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Associated Press, Published July 24 2009

Northwood school dedication part of town's 125th celebration

The dedication of the new Northwood Public School and a new Northwood Veterans Memorial will highlight this weekend’s 125th anniversary of Northwood, N.D., which was devastated by a tornado less than two years ago.

The new $13 million school will be dedicated at 6 p.m. It represents the largest community accomplishment in the two-year tornado recovery.

Gov. John Hoeven, Sen. Kent Conrad and Sen. Byron Dorgan will speak at the ceremony.

The event will be preceded by a light meal at 5 p.m., provided by Northwood-area banks.

School tours will be available following the dedication ceremony until 7:30 p.m. and a softball game between the Northwood and Hatton School staffs will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the D.L. Campbell Park.

“Northwood was hit by a devastating tornado two years ago, but I’ve been inspired again and again by the resolve this community has shown,” Dorgan said. “The opening of the new Northwood Public School will be another big step forward, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

The tornado killed one man, injured about 17, and wrecked much of the town, including many main drag buildings and many homes, including gutting two small mobile home parks, doing hundreds of millions of dollars damage. Northwood, in southwestern Grand Forks County, has about 1,000 residents.

For the past two school years, Northwood students, teachers and administrators have commuted to nearby Hatton, N.D., where they shared classroom and other facilities with Hatton Public School. Northwood’s Class of 2009, with 24 students, graduated May 24 at the first event in the new school.

Northwood Public School had a K-12 enrollment of 214 this past year. Hatton's K-12 en-rollment was 203, with 20 graduates.

The new Northwood Veterans Memorial will be dedicated at 3 p.m. Saturday at Centennial Park in downtown Northwood.

World War II veterans, who will sit in the first two rows at the dedication, will be recognized during the ceremony.

The Veterans Memorial had been planned a few years ago. However, the three shelters in which it would have been located were destroyed in the tornado.

The 188th Army Brass Quintet Band will provide music. Sen. Conrad will be the guest speaker.

The Northwood Lions Club will serve a picnic following the dedication program in the same area.

The community meals Friday and Saturday are being sponsored by Alerus Financial, American Federal Bank, Citizens Community Credit Union, Citizens State Bank, and McVille State Bank.

Other major events include A Kiddie Parade at 10:30 a.m. and a Community Parade at 11 a.m. Saturday, a Demolition Derby at 1:30 p.m. Saturday and a dance, featuring Kid Holly-wood, at the Northwood Fire Department at 9 p.m. Saturday.

The restored Northwood Pioneer Museum, which sustained heavy damage in the tornado, will be open from 2 to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Event organizers say this year’s celebration, which coincides with the community’s 25th Annual Old-Fashioned Saturday, is the kick-off for a year-long celebration that will culmi-nate in the Northwood All-School Reunion and 126th Celebration July 22-25, 2010.

Reach Bonham at (701) 780-1110; (800) 477-6572, ext. 110; or send e-mail to kbon-ham@gfherald.com.