Constructive homecoming: Boom helps Dickinson native return home, coordinate major projects

Marc Mellmer, an operations coordinator for JE Dunn Construction in Dickinson, stands on the outside of the St. Joseph’s Hospital construction site. Mellmer, a Dickinson native, has climbed the ladder with JE Dunn is now part of the management team in charge of more than $250 million worth of construction projects in western North Dakota.

At just 29 years old, Dickinson native Marc Mellmer has found himself at the forefront of western North Dakota’s construction boom.

As an operations coordinator for JE Dunn Construction, Mellmer is responsible for building the new St. Joseph’s Hospital in Dickinson and numerous other infrastructure projects. All told, Mellmer estimates he and his management team will oversee about $250 million in vertical construction in western North Dakota over the next three years.

“My goal is not to leave,” Mellmer said with a smile. “I don’t plan on moving JE Dunn out of here ever — if I had it my way.”

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Schrempp trying to be a strong influence for son, hometown kids

Dickinson State senior Cameron Schrempp, right, holds on to Montana State-Northern’s Jared Miller on Jan. 19 during the Tyler Plummer Classic at Weinbergen Gymnasium.

Whenever he enters a competition, Cameron Schrempp said he sets the bar high.

Whether it has been boxing, mixed martial arts or wrestling, the 25-year-old Dickinson State student-athlete has made it his job to do as well as he possibly can.

He said his inspiration has been his 4-yearold son, Aiden, and the countless other children from his hometown of Eagle Butte, S.D., an area where nearly half the population lives beneath the poverty line.

“Setting the bar not just for my son, but where I came from, a lot of kids don’t have anyone to look up to,” said Schrempp, a graduate of Cheyenne-Eagle Butte High School. “I kind of want to set the bar for kids, for someone to look up to.”
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STEELE’S CURTAIN: Unorthodox style has been trademark of Beach native, who wraps up his DSU career this week

Brad Steele has never been the most orthodox wrestler on a mat.

In fact, he has thrived on being exactly the opposite.

“You talk about a funky style, he would be the king of funk,” Dickinson State head wrestling coach Thadd O’Donnell said with a smile. Steele, who came to DSU out of Beach High School a half-decade ago as a North Dakota Class B state champion, looks to wrap up his wrestling career in style this weekend as he leads the No. 3-ranked Blue Hawks into the NAIA national tournament Friday and Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa.

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AN EARNED CAREER: John Hanstad’s success at DSU built on work ethic, leadership

Dickinson State senior guard John Hanstad shoots on Dec. 5 against Rocky Mountain College at Scott Gymnasium.

John Hanstad was certain his days of playing organized basketball had ended at Dickinson High School.

Though he had planned to attend Dickinson State University, Hanstad was not convinced he had what it took to suit up for the Blue Hawk men’s basketball team.

“I remember sitting in the hallway outside the office, talking to John and saying, ‘Hey, give it a try. You never know what’s going to happen,’” DSU head coach Ty Orton said.

Five years later, Hanstad is preparing to wrap up a career in which he has become his team’s most trusted leader and, along the way, cemented himself as one of DSU’s all-time leading 3-point shooters.

Hanstad wraps up his surprisingly successful five-year career at DSU this week as the Blue Hawks host the University of Great Falls (Mont.) at 7:30 p.m. today and Montana State-Northern at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Scott Gymnasium. The team’s season ends Saturday since they are out of the race for the top six spots in the Frontier Conference and will be left out of the league’s postseason tournament.

Though he would have liked his senior season to have lasted longer, Hanstad said there’s a silver lining in being able to end his career on DSU’s home court.

“It’s definitely better than being on the road,” Hanstad said. “That’s what I was telling my dad yesterday. It’s going to be fun to have the last two here at home.”

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Hollinger a quiet star for New England

New England guard Levi Hollinger, shown Jan. 6, 2012, during a game against New Town at the New England High School gymnasium, was never the Tigers boys basketball team’s first option until this season. As a senior, he is averaging 19.4 points per game as he tries to lead the Tigers back to the Region 7 Tournament.

When Levi Hollinger moved to North Dakota in the fifth grade, he said he didn’t even like basketball. It took his new classmates in New England to convince him he should try playing.

“Everybody wanted me to go out, so I tried it and it worked out good and I loved it ever since,” Hollinger said.

Today, who knows where the Tigers would be without him?

Described by teammates as a dedicated and relentless player, Hollinger has been the engine driving the New England boys basketball team this season.

For two seasons, he was a role player behind the trio of Kaine Hanson, Clarence Binstock and Nick Wolf and, while on teams that were momentarily ranked in the Class B poll and won the District 13 championship in 2011, was never regarded by opponents as the player they had to stop.

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