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Down with salt, away with trash in the English Coulee

Dear Shirley, Sometimes, it seems as though the news is all gloom and doom. That isn't the case this week. I see the government is waging war on too much salt in our diet, and some law students have been cleaning up the English Coulee that flows ...

Dear Shirley,

Sometimes, it seems as though the news is all gloom and doom. That isn't the case this week. I see the government is waging war on too much salt in our diet, and some law students have been cleaning up the English Coulee that flows through the UND campus.

Besides, the weather has been mostly glorious. I remember in years past sitting on your front porch in Tucson Estates in late winter and hearing golfers exclaim about the beautiful days. They sort of congratulate themselves for being so wise they are in Arizona. Well, people around here are congratulating themselves now on the beautiful days. It seems that we deserve it. We were brave and strong and made it through another North Dakota winter.

I don't exactly want Big Brother to tell me how much salt I can have on my scrambled eggs, Shirley. But I like the idea of the government warnings about salt. One day, I asked my doc how I should go about cutting out excess salt. He just threw his arms in the air and said sadly, "It is so inbuilt in our diet."

Out at UND, some law students in the Environmental Law Society took it upon themselves to start cleaning up the English Coulee. You probably remember that picturesque stream that flows through the campus, Shirley. Well, when you get real close to it, you see it is full of trash.

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Scott Brand, president of ELS, and a group of about 15 law students made their cleanup effort by land and sea, according to a story in this week's Dakota Student. Most of the volunteers helped from shore while some of them worked in two canoes fishing out items unreachable from land.

Brand told me the group is hoping others will continue the pick-up job along the coulee.

Instead of doom and gloom this spring, we see people helping people. The list of benefits in the newspaper seems endless. It seems to me that people of the 21st century are more concerned about others and about people yet to be than we were decades ago.

That's the feeling I get today on Earth Day. Steve Sagaser of the Grand Forks County Extension Service will be talking about container gardening at noon and again at 2 p.m. today in the International Center at UND. Sagaser says many people would like to grow a few vegetables, but they don't have a garden. He says you can use containers on a deck or patio and reap the benefits of growing a few beans, carrots or peas.

All it takes, Shirley, is some good dirt, water and sunshine.

There will be Earth Day Crafts at the Grand Forks Library at 4 p.m. today. And I see the toddler story time begins at 10 a.m. Aaron Stefanich, the children's librarian, told the library board recently that the event has become a huge success. People who attend are getting to know each other, and for some toddlers, it is the first chance they have had to interact.

And he has said that with a room full of toddlers, it does get "interesting."

Let me know how things are going as you shift into summer on the desert.

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Love from your sister Marilyn, eating Mr. Goodbars in the shade of Lift Station 8 on Belmont Road at 15th Avenue South.

P.S. More than 1,100 UND students have signed up already to take part in the Big Event coming up May 1. It's the students' way of doing spring tasks and saying thank you to the Grand Forks community. I don't know if you have the Big Event, but it started 18 years ago at Texas A&M University and has spread across the country. On May Day, the students here will be going to 160 individual homes, nonprofit organizations and churches. There they will give a hand with spring cleaning, raking and painting. Kristi Okerlund, the coordinator, said the deadline for requests is past. But there is still a waiting list; call (701) 777-6468.

Reach Hagerty at mhagerty@gra.midco.net or by telephone at (701) 772-1055.

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