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Trista Raezer-Stursa

Contributor, Dakota Datebook
  • On this date in 1979, The Bismarck Tribune reported that the tiny town of New Hradec was long past its glory days. The grocery store, bar, and gas station had long ago closed. The school only had 22 students, and the church that once had 250 families now had 90. The population was still about 50, down a bit from its high of 57 in 1940. The outlook for this tiny town was dire, but it was strong in its Czech heritage.
  • According to the Bismarck Tribune on this date in 1987, Caspar Borggreve was adamant that he never wanted to be known as a dull man. He need not have worried. This Dutchman, who moved across Europe and the upper Midwest, eventually became a beloved restaurateur in Bismarck.
  • On this date in 1995 the Bismarck Tribune reported that Nels Berger of Williston received a birthday telegraph from King Harald V (the 5th), King of Norway. Why would the king want to congratulate a retired farmer in North Dakota? Well, not only was Nels Berger originally from Norway, but he had turned 110, making him the oldest person in the state.
  • On this date in 1987, the Bismarck Tribune reported on Lester Ketterling, the new county judge for Bottineau, Renville, and Rollette counties. Judge Ketterling enjoyed the job and had a long career to look forward to. However, his journey to becoming a judge had not been easy, since he lost his eyesight at age 12.
  • Helen Summers was an artist and designer who wanted to do it all. On this date in 1956 the Bismarck Tribune announced the opening of her new business, Helen Summer Originals, Inc. The business allowed Helen to dabble in anything and everything artistic. She did interior decorating, drew floorplans, designed clothes, did commercial art, painted wall murals, and decorated for parties.
  • On this date in 1998 the front page of the Bismarck Tribune shared the sad news that John Odegard had died at age 57 after a two-year battle with cancer. He was the founding chairman of the University of North Dakota’s department of aviation.
  • On this day in 1980, the Bismarck Tribune reported on the tiny town of Jugville, which had a population of two. However, Sig and Josie Jagielski weren’t the holdouts in a dying town. In fact, they had built the town themselves. Sig loved to collect antiques and odds and ends. He soon filled up his basement with his vast collections. In 1968 he married Josie, and she brought collections of her own. She encouraged Sig to find a solution to the overstuffed basement, and thus Jugville was born.
  • Grandma Mary, a pseudonym, got AIDS from a blood transfusion in 1984. Her friend, a nurse, wanted to lift Grandma Mary’s spirits, so the Bismarck Tribune ran a story about her, and gave a post office box address for people to write her. On this date in 1990 the Bismarck Tribune reported that Grandma Mary had received 300 letters. Mary said, “I was amazed. It was overwhelming. It was a surprising, amazing thing to happen to me.”
  • The tiny town of Antler is situated two miles south of the Canadian border. Named for nearby Antler Creek, it was first platted in 1905. A school was built two years later, and by 1910 the town had 342 residents.
  • On this date in 1998, the Bismarck Tribune announced that Colonel Terry Scherling of Bismarck was now the highest ranking woman in the Air National Guard. She was promoted to Chief Support Officer for the Air National Guard Bureau in Washington, D.C. She was only 43 years old, making her one of the youngest colonels in the country. Just the year before, Scherling had become the first female United States Property and Fiscal Officer. By the time of her retirement, she had risen to the rank of Major General.