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Forest River Farmers Elevator prepared for early harvest

FOREST RIVER -- A gentle rain perked up some thirsty crops Friday, as staff at Forest River Farmers Elevator prepared for what should be one of the earliest harvests on record.

"It's a gorgeous rain," said Office Manager Pam Jallo of the 1-inch soaking.

They're ready for harvest, which is just weeks away, despite a massive fire last fall that destroyed the offices and main storage bins at the century-old community landmark, and despite a 360,000-bushel elevator reconstruction project that will not be completed until January.

The farmer-owned cooperative didn't flinch after the fire, setting up a temporary office in town and the board voting almost immediately to rebuild.

"Farmers in the area are very loyal to the organization," Sam Mondry, board president, said this past week. "We had the backing of the community. That's the way small communities are."

The construction is sparking a renewed sense of optimism in this Walsh County community of 125 that will mark its 125th anniversary Friday.

On Thursday, alumni of Midway Public School will gather for an all-school reunion at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks to mark the 50th anniversary of the school's first high school graduation. The school was the result of consolidation among Forest River, Gilby, Inkster, Johnston and nearly two dozen other small school districts in the area.