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GF wellness fair set Wednesday

Whole-grain pizza, garlic hummus and green tea could become student lunch offerings in the Grand Forks School District if the items receive high ratings at the district's fifth annual Food, Nutrition and Wellness Fair.

Whole-grain pizza, garlic hummus and green tea could become student lunch offerings in the Grand Forks School District if the items receive high ratings at the district's fifth annual Food, Nutrition and Wellness Fair.

The fair will help officials plan future school lunches and learn about health and wellness issues. It will be held 3:15 to 5 p.m. Wednesday in the Alerus Center and is free and open to the public.

"We talk about taking some of the kids' favorites and making them healthy, also," said Julie Tunseth, director of Grand Forks Public Schools Child Nutrition Program. "If you like that, what would be a healthy way to eat it?. . . The main goal is awareness."

About a dozen food vendor booths and community information booths will be represented at the event. Physical education teachers from School District elementary schools and the Grand Forks Central High School football team will give exercise demonstrations.

In a new twist this year, Central principal Jeff Schatz will square off against Grand Forks Red River High School principal Jim Stenehjem in an "Iron Chef" cooking competition. A panel of local culinary celebrities will judge the administrators on their meals, which must incorporate the challenge's secret ingredients.


Tunseth said the district's wellness fair is somewhat of an inventive approach to improving health in schools, compared with other districts across the United States.

"It's kind of unique," Tunseth said. "You see more of them coming up as the wellness push is going on. We're kind of ahead of the ballgame, which is a good thing."

According to a report from the North Dakota Department of Health, 63 percent of state residents were either overweight or obese in 2003. Between 1990 and 2003, the percentage of obese people in North Dakota doubled, the report said. After last year's district wellness fair, whole grain tortillas, fruit smoothies and low-fat milks were added to school lunch menus after getting the thumbs-up from taste testers, according to Tunseth.

Other items to be tested by fair patrons include soy and lactose-free milk and whole-grain corn-dogs, Tunseth said.

Four area educators up

for Teacher of Year

Four area teachers are candidates to be the 2007 Minnesota Teacher of the Year.

Christine Adrian of the Badger School District; Andrew Staudt, Bemidji School District; Linda Lee Nordlund, Clearbrook-Gonvick School District and Gwen Sallberg, Roseau School District were chosen among 130 state candidates.


The 2007 Teacher of the Year will be announced May 6. A 22-member panel of community leaders will name semifinalists and finalists in the coming months.

Teams awarded

at robotics tournamentTeams from several area schools took home awards in North Dakota's annual Championship FIRST LEGO Robotics Tournament recently at UND.

A team from Thompson (N.D.) Public School was named runner-up for the top award - the Directors Award. Kittson Central School in Hallock, Minn., won second place for the Robot Performance Award.

Judges Awards went to Grand Forks Dakota Science Center, Cando (N.D.) Public School and Tri-County Schools in Karlstad, Minn. Outstanding Volunteer Awards went to Clancy and Julie Kadrmas, UND chemical engineering students, and David Kilpela, a UND electrical engineering student.

EGF speech

team starts seasonThe East Grand Forks Middle and High School speech team's first meet is today in Glyndon, Minn., against the Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton School District.

East Grand Forks High School will host a speech meet March 17. The first round of competition will begin at 9 a.m. The home meet is made possible with financial support from the East Grand Forks American Legion, according to organizers. The public is invited to attend.


Speech team members include seniors Tyler Barrett, Kayla Johnson, Courtney Jones, Herbie Kretzsinger and Jordan Wolfe; juniors Josh Berggren, Roger Briggs, Sarah Doherty, Ryan Jamieson, Kelsey Lealos, Justin Nelson, Nick Pederson, Kerianne Trudel; sophomores Carly Chisholm, Kathi Mathsen, Keenan O'Shea, Sarah Peterson, Matt Radi, Keith Radi, Haley Waller; freshmen Anya Bailey, Paige Jensen, McKenna Jones, Maria Pimentel, Michon Prichett, Jill Useldinger; eighth-graders Leah Black, Allen Brundin, Jordyn Konze, Kyle Nelson, Caleb Shaffer; and seventh-graders Emily Peterson, Chris Peterson, Rebecca Pimentel, Brandi Wickersham and Jenna Woinarowicz.

7th-grader on a mission

Ali Karpenko, a seventh-grader at Schroeder Middle School, will meet with Grand Forks Park District officials Monday to discuss the possibility of a new playground at Sertoma Park.

An essay by Karpenko nominating the park for a playground that's accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities, was chosen this week as one of 20 finalists across the country in the "Playskool Win a Boundless Playground Essay Contest." The winning site will be announced in April.

Karpenko said she decided Grand Forks needed an accessible park after visiting one in Bismarck last summer. The park had wheelchair accessible swings and other features people with disabilities could use.

She said she has noticed in Grand Forks that it's hard for some of her friends with disabilities to participate in playground fun.

Karpenko won't stop trying to get an accessible playground for the city, even if Grand Forks isn't chosen to win, said her mom, Joan.

"It's her mission," she said.

Exceptional Children

council hosts conferenceThe North Dakota Council for Exceptional Children continues their annual conference today in Grand Forks.

The conference draws educators from across the state and is held in Grand Forks every four years. More than 200 people are signed up to attend and the event is still open to additional participants, according to organizers.

Linda Jenkins, director of special education with the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, will be the conference's keynote speaker from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. A variety of mini-sessions also will offer a variety of tips.

For more information, contact Nikki Weber at (218) 791-1833.

Reach Ricker at (701) 780-1104, (800) 477-6572, ext. 104; or aricker@gfherald.com .

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