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Artists’ Background

Nelson recently moved to the Burke County area last July from Richmond, VA, marrying Columbus local, Terry Nelson.

She has two grown daughters, one in Philadelphia and the other in Richmond. She also has a six-year-old grandson.

Nelson was born and raised in Virginia. As a little girl, Nelson was drawn into art. She started knitting and sewing in the second grade. She surprised her fifth grade teacher by knitting a picture of an antique car. It took her three months to get the picture back from the teacher as he loved it so much.

Her medium is clay, “I love to sculpt,” said Nelson, bringing her kiln to North Dakota with her, “I can’t live without my art.”

Nelson shared that she is a “career switcher” being a banker for 20 plus years. She always had a way with numbers. She was the go-to to find the problem, “I would tell the programmers where things were wrong but my art is always what saved me from the tension, pressures and fast pace of the banking world.”

“Number crunching wasn’t satisfying me personally,” so Nelson made the change and went back to school to become an art instructor.

According to Nelson, art is a 21st Century skill that the business world and corporations want their employees to have, “It teaches you not just to look at what is given, but to look outside the box.”

She has been teaching art for ten years and has acquired her North Dakota teacher’s license. She has a BA in Art Education and a Masters in Inter-disciplinarian Studies.

While subbing at the Powers Lake School, Principal Gunderson recommended Nelson send her portfolio to the North Dakota Council of the Arts as they are always in need of art teachers/artists. Nelson did and she was accepted into the Artists in Residence for North Dakota program.

Nelson has been teaching art twice a week this spring semester to the kindergarteners through 6th graders, with an elective after school class for grades 7-12 on Wednesdays.

Nelson is very excited to have the chance to continue sharing her love of art. Powers Lake has added art to the elementary curriculum for the next school year for grades K-6 and an elective for grades 7 and 8.

Instruction to Art

Nelson started teaching in Powers Lake the last week of January. Having no art instruction prior, Nelson began with the basics.

First on the agenda was the use of line. Students created “name” projects, decorating their names with all types of lines, fat, thin, zigzag.

Then they incorporated shapes, which is a connected line, flat and two dimensional. Using circles, squares and triangles, the youth converted the shapes into animals.

Next Nelson introduced color, giving the students the chance to experiment and mix the three primary colors, creating many more colors. They used a wide variety of mediums: colored pencils, tempera paints and water colors.

Now in the final week of art, the classes are making three dimensional sculptures of bugs out of puzzle pieces.

“I teach proportions and relationships to things, and it really helps to look at things through art eyes,” stated Nelson.

Art Show

An art show with the students’ creations will be held in conjunction with the elementary spring concert on Thursday, May 7. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for the Art Show with the concert to follow at 7:00 p.m. for grades K-7.

Property Valuations

Submitted by Janet Cron,
County Assessor

We have completed the township equalization meetings and the city equalization meetings have been going well….we will be happy to provide the information off your field card for comparison to another property.

The new valuations are the indication of market and equity. It is not the indicator of TAXES.
Taxes are the result of the local governments’ requests for budget dollars.

I certainly would hope that anyone who is interested in their taxes would attend local budget hearings to voice their opinion on how much that city, school, county should request for that entity. If there are the same dollars requested as last year, and the entity has more taxable dollars because of the new and higher assessments, the mill levy would decrease and your tax bill in December would reflect that consideration was taken.

IF the entities ask for more dollars and you had an increase in valuation …you will have an increase in your tax bill.

I would like to remind taxpayers that there are two real estate tax credits!

Homestead Credit (for those 65 years and older with income adjusted by out of pocket medical expenses, and 2) Veteran Credit (veterans with service related disability).
Call the office for more information on these very helpful programs, 377-2661.

The three other North Dakota counties are Nelson County at 33.5%, Steele County at 33.6% and Renville County at 34.2%.
North Dakota had two counties in the top 10 for highest rates of heavy drinking, which were Sioux County at 21.4% and Rolette County at 19.6%.

In Burke County, the prevalence of heavy drinking for females was 9.4% and 12.1% for males. National averages in 2012 were 6.7% for women and 9.9% for males.

Across the country, heavy drinking among Americans has increased sharply, up 17.2% since 2005. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines heavy drinking as exceeding an average of one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men over the past month.

In 2012, 8.2% of all Americans were considered heavy drinkers and 18.3% were binge drinkers. The CDC defines binge drinkers as those who consume four drinks or more for women and five drinks or more for men on a single occasion at least once during the past month. Since 2005, binge drinking has increased 8.9% across the U.S.

Nationwide, women showed a much faster escalation in binge drinking than men, with rates rising 17.5% between 2005 and 2012; men, on the other hand, saw rates of binge drinking increase 4.9%.

“We are seeing some very alarming trends in alcohol over-consumption, especially among women,” said Dr. Ali Mokdad, a lead author of the study and professor at IHME. “We also can’t ignore the fact that in many U.S. counties a quarter of the people or more, are binge drinkers.” The report shows that in Burke County, a third of the population over the age of 21 are considered binge drinkers.

The county-by-county study has helped define the full range of what people are experiencing health-wise.

“When you can map out what’s happening county by county, over time, and for men and women separately, that’s also when you can really pinpoint specific health needs and challenges – and then tailor health policies and programs accordingly,” said IHME’s Director Dr. Christopher Murray.

Binge drinking is commonly associated with a higher risk for serious bodily harm, such as injuries, alcohol poisoning and acute organ damage. Heavy drinking is considered a risk factor for longer-term conditions, such as liver cirrhosis and cardiovascular disease.

The IHME is an independent global health research organization at the University of Washing that proves rigorous and comparable measurement of the world’s most important health problems and evaluates the strategies used to address them. IHME makes this information widely available so that policy makers have the evidence they need to make informed decisions about how to allocate resources to best improve population health.

Not included in this report, but announced last summer by North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, binge drinking among teenagers in North Dakota was down.

The binge drinking rate among North Dakota teens had been among the highest in the nation but now is comparable to the national average, Stenehjem said. Data show the teen binge-drinking rate in ND fell from 41.5 percent in 2001 to 21.9 percent last year. The national average is 20.8 percent.

For more information on this report, go to


Continued…The reason I know our house was a rutabagas toss from Blanchard’s house surely wasn’t because Blanchard had thrown a rutabaga our way.

It is common knowledge that a 12-year-old boy can spit further than an old man can throw a rutabaga.

No, the reason I know is because I threw one of Blanchard’s rutabagas from his garden, behind his little blue house, to my brother, Ray, who was playing in the sandbox behind our house.

I didn’t so much throw it “to” him as “at” him, but let’s not get caught up in details, just know that it was one heck of a toss. One of those tosses where you stand for a moment prior to launch feeling the weight of the rutabaga in your hand as you contemplate windage, distance, trajectory, and how angry that turd Ray’s going to be when that rutabaga hits him true and square.

That last thought is the one that focuses your senses, puts that extra spring in your crow hop and whip in your arm as you let it fly.

When you let something fly from a good distance, you have what seems like an eternity to shift your hopeful gaze back and forth between what you’ve thrown and who you’ve thrown it at.

Once the projectile leaves your hand you become a mere observer, watching with anticipation as the distance between the two objects gradually decreases.

When you make it your business to throw things at people you get good at your business. I knew the instant that rutabaga left my hand that it was a money shot. It just felt right.
It wasn’t a matter of if it was going to hit Ray it was a matter of where.

A head shot might render him unconscious, a blow to his bony little back might knock the wind out of him, both of which would be cause for bawling and potential tattling, but that was a chance I was willing to take.

The potential for collateral damage was accepted long before I let the rutabaga fly. Somethings are just worth the consequences.

The head, the back, a glancing blow to the shoulder, all were possibilities, but the south side of Ray’s north facing Toughskins jeans was the target of choice.

Every big brother worth his salt knows that a shot in the seat will produce the optimal balance between pain and anger.

Painful enough to drop him where he stands while simultaneously producing enough anger to keep him from limping to Mommy. The perfect scenario.

He knew as well as I did that it would be a waste of time to limp to Mom crying about taking a rutabaga in the bum. Mom would’ve laughed his bruised backside out of the house.

Ray stood there in the sandbox completely unaware of what was about to rain down on him.

Under normal circumstances he probably would have detected something was amiss, he would have heard the smile stretch across my filthy garden looting face and the little grunt I let out when I launched the rogue rutabaga, but he was much too busy pounding some character into his Tonka trucks and Matchbox cars with a hammer to notice he was under attack.

Just as he raised the hammer up high above his head to give a particularly resilient dump truck a good whack, the rutabaga found its mark.

With a fresh smear of dirt on the right back pocket of his Toughskins, he went down with a whimper amongst the carnage of crushed cars and dismembered G.I. Joe action figures.
It got him good.

To be continued…

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