Chris Myers, Fargo North, 1987
By DAVE KOLPACK, Associated Press
Chris Myers, 1987 Fargo North Graduate, became North Dakota’s acting U.S. Attorney in March of 2015, but nothing he does involves acting. He loves the courtroom and prosecuting the harshest criminals in the system, and doesn’t want to give that up.
“I’m a guy in the trenches,” Myers said. “I always will be.” He’s stepping in at a time when serious crime in North Dakota could be at an all-time high with the increase in population and wealth on the oil patch. “I think one of the greatest threats we face is organized crime in the Bakken,” Myers said. “Whether that’s drug trafficking, human trafficking, firearms trafficking ... those are all significant threats to our district and our communities.”
Myers won a national award last year for the office with his handling of a synthetic drug case called “Operation Stolen Youth.” U.S. Attorney Timothy Purdon, who has joined Minneapolis-based Robins Kaplan LLP, said it has become a model for how a small state, a small U.S. attorney’s office and law enforcement should work together. “I can tell you that over the last 17 months he has shown he is a really good manager. He is a really good leader,” said Purdon, referring to the time that Myers has been first assistant U.S. attorney. “The office is in great hands.”
Myers, 46, developed the feel for law enforcement at a young age. His father, Earle “Bud” Myers, the prosecutor in Richland County for 30 years, advised “to always do the right thing ... the critical element of being a prosecutor,” Myers recalled.
He earned his undergraduate degree at North Dakota State University and his law and masters of public administration degrees at Drake University. He started his law enforcement career as a special agent investigating drug cases for the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation. He moved on to become a prosecutor in Cass County, North Dakota, and Clay County, Minnesota. He became a federal prosecutor in 2002.
Myers said he hopes to continue Purdon’s “legacy of positive change,” particularly on Indian reservations where the number of criminal prosecutions has shot up in recent years. With a veteran staff, Myers doesn’t see the need to alter the course.
“At the end of the day, I just think it’s a great place to work in a great state. That is why people stay,” Myers said. “Our goal as supervisors and leaders of the office is to keep the office healthy, despite the case load and the stress of some of these types of cases, and keep it a great place to work.”
Outside of work, Myers spends a lot of time on ice. The former Fargo North High School, United States Hockey League and college standout won one high school state title and two national college club championships. He still plays hockey twice a week and coaches his three hockey-playing children.
Myers has been known to repeat maxims by the late Herb Brooks, former college and U.S. Olympic hockey coach. “Family, kids and hockey. That’s pretty much it for me,” Myers said.
Jessica Perizo, Fargo South 1992
What years were you at Trollwood?
I was a part of Trollwood from 6th grade through senior year in 1992.
Where did you receive your training?
St. Mary’s College of California and The University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.
What are some of your career highlights to date?
- Cabaret at Studio 54 – Opening April 24, 2014
- Chicago Broadway Tour – 2007-2008
- The Producers on Broadway – 2003-2007
- Rockette with the Radio City Rockettes 2001
- Cabaret Broadway National Tour 1999-2001
Why is Trollwood important to you?
Along with the Gasper School of Dance, Trollwood was my first introduction to theatre and performance. Trollwood solidified my love and passion for theatre in every form. There is such a wide range of opportunities from dance, to voice, acting, and technical theatre. There is really training for whatever you would want to do. I want to extend a huge thank you to Trollwood and the people that inspired me to pursue my passion.
What is your favorite memory of Trollwood?
I loved being backstage waiting to go on with the lights and energy of the audience combined with the beauty of the outdoors. An ironic twist, in my first show at Trollwood, Fiddler on the Roof I played the clarinet in the orchestra. Now in Cabaret, the cast is also the pit orchestra and I play the clarinet!
Why do you think Trollwood is important to youth in the Fargo-Moorhead community?
Trollwood offers a theatrical outlet that is of such high quality, you really can’t get that anywhere else. It has had such an impact on so many already. It is enlightening to see
the entire production unfold. Trollwood provides a wonderful place to immerse you in the performing arts.
Article by Joel Farren, Rentals & Technical Theatre Specialist, Trollwood.
Scott Sheldon Receives Award- Fargo North 1978
Scott Sheldon, Fargo North 1978 graduate, was selected as the 2013-14 Principal of the Year from MetLife and the Kansas Association of Secondary School Principals (KASSP). Each year, KASSP and MetLife recognize middle school and secondary school principals for their outstanding and exemplary leadership in the organization and to their profession.
Sheldon joined other winning principals from around the nation in Washington D.C. for the three-day Principals Institute and Awards Gala, held September 18-21, 2013.As a principal, Sheldon has had great success involving the local community in the life of the school, has shown astute awareness of current and emerging issues, and has shown passion in improving the school’s learning environment.
National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), Executive Director, JoAnn Bartoletti stated that their organization is “honored to recognize the outstanding work of Scott Sheldon.” The MetLife/NASSP National Principals of the year winners each receive a $5,000 grant to improve learning at their respective schools.
Sheldon recently accepted a position as the high school administrator for the Yuma Union High School District in Yuma, Arizona where he lives with his wife Michelle. They have a daughter Kyla, and a son, Brock.
Congratulations to Scott Sheldon!
Her Voice: Fargo grad finds dream job teaching in India
By: Tracy Frank, INFORUM
FARGO – Lindsay Boyd hikes 15 minutes through a mountainside just to get to work. For the past two years, the Fargo South and North Dakota State University graduate has been teaching music at an international boarding school in India.
“I absolutely love my job,” the 26-year-old said. “The days are long but extremely fulfilling.”
Boyd lives in Mussoorie, India, a hill station in the first range of the Himalayan Mountains, where she works at Woodstock school, a K-12 boarding school, ranked the No. 1 international school in India. Boyd directs two wind ensembles and a jazz band and teaches brass lessons to students from all over the world.
Since, it’s a boarding school, the students and faculty all live and work together.
“There is definitely a family dynamic, for the good and bad,” Boyd said, adding that living in India has been a life-changing experience. “I have been exposed to almost a completely opposite culture from the life experience I had growing up in Fargo,” she said. “While here I have been working and living with people of all different religions, cultures and backgrounds. I have learned to appreciate people for all that they bring to the table and celebrate our differences.”
She has also become more patient because things she once took for granted – such as being on time, reliable transportation and clean drinking water – aren’t always an option, Boyd said. “Things that used to really matter to me somehow seem a lot less important here when you are constantly surrounded by people who are less fortunate,” she said. “I have also learned how little you really need to be happy. ”Most families live in one room and are shocked that Boyd lives alone, she said. She hasn’t encountered many language issues because most Indians speak English, but she has experienced culture shock.
“When I first arrived in India, nothing made sense,” she said. “The traffic was insane. It seemed there were no rules of the road. People were sleeping on the side of the street. There were stray dogs everywhere. People were burning trash to stay warm. It was frustrating and shocking.” Overall, Boyd says living in India has been one of the hardest but most fulfilling things she’s ever done.
“India is an intense place. There are amazingly beautiful things here, such as the spice fields, all the colorful saris, Tibetan settlements and wonderful food.
Fargo South 2002
Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI), the world’s largest association of tourism marketing organizations, has named Marcus Carney, the Tacoma Regional Convention + Visitor Bureau’s (TRCVB) director of visitor experience, one of 30 emerging leaders of the destination marketing industry.
Carney is one of 30 from across the nation selected to participate in the DMAI’s 30 Under 30 program, developed to identify and foster the talent of destination marketing organization professionals through increased access to top-level networking and professional development. Additionally, Carney will be honored when DMAI will host its annual convention in Orlando.
"DMAI is the industry leader and to be recognized by them is an honor," Carney said. "I hope to do Tacoma + Pierce County proud by continuing to work hard and give back to our community."
Carney has worked at the TRCVB for three years, planning events, working to develop community programs and building a positive visitor experience to ensure repeat business. Recently named to the director of visitor experience post, Carney has continued to kickstart community programs like the Safe Lodging program, a collaborative effort with the Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking Alliance and local hotels. The program will put best practices in place aimed to eliminate sex trafficking in Pierce County.
"It is no surprise that Marcus Carney was presented with this distinction by DMAI, as he is an ideal ambassador for Tacoma + Pierce County tourism," said Bennish Brown, TRCVB president and CEO. "For his age, I find him to be one of the most focused individuals I have ever met as it relates to immersing himself in the total picture of travel and tourism. He is not only a practitioner who shows up daily to do his best to recruit and engage visitors, but he is a visionary who is always looking at our organization and industry from the
Following is a reprint of an article from the September 24, 2012 Forum by Tracy Briggs.
FARGO - About three times a week, sometimes before the sun even rises, 99-year-old Bea Ihlenfeld gets out of bed and puts on her swimsuit. She makes her way slowly down the hallway to the pool area of the retirement community she calls home. By 6:45, when many of us are just getting that first cup of coffee, she’s already swimming laps – a morning ritual that first took root when Woodrow Wilson was President.
"I remember as a very little girl, my dad, who was a real exercise guru, would make my brothers and I jump in cold water first thing every morning. He thought it would be good for our health," she says. Whether it was or not, something clicked with Bea. For the next 90 years, Bea would devote her life to wellness – being healthy, fit, and involved – and encouraging and mentoring others to do the same. Her upbeat attitude and self-motivation is an inspiration to everyone she meets.
Bea has always seen herself as a tomboy. She grew up in Southern Illinois, the middle child and only daughter of a Lutheran minister father she called "my pal." "Dad was a good guy. He gave us a lot of freedom. He encouraged me in every way he could," she says.
She says her mother might have been a little more frustrated. "Mother could never tame me to work in the kitchen," she says. Instead, young Bea was outside playing any sport she could. She loved swimming in the nearby Wabash River or in the Rock River in Dixon, Ill., where a handsome young lifeguard named Ronald Reagan was attracting attention. "All the girls fell for him. So the beach was always crowded!" she laughs.
When she wasn’t swimming, she was playing tennis, even volunteering to become the caretaker of the clay courts in town in exchange for playing time. And it paid off. By the time she enrolled at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wis., she was an elite player, becoming the school’s first female letter winner after winning the state championship three years in a row.
It was while at Carthage that she would meet the man she would marry. It happened right away. "My father had just dropped me off, when I noticed some students playing a pickup game of softball. I asked the catcher if I could play and he sent me over to play second base. Well, almost right away I caught a ball and threw the gal out. That caught his attention! That catcher was the guy," she says. "The guy" was Fred Ihlenfeld, who was training to be a minister just like Bea’s father.
After marrying, the Ihlenfelds lived in Winona, Minn., then moved to Fargo in 1942 when Fred was called to serve at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in north Fargo. The couple had two daughters, Bea and Kathy.
In addition to being wife and mom, Bea took a job teaching physical education at Fargo Central High. She also coached tennis in the summertime. Both jobs she adored. She says she always felt lucky that she was able to do what she loved – teaching students to be active just like she’d always been.
"There’s nothing more satisfying than when you work hard at and become better at something," she says. "I always told my students it’s OK if you don’t excel at this. Just try to get better. I wanted them to get interested in something and follow through."
Her devotion to her job, along with good friends and family, helped her get through the loss of her husband after just 13 years of marriage. Fred died at the age of 42 from an enlarged heart, the result of a childhood bout with rheumatic fever. Bea knew when they were dating that it might lead to his early death, but that didn’t sway her from marrying him. "We love who we love," she said.
After Fred’s death, Bea continued working and raising her daughters. Her career path eventually led her to a job as a school counselor at Central High and later an administrator at North High in Fargo. By 1973, Bea decided to retire. She never married again, but says she had some wonderful male friends who would take her hunting, something she had loved to do with Fred and the girls when they were little. She says with pride that she shot her last pheasant at the age of 80.
"I just love the outdoors! I always have," she says. And then there was swimming. That wasn’t going anywhere. She swam at the YMCA pool two or three times a week well into her 80s and 90s. She moved about two years ago to Touchmark at Harwood Groves, a retirement community in South Fargo. She started using the pool right away, and Touchmark Health and Fitness Director Mark Minette noticed how remarkable she was.
Even at the age of 99 the perpetual teacher can’t help but take students under her wing. "There was a woman who was about 80 who had never learned how to swim, so Bea got in the water with her and showed her what to do. She’s just wonderful – someone to look up to," says Ellen Tillman a health and fitness center employee.
While Bea enjoys helping people she says it’s also about just being around them. She says that is the key to staying young. "There’s no excuse to sit around and feel sorry for yourself. All you have to do is look around at the people who have it tougher than you. You can’t hole up. You have to get out there and meet your fellow citizens. Don’t wait for others to come to you. Get involved!"
And she’s living her own advice. In addition to participating in activities at Touchmark, she still meets once a week for a hamburger and fries at the Hi Ho restaurant with her friend of 73 years, Lois Mayer of Fargo. "She’s just such a wonderful person! We’ve shared so many things, sad and happy. She’s a loyal friend," says Mayer.
Bea turned 100 in November. These days, as she looks at you with her bright blue eyes and even brighter smile, she’ll offer advice such as: "enjoy life," "get an education" and even "get a swimsuit and get to the pool!" But true to the coach she once was, and obviously deep down still is, she can’t help but turn into a motivator.
"Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do something as you get older. You can do it! I do."
Following is a reprint of an article by Tracy Frank, from the February 13, 2013 Forum.
FARGO - Gwen Stark is marking a milestone this year – both for her theater students and for herself. Stark, a theater and English teacher at Fargo South High School, is retiring after 40 years in education. She spent the past 31 of those years at Fargo South.
The final play she is directing for the school is "Our Town," an American classic that Thornton Wilder published 75 years ago. Stark chose "Our Town" because of the anniversary and because it’s one of the first plays she directed as a theater teacher. It’s also one of her favorites. "This cast has been great. They’re so focused and they love the play," she said. "It’s so gratifying to see students from 2013 truly love a play like this, which has such a universal message."
"Our Town" is a Pulitzer Prize-winning 3-act drama about life in the town of Grover’s Corners during the early 1900s. The play is a symbolic representation of life, and is Wilder’s most renowned and most frequently performed play, according to HarperCollins Publishers.The publishing company, Samuel French Inc., is compiling an online scrapbook of sorts of "Our Town" productions this year, with cast photos and descriptions, Stark said. It will appear on their corporate Facebook page and in their online magazine, she said.
Stark doesn’t only direct plays. She also teaches theater classes at the school. In fact, Stark started the theater program at Fargo South in 1981. The school had been hiring people to direct the plays one production at a time and decided it needed a consistent program. Stark directed three plays that first year, but told the school she couldn’t afford to keep it up unless she also could teach at least one class.
Before moving to Fargo, Stark worked in Two Harbors, Minn., for nine years, where she taught English, speech, communications and theater. She also started a theater program there, she said. In 1982, under Stark’s direction, Fargo South started offering a theater class. It started with 12 students and then doubled in size and then grew into a program with multiple classes, Stark said. "What I like about it is the kids," Stark said. "I love teenagers. They’re interesting. They’re compassionate. They have just been wonderful to me in my 40 years of teaching."Many of her students have kept in touch with her over the years, Stark said. "It really means a lot," she said.
Stark, who now is 66 years old, started teaching when she was 24 and said her first students are now grandparents, like her. Stark is married to Steve Stark, a public speaker, writer and cartoonist. They have two children. They also have two grandchildren, with one more on the way. The Starks met performing in a play together, Gwen Stark said. Now that she’s retiring, Stark said she might try to become involved in acting again. She also plans to continue working with students in Fargo South’s speech program a few afternoons a week, spend more time with her grandchildren and travel with her husband, she said.
Teddy Wong- Central High School
Following is a reprint of an article from the
September 23, 2012 Forum, by Charly Haley.
FARGO – Teddy Wong was halfway through his junior year at Fargo Central High school when he received the letter.
"In February of 1943, I got this great big yellow sheet letter with a great big word at the top. It said, ‘Greetings,’ " Wong said. "I knew they were going to draft me." Wong served in the U.S. Army for three years during World War II, participating in several battle campaigns in the Pacific, including the Philippines where he served in the 773rd Amphibious Tank Battalion.
Wong didn’t complete high school at Fargo Central, but on Saturday the 88-year-old received an honorary diploma from the school district during the Fargo North High Hall of Fame banquet. "I should feel honored, but I think my daughter did this to me," Wong said before the ceremony at the North Dakota State University Alumni Center. "I’m kind of nervous."
Wong’s daughter, Renee Proue, who lives near Roseville, MN, close to her father, said she heard about the option of honorary high school diplomas. She also remembered hearing her father talk about how he never completed high school in Fargo, so she worked with Fargo North Principal Andy Dahlen to find a way to honor him.
The North Dakota Legislature passed a bill in January 2001 that allows school districts to award honorary diplomas to World War II veterans who didn’t get to complete high school. "It’s very fitting," Dahlen said. "This is just a great way to recognize someone who’s made significant contributions." There have been a few honorary diplomas given out in the Fargo-Moorhead area over the years. "It makes it really special," Proue said. "I think the World War II veterans are a very special group of people."
When Wong was drafted, he was sent to Fort Snelling, MN, and then went to training in California, followed by more training in Hawaii, where he was present for the West Loch disaster in 1944 at Pearl Harbor. "As we were getting ready, all of a sudden across the bay, there’s one big explosion, then a few more, then explosions everywhere," Wong said. He described how he and his fellow soldiers ran away from the explosions. "Everything was raining down on us … parts of humans, parts of guns." One of Wong’s friends got some metal caught in a tendon, "but they sewed him up," Wong said. "He didn’t get out of action."
Wong was born in Fargo, but his family moved to China when he was in first grade, he said. They returned to Fargo when he was 13. "I couldn’t speak much English," Wong said. He said his family lived in a basement. He and his siblings would go to school, and then come home to help cook at his dad’s restaurant. "We’d walk to school, it was 12 blocks, and there’s no school backpack in those days," Wong said. Before he was drafted, he sold Forum newspapers for extra money. "Nobody had any money back in those days," he said. Wong said he’d yell on street corners twice a day and made 50 cents for selling 10 papers.
After the war, Wong returned to Fargo, where he took his dad’s place at the restaurant. A few years later, he moved to St. Paul. He eventually started the House of Wong in the Roseville Shopping Center with his wife, Laura. He ran the restaurant for 43 years, and then passed it to his children, who sold it.
Wong still stops by the restaurant. "On the edge of boredom, I’ll still go down there and talk," he said.
Mark Luther- Central High School 1966
The Fargo Public Schools Alumni Network asked 1966 Central High school graduate, Mark Luther, to tell us what he has been doing since he received his education from Fargo Public Schools. This is what he said!
"I am an attorney in private practice for almost 40 years in the Twin Cities. I represent a wide variety of clients and cases. I do volunteer work for a few non-profits in the Minneapolis area. My wife Deborah and I live in Minnetonka. Deborah (who has three
children from her first marriage) is a licensed marriage therapist with her own private practice.
I have twin daughters, Beverly and Betty, from my first marriage. Beverly is a tax attorney for Ameriprise in Minneapolis and Betty is a U.S. History teacher at the Phillips Exeter Academy. I have a granddaughter who is 2-1/2 years old, and we are proud owners of two Shih Tzu’s.
I have not lived in Fargo since 1969, but I consider my education at Fargo Public Schools during the 50’s and 60’s to be excellent. Although having not lived in Fargo for many years, I believe you can take me out of Fargo, but you cannot take the "Fargo" out of me.
Better than the Lottery...Fargo South Grads:
Sarah Garaas- 1998, Marnie Kremer- 1996, Jonathan Williams- 1997
Calculate the odds...three Fargo South graduates will be in a select group of nine residents at Stanford School of Medicine at the same time.
Bruins Sarah Garaas, 1998, Marnie Kremer, 1996, and Jonathan Williams, 1997 are again ‘classmates’.They hadn’t been in contact for years and weren’t aware that they were all in medical school until they ran into each other while interviewing for residency.The residency match process is somewhat like a lottery, and so on the day when they received their letters of acceptance, it was quite a shock for not only the three of them, but also the Stanford department, that three Fargo South graduates were going to be in the same program.
According to Terry Desser, MD, Residency Program Director, Stanford University School of Medicine Department of Radiology, "There are 980 residency positions in Radiology offered nationwide. There are about 1300 radiology residency applicants. What are the chances that 1/3 of our residency class—let alone the SAME residency class—would be filled by graduates of the same Fargo North Dakota high school?
You can do the arithmetic, but I would guess they are on par with the probability of winning the lottery."Marnie adds, "I’ve been asked several times if we all attended some sort of magnet school and people are usually a bit surprised at the response that we went to public high school. It’s only recently that I’ve come to really appreciate the opportunities and education I had in high school. After seeing the state of public education in some less fortunate areas, particularly in inner city Baltimore, I feel incredibly lucky to have been given such an advantage in a public school system."
All three had different journeys before reconnecting at Stanford Medical School.
Sarah Garaas—After high school, I attended Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. While at Dartmouth, I majored in Chemistry and graduated in 2002 with Honors due to my thesis/research in organic chemistry. I then worked at Pfizer in Groton, CT from 2002-2004 in drug development in the Central Nervous System Division. My projects were aimed at new treatments for depression and Alzheimer’s Disease. I returned to Dartmouth for medical school from 2004-2008. I went to Phoenix, Arizona in 2008-2009 for a surgical internship at Mayo Clinic. I currently am in my second year of residency in radiology at Stanford University. I graduate in 2013 and anticipate doing a one year fellowship - either in Body Radiology or Musculoskeletal Radiology.
Marnie Kremer—I attended the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities where I obtained a bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Science, which was largely a pre-med degree. Uncertain about pursuing medical school, I took an extra year at the U of M to study abroad and take more classes of interest. Following college, I moved to Maryland to attend a school to become a sonographer.
After completing the training and working for about 6 months, I again started contemplating becoming a physician. With the encouragement of several physicians I worked with, I applied and was accepted to medical school at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. So, after working for 2 years as an ultrasound technologist, I went back to school in 2004 and graduated in 2008. I spent my intern year (first year of residency) in Fargo at Meritcare, then moved to California in the summer of 2009 for radiology residency at Stanford. For radiologists, residency lasts a total of 5 years (1 year of internship + 4 years of radiology) and most of us will go on to complete an additional one year fellowship before we are officially done with training.
Jonathan Williams—Following high school, I went out to Boston, where I was an undergraduate at Harvard for four years, majoring in biochemistry. I did several major activities in college, including rowing, Junior varsity hockey (always a passion, although I did not play on the Fargo South team), and writing for a travel guidebook in Southeast Asia. After college, I stayed in Boston for an additional two and a half years, doing research and applying to medical school. I then moved to Minneapolis, where I attended the University of Minnesota medical school, before training in Radiology at Stanford, where I am currently.
Reflecting on Bruin days...
"I was very involved in athletics during high school," says Sarah. My "main" sport was soccer - I played on the varsity team for 5 years. I also played volleyball and participated in cross country, swimming, and golf. My year-round sports participation kept me fairly busy." Other less time-consuming involvement consisted of being a Peer Mediators (2 years) and representing Fargo South in a few team mathematic competitions. Marnie also participated in many sports, including basketball and volleyball, as well as a couple years in track and cross country.
She also participated in Student Council. Jonathan’s activities in high school were more limited to the Key club, medical Explorers club, and the math club, because he didn’t really find his passions and interests until after high school. Adds Jonathan, "I’m a much more of a mountain person, with skiing and rockclimbing, which is obviously a bit difficult to be a part of in Fargo. I did run cross country and track each for a year or two, but to be honest, I was mostly dedicated to studying at home with friends."
An Unlikely Reunion...
Now, several years later, the studying continues again under the same roof. Dr. Desser shared this: "Hospitals cannot offer residency positions the same way other job offers are extended. Rather, they are offered through the process of a computer "match". Residency programs make a rank order list of the candidates they want, in the order that they want them. Similarly, residency applicants make a list of the programs they want to train at, in ranked order. Then a computer algorithm "matches" the applicants with their highest ranked program that also ranked them. The "match" is a complicated and fateful process for both students and residency programs alike.
Sarah shared, "I first learned that we would all be at Stanford together on Match Day in March of my 4th year of medical school. Terry Desser, MD, the program director at Stanford, called to congratulate me and she informed me that I would know a few other people in my residency class because both Jonathan and Marnie matched at Stanford!" Marnie added: "We joke with people here that Stanford recruits at Fargo South. We also offer up advice to interviewees that they should pretend to have Fargo roots to increase their chances to come to Stanford."
Sally Platkin Koslow- Central High School, 1966
"When I sold my first novel, Little Pink Slips, my editor said there was one aspect she wanted to change in the manuscript because, frankly, it was implausible: the editor-in-chief of the fictional magazine I wrote about couldn’t be from Fargo. That detail, I told her, was not negotiable. It was based on my own life.
During the 30-something years I spent as an editor on mass market magazines, being raised in Fargo was my secret weapon. My roots allowed me to connect with authentic American women, making me a more intuitive editor than if I’d grown up in, say, Manhattan, where I have lived since 1970. A Fargo childhood was fertile topsoil for growing a writer and editor. I was no different than any other 50’s kid—I watched little television since our family didn’t own a set until I was in grade school. This allowed for lazy summers where I read a lot of library books, daydreamed, and took long bike rides and walks to and from the Island Park swimming pool.
I also benefited from an excellent publication. At Agassiz Junior High School, I had the good fortune to be taught English and speech by the incomparable Rhoda Hansen. Since then, I have had no more than a day or two of media training because Mrs. Hansen’s superb instruction still echoes and has allowed me to be a chatty guest on TV programs such as "Today" and to lecture at universities like Yale and Columbia. At the end of ninth grade, Mrs. Hansen gave me a collection of Dorothy Parker’s poetry. I cherish it still.
At Central High School, I went on to study English with Dell Schrock and Edward Raymond, fine teachers with a sense of how to nurture creative writers. Under Mr. Raymond’s direction, I got the chance to co-edit The Cynosure and contribute to Of Toad Stools and Russian Olive Trees, a literary magazine whose name was chosen from one of my poems. During two summers following high school, I interned at The Forum and after junior year at the University of Wisconsin, for North Dakota’s Senator Quentin Burdick, (signing the good man’s Christmas cards. Really.)
After graduation I moved to New York City. I looked for a job in magazines because, as I eventually wrote, "When she was growing up in Fargo, magazines had given Magnolia a window into a world where people watched indie movies, wore clothes paraded on red carpets, and referred to Donatella Versace as if she were their college roommate." I landed at Mademoiselle, got increasingly responsible magazine jobs and did a considerable amount of freelance writing. None of these steps, however, happened fast. I didn’t become the editor-in-chief of McCall’s until I was past 40. It was worth the wait. "Editor-in-chief was the ultimate job for the editor of the high school paper, especially one with questionable grammar." I loved everything about this position. (Did I mention visiting the White House?)
Later I got to actually create a magazine: Lifetime, which was published for several years. Better yet. Because of the Internet and other bountiful distractions, magazine readership began to falter about ten years ago. My Lifetime job ended. I had time on my hands and on a whim, tried to write fiction. My efforts turned into Little Pink Slips and since then two more novels. The Late, Lamented Molly Marx was selected by Target as a Book Pick and became a best-seller in Germany. (My novels have been sold to a dozen other countries.)
My third novel is With Friends like These. For that book, Target called me "an Emerging Writer." Emerge past the age of 60? Why not? In June my fourth book will appear. Slouching Toward Adulthood: Observations from the Not-So-Empty Nest returns me to journalism and shines a light on the lives of people in their 20’s and 30’s as well as their freaked-out parents. The Wall Street Journal will excerpt a chapter in June, shortly before Viking publishes the book.
I hope some of you will pre-order it through Amazon or Barnes & Noble for your e-readers or as a hardcover book. You can read an excerpt at www.sallykoslow.com, along with chapters of my novels and many of my essays and articles. My fourth novel is due next month. Some friends talk about retirement. I don’t see that for me. Not with so many books left to write, maybe one about Fargo.
Dr Bill Levine- Fargo South, 1982
New York Magazine has named Dr. William N. Levine as one of New York's "Best Doctors" for the last 10 years. His story of hard work, dedication and success goes way beyond the headline.
Dr. Bill Levine
Fargo South Class of 1982
The 1982 Fargo South High graduate is a professor of Clinical Orthopedic Surgery and Vice-Chairman of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Columbia University Medical Center in New York. His career has been, in a word, distinguished.
As one of the country's leading physicians and researchers in sports medicine, William has been a co-author of over 90 peer-eviewed articles and 35 book chapters. He has led seminars on new techniques and procedures. He has been honored by many groups and publications.
Classmate David Kline, a Fargo South Hall of Fame member, said Bill's work ethic sets him apart.
"Not only does he teach young doctors, have a thriving practice at multiple locations, perform surgery on a host of famous athletes he's too modest to talk about, he also attends an insane number of Columbia University sporting events as its team and on-site physician," Kline says.
William received his bachelor's degree in human biology from Stanford and his Doctor of Medicine from Case Western Reserve. He was a resident in orthopedic surgery at New England Medical Center, and held fellowships at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in shoulder surgery and University of Maryland in sports medicine.
He has been the Residency Program Director at Columbia for the last eight years, Director of Sports Medicine since 1998, and Associate Director for the Center for Shoulder, Elbow and Sports Medicine since 1998.
Classmate Brian Hayer, a Fargo South Hall of Fame inductee, says William was a scholar, standout athlete and active student at South.
“Having known Bill since grade school, I am not at all surprised by his accomplishments,” Hayer says.
James Wiedmann- Fargo North, 1967
A 1967 graduate of North High, Jim started his high school days at Fargo Central and then became a member of the first students to move into North. He played football, basketball, golf, and track; and as a senior enjoyed a stellar season in football, establishing school records at the time for season receptions, tackles, and fumble recoveries. Jim also earned First Team All-State honors on both offense and defense that fall.
UND became Jim's next stop, where he was a three-year starter/letterman for the Sioux; and earned a B.S. Degree in Business and Marketing. Jim's early working career in business led him to Minneapolis and then Albuquerque, NM. After re-connecting with North Dakota friends, a business opportunity in the agricultural machinery industry led to a brief return to Fargo.
In 1975, he returned to Arizona and other parts of the southwest, where he remained active in the farm machinery business until 1985.
In 1983, Jim developed a fiberglass manufacturing firm, Firebird Fiberglass, which built off-road vehicle canopies. In 1995, Jim's facility started a new division called Roadside Relics, which builds reproductions of historic Americana. The nostalgic items include gas pumps, ice chests, clocks and vending machines; and represents licensed agreements with the likes of John Deere, Harley-Davidson, Fender Guitar, Texaco, and many others.