Bob Lind column: Neighbors: Picture this: Four area boys land in Puerto Rico paper
Four boys attending McKinley Elementary School in Fargo are famous, and not just in this area. In January, The Forum's Jonathan Knutson wrote about Career Day at the school and Forum photographer Bruce Crummy shot a picture of the boys dresse...
Four boys attending McKinley Elementary School in Fargo are famous, and not just in this area.
In January, The Forum's Jonathan Knutson wrote about Career Day at the school and Forum photographer Bruce Crummy shot a picture of the boys dressed up in career attire.
Colby Anderson, 8, and Riley Wanzek, 9, were dressed as engineers, Andrew Kraft, 8, was dolled up as a lawyer, and Sam Larson, 8, looked ready to build skyscrapers as a construction worker.
Later that month, Margaretta Rodriguez of Fargo visited Puerto Rico -- "sunny" Puerto Rico, she points out -- and picked up a copy of the San Juan Star.
There was the photo, distributed by the Associated Press, of Colby, Riley, Andrew and Sam, in full color.
"What a handsome layout!" Margaretta called it. "One wonders where else it might have been used?"
Maybe these four handsome young guys should hire an agent.
Fighting the lottery
The North Dakota Legislature is trying to determine how to handle the lottery approved by voters last fall.
More than a century ago -- 114 years ago, to be exact -- the Legislature also was dealing with a lottery: the Louisiana lottery. It wasn't an easy call. While debating the issue, it had to deal with private investigators and charges of bribery.
A few weeks ago, Neighbors carried an item about John Miller, North Dakota's first governor, and his determined effort to keep a lottery out of the state.
More information on that fight was turned up by Lois Vogel, Fargo, who found it in "History of North Dakota," published in 1931.
The Louisiana Lottery was organized in that state by a private group to raise money, some for gamblers and Louisiana, a lot for themselves. The public kicked in $28 million for a payback of less than $15 million, with the state getting $40,000 a year.
The lottery was held for several years, but in 1893, the Louisiana Legislature, after a hot debate, voted not to renew the company's lottery charter.
So the company began looking for a new area. And it found one. North Dakota. A new state. Poor crops. Needing money. The state was ripe for plucking.
So it began lobbying, even sending a former U.S. senator from Alabama to North Dakota to push the proposal.
It worked. Andrew Sandager, Lisbon, introduced a bill granting a license for the lottery.
The fight was on, in the Legislature and the state's newspapers, at least two of which, the Fargo Argus and the New Rockford Transcript, argued editorially that a lottery license was a whole lot better for the public than the saloon licenses being granted.
Word got out, truthfully or not, that the lottery folks were bribing legislators. As a result, Miller and others opposed to the lottery hired Pinkerton Agency detectives to check this out.
One Pinkerton man posed as a newspaper reporter and buddied up to legislators, seeking to find someone on the take.
Whether he found such scoundrels is unknown, but he hinted that he had.
In any event, the Senate passed the lottery bill, but it died in the House.
No charges of corruption were ever filed.
And the lottery, although surfacing from time to time over the years, never gained the public's support until last year.
Hail the carriers!
Now, more feedback, this from a piece about Roger Neugebauer, formerly of Fargo and now of Redmond, Wash., who, with his wife, publishes a magazine for those working with early child development.
Roger writes that he used to work for The Forum.
"While at Concordia (College)," he says, "I was responsible for delivering newspapers every Sunday morning to hotels and other sales points as well as delivering copies when carriers biffed it.
"Great fun on stormy winter mornings."
Great fun indeed. Which is a reminder not to take those carriers for granted ... those heroic people who are up before the sun to wade through snow, slide over ice and ease past edgy dogs to get your Forum to you every morning.
If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to (701) 241-5487; or e-mail email@example.com