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Sand that helped fight Red flooding still being used

ESKO, Minn. - Sand that held back floodwaters in the Red River Valley and played a role in military training in Duluth is being used for one last good deed - on the floor of a horse-riding arena in Esko.

ESKO, Minn. - Sand that held back floodwaters in the Red River Valley and played a role in military training in Duluth is being used for one last good deed - on the floor of a horse-riding arena in Esko.

A caravan recently delivered 14 truckloads of sandbags to North County R.I.D.E., a nonprofit that offers horse riding-related therapy, education and recreation for people with special needs.

Last spring officials in Fargo were faced with the problem of what to do with the thousands of sandbags used to hold back floodwaters. Several dump trucks of the sandbags were eventually delivered to the 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth to be used for instructional training and war games.

About the time the Air Guard unit finished up with the sandbags, North Country R.I.D.E. board member Linda Kilbane suggested the sand would go a long way toward improving the safety and footing in the organization's outdoor riding arena. The grass surface in the arena tended to be slippery at times, jeopardizing the footing of both the horses and handlers who work in the rehabilitative riding program.

And so a caravan of trucks recently redelivered the sandbags once again - this time to North Country R.I.D.E.'s rural Esko riding facility. Youth community service crews from Carlton County and the Arrowhead Regional Correction Court then went to work dumping the sand from the bags in the outdoor arena.

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"We had four to six young people from each of the programs come out to work on at least 10 different occasions to fulfill their community service obligations," said Cherie LeTourneau, North Country R.I.D.E. executive director.

LeTourneau added that the remaining sand will be distributed by a volunteer.

She said the hope is to have the new riding surface in place before winter weather sets in so the arena will be ready to go when it's time for the first round of classes in the spring.

"This great gift really defines the term 'repurpose,'" LeTourneau said in a news release sent out by the organization.

Wendy Johnson is a reporter for the Duluth News Tribune, which is owned

by Forum Communications Co.

Related Topics: ESKOMOORHEAD
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