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Kevin Bonham, Forum Communications Co., Published April 06 2012

Devils Lake flooding focus of TV special on Prairie Public

GRAND FORKS – Prairie Public Television will air a 30-minute special program this month about the nearly two-decade-old flood in the Devils Lake Basin.

“Mother Nature in Charge: Devils Lake Life Stories” will air at 8 p.m. April 17.

The program, which was produced by Prairie Public for the Devils Lake Basin Joint Water Resource District, features several Devils Lake-area residents who have affected by the flood.

“It’s very well done, very emotional,” said Jeff Frith, DLBJWRD manager.

A free public screening will be held at 7 p.m. April 12 at Lake Region State College in Devils Lake.

In a promo, Prairie Public TV described the special program: “‘Mother Nature in Charge: Devils Lake Life Stories’ examines the plight of the area’s frustrated residents, including horse farm owner Tammy Tollefson, whose only access in and out of her property is a duck boat, and Dan Webster, a farmer who has already had to burn one farm to the ground and is trying to keep his operation above water, so to speak.”

Besides the April 17 program, Prairie Public officials hope to air a follow-up, 60-minute special in the fall that will focus on flood issues, including controversy over the government’s response to the flooding, according to Associate Producer Matt Olien.

“I think the level of anger is pretty high up there,” he said. “They want answers. They want solutions.”

The two programs will cost an estimated $140,000, according to Frith. The DLBJWRD is raising $60,000 of that total. About 55 people and organizations have contributed, with donations ranging from $25 to $5,000.

Bonham writes for the Grand Forks Herald.