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Students spring into action, again

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They drive you crazy, dont they?

Those teens and tweens that populate the Fargo-Moorhead and West Fargo area from August through May, driving those beat-up cars with the radio systems blaring, sporting those baggy clothes, IPod in one hand, cell phone in the other.

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Its OK. You can admit it. You find them utterly annoying.

That is, until they start slinging sand around Sandbag U and building ring dikes on your neighbors property.

The fact is, weve taught our children well. Despite the jeans that look like theyre going to fall off that young boys rear end, or the make-up layer about three inches deep on that young girl, underneath theres a good heart. For all their faults, the kids in this region are, like so many parents and teachers will tell you, pretty good kids.

Thats what living here is all about.

Yes, its difficult to deal with flooding nearly every spring. Floods of the Century have turned into Floods that Happen Every Other Year. Just ask those trudging through murky waters northwest of town for the third time since 1997 launched this region into the nations spotlight.

But it was those darn high school kids stealing headlines across the nation on Monday, as Web sites highlighted the hundreds of high school kids who heeded calls from city officials and put their young bodies to work, bagging hundreds of pounds of sand at the Fargo Utility Building (Sandbag U) and also hopping buses out to locations in need of major assistance to fight the rising tide.

The same situation has played out each of the last three floods, starting in 1997. During that battle, professors at local colleges dismissed or cancelled classes, asking students to head downtown to the Fargo Civic Center (the volunteer headquarters at that time) to find out how they could help.

In 2001, the high schools joined the mix, as they did this year, allowing parents to excuse their son or daughter from school if they reported to the building and then rode public buses to Sandbag U.

More than 300 kids had shown up by early Monday morning, and parents were still calling Fargo North and Fargo South, along with Fargo Shanley, to ask if their kids could help in the fight.

So, ripped up jeans and all, these kids helped out one more time. Thats what living here is all about. Some of the kids helping on Monday, you see, were no more than 9 years old when the floodwaters broke out in 1997. Yet, they remembered it as if it were yesterday, and said that now they were old enough to help their community.

Now if they could only work on their driving skills.

* *

Special thanks to the people who welcomed us into their backyards, flooded as they may be, for a look into this years flood fight.

Gary and Carol Duggan accompanied us on a very shaky walk across the BNSF railroad bridge north of County Road 20.

Ted Roers was gracious enough to boat us around his neighborhood for a portion of the afternoon, despite the fact the river waters had taken his outbuildings.

Doug Kuhns hospitality, and humor, made my day.

And to all the others who shared their time, thanks very much. Its your spirit that makes this a great place to live and work.

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