Unheralded

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — ‘Every Penny Out Of My 401(k)’

As construction season approaches, albeit a little bit delayed by Mother Nature this week, we’ll be watching closely to see if any work begins at the Meridian Energy Group’s Davis Refinery site next door to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. I’ve been doing a little digging myself, not of the physical nature, but I encountered a couple of stories to share …


Unheralded

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Elections And Things

Some politics today. Caucuses, conventions, initiated measures and great PR work. Caucuses and Conventions A letter writer in The Forum on Friday morning expressed his displeasure with Tuesday’s North Dakota caucuses saying, “I can remember when we voted in a primary election by using one side or the other of the ballot to vote our party preference. Republicans and Democrats …


JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — C.V.M.

Every once in a while, something pops up on your computer screen that just punches you in the gut, leaving you breathless for a few moments. That happened to me Saturday morning. One of my early morning routines is to scan the state’s newspapers online to see what’s going on around the state. If you send $9.99 a month to …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Birthdays And Tomatoes

In honor of my friend Clay Jenkinson’s 65th birthday today, I’m going to share a story I wrote five years ago with a little bit of an update. First, let me say that it is hard to believe that my young friend Clay is 65 years old. I remember his 18th birthday, Feb. 4, 1973. We were both working at …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — ‘We Will Get That Project Stopped’

Summarizing,  once more, where we are with the proposed bridge across the Little Missouri State Scenic River, reprinted from the January 2020 issue of Dakota Country Magazine.    I’m going to keep writing about this stupid, harebrained, boneheaded, senseless, vacuous, selfish, destructive, egomaniacal, (insert your own adjective here), idea of the Billings County commissioners to put a bridge over the …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — He Is Already An American

Amid all the talk of refugees and immigrants, and the mean-spirited people who want to stand in their way as they seek to become Americans, I thought I might just repeat here part of an article I posted about five years ago. I wish these people had known my mother. And two friends of hers, Adolf Schmidt and his wife, …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Thumbs, Knives And Recliners

Some things you just take for granted. Like opposable thumbs. When you lose the use of one (temporarily, I hope), you realize what a great invention they are. Here’s the rest of the story. I got a new recliner a couple of weeks ago, replacing a 10-year-old one that had served its duty. It was host to many naps, football …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Birds Of A Feather …

In a surprising twist of fortune — or misfortune, I suppose, depending on your point of view — the company hired by Meridian Energy Group to design and build its oil refinery beside Theodore Roosevelt National Park is likely to file bankruptcy this week. Bloomberg reported over the weekend “McDermott International Inc. is preparing to file for bankruptcy as soon …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Bring On The Whistleblowers

Last month, I began reporting on the apparent financial troubles besetting Meridian Energy Group, the company planning to build an oil refinery near the boundary of Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the North Dakota Bad Lands. Since then, I’ve received more information on the company, which I feel holds much merit and credit. I’m going to share some of that …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Some Thoughts On Election Reform In 2020

In his regular Tuesday morning column in the Grand Forks Herald this week, Mike Jacobs wrote, “This is the last day of a year that’s made just about everybody uneasy about the state of our politics. To use a flood analogy, it seems as if the waters have divided and are rushing down parallel ditches. And there’s nobody on the …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — A Couple More Notes On The ‘Bridge To Nowhere’

I want to add a couple or things to the Little Missouri River Crossing story I posted here earlier today. First Note: A little history, which you can read more fully by clicking on the link at the end of this note. I really didn’t become aware of the serious problems with this project until I attended a public meeting …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Short Family To Government: We’ll See You In Court

Well, here’s some good news. Six months ago, Billings County and the Federal Highway Administration signed a record of decision to proceed with a new bridge over the Little Missouri State Scenic River north of Medora, N.D. a bridge famously referred to as a “Bridge to Nowhere” because it has no apparent purpose other than to connect one isolated part …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — ‘I Rise With The Sun’ — OK, Never Mind

Sunday morning addendum No. 1: Lillian and I went to a Christmas party last night. I drank some wine. We came home and I drank some more wine and stayed up late and watched “Saturday Night Live.” I woke up this morning at 5:59 a.m. I rolled over and went back to sleep and got up at 8:44 a.m., 19 …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — I See America

As we approach this most joyous time of year, a time of giving, of good will, of caring for our fellow humans, especially those among us with the least of resources, I want to share the words of Dan Rather, which I put in this space a couple of years ago. I’ll do that in a minute. But first a …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — ‘Reports Of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated’

From this: To this, in just one week: I’m pretty sure that is the biggest headline ever in the Adams County Record. And well it should be. Just a week after the paper announced Nov. 29,  “This is the final issue of the Adams County Record” because its corporate owner was shutting it down, a local neighboring publisher picked it …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Goodbye, Lizzie

A note from Lillian and Jim on this sad day. Our hearts are broken today (Monday) as we have had to say goodbye to our beloved Lizzie, our adorable Springer Spaniel, on this sad, dark day. We pause to write this homage to her and to give thanks for all the joy she brought to our lives. There are a …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — An Angel Named Jill

“It’s been a nice warm week with a high of 57 degrees on Sunday, Looks like more cold winter weather is headed this way, so we better enjoy the balmy days. “There were more replacement surgeries this week. Ron Jenson and Kelly Britton got new hips on Monday and Ron Floyd got a new knee. Thankfully, it sounds like everything …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Refinery Company Slapped With $2 Million Lien For Nonpayment Of Bills

On Monday. I posted a story here about the financial woes of Meridian Energy Group, triggered by the filing last week of a huge construction lien against the company by one of its contractors. There were some things in it I just couldn’t figure out, and I probably should have held off for a day or two until I got …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — ‘The Lawyer Who Wasn’t Crazy’ – Jackie Stebbins’ Thanksgiving Story

It’s a typical November morning at the Bismarck home of Jackie Stebbins, her husband, Sean Arithson, and their kids, Kennedy, 7, and Kirby, 5.  Dad gets up, gets dressed, eats breakfast and heads off to work. Mom gets the kids ready for the day, feeds them breakfast, gets one off to school, the other to preschool, and settles into the …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Pipelines Leak

The three North Dakota Public Service Commissioners went to Emmons County last week to hold a public hearing. Emmons County is where the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL, in the vernacular) Co. plans to build a big station to boost the capacity of their still-controversial pipeline hauling oil from North Dakota to out-of-state refineries. The PSC is involved because North Dakota’s …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — A $30,000 Check And A $100,000 Bond

It looks like Wylie Bice is going to have to write a check for $30,000 to the U.S. government and tuck away $100,000 in a bond bank somewhere as his penalty for building an illegal bridge on public land in the Bad Lands. (If you’re not familiar with this story, here’s the background.) Those are the numbers being floated around …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — ‘Do What You Want, But Stay Off Of My Little Mo’

Here’s part of an article that appears in the November issue of Dakota Country magazine, on the newsstands now. “If we find the moral courage to save the Little Missouri River Valley today, we will congratulate ourselves 100 years from now, just as we congratulate Theodore Roosevelt for bucking the industrial zeitgeist a hundred years ago to set aside 230 …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Taking Care Of My Eyes, One Canadian Drop At A Time

I wasn’t going to write about drug prices again because I like my pharmacist and don’t want to create any ill will toward him or Bismarck-Mandan pharmacists in general. Our pharmacists are not to blame for the outrageous behavior in the prescription drug business. They’re simply retailers, pawns in the big game of chess being played by the pharmaceutical and …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — A ‘Health Time Bomb’ In North Dakota’s Oil Patch

“It’s like working on a health time bomb, we are the guinea pigs for the largest condensate spill in U.S. history. I am glad I got out but feel sorry for workers still there.” Those are the words of Paul Lehto, the man who blew the whistle a couple of months ago on what is proving to be one of the largest industry …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — It’s OK To Skip This Meeting — That’s What They Want

NDCC CHAPTER 61-29 LITTLE MISSOURI STATE SCENIC RIVER ACT The purpose of this chapter shall be to preserve the Little Missouri River as nearly as possible in its present state, which shall mean that the river will be maintained in a free-flowing natural condition, and to establish a Little Missouri River Commission. NDCC 61-29 Little Missouri Scenic River Commission Meeting Tuesday, …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Why The Bad Lands Are Important To Me

When I was a boy growing up in southwest North Dakota, I used to tag along with my dad on his pheasant, grouse and deer hunting trips, mostly along the Cedar River in Adams and Grant counties. Dad was an optometrist in the small town of Hettinger, the county seat of Adams County, and many, if not most, of the …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Bridge Stays

Well, Wylie Bice gets to keep his bridge. And he won’t be going to the pokey. If you’ve got enough money out there in the oil patch, you can get away with pretty much anything. If you’ve been following this story, you know that Bice is the guy who put a big concrete bridge over the Little Missouri State Scenic …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — ‘Undocumented’; ‘Unlocated’; ‘Unfound’; ‘Somewhere’

I’m not quite sure what to think of this young fellow named Josh Gallion, North Dakota’s elected state auditor. But two newspaper articles about him in the last couple of days got me to chuckling a little bit. The first was Mike Jacobs’ column in Tuesday’s Grand Forks Herald about the recent history of the state auditor’s office. Gallion’s election …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Remembering A Great Man On Father’s Day

(I wrote this five years ago, on the 30th anniversary of my father’s death. It’s worth reprinting on Father’s Day.) The United States entered World War II shortly after the bombing at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Just a few months later, in the spring of 1942, at the close of the Devils Lake Junior College school year, a handful …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — A Thousand Trucks A Day Moves One Step Closer To Reality Today

Sometime today, Thursday, June 13, 2019, I expect to receive some of the worst news I’ve had in many years. I expect to receive an e-mail from a friendly fellow at the North Dakota Department of Transportation who’s just doing his job, who means no ill will, who doesn’t want to be the bearer of what I will receive as …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Fishing On D-Day With An American Hero

I wrote this a year ago today. I wish I could take my father-in-law, Garland Crook, fishing today. Unfortunately, his age caught up with him in the past year, and he’s now a resident of Miller Pointe Nursing home in Mandan, N.D., where at 6:30 tonight we’ll have a special program, with music and speeches and remembrances, to celebrate the …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Let’s Not Let Bad Politics Ruin Our Chance To Honor Theodore Roosevelt

Senate Bill 2001, passed by the 2019 North Dakota Legislature, is the appropriations bill for the North Dakota governor’s office. It’s eight sections long and contains an appropriation of about $4.5 million to pay the governor and lieutenant governor and their staff, their travel expenses and their office supplies. It has a line item with the governor’s salary and a …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Comments Are In: What Should We Do About The Bice Bridge?

There’s this fellow who works in the Montana office of the Bureau of Land Management named Seth Jackson who’s as good at his job as anyone I’ve ever known who works for the U.S. government. I haven’t met him, but I’ve e-mailed back and forth with him at least a dozen times, And I always get the information I need …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Worst Threat To The Little Missouri State Scenic River EVER!

An interesting little item buried on Page 4 of a long April 30 North Dakota Industrial Commission meeting agenda read: “Overview of Oil and Gas Development in western North Dakota along the Little Missouri River.” (approx. 3:30 pm) Piqued my curiosity, so I went. What I learned is that I should have been paying more attention to some things my …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — LOCK HIM UP!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019, is the deadline for submitting comments to the Bureau of Land Management on what it should do about the illegal bridge over the Little Missouri State Scenic River in Dunn County, North Dakota. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’re familiar with what I’m talking about. If not, click on this link and …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Remembering Albert Sickler

Albert Sickler died last week. He was 94. You maybe didn’t know Albert. Let me tell you a little about him. The first time I met Albert (at least that I can remember) was in the summer of 2004, on the front steps of his aging house on a farmstead in Dunn County, N.D., some 25 miles northeast of Dickinson. …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Looks Like The Illegal Bridge Is Going To Stay (If You’ve Got Enough Money, You Can Get Away With Most Anything)

It seems like the threats to our Bad Lands never cease. Let’s go back and revisit Wylie Bice. He’s the rogue rich rancher up in Dunn County, on the eastern edge of the Bad Lands, who’s built himself a private bridge on public land, without permission, over the Little Missouri State Scenic River. Now it appears he is going to …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Do We REALLY Appreciate Our Public Lands?

My monthly column in Dakota Country magazine is dedicated to conservation and the protection of our western North Dakota public lands, especially the Little Missouri National Grasslands and Theodore Roosevelt National Park. I’ve been traveling this winter, and I’m going to share some thoughts on public lands and national parks this month. But first … In the January issue of …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — What Does A State Treasurer Do, Anyway?

There’s an old joke North Dakota Republican legislators tell about their worst nightmare: They’re walking down the Great Hall in the Capitol heading for the cafeteria on their short lunch break and they see Secretary of State Al Jaeger coming toward them. Knowing they’re going to get stuck in a boring 15-minute conversation, they pretend they forgot something back at …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — DAKOTA

I’ve got a problem. I need to write a column that is going to be kind of critical of three people I like, and I’m trying to figure out how to do it without making them all angry at me. Their names are Sara, Doug and Marvin. They’re all kind of half-ass friends of mine. And I’m not sure I …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Well, Excuuuuse Me! Not

Let me explain this article before you read it. It is an article that appears in the current (February 2019) issue of Dakota Country magazine. My editor there, Bill Mitzel, is kind enough to let me share my articles with my blog readers who don’t subscribe to Dakota Country or pick it up on the newsstands (although you should subscribe …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Strange Goings-On At The Legislature — I Think I’ll Go West

Before I depart for a month, leaving the North Dakota Legislature to its own devices, I’m going to comment on some of the strange goings-on over at the Capitol. I just can’t help myself. The best adjective to describe this session of the Legislature is weird. Maybe even awful. Much of the weirdness comes in the form of concurrent resolutions. …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — No Man’s Life, Liberty Or Property Are Safe While The Legislature Is In Session

It was newspaper editor Gideon J. Tucker who wrote those words in 1866. A bit of an exaggeration, perhaps, but we’re all well-advised to keep an eye on what goes on over at the North Dakota Capitol this winter. I’ve got my eye on a couple of pieces of legislation, one bad and one good, and I expect there will …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — If You’re Going To Talk Like Teddy Roosevelt, You Better Act Like Teddy Roosevelt

I’ve listened to a few State of the State speeches by North Dakota governors — probably somewhere between 15 and 20 — and even had a hand in writing a few of them, so I think I’m qualified to offer a few comments on the one Doug Burgum gave Thursday to the North Dakota Legislature. As they go, his was …