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Governor stops at city hall and Red Cross disaster headquarters; Hoeven thanks flood fighters

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Gov. John Hoeven paid a visit to West Fargo last Friday to thank volunteers and flood fighters for their ongoing efforts to control flooding in the Fargo-Moorhead metro area and affected outlying communities. Stopping first at the West Fargo City Hall, Gov. Hoeven and Mayor Rich Mattern met with city, school, and parks officials at city hall for a quick briefing on how West Fargo has contributed to the flood fighting efforts around the community.

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Hoeven took the opportunity to tour the Cass County Emergency Operation Center temporarily set up at city hall to oversee flood control operations. At various times throughout the past few weeks, a total of 18 entities have been working out of the building, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife; U.S. Coast Guard; North Dakota Highway Patrol; Cass County Sheriff's Department; Minnesota Highway Patrol; South Dakota Highway Patrol; Animal Rescue; the State's Attorney's Office; Mercer County Sheriff's Office; FBI; North Dakota Game and Fish Department; William County Sheriff Department; Sherburne County, Minnesota Sheriff's Office; Valley Water Rescue; Fargo Police Department; Iowa State Patrol; Sioux County Iowa; and Hamm Radio Operator-Minnesota.

Gov. Hoeven's final stop was at the Veterans Memorial Arena, where the American Red Cross had been manning its flood disaster headquarters. Hoeven was met by a large gathering of West Fargo residents, community leaders, and relief workers at the arena, where a festive mood prevailed in celebration of the community's successful first round against the mighty Red River of the North, and the Sheyenne River.

During his congratulatory speech, Gov. Hoeven made a special point to thank Superintendent Dana Diesel Wallace and the West Fargo District; Barb Erbstoesser and the West Fargo Park District; along with Bryan Schulz and the Red River Valley Fairgrounds for making their facilities available for flood relief operations. He also thanked the West Fargo Police Department, and the West Fargo Fire Department for all of their outstanding contributions, and commended the community for pulling together in this crucial time of need.

He also gave a heartfelt thank you to the Red Cross staff and volunteers who traveled from 48 states to join the battle against the Red River and the Sheyenne River.

"I can't ever remember going to an emergency of any kind without the Red Cross being there. Sometimes we forget all the things that they do for us, and we take them for granted," Hoeven stated.

After previewing a video highlighting Red Cross operations during the 2009 flood and a rallying cheer from Red Cross workers, Gov. Hoeven cut the first slice of cake commemorating a victorious round with Mother Nature.

However, with the National Weather Service predicting another crest for the Red River in Fargo sometime between April 15 to April 22, possibly even higher than the first crest of 40.83 feet on March 28, Hoeven acknowledged that the fight wasn't over yet, but that we can be very proud of our community-wide participation.

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