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North Dakota Skydiving legend's legacy lives on in the sky

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North Dakota Skydiving legend's legacy lives on in the sky


WEST FARGO — When the weather is clear, you’ll likely see the majestic sight of skydivers soaring over West Fargo. It’s all thanks to one man, Donald Solberg, and his passion for growing the sport in North Dakota.

As the propellers turn at the West Fargo Airport, a group of thrill seekers prepare to do something many refuse to do.

“He felt like everybody should have an opportunity to skydive if they wanted to. And I think if he was standing here today, he’d be so proud of what his legacy is bringing,” said Megean Solberg.

These brave souls are taking advantage of a vision from Donald Solberg.

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“Thirty years ago, he was one of the founding members. He also was just extremely into skydiving. He thought everybody should be able to do a skydive. Just super passionate about the whole skydiving in the skydiving community,” said President of Skydive Fargo Craig Graf.

Donald Solberg passed away earlier this year after a battle with vascular Parkinson’s. That’s when his daughter created a legacy foundation in his honor, granting one person a year the opportunity to feel the thrill he felt thousands of times. The first recipient was an anxious Lindsey Larsen.

“I was really nervous once I started driving down the gravel road and my heart started to pound. So, I’m extremely nervous,” she said.

It’s a bucket list opportunity for Lindsey, who grew up just down the road from the airport. Her unique encounter with Don Solberg, and a gold-plated Mickey Mouse Watch decades ago, made this opportunity so much sweeter.

“And Don was literally walking the ditches and into the field like just constant back and forth. So I stopped to ask him what he was doing, and he said he had lost a watch while skydiving, so I stopped to assist, to try to look for this watch in a field. I remembered who he was, because I remember that day really, really well,” said Larsen.

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The watch was never found. But, after a bout with Mother Nature, they think Don Solberg may have had something to do with the skies clearing at dusk.

“When you’re at 10,000 to 12,000 feet and, you know, you’re getting ready to jump out or you look out, it doesn’t really look real, you know? It’s just, you can’t really pick out individual cars or anything. You can see the city of Fargo. You can see Mapleton. It’s really a peaceful thing,” Graf said.

As Larsen soars through the air, a lasting memory is created in honor of Don Solberg.

“That was actually incredible,” Larsen said after landing.

The Donald J. Solberg North Dakota Legacy Skydiving Foundation takes applications in April for their annual skydive. More information can be found on the Skydive Fargo

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Sam Goetzinger joined WDAY News as a reporter and anchor in 2022 after graduating from St. Cloud State University. Sam worked alongside his Dad in the radio industry for 10 years in his hometown of New Prague, Minnesota before heading off to college. Along with his news responsibilities, Sam also handles play-by-play duties for North Dakota and Minnesota high school athletics.

Reach Sam at sgoetzinger@wday.com or follow him on X.





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North Dakota

Deion Sanders upset over North Dakota State: ‘Couldn’t you have given me a layup?’

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Deion Sanders upset over North Dakota State: ‘Couldn’t you have given me a layup?’


When Deion Sanders took the main stage at the Big 12 Media Days, most in attendance were expecting fireworks, or at least that he would be in his element. What we got played a lot more like a political ‘stump speech’. They don’t work in the modern technological age because everyone hears everything and has access to everything they’ve ever wanted.

There was very little we hadn’t heard before. Pumping up the bosses above him (Rick George and Brett Yormark), along with loving up more tenured coaches (Gus Malzahn, Mike Gundy, Joey Maguire). Mentions of games they have on the schedule that are already sold out. Listing academic achievements due to his “we have to win in all things” narrative. The economic impact of Prime on Boulder. Relatively early on in the main stage press conference, Sanders gaves us an out of character gem regarding playing North Dakota State University to open the season. “I’m mad at Rick George for scheduling them first, couldn’t you have given me a layup?”

It is a funny line and a very Coach Prime like response, conceptually speaking. However, take a step back from it and zoom out. What is the one thing that for the most part supersedes anything else Coach Prime says publicly? “We will compete in all things”. Every message Prime gives the team that the public sees is about competing.

Not caring if you’re playing Colorado State or Oregon. Every message is about competing. Even Prime’s statement about “We have to win in all things” is deeply rooted in competition. He has even described ‘winning’ in the classroom as something that comes from competing there as well.

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Two months ago, someone in Deion Sanders’ inner circle did an interview with the only outlet you’re likely to see that person guest appear on. They addressed the question of why did Dylan Edwards choose to transfer out of Colorado? That ‘insider’ quickly moved to criticizing Edwards’ desire to compete. He said, “It’s just a red flag to college football, there are people who just don’t want to compete….he left camp because someone was coming in.” That comment was not well received by the players on the roster, all of which would likely stand up to defend Edwards in the face of those comments. As one player told me directly, “That pissed everyone off, competing is the last thing you need to worry about when it comes to Dylan Edwards.”

CSU’s Jay Norvell says “no feelings” for Deion Sanders after history of family feud

If anything is hardwired into Coach Prime’s Buffaloes, it would be that everyone competes all the time. In what realm of possibility would that suggest wanting a cake game or a layup in Week 1? Based on a long track record of preaching competition, there is nothing to suggest that this program would even invite cake games, which quite possibly is the biggest issue facing the ‘product’ of college football.

No one wants to see an SEC team play any lower-level FCS team. This is exactly why the North Dakota at CU game is so interesting. It’s not a cake game and it’s certainly not a layup. There is a reason why Power Four teams have avoided scheduling NDSU. Which is why this feels so strange coming from Coach Prime. If the Buffaloes go out and beat the NDSU Bison in Week 1, it will loosen the scrutiny for a bit. It will also have the national media and fans feeling optimistic about how the rest of this goes. Is that not what the expectation should be by the man who came into Boulder and changed the standard almost overnight?

Now, Prime did circle back and say what we initially expected. They are excited for that matchup and they respect that program very much. Every player and coach in that locker room should be looking forward to the opportunity to beat NDSU and should be preparing accordingly. Which is what everyone should assume they are doing. Doesn’t change the fact that hearing Coach Prime wanting a layup seemed about as logical for Prime as watching Presidential candidates argue about their golf game on a nationally televised debate. In other words, it seemed completely out of character or out of place.

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84,000 gallons of oil spilled in western North Dakota

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84,000 gallons of oil spilled in western North Dakota


BISMARCK — Around 84,000 gallons of crude oil spilled out from a storage tank into a secondary containment area near the storage site, according to a release from the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality.

Savage Services Corporation’s spill occurred on Thursday, July 11, 6 miles southwest of Trenton, according to the release. Trenton is roughly 14 miles southwest of Williston.

“Currently, there is no known impact to waters of the state,” the release said.

State employees from Environmental Quality are monitoring the investigation and remediation, the release said, as well as helping the “responsible party” clean up the spill.

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“Federal and state laws require operators to report the spillage of any materials that may pollute water, air or soil,” the release said.

Those looking for more information about North Dakota’s Unified Spill Reporting System notifications and the public access tool should visit

spill.nd.gov

.

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of “staff.” Often, the “staff” byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.

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Friday afternoon crash on Interstate 29 slows traffic

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Friday afternoon crash on Interstate 29 slows traffic


THOMPSON, N.D. — A crash on Interstate 29 south of Grand Forks caused a reduction in lanes and affected traffic for approximately three hours.

The incident occurred at approximately 2:30 p.m. on Friday, July 12, on the southbound lane of I-29 just outside of Thompson.

It involved a 2020 International truck with flatbed trailer, driven by Vaughn Cormie, 57, of Winnipeg, and a 2010 Freightliner truck driven by Daniel Yakubco, 62, of Bismarck.

According to a North Dakota Highway Patrol report, “Cormie was driving the International south on Interstate 29. Yakubco was driving the Freightliner south as part of a roadway stripe painting convoy, exiting southbound Interstate 29 at Exit 130. Cormie failed to recognize the Freightliner ahead was moving more slowly, and the International rear-ended the Freightliner. The International came to rest on the shoulder, but the Freightliner came to rest in the right-hand lane of southbound traffic.”

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Cormie was charged with failure to maintain control-distracted driving.

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of “staff.” Often, the “staff” byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.





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