2013-03-07 / Top News

Tri-County Tourism Alliance discusses new website

NDSU’s Jeremy Kopp gives an overview of the new website www.germanrussiancountry.org. NDSU’s Jeremy Kopp gives an overview of the new website www.germanrussiancountry.org. The Tri-County Tourism Alliance held their monthly meeting at Webo’s Restaurant in Linton on Feb. 22.

Members present were Kathleen Tweeten, Marion Houn, Mary Ann Gefroh, Eileen Morris, Angie Ibarra, Danielle Stuckle, Dean Ihla, Jeremy Kopp, Lila Jane Werner, Janice Santanen, Beatrice Heer, Bonnie Wiskus, John Wiskus, Michael Miller, Tom Isern, Athena Dunn, Verda Seeklander, Carmen Rath-Wald and Acacia Stuckle.

President Carmen Rath-Wald called the meeting to order.

Athena Dunn gave the financial report.

The Alliance has a new website—www.germanrussiancountry.org. Jeremy Kopp, Special Collections Associate at the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection at North Dakota State University, Fargo, gave a presentation showing what has been added to the website, and future ideas were discussed.

Rath-Wald suggested that Kopp work with Sue Balcom to compare and share information and photographs she has collected for restaurants to add to the website. Acacia Stuckle will also send the information she has to Jeremy. Rath-Wald also suggested that he had the Registry of Historic Places to the website. Alliance members are encouraged to send pictures of historic sites to Jeremy. Kopp@ndsu.edu.

Michael Miller, Director and Bibliographer of the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, addressed his concerns with the financial costs of getting the website running. To date, Jeremy Kopp has spent 12 hours adding content, and many more hours are needed to get everything added. Dean Ihla suggested that the Alliance apply for a marketing grant through the North Dakota Department of Tourism. The website could be part of an entire marketing project package. The grant needs a 50 percent match. It can be up to $5,000 for up to three years in a row. Miller said it would be okay if GRHC is reimbursed after the grant is received. The group agreed to pursue a grant.

The grant committee includes Tom Isern, Miller, Kathleen Tweeten and Kopp. Ihla will review it for the group.

Stuckle discussed the idea of having a showing for the GRHC’s new documentary, “At Home in Russia,At Home on the Prairie,” in Linton. In addition there could be an ethnic meal served prior to the showing by Emmons County 4-H youth. Experienced German-Russian cooks could help the 4-Hers prepare the meal passing down ethnic traditions. The meal proceeds would be used as a fundraiser for the Emmons County 4-H program. A committee has been formed to pursue this idea and includes Stuckle, Eileen Morris, Angie Ibarra, Mary Ann Gefroh and Allan Burke. Miller will work with Bob Dambach of Prairie Public Television to pursue possible filming for a future foodways documentary.

On Oct. 4, 2013, there will be a fundraising endeavor for Napoleon’s clinic and a promotional event for the Tri- County TourismAlliance. The event will include beer tasting, “Best of Wurst” contest, ethnic themed silent auction gift baskets, accordion music and possible displays.The cost will be $10 per person.

The Tri-County Tourism Alliance had a request to help provide information on how to get the Zeeland City Hall listed on the historic places registry. Isern has been helping with this initiative.

The Alliance’s Facebook page had 356 “likes” by the January meeting and, as of Feb. 22, 392 “likes.”

Rath-Wald encouraged Alliance members to contact their legislators by email or telephone to urge them to support having the North Dakota State Historical Society purchase the Lawrence Welk Homestead at Strasburg. The Alliance voted to support the state purchase at its Jan. 18 meeting.

Danielle Stuckle discussed putting together self-guided tours for German-Russian Country. She said she can make the handout, but the information needs to be put together by local volunteers. She will emailAcacia Stuckle some examples of self-guided tours that she handed out during the November meeting. Acacia Stuckle, Angie Ibarra and Verda Seeklander will try to draft a self-guided tour with Emmons County sites.

Two vintage suitcases have been purchased for the Alliance’s apron collection. Delores Schneider of Ashley requested the apron exhibit for Ashley’s 125th celebration in June 2013.

Rath-Wald passed around a sample draft of the book that Balcom is working on. It is hoped that it will be published in time for Ashley’s 125th celebration in June.

Ihla reported on behalf of Deanne Cunningham that she recently visited with a group tour operator from Germany who is interested in bringing people from Germany to visit this area.

Isern has set some potential dates for the social media workshop in German-Russian Country as discussed at the January meeting. It would be two days, and participants would need to have laptops. The intent would be to do some crowd sourcing and to generate people writing about these sites on Flickr, Facebook and Trip Advisor. Local people are needed to write about these places.

Tentative dates are May 4 and 6 for the public workshop in Napoleon and July 6 and 7 for the teacher workshop. An ideal group would be about 10-12 people. Isern will prepare some promotional information.

The next Alliance meeting will be Fri., March 15, at the Gackle CafĂ© at 11 a.m. The April 19 meeting will be at The Coffee Shop in Hazelton, and the May 17 meeting will be at “The Church” located in the Venturia area.

Ashley’s 125th Celebration will be June 20-23, and theAlliance will have a booth next to the GRHC at the Ashley City Hall. The July 25-28, 2013: 43rd Germans from Russia Heritage Society (www.grhs.org) International Convention will be held July 25-28 in Bismarck.

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