Jamie Zins

Reduce, reuse, recycle. It’s a public awareness campaign every ‘90s kids will remember. But for Jamie Zins, it’s more than a slogan: It’s a way of life.

His resourceful nature is on full display in McKenzie, where he’s given new life to the former school building. Years ago, 207 A Street is where Jamie Zins learned his ABCs and 123s. Today, the former schoolhouse is the home of his business, Jamie Zins Woodworking.

downtown Oakes

It’s National Co-op Month! A time to celebrate cooperatives and their role in shaping and supporting the communities where we live, work and play.

While cooperatives operate in many industries and sectors of the economy, seven cooperative principles set them apart from other businesses: voluntary and open membership; democratic member control; members’ economic participation; autonomy and independence; education, training and information; cooperation among cooperatives; and concern for community.


Expanding on its efforts to improve rural food access, the North Dakota Rural Electric Cooperative Foundation is leading a feasibility study to explore the benefits of a nonprofit warehousing system.

“North Dakota is lacking in warehouse capacity, especially in rural areas. Warehouses tend to be one of the most ignored elements of infrastructure and logistics, but they are fundamentally important,” says Lori Capouch, rural development director, North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives.


It’s a Friday afternoon, and Brooke Hilzendeger plops a heavy bag on the dirt floor of the Lineworker Training Center in Mandan, kicking up a trail of dust. She opens it and pulls out climbing boots, a body belt, a pole strap, gloves and a hard hat. These aren’t the items most people would expect to find in a woman’s bag, but for those who know Hilzendeger, a 29-year-old single mom and self-proclaimed tomboy, it comes as no surprise.

North Dakota’s Youth Tour delegation visits the White House.

Alliana Freund was sitting in her junior history class when she got the news. She was going on the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour.

“Someone from the co-op emailed me,” Freund recalls. “I let out a little scream, and then my classmates knew. I was very excited.”

In a few short months, Freund would embark on the trip of a lifetime, courtesy of her local electric cooperative, Northern Plains Electric Cooperative.

Spirit Lake Food Distribution Program Director Mary Greene Trottier (right) and Nutrition Educator Mattie Merrik (left) stand behind a portable cooking station. These stations are used to provide free cooking lessons to students and clients of the food distribution program. PHOTOS BY NDAREC/KRISTA RAUSCH

A new project on the Spirit Lake Reservation is connecting the Dakota people with their cultural heritage, while tackling the issue of food insecurity.

Construction of a new indoor gardening center is underway at the Spirit Lake Food Distribution building. Once completed, the gardening center will provide more than 1,000 tribal members with access to fresh, locally sourced food year-round, in addition to providing skilled jobs on the reservation.

A N.D. Department of Health employee pours dry ice into a shipper, which is used to transport COVID-19 vaccines. Photo courtesy N.D. Department of Health

“The majority of CO2 is used for water treatment or the restaurant and beverage industry. All of the fountain pop machines that you see at restaurants, gas stations, bars – they all use CO2 to give it the fizz. Water treatment plants use CO2 to help control the pH of the water,” says Chet Karsnia, AWG’s vice president of sales.

But, as COVID-19 ravaged the world, a new need emerged.