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After fire, historians' work to preserve Oakes Times is a silver lining

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OAKES, N.D. - The State Fire Marshal's office was in Oakes, N.D. Monday, Feb. 26, sifting through the remains of the Oakes Times newspaper building.

Fire over the weekend destroyed everything, including archives going back to 1904. Nobody was injured, but so much was lost.

However, there is a silver lining, thanks to volunteers at the museum in Oakes.

Mary Ann Kunrath and Lane Bredeson were back at it Monday, scanning and digitizing decades of the Oakes Times.

"So this is our 1904, Oakes Republican, the first newspaper in Oakes. And it is in such great shape for its age," said Lane Bredeson, Dickey County Historical Society.

The two are quite the Dickey County Historical Society team.

Mary Ann and Lane have spent the last three years digitizing the Oakes Times, and good thing. The fire over the weekend, claimed more than a century of newspapers.

"I was horrified, I thought, not the Oakes Times," said Mary Ann Kunrath, Dickey County Historical Society.

And you talk about history that is now documented, Mary Ann has read it all.

"That was 1800's, a guy was shot off his horse. It told the whole story," said Kunrath.

And from years ago, an epidemic swept through Oakes.

"Family of eight, they died of Diptheria. Seven kids in just a few days," said Kunrath.

Mary Ann and Lane knew the loss was great, but also understood their role of saving history, was never more important.

"You need to keep up with history, makes me mad when you throw out things. History needs to be remembered, I guess I am going to be history soon, I am getting so old," said Kunrath.

As investigators looked for answers to the fire, the newspaper vows it will not miss a deadline. The "Oakes Times" for the week will be printed Wednesday and delivered to homes in Dickey County Thursday.

They've never missed a deadline in more than a century.

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