Tracy Briggs is a former TV anchor/radio host currently working as a features writer and video host for Forum Communications.
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SEATTLE — Professional organizer Melissa Schmalenberger has uncovered many unusual things in her years of helping people get their acts together. Cluttered drawers full of kitchen utensils that "maybe I'll use someday" or closet shelves packed with jeans someone swears they'll fit into again. But one item is particularly common amongst the disorganized: books on how to organize.
MOORHEAD — When you ask Jim Lehman's family to describe him, one of the phrases that keeps popping up is "very social."
MOORHEAD — Ira Bailey might just be the living embodiment of that old Postal Service slogan, "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." In the case of Mr. Bailey, it's not mail he's delivering, but a hands-on education about weather to eighth-grade students at Moorhead's Horizon Middle School. After 30 years on the job, he's calling it a day, and his students are making sure his retirement doesn't fly under the radar.
ULEN, Minn. — The sky was overcast as two SUVs pulled up the the cemetery just north of here. Four men dressed in matching grey T-shirts get out of the vehicles and walk carefully and silently past rows of tombstones. A nearby wind chime plays a melody as the men stop at a grave at the edge of the cemetery. The grave, decorated in red geraniums, belongs to Brady Oberg, a soldier the men never met but who inspired them to take on a Memorial Day challenge like no other.
FARGO — Fargo Moorhead Community Theatre has a problem many small theaters would envy — it's become a little too popular for its own good. "We're bursting at the seams," said Artistic Director Adam Pankow. "There's no way to move forward unless we get some space."
FARGO — Drive south along Fargo's 25th Street South just past a Starbucks on the corner of 32nd Avenue and you'll notice what looks like a grain elevator rising above the North Dakota prairie. Look even closer to see what appears to be an attached white A-frame barn. However, the stained glass windows in the barn are a dead giveaway this isn't a farm at all.
FARGO — Lee Clarens walked into the room with a big smile on her face and an even bigger exclamation. "I brought popcorn!" she said as she placed the big blue bag of cheddar and caramel popcorn on the table. While Clarens and her friends in the Red River Rainbow Seniors weren't here for a party, it still kind of felt like it as they sat on the old white couches surrounded by books, rainbow flags and plenty of laughter. A group of LGBTQ people over the age of 50 living Fargo-Moorhead, the Red River Rainbow Seniors offer a place for socializing, education and advocacy.
FARGO - Laura Gaarsland sits at the dining room table of her north Fargo home chuckling at a photo of her family in 2013. "We were trying to get a good shot. We were trying so hard to get everyone to match — all wearing white. But it was just chaotic. Finally, (daughter) Payton said, 'Let's just do a funny one.' And that's the one we ended up choosing." What Gaarsland, 33, didn't know then, as she and her family mugged for the camera, was that just two years later her world would turn upside down.
DULUTH — Scandinavia is known for many things — cross-country skiing, wool sweaters, blond hair and ABBA. But, perhaps unfairly, the foods of Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland are stereotyped as slightly uninspired, white and bland. "It's not bland!" says Beatrice Ojakangas. "Maybe it's the way we've started to prepare it lately, but it's real, natural, good food, and it is so tasty."
FARGO — When you think about people who work in the construction trades, most likely you don't picture many getting teary-eyed on the job. But a recent project in South Fargo, probably had a few of them awfully close — not from an errant nail gun or hammer to the thumb — but from the emotional realization that their work made a difference in a child's life.