We all have challenges that come our way. One man found his problem could be solved with some fresh paint and a crazy idea. Every community has its local landmarks. For some it can be simple things like the post office-library-or city hall. In Grand Forks, North Dakota these landmarks signify the passion and charm of the residents who call this town home. And for one of those residents, charm seems to come in twelve different colors.
“It's the best project I ever did. It was the funnest project I've ever done. I mean it’s got so much, I mean if I had a dollar for every car and every picture that's been taken, you know-I'd be rich," says Jim Deitz, homeowner. This past spring, home owner, Deitz came up with a crazy idea to brighten up the neighborhood. The hundred year old house he rented out needed a little sprucing up. So following a fun idea from a friend, Deitz decided to unleash the polka dots. But the dots spread to more than just the house. "My sister, the guy inside the house here, would come out, you're famous. You know and I don't have time to worry about it you know. But my sister was texting me and texting me and I said I don't care, I don't have time, I just kept painting," explains Deitz. News of Deitz and his polka dotted house traveled around the country and even bounced across the pond to the UK. And while millions read in amazement, Deitz’s tenants soaked it all in. Their home had become this fun and quirky icon everyone seemed to know about.
"At first it was, first it was, cause you see polka dots on your house, ok it's a little crazy. But right now I don't even see them anymore. You don't even see them till someone mentions it," explains Vicky Samuels, tenant. Although reporters came for the dots, they stayed for the controversy. Before Deitz had come up with the idea, he had been in works with the city to sell the house and retire. But after the sale fell through, Deitz decided to make the best of a bad situation and transform the house from a run-down old building to a whimsical part of the community. Critics argued the house had been turned into an even bigger eyesore than before. But Deitz just ignored them, and kept on painting.
"Most people, 99 percent of the people just love it. They stop and take pictures right in the middle of the street, and people that live in Grand Forks, everybody knows the polka dotted house now, if you don't, you haven't been downtown,’ says Deitz. Six months later the house has become a local landmark, and it's definitely not a place people will have trouble finding. Well one of my friends didn't know my address and he put Vicky Samuels, question mark, polka dotted house. And it got here," describes Samuels. What started as an eccentric idea, transformed into a hallmark of the town. Deitz and his polka dotted house have become the newest wacky addition to the local community.
All children need to be taken care of. If the biological parents are not able to do so, there are special individuals who take these children under their wings. In this neighborhood you will find a house, a house that has been a home to more than 50 children. Bill and Marcia Lund have been foster parents for the past 16 years. They have provided children with shelter, guidance, safety, and love.
"No matter what, kids are kids, no matter where they come from. They just deserve to be taken care of,” says Marcia and Bill Lund, Foster Parents. According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, on any given day in the U.S., there are over 424 thousand children in foster care. Half of those children have chronic medical problems, one half under the age of 5 have developmental delays, and 80 percent of all children in foster care have serious emotional problems. But for these children this is only the beginning.
"Foster care is temporary. It is not meant to be a permanent solution for children so we look at that being a temporary stop for them," says Lisa Piche, Social Worker for NE Human Services. During a difficult time, many children may just need, "The ability to be a part of a family. You know many foster children feel like that the experience of being a part of, being accepted into another family while their own family is going through a crisis is comforting for them," adds Piche. For the Lunds, they have seen their impact on the children.
"I remember you would hold me anytime I wanted to be held and you just go, ok, I did my job," says the Lunds. Even though the Lund's have raised foster children for many years-they have also received benefits from the experience. "It's what I'm supposed to do and I've gotten to have a baby for 16 years," explain the Lunds. The need for suitable foster parents continues to grow to nurture these children in need.
Bipartisan gridlock | Victor Correa reporting
The election is over but that doesn't mean all is well in Washington. While America may have decided on a democratic president, the House may be less accepting to democratic policies. This has many focused on one thing: bipartisanship. On November 6 voters took their place to privately fill out their ballots and contribute to democracy. After the polls closed both Republicans and Democrats sought out like-minded voters and anxiously awaited the results at election parties. As President Barack Obama was announced the winner, excitement filled the air. But the democrat's chants and cheers may be cut short by a house of representatives that sits 234 republicans next to 195 democrats.
"Our house and senate races are going to help to determine whether we stay on the course that we've been on the last four years or whether we look at maybe changing the direction that we're looking at going," says republican, Carma Hanson. Obama stated the following in his victory speech, "In the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together. This hope for bipartisanship may be where the country is headed. Poll results show almost a completely divided America with Obama leading the popular vote 50.6 percent to Romney's 47.8 percent. 3 percent is not a very big margin. Compromises may need to be reached because so far there hasn't been much cooperation.
"That house and senate is going to be a big component of the makeup of our country is and the bodies that are making decisions," explains Hanson. Not one Republican House or Senate member provided a vote for the health care law. While the relationship between the two parties is tense there is still hope for the future. The next big obstacle for politicians to overcome has been titled "fiscal cliff". Republicans have voiced that they are confident they will be able to reach a compromise. This is a first step to closing the divisional gap that was seen during the election.
It takes patience, practice, and determination to reach a goal. One business is helping all of its clients get to the top. Residents of this area are aware of the landscape. "You can see from here to Montana and the highest elevation is the overpass over the interstate," says Josh Braband, President UND Climbing Club. So two men decided if they build it, all will climb.
"No one was really interested in being the one to take on the endeavor, but everyone thought it was an interesting idea, so we decided to build a climbing gym,” explains Dan Norgard, Co-Owner NH Rock Gym. "North Dakota is a flat land, to say the least, and we are pretending like it's not. So, we climb rocks that jut 45 degrees out from the wall. We're pretending we're in Colorado basically," describes Kyle Mason, intermediate level climber. So build they did, ten years ago this weekend.
"It's really been fun to take that kind of a sport and bring it here to North Dakota," says Norgard. And with an anniversary, comes a celebration. "So we had about fifty competitors come out today take place in the competition," describes Norgard. In this competition there is but just one enemy. A vicious villain that claims many victims. "Ours are completely flat walls, so when we take off holds and put new holds on, we can make the wall a completely new experience for the climber," explains Norgard. "It's so technical, it's a vertical puzzle with your body," describes Braband. Call it what you want this activity has many taking the high road, keeping climbers content in the flat land.
Whether you are a construction worker, doctor, or student, it is expected you wake up early each morning to begin your day. For many, the day doesn’t truly start until they’ve had that hot cup of Joe. It's a place that has regulars who order regular, decaf, and extra strength. “I come here at least 3-4 times a week," says a customer. It's a place where addiction is encouraged. "This is my vice, coffee," says another java drinker. "This guy, we just kind of met today and started talking. I don't go to bars either, so this is kind of the hang out," he says. "You see coffee shops like this in Minneapolis, and you know, Chicago, so, it's a little bit more like that," says Michelle Bonapace-Potvin, barista. You'll find steamed milk, coffee beans and whipped cream here, but you certainly won't find a commercial coffee café. "No, it's really not like a Starbucks at all. People come in here sometimes asking for a frappachino, it's like, we don't make frappachinos, that's a Starbucks thing,” explains Bonapace-Potvin. As a barista, Bonapace-Potvin is able to whip up some of her own concoctions. "There isn't like a specific number of pumps you have to put in a drink, we get a lot of like, creative power, basically, to make up our own drinks," describes Bonapace-Potvin. Each time she makes a new drink, she is expected to taste it. "I made up something called the Seattle fog and I made it with steamed milk and a little bit of sugar free vanilla and tea and it's so good, oh my gosh it's my new favorite!" she explains. Bonapace-Potvin is a barista for more than her love for caffeine. "It's the people, I love the people downtown, I love the people that hang out around here, I love chatting,” Bonapace-Potvin describes. And so for Bonapace-Potvin, there is one ingredient that is far more important than steamed milk, coffee beans and whipped cream. It's the people, and of course, the regulars.
Hat-tricks and harmonies | Cory Robertson reporting
Hockey is a fast paced and rugged sport. The players are more likely to plant a punch, than paint a picture. For one player it is instrumental that he expresses himself when off the ice. Tate Maris is a goalie on one of the most prestigious college hockey teams in the country. He says defending the crease is one of his true passions in life. However it's not his only one. “As far as passions go they are my biggest if I'm not doing one I'm doing the other. Not only can he stop the puck but he can strum a guitar as well. Honestly hockey has probably fueled a lot of what comes out of my music. You get on stage and you start singing and you just get in your element and it’s where you are supposed to be," says Maris. At age 24 Maris is releasing his 2nd CD. Maris says his music inspires him to convey his emotions in an artistic way that hockey can't. Although they are completely different. Maris says hockey and music are intertwined within his life. "They fuel my love for one another," describes Maris. “I can't go into a hockey game without listening to music before it, and I can't be passionate about music without having something around like hockey to write about. I'm just living in the moment and having fun and doing what I am right now because I'm having a blast," explains Maris. One night it may be glove saves-the next its singing into a microphone. As long as Maris is able to live out his passions he is content.
When winter rolls around, most people try to stay indoors. But for some, that's not an option. Construction progress continues no matter what the season. "A lot of projects need to finish up, so you just go as long as you can finish what you had set up for the years," says Steve Hufnagel, construction worker. Construction workers have to spend almost their entire shift outside, sometimes in sub-zero temperatures. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, has a Cold Stress Equation. It states that at temperatures of around zero degrees, exposed skin can freeze in under a minute in even a slight breeze. Unfortunately, there's no magic method to staying warm. "No, you just gear up! You know, if you have to, you can jump in a pickup and warm up,” describes Hufnagel. But even if the workers are bundled up, their equipment might not be. At a certain point, machines refuse to work, even if people don't. "Stuff starts running really hard like 10, 15 below, you know, that's the temperature, then you got wind chill that affects it all too," explains Hufnagel. With all of the complications of the winter months, it's no question what this construction worker prefers. "But if its winter or summer, I'd take the heat over the snow anytime," adds Hufnagel. From baking in the heat to freezing in the cold, construction workers constantly feel weather's powerful grip.