I start my monthly tour of the county offices and step into the Clerk of Courts office at the exact moment, Deputy Clerk Robin Urlich was posting, very sadly, the 100th criminal case in Hettinger County for this year.
The more common annual number for our county has always been around 20-25, but with the oil boom work increase, we have reached a new high. Sad news for the office and our county. Following this, it is noted that the two month jail bill is more than $8,000 for a mere two months. This used to be, using my favorite saying, “back in the day,” an annual bill. The good news is that a new deputy will be added to the force Jan. 2, 2013. He is Alois Warren. I go on to happier news:
I am then off across the hall to the Hettinger County Agent’s office. Agent Duaine Marxen gives me his report on the annual NDSU Extension conference he has recently returned from, where issues for the upcoming new year are taken on. Highlights from the annual fall conference will be included in the Hettinger County Crop and Livestock Improvement meeting scheduled for Feb. 5th in Regent.
The topic of soil salinity and sodality was one of the sessions at annual conference and that will be addressed at our county meeting by Naeem Kalwar, NDSU Research Soil Scientist at the Langdon Research Extension Center. The subject of Tax Management and Lease Rights with an emphasis on Variable Lease contracts will be covered by our local city attorney, David Crane. Other presenters for this program, will be John Rickertsen, Research Extension Agronomist at the Hettinger Research Extension Center on variety trials and performance from 2012. A panel addressing issues concerning Ag Waste will be made up of two or three local producers, and Darrin Olin, District Conservationist for our local NRCS office and Mary Berg, Manure Research Specialist from the Carrington Research Extension Center.
Attending the 4-H program planning part of annual conference, he reports back that the main concern for 2013 is the revamping of the Western 4-H camp at Washburn. The camp is in drastic need of renovation. Duane Hauck, retired Director of Extension, has been working with our legislators and private industry to raise 1.9 million dollars for this renovation. 75 percent of the private dollars have already been reached. The camp offers a variety of educational camps each year and each 4-H district, such as ours, will also have a specialized camp as well. The renovation of this camp is the big push for 4-H this year.
Next, Duaine, attended the Natural Resource and Management planning meeting where their focus was on the research on many different types of grazing methods, and different types of pasture management. Marxen explained, his job on this committee will be to help Kevin Sedivec, NDSU Range and Grassland Mgmt. Specialist, who is in charge of this committee, review publications on various grasses and range management.
Shooting sports was next, which Marxen is introducing as a brand new program to our Hettinger County 4-H clubs. Here the focus was on learning the state rules, etc., and a question and answer session held. Marxen detailed, “For our shooting sports in our county right now, I already have five adult trainers for the kids who will be starting shooting sports this spring. Our shooting trainers are already 4-H certified to mentor and teach our 4-Her’s. If all goes well, Darwyn Mayer is working to secure a grant to fund some of these activities, through our local Mott Equity. We will start with shotgun training through the summer. August is the state shoot and, if we can get our youngsters qualified, they will go to the state shoot in Bismarck. Kids that qualify for state shoot must be 11 years old or older and having taken and passed the Hunters Safety Course.” Next, Duaine explains, for a program on Archery, he is working through the school and with Superintendent, Myron Schweitzer, to implement the National Archery in the Schools Program. This program offered to schools is a kit with all necessary items for the course inclusive, valued at an approximate $3000. Schweitzer has advised, that Mott/Regent will order a kit. Once the kit is ordered the school can then apply to North Dakota Game and Fish for a grant to help pay for the kit. Marxen already has lined up, Samantha Roth, Stark-Billings 4-H Extension Agent to come down and instruct the 4-H volunteers to become teaching archers. 4-H archery will be a partner with the school.
Marxen as a non-voting member of the fair board stated that the board would like the fair to change the programming by creating interest which will keep the attendees out on the grounds enjoying possible activities all day. Suggestions for various activities like a variety of musical acts for adults and the very young have been discussed. Youth contests and cook-offs have also been considered. Marxen adds that, “You realize, Joyce, with all these new activities we will be requiring a lot more volunteer helpers at the fair this year.” Point made, so I add here: those wanting to help the 2013 fair may contact the Hettinger County Fair Board or the Extension Office. The board is also working on and looking at improvements in the Open Class as well. Lastly, Duaine adds, the board has been having conversation with Games Galore, and is considering their adult game inflatables, which are geared to both adults and kids. Fair days for 2013 are July 11-14.
Maxen has started, countywide 4-H meetings, held every six weeks now. These meeting are equally divided between New England and Mott, due to the distant involved in the clubs locations within our very large county. The majority of our members are just out of the Cloverbud ages. These are just like the regular 4-H meetings, starting with a main focus and going into breakout into work sessions. Food was the focus of the first meeting, Cowboy cookies, or Christmas Tree tea, which the youngsters can use at the fair, or if they wish give as Christmas gifts for their family gatherings. Following the work sessions, after lunch and recreation session, the clubs hold their own individual club meetings. Pledges and business, new and old, and doing demonstrations on the subject that they worked. This prepares each 4-her to do at least one demonstration a year. Next meeting will be here in Mott at the legion room in the Hettinger County Courthouse basement and the focus will be “picking your 4-H animal and introduction to judging. Special instructors will be Heather Nester and Marxson, who will cover rabbits and poultry. These meetings are Saturday mornings. The third county wide meeting will be held in New England again where Darwin Mayer will teach crop’s judging and preparing a crop’s exhibit for the county fair. The fourth meeting will be back in Mott and Nadine Swindler will be teaching clothing. The fifth meeting will be in June and that one will be scheduled for Mott again and will cover photography.
Attending the December Commissioners meeting and after Governor Dalrymple, presented the new two year budget for our state, I was made aware that Mark Resner, JDA Director and the Hettinger County Director of Oil Impact, called a meeting of our political representatives, to discuss how this new budget may affect our county.
Miscellaneous county information: Rob Larson has completed his term, serving our county as Hettinger Commissioners Chairman and John Plaggemeyer is now filling that position for the county for 2013. Rod Meier, County Road Superintendent advises he will be attending a meeting in January and will report back to us as to what 2013 holds for our county roads and maintenance.