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Coming clean

Blaine Doeden, a member of the Okabena Bees 4-H Club, stands next to one of four new handwashing stations that will be found throughout the Nobles County Fairgrounds this week. Doeden was awarded a $4,000 grant from the Worthington Regional Healthcare Foundation to purchase the stations. Julie Buntjer/Daily Globe

WORTHINGTON — A post-fair sickness that landed a Nobles County 4-H’er in the hospital a year ago has prompted him to write a grant to place handwashing stations throughout the fairgrounds.

Blaine Doeden, 13, was awarded a more than $4,000 grant earlier this summer from the Worthington Regional Health Care Foundation to purchase four handwashing stations for use during the county fair.

The stations, to be placed in or near the livestock barns and adjacent to the 4-H Food Stand, will provide water, soap and paper towels for public use.

“I got these handwashing stations because I’ve heard a lot of complaints around the fair about people not being able to wash their hands,” said Doeden, whose illness following the fair last year was traced to E. coli.

While there are restrooms on the fairgrounds with hot water, soap and paper towels, they aren’t necessarily convenient for people who walk through the barns or dine at the food stand.

The idea for the handwashing stations isn’t new — in fact, Doeden contacted the Jackson County Fair, which added the stations in recent years, to ask what type of stations they had and where they purchased them.

“It’s a really nice thing — (they are) easily portable,” Doeden said of the four stations.

A five-year 4-H’er and member of the Okabena Bees club, Doeden is using the experience as a youth leadership project and will have a display about it at the county fair this week.

In addition to writing a grant to the health care foundation, he presented his plans to Bank of the West in Worthington for some additional financial backing. He also worked closely with Nobles County Public Health Administrator Terri Janssen to develop educational posters in English and Spanish encouraging people to utilize the handwashing stations. He had to get permission from the Nobles County Fair Board to locate the stations on the fairgrounds. The fair board has agreed to provide maintenance on the stations and get them ready each year for the county fair.

Despite some obstacles in getting the handwashing stations ordered, Doeden said it was a great learning experience.

“I’ve learned quite a bit about writing grants — that’s quite difficult,” he said.

The grant Doeden submitted was in two parts — one to finance the washing stations, and the second to create the educational posters about E. coli and salmonella.

“Last year there were around 10,000 people who attended the fair,” Doeden said. “If I could keep all of those people clean, hopefully that will be great.

“We want (the stations) in the barns and near the barns, so when (people) are out, they wash their hands … and in front of the food stand so if they visit the barns, they can wash their hands before they eat,” he added.”They need to wash their hands often around the fair, because there’s a lot of E. coli and salmonella germs around here.”

Today is entry day for 4-H non-livestock projects, as well as open class exhibits. All open class items must be brought in today between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. The official start to the 2014 Nobles County Fair is Wednesday.

The fair schedule follows:


10 a.m.: 4-H Buildings open

11 a.m.: 4-H Dairy Show followed by the District Dairy Show

Noon: Commercial buildings open

4 p.m.: 4-H Rabbit Show

7 p.m.: Tractor Pull in the Grandstand

Thursday (Senior Day)

8 a.m.: 4-H Swine Show

10 a.m. 4-H and Commercial buildings open

10 to 11:30 a.m.: Dain’s Dutchmen performance in the grandstand

2 p.m. 4-H Poultry Show

4 p.m.: 4-H Goat Show

6 p.m.: 4-H Cloverbud Pet Show

6-7 p.m.: Sean Benz & the SD Three performance in the grandstand

6:30 p.m.: 4-H Pet Show

7 p.m.: MK 5K Run & Family Fun Walk

7:30 to 8:30 p.m.: Surfin’ Safari performance in the grandstand


8 a.m.: 4-H Beef Show

10 a.m.: 4-H and Commercial buildings open

3-5 p.m.: 4-H Demonstrations, Benton Hall

6 p.m.: 4-H Ribbon Sale, Olson Arena

7 p.m.: Demolition Derby in the grandstand

Saturday (Kid’s Day)

9 a.m. to Noon: Free pancakes sponsored by Nobles Cooperative Electric

10 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Tri-State Beef Show check-in

10 a.m.: 4-H and Commercial buildings open

Noon: Premier Showmanship

1-3 p.m.: Kids Day activities

2 p.m.: Team Horseshoe Tournament

2 p.m.: Tri-State Junior Beef Show

2-4 p.m.: Zoo Express

2-8 p.m.: Prairie Ecology Bus Center

7 p.m.: Endurance race in the grandstand


10 a.m.: Inspirational Service, Olson Arena

1 p.m.: Kids Pedal Pull

1 p.m.: Horseshoe Tournament

4:30 p.m.: Hot Laps in the grandstand with racing to start at 6 p.m.

Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

(507) 376-7330