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Earth Day in Granville

4/22/2004:

Today is Earth Day. Here in North Dakota, a wastewater project in Granville is being showcased. As with many towns, Granville’s sanitary system is getting old – the 50 year-old, clay, sewer tiles have deteriorated, the system is leaking, and the wastewater lagoon needs attention.

Enter USDA Rural Development. Their whole reason for being is to help improve the lives of people in rural communities. In 2003, alone, they provided $73.5 million program dollars to rural residents by providing loans and loan guarantees to buy homes and safe housing through their multi-family housing program. They also help the elderly to fix health and safety hazards in their homes, and they help create jobs by offering financial assistance to rural businesses looking to start or expand. Rural Development’s 62 staff members work from 7 locations to also help build and improve libraries, clinics, hospitals, assisted-living facilities, fire and police stations, schools, ambulances, daycare centers and critical infrastructures like water supplies and waste disposal.

In Granville, Rural Development is helping to overhaul the wastewater lagoon cells, install a lift station and more by giving the town an outright grant for $151,700 and a loan for $104,600. An additional $110,000 will come from a Community Development Block Grant.

Today’s Earth Day event is in the Granville school courtyard a 1:00 p.m. Legion Post #155 will present the colors, and Lindsay Kerzmann, the music teacher, will sing the National Anthem. Clare Carlson, the State Rural Development Director, will talk a bit about what it all means and will then present the townspeople a symbolic check for $256,300. The school’s music department is providing entertainment, and Eric Volk is presenting a program on water conservation.

Also during the ceremony, the Rising Stars 4-H Club will be honored for 10 years of successful tree planting and maintenance – this is pretty significant. As a member of the Arbor Day Foundation, Granville has received the Tree City USA award 10 years in a row.

Actually, Granville has had quite a string of awards in recent years. There’s a New Orleans bottling company that offers $100,000 to any town willing to change its name to a brand of schnapps; the only qualifications are that the town has to have a hotel and saloon, have snowfall at least half the year, and the money has to be used to build or improve a city park. Well, in 1998, Granville won that contest, and for a year it became McGillicuddy City, USA. They received congratulations from all over the world and used the $100,000 to build a community center.

But back to Earth Day. After the check is awarded, Gerri Marchus, forest service specialist, is going read the poem “Trees Teach.” Here’s how it goes:

It’s important to have roots. In today’s complex world, it pays to branch out. Don’t pine away over old flames. If you really believe in something, don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. Be flexible so you don’t break when a harsh wind blows. If you want to maintain accurate records, keep a log. To be politically correct, don’t wear firs. Grow where you’re planted. It’s perfectly okay to be a late bloomer. Avoid people who like to cut you down. Get all spruced up when you have a hot date. If the party gets boring, just get up and leaf. As you approach the autumn of life, you can’t hide your true colors. It’s more important to be honest than poplar.

Okay, hope you enjoyed that. After the celebration, of course, will come treats. Julie Iskason, who works at Zimblemans’ Gifts, and Granville’s post-mistress, Cindy Anderson, have baked up 160 “dirt” cupcakes topped with “earth worms” for the 160 school children attending the celebration. Mmmm....

Dakota Datebook written by Merry Helm