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BCTF seeks input: Group wants to honor Harold Newman

The Buffalo City Tourism Foundation Grant/Executive Board met Friday, and Executive Director Searle Swedlund said he would appreciate public input for the board’s official recognition of Harold Newman.

Newman, who died at 80 at his home on Thursday, was the founder of Newman Signs and board member Beth Dewald remembered him as a very active participant in promoting Jamestown as a tourism destination.

“He was Mr. Tourism,” Dewald said. “In fact, I drove by one of his signs going, ‘Thanks, Harold.’”

Swedlund said Newman’s passing had been on his mind all morning, and invited public input to his email address,

“It’s not appropriate now, but at some point maybe to have a conversation with the family to say, ‘His legacy is here, what is the appropriate signage?’ … But I think we’ll give it some time,” he said.

The board also allocated $17,904 of its $150,000 2014 grant projects fund for the National Buffalo Museum to cover summer staffing and the White Cloud’s 18th Birthday and Tatanka Festival, a celebration of Jamestown’s famous albino buffalo.

The board also approved allocating $9,500 for staffing historical interpreters Tom and Jane Norman at the Fort Seward historical site. Dale Marks, chairman of the Fort Seward Reconstruction Committee, said he hopes to open the site to camping in the future. The Roaming Buffalo Camping Club has been the only recent campers at the Fort Seward, and Marks said the club members have done an invaluable amount of work for the site.

“They come up there and they work their tails off for us,” Marks said. “They trim trees and last summer they sealed the boardwalk. It took about 18 to 20 gallons of sealer and they did all that for us. They didn’t get it done, they ran out of sealer, and they came back the next weekend, so that was amazing work. They’re just happy to camp out there; it’s a nice quiet spot … They’re just so happy to be there.”

Marks said he would need to speak with an electrician about setting up electrical hook-ups at the site.

Marks also said he plans to have another Gatling gun demonstration this year after its successful debut during White Cloud’s birthday celebration last July. Marks said the site also had a cannon demonstration, but the Gatling gun was more fun.

“It is an awesome piece and I couldn’t feed it fast enough,” Marks said.

Swedlund also said he and the board’s administrative assistant, Cassie Theurer, had a booth at a sportsmen’s show in St. Cloud, Minn., on Feb. 7-9 and had received a positive reception. Another booth person had told him it was one of the larger turnouts in recent years.

“I felt like we had a lot of great conversations and a lot of conversations that made reference to the fact that they were surprised there are lakes in North Dakota,” Swedlund said. “Simplicity like that — and I know there’s some silliness in that comment — but we interacted in a really authentic way and people were really interested in coming to this area.”

Theurer will attend a sportsmen’s show in Sioux Falls, S.D., on behalf of the BCTF, and Swedlund plans to attend similar shows in Devils Lake and the Twin Cities.

The board also unanimously voted to add the James River Rodeo to its site advisory board which oversees capital construction projects.

Sun reporter David Luessen can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at