Unheralded

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Sweet Revenge

I promise, I’m not making this up because even someone with a mind as twisted as mine could not come up with a story this absurd. It’s the story of the race for the Legislature in North Dakota’s Legislative District 8. Yes, North Dakota’s attorney general says to the voters of District 8, you just go right ahead and vote …


Unheralded

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Now Just Hold On A Minute Here, Al …

The five most dangerous words in the English language are “I’m not a lawyer, but …” More about that in a minute. On Wednesday, I wrote that Secretary of State Al Jaeger said it’s OK to vote for a dead Republican legislative candidate, and if that dead candidate gets more votes than two other Democratic-NPL candidates, he’ll be declared elected, …


JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Dear District 8 Republicans: Please Vote For The Dead Guy

As if this election year isn’t crazy enough already, in one of the most maudlin election tactics I’ve ever seen, North Dakota Republicans are urging voters to cast their ballots for a dead man. This bizarre recommendation comes from North Dakota Republican Party Chairman Rick Berg (not to be confused with Rick Becker, a real bizarre Republican) in the case …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Critters Are Benefiting From The Oil Patch Slowdown

Let me tell you who really appreciated it when the Bakken Boom went bust — at least temporarily — in 2020. The critters. Whether it’s sharptails nesting, bighorn sheep lambing, mule deer fawning, elk calving or foxes denning, they all appreciate being left alone at critical times of the year. The clanging of pipe on the drilling rigs, the screaming …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Well, Then, Welcome To North Dakota, Mr. Jones

Earlier this week, the North Dakota Supreme Court asked Fargo Judge Frank Racek to hold an evidentiary hearing to help it determine whether North Dakota Rep. Terry B. Jones is a legal resident of North Dakota and can have his name remain on the District 4 ballot for re-election in November, after North Dakota Democrats filed a lawsuit claiming Jones …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Look At Those Supreme Court Justices Go!

The strange case of Wyoming’s delegate to the North Dakota Legislature has the North Dakota court system moving at the speed of light, something we’re not used to seeing. I wrote last week about Terry B. Jones, the fellow who carries the title state representative from District 4 in the North Dakota Legislature but whose right to serve in that …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Keeping Up With The Joneses

I wrote here the other day about this fellow Terry B. Jones, a North Dakota legislator who says he’s from New Town, N.D., but actually lives in Wyoming. He’s been serving as Wyoming’s representative to the North Dakota Legislature since 2017. As I was finishing up that story, the North Dakota Democrats were figuring out if they wanted to challenge …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — U.S. DOT To Billings County: Go Find Money For Your Bridge Somewhere Else

Score one for the Little Missouri State Scenic River. When U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced the recipients of a billion dollars worth of discretionary grants for infrastructure projects all over the United States this morning, including one in North Dakota, a $12.3 million grant to build a new bridge over the Little Missouri wasn’t among them. That’s the best …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Knock A Republican Candidate Off The Ballot? Not Likely

The North Dakota Supreme Court might get one more chance to knock a candidate off the November General Election ballot. But don’t bet on the justices doing it because the candidate in question is a Republican this time, and the North Dakota Supreme Court likes Republicans. Let me introduce you to the strange case of North Dakota State Rep. Terry …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — North Dakota Supreme Court: Dancing With Those That Brung You

Three times in less than a month, the North Dakota Republican Party has flexed its muscles and gone to the North Dakota Supreme Court and asked the state’s top five judges to keep something off the November 2020 General Election ballot. Three times they have succeeded. The result is that: A.  A measure to bring some election reform ideas before …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Who’s REALLY At Fault For The Failures Of Measure 3?

Labor Day. Ah, September. The “Dog Days of August” are behind us. Except that this year the dogs never showed up. August used to be the month the politicians took time off to take the kids (and the dog) to the lake, while preparing for a campaign to begin after Labor Day. Not this year. In August 2020, the North …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Election Reform

So we won’t be voting on Measure 3 in November. Because there is no Measure 3. The North Dakota Supreme Court says so. And it, not Al Jaeger, gets the final say. I’m actually a little disappointed. I told a few friends this past week I was going to hold my nose and vote for it because there some things …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — ‘I’ve Lived My Life’

My friend Bill Bowman died. I’m sad about that. Bill and I both grew up in southwest North Dakota, he on a ranch north of Rhame, and I down the road on state Highway 12 in Hettinger. Our paths first crossed in the 1960s, at Dickinson State College, and they crossed many times more in the 50-plus years since, more …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House: Today’s Short Story of the Trees of Arthur Drive

A short story in the life of Arthur Drive in the Highland Acres neighborhood of Bismarck today, Aug. 5, 2020. “Short” being a relative term in the eyes of the beholder. Our next-door neighbors have a lovely big tree. Some sort of boxelder, I think. Everyone in the neighborhood values their trees. (That is, of course, until a storm comes …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Would You Buy A Used ‘ROCET” From This Company?

I have a new friend who I’ll call “Chris,” who knows something about petroleum engineering. This new friend is some kind of engineer. I haven’t met this friend in person, but I’ve talked to Chris a few times on the computer and the phone recently. Chris sent me an e-mail this week after reading a couple of the columns I’ve …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Of License Plates And Things

Taking a break from picking on refinery companies, I decided to lighten up today and talk about fun things like license plates. Way back in 1992, the North Dakota Legislature and Gov. George Sinner agreed that it was time the state got a new design for our license plates. The license plate we had been using for five years featured …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — More Words Of Caution About The Refinery

My phone keeps ringing, with calls from people who want to talk about Meridian Energy Group, the company that wants to build an oil refinery beside Theodore Roosevelt National Park. I’ve talked to engineers, accountants, investors and salesmen, and all are pretty skeptical about this company’s intent. There’s a common theme: A lot of people stand to lose a lot …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Refinery Company’s Employees Sue For $600,000 In Unpaid Wages

A group of seven former and current (but likely to soon be former) employees of Meridian Energy Group, the California company that wants to build an oil refinery next to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the North Dakota Bad Lands, has filed a lawsuit against Meridian seeking to recover more than $600,000 in unpaid wages, salaries and bonuses. The lawsuit …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Two Very Important Letters

A week or so ago, I wrote here about the Billings County Commission’s actions seeking federal funds to build their “Bridge to Nowhere” across the Little Missouri State Scenic River north of Medora, N.D., encouraging my readers to send letters in opposition to their scheme. My wife, Lillian, and I did so the very next day.  Shortly, I was pleased …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Saying Good-Bye To An Old Soldier

At noon Friday, July 10, 2020, on a somber hillside south of Mandan, N.D., a lone bugler will blow Taps, and a squad of American Veterans will fire a 21-gun salute to 1st Sgt. Hubert Garland Crook, U.S. Army (retired) as his cremated ashes are laid under a white marble headstone, joining thousands of his fellow Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Quick Takes, Fast Tracks And The Destruction Of A Historic Ranch And A State Scenic River

“(Commission chairman) Jim Arthaud and the Billings County commissioners have the fight of their lives ahead of them if they plan on using eminent domain to put a bridge across our land.” That was Sandy Short, wife of the late Con Short and daughter-in-law of former U.S. Congressman Don Short, in an interview with The Bismarck Tribune three years ago. …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — I’m Pretty Ashamed Of North Dakota Today

Meridian Energy Group, the fly-by-night California startup company that proposes to put an oil refinery next to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota, came one step closer to being able to start construction this week when the North Dakota Supreme Court upheld the Permit to Construct the refinery, issued by the state’s Department of Environmental Quality, formerly the …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Ribs And Tacos: It’s The Little Things That Matter, After A Long Trip Through The Darkness

And so we’re a week into Summer, emerging from what I think is the darkest Spring of my life (my personal style book says capitalize the seasons, but I am almost reluctant to do so this year — this Spring doesn’t really deserve any recognition). The only Springs darker that I can recall are 1968, the year I got drafted, …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Congratulations, Jocelyne And Monique

The Lamoureux twins, Jocelyne and Monique, who led the U.S. Women’s hockey team to a gold medal in the 2018 Winter Olympics, have been named recipients of the North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt  Rough Rider Award, the state’s highest honor. Finally. They are the first and only North Dakotans ever to win Winter Olympic Gold. And they did it in a …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Nobody Ever Got Rich Betting Against Doug Burgum

Four years ago, on the morning after the 2016 North Dakota Primary Election, I wrote a column with the headline “What The Hell Just Happened?” Doug Burgum pulled off one of the biggest upsets in North Dakota political history, giving Wayne Stenehjem a sound beating in their race for the Republican nomination for governor. Burgum did it by spending a …

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

This was written two years ago, on D-Day. It is reposted today in rememberance of my father-in-law, Garland Crook, who left us on Memorial Day this year. D-Day. June 6, 1944. Seventy-four years ago today, my father-in-law, Garland Crook, got his feet wet — literally and figuratively — entering combat in World War II by going ashore on Normandy Beach. …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Remembering A War Hero

I’ll pause on this Memorial Day to remember my namesake, U.S. Navy Aviation Machinists Mate First Class Carlyle James Fuglie. He was my dad’s “big brother,” although only about 15 months separated them. They joined the Navy together in the spring of 1942, just a few months after the U.S. entered World War II in response to the Japanese attack …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — No Shit, This Really Happened!

Old joke: What’s the difference between a bedtime story and a fishing story? A bedtime story starts, “Once upon a time …” A fishing story starts, “No shit, this really happened!” OK, so here we go. No shit, this really happened! It was a Pandemic Friday morning. Much like this morning, gray and dreary, and nothing on my calendar (imagine …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Those Whistles Just Keep On Blowing

I’m having a hard time concentrating these days with all these whistles being blown in my ears. My phone keeps ringing. People who work for Meridian Energy, or used to work for Meridian Energy, want to talk to me. So I listen. And I ask a few questions, about the status of that oil refinery Meridian says it is going …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — ‘Bridge To Nowhere’Takes A Couple Of Tentative Steps Forward

Billings County Commissioners have raised the stakes in their quest to build their “Bridge to Nowhere” across the Little Missouri State Scenic River north of Medora, N.D., but the family on whose land the bridge is proposed to be built is not taking it lying down. At a County Commission meeting this past month, the commissioners, without notifying the family …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — A ‘Good New Boys’ Network?

Four years ago today, Doug Burgum was criss-crossing North Dakota in a motor home with “Burgum for Governor” in big letters on the side, running against Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem in the Republican primary election just a few weeks hence. His campaign theme: Get rid of the “Good Old Boys” network in Bismarck. In what was generally viewed as a …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Whither The Refinery?

I can’t quite figure out what is going on with the proposed refinery that Meridian Energy Group says it is going to build next door to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Just about exactly two years ago this week, a company called Martin Construction from Dickinson, N.D., just down the road from the park, went into the field behind Belfield, N.D., …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Body and Soul: A Mother’s Day Story

A rerun from a few years ago. Because I can’t think of a better story to tell on Mother’s Day.   I’m thinking of my mom on this Mother’s Day, as we all are. She’s been gone 3½ years now, but it seems like only yesterday I was making those semiweekly trips to Hettinger, N.D., to see her in the nursing …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Heavyweights, Lightweights and Republican Squabbles In 2020

Geez, Doug Burgum must be really pissed off at Jeff Delzer. Burgum is North Dakota’s governor. Delzer is a state representative from District 8, and a powerful one — chairman of the important North Dakota House of Representatives Appropriations Committee. Some say Delzer is the most powerful of all state legislators. Also one of the biggest. Kind of pumpkin-shaped. A BIG pumpkin. …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — This Is Just F**king Stupid

The newspaper stories this morning said “North Dakota Gov.Doug Burgum said he intends to allow closed businesses to reopen Friday, May 1.” Well, isn’t that special. A great big May basket for North Dakota. Happy May Day. The rest of the story: “The State Health Department on Monday also announced 75 new cases of COVID-19, marking the second-highest single-day total …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Bad News, Worse News And A Ray Of Hope

I haven’t written here about the coronavirus and all its associated chaos because: 1. I really dislike bad news and don’t like to read it, much less write it; and 2. Other than not being able to see, talk to and hug our friends and family, we just haven’t been that much affected by it at our house, at least …

TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — I Thought My Rock ‘n’ Roll Dream Was Dead, Then I Read About John D. Rockefeller

This morning, I used a long walk to catch up with Gary Kelly, my good friend and co-founder of our classic rock cover band called the Love Starved Dogs. Gary and I hadn’t talked since social isolation began about a month ago, and after sharing news of our families, (everyone healthy, thankfully) we discussed the future of the band. I …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Full Moons, Good Friday And Easter

There was a big old full moon this week, April’s “Pink Moon,” and we went looking for a spot for watching the moonrise. But as luck would have it, it was cloudy and the moon was mostly obscured for a couple of hours after it rose. As we were driving home, though, we saw it mostly emerge as we drove …

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 …

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, …