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Published November 11, 2012, 11:30 PM

2 F-M residents get $75K grants to improve area

FARGO – Noreen Thomas, of Moorhead, and Dr. Read Sulik, of Fargo, are among 10 people who recently received a Bush Fellowship from the Minneapolis-based Bush Foundation.

By: Charly Haley , INFORUM

FARGO – Noreen Thomas, of Moorhead, and Dr. Read Sulik, of Fargo, are among 10 people who recently received a Bush Fellowship from the Minneapolis-based Bush Foundation.

Fellows receive grants ranging from $30,000 to $80,000 to be used in projects that practice leadership and improve the quality of life in a community, according to the foundation’s website.

Thomas’ project is to establish a licensed kitchen in a rural part of the Red River Valley. Her fellowship is for $75,000.

Thomas said she saw a need for a licensed kitchen in a rural area here because vegetables only last so long, and a licensed kitchen is required to preserve them in ways like canning or making sauces.

“It’s a real need in the community,” she said. Preserving local farmers’ crops with this kitchen will serve two purposes, Thomas said. “One is to provide consumers with more choices during the winter, and two is to provide the farmers more business.”

Thomas and her husband operate an organic farm north of Moorhead, and were named the 2012 Outstanding Conservationists by the Clay County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Thomas said the kitchen also can add jobs because it will need workers for the food preparation.

“It’s a great honor, but it’s also a great responsibility to do a project that gives back,” Thomas said.

She declined to disclose the location of the kitchen at this time.

Sulik also received a $75,000 fellowship, which will go toward a project through Sanford Health, where he is the senior vice president of behavioral health services.

Sulik, 48, said Sanford is working with another grant on integrating primary health care with behavioral health care. With his Bush Fellowship, Sulik will work on that integration with Sanford’s American Indian patients.

“What the Bush Fellowship will allow me to do is engage a dialogue with the local community served by Sanford and to travel places where they have successful models of this,” he said.

Sulik will tailor what he learns to the American Indian population, he said, because Sanford serves many American Indians in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity,” Sulik said. “Even though every single Bush Fellow is finding a different solution to a different problem, there’s a shared development there.”

The Fellowships are distributed in monthly increments over two years, and the new fellows will start to receive their funds in 2013. The Bush Foundation, established in 1953 by 3M executive Archibald Bush and his wife, is active in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

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