Perham website ignites feud over citizens monitoring teens

Though this story doesn’t have direct ties to downtown Fargo-Moorhead, it’s being published on “Doing it Downtown” because of significant public interest in the Perham parents’ methods — both in Perham and in the region. Media practitioners refer to a story of this nature as a “talker” — anybody who reads it or hears of it has something to say … an opinion to share. Fargo media and Minnesota Public Radio have covered the story also.

By Kayla Van Eps, MSUM multimedia journalism

PERHAM, Minn. — A mother’s new website,, has sparked disdain among many teens and adults.

The mom says the website is meant to help teens. In fact, her motivation was growing concern for her son.

Observe the “wild animals”: Don’t forget your camera

The original site opened Oct. 26 with this front page, along with stock photos of people peering through binoculars.

Shocking screenshots of’s original homepage.

The site urged citizens of Perham to watch teens and young adults. It encouraged them to take photographs and report back to the website with any suspicious activity they find, calling groups of teens “wild animals” and warning potential do-gooders not to approach them. Local high school students were offended by statements on the website referring to teens as “wild animals.”

Shocking screenshots of’s original homepage.

It Takes a Village website spawns counter website

Creator Holly Baker, of Perham, started the site after discovering her 16-year-old son was abusing drugs. In and out of treatment centers since he was 12, Baker struggled to find ways to help prevent her son’s behavior. Baker said breaking through her son’s secrecy was the key to finally finding a way to help him.

“We realized that the secrecy—nobody knowing his contacts and friends—was the key,” Baker said. “If we could break the secrecy, they would be afraid to be seen going to those places where they bought and/or used illegal drugs and pills. If they knew their texts and Facebook posts were watched, they wouldn’t trade pills or threaten each other’s lives on (Facebook).”

Her son is now in treatment, and Baker said according to her husband, Jeff Baker, there was a death threat posted to her son’s Facebook page by another teen who is now in treatment as well.

In turn, a website called “Perham is Safe,” was created. The creator, who recently identified herself on the site as 16-year-old Haylee Ard, posted “We are not animals. We are teenagers. We deserve privacy and freedom.” Email attempts to contact Ard were not returned. At time of publication, the site run by Ard had been taken down.

Others took to the site, calling Baker’s site “hurtful,” with one commenter posting a story claiming that an unknown woman, who threatened to report her to the police as she was walking home from school, photographed her in public.

Baker said the only negative feedback she has received about the website comes from “teens that don’t want to lose their secrecy.”

In response to teens posting that Baker is stereotyping all teens as drug users and thieves, Baker said, “Stereotyping isn’t saying all teens use drugs. Stereotyping is saying all kids that look a certain way use drugs. I fully believe that if you don’t want to be stereotyped a certain way, don’t look a certain way.”

Perham citizen James Hansen, 28, a Barrel O’ Fun employee, said he has heard mumblings about the site around town, and checked it out.

“If anyone would have put something like that up when I was in high school, I probably would have been bothered by it, too,” Hanson said. “It’s one thing to advocate against teens using drugs and alcohol, but in my opinion, asking the public to photograph teens without consent is downright creepy.”

Every quarrel must come to an end

Last week Baker changed the website content, titling it “Trading services creates good neighbors.”

The site now advocates for neighbors to help each other more by trading services like looking after a neighbors animals while they are gone, helping paint a fence or mowing a lawn.

“We haven’t had any of the public report seeing anything since the very start,” Baker said of the old site. “We don’t believe that it has caused a change. We believe that nobody truly cares enough to take a stand. Since there is more than one way to accomplish anything, the website is being changed to a website we originally wanted to create. Maybe it will help achieve what we were looking for in a roundabout way.”

The site has received a total of 3414 hits as of Dec.7, and as of that date, no one has yet posted any needs or services they could use or provide to their neighbors. Further attempts to contact Baker to follow up on the new website have gone unanswered.

Edited by Brittany Thompson, MSUM Print Journalism


Fargo-Moorhead Filipinos feed masses to raise money for Typhoon Haiyan recovery

Jessica Jasperson, MSUM Mass Communications and English

Moorhead, Minn. — After Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines on Nov. 8, members of the Fil-AmMinDak Association reacted immediately.

More than 300 families are members of the Fil-AmMinDak Association, made up of Filipino-Americans within the tri-state area of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. Two events are held throughout the year to celebrate Filipino culture with food, music, singing and dancing.

When Typhoon Haiyan hit their homeland, members organized Strength in Numbers, a spaghetti brunch to fundraise for Philippine Red Cross.



From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 16, 460 people entered the Hjemkomst Center in downtown Moorhead to support the Philippines. Businesses from the community volunteered to help immediately.

Monte’s Downtown, Reinhart Food Service and Sysco North Dakota donated the food. Johnson Brothers Liquor Company and Monte’s Downtown also donated items for a silent auction.

Volunteers from the Fil-AmMinDak Association serve spaghetti, meatballs, garlic toast and cookies donated by Monte’s Downtown.

Dizon proudly stands in front of his homeland’s flag. Dizon moved to America 25 years ago from the Philippines.

A feeling of thankfulness and hope filled the atmosphere as the Filipino-Americans served food and answered questions. Dr. Ador Dizon, president of the Fil-AmMinDak Association, said responding to Typhoon Haiyan’s devastation was an instinct.

“When we found out this is probably the strongest Typhoon that hit the world, we organized this event,” Dizon said. “We tried to spread it through websites, newspapers and also Facebook.”

Adults were charged $7 for a ticket and children 10 and under were charged $5. A total of 389 adults and 71 children attended. However, the chart below illustrates more than ticket sales make up the total of funds raise.


Strength in Numbers raises thousands of dollars

Total check donations $5,177.00
Total cash donations $1,759.66
Total ticket sales $3,379.00
Total silent auction $705.00
Check donated for Hjemkomst Center rent $435.00
Grand Total $11,455.66

Most of the families at the event did not have relatives in the parts of the Philippines hit by Typhoon Haiyan, but there are a few who are directly affected said Dizon.

“We hope that we could express our sincerity to help,” Dizon said. “We may not be able to raise a lot compared to the other events that other Filipinos are holding. But, we would like to offer our sincerest prayer and we would like to help these people as much as we could.”

The group from Grand Forks, N.D. adorned matching jackets to represent the Philippines. Dungo is the youngest of his siblings and the only family member to come to America from the Philippines. His family does not live in the path Typhoon Haiyan hit.

Matthew Dungo is one of the six Filipinos from Grand Forks, N.D. who attended Strength in Numbers. Dungo moved to Grand Forks in August 2011 from the Philippines to attend the University of North Dakota. He sees the world coming together to help during traumatizing times.

“We’re being as one,” Dungo said. “Even other countries I see on the news – several countries like Israel and the U.S. – are all giving a lot of help for our country.”

As the afternoon progressed the Fil-AmMinDak members and volunteers didn’t stop expressing their gratitude for the donators.

“We just appreciate everyone that’s here right now at the event,” Dungo said. “Every penny, every dollar donated is a very big help for the Filipino country as a whole.”

The Philippines move forward

The Philippines have a long history of tropical cyclones hitting its land and affecting its people. In 1991, Tropical Storm Thelma caused floods and killed thousands of people.

Although the shock and trauma of a natural disaster causes indescribable pain, heartache and questioning, Filipinos do not give up when it comes to rebuilding their country.

“The Filipino people in that area, especially the affected area, they’re united,” Dungo said. “They are holding hands as one.”

A family of four donates money before entering the Strength in Numbers brunch. Many donated more than the required cost for tickets.

“I know Filipinos are resilient people,” Dizon said. “They will be able to bring back things that they have lost through work and prayer.”

Organizations accepting donations for the Philippines





(Edited by Daniel Ziebol, MSUM Multimedia Journalism and Christa Schmidt, MSUM Mass Communications)


Local gamers join in on eSport trend called ‘League of Legends’

Becki DeGeest, MSUM, Multimedia Journalism

For years the world of physical sports, football, baseball, basketball, etc., has commanded the world’s attention, but now the not-so-new sport of video gaming has given a new meaning to the name of sports and continues to grow with what is eSports.

eSports is a new world of competitive gaming that transforms video games into a spectator sport for not just the players.

Games such as “League of Legends,” “Dota II” and “Starcraft” have blown open the doors of traditional online gaming, creating a new gaming community, even here in the Midwest.

Raking in millions of dollars, Riot Games, publishers of “League of Legends,” holds international tournaments where fans gather to cheer on their favorite teams, just as football or soccer fans do. In downtown Fargo, Section 9 Cyber Cafe holds eSports tournaments for local enthusiasts who watch or play. These games have also has become increasingly popular for college students in the area.

League of Legends on an international level

“League of Legends” enthusiasts gather to watch teams of five square off against each other on the big screens at the sold out Season 3 World Championship Final. The tournament was held in the Staples Center (pictured above) on Friday Oct. 4, 2013 (Photo by Mark J. Terrill, AP)

“League of Legends” is known in the industry as a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game, where five players compete against five others. At its peak, the largest live stream broadcast of an event drew more than 8.5 million fans, and a total of 1.1 million watching streams of one video at the same time. This year’s large tournament was in October and took place in L.A.’s Staples Center.

“League of Legends,” the free-to-use multiplayer pc game, has over 32 million active players and 70 million registered players according to a release done by Riot Games. Not only do they have one of the largest user bases, last year the game was recognized by the U.S. as a sport.

Erik “DoA”  Lonnquist, “League of Legends” professional commentator, in South Korea said the popularity of the sport has increased substantially and continues to grow.

“It’s exciting to see a good game really take off and do so well to help change the face of the gaming community of eSports,” he said.

Lonnquist who is originally from Dawson, Minnesota also has ties to Fargo-Moorhead, where his brother studies at Minnesota State University Moorhead. He also has a fan base and many know and have watched “DoA” commentate.

In October,, a live streaming video website, attracted over 45 million viewers, each watching, on average, 100 minutes of video a day, due to eSports. For a company that is only two-years-old, these are huge record-setting numbers.

Not only is the game gaining popularity in players and spectators, but the company has also been named as No. 3 on the list of the best medium-size places to work for in 2013, based on the great place to work evaluation service.

DoA who started commentating for “Starcraft,” realized the industry was growing further in another game, “League of Legends,” decided to switch and “try something new.”

Since the game’s beginning in 2010, the game has completely taken off, creating good jobs and making one of the most popular video games in the world. To show the popularity of this new sport look at it this way, Microsoft‘s most successful game, Halo has enjoyed more than 2 billion hours of gameplay since 2004. “League of Legends averages more than 1 billion hours of gameplay per month.

Clip from Youtube: MonteCristo & DoA: Champions of Korea

Local gamers share enthusiasm for ‘League of Legends’

The game continues to reach further and has even become popular with gamers in Fargo-Moorhead. Section 9 Cyber Café in downtown Fargo holds tournaments monthly and also offers prizes in correlation with Riot Games. The café is a place where gamers can go to play their favorite and top-rated games on up-to-date, fast-running PCs.

The last “League of Legends” tournament hosted by them on Nov. 9, proved to be a success, completely filling up in a short period. When asked about why the game has become so popular here in Fargo Stephen Sanford, co-creator and co-owner of Section 9, explains it quite simple:

“It helps that the game is free to play,” he said. “The fact that they put so much time into balancing it out is another factor. They make it so it’s competitive. It’s designed to be that way. Every character has a role that they have to fill. It could sound pretty stupid if you don’t play video games, but it’s very light-weight client, it plays off the web, so it can run on almost any computer, there’s not a whole lot of restrictions you just need a mouse, keyboard possibly a headset. It just seems to be the way sports are going, it tests your reaction time and it’s pretty much on every level of every other sport except obviously physical fitness.”

Local gamers also say that they like the game’s “learning curve,” which is another thing that brings them in on the idea that not everyone can be an expert at these games.

“I like it, because there is a lot of champions to choose from, and a lot of different characters to play from,” Justin Tenold of Fargo said. “It’s a competitive game. Sometimes the games last from 20 minutes to an hour. It’s really fun when you get to play with friends, when you get to talk to each other sometimes scream at each other”

Sanford at Section 9 says that watching the games can be “just as exciting” and many serious gamers agree that watching can help with strategy.

“If you learn the game, you definitely are going to want to watch it, even if you don’t know it,” Sanford said. “I have had people who come in here (Section 9) and we’d have big tournaments, like the LCS tournament and the world championships on, who’ve never played the games and they would get excited about it. I’m glad to watch it grow like that.”

Gamers interacting after a successful game of League of Legends at Section 9 Café.

“The best part of the game for me is playing with my friends, because we all coordinate and we all have a specific role,” said Tenold. “We usually do watch other players too, mainly to see their strategies. Sometimes you watch them and see something that you might have missed.”

At Section 9, Sanford says that eSports and “League of Legends” has helped business, saying, “It seems like we could put a tournament on every weekend and we would probably make more and more money, just because how many people would want to be in here.”

With the tremendous size of “League of Legends,” it’s hard to say where the future is going with these kinds of sports, but one thing is certain, this kind of sport is not going away.

On Nov. 29 posted this free gift to their users.

Click here to get skin

Courtesy of

No Coast sticks to tattoo traditions

Maureen McMullen, Multimedia journalism

No Coast Tattoo opened shop in Downtown Fargo last May.

Tattoos used to be an art form worn only by members of counter-cultures determined to rebel against a mainstream lifestyle, which is a nicer way of phrasing what an older relative once told me upon seeing my newly-laid ink: “In my day, the only people with tattoos were sailors and hookers!” But with tattoos leaving subcultures and appearing more often in the main stream, No Coast Tattoo sticks to its roots in a growing industry.

When No Coast Tattoo opened its doors in May, four local tattoo artists were eager to take an independent approach to their trade. Noah Kilsdonk, Brice Schneider and Tim Lund, who had worked together at 46 and 2 Tattoo, along with Lucas Stram from Addictions Tattoo keeps buzz of tattoo machines constant in Downtown Fargo’s newest tattoo shop.

Hoping to move away from working under someone else in another studios, each member of the artist-owned shop is able to maintain a degree of professional freedom.

“Why not be your own boss?” said Kilsdonk. “That’s the American dream, isn’t it?”

Tattooing transforms as an industry

Noah Kilsdonk, 33, starts a cover-up tattoo on Margot Luther, 23.

In his nine years as a tattoo artist, Kilsdonk has watched tattooing evolve as a craft and anindustry. With constant improvement in technique and ingenuity in equipment,  the possibilities in the trade continue to expand.

“I think definitely seen it become more of an art form,” said Kilsdonk. “But that could be with the progression of tattooing as an artist.”

With its growth as an art form, changes in the tattoo industry are found not only in the techniques and mastery in their application, but also in the audience on choosing to go “under the needle”.

Tattoos surface in mainstream

Once an art form appearing almost exclusively among  those considered to be social

Brice Schneider, a No Coast Tattoo artist, surrounds himself with plenty of tattoo flash at his work station.

misfits, the etched-on artwork, in the past 20 years, expands past various subcultures and found a place in the mainstream.

“It’s definitely not just the sailors and the bikers who are getting the tattoos,” said Kilsdonk. “It’s the moms and the dads and daughters, sons, doctors, lawyers…everybody.”

Kilsdonk suspects that some of the growth the tattoo industry has seen in the general population could be attributed to the commercialization of flash art (see photo gallery).  In the mid-2000’s flash art appeared more and more frequently on merchandise from widely-marketed brands such as Ed Hardy.

“They’re classical designs that had been around long before Ed Hardy tattooed or before whatever the hell that guy’s name is that monopolized those designs,” Kilsdonk said. “But he changed them to the point where it wasn’t the same thing as it started as.”

Ed Hardy brands flash art

The person that Kilsdonk is referring to is French designer Christian Audigier. In 2004, Audigier purchased licensing rights to turn the designs of Don Ed Hardy into the clothing

Christian Audigier’s line of Ed Hardy clothing mass-produced clothes featuring a variant of traditional tattoo art. Source:

brand they’re best known for.

Hardy’s designs reflected what Kilsdonk identified as “traditional” or “Americana” style; tattoo designs that elect bold linework and minimalistic lighting and shading and a style found throughout No Coast’s portfolio.

Although Hardy was a student of Sailor Jerry Collins, a tattoo artist widely credited with pioneering traditional American tattoos, some tattoo artists consider his work to be a bastardized version of the style of tattoo.

“Unfortunately with media and popularity of that Ed Hardy designs, which are classical designs that just kind of got tweaked and altered and butchered and weren’t just his designs,” said Kilsdonk.

Tattoos grapple with acceptance as an art form

Despite the growth in popularity in recent years, Kilsdonk said that tattoos still aren’t widely accepted as a form of fine art.

Customers will often commission paintings from artists such as Brice Schneider, who is finishing up framing a painting.

“I definitely think that a lot of the other, you know, classically-trained artists don’t think we’re an art form,” said Kilsdonk.

Brice Schneider, a fellow tattoo artist at No Coast, says much of the doubt of the doubt about tattoos being a fine art form stems from a regional attitude.

“You have to come from the mentality that we’re in Fargo, North Dakota,” said Schneider. “We’re a little behind in everything, not just tattoos; clothing, music…everything.”

Tattoo artists’ utilization of skin as a canvas may lead some people to disregard the trade as a refined art form. But what exactly goes into becoming a tattoo artist? Because it’s a non-traditional profession, it might be easy to underestimate the skill and training involved with a license to put permanent artwork on someone’s skin.

Training culminates lifestyle

Megan Brabec, 22, has been tattooing No Coast customers for little over a month now. Brabec began her apprenticeship at No Coast shortly before graduating from Minnesota

As an apprentice, Megan Brabec has plenty of drawing homework to hone her skills.

State University Moorhead  last year with a Fine Arts degree in painting.

“It’s fun for me because I’ve always been involved in the arts and I’ve always been involved with painting,” said Brabec. “It’s fun for me to compare the two things that I grew up doing and what I’m doing now.”

As more people began bringing their designs to Kilsdonk for references, he became both familiar and impressed with her work. While apprenticeships are often competitive and hard to come by, Brabec’s dedication to the ark set her apart.

“There’s not much room for slacking,” said Brabec. “It’s the same thing and as a fine arts artist; I don’t see a difference between the fine arts like that. I see tattooing as fine art form, but that’s always a debatable thing.”

Apprenticeships build thick skin

Tattoo apprenticeships typically take two to three years to complete, and Brabec is on her seventh month. Initially, her role as shop apprentice mostly involved drawing, cleaning, and enduring plenty of guff from your mentors.

No Coast Tattoo artist Tim Lund supervises Megan Brabec as she begins a rose design she drew earlier in the day.

“You want to start from the beginning and work your way up from drawing to cleaning toilets and doing run-of-the-mill stuff which develops you as a person in this industry,” said Kilsdonk. “Yeah, I’m going to yell at the apprentice once or twice; if they don’t listen to my demands, they’re not going to listen to a customer’s demands.”

Though tattoo apprentices often find themselves at the butt of the shop’s jokes, Brabec said that it’s mostly light-hearted banter.

“They’re not bullies to me or anything like that,” said Brabec. “You get a lot of shit to build up a thicker skin; it’s all just keeping in mind that this is short-term, and this is the way an apprenticeship goes.”

 Edited by Madalyn Laske, MSUM Multimedia Journalism major


Doing the holidays downtown

Meredith Wathne, MSUM Multimedia Journalism and Integrated Advertising/Public Relations

It’s the holiday season, and that means the allure and charm of downtown increases that much more. There are plenty of fun events taking place for the whole family to enjoy.

Nov. 26 – Holiday Lights Parade

One of the downtown holiday season staples is the Xcel Energy Holiday Lights Parade. This year, the parade’s theme is “Olde Fashion Holidays.” Last year’s float winner, Moore Engineering, Inc., is competing for the title again this season. According to the events official media release, Moore Engineering is as excited as ever because preparing for this event has become a tradition in the office.

A photo from last year’s Holiday Lights Parade. Photo courtesy of

This event is a tradition for many local businesses and families in the area.

“My family and I have attended the Holiday Lights Parade for as long as I can remember,” said Nate Gilbraith, MSUM sophomore and Harwood, N.D. native. “I don’t remember why we went the first time, but it’s become a family tradition. So it’s a must each year. No matter how cold it gets, we always manage by bundling up in a few extra layers or by purchasing hot chocolate at Atomic.”

Nov. 28 – Thanksgiving Day “Huffin for Stuffin”

The “Huffin for Stuffin” Thanksgiving Day 5K & 10K will kick off at 8:30 a.m. in front of the YMCA on First Ave. S. on Thanksgiving morning. The YMCA of Cass and Clay Counties, Sun Mart Foods and SoleMOTION Race Management sponsor the event. The sponsors plan to host the event annually.

Logo courtesy of

Register here

Nov. 30 – Small Business Saturday

Black Friday, considered somewhat of a “Hallmark Holiday” is the chaotic, mind-blowing shopping frenzy where corporations make bank and shoppers snag the best deals. However, the following day, Small Business Saturday, also provides many deals for customers, while boosting the small business community and society as a whole.

“I like to support small businesses in our local area,” Bernadette McKenna of Moorhead said. “I also like that you get unique options. I usually go to clothing stores and I like that you know you bought something not everyone owns.”

This year in downtown Fargo there are 37 businesses participating in Small Business Saturday, ranging from Nichole’s Fine Pastry, 13 Eighth St. S.; the Plains Art Museum, 704 First Ave. N.; and Proper & Prim, 315 Broadway N.

A full list of participating businesses can be found here.

Dec. 5 and 6 – NDSU Holiday Art Sale

North Dakota State University art students are selling their creations just in time for the holiday season at the NDSU Holiday Art Sale. The event takes place from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Dec. 5 and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Dec. 6 at NDSU Renaissance Hall, 650 NP Ave. N.

Students throughout the art department participate in the sale, and some professors even require their students to sell a piece or two. Katie Laubenstein, an art senior at NDSU, said the types of art for sale will vary from paintings, ceramics, drawings, etc.; it’s up to the artist what they want to put in the show.

“It’s definitely a good place to go if you want to buy a unique gift for a loved one or yourself,” she said.

Dec. 7 – The Grinch stole Christmas and put it downtown

On Sat. Dec. 7, downtown Fargo will be filled with family fun for “The Grinch Stole Christmas and Put it Downtown” event. Throughout the day there will be wagon rides, holiday singing and the Grinch will even be out and about to take pictures with kids.

A photo from last year’s “The Grinch Stole Christmas and Put It Downtown.” Photo courtesy of

The wagon ride pickup is located at the U.S. Bank Plaza, 505 Second Ave. N.

Dec. 14 – Stocking stuffer shopping spree

Head to the participating downtown locations and pick up all the stocking stuffer gifts you need for this holiday season. Also take part in the Passport Game to win gift cards to downtown businesses.

A list of participating businesses can be found here.

Dec. 19 – Last minute shopping night. Only five shopping days till Christmas!

With only six days left before Christmas, get all your last minute holiday shopping done downtown at the participating businesses. All the shops will be open late with holiday specials.

A full list of participating businesses can be found here.


Logo courtesy of

Dec. 19 – The Blenders at the Fargo Theatre

The well known a capella group, The Blenders, return to the Fargo Theatre for their holiday tour at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 19. The Blenders are originally from Fargo, but they now call Minneapolis their home and have been touring for nearly 25 years.

The Blenders. Photo courtesy of

If you’re not already a fan, you will be after watching this video.


Even if you don’t head downtown for one the special events, take a walk on a nice evening or hit up one of the various restaurants. The trees are adorned with lights, many establishments have holiday decorations up and the giddy feeling the season brings has taken over. It really is the most wonderful time of the year!

(Edited by Becki DeGeest, MSUM Multimedia Journalism and Jessica Jasperson, MSUM Mass Communications and English)