A former Minot resident who helped shape Minot's park system in the late 1980s and early 1990s said she's encouraged to hear about the activities that the park district is engaged in today.
"It looks like they are doing good things," said Harriet Epstein, now of Lake Worth, Fla.
Epstein was president of the Greater Minot Zoological Society when first elected to the Minot Park Board in 1984 to fill an unexpired term. She served on the park board. She also had served on the board of directors for Companions for Children, was involved in the Scouting program and Artfest, and co-owner of a popular bagel shop. Her husband, Irwin, was an internist who served on the Minot School Board. They settled in Minot in 1976, and Harriett left in 2003, after her husband's death.
Harriet Epstein, lower front, and her family, in the summer of 2013 in Wyoming, are, from left, son Dustin, son Seth and wife, Joni; Josh’s wife, Beth, with their two youngest daughters, Leigh and Penny; and, at right, Josh with their oldest daughter, Iris.
They had three sons who grew up in Minot. Josh and his wife, Beth, have three daughters and live in La Canada Flintridge, Calif., outside of Los Angeles. Josh is a theatrical lighting designer, and Beth works at ABC in digital media. Seth and his wife, Joni, have a son and both work for Providence Health Care in Portland, Ore. Dustin lives in Miami, where he produces live video broadcasts
Now living in a retirement community, Epstein said she is involved in much the same way she was in Minot, just in a warmer climate.
"I am having a good time," she said. "I am involved in governance of the community, just as I was in Minot. I served on the board of the homeowners association. What you do is what you do, no matter what community you are in."
Lake Worth was a new community when she arrived. Epstein didn't get involved immediately in the process of getting the community going but stepped in later.
Until a couple of years ago, she participated on a board that certified nonprofits in the county to receive money from the Children's Services Council or United Way. She volunteered at a Jewish nursing home in its continuum of care program in delivering meals, and she ushered at a large arts center. One of her current interests is a foreign film club.
She said she also has been traveling, recently to the Galapagos Islands and Southeast Asia.
Epstein said she follows Minot somewhat through friends who remain in the area.
"I felt a real connection to Minot during the flood," she said. "I watched TV almost constantly. It broke my heart, but it looks like everybody has bounced back pretty well."
Following the activities of the park district is difficult from more than a thousand miles away, and Epstein has not been back since 2003. But she was interested to hear of the new zoo education center, expansion underway at Maysa Arena, a new baseball complex and Oak Park splash pad that are among changes in recent years. The park district also is looking at other expansions to meet the needs of a community growing geographically as well as population wise, including studying a proposal for an indoor recreation facility.
"It all sounds great, like really good growth as long as you can follow through and afford to maintain it," Epstein said. Her advice would be to keep in mind the maintenance.
Epstein said she values her years in Minot and the opportunities that she had to contribute to the community.
"It served me well," she said. "Sometimes it's very hard for me to explain to people around here why I chose to live in Minot as long as I did. But I really treasure those years and the people I got to know and the experiences I had."