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Dozens of tiny towns popped up on the prairies of North Dakota and Minnesota in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Just specks on the map and a dust cloud away from a gravel road or highway, remnants of the once bustling towns still stand. Some say if you blink you might miss them, but there is so much more than the eye can see. Faith, family, community spirit and creative commerce built them. More of the same keeps the heart of these tiny towns beating today.
WARSAW, N.D. — If little else remains in some of the tiny towns that dot the landscape of rural North Dakota, the churches still stand tall as a monument to the strong faith of the people who first settled there. The double steeples of St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Warsaw seemed to reach for the clouds on a recent fall day as workers scaled the church to repair damages from a previous windstorm. The church is 116 years old and is on the National Historic Registry.
The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office has released the name of the three individuals killed in the plane crash Saturday morning.
GRAND FORKS — Lavonne wanted to look her best that day. She was expecting a lot of company, and she wanted her hair to be styled just so—not too curly, not too flat. She knew it was usually best to make an appointment, so she had talked to her hairdresser months in advance. And when the day arrived, her daughter made the call to Grand Forks hairstylist Kristi Skyberg. "Her daughter said she always loved the way I did her hair and the way it made her feel," Skyberg said. "She called and asked me if I would do it, and I said, 'Absolutely!' "
PARK RIVER, N.D. — Ordean Oen, 90, steps carefully through the hip-high grass, grabbing branches as he goes to steady his footing on the rough terrain hidden beneath the brush along the banks of the Park River. It's a hot August day and the chokecherries are nearly black, plump and prime for the picking. It's been a productive year for the native fruit, and Oen expects a good harvest. "A light frost will kill the juneberries," he says. "But the chokecherries thrive. The chokecherries, you can depend on them."
EAST GRAND FORKS, Minn. — The first time 88-year-old Linnea Anderson saw it she was standing next to a Catholic priest aboard The Adventure in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The strangers knew why they were there and both expected something magnificent, but neither could imagine just how divine and heavenly the sight would be. It was getting darker and darker as the people crowding the upper deck craned their necks to look skyward. Soft whispers could be heard, then suddenly a hush, before a communion of "awes" as the giant halo glowed above them.
GRAND FORKS, N.D.—The names of hundreds and hundreds of people are hidden, but not forgotten, beneath the rug in the Worship Center at Hope Evangelical Covenant Church. The Rev. Paul Knight says each name scribbled in Sharpie marker was put there by a church member who deeply loves and cares about that person. "There are names written in Korean. There are names in Chinese. There are names of people from all over the country on that floor," Knight said. "And all we're doing is praying that God will somehow penetrate their lives with his love."
THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn. — For some people, shopping is an event to experience all its own. For others, it's a necessary evil reserved only for times of extreme hunger or when in need of new drill bits or bandsaw blades. Thief River Falls' Barb Housey falls into the first category — her late husband, Ray, in the latter. "The only time Ray and I shopped together was grocery shopping or Menards," Housey said. "He was a retired woodworker, and Menards was like a toy store for him. I can see him just standing there and looking, where do I go next."