Mandan News

Vern Davis: More trouble, more costs

Hello from Morton County Parks. Wow, it’s August already and, of course, I’m a week late with this article.

I know its August because the ladies here in the Morton County Extension Office are busy as bees getting everything together for the Morton County Fair, which was Aug. 5 thru 8, and I’m writing this on Aug. 3.

The recent rains and storms have kept our mowing crews real busy trying to stay even with the growing of the grass. It’s been quite a while since I’ve had to empty my rain gauge every week and wonder when it’s going to taper off.

Our “breakdown woes” have continued since I last mentioned it. It seems like every other week it has been something; for instance a couple weeks ago Tim calls and his tone of voice wasn’t real good. Well, $2,800 laterm we had a rebuild on the transmission of our 1996 Ford 3/4 ton pickup. Yes, it’s getting old, but overall it is in really good shape… new tires strong engine, not tore up inside and looking good on the outside. It has about 115,000 miles on it and we decided: rebuild the tyranny rather than spend $20 to $30 thousand on a newer truck. The rest will be a hope that another major repair isn’t needed for another 30 thousand miles.

The following week a gearbox driving the mower blades on one of our mowers gave up the ghost, so about $800 later, a new gearbox is in place. We hope this will be the end of the woes for the summer.

During July, the crew did a major cleanup and mowing job on the Rifle Range south of Mandan. It was getting pretty bad as far as some people shooting up glass items and leaving trash there. There are a few really good citizen shooters who clean up the facility several times a summer and we really appreciated the help. But then for every good one there are several people who have to shoot posts instead of targets, glass instead of paper and so on. This is one of our most used facilities and it would be a shame to have it shut down as some people have advocated.

Activity at Harmon Lake keeps on increasing. A second vault toilet was recently installed, increased areas of grass mowed and, of course, more people coming to relax and enjoy the place. It seems like there are more and more people fishing from shore and using boats. This is good to see, and it is a signal that more improvements have to be made. But these things all take time and dollars.

One last note – if you have driven north on Highway 1806 lately you can’t miss the start of construction of the multi-use trail on the east side of the road.  When finished in a few years, the trail will go all the way to Harmon Lake. This stretch is largely funded with federal dollars, but still, we are all paying for it directly or through the channels.

That’s about it for this month – enjoy the Hot August Nights – see you next month.