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Year in review reflects growth, change

The year 2007 was highlighted by transition, change and growth in West Fargo and the surrounding communities of Harwood, Horace and Mapleton as previewed in the monthly accounts recognizing people, businesses and incidents who played a key role in the transformation.


Shane Marcuson and Paul Fracassi joined the City of West Fargo assessing staff.

The first phase of a two-phased plan to open West Fargo's Sheyenne Crossings was completed with the assisted living and memory care sections ready for occupancy.

The West Fargo VFW hosted the North Dakota Veterans of Foreign Wars State Conference with State VFW Commander Ray Harkema from West Fargo presiding.

Roll-a-Ramp of West Fargo was named exporter of the year in the consumer goods category by the U.S. Export Promotion Magazine. The Company manufactures portable ramps used for wheelchairs, scooters, and in a variety of industrial settings.

Community Presbyterian Church dedicated their Project Open Door addition.

The West Fargo Park District Winter Days celebration served as the kick-off activity for the Park District's 50th anniversary observance.

West Fargo's brand new Public Works Facility and Conference Center located at 801 12th Ave. NW, welcomed its first tenants, with the 'moving in' of Public Works Director Barry Johnson, Engineering Assistant Chris Brungardt and Public Works Technician Chad Zander. The City acquired the building formerly occupied by KXJB-TV, moved it to its new site, and started conversion on it to fit City shop needs.

Holly Budzinski relocated from North Carolina to West Fargo to assume duties as the director of knowledge management in the West Fargo School District.

Payroll Express, owned by Todd and Darcy Pope-Fuchs, relocated their business, after remodeling the former Domino's building on Sheyenne Street to accommodate their needs.

West Fargo School Board members voted to end early retirement payments on a policy that was initiated in 1995.

Longtime West Fargo resident and businessman Doug Debing was presented with the West Fargo Lions Club prestigious Melvin Jones Fellowship honor. Debing, who operates Doug's Barber Service, had accrued almost 24 years with the Club.

Rich Kramer was named the new associate pastor at Faith Lutheran Church in West Fargo.

Mayor Rich Mattern presented his annual State of the City message, painting an optimistic picture of growth and the future, with the community estimated as the fifth largest in the state. Highlights of 2006 included Marvin Windows completing construction of their second West Fargo plant, construction on two new schools, the opening of Sheyenne Crossings, and the acquisition and relocation of the KXJB building for a new city shop near 12th Avenue North.

Senator Judy Lee of West Fargo was elected President Pro Tempore of the North Dakota Senate for the 60th legislative session, by her Senate colleagues, with a portion of her responsibilities including presiding over the senate in the absence of the Lieutenant Governor. Lee represents District 13.

Jiggs and Pat Anderson, longtime owner-operators of Jiggs' Homestyle Restaurant, announced they would be closing their doors to embark on a new adventure - retirement.

Sean Fredricks was named a shareholder with Ohnstad Twichell Law Firm. He had been an attorney with the firm for three years, practicing out of their West Fargo office.

Twenty-three year instructor Susan Klabunde became the first teacher in West Fargo to receive certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, an independent, non-governmental organization created by educators and policymakers in 1987 to advance the quality of teachers and learning.

Alyssa Scott and Nathaniel Peterson were selected for the North Dakota National Bank Association's twelfth annual Junior High All-State Band Festival.

Ashley Nelson was named Community High School student of the month for January.

February 2007

Julia and Thomas Pederson, 96 and 98 years of age respectively, celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary Feb. 6, with a small group of relatives in their home at Sheyenne Crossings.

Wayne Venter began duties as Red River Valley Fair manager, replacing John Pitz, who returned to his former position in Idaho.

The West Fargo Chamber of Commerce's annual fundraiser - A Night in Las Vegas - was a huge success with a recording breaking 225 people attending at the Fargo Holiday Inn.

Greg Jenkins joined Edward Jones as an investment representative at their 205 Sheyenne St. location.

The West Fargo High School Drama Department presented the epic love story "West Side Story" in special performances two weekends in the school's theatre.

For the fifth consecutive year, the North Dakota Muzzleloaders held their annual convention and trade fair at the Speedway Event Center.

An open house was held for Lynn Goerger, who retired after a 20 year association with Alerus Financial.

Lisa Holman and Nicole Bruse were named senior and junior royalty, respectively, for the FM Posse Club.

Jerry Barnum, who serves as principal at Harwood and Horace Elementary schools, was presented with the Golden Apple Award, making him the first to receive it since retired Eastwood Principal Edsel Kercher in 2001. Only two N.D. principals are presented the award each year.

With a solid operating year to its credit, the West Fargo Public Library, located in its new home in the Lodoen Community Center, showed marked gains in usage and in the number of materials it provided to patrons.

Lisa Budeau of West Fargo was honored as the 2007 Conservation Communicator of the Year by the CAP/NDWF.

The Cheney Middle School 6th Grade Choir presented "Treasure Island."

West Fargo City Commissioners approved a Renaissance Zone expansion application request from MidAmerica Aviation for property at 990 Armour St.

Shanna Harsch was named manager of the new Subway which opened at 855 13th Ave. E., in the Pioneer Center.

Tessie Jones, 20, and a former West Fargo High School grad, was crowned Miss Fargo in a pageant held at NDSU's Beckwith Concert Hall.

Rob Gibson was named West Fargo Exchange Club Student of the Month for February.

March 2007

West Fargo High was the only school in North Dakota, and one of 50 nationwide to receive a $15,000 Best Buy Teach award to be used for integrating technology into the classroom. Classrooms that benefited from the award were those of English instructor Mary Sherman and history instructor Barb Metcalf.

Western State Bank opened a new location in the Western Center at 4302 13th Ave. S., next to Target.

Michael and Angie Pulczinski of West Fargo have purchased the Leonard Country Club that features a nine-hole golf course, a newly remodeled clubhouse, driving range, practice green, pro shop and much more.

Brittany Humphrey, 12, and a sixth-grader at Cheney Middle School, was named North Dakota's top youth volunteer for 2007 by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, along with Jacob Holm of Valley City. She is the daughter of Machelle and Kenneth Wilson.

Members of the Harwood Prairie Playhouse delighted audiences with their 23rd annual production "The Perfect Wedding."

Jill Leier, a mathematics teacher at Eastwood Elementary School in West Fargo was named a state finalist for the 2006 Presidential Awards for Excellence in mathematics and science teaching, the nation's highest honor for K-12 teaching in those fields.

Tim and Tammy Hagensen opened TNT's Diner in Westgo Square, in the location formerly occupied by Jiggs' Homestyle Restaurant.

U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) met with West Fargo student Peter Quinn at his Capitol Hill office during Quinn's visit to Washington, D.C., as part of the Congressional Youth Leadership Council.

Sixth grade music teacher Susan Morken was honored as the West Fargo School District teacher of the year. Morken was nominated by her peers and selected out of approximately 15 candidates.

National VFW Ladies Auxiliary President Linda Meader of Concord, New Hampshire, paid a visit to the West Fargo VFW Post.

The West Fargo High School Theatre Department staged their annual spring production "The Adventures of the Pink WASP and Yellow Jacket (in color)" in the high school theatre.

The Fargo-Moorhead Toppers Car Club hosted their 49th annual show at the Veterans Arena in West Fargo.

Stephanie Cwikla, daughter of Rich and Sue Cwikla and a senior at West Fargo High School, was named West Fargo Exchange Club Student of the Month for March.

The West Fargo Pioneer and West Fargo VFW staffs conducted a highly successful 'meet and greet' event at the VFW featuring the Shrine Circus entertainers, face painting and cotton candy.

The West Fargo VFW was also the site for the 4th annual Remembering Our Serving Soldiers (R.O.S.S.) with the day-long program honoring the veterans who lost their lives in the Iraq war.

April 2007

The West Fargo Police Department was among six North Dakota first responder organizations receiving grants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Program. The grant is for a $35,000 Video Detective device that can be used to clarify and enhance grainy images that come from surveillance cameras in stores and result from video that officers record in the field.

A special ceremony held at the Red River Valley Fairgrounds in West Fargo remembered former Prisoners of War. Lyle Wells, of West Fargo, promoted National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day in a daylong event April 9, honoring all prisoners of war that returned home.

An early afternoon fire destroyed the house of Janet and Jack Kist, longtime West Fargo residents at 1401 River St. The couple had lived in the home for 37 years and plan to rebuild.

Rick Lebahn, West Fargo, was honored as an outstanding agent of Farmers Union Insurance. He has been with the company since 1970.

The West Fargo Police Department investigated the fourth in a series of home invasion incidents reported in a six-month time frame. A teenage girl awoke in her bedroom to see an unknown male suspect standing there. He ultimately fled.

The West Fargo Chamber promoted another highly successful Spring Business Expo at the Veterans Memorial Arena, with 600-plus people attending. The area was packed with exhibitors showcasing their businesses and products, all complemented by a variety of fun family activities.

For the 23rd year, West Fargo was recognized as Tree City U.S.A. by the National Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to community forestry.

Chris Conley was hired as an associate pastor at West Fargo's Shiloh Evangelical Free Church.

Master Sergeants Christopher and Monica Heise announced their official retirement from 119th Fighter Wing, North Dakota Air National Guard, after a combined service record of 41-plus years.

Craig W. Olson was elected President of the North Dakota Funeral Directors Association, Inc., at its annual convention held in Fargo. Olson is employed at West Funeral Homes in West Fargo and Casselton and has served NDFDA since 2003, when elected Southwest District Governor.

Today Show weatherman Al Roker paid a visit to the West Fargo home of Lynne and Curtis Olien to help support the Project Linus program, a nonprofit organization that provides handmade blankets for children who are ill, traumatized or in need, in turn, providing a sense of security, warmth and comfort. A segment of the visit was broadcast live on the NBC Today Show.

May 2007

Bright skies greeted walkers who gathered at the Veterans Memorial Arena for the March of Dimes WalkAmerica event, with funding going to research in areas involving premature births, birth defects and infant mortality.

The City of West Fargo conducted their annual clean-up campaign with sanitation crews out and about an entire week to help make the community's households a little tidier.

A shop owned by Kent Lindemann of Lindemann Concrete Construction, Harwood, was totally destroyed by a fire of undetermined nature.

Greg and Betty Peterson took over the operation of the Town Hall Bar.

West Fargoan Doug Leier was the recipient of the 2007 Young Alumnus Award presented by the Minot State University-Bottineau Alumni Association.

Zion Lutheran Church of Harwood dedicated its new addition, Bethany Hall, named for a small town near Jerusalem. The area includes space for education, fellowship, offices, kitchen, bathrooms, lounge and a library.

Longtime West Fargoan Dorothy Berger paid a special visit to L.E. Berger Elementary, the school named after her late husband, a former superintendent, to present a history lesson to the students.

Postal workers held another very successful "Stamp Out Hunger" food drive for area pantries, collecting nonperishable food items during their regular postal routes.

The West Fargo Pioneer staff captured 33 awards, including the General Excellence and Sweepstake honors, at the 121st North Dakota Newspaper Association Convention held in Fargo.

The West Fargo Chamber unveiled a new name - West Fargo Area Chamber of Commerce - and an all-new logo, at their 49th annual awards breakfast meeting. The changes represent a new vision and mission statement for the group now over 400 members strong. Former West Fargo educators Marvin and Janice Leidal were honored with the Civic Excellence Award.

Alliance Therapy, a privately owned practice specializing in pediatric therapy services, hosted an open house at their new location, 1207 Prairie Parkway.

Mapleton was recognized as a Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation.

The Fargo Red River Regional Group of the Horseless Carriage Club held their 34th Annual Art Olson Swap Meet and Car Show at Bonanzaville.

Eventide, a trusted name in senior health care, hosted the grand opening of its new West Fargo campus, Sheyenne Crossings, located on the corner of Sheyenne Street and 13th Avenue.

Payroll Express, Inc. celebrated its grand opening in its all new facility at 301 Sheyenne St., with a visit from Gov. John Hoeven. Todd and Darcy Fuchs are the business owners.

Eight West Fargo teachers said their good-byes retiring from careers with the West Fargo School District, Nancy Peterson, Larry Anderson, Cheryl Baumgarten, Steven Anderson, Bob Elliott, Jan Kaeding, Sandy Howell and Don Berge.

A mighty Bur Oak tree was planted on the front lawn of L.E. Berger Elementary School in memory of little six-year-old Ariana Kaseman, a first grader at the school. The daughter of Kevin and Teresa Kaseman, Ariana passed away in February following a lengthy, undiagnosed illness.

Shelby Pickard was named Community High Student of the Month for May.

June 2007

The West Fargo Packer Softball Team won the state tournament in Grand Forks, defending their mammoth state title streak of nine championships.

The West Fargo City Commission approved the hiring of another school resource officer to be announced for the West Fargo School District.

Ryan Denis joined the West Fargo Police Department as a patrol officer.

Russ Tweiten, Horace, was appointed president of the board of directors for Hospice of the Red River Valley at their annual meeting.

Bill Tuff was installed as West Fargo VFW Post Commander, his wife, Patti Tuff, as Ladies Auxiliary President, and Rick Fuller as Seam Squirrel of the Military Order of Cooties Pup Tent 8, West Fargo.

Harry and Aileen Rinkowski, formerly of Enderlin and now West Fargo, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in a private family celebration with their nine children.

The Red River Valley Fair opened for its nine-day run. Headliners included Ted Nugent, Joe Nichols and Weird Al Yankovic.

David Bruckner, a 37-year veteran of the West Fargo Police Department, died following a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 64.

Hair with Care, a beauty salon owned and operated by Carrie Sweeney, opened to clients in Sheyenne Crossings, with Sweeney and Larry Newton providing the services.

E.W. Wylie announced its intention to relocate to West Fargo's industrial park area on the west edge of town with a groundbreaking ceremony for its new facility.

Building up the dirt on the overpass embankment on the Ninth Street Interchange project began as the first phase of surcharge work.

Miriam Arves resigned her position as West Fargo Library Director after a 31-year association, citing it was time for a 'change in her life.'

Mark Berntson, band instructor at West Fargo High School, was elected vice president of the North Dakota Education Association.

Moore Engineering Inc. broke ground for their new 22,500 square foot one-story office building, the base for its North Dakota operations, on the corner of 10th Avenue and 9th Street East.

Sandra Hannahs, acting director of the West Fargo Public Library, was named interim director in the wake of the resignation of Miriam Arves.

Alan Merle Grossman, 48, died following a long and courageous battle with ALS. Approximately 500 people participated in the annual Harley Owners Group ride that raised $27,300 for the MeritCare Children's Miracle Network. The group traveled from Fargo Harley Davidson in West Fargo to the Shooting Star Casino at Mahnomen.