Ben Frericks’ wall

“The first time I toured here and saw the rock wall, I knew that was the one thing that I would be doing to keep me active throughout college,” recalls Minnesota State University Moorhead sophomore Ben Frericks. This is his second year of wall climbing and that has prompted him to start looking into places where he could do some real outdoor climbing. In the meantime, he will soon get certified as a belay instructor to teach people how to use the top rope wall where ropes are used in climbing. Besides the 4-rope wall at the MSUM facility, there is also a 15-feet high bouldering wall where climbers scale the wall using only their hands and feet. “Pieces of colored tape are used to define a certain route to the top with different degrees of difficulty to challenge yourself more,” he explains while talking about the walls. “I climb four or five days a week,” says Frericks. “I climbed to the top of the (27-feet high) rope wall 100 times in one day last year,” he adds. Dave Wallis / The Forum

Greg Breining’s stories

Greg Breining reads from his book, “A Hard Water World: Ice Fishing and Why We Do it”, as the winter wind whistles through the door Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012, in the Barnesville (Minn.) library. He was on his last of a three-day tour of eight branches of the Lake Agassiz Regional Library to talk about ice fishing as well as touch on his earlier books including “Return of the Eagle: How America Saved Its National Symbol”, ” Super Volcano: The Ticking Time Bomb Beneath Yellowstone National Park” and ” Paddle North: Canoeing the Boundary Waters – Quetico Wilderness”. Breining says he has written, “somewhat over a dozen [books]. I get confused because a couple of them I co-authored.” When pressed, he says, “It’s about 14.” Most of them are about outdoors sports in Minnesota or Lake Superior. Yet Breining likes to keep his equipment to a minimum. “I like being out there so much more than I like investing in gear,” he said. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

Ricky Trappen’s fitness

Fitness is not just a way to make a living for Ricky Trappen. It’s a way of life.  The 26-year-old Fargo man has been going to the gym and lifting weights since he was 14, and now serves as the district manager of personal training for Anytime Fitness.   “I started in school for engineering and ended up working in a gym. While there I helped someone go from 240 pounds to 170 and I thought it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve done,” Trappen said. “I transferred from engineering in Wahpeton to exercise science at North Dakota State University and I’ve never looked back.”  Trappen stresses to clients the importance of cardio, strength training and nutrition.  “Any good fitness program will include all three of these things,” he said. “The most joy I can get other than people getting into shape is the time in the gym I get 100 percent by myself.”  Trappen has competed in body building, racing and power lifting.  “The gym’s always been one of those places where I’ve felt extremely comfortable,” he said. “It’s just you and the weights. There’s something about that I’ve always loved.” Carrie Snyder / The Forum

Jena Malquist’s sign

The countdown to Frisco, Texas, is on for North Dakota State University fans from Fargo like 2008 graduate Jena Malquist. The Interior Design major used her talents to make a holiday “Go Bison” display that all football fans can appreciate at her home along 7th Ave. N. in Fargo. “I knew I wanted to put Christmas lights up and support the Bison, so I just drew it up and had a friend help me put it together. It took about six hours for us to create it,” Malquist said. Rope lights, a grid and a little work were the perfect combination for her first time hanging up Christmas lights. ” A lot of people love it. They honk their horns when they drive by and I’ve had people stop by and take pictures, so it has gotten some attention,” she said with a smile. That attention will be focused on the Bison when they face Sam Houston State in the title game. Malmquist attended the Gopher game in Minneapolis and the playoff games at the Fargodome and will be watching from home this Saturday. “Let’s beat the Bearkats.” David Samson / The Forum

Frank Jirik’s origami

After a high school student introduced him last year to origami, the traditional Japanese art of folding paper, Frank Jirik, 9, of Fargo, wanted to find out more about it. He turned to YouTube to find videos for instructions and ideas. He first made a heart out of a dollar bill. “I can make a crane in about a minute (with one piece of paper),” he says adding that the hardest piece he made used 30 pieces of paper and took about an hour to make. “A lot of things are made out of triangles,” he explains. The shapes of paper are then inserted into the other pieces. There is no glue or tape used in any of the pieces. “I try to invent shapes, but I’m not too good at that,” he tells modestly. Last year, he made pieces for his Bennett Elementary School classmates as gifts several times. He says he plans on doing the same for his 21 classmates this year too. (The Moorhead Public Library has started an origami club that meets monthly.)
Dave Wallis / The Forum

Carl Oltvedt’s art

Carl Oltvedt stands with his watercolor “Autumn Walk” during the reception for his “Oltvedt’s on Eighth” exhibit Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011, in Nichole’s Fine Pastry in downtown Fargo, N.D. Oltvedt likes to paint outdoors; what he calls “plain air” work. “When I go to the North Shore, for example, most of the work I do is outside unless it rains and then I might use digital photographs as reference in the cabin I rent,” he says. “But most of the time, I’m able to work outdoors the whole time I’m there. That’s what I do around here too.” This piece painted at Buffalo River is an example of that. Oltvedt says that when he paints outdoors, “You can watch the light change. Things become enhanced that weren’t at first.” Though Oltvedt primarily paints during the summer and on weekends, he spends most of the school year teaching at Minnesota State University Moorhead where he heads the drawing program. “When I was a student, I always respected the teachers who I knew were working more than I did those who weren’t because they weren’t showing the commitment to it over time. I think that’s really important and I’m driven to do it. It’s my life’s passion. So I’m engaged. I’m thinking about it all the time.” Oltvedt’s work will be on display through Jan. 28. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

Julianne Canning’s cats

Julianne Canning is all about socializing — with cats, that is. The Fargo woman serves as the Volunteer Coordinator for the F-M Humane Society and also volunteers socializing with the cats and kittens.  “It’s a fancy way to say we play with the cats and give them lots of love and attention,” Canning said. “Some of these animals have had a traumatic start to life. We’re trying to turn it around for them.” Canning averages five to six hours a week filling in where she is needed playing with, holding and brushing the cats and kittens who are waiting to be adopted. “It’s pretty simple, but it gives me a lot of joy and I get that instant reward,” said Canning, who began volunteering about eight years ago. “They definitely tell you thank you right away.” Carrie Snyder / The Forum

Tom Steele’s poinsettias

“In the spring there are a lot of people here, but right now there’s nobody here but me,” says Tom Steele, a 39-year employee at Shotwell Floral and Greenhouses in Fargo as he is surrounded by a thousand bright red poinsettia plants which are one of the traditional and most popular holiday flowers. “Red is still the primary color,” he says of the 85% in that color. “We also have some white, pink, burgundy and marble ones,” he adds. The plants have been there since the first part of November. “We finish them here with water and fertilizer. That’s about it,” and further explains, “You have to make sure they don’t get any extra light at night. The reason they turn colors is when they start getting over 12 hours of darkness a night. If you have them in a home and turn the lights on, they’ll revert back to green. They need over 12 hours to turn colors.” As far as the proper pronunciation, “poinsetta” or “poinsettia”, Paul Ecke, or Mr. Poinsettia as he was called, (a man who helped revolutionize the way the plants are bred, produced and sold) said either pronunciation is fine.”
Dave Wallis / The Forum

Nicoln Aladin’s feast

Nicoln Aladin, treasurer of the Tri City Haitian Ministry and food pantry distributor, checks the temperature of a Thanksgiving Day turkey she is cooking in the church kitchen for a community-wide meal in celebration of the holiday. She volunteers to coordinate roughly 40 food baskets given out each Monday afternoon at the church as well as serving a hot meal there twice a month. Aladin, an 11-year resident of Fargo, says, “We are a minority here, but we want to serve everyone. It doesn’t matter if you are Haitian or American, whoever shows up gets served.” This meal includes traditional Haitian rice and beans roast chicken and beet salad, but also local staples of mashed potatoes, brownies and spaghetti for any North Dakota State University students who might arrive for the church’s fifth-annual Thanksgiving Day meal. Members of the church feel thankful to be in Fargo and are eager to share their good fortune with others. They will serve another community-wide meal at midnight Christmas.  Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

Kyle Roth and Nick Gonderinger’s cheer

Two fellows never looked this good in yellow. North Dakota State University seniors Kyle Roth and Nick Gonderinger spend hours along the sidelines of games as this year’s student yell leaders at NDSU. “The idea is we are charged with rallying the students with a bit more rambunctious fashion than the cheerleaders would do,” Roth said. “It’s a cross between a rowdy college student and a cheerleader,” Gonderinger said. The two men work with the dance and cheer teams along with the mascot, Thundar, at the football and basketball games getting student section involved in positive cheers. Their goal is to increase attendance at games and push students away from negative chants. Roth and Gonderinger auditioned for the part in front of a panel of judges and were awarded the position along with sideline passes to the games and $750-per-semester scholarships. “It’s almost a little bit overwhelming. You get 20,000 people in the Fargodome and there we are trying to get them excited,” Roth said. “If we can help them [the team] win in any way, then it’s mission accomplished.”  NDSU will be recruiting for new yell leaders for the spring semester on Nov. 28 and 29. Students can get an application at Carrie Snyder / The Forum