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Kim Astrup walked through the flooded Sunrise Acres development to her car after spending the night helping her friend, Stacey Olsen, watch her sandbag dike and man water pumps at their home along Cass 17 north of West Fargo in April.

Looking back at 2009: A year in review (Part 1)

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January

DMI Industries felt the effects of the recession, reducing its workforce by 20 percent across facility locations in West Fargo, and two others in Oklahoma and Ontario.

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The West Fargo Shakers held their second annual successful New Year's Eve celebration at the Speedway Event Center with $5,040 raised for the Dorothy Day House.

The West Fargo Park District promoted their annual Winter Days celebration with a variety of outdoor activities with the sleigh rides complemented by more snow than those attending had experienced in a long time.

Heavy, continuous snowfall blanketed the community causing concern about fire hydrants being clear and visible in the event of needing to be accessed in an emergency.

Two West Fargo Police Department officers were promoted - Sgt. Duane Sall to the rank of Lieutenant and Officer Gerald Boyer to Sergeant.

City Commissioners voted to reduce the speed limit on Main Avenue east of 5th Street East from 50 to 40 miles per hour so it would be the same as the speed limit put in place when the first section of Main Avenue is reconstructed.

West Fargo Assistant Police Chief Mike Reitan retired as a Chief Master Sergeant, after nearly 33 years with the 119th Civil Engineering Squadron, North Dakota Air National Guard.

The West Fargo VFW Post and Auxiliary hosted the North Dakota Mid-Winter Conference, with the event highlighted by the Homecoming Banquet honoring State Commander Daryl Best and State Auxiliary President Joyce Weible, both members of the West Fargo post.

Michael Solberg was named president of State Bank & Trust, taking on the role previously held by his father Richard Solberg, who remains involved as chief executive officer and chairman of the board of directors.

George Schmidt was honored at a surprise 75th birthday party by friends and co-workers at Cheney Middle School, where he is employed in the maintenance department, a position he has held in the West Fargo School District for over 20 years.

West Fargo Baseball and the West Fargo Park District were the recipients of a $25,000 donation from the West Fargo Exchange Club for naming rights to the field on 13th Avenue adjacent to the park district office making it known as West Fargo Exchange Club Field with a sign hung to establish identity.

Preservation work was completed on the water tower at Bonanzaville with crews from Industrial Builders, Inc. volunteering manpower and the use of their equipment to help lower the barrel which was then scraped down and painted and the stays encircling the barrel tightened, as well as adding new cedar shake shingles to match the original ones.

Beatrice Hill, a senior at West Fargo High School and the daughter of Stephen Hill and Jane DuBord-Hill, was named West Fargo Exchange Club student of the month for January.

Stacy Rott was named West Fargo Community High Student of the Month for January, planning to graduate the end of February.

February

Nick Hulm, a senior at West Fargo High School, received notification of his appointment into the United States Military Academy at West Point, nominated by Senator Bryon Dorgan (Dem-N.D.).

Drue Haarsager, a social studies instructor at Cheney Middle School, West Fargo, was named the North Dakota VFW Citizen Education Teacher of the Year.

Bob Walz of West Fargo was among three other employees of Direct Transport, West Fargo, named "top drivers of 2008."

West Fargo High School seniors Meagan McDougall and Sam Forsey were awarded the Al Neuharth Free Spirit Scholarship award in journalism serving respectively as co-editor in chief and entertainment editor of the West Fargo High School student newspaper, "The Packer."

Michele Weber, a counselor at the Cheney Middle School for five years and a teacher for 13 years prior, was the recipient of the North Dakota School Counselor Association's Outstanding Counselor Award presented in Bismarck during the group's mid-winter conference.

Mayor Rich Mattern delivered his annual State of the City address, concluding that despite the gloomy national news, the city's financial condition remained strong due to a balanced budget in 2008 and conservative spending by the city commission and city staff.

Construction continued on the new Kindergarten Center in Osgood, with exterior walls beginning to take shape.

An open house to celebrate the 80th birthday of former longtime West Fargo resident and businessman Kenneth Stevenson, now of Fargo, was held by family at the Half-time by Sheri Dance Studio in West Fargo.

Flame of Faith United Methodist Church Pastor Mina Hall reflected on a tour of Israel in mid-January, along with her husband, Thomas, a 30th anniversary wedding gift to each other.

Approximately 200 people turned out for a 'heated' public forum to discuss and learn more about a proposed 18-hole municipal golf course in the Westport Beach Development, north of 52nd Avenue West, that was given the initial 'go-ahead' to move forward by a 3-1 City Commission vote in December. With the majority of the reaction negative, meeting action resulted in a 'slowdown' approach by the commission as well as agreement to hold an additional public forum for more information before another vote is taken.

The West Fargo School Board gave the nod to the Village Business Institute to conduct an employee engagement survey to help assess morale among district staff.

Hillary Ehlen, a senior at West Fargo High School and the daughter of Dan and Gretchen Ehlen of Horace, was named West Fargo Exchange Club Student of the Month for February.

March

The City of West Fargo received the news it would be receiving approximately $1.2 million in federal stimulus funding for road projects including overlay on a number of city roadways, as well as concrete pavement restoration.

"Sweet Dreams" came true for West Fargo native Joie Sherman, a 2004 West Fargo High School graduate and the daughter of Gary and Linda Schultz of rural Harwood, and the late Roger Sherman, who portrayed country music legend Patsy Cline in correlation with the 80th anniversary of the historic Sooner theatre in Norman, Okla., where Sherman resided.

West Fargo chiropractor Rob Hasse was among an eleven man team from Triumph Lutheran Brethren Church's Moorhead and West Fargo congregations who traveled to Ecuador for a ten-day mission trip to help build an orphanage in the middle of jungle terrain.

"Legacies of Love," a special event to showcase precious keepsakes residents have treasured throughout the years, was held for the second year in a row at the Cooperative Independent Living Center, 1424 14th St. E., West Fargo, as the brainchild of Cooperative Center manager Kathy Meland, who thought it would be a wonderful way for residents to show off items special to them.

After mulling all the negative input received at a February public forum regarding a proposed 18-hole municipal golf course in the Westport Beach subdivisions and negative feedback they have been hearing ever since, West Fargo City Commissioners agreed unanimously to place the matter on hold and not move forward with any golf course plans, waiting for further direction from developers on how they might want to proceed.

Decorated World War II veteran and longtime West Fargo and Harwood resident Leonard Amundson passed away at the age of 90.

Heavy flooding occurred in the metro area as the result of significant snow melt, and heavy rains caused Harwood Elementary School students to be relocated to Westside Elementary until flood waters subsided.

City officials were proactive in their planning to keep West Fargo free of floodwaters by paying special attention to the operation and maintenance of Sheyenne Diversion, the city's key protective measure.

Also protected by the Diversion, city officials in Horace asked residents to refrain from using for a while as the water supply was temporarily cut off because the city's three lift stations couldn't keep up. The water was turned on a few days later, with city residents continuing to help out a handful of others with sandbags for window wells that had filled with water, causing basement flooding.

Laura Tuinstra was recognized as West Fargo Community High School Student of the Month for March.

With the awarding of the contract by West Fargo City Commissioners to Industrial Builders, Inc., work officially got underway on the I-94/9th Street Interchange project with huge cranes and other pieces of equipment visible from the corner of 19th Ave. E. for the construction of the overpass and the continuation of the two mile stretch of 9th Street East that will be known as Veterans Boulevard.

Brittany Davila, a senior at West Fargo High School and the daughter of Lisa Peralta Sullivan, was named West Fargo Exchange Club Student of the Month for March.

April

The Veterans Memorial Arena was set up as a disaster relief site for 45 days by the American Red Cross, used as a staging site and for warehouse storage because of the severe flooding affecting the area.

The Red Cross also established a supportive care center at Cheney Middle School that provided temporary housing for independent living referrals displaced by the flood.

The West Fargo School Board voted to set May 19 as the date for a vote on whether to approve the issuance of school building bonds in the amount of $65 million for school building construction and renovation projects.

Members of the West Fargo VFW Post 7564 Auxiliary hosted a visit by National Auxiliary President Dixie Held of Omaha, Neb.

Harwood residents held their own in the flood fight, being proactive in making sure earthen dikes were in place in advance of the rising Sheyenne River.

North Dakota Governor John Hoeven paid a visit to West Fargo City Hall, which housed the Cass County Emergency Operation Center, and the Veterans Memorial Arena to thank volunteers and flood fighters for their ongoing efforts in controlling flooding in the Fargo-Moorhead metro area and outlying communities.

The City of West Fargo and Interstate Assembly Systems of West Fargo were nominated to receive the 2009 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award by employees who are members of the North Dakota National Guard and Reserve.

The West Fargo Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director resigned her position after a successful five year run to become director of sales at the brand new Hilton Garden Inn, still under construction.

West Fargo High School drama students staged their spring presentation, a one-act play titled "How to Eat Like a Child and Other Lessons in Not Being a Grownup," focusing on kids giving other children advice on how to just be kids and have fun.

Skyler Dutton joined the West Fargo Police Department as a patrol officer.

Bobby Hoppe and John Tandsater, juniors at Cass Valley North High School, were selected by the Harwood American Legion as Boys State candidates.

Mallory Hayes, a senior at Concordia College and the daughter of Mark and Billy Hayes, Harwood, spent spring semester studying abroad as part of the college's Scandinavian and Baltic program, run in cooperation with Lillehammer College, Lillehammer, Norway.

West Fargo High School graduating seniors Nick Hulm and Genia Wilson were crowned king and queen during the Junior ROTC Military Ball, attended by 125 students and JROTC staff members.

Kelsey Olson was named West Fargo Community High School Student of the Month for April.

The West Fargo School Board voted to set May 19 as the date for a vote on whether to approve the issuance of school building bonds in the amount of $65 million for school building construction and renovation projects.

Members of the West Fargo VFW Post 7564 Auxiliary hosted a visit by National Auxiliary President Dixie Held of Omaha, Neb.

Harwood residents held their own in the flood fight, being proactive in making sure earthen dikes were in place in advance of the rising Sheyenne River.

North Dakota Governor John Hoeven paid a visit to West Fargo City Hall, which housed the Cass County Emergency Operation Center, and the Veterans Memorial Arena to thank volunteers and flood fighters for their ongoing efforts in controlling flooding in the Fargo-Moorhead metro area and outlying communities.

The City of West Fargo and Interstate Assembly Systems of West Fargo were nominated to receive the 2009 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award by employees who are members of the North Dakota National Guard and Reserve.

The West Fargo Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director resigned her position after a successful five year run to become director of sales at the brand new Hilton Garden Inn, still under construction.

West Fargo High School drama students staged their spring presentation, a one-act play titled "How to Eat Like a Child and Other Lessons in Not Being a Grownup," focusing on kids giving other children advice on how to just be kids and have fun.

Skyler Dutton joined the West Fargo Police Department as a patrol officer.

Bobby Hoppe and John Tandsater, juniors at Cass Valley North High School, were selected by the Harwood American Legion as Boys State candidates.

Mallory Hayes, a senior at Concordia College and the daughter of Mark and Billy Hayes, Harwood, spent spring semester studying abroad as part of the college's Scandinavian and Baltic program, run in cooperation with Lillehammer College, Lillehammer, Norway.

West Fargo High School graduating seniors Nick Hulm and Genia Wilson were crowned king and queen during the Junior ROTC Military Ball, attended by 125 students and JROTC staff members.

Kelsey Olson was named West Fargo Community High School Student of the Month for April.

May

Sisters Katie and Samantha Schmidt, 2005 West Fargo High School graduates and the daughters of Pat and Cheryl Schmidt, Harwood, graduated from Concordia College.

As a result of considerable community protest and input received at a community forum, West Fargo City Commissioners voted unanimously to rescind their action made in Dec. 2008 for ownership of an 18-hole golf course and approved an agreement for Westport Beach Development to construct, own and operate the course proposed to be located on 160 acres in a 520 acre development north of 52nd Ave. W.

Judy Riley, an ELL Specialist in the West Fargo School District, was named the 2009-2010 West Fargo Teacher of the Year, in a surprise ceremony at South Elementary School.

The West Fargo Area Chamber of Commerce held their 51st annual awards gathering at the Fargo Doublewood Inn recognizing Jeff Volk of Moore Engineering, Inc., as the Civic Excellence winner, Thomas Clark as Volunteer Firefighter of the Year and Detective Derek Cruff as West Fargo Police Department Employee of the Year.

The Cheney Middle School sixth-grade chess team took first place in the North Dakota Scholastic Chess Tournament held at Casselton.

A "Night in the Spotlight" was the theme for the 2009 West Fargo High School Prom.

The West Fargo School Board authorized the district to lease additional office space in the former bank building at 133 W. Main Ave. that would be used to house administrative staff.

The annual Arbor Day tree planting celebration conducted by the West Fargo Urban Forestry Committee honored centenarian Goldie Houkom as an Accolade Elm was planted in her honor in Shadow Wood Park, located a short distance from her farm off 40th Avenue South and north of the Ninth Grade Academy.

A retirement party was held at the West Fargo VFW to honor West Fargo Police Department Officer Earl Larson, a 30-year employee, and Chief Dispatcher Phil Roquette, who had been with the department for 40 years.

North Dakota's first Teen Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) class graduated in a ceremony at West Fargo High School, where the pilot program had been in operation since January.

Martin Fredricks, owner of Fredricks Communications, West Fargo, earned Statewide Individual Sweepstakes honors for the fourth year running in the 2009 North Dakota Professional Communicators Contest.

Alyssa Hummel, a senior at West Fargo High School and the daughter of Myron and Dawn Hummel, was named West Fargo Exchange Club Student of the Month for May.

Sarah Schaeffer, an eighth-grader at Cheney Middle School, was named the new president of the North Dakota Student Council for middle school level students at the spring conference held in Bismarck.

Classic cars stole the show at the 51st annual Fargo-Moorhead Toppers Car Club event held at the Veterans Memorial Arena.

Crews finally kicked off construction on the first phase of Main Avenue reconstruction from 6th Street West, near the Sheyenne River, all the way to Fifth Street East, by DMI Industries.

West Fargo High School Principal Gary Clark was named North Dakota Principal of the Year by The North Dakota Association of Secondary School Principals.

Halimo Abdulkarim, a senior at West Fargo High School and the daughter of Sharif and Fatma Mohumed, was named West Fargo Exchange Club Student of the Month for May.

Three West Fargo School District teachers retired after long associations with the district - Linda Francis, Ron Halverson and Jim Dew.

For the June through December 2009 Year in Review see next weeks Pioneer.

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