Dear Drunk Girl at the bar: I’m sorry

Dear Drunk Girl,

First thing: I’m sorry for calling you “Drunk Girl.”

Your driver’s license probably reads Holly, Kristen or Kelly. But since your incoherent, confused, maybe even desperate nature was reminiscent of of 1970s Jenni in “Forest Gump,” let’s call you that. Your dignity deserves better.

So Jenni, you probably don’t remember, but we were in the same bar Saturday night. We shared nary a word. But I remember you. You made short conversation with another gentleman before saddling upon his lap. In a bar. With people watching.

Your eyes, your posture, your slurred speech all indicated “intoxicated.” But what happened next was unacceptable, and I, as a bystander, am ultimately to blame.

A man in green pointed to you, shouting to the crowd, “He’s going to get some of that. I’m not going to get some of that!” Then he made lude gestures that weren’t funny to anyone, although no one said otherwise, either.

A few minutes in, your new friend tossed you from his trousers and left you unsteady on a bar stool, adjusting your skirt which onlookers observed.

Not more than a minute passed, and the guy in green, the lude dude, had a coat around your shoulders, leading you out of the bar.

I’m sorry Jenni. I didn’t think about what I could, and should have done, until you were gone.

I hope nothing happened, or that whatever did was totally safe, consensual and fun. Because nights like that can make for good stories. But as a woman soon leaving the fun, frisky decade of my 20s I know that’s not always the case.

Because while you demonstrated interest in Guy #1, Jenni, I’m not so sure how you felt about Guy #2. The stumble in your walk told me you didn’t know either.

Had I seen this video a couple days ago, a video which is part of the diplomatically named “It’s on Us” campaign, perhaps I’d have reacted differently. Because what it really is, is the “Cock Block” campaign. And I’d have done that for you, if you wanted. In a nice way, without causing a lot of stir, I’d have gathered you and your things, grabbed a cab, ushered you home and tipped the driver extra if he waited while I walked you to the door.

I’d like to blame the guy in the green shirt, but his whole life any number of influences have told him that sex = manly, blood alcohol content be damned. He didn’t do what was right, but he didn’t know any better either.

I hope this campaign alters that. I hope it reminds men like him to leave ladies like you alone. And I hope it teaches me what to do if he doesn’t.

I hope by the time my sons are old enough to bar hop, an intoxicated woman is someone they choose to help, rather than to hump.

Because manliness, lude dude in green, is defined not by the number of drunk girls you bang, but by the number of drunk girls you tuck into bed and leave alone.

The lines of sexual assault are grey at best and blurry at worst, especially with alcohol involved. And even if you prosecuted, which statics say you likely wouldn’t, 97 percent of rapists never spend a day in jail. 

I’m not saying he raped you, Jenni. I hope he didn’t.

My point is: I’m mad at myself. I didn’t have the foresight or the confidence to intervene. Today instead of thinking “I hope he didn’t.” I wish I could just know he didn’t.

“It’s on Us” commercials are to air during college football games all this weekend. Wonderful. An excellent first step. I challenge the administration to share it with a wider audience than that. Because rape doesn’t begin and end with college campuses.

So Jenni, I apologize again for my lack of action on Saturday. I hope your fun lasted until sunrise Sunday morning. But in case it didn’t, I make you a promise:

My sons will hear your story. And not just your story, but the stories of women and men around the world. I’ll show them how to intervene, without causing a scene, and how much more manly it is to do so.

Because the relationship between dignity and drunkenness is not inversely proportionate. You deserved better. And I’m sorry.

Accidents on upward trend: remind family to cut the Candy Crush!

The thrill of Angry Birds can sure shock those who play it, but is it worth the risk of 7,200 volts?

This year alone, members of Northern Plains and Dakota Valley Electric Cooperatives reported 101 accidents between power lines and farm equipment. That’s almost as many as the 105 accidents reported in all of 2012! Most farmers do their best, but in some cases, farmers said they didn’t notice the poles because they were reading the newspaper or playing games on their Smartphones. So if you’re reading this post from the cab of your tractor right now, we appreciate it, but KNOCK IT OFF. :D

We joke, but truly, these accidents are no laughing matter. No injuries have been reported so far this year, thank goodness. But, last year we had one contact and even one fatality. Clearly, mitigating these accidents, and raising awareness of what to do if one does occur, is a high priority for the cooperatives as well as the families involved.

My husband earned his living as an electrician for 12 years, so he is well aware of the risks associated with electricity. Even he will mention how he narrowly missed a guy wire whilst moving snow with the skid-steer. These accidents can happen to anyone, anywhere. It’s our job as caregivers to gently remind (and even pull ears if we have to!) our loved ones to stay alert. And if they do run into our wires, here’s what you tell them:

* CALL YOUR ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE: If it’s Northern Plains or Dakota Valley, the numbers are 1-800-882-2500 and 1-800-342-467, respectively.

* DON’T GET OUT: Unless there’s a risk of fire or imminent danger, stay put. If you must exit the vehicle, jump clear of it. Hop away with both feet together.

* NO TOUCHIE: Don’t touch any machine connected to a power line and keep others away until a lineman disconnects the service.

So as harvest begins, please remember: Look Up and Live. And call if you have questions or concerns: 1-800-882-2500 for Northern Plains Electric or 1-800-342-4671 at Dakota Valley Electric. We care about you. Come home safe.

— Katie, Manager of Member Communications for Northern Plains and Dakota Valley Electric Cooperatives

Got a farmer in your family? Now’s the time to nag.

Days begin at 4:30 a.m. and end after a sullen and nostalgic gaze at our sleeping children. He knows not what day it is, mondaytuesdaysaturday, they all run together.

My husband, likely like someone in your family, is in the business of agriculture. And you, like me, probably fret about your kin, working with big machines and dangerous chemicals while zombified. Eight hours of rest a week just doesn’t cut it.

For work, I’m running ads on radio stations and articles in magazines and newspapers, but I’m counting on you to help me nag remind our loved ones to “Look UP and Live.” Power line safety is a huge, and monumentally dangerous issue. In our service areas alone, farmers and farm hands hit three poles yesterday, totaling nine so far May.


I don’t think I need to tell you that accidents involving overhead wires can result in serious injuries and even death.

“We would rather get a call before something tragic happens,” said General Manager Jay Jacobson. “Our foremost concern is for the person on the tractor. Tangling with 7,200 volts of electricity is unpredictable and dangerous.”

As farm equipment gets bigger, so do the challenges of maneuvering the equipment safely around power lines. In each year for three years, an average of 80 accidents involving farm equipment and overhead power lines were reported to Dakota Valley Electric and Northern Plains Electric. Safety organizations say 62 deaths are reported each year. That’s way too many.

“If the power line is energized and you step outside, your body becomes the path and electrocution is the result,” Jacobson said. “Even if a power line has landed on the ground, there is still the potential for the area nearby to be energized. It’s almost always best to stay in the cab and call for help. Unless there’s fire or imminent risk of fire, wait for help to arrive.”

In the case of fire, jump – not step – with both feet hitting the ground at the same time. Do not allow any part of your body to touch the equipment and the ground at the same time. Continue to shuffle or hop to safety, keeping both feet together as you leave the area.

Once you get away from the equipment, never attempt to get back on or even touch the equipment. Many electrocutions occur when the operator dismounts and, realizing nothing has happened, tries to get back on the equipment.

Plant seeds of safety this year.

* Consider any overhead line dangerous. Keep objects at least 10 feet away from power lines.

* Inspect working areas for possible interference with overhead power lines.

* Don’t attempt to raise or move electric lines.

* Call 811 before digging where power lines are buried.

* Report potential power line hazards.

For more information, call Northern Plains Electric at 1-800-882-2500 or Dakota Valley Electric at 1-800-342-4671.

So yes, yes. Tell them to get the field sprayed and crop in. But remind them: come home to us too.

Hungry? Help us make 23-cent meals!

The Kiwanis Club of Jamestown looks to hold its third Kids Against Hunger meal-packaging event, thanks to another gift from an anonymous donor.

As a Kiwanis member and a parent, I’m so humbled to be part of Kids Against Hunger. It feeds starving families – which is hard to imagine in our world – but we feel helpless when our children bonk their heads, are bullied in school or get the flu. What would it fee like to watch our children STARVE?

Kiwanis will again work with the Aberdeen, S.D., branch of Kids Against Hunger to raise funds and package the meals at a Jamestown location this spring. In order to purchase supplies, Kiwanis must raise $10,000 by Jan. 31 to match the $10,000 gift from the anonymous donor. All donations are tax deductible.

In addition to financial donations, more than 300 volunteers are needed to help package meals. Can you help us?

At prior events, volunteers attended in groups from churches, schools, service clubs and families including but not limited to Litchville-Marion, Medina and Steele youth groups, church groups from St. Paul’s United Methodist, Atonement Lutheran, Church of Latter Day Saints, Immanuel Lutheran and St. James Basilica as well as sports teams from Jamestown College.

Janna Bergstedt, marketing manager for First Community Credit Union and one of the event’s organizers for Kiwanis, said Kids Against Hunger packages and sends meals consisting of vegetables, vitamins, rice and soy for starving children in the U.S. and abroad. Meal recipients need only to add water and boil the dried ingredients for 20 minutes. Meals are distributed internationally as well as locally.

A child dies from hunger-related causes every six seconds, but to feed them requires so little. Each Kids Against Hunger meal serving costs 23 cents, so every donated dollar counts. Even if a person can only donate a quarter, that still pays for a full meal for someone in need.

“Little donations, big donations, we will take anything — and they all add up,” said Don Bentz, another event organizer.

Jamestown raised $23,000 for its first Kids Against Hunger event in April 2011, packaging 100,000 meals. It again raised $25,000 in October 2011, matching a $25,000 gift from the anonymous donor.

Drop of donations at either First Community Credit Union Jamestown location, 111 Ninth St. SW or 606 25th St. SW, or mail them to PO Box 2180, Attn: Janna Bergstedt, Jamestown, ND 58402-2180. Checks can be made out to the Kiwanis Club of Jamestown.

For more information about Jamestown’s Kids Against Hunger event, to donate to the cause or to volunteer, contact Bergstedt at 253-5109 or We’re also online,

A 5K you say?

Winter is inching upon us. We must enjoy these remaining warm-ish days while we can! And how better to do it than in the company of our friends, family AND the friends and family we have yet to meet!

That’s why I’m inviting all of you to the Young Professionals of Jamestown’s 5K Walk/Run on Sept. 22. at 8 am at Ave Maria Village. Registration is $25. Proceeds benefit YPJ, which if you’re between the ages of 21-40, you should really consider joining. Of course, the 5K is open to all ages and fitness levels!

As the mom of 1.5 (25 weeks and counting until Baby Boy #2 arrives!), I know parents need social and professional time just as much as we need our family time. YPJ is a committee of working individuals under the age of 40 dedicated to developing a local network to promote professional, civic and social growth in Jamestown and surrounding communities. We’ve hosted all kinds of activities like an Ugly Sweater Christmas party, washed dishes to help the National Buffalo Museum, organized a walking tour of downtown businesses, started a program to accommodate new people in town, etc.

The level of involvement is totally up to the individual: help plan if you want, or just show up. Either way, the group consists of area residents just looking to make friends while making the community a better place 😉

But back to the 5K!

Medals will be awarded to the top male and female finishers. For more information on YPJ or to sign up for the 5K contact Lisa at the Chamber Office (701)-252-4830 or

I’ll be there, collecting registration forms and (I think!) serving water at the halfway point too. Won’t you let me cheer you on? I’d love to see you!

Thanks Bottles & Jugs, Tri-J liquor stores for sponsoring Alexis Barnick/Kiwanis event!

We, in Kiwanis, have met some AMAZING sponsors who are helping save the lives of NINE children each minute.

Bottles & Jugs and Tri-J were among the first two to extend a helping hand. The VERY first was the Jamestown Mason organization. HUGE thanks to them!! (and a blog post later)

Kiwanis, along with the vocal talents of “American Idol” contestant Alexis Barnick, is looking to ELIMINATE a terrible disease mothers and babies contract through unsafe birthing practices. It’s called maternal and neonatal tetanus and kills 160 children every day.

Born with health problems, my son is the reason this cause is close to my heart. I think of him and all the mothers suffering so much more than I ever did.

Can you help too? YES please!

Join us for Alexis’ show on Friday, April 13 at the Masonic Lodge in Jamestown. Or make a donation here.

‘American Idol’ Alexis Barnick to perform April 13 in Jamestown

I’m so THRILLED to announce this news!


“American Idol” contestant Alexis Barnick, along with the Kiwanis Club of Jamestown and Kiwanis members across the globe, are joining forces in an effort to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT), a painful disease that kills one baby every nine minutes, or 160 newborns each day.

Barnick will perform as part of a first-ever Wine and Cheesecake Event April 13 at the Jamestown Reservoir. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased from any Kiwanis member or by calling 251-8888. The event begins with a social at 7 p.m. Friday. Barnick’s musical performance begins around 7:30.

Jamestown resident Alexis Barnick made it to the Hollywood round of the Fox TV show "American Idol." In one of her first performances since the show aired, Barnick is scheduled to sing as part of the Kiwanis Club's Wine and Cheesecake event on April 13.

The Eliminate Project: Kiwanis eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus is a global campaign that will save and protect the lives of millions of mothers and their future babies. The disease is typically contracted through unhygienic childbirth practices. The goal of the project is to eliminate this swift, painful and highly preventable disease by vaccinating women of childbearing age, which will not only protect the mothers, but also their future babies.

“The stories of these families break our hearts,” said Tim Burchill, president of the Jamestown Kiwanis Club. “But we know the generous people of the Jamestown region will help. What affects one child affects us all”

As the world’s largest single donor, Kiwanis International is raising $110 million by 2015 for the project, which will ultimately protect at least 61 million women and their future babies who are at risk of this deadly disease.

“For US$1.80 we can protect a mother and her future babies from this deadly but preventable disease,” said Stan Soderstrom, Executive Director of Kiwanis International. “We can only do this with the support from our local clubs, and with their participation, we will eliminate MNT.”

The Eliminate Project will do more than protect women and babies from tetanus; it also will help create a path for other services, such as clean water, nutrition and other vaccines, to reach the world’s most vulnerable people who are not served because they are poor, remote and, in some cases, invisible to the world.

For more information about The Eliminate Project, please visit


About The Eliminate Project

The Kiwanis International global campaign for children, The Eliminate Project: Kiwanis eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT), aims to save and protect millions of mothers and their future babies. In partnership with UNICEF, Kiwanis is eliminating MNT, a disease that kills one baby every nine minutes, by vaccinating women of child-bearing age. UNICEF and its partners have already eliminated MNT in 20 countries, and Kiwanis’ pledge to raise US$110 million will help fund the elimination of the disease in the 38 countries that remain at risk. Kiwanis’ global volunteer network and strength in reaching communities and leaders, along with UNICEF’s field staff, technical expertise and unbeatable supply chain will help wipe out this cruel, centuries-old disease and pave the way for other interventions.


About Kiwanis

Founded in 1915, Kiwanis International is a global organization of clubs and members dedicated to serving the children of the world. Kiwanis and its family of clubs, including Circle K International for university students, Key Club for students age 14–18, Builders Club for students age 11–14, Kiwanis Kids for students age 6–12 and Aktion Club for adults living with disabilities, dedicate annually more than 18 million service hours to strengthen communities and serve children. The Kiwanis International family comprises nearly 600,000 adult and youth members in 80 countries and geographic areas. For more information about Kiwanis International, please visit



UNICEF has saved more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization in the world. Working in more than 150 countries, UNICEF provides children with health care, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF’s work through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States.


UNICEF is at the forefront of efforts to reduce child mortality worldwide. There has been substantial progress: the annual number of under-five deaths dropped from 13 million in 1990 to 8.1 million in 2009. But still, 22,000 children die each day from preventable causes. Our mission is to do whatever it takes to make that number zero by giving children the essentials for a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit

HEADLINES: And parents thought diapers were bad! Pee liters N.D. highways

* Pee-u: urine clogs North Dakota Oil Patch roadways: “TIOGA, N.D. — Along the wide-open expanses and rolling prairie of western North Dakota surrounding the state’s booming Oil Patch, all sorts of bizarre litter can be found clogging the once picturesque roadside: Derelict hardhats, single boots, buckets, pallets, pieces of machinery, shredded semi tires, oily clothing, cigarette butts.”

* Naughty parents cited for cancelled egg hunt: “Too many parents determined to see their children get an egg jumped a rope marking the boundaries of the children-only hunt at Bancroft Park last year. The hunt was over in seconds, to the consternation of eggless tots and the rules-abiding parents.”

* Marilyn Hagerty: N.D.’s precious pistol: An email she received reads “You are a dolt and the main reason why North Dakota is viewed as being a backwoods dump. The Olive Garden is the McDonald’s of dining … A touch of Europe? Ha! Why don’t you take a vacation and visit New York or San Francisco and see what real people eat?”

* How to be yourself, without embarrassing your kids (too much)?: “I should be selfless, right? Sacrifice my desire to be a goofball for one night to make them happy, right? See, I’m really torn. Part of me thinks my kids need to know that they should be comfortable being who they choose to be.”

Need date night daycare?

Stepping Stones at Trinity Lutheran Church is offering its services from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Friday (Nov. 18).

From Sarah McDermid, who runs the program:

A special evening of fun, safe childcare provided for children (18 months-8 years * call about exceptions*).

Cost is $20/family (up to 3 kids) and reservations by Nov. 16th are required. Call 252-2841 or email

Snack and structured activities provided.

I’ve taken my son there a few times. The rooms rival Toys R’ Us and are divided based on age and cognitive abilities. Definately a fun (and educational!) place for the little ones :)

Now, what will YOU be doing for date night??

How to find the best Black Friday deals?

I’m headed to my parents house in Colorado this Thanksgiving. And I’m already awaiting an awesome Black Friday deal: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 on Blueray for….. $9.99.

You can find such bargains too!

Just use this website: Black Friday @

Basically, the site gives readers a sneak peak of all the Black Friday deals and they’re slashed-pricey goodness.

This is what it looks like:


My favorite tool is the comparison chart.

Use a chart like this to compare prices on the top gifts on your wish list.

So, let’s say you’re like my husband, Levi, who wants a new flat-screen TV for Christmas. Instead of looking through each store’s specials, I can specifically look for best deals on 2011 TVs.

Search for best deals by category like iPod, laptop or e-reader


This may shock you, but my husband is a guy. So, he doesn’t want any TV smaller than 46 inches. Luckily, you can exclude TVs that don’t make the cut.

Oust all the TVs too small or e-readers too $$$ with this tool

Hope this helps.

So where are you shopping this year?

Thanks to Logan for the tip!

Today is Part 2 in a two-part series. Yesterday, I showed you how to save mucho dinero online. I’ve saved $120!!