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Dr. Steve Hoffbeck

Contributor, Dakota Datebook
  • In 1869, at age 23, Joseph Dietrich (1846-1931) left his safe life in Wisconsin, seeking gold in Montana. He never reached those goldfields. Instead, he found his life in Dakota Territory.
  • School cafeterias have become legendary, both for good and for bad. The lunches can be legendarily good. For instance, what could be better than pizza or spaghetti?
  • If you are of a certain age, you remember the talents of Jack Benny (1894-1974), the famous comedian and violin-player who started out in vaudeville and then became successful in movies, radio, television, and nightclubs.
  • What happened in Lisbon, North Dakota, on June 14 in 1944, was almost like the script of a Hollywood movie. The townspeople celebrated what they called “Dr. Patterson Day.”
  • Elizabeth Bodine of Velva, North Dakota, was revered within her family and community for her life of devotion to God, husband, and her children. her story spans two continents and eight decades.
  • It was on this date in 1970 that 600 Kent State students gathered to protest having National Guard on campus. Told to “disperse,” activists threw rocks, and guardsmen used tear gas. The protesters still didn’t leave; and the 100 National Guard troops retreated. Feeling threatened, 28 guardsmen fired their rifles, leaving nine protesters wounded and “four dead in Ohio.”
  • From time immemorial, bison herds owned the plains of North Dakota. Native Americans and Europeans alike held bison in some measure of awe for their inherent power. Tribes believed the Great Spirit had sent the buffalo to them as part of the gift of life.
  • In the times of national Prohibition, considerable quantities of bootleg alcohol flowed around North Dakota despite the illegality of selling, consuming and transporting liquor. On this date in 1930, a newspaper story about a “mystery truck,” caused quite a stir in Fargo. The article told of an incident on March 30 in Fargo’s warehouse district, just west of downtown.
  • Ukraine has known war in recent years; and this European nation has rarely known true independence. The Ukrainians, as a Slavic people-group, have their own language and culture. However, due to Ukraine’s great natural wealth, it has been predominantly been ruled by Russia. Numerous Ukrainians immigrated to America from the 1890s onward. About 5,000 Ukrainians came to North Dakota.
  • In the heart of wintertime, when your furnace warms your house but dries the air, static electricity accumulates, so when you touch a light-switch, you can be zapped by a spark. And when you pull on your winter sweater, it can become a clinging swarm of sparks.