Tracker Pixel for Entry

​‘We are under pressure’

by C.S. Hagen | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | News | March 26th, 2019

Student lifting 30-pound sandbags to help fight Fargo's Spring Flood 2019 - photograph by C.S. Hagen

FARGO – Round one of Fargo’s Spring Flood 2019 fight went to the volunteers, many of whom were middle school students. Helped by two large sand-dispensing “spiders” – a tactic used during the 2009 flood to speed up production – mostly eighth graders produced more than 15,000 sandbags Tuesday morning.

Rock music mixed with dust, the heavy droning roar of conveyor belts, forklifts, and backhoes added a sense of excitement to Fargo Sandbag Central on the first day of the city’s plan to fill one million sandbags before the end of next week.

Fargo students sandbagging - photograph by C.S. Hagen

Mostly area schools and some companies have scheduled in shifts to volunteer, Assistant City Planner Mark Williams said.

“Right off the bat the schools are stepping up,” Williams said. “But I’d encourage anyone coming in as a group to call us at (701) 476-4000, and we can tell you what slots are available.”

Ben Franklin students sandbagging on the first day - photograph by C.S. Hagen

Mornings are filling up quickly leaving early afternoons and evenings still open, Williams said. Despite road signs saying no parking until April 15, parking is allowed on both sides of the Great Northern Road, Williams said.

The city’s preparations are not overkill, he said, even if the flood doesn’t reach the 10 percent prediction of 40.3 feet.

Fargo Police Officer D. Rozich helping sandbag - photograph by C.S. Hagen

“We always have to be worried,” Williams said. “It can be pretty scary based on some of these waters. The cool thing is here we have come together as a community to solve a problem. When we’re under pressure it always brings great community spirit out and right now, we are under pressure.”

Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney stopped in shortly before noon, wanting to thank the students for their work.

City of Fargo employee watching conveyor belt for clumps - photograph by C.S. Hagen

“We love the energy the kids bring, it’s always fun,” Mahoney said.

The city’s first day was difficult, Mahoney said. A bearing broke. Some of the firemen are new recruits and weren’t familiar with the process. Problems were fixed, and machines and humans were humming along at a steady pace, he said.

The city is preparing to fill one million sandbags in the next two weeks - photograph by C.S. Hagen

Once the FM Diversion is finished, there will no longer be a need for sandbagging, Mahoney said.

Doanld Voeller is 80 years old, going on 50, he said. He hefted sandbags easily as a teenager. Living in Fargo since 1965, he has seen floods before and doesn’t believe this year’s flood will reach the predicted 10 percent levels.

Donald Voeller, 80 years old, helping prepare the city fight against the potential flood of 2019 - photograph by C.S. Hagen

“But we’re going to have some flooding,” Voeller said. “It just won’t be as drastic.”

Voeller joked with volunteers while he worked.

“This is a lot of fun,” Voeller said. “A lot of people are smiling and that just makes my day.”

Dylan Sherwood, with the City of Fargo, wrapping up sandbags for transport - photograph by C.S. Hagen

Josh Simpson, from the Twin Cities, is a sophomore at North Dakota State University. He has never seen a citywide flood before, and decided to volunteer his time.

“I know how damaging flooding can be, so I figured if I could help prevent it, I would,” Simpson said.

Micah Winje taking a break with family - photograph by C.S. Hagen

City of Fargo employee Dylan Sherwood was responsible for wrapping completed sandbags in plastic before the pallets were loaded onto 18-wheelers. He usually works at the wastewater plant, but will be at Fargo Sandbag Central all week, he said.

He’s not worried about a flood, he said. “The city does a great job of planning,” Sherwood said.

Many schools - primarily 8th graders - from Fargo and West Fargo are volunteering to help sandbag - photograph by C.S. Hagen

Micah Winje, a pre-teen, was with family shoveling sand into bags – the old way. Living in West Fargo he said his family’s home is protected by a diversion, but he’s worried about other people.

Salvation Army volunteer Sharon Menge was working the refreshment area and said this year the fight is much more organized than in year’s past.

“We were caught by surprise before,” Menge said. “I would rather be over-prepared than under. When there is a problem, we pitch in and help, we don’t look away and say that’s someone else’s problem.” 

Pallets and sandbags in light - photograph by C.S. Hagen

Recently in:

After nearly two and a half years since the people of North Dakota voted to pass the Compassionate Care Act into law in the state, medical marijuana is finally available to patients. Only one dispensary is open right now, but seven…

It was an, “aha,” moment, said Jeremy Jensen. A woman had her vehicle towed into the Fix It Forward Auto Care shop in Moorhead. Jensen and fellow Fix It Forward Auto Care co-founder Matt Carlson had the vehicle on a hoist…

Thursday, April 18, 5-9 p.m.Drekker Brewing Company, 1666 1st Ave N, FargoThe folks at Drekker have partnered with a handful of area artists and the Lend A Hand Up program. A program providing help and hope to families facing…

In 2016, the Rand Corportation’s National Defense Research Institute published a year-long study looking at potential consequences for transgender members to serve within the U.S Military. This study looked at seven different…

The Nordic ModelDr. Thea Hunter, a graduate of Columbia University and an adjunct professor of history at a number of elite colleges and universities, recently died at age 63 of extreme capitalism—and asthma—because of lack of…

Cocktail Showdown

​Yo ho ho!

by Sabrina Hornung

Well shiver me timbers. After weeks of sampling some of the finest drinks in F-M from more bars than we could shake a belaying pin at, the results of High Plains Reader’s 6th Annual Cocktail Showdown are in! For nine weeks,…

After three years Jon Beyer aka “Jonny B” has become the face and the beard behind Jonny B’s Brickhouse in Jamestown North Dakota. Besides the largest selection of craft beers between here and Bismarck, wood-fired pizzas and…

By Gary Usseryusseryg@gmail.comFYB. Three letters, three words, well known by the guys who make up Cascades, and anyone who is a fan of the five-man band. When asked what genre best describes their sound, I was bombarded with at…

Harmony Korine keeps a tight grip on his title as one of the most critic/critique-proof filmmakers of recent times with “The Beach Bum,” a sultry companion piece to 2012’s memorable “Spring Breakers.” Not without its own…

Arts

​Hold your head high

by Sabrina Hornung

“I started to look around at state arts council positions because I felt that even though I had never done that, I felt like it would be a really good blend of skills, so I started to look around in 2016. A few jobs came up but I…

Countless examples can be found throughout the history of great art that was only recognized as such after the life of the artist that created it. Such is true of Georges Bizet’s opera "Carmen."  While its reception during his…

Stand-up comedy is traditionally a one-way exchange. Outside of the odd question addressed to a random audience member, the limit of the spectators’ contribution to the conversation is their laughter at the comedy stylings being…

By Gabrielle Herschgabbyhersch@gmail.comThink & Drink is coming to Fargo! Organized by Humanities North Dakota, Think & Drink is a happy hour series that hosts a facilitated public conversation about big issues and ideas. Lead by a…

I’m a big man, I’m tall and powerful, but this also causes some issues in the body department. I suffer from acute scoliosis in my lower back, and pain radiates from this area on a daily basis. I have only ever had one massage…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

It seems like the threats to North Dakota’s Badlands never cease. Let’s go back and revisit Wylie Bice. He’s the rogue, rich, rancher up in Dunn County, on the eastern edge of the Badlands, who’s built himself a private…