Unheralded

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Goodbye, Lizzie

A note from Lillian and Jim on this sad day. Our hearts are broken today (Wednesday) 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 …


Unheralded

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 …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — North Dakota Has Its Own Version Of The Beverly Hillbillies

Here’s an update on the strangest, and most fascinating, story I’ve written in all the years I’ve been writing on this blog. This story appears in the current — January 2019 — issue of Dakota Country magazine, where it reaches a hell of a lot more readers than I have on this blog. But for faithful Prairie Blog readers, welcome …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Some Christmas Poetry: ‘Pure As The Soul Of Christ’

OK, if you came here looking for that sappy poem “Billy Peeble’s Christmas” that I usually put on my annual Christmas poetry blog, you’re going to be disappointed. Even Lillian rolled her eyes when I headed for my office to start writing. She didn’t say much, but I got the hint — aren’t you tired of that by now? Isn’t …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Notice: Comment Period Extended On Forest Service SEIS

UPDATE: The U.S. Forest Service will announce today that it has extended the comment period on the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for Oil and Gas Leasing on our Little Missouri National Grasslands. The 30-day extension means comments will be accepted on the Draft SEIS, outlined below, until Jan. 16, 2019. Although the announcement comes Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Day, as …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Watching Out For Our National Grasslands —Protecting The Places We Hunt And Play

There are a million acres of public land in western North Dakota called the Dakota Prairie Grasslands, managed by the U.S. Forest Service. A management plan was written in 2001 to guide Forest Service employees, and in 2003, a “Record of Decision for Oil and Gas Leasing” identified lands open for lease and how oil and gas development should be …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Fracking And Flaring At Van Hook

Here’s an article I wrote for the December issue of Dakota Country magazine, which should be on the newsstands this week. If you’re not already a subscriber, you should be. Here’s the place to go to sign up. They’ve got a Christmas sale going on right now, and the price is right. A year and a half ago, I wrote …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Election 2018: Racists 1, Potheads 0

A couple final (?) thoughts on the Nov. 6 election in North Dakota. * * * * * Did racism play a role in the 2018 North Dakota election? As I’ve said repeatedly over the past few months, North Dakota Democrats needed to focus ALL their messaging opportunities on two topics: Trump’s trade wars and Republicans trying to take away health …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — A Thanksgiving Day Poem

Paging through an old book of poetry, I came across this poem by North Dakota poet Paul Southworth Bliss, from “Poems of Places.” The poems in the book were written as Bliss traveled the country in 1937. This one came from a stop in Oklahoma, which got oil a long time before North Dakota, but the similarities are striking, 80 …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Why The Republicans Control North Dakota Government

Pretty much every political pundit (including me) has declared the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party dead after this year’s election, and the debate continues to rage (well, maybe not rage, but to be discussed) among Democrats about what caused the demise of the party after so many years as a major political force in our state. Most of my friends have …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — John Wishek, ‘Father of McIntosh County,’ Charged With Espionage

This story in our World War I Centennial series is written by Dr. Gordon L. Iseminger, who teaches European history at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. His recent research is on the German-Russians of North Dakota’s McIntosh County during World War I. By Gordon Iseminger Known first as the Great War, World War I broke out in 1914. …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Money Can’t Buy Me Love

As the Beatles sang in their 1964 hit, “Money Can’t Buy Me Love,” Sen. Heidi Heitkamp’s millions of dollars collected in the wake of her vote against Trump Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh weren’t enough to sway North Dakota’s Republican bias, and she took areal thumping in her race against Congressman Kevin Cramer for the U.S. Senate. Midterm elections are notorious …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Dr. Quain: A Hero To Nurses And Savior Of Soldiers

This story in our World War I Centennial series is written by Joseph T. Stuart, Ph.D., associate professor of history at the University of Mary in Bismarck. By Joseph T. Stuart Although the U.S. did not enter the Great War until 1917, a number of Bismarck residents left to serve in the conflict before then, fighting alongside British troops or as …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — ‘The Specter’ Doughboy: Thomas Rogers

This story in our World War I Centennial series is written by Carole Barrett, PhD, professor emerita of American Indian Studies at the University of Mary in Bismarck. Calvin Grinnell is a historian for the Mandan Hidatsa and Arikara Nation in North Dakotya. He is a member and past president of the board of the State Historical Society of North Dakota. …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — North Dakota Soldiers Were First-Generation Americans

This story in our World War I Centennial series is written by Joseph Jastrzembski, professor of History at Minot State University. By Joseph Jastrzembski When the great powers of Europe went to war in 1914, they drew not only on their own populations but those of their subject colonies around the globe. This meant that the armies of Europe represented …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — North Dakota Nurses In The Great War

This story in our World War I Centennial series is written by Barbara Handy-Marchello, Ph.D., is a historian and writer for North Dakota Studies who taught Women’s History and the American West at the University of North Dakota for 15 years. By Barbara Handy-Marchello Sarah Sand of Grand Forks was one of nearly 300 nurses from North Dakota who volunteered …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Great War Witnesses Startling Birth Of New Deities

This story in our World War I Centennial series is written by Joseph T. Stuart, Ph.D., who is associate professor of history at the University of Mary in Bismarck. By Joseph T. Stuart It desecularized the state and, instead of religion, made politics the highest expression of human values. The mobilization of entire societies during the Great War dramatically increased expectations …