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Valley News and Views
Drayton , North Dakota
May 27, 2010     Valley News and Views
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May 27, 2010

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Page 4 May 27, 2010 & Valley News ' &Views A century, plus one great gal Florida winters are no more, family says she stays in N.D. BY RICHARD H. CONWAY VNVVISITING STAFF For the first time in 37 years, Marge Baker isn't look- ing forward to winter. The Pembina native, who turns 101 on May 31, is con- templating a winter in North Dakota, having sold her Lakeland, Fla., home and car at the urging of her family. "Snow is boring," she says. The VNVfeatured Marge a year ago, when she observed the century milestone. She is every bit as spry and engag- ing today, once again invit- ing the writer into her home for an interview. Marge knows all about harsh North Dakota winters. She and her first husband, Harvey Oakes, farmed 160 acres near Joliette, where their log cabin home still stands. Before she met Harvey and for a few years after they were married, Marge taught all eight grades in one-room schoolhouses in nearby Mc- Arthur, Lancaster and Or- leans. Many were the winter days she and her students made their way through deep drifts to a cold schoolroom. When Harvey died in 1972 and her children were long gone--Linda to New Mexico and Larry to California-- Marge relocated to Lakeland, where she found warm win- ters, a new dwelling, a lively shuffleboard community, At for, Marge Baker says her age and a husband, Frank Baker. Since Frank's death in 1996, Marge has come home in the summertime. As the daughter of a schoolteacher and a noted printer, Eva and Roy de France, she learned to read by age fiveand began writing articles at 16 for her father's paper, the Pembina New Era. To meet Marge today is to be visited with incredu- lity. Could this lively, vigor- ous, funny woman really be over 100? She remembers a teenager she met recently who could only stare open- mouthed at someone from 1909. Still the writer, Marge composed an 18-line poem to say goodbye to her long- can strike a teenager speechless. time friends in Lakeland. "I'll miss them," she says. "I just might go back." Looking wistfully out the window, she says again, "Snow is boring." Grafton's Summerfest kicks off on June 24 Grafton's Summerfest, hosted by the Grafton Area Chamber of Commerce, begins on Thursday, June 24, and runs through Saturday, June 26. The program will feature events for all ages on each of the three days. The celebration is one of the largest in Walsh County, next to Park River's Fourth of July celebration. The Rudnick Saga ... Continued from Page 1 activities. Rudnick possesses such a profound institutional memory of the Drayton area that he can tick off events that happened so long ago that the ex- plorer Alexander Henry's footprints might still have been found on the banks of the Red River. Okay, first, we'll come clean. Full dis- closure. Danny and I have been friends my family arrived on Third Street in 1943 to live in the house directly across from Paul and Gertrude Rudnick and their children, Danny, Josephine and Francis. Danny and Josephine babysat my sister Carol and me, which must have been a chore. But Danny and Jo never held it against us. Danny's and my paths usually cross whenever I'm back in the hometown. Other than in the paragraphs above, I've never called Danny anything but Danny, which might not be age specif- ic, but, what the heck, all his life, Danny has been nothing but a kid. Like his brother and sister, Danny was born in the Rudnick home. Friends helped Gertrude through the birth on Dec. 12, 1930, and the doctor (either Dr. Henry Waldren or his son Mowatt) ar- rived after the big event to administer medical necessities. There are a lot of things you could say about Danny Rudnick. He loves to chat and I've never heard Danny say a bad thing about anybody. He's got lots of yarns and has figured in enough stories that lots of yarns could be told about him. We'll hit some of the high spots, because there's not enough space in a year's worth of VNVs to do the complete Danny Rudnick story. Danny might be a Renaissance man, but he does most things late. "I was 37 when I started curling, but I still curl." He denies being a scratch golfer, but revealed a missed five-foot putt on the ninth hole cost him a par for the round on the Grafton links recently. He was 56 when he married Lola in 1989. Danny recalled that the priest said upon seeing Danny at the St. Edward's Catholic Church altar, "I never thought I'd see Danny Rudnick up here." Danny enrolled in the electrician's course at the Wahpeton technological school after high school. He joinedthe Air Force in 1951, serving four years. He was turned down for pilot train- ing because his eyesight didn't meet standards, and he told the Air Force he didn't want to be a navigator or bom- bardier, which also would have made him an officer. After the service, Danny attended UND. He joined the American Legion in Grand Forks, an organization that enjoys Danny's devotion to this day. He has been commander of Post 159 twice, district commander twice, and is the district vice commander and post ad- jutant. Medically, Danny's a specimen of sur- vival. In 2004, doctors removed four inches of his lower esophagus after can- cer was discovered. Part of his stomach was extended to the remaining esopha- gus. Two years later, doctors used a pig's valve to replace the original in Danny's aorta. Then, in 2008, surgery repaired the ro- tator cuff in his right shoulder, injured back in the seventies when he tried to catch a falling electrical fixture that he was trying to hang from the ceiling. He grew up in the early part of Drayton's golden era when there were lots of youngsters around and Main Street boasted every business you could imagine. "My fondest memory?" he responded during an interview at the VNM. "That's hard to say, there were so many things you remember. I suppose, probably, it was when we were kids and we prac- ticed the broadjump in our yards. I re- member jumping into my mom's gar- den. You got a soft landing. We moved from one yard to another." (Probably because their mothers didn't embrace the landings in their gardens.) Danny's DHS graduating class in 1948 numbered 22 students. He survives along with Dorothy Keyes Danielson, Gordy Maurstad and Jimmy Gense. Danny spent all 12 years of his early education at the Drayton school. Always the competitor, he was a key member of DHS football, basketball and track teams. "I was on the Junior Legion baseball team in the summer," Danny recalled. "We also played hockey in the old skating rink, and cleaned off the ice on the river by the Bert Dalzell farm and played on the ice." Bert's son Albertl a schoolmate, orga- nized the venture, Bert built the nets and the players cleaned off the ice and kept it clear all winter. "We never asked our parents to help at all. That's the way it was back then." At 5-feet-7-inches tall and all of 145 pounds, Danny was the clean- up hitter when Legion baseball resumed after World War II. The late Don Halcrow was the coach and his wife Velva kept score. Danny remembers the year as sometime during the war, but I'm sticking with 1947, due to information from the team's batboy, Doug Halcrow, Deputy Darren Carter grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and used to do security work for noted celebrities. New law in town Sheriff's deputy has academy, law institute training on blotter BY ]ANE EARLE VNV VISITING STAFF EDITOR He's 22 years old and he's a man with a plan. Darren Carter arrived in Drayton on March 17, and part of his plan is to stay for a while. The town's new- est sheriff's deputy finds the people of Drayton friendly. "People here have been very welcoming to me," Carter said. His Drayton assignment is his first professional job in law enforcement, one he's been preparing for over the past 3 1/2 years. He got the Pembina County deputy's assignment after graduat- ing from the Criminal Jus- tice Institute at Devils Lake. and the scorebook Danny left behind after the interview. "I didn't hit home runs, but I was fast. I rarely struck out," he said. Indeed, Velva's scorebook doesn't record a "K" after Danny's name until well into the season. That year, the team toured the state, beating Oakes, Ipswitch, S.D., and East Grand Forks, while losing to Dickinson and New Salem. But life wasn't all games. Every day in the winter, Danny shoveled coal to keep the power plant on Main Street warm. "We wiped all the coal dust off the ma- chinery on Saturdays," he said. "We hauled water to the restaurants in the early forties in buckets from wells, and I chopped wood for our home." "Every day I had chores to do," Danny said. "Our sidewalk was always clean in the winter." He helped his dad in his electrician's business and worked on his uncle Julian Grzadzieleski's farm. "I couldn't run around," he said. "I never had a car until I was out of high school." Kids attended movies in a large brick building across from where Kelly's Market is now. Danny remembers that the structure also held a barber shop, cafe and a general store. Here our paths cross again. The building was destroyed by fire one night in 1943, a recollection vivid in Danny's memory because of the intensity of the fire and the explo- sion of fuel during the conflagration. That event is special in my memory too. Danny watched the blaze from the Drayton State Bank corner. And I, at about two years of age, watched the flames from my bedroom window, the very earliest memory I have about growing up in Drayton. Danny said he hasn't retired as an elec- trician. His father opened his Home Appliance shop south of the Farmers Union station on Main Street in 1946 with his brother-in-law, Stanley Grzadzieleski. The business became Rudnick Electric when Danny bought Stanley's share in 1961. Their building is now gone. Vote For Greg An reen an Lisa Andreen For Drayton Park Board, June 8th *We want to help Drayton's swimming pool become profitable. *Greg has been a member of the Volunteer Fire Department for over 15 years. *We are committed to Drayton, and would like the chance to help out the community. So, write-in Greg Andreen and Lisa Andreen, June 9th, on your ballots for Drayton Park Board Paid for by Greg and Lisa Andreen on their own behalf. Vote for the Andream Team He graduated from a police academy before attending the institute. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Carter decided to go into law enforcement after working night security in his home town. LeBron James was a client and so were some "famous rappers." He liked the work. "I liked the way it made me feel so I thought I should go into something like it that would be more permanent." The six-foot-two-inch, 300-pound Carter played left tackle on the football team while attending Rainy River Community College in Inter- national Falls, Minn.. Affable and outgoing, Carter acknowledges he's more focused on career and his future than many 22 year olds. "I was even pretty mature at 18. I've grown out of that crazy young life," he said. He's settled into his house on Main Street and on Friday was headed to the veterinar- ian's office to pick up the yel- low Labrador puppy who will keep the bachelor lawman company there. Settled or not, Carter is looking five years into the fu- ture. He would like to move up in law enforcement, may- be with the Drug Enforce- ment Agency task force or the Secret Service. "I'd like to stay in Dray- ton," Carter said, "and maybe I could do that with the DEA but it wouldn't work with the Secret Service." If having one D. Carter in North Dakota in law enforce- ment is good news, having two might be even better news. There is another Carter over in Rolette County work- ing as a deputy who looks very much like Drayton's Carter. His name is neon and he's Darren's twin brother. Conrad lauds Dorgan's role in drone program Sen. Kent Conrad praised the leadership of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Action Summit organizing sponsor, Sen.Byron Dorgan, after ac- cepting the leadership post from his retiring N.D. col- league. .... "Sen. Dorgan has left his mark in every corner of North Dakota. One of his lasting legacies will be the Red River Valley Research Corridor and this UAS Ac- tion Summit," Conrad said of the training program at the Odegard Aerospace School at UND. "I look forward to building on the work Sen. Dorgan has done to make the Red River Valley a national hub for UAS activity," he said. Conrad's remarks came at a recent program in Grand Forks. RE.ELEcT ICOUNTY COMMISSIONER I DI}STRICT 5 i PEMBINA COUNTY VOTE JUNE 8, 2010 CANDIDA TE FOR THE OFFICE OF COUNTY AUDITOR/ TREASURER LINDA SCHLITYENHARD YOUR VOTE & SUPPORT IS APPRECIATED (:PAID FOR BY LINDA SCHLITTENHARD ON HER BEHALF.) H IIIIIIII Fill|| e. e.j F "wr,Te-,n" Scoff Kraft For Drayton City Council Focused on a safe community Wants to help build a strong future for Drayton Active member of the Drayton Curling Club "Write-in" Scott Kraft for Drayton City Council on June 8th. 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