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First sets of 'Do Good' finalists announced

Mitchell Telecom's Project: Do Good -- which aims to make the Mitchell community a better place to live, work and play through funding great ideas -- announced finalists in the Live and Play categories this week.

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About 50 submissions were received in the two categories over the course of the summer and resulted in 14 finalists.

There were a total of six finalists in Project: Do Good's Live category, which makes funding available for ideas that improve Mitchell's quality of life. The ideas chosen represent projects that range in their community impact from making Mitchell a prettier place, to improving parks, to helping families touched by tragedy.

From more than 30 submissions in the Play category, which offers funding for ideas impacting Mitchell's youth, eight finalists have been selected. These submissions cover ideas ranging from additional classroom tools, to new programs for our youth, to an artist in residence workshop.

Each category pledges $7,500 in funding for the ideas and a single submission can win up to $5,000. The selection committees will be interviewing these finalists over the next two week to determine winners and the award amounts. Those winners will be announced at an event on Sept. 30.

Live category finalists:

• Becky Roth/L.B. Williams, Improving first impressions for the Mitchell community: "The customized learning classes at LBQ (fifth grade, Mrs. Morgan, and first-second grade, Mrs. Aslesen) are focusing on problem-based learning this year. The task at hand is to solve a real-life problem. The problem issues this year are first impressions. We want to improve our first impressions that we make as a student, a school and a community. Throughout this year the students will be brainstorming ways to improve our community. The students will be researching other communities to evaluate their first impression of that community. A variety of subject areas will be integrated into the "First Impression" problem the students will be working throughout the school year.

• Jim Larson/Mitchell Baseball, Remodeled entrance and family park at Cadwell: Mitchell Baseball would like to start a project to create a new area in Cadwell Park. The project would create a park area along the left-field fence. This would be a park where fans, parents and families could all enjoy baseball in a park atmosphere. The old fence would be removed and a back wall of landscape stone would be put in and the fence pushed back 20 feet into the parking lot.

• Michelle Sudbeck, Corn husk doll making: Similar to McCrossan Boys Ranch: I would teach the Abbott House girls a skill, corn husk doll-making. It would be inexpensive set up costs and it would coincide with the Corn Palace. Also, many of the girls who live there are of Native American culture.

• Cody Holzer, Summer community concert series: Music brings people together, so why not host concerts at the stage located west of the Mitchell Aquatic Center at Hitchcock Park? A group would simply put the word out that Mitchell is looking to host local bands, musicians or individual instrument players to play on the weekends at the stage for groups of Mitchell residents. The event would be completely free to the public and host musicians would play clean, family friendly music. We could change it up and have bands targeted toward adults play one month, then have children's bands another.

• Joanne Flack, Project Linus: Blankets for families struck with tragedy: Since 2007, there has been a group of volunteers here at Meadowlawn tying new, handmade blankets for Project Linus. This is a national organization providing care and security for sick and traumatized children by giving every child in need a blanket of their own. Here in Mitchell, any child who makes a trip to the ER, or spends a night in the hospital, visits Urgent Care for more than a runny nose, or has a procedure at Sanford's Children's Clinic, receives a blanket.

• Molly Goldsmith, Revise downtown walking tour and brochure: I propose to revise the downtown walking tour brochure. A new walking tour brochure would include extensive research and design. It would also integrate newer forms of technology. While a paper brochure will be printed, Quick response Code Technology (QR codes) will be printed in the brochure so that more photos and current property information can be brought up from an online database. Additionally, QR codes will be printed on window clings and put on windows of historic buildings.

Play category finalists:

• Dakota Discovery Museum: Artist in residence workshop/observatory: Educational opportunities are needed in the Mitchell area that promote better awareness regarding various art forms and teach the skills for specific vocations within the wide range of art careers. This project would provide the funds to adapt an existing shelter on the grounds of Dakota Discovery Museum into a year-round space for artists in need of an outdoor area fitting their art form. These art forms will include forging, raku clay firing, glass blowing, etc., which are unable to be demonstrated within the museum itself. The project will entail enclosing and enhancing a 24- by 30-foot portion of an existing open pole-barn-type structure. The space will be available to present workshops, classes and mentorship opportunities for children and youth. Adults as well would be exposed to new ideas and art forms, directly benefiting families and community.

• Cindy Bierman: Equipment to teach life skills to Mitchell High School special education classes: Mitchell High School recently moved the ProStart Program, a high school culinary arts program, across the street to to Mitchell Career and Technical Education center. When the program moved, almost all of the cooking equipment went with it. I would like to use this grant to purchase a washer and dryer, bed and dresser, a vacuum cleaner and to replace the dishes, utensils, pots and pans and small appliances. Our goal is to teach these students how to perform basic life skills such as laundry, choosing and preparing their own meals, and keeping an apartment clean.

• Dwight Scott: Bicycle pump track: Our project is a pump track. What is a pump track? In simple terms, it is a short series of bumps, humps and berms where riders complete laps doing the minimum amount of peddling possible. Why do we need this? Pump tracks allow riders to learn how to interact with their bikes and the terrain with force inputs from other than pedals.

• Molly Goldsmith, Chalk it up: Downtown sidewalk art event: Chalk it up is a children's event set to take place in the early summer in downtown Mitchell. It is a sidewalk chalk event in which children will receive free chalk and a topic, such as summertime fun or the Corn Palace. Each child will receive an assigned location on a downtown sidewalk to depict the topic.

• Ryan Stahle: SmartMusic Software for Mitchell High School band: I would like to give all of my band students the opportunity to install SmartMusic on their school computers. SmartMusic transforms the way students practice and learn. This interactive tool provides a way to see a dramatic improvement in students' instrumental skills.

• Jessica Steidl: Mitchell figure skating: I would like to add figure skating as an option for Mitchell youth. Figure skating is a sport. Children get fresh air and exercise. Children can express themselves artistically. This can be an individual or team sport and is a lifelong sport.

• David Stevens/United Way: Town Hall: What I'd tell my kids if they'd only listen to their parents: Host a moderated discussion, featuring a diversified group of individuals, discussing the topic, "What I'd like to tell my kids if they'd only listen to their parents." The target is youth from Mitchell and the surrounding area who are in the decision-making time in terms of future goals.

• Dustin Tanner, Project DV8: Safe and healthy programming for Mitchell's youth: Project DV8 is intended to help people make better choices while still having fun and learning to tap into their creativity. Activities and service will primarily be carried out with groups found within the community such as sports, teams, workplaces, scout troops, religious groups, peer groups and clubs. The key is to share the experience. Activities will be recorded and photographed and then shared through social media. Participants will be encouraged to share their own material and thoughts.