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Proclamation honors former mayor


Former mayor honored with special proclamation

By Karen Huber

West Fargo City Commissioners opened their regularly scheduled meeting in a ceremonial manner Monday night honoring former Mayor Florenz Bjornson with a surprise announcement proclaiming Friday, July 20, Florenz Bjornson day in West Fargo in recognition of her 90th birthday.

Son Scott Bjornson and several bridge and Amita Club friends were in attendance to help celebrate the honor.

Bjornson was elected the first woman mayor of West Fargo in 1987 at the age of 70. Prior to that, she had served in a number of civic areas - the West Fargo School Board, the State House of Representatives, the State Water Commission, the West Fargo Library Board and was an active member of the Amita Club.

She was key to the realization of the Sheyenne Diversion project that now protects the community from flooding.

Presenting Bjornson with the special proclamation plaque, Mattern said "Congratulations on your special birthday and everything you've done for West Fargo. Your hard work has made things so much easier for the rest of us."

Bjornson responded by saying "I would like to thank you all. It is wonderful to see how this community has grown and how the Sheyenne Diversion is working. These are things that are wonderful memories."

The program concluded with a standing ovation for the former mayor.

Turning to other matters, the Commission denied by a unanimous vote a request for a Conditional Use Permit by Dakota Underground for the stockpiling of crushed concrete and concrete rubble and periodic crushing of concrete on Lots 8, 9 and 10 of property located in the southeast corner of 16th St. N.E. and 5th Ave. N.E., south of 7th Ave. N.E. in Sterling Industrial Park 4th Addition.

Business and homeowners in the area objected to the operation saying they didn't want the contamination from the dust or noise that would prevail, as well as the eyesore from the pile of rubble. Concern was expressed by a resident who addressed health issues from inhaling the dust and the fact it was impossible to get rid of it, having to change cooling filters extremely often.

A Dakota Underground official said they were proposing the site because they thought the area was a good fit for them, with another construction firm already having a crushing plant in the area.

Commissioner Brenda Warren said she couldn't support such an operation because of the adverse issues involved, and made the motion to deny the request.

In other action, the Commission:

-Approved second reading of a Cable Franchise Agreement for Midcontinent Communications, granting them a 15-year franchise to install, construct, operate and maintain a cable system within the city of West Fargo that would offer both residential and business users cable television, Internet and digital telephone service. The Commission approved the first reading for the Sioux Falls, S.D., based company two weeks ago. The agreement is nearly identical to the one in place for CableOne, the other local cable service provider. Midcontinent presently serves 200 communities in North Dakota and South Dakota including Grand Forks, Bismarck and Minot; and has been providing service in the local communities of Horace, Mapleton, Harwood, Reiles Acres and Oxbow. The plan is to have service available in some areas by the fall of 2007, with the project to be completed by the middle of the summer in 2008, at a cost estimate of $11 million for the entire project. Approximately 98 percent of the lines will be buried.

-okayed a request for a special event license for an outdoor event on August 11 at Work Zone Bar and Grill, 701 E. Main Ave., which will include a band from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., and selling liquor and grilling food in an enclosed fence area of the parking lot facing north;

-awarded the contract for City Sidewalk Improvement District No. 6044 for 2007 sidewalks to Opp Construction, Fargo, with a low bid of $144,047.25;

-approved second reading on the rezoning and the final plat approval from Agricultural to CM: Heavy Commercial/Light Industrial for property Wanzek's Second Subdivision in the extraterritorial limits of the city of West Fargo. The land use amendment had been approved at the July 2 meeting, so Wanzek could proceed with an addition to their business;

-approved an Amended Articles of Association for the Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan Council of Governments which eliminates a FHWA official from the Transportation Technical Committee membership;

-okayed a partnership with Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity to further home ownership opportunities for low income households by agreeing to a no interest, deferred second mortgage loan for the special assessment costs for the term of ownership for a twin home in West Fargo's Goldenwood Addition that will be built for a husband and wife and their four children, and a single mother and her seven children.

-received the 2008 preliminary budget packet from City Administrator Jim Brownlee and set July 30, after the regular Commission meeting, for the first discussion date;

-agreed to schedule the first regular Commission meeting in September for Sept. 4 instead of the third, because of the Labor Day holiday.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the West Fargo City Commission will take place at 5:30 p.m., Monday, July 30, in the Commission Chambers at West Fargo City Hall. All meetings are open to the public.