Dr. Steve Hoffbeck | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Dr. Steve Hoffbeck


On the night before D-Day in World War II, General Dwight D. Eisenhower visited with paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division at a staging-base in England.

YMCA Basketball

Jun 4, 2020


It is a well-known fact that Dr. James Naismith invented the game of basketball in December of 1891 because his students in Massachusetts needed a way to burn off some energy in his wintertime gymnasium class. Because he had a small space, he wanted to keep the young men from tackling or barging into each other during the game, as in rugby or football. To prevent injuries from having a ball hit or thrown as hard as possible, as was done in baseball or lacrosse, he wrote up a list of 13 rules for a game that could be played indoors or outdoors and in any size space while safely providing plenty of “healthy and invigorating” exercise.


A long time ago, countless multitudes of passenger pigeons migrated through the Red River Valley in search of food. The trees along the Red River were roosting-places, full of commotion and loud noises. The wing-feathers clattered before landing on tree-branches, and the pigeons would call out “KEE-kee-kee-kee,” and “coo-coo-coo-coo.” Thousands of flapping wings sounded like a “roar of distant thunder.”


World War I transformed airplanes from a novelty into a deadly weapon.  Pilots served as aerial scouts at first and then challenged enemy planes in airborne combat, in “dogfights” between fighter planes; and later in bombing runs against cities and troop positions.

Blizzard Word Origin

Apr 13, 2020


We all know what a blizzard is, but we don’t know where the word came from.  The National Weather Service nowadays refers to a blizzard event, which means “sustained wind or frequent gusts greater than or equal to 35 m.p.h.” accompanying “falling and/or blowing snow to frequently reduce visibility to less than 1/4th mile for three or more hours.” In the past, a blizzard meant fierce storms of wind and snow that lasted more like three days and three nights rather than three hours. If you have ever been out and about in a real blizzard, you already know what a “blizzard” means. Nonetheless, let’s explore the origins of the word.


Ben Bird was a true cowboy in North Dakota history. He knew how to herd cattle and how to rope and ride.

Born in Texas in 1864, Benton “Ben” Bird came to Dakota Territory in 1886, when he worked for the OX (OH-EX) outfit. He was a cowboy in the great cattle drives, guiding thousands of longhorns to the Little Missouri River country. He rode north with the cattle several times in his early 20s, but in 1892, he decided to quit his migratory ways. He settled down in North Dakota, acknowledging “that he liked it better than any place he had ever been.”

Today we examine a buried-treasure legend from the 1920s, an unlikely tale that triggered a treasure hunt in Bismarck.

Vague fears of nuclear war can lurk like green monsters hiding under the bed. In 1945, the grim destructive power of atomic weapons became clear at Hiroshima.

After Russia built atomic bombs in 1949, fears of nuclear war led to fallout shelters and Civil Defense brochures entitled “Survival in a Nuclear Attack.”

Many Baby Boomers recall the years when automobiles did not have seatbelts. A 1964 public-service song became a brain-worm: “Buckle-up for safety, always buckle up. Show the world you care, use it everywhere. Buckle-up for safety. When you're driving – Buckle-Up!”

Christmas bells ring in many forms – church bells, jingle bells, sleigh bells – all bringing forth heart-warming holiday memories.

Salvation Army bells also hearken recollections of bygone December days. It was on this date, in 1894, that the Grand Forks Corps of the Salvation Army first became established, tasked with doing good works and deeds of Christian charity for the poor and downtrodden.