NOAA 2004-R263
Contact: Pat Slattery

NOAA News Releases 2004
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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has presented the Mark Trail NOAA Weather Radio, All Hazards Award to Eddy County, N.D., Emergency Management. County EM Director Joe Lies and Project Coordinator Todd Allmaras will receive the award at a June 3 ceremony in Washington, D.C. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Now in its eighth year, the Mark Trail Award program honors individuals and organizations that use or provide NWR receivers and transmitters to save lives and protect property. Twenty award recipients will be recognized nationally this year.

“The Eddy County Emergency Management has made a valuable contribution to their community,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “NOAA Weather Radio can provide the public with those extra minutes of warning in situations where minutes can save lives.”

Eddy County Emergency Management was honored for the agency’s efforts in securing a NWR transmitter to serve the area following a June 6, 1999, tornado outbreak. County emergency officials organized local residents behind the effort, coordinated with weather service personnel for technical expertise and secured an $80,000 grant from the USDA Rural Utilities Service to buy and install a transmitter near Sheyenne. They secured additional grants, private contributions and local funds of nearly $150,000 to build a suitable tower for the new transmitter. The transmitter was dedicated and donated to the Weather Service April 24, 2003.

According to Gregory Gust, warning coordination meteorologist at the Grand Forks National Weather Service forecast office, Lies, Allmaras and numerous supporting agencies and businesses have helped ensure the safety of area residents. “Residents of Sheyenne and Eddy County are now protected by the fastest way possible of receiving severe weather warnings,” Gust said. “County emergency officials saw the need for a way to warn the county’s far flung population of severe weather and other hazards, and immediately began the process to secure a NWR transmitter to serve area residents.”

“The combination of improved severe weather detection and forecasting capabilities, and expansion of our NWR network is a proven formula for saving lives,” added National Weather Service Central Region Director Dennis McCarthy.

The Mark Trail award is named for the nationally syndicated comic strip character which serves as the campaign symbol for the NOAA Weather Radio program. Since 1995, Jack Elrod, writer and illustrator of Mark Trail, and King Features Syndicate have been strong advocates for publicizing severe weather safety through the use of weather radios.

“Jack Elrod and his alter ego, Mark Trail, have been great partners to NOAA National Weather Service in helping educate the public to the importance of having a NOAA Weather Radio in your home when danger threatens,” said retired Air Force Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, director of the National Weather Service.

NOAA's National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. The National Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy. To learn more about NWS, please visit:

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Information about NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio and the Mark Trail Award is available at: