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Community effort pays off

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Saturday morning as I filled my Hornbacher's grocery sack with food for the postal carrier's annual food collection, it was my hope that other local residents would be doing the same in support of a wonderful cause - stocking the local food pantry shelves at the Dorothy Day House, Great Plains Food Bank and the Emergency Food Pantry.

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As I headed out on a late morning errand, my hopes were confirmed, as I couldn't help but notice a large number of bags sitting out on the boulevards next to the mailboxes.

A quick phone call Monday morning from drive chairman Jeff Borgrud reinforced the success of the effort - approximately 63,000 pounds of food had been collected metrowide, with at least another 1,500 pounds expected to trickle in yet this week from residents out of town for the weekend but still wishing to contribute.

In West Fargo alone, 8,700 pounds of food were picked up by the postal carriers, with all these donations designated for the Emergency Food Pantry.

"Incredible" is how Borgrud summed up the outpouring of support, which included one lady on his route setting out four bags full of groceries and one lady on another route leaving seven bags full. "Linda Clark at the Emergency Food Pantry couldn't stop smiling because she now has a pantry full of food that will definitely help her get through the summer," Borgrud added proudly. "We are really pleased with everyone's effort and want to thank everyone who participated in any way."

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With all the talk about trees lately, i.e. Arbor Day, the Emerald ash borer threat that we hope doesn't materialize, and other new plantings around town, you can't help but notice the condition of some of the City's boulevard trees.

First of all, did you know that there are approximately 6,000 boulevard trees throughout the community?

And did you know that caring for boulevard trees located in front, beside, or wherever they may be planted in proximity to your lot, is your responsibility as a property owner?

Just looking around the community, it's apparent that a portion of these trees are slowly but surely deteriorating due to obvious lack of care, i.e. water, fertilizer, etc. It's beyond me why homeowners would turn on their sprinklers and water their lawns and bushes and not provide the same attention to the tree(s) on the berm.

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The same can be said for the dandelion, with the pesky little yellow flowers presently overrunning many areas of town, a situation that is both annoying and aggravating to residents who are trying to rid their own properties of the flower when seeds continue to blow in from other areas.

City officials will be out spraying the boulevards they are responsible for in the very near future.

Private property and other vacant lots around town in full yellow bloom are the responsibility of the property owners to either mow or treat.

Unfortunately, there is no law on the City books that states individuals have to do anything with their dandelions. The ordinance addresses noxious weeds, and dandelions are not considered a noxious weed.

Property owners who don't care about the condition of their property should be held accountable, whether it's dandelions or any other element that adversely affects the community. If that means drafting something into the ordinance addressing specific items (like dandelions), let the games begin.

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For those of you wondering why flags are flying at half-staff today, Gov. John Hoeven directed all U.S. and North Dakota flags be flown that way from sunrise to sunset in observance of Peace Officers Memorial Day. The directive follows the Governor's proclamation declaring May 16, Peace Officers Memorial Day and May 13-19, Law Enforcement Week in the state of North Dakota.

In 2006, 146 officers from across the country lost their lives in the line of duty. "Peace Officers Memorial Day is a day to honor the memory of those heroes who have fallen in the line of duty, and to recognize all those who put themselves at risk every day in the fight against crime, violence and terrorism," Hoeven said.

A memorial service honoring North Dakota's fallen peace officers was also held today on the state Capitol grounds.

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