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City honors National History Day winners

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Dickinson Middle School students (from left) Abby Lange, Elizabeth Keele, Rylee Davis and Sami Ficek were honored by City Commissioners Tuesday for their projects, which won awards at the National History Day national event held at University of Maryland in June. (Brandon L. Summers / The Dickinson Press)

Four Dickinson Middle School students in June won awards for history projects at the National History Day national event held at University of Maryland.

Students Abby Lange, Elizabeth Keele, Rylee Davis and Sami Ficek were honored by Dickinson City Commissioners Tuesday for their efforts.

"It was a really great experience and a learning opportunity for all of us," Mitch Meier, DMS teacher, said. "I hope to continue developing it, and when we have eager students like this it's really easy to do that."

The event's theme this year was "From Triumph to Tragedy."

Lange and Keele did their historical exhibit on Stephen Hawking.

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"We started the project thinking his (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) was his tragedy," Lange said, "and we went on to realize that it was his lack of motivation and he triumphed through life with his ALS."

Davis and Ficke did their exhibit on the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.

"We thought the tragedy was that they had all these innocent people they thought were witches," Davis said, "and the triumph was that we can learn from this incident that, just because people are different, you don't have to accuse them or kill them."

The class projects went from regionals, which were held at Dickinson Middle School this year, to the state competition, held at Bismarck's Heritage Center.

"There are categories everybody can choose, so this is the exhibit category they both did," he said. "(Judges) take the top two from each category."

North Dakota is new to program compared to other states, Meier said.

Mayor Scott Decker applauded the students for their achievement.

"Anytime you can look back at history, like you young ladies did, and see exactly how we can learn from the past and learn from people... even with the Salem Witch Trials," he said. "It is a tragedy what happened to those individuals, but it did help move justice forward in different directions in the United States, with due process rather than a witch trial."

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In other business:

Commissioners approved a contract for transporting recyclable materials.

The city sends plastics collected from residential homeowners to Dem-Con Materials Recovery in Shakopee, Minn., where it is made into, among other things, plastic furniture.

"Our current contract expires Sept. 30," Solid Waste Manager Aaron Praus said. "Dem-Con was willing to renew at a much higher rate, $700 more than we are currently paying, at $2,700, so that's what drove us to go out for a request for proposals."

The city received two bids, including one from a Dickinson-based company.

Minnesota-based Tracker Manager was approved at $2,275 per load.

The company currently transports Dickinson's materials as a subcontractor for Dem-Con.

The new contract will be for two years, with the option to renew an additional three years.

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"That's so we stay in line with our contract we have with Dem-Con," Praus said. "We have two years left with this material recovery facility. If we choose to go to a different location, we can negotiate that contract at that point."

Dickinson sends out roughly 75 loads per year.

"We're looking at about $175,000 for the year," Praus said. "Going into 2020 budget, we put $150,000 per year, but with approval of the new recycling trailers, which are in the process of getting designed and built right now, we're hoping those 75 trips we're making drop down to 60, 65 trips."

The department will have the contract ready by Aug. 20 to take effect on Oct. 1.

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