Dakota Air, Basin entertain 700 in Jamestown

Who listens to Merrill Piepkorn every morning on 91.5 FM’s Prairie Public? This girl does. I listen even during weeks like these when broadcasters trade their radio hats for fundraising ones. I long for the days when I can afford to donate to the wonderful news-gatherers of the world and taste the delicious chocolates they offer as incentive to those who give $120 or more. Maybe next year, NPR…

My favorite of Merrill’s are his Dakota Datebooks. I love the stories and the scandals, especially this one of the controversial gambling and alcohol-drinking at an Edgeley pool hall circa 1911. When the city demanded the owner close the pool hall’s doors, the owner then ran for city commission. His pool hall reopened after his successful campaign. Isn’t history fun??

So imagine my surprise to learn Merrill Piepkorn was in JAMESTOWN at an event sponsored by our dear friends and Basin Electric Cooperative! And imagine my dismay too: How could I MISS that??

According to Basin, “Once a month, the show takes the stage in towns ranging from Bismarck and Jamestown, to smaller towns like Hazen and Wishek. Each show is tailored to the host city. ‘When we’re in Hazen in coal country, we’ll do some coal mining songs. When we’re in Bismarck, of course, we did more shows about state government,’ Piepkorn says.”

What a treat! I’m sorry I wasn’t there.

Never fear though, Basin documented parts of the show so even if we couldn’t attend that evening, we can watch form the comfort of our computers.

Thanks Basin! And next time, let us know if you’re in town 🙂


Congrats to Susan German, Oakes, N.D., High School Band!

A small-town band from the heart of North Dakota makes a world of difference. That’s one of the reason’s Gov. Jack Dalrymple selected the group from Oakes, N.D., High School as his 2011 State Governor’s Band.

Students in Oakes’ band not only play proficiently, Dalrymple said, but they also perform annual community concerts and stage fundraising shows for breast cancer awareness and Haiti earthquake relief.

The 14- through 18-year-olds, under the direction of instructor, Susan German, performed for the governor, his wife and the entire school Friday.

Members of the Oakes, N.D., High School band perform for the governor, local dignitaries, community members and fellow students Friday. Gov. Jack Dalrymple selected Oakes as his 2011-2012 Governor's Band.

To greet the governor and his travel mates, Oakes residents created signs like this one which reads "From 'YOUR BAND' Welcome to Oakes Gov. and Mrs. D. ... You Rock N.D.!!" Signs posted on city streets, gas station marquees, classroom windows, etc., greeted the guests as they drove through the town of about 1,800 people.

First Lady Betsy Dalrymple takes in the myriad of welcome signs designed by students of Oakes, N.D. Public Schools. Gov. Jack Dalrymple like one of the signs so much, he removed it from the wall and asked to take it home.

Oakes mayor, and foreman of Dakota Valley's Oakes outpost, Monty Zimmer, addressed the crowd at Oakes High School's gymnasium, Friday. Zimmer said the students at Oakes High School work hard, and the governor's recognition was well-deserved.

For her hard work, the governor and Oakes community recognized Susan German, the director of the Oakes, N.D., High School Band. German graduated from Valley City State University in 1973. Since then, she taught at schools in Lisbon, Fullerton and Dickey before taking her current Oakes post in 1997.

Alexis Barnick reveals ‘American Idol’ experience

Much of Alexis Barnick’s “American Idol” audition experience was kept in covert coffers, secret from the world thanks to a confidentiality agreement between the contestant and ‘Idol’ producers.

But for North Dakota Living’s March issue, the 20-year-old Jamestown College junior shares the whole story.

'American Idol' contestant Alexis Barnick reminisces about her experience auditioning before celebrity judges Steven Tyler, Randy Jackson and Jennifer Lopez.

Throughout the audition process in both Aspen and Hollywood, Barnick said it seemed as though producers wanted to change her.


“Don’t put pictures of dead animals on Facebook,” she remembers as advice they gave her regarding photos of the avid hunter and trophy deer she had featured on the social-networking site. And “what’s it like living in North Dakota anyway?” was another question they asked her.

Want to know more? Check it out in the March issue of North Dakota Living or on our website: http://www.dakotavalley.com.

Milnor, Edgeley, Oakes benefit from cooperative generocity

My favorite of the seven cooperative principles is commitment to community. Commitment to community means that in addition to our job or providing reliable electricity, we support a variety of charities, promote community and economic development, and sponsor a variety of local and regional events.

Hence, when organizations ask us for help, cooperatives get to say YES!

Here are some of our most recent efforts!

Dick Boyer, of the Edgeley Fire Dept., accepted the $500 donation presented by Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative staff assistant, Michelle Berry.

Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative energy consultant Kathy Rysavy presented the $500 donation to John Sakry of the Milnor Fire Department.

Monty Zimmer, Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative's Oakes foreman (and Oakes Mayor) presented a $1,000 check to Myron Jepson of the Oakes Golf Club.

How to $ave: An old refrigerator can eat up energy, money

An old refrigerator can eat up energy and money

Does this sound familiar? You bought a new ENERGY STAR-qualified refrigerator and moved your old fridge to the garage or basement to keep a few drinks cold. Here’s a tip to can help you save energy and money.

Old refrigerators, especially those more than 17 years old, tend to use a lot of energy. A refrigerator bought before 1993 uses more than twice as much energy as a new ENERGY STAR refrigerator. So you’re spending a lot of money to keep that refrigerator running. What’s more, refrigerant wears out and seals start to leak over time, causing a decline in the performance of an older refrigerator.

If you have moved your old refrigerator to an uninsulated location, such as a garage, it will use even more energy during hot weather. A fridge in a 90 degree environment, for example, uses nearly 50% more energy than one in a 70 degree environment. And if the temperature falls below about 40 degrees in the winter, the refrigerator’s thermostat may not run its cooling and defrost cycles for the appropriate amount of time.

So just by pulling the plug on that old refrigerator, you can save a lot of money each year.

For other tips on how to save energy—and money—visit Touchstone Energy’s energy-saving website or call the energy experts at Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative. Find out how the little changes add up at http://www.TogetherWeSave.com.

ND Living Sneak Peak: America ‘idols’ Alexis Barnick

The gorgeous Alexis Barnick plays piano for North Dakota Living during a photo shoot at Jamestown College.


Alexis Barnick cultivated her craft in Jamestown, N.D., but she shared it with the world when she auditioned for “American Idol” and earned her way to Hollywood.

We’re so excited for the Dakota Valley member and her family. So excited, in fact, that we’re featuring her in our March magazine!

Here’s a preview:

The 20-year-old Jamestown College junior said can’t remember much of the closed-door performance limited to “American Idol” judges Steven Tyler, Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and TV cameras set to broadcast her image across airways. But she does remember stomaching her anxiety as she crooned “I need you” by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, so the uneasiness wouldn’t show in her voice.


“I need you,” she said, showcases her performance abilities and with hope, would impress the judges.


But Tyler, Jackson and Lopez didn’t appear so sure, Barnick remembered.


“When I sang my first song, they kind of looked at me with question marks on their faces,” she said.


So she sang another: “Something to talk about” by Bonnie Raitt.


And that’s all you get! (We’re so mean, we know!!) But never fear!  In the meantime, check out Alexis’ “Idol” interview here. You can also read about her here and here.

Members in the news: Val and Mark Wagner, Clyde Reister

We know we have awesome members, so it’s no surprise to see them in the news.

The Val and Mark Wagner family, Monango

Our hearts break however, when it’s news of sick children. Good news, however, is that 2-year-old Eli Wagner, son of Val and Mark Wagner, Dakota Valley members who live near Monango, is now gaining weight like other healthy children his age. Diagnosed with ornithine transcarbamylase (OTC) deficiency, his little body can’t break down protein properly. So the boy can’t eat meat, which is ironic given his family raises cattle. Read more about Eli and his family here in The Jamestown Sun.

Clyde Reister, Streeter

The Reister name is recognized ’round the region for its quality meats, processing services and catering. The Dakota Valley members were recognized recently for success on their farm… and convincing people to drive more than 50 miles “to buy something good,” Clyde says in this article published in AgWeek.

Thanks for the tips, Pat Schaffer!

Do you know of a member in the news? Did you or someone you know receive an award? Get married? Have a baby? Maybe someone is ill and you want to get the word out?      I’d love to help! Email me, please, at katiea@nplains.com.