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Michael Vosburg • Forum News Service  

Knowing when to pick apples can be a challenge, but there are clues to help.

Michael Vosburg • Forum News Service  

For the healthiest lawn, synchronize its care with the natural cycles of grass growth.

Former ND deputy appealing drug theft verdict

BISMARCK — A former Burleigh County sheriff’s deputy imprisoned for stealing drugs from the State Crime Lab is appealing to the North Dakota Supreme Court.

Kerry Komrosky, 32, in a brief filed in June maintains evidence was gathered illegally at his home. His request to suppress that evidence during his court proceedings was denied, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

Komrosky was charged in April 2018 after investigators found 2.9 pounds of methamphetamine and 47 grams of cocaine in his home. He accepted a conditional plea and pleaded guilty to amended charges. He was sentenced in January to 2½ years for felony theft of property and just under a year for two misdemeanor drug counts. Defense attorney Michael Hoffman said after the sentencing that he would appeal an order denying suppression of evidence and withdraw the conditional plea.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on Sept. 30.

Komrosky had worked for the Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department for five years and had been assigned to the Metro Area Narcotics Task Force.

Kasmer & Aafedt Oil Golf Tournament raises hundreds of thousands for area organizations

Local non-profits on the area have benefited greatly from the Kasmer & Aafedt Oil Golf Tournament, receiving thousands of dollars towards helping their organizations achieve their goals.

On Aug. 3, the sixth annual tournament was held at the Links of North Dakota, bringing out dozens of teams, all working towards the goal of earning money for their chosen charity. Not your typical golf tournament, rather than paying entry fees to the golf course, golfers write the check to the non-profit of their choosing. To the charity with the most teams representing it, the tournament donates $5,000, and the winning team receives $10,000 for their charity. The non-profits involved gain the additional benefit of having the tournament fundraiser for them, with some charities receiving more than $200,000.

Everything, from the use of the course, the carts, food and prizes are all provided by Kasmer and Aafedt Oil and their tournament partners. Mayor Howard Klug prepares and serves up walleye and prime rib and local food vendors offer up tasty treats along the course. This years, the 160 golfers that took part in the tournament were able to raise $291,000 for their respective charities.

In the six years the tournament has been held, it has raised nearly a million dollars for area nonprofits, supporting organizations such as the Bethel Lutheran Foundation, the Williston Basin Skating Club, Community Connection and the Kenneth and Luella Olson Scholarships at Williston State College. John Kasmer and Tom Powers, partners in the Links and tournament organizers, spoke with the Williston Herald on why giving back to the community has always been their priority.

“We’ve always given to the people in the area,” Kasmer said. “The Powers family and the Aafedt family and my family, we’ve always been givers. We found a way that we could give the opportunity to everybody to give to nonprofits.”

“It’s not just an event held at a golf course,” Powers added. “You have to give a reason for people to want to give. It’s making something fun, making people aware and then showing them the local need. There’s a lot of money in this town, and sometimes they just need a reason to give.”

The Kasmer Aafedt Oil tournament is one of seven non-profit tournaments hosted at the Links, with each one putting thousands of dollars back into organizations. Kasmer said that over $400,000 goes back to local non-profits each year from the tournaments held.

He added that the majority of the money comes from local individuals and businesses, showing just how generous the community can be.

“People realize that this is good time to give, it’s a good way to give and people are having fun doing it.” he said.

Drug trial focuses on financial aspect of investigation

The trial of a man accused of having and selling large amounts of heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana and opioid pain pills focused on his financial records for part of the second day.

Archie Mooney, 55, is charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, possession of heroin with intent to deliver, both class A felonies, three class B felony counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, two class C felony and four misdemeanor counts of possession of drug paraphernalia and six misdemeanor counts of possession of a controlled substance.

For more than an hour Tuesday, Aug. 27, prosecutors questions an employee of U.S. Bank about Mooney’s financial records.

Jenny Fernholz, the branch manager for the U.S. Bank in Williston, explained how the financial records worked and what they showed in terms of deposits into Mooney’s account.

Kalli Hoffman, Mooney’s public defender, objected, questioning the relevance of the information.

“I’m not sure what the relevance is,” she told Northwest District Judge Josh Rustad.

Nathan Madden, assistant state’s attorney for Williams County, explained that he was establishing a lack of money in Mooney’s account.

On cross-examination, Fernholz told Hoffman that she looked at the information the prosecution had requested.

She said she didn’t know if Mooney had any other accounts with the bank.

“It’s possible, I’d have to look at the information,” she said.

The focus on finances continued with testimony from Special Agent Robert Cummings from the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Cummings recounted finding cash throughout a search of Mooney’s home after Mooney’s arrest in December.

Cash, along with ledgers, are something narcotics investigators look for, he said.

“Currency is how it’s done,” he said.

Mooney is accused of having tens of thousands of dollars in cash, as well as firearms, drug paraphernalia and large amounts of heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana, cocaine and opiate pills.

His trial continues Wednesday morning.

Learn to tell your stories and help change your corner of the world
Williston, Watford City residents have opportunity to learn memoir writing from published author and journalist Sue Salicky

Memoir writer and journalist Sue Skalicky likes to say that the most fertile soil on the earth is in the cemetery. That’s because so many there died without telling their stories.

Skalicky would know, because it took her 10 years or so to tell her own story. That’s despite being a journalist by trade.

Too many people feel they have ordinary lives, Skalicky told the Williston Herald, with nothing of value to say. It’s a myth she hopes to bust with her own book, Change for a Penny, which talks about the value of telling your story, even to small audiences.

But Skalicky is doing more than just that.

In conjunction with Humanities North Dakota, Bismarck State College, and the North Dakota Council on the Arts, Skalicky will be presenting a memoir writing workshop in four communities including Williston and Watford City, to help people tell their stories large and small to the audiences that matter.

The first session, which is limited to the first 25 participants, will be free, and is geared toward helping people decide if memoir writing would be right for them. After that, there are five more sessions for a $50 fee, limited to the first 12 participants.

The workshop in Williston is from noon to 2 p.m. Sept. 8 at Books on Broadway.

Subsequent workshops in Williston and in Watford City will be twice monthly at the same. time on Sundays in November.

To register for the first class in either Williston or Watford City, visit www.humanities.org for a ticket.

Stories, Skalicky says, are powerful ways to influence the lives of those around us.

“We all have a story,” she said. “Often people think too big with their audience.”

She set out to tell her own story so that her seven children and grandchildren would know about pivotal points in her life.

“I wanted them to know where I finally learned to live and embrace my story,” she said. “And it has opened up conversations in my own family with my daughter and sons. When I’m long gone, my grandkids will have the books I’ve written.”

The book has reached a wider audience than just her family, however, to her surprise.

And after the success of that first book, Skalicky is already at work on another book, this time a fiction thriller.

“It’s very much my life as well,” she said. “And I’m going to talk in the workshop about how you can write your story as nonfiction, or you can write it as fiction.”

There are many different routes into writing your own story, Skalicky said. It doesn’t have to be all words. Nor does it necessarily have to be written down on paper.

“My mom is writing her story by scanning in old photographs,” Skalicky said. “She puts them in a document and then types all her memories about that photo and what was happening.”

Others may feel more comfortable putting their story on an audio tape instead of writing it all down, Skalicky said. That is a valid memoir technique as well.

She, herself, has meanwhile started an email account for each of her grandchildren where she writes them letters.

When the child turns 18, she will give them the password to the account.

It will be a time capsule of their childhoods. This, too, is a form of memoir writing.

“Stories don’t have to have a huge worldwide audience to be valuable,” she said. “Everyone’s story matters and needs to be told. If we don’t, then others are missing out.”

One other common obstacle Skalicky hears from would-be memoir writers is the challenge of incomplete or hazy memories. But she has a strategy for overcoming that difficulty, too.

“In order to write my memoir, I invited my mom into the process,” she said. “I wrote it on Google Docs, and it took me a year to write it. She would go through it and call me and say, ‘Oh so you were talking about your father and this happened … that is not exactly what happened.’”

By conducting interviews with others about the events in your life that you want to write about, you obtain a more well-rounded view of what happened. You get new perspectives on it that can be helpful not only to completing a memoir that will be meaningful to your audience, but that can spark interesting conversations with your family.

Skalicky is careful to distinguish memoir writing from autobiography.

“Autobiographies are dry,” she said. “This is not an autobiography where it’s the details of your life. It’s the meaning, the feeling and the change. It’s how (the events in your life) created who you are today. A memoir is full of life.”

Your question answered
How are TENORM facilities monitored to ensure public and environmental health and safety?

Among the many questions being asked about a proposed TENORM facility in Williams County is what kind of monitoring will be done at the facility to ensure the safety of public and environmental health, and how does that differ from the monitoring that’s done at a more conventional solid waste facility?

The Williston Herald posed the question to staff with the Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Waste management. The permitting processes include staff from multiple programs within the Division of Waste Management.

For Solid Waste Management, the program manager is Diana Trussell.

Trussel said the state will require groundwater monitoring for both types of facility, whether they accept TENORM or not. For that, groundwater wells are placed around the perimeter of the site, and samples pulled twice a year.

“Groundwater moves slowly, so twice a year is sufficient,” Trussell said.

Typically, the companies hire an independent company to take the groundwater samples, which are among reports that must be submitted to the state for review.

Leachate sampling

Both types of landfills also require leachate sampling, Trussell said. For a regular facility, this is performed on a semi-annual basis in conjunction with the groundwater monitoring. The samples are generally sent off to a certified, third-party laboratory for analysis. The results must be submitted to the state for review.

With the TENORM facility, leachate monitoring will take place more often, on a quarterly basis, according to David Stradinger, who works with the radiation aspect of the permitting process for TENORM facilities.

The TENORM facility will also require quarterly air monitoring. That sample involves a two-week continuous sample.

There must also be a perimeter radiation survey, also on quarterly basis.

“We want them to take these samples as close to an exact quarterly basis as possible,” Stradinger said. “There could be a day or two here or there, but that is per the license conditions in the license itself.”

TENORM facilities must provide personal meters for their workers, called dosimeters, which monitor each individual’s daily radiation exposure. The records pertaining to these must be sent to the state for review.

Each TENORM facility is required to spell out the particulars of its radiation control program in their application. The state reviews that to ensure it’s appropriate for the materials they are handling.

Companies accepting TENORM must perform an internal audit at least annually showing its compliance with the radiation control program, and submit that to the state for review.

Among other records the company must provide are those verifying that calibrations have been performed as needed, and that radiation safety training is being performed annually.

Trussell said there are also gate screening criteria for all solid waste landfills, to survey incoming loads. This ensures they are not accepting materials that exceed permitted radioactivity levels.

“They have a survey meter to determine if it is suspect TENORM,” she said. “They record that information, and we get monthly reports from them. They are also required to keep the records on site.”

The state has its own survey meters, as well, which are taken out occasionally on monthly inspections. This happens on a random, unannounced basis.

The screening is used only to detect whether there is any radiation present that exceeds twice whatever the background levels are at the waste facility. Background levels fluctuate, and are checked daily. The screening tools are calibrated accordingly.

“They’re also required to do random waste characterization, which is 1 percent of all loads,” Trussell said.

This sample is more specific. It is sent to an independent laboratory for analysis to determine the levels of Radium 226 and Radium 228.

Stormwater must also be monitored by all landfill facilities in general.

For that, the facilities must collect a typical run-off sample at least once annually, and submit the analysis by Jan. 31 of each year. However, if it is a dry year, sometimes facilities are not able to collect the sample, and in that case it would report no discharge.

Stormwater permits

Stormwater permits are written as a general one that covers all applicable facilities in the state. Each facility that requires this permit must file a notice of intent to comply with the requirements that are spelled out in the general permit.

“It says you have to develop a stormwater pollution prevention plan that outlines your best management practices for minimizing pollution in stormwater runoff,” explained Dallas Grossman, an environmental engineer with the stormwater program. “You have to describe what good housekeeping practices you will use to maintain a clean and orderly site. How you will reduce dust and keep trash from blowing around.”

If the facility has a stormwater pond on site, the plan must spell out how that will be used as an integral part of best management practices for managing stormwater run-off, and the facility will also require a spill response plan.

There must also be regular training so that employees are aware of and following the facility’s pollution prevention plan and its site management practices.

If there will be discharges to bodies of water that are listed as impaired, that, too, must be addressed in the facility plan. For stormwater management, facilities are required to do quarterly self-inspections and file the reports with the state for review.

About 10 percent of the state’s 400 facilities are randomly inspected each year by the state, as per agreements with the EPA, to test compliance. These are generally unannounced, and may sometimes target a particular facility or area of concern, such as a particular watershed where a problem has arisen.

While no fewer than 10 percent of North Dakota facilities are inspected for stormwater management, the state may inspect more than 10 percent of its facilities, if necessary.