and her, so this was her unethical way to shut us up.  During the Court hearing, DakTel's videos showed that she lied under oath in order to get restraining orders against us, and the judge dismissed both cases.  Her lies couldn't stand up against the visual truth shown by the videos.

To this day, I wonder why Ms. Risovi has never been criminally charged for those - and other actions - that were exposed on DakTel's videos. For example, where is the missing Game and Fish money that she was in charge of collecting?  A large portion of one DakTel video was dedicated to Hope Carr's investigation of the Game and Fish situation.  Her findings pointed out that Ms. Risovi was suspect - that Carr thought the auditor was responsible for those, and perhaps other missing records.  Chairman Straley had Carr ejected from that meeting by a deputy sheriff, saying that they had turned the matter over to the BCI and couldn't talk about it.  Interestingly enough, I have my own video of Heather Martin, the Assistant Auditor at that time, stating that they had NOT turned the matter over to the BCI.  Will the Foster County taxpayers ever know the truth of this matter?

Week after week, as the new officers take over, it seems that more and more irregularities are being exposed which took place during the Straley/Risovi administration. Is the community supposed to overlook the transgressions of the past, and just "let things go," as some suggest?   Or, should corrupt officials and employees be held accountable for their actions even though they have resigned from their positions?

Hopefully, DakTel will continue to record and televise our Foster County Commission meetings. Their videos are an outstanding source of information for our community. As well, it's impressive to actually see the immense change that has taken place in the quality and efficiency of our commission meetings. A big THANKS to our new administration, Chairman Bill Bauer, Jim Carr, Pat Copenhaver and Auditor Casey Cables, as well as to everyone who is supporting them in their mission to serve Foster County well.

As far as DakTel is concerned, thanks again for keeping those cameras running!