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Polar Plunge for Special Olympics is Saturday

The National Weather Service forecasts Saturday morning's temperature to be about 20 degrees in Grand Forks. Just right for polar bears or, in this case, Polar Plunge participants to take a dip.

It's the first time a Polar Plunge has been held in Grand Forks to raise money for the North Dakota Special Olympics. Anyone can jump, and they'll be joined by local law enforcement officials and local media who have pledged a minimum of $50, including Col. John Michel of Grand Forks Air Force Base and Pete Haga, assistant to Grand Forks Mayor Mike Brown.

Registration is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Canad Inns. The plunge will take place outside the hotel in a water-filled construction dumpster provided by the city. Splashdown starts at 10 a.m. and continues until all registered participants have gotten wet.

The Polar Plunge is the brainchild of Bree Siefken, Marnee Peterson and Caleb Skipper, three UND students who are part of a campus organization called Students Today, Leaders Forever.

"Special Olympics is really struggling," Skipper said. "So, we got together with Kathy Meagher (president of North Dakota Special Olympics) and talked about what we could do."

"Marnee and I jumped in the polar plunge in Jamestown last year," Siefken said. North Dakota Special Olympics has conducted three previous plunges in Jamestown, N.D.

Costumes are being encouraged and will be judged by a panel consisting of Capt. Mark Nelson of the North Dakota Highway Patrol, District Judge Lawrence Jahnke and Grand Forks County State's Attorney Peter Welte.

"Twenty degrees sounds pretty nice," Siefken said.

Reach Johnson at (701) 780-1262; (800) 477-6572, ext. 262; or send e-mail to jjohnson2@gfherald.com.

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