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(back) McKenzie Berg, Kyle Greig, Mark Nelson, Anna Pace;
(front) Riley Undhjem, Queen Heidi Knutson, King Zack Beard, Kelbi Seime.  More

Annual Mouse River Loop Envirothon
was held Wednesday, September 16th

Members of the Glenburn Yellow Panthers team are left to right: Alexis Heinle, Kourtny Lucy, Tim Kraft, Taylor Christianson, and Sierra Smith.

On Wednesday, September 16th the Renville and Ward County Soil Conservation Districts, Natural Resources Conservation Service, NDSU Extension Service, and US Fish and Wildlife Service held the 15th annual Mouse River Loop Envirothon.

As the sun was peeking up on the horizon, buses of high school students arrived at the Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge for the 2015 Mouse River Loop Envirothon. The trail test was to begin at the Oxbow Trail located in the outlet fishing area. The students found their way to 18 trail test sites where they answered questions on water, soils, wildlife, forestry, and prairie. The hot chocolate and donuts served by Gartner’s Jack and Jill energized the students as they prepared to ponder over the difficult questions.

After the trail test, the students and trail guides moved up to the Refuge shop area to listen to Shaun Prince, Assoc. Professor of Chemistry and Biology from Lake Region State College, Devils Lake, give a presentation on “Invasive Species: A Challenge to the Environment, Economy, and Society”. The teams were then asked to prepare for a 10 minute presentation to be given in front of a group of judges, which included Emery and Cindy Duben, Tyler Engstrom, Jared Andrist, Cassidy Jelmstad, and Kelli Schumacher.

While some teams were giving their oral presentation, the other students were listening to presentations from Michael Kangas, Nursery and State Forest team leader NDFS/NDSU, on Forest Health; Samantha Brunner, Plant Protection Specialist ND Dept. of Ag, on Bees; Chuck Lura, Biology Professor at MSU Bottineau, on Plants in ND; and Berthold Sportsman’s Club had fun showing students how to shoot archery.


Opdahl Grocery, Kjelshus Take Top Prize in Chili Cook-off
By Ginny Heth
There was a ‘hot time in the old town’ on Saturday as Westhope Community Club hosted the First Annual Chili Cook-off!
May 10th was chosen as Community Day for Westhope with city-wide rummage sales happening throughout the day as well as the annual Presbyterian Women’s fund raiser serving sloppy joes, pie and coffee. They also had basket- and purse-mania, a silent auction type activity that is fun for all. Included this year in the day’s activities was the Trini Tree Frogs Youth Group detailing the insides of cars. They had a great turn-out for their fund raiser, even having to turn away a couple of cars that arrived after their time was up. Maybe they will have to plan another day of car cleaning since people were so happy to have someone to take on that task for them!
Meanwhile, all around town people’s homes were beginning to smell a lot like a Mexican restaurant as pots of chili were started in anticipation for the Chili Cook-off. Around 3:00 p.m., the Gateway Community Room began buzzing with activity as the ten contestants brought their chili in for tasting......some contestants even brought their own Mexican ambience including table cloths, decorations (even some hung on the wall!) and music!!
Ten entirely different pots of chili were there for the tasting when it began at 4:30 p.m. coming from Westhope Farmers Union (Kevin Schroeder, cook); Westhope Fire Department (Ryan Ellsworth, cook); Double EE Service (Ben Cartwright, cook); John Gruenberg, M&D Pizza (Heather Lee, cook); Presbyterian Children (Lola & Randy Kimpland); Rachel Gruenberg; Kim & Lance Kjelshus; Opdahl’s Grocery (Barb Opdahl, cook); and Westhope Ambulance (UB & Sylvia Schlieper, cooks). There were white chilis, red chilis, and no bean chilis. Some were quite spicy and some were just flavorful, with out the bite! Many contestants included ‘add-ins’ such as sour cream, onions, chips, crackers and cheese to make their offering more enticing. Community Club provided corn bread to make sure everyone had a way to ‘cut the heat’ between bowls of chili, coffee & water with the water being the most popular thing!
In all, nearly 100 people voted and there was a tie for first place! Opdahl’s Grocery and Kim & Lance Kjelshus are the proud winners, sharing a traveling trophy for the year and prize money. Coming in a close third (only one vote separated the three chilis!) was Westhope Ambulance with UB’s Road Kill Chili, who took home a small cash prize as well.
Plans are already in the works for the 2nd Annual Westhope Community Day Chili Cook-off, so get those recipes tweeked, plan on a few decorations for your table (Opdahl’s & the Kjelshus’ both had very nicely decorated tables -- whether that had anything to do with the winning or not.....) and take a chance at bragging rights for next year!!


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