2013-05-09 / Columns

From the Heartland

By Allan Burke

Spring is no longer in doubt as evidenced by this week’s forecast—highs ranging from 59 to 76 degrees and lows between 34 and 49 degrees. There is mention of thunderstorms, a first for the year. Calves are enjoying the sun in the pastures, and farmers are working overtime to seed crops—work typically done in March and April. Every year, farmers plant the future of our economy, so here’s hoping they can catch up and that we get some moisture when the seeding is completed.

Back to college

I had the privilege of chairing the meeting of the North Dakota Newspaper Association Education Foundation Board of Directors at Jamestown College on Tuesday. The college has made a commitment to journalism education, something that is important to everyone who wants news reported accurately and professionally.

The foundation is looking at partnering with our counterparts in South Dakota to promote journalism at both the high school and college levels. This newspaper will be hosting visits by college journalism students and their professors at area high schools as early as this fall to begin the process.

We would like to do everything we can to encourage middle and high school students who have an interest in writing or photography. We’re interested in it all, whether it involves poetry, sports, feature stories or school news.

News has to be gathered and written regardless of how it is delivered—electronically or on paper.

If you know of a young person with an interest in writing or photography, please let us know. The foundation even underwrites internships for high school and college students.

Supporting those who serve America

For several years, we have provided free online subscriptions to this newspaper to men and women serving in the armed services. Hence, we have had readers in Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq and several places inAfrica, among other locations around the globe.

If you have someone in the military who would enjoy reading the online edition, just call the office. All we need is their e-mail address and a simple password.

It’s something we can do to thank them for their service.

The man in charge

Leah flew to Anchorage, Alaska, on Saturday to spend some time with her sister, Auntie Margaret, who was diagnosed with cancer recently. She will begin chemo therapy this week, so Leah will be there to help if she needs anything.

Auntie Margaret is just a year older than Leah, and they have always been very close, although they have never lived near each other since they left home.

According to Google, Anchorage is 2,835.2 miles away from home. Leah will be keeping in touch by phone, e-mail and texting, but she has left me in charge of the newspapers, Bertram G. “Bert” Retriever and Daisy T. Cat.

She trained me in serving cat food to Miss Kitty every morning, with a half teaspoon going to Bert, who has his main breakfast chow about an hour earlier. I also wrap up Bert’s thyroid and arthritis pills in half a slice of bread and put the concoction in his dish. His morning feeding is topped off with a chew stick. There is no danger of my forgetting the routine because Bert barks at me as a reminder.

The healing process

We were on the medical roller coaster with Auntie Margaret for two weeks, from the day the colonoscopy detected a problem to Friday when the final test results were provided via a PET Scan.

Prior to Friday, the prognosis was dire since the earlier CAT Scan indicated the cancer might have spread. The more definitive test showed that it had not. That was wonderful news for Auntie Margaret and all of us on her cheering squad.

Auntie Margaret is one of the healthiest people we know. She eats “right,” has no unhealthy habits and runs half-marathons. She runs or walks at least once daily with her aging pooch, Piper, a husky. That made the news even more difficult to accept.

More visits with the docs this week will determine if and when surgery will be necessary. We’re prepared to have Leah spend longer than a week to help out. It all depends on the medical schedule.

Our Margaret is flying to Anchorage between the end of classes at the University of North Dakota and when her job as a research assistant and her summer courses begin. She is Margaret V. Grandma Lin’s given name is Margaret as was her mother’s and grandmother’s. Yup. It gets confusing sometimes in the world of the Margarets.

Return to top