Unheralded

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — A Laundry Lament

My wife, Lillian, is an Anglophile. For at least as long as I’ve known her, she’s been fascinated by anything involving England or Great Britain, especially royalty, especially female royalty. Also British history. Our library is full of books about England. So a few summers ago, she took a dream trip, a three-week tour of England and the British Isles, …


Unheralded

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — What Larry Woiwode Did

Why not? Why not scribble down some thoughts about Larry Woiwode. Nobody else seems to be doing that. He deserves better. Larry was one of those people who drifted in and out of my life. Our meetings were almost always by chance. The last was a couple of years ago in the parking lot at Menard’s in Bismarck. It delayed …


JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Redcoats Are Coming! The Redcoats Are Coming!

Dang! Dang! Dang! When you’re old and retired, it’s hard to keep track of what day it is, and what the date is. Today was one of those nice Spring days when I hardly had a care in the world, and we kept busy, even a road trip to Dickinson, N.D., for supper and back, until just before bedtime Lillian …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Another Not-So-Little Win For The Bad Lands

I’m sitting in my office on a clear, crisp, Saturday morning (I know it’s clear because the sun is shining in my eyes through my office window, and I know it’s cold because I went out looking for three or four days’ issues of the Bismarck Tribune in the snow, to no avail) reading a 17-page decision handed down by …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — North Dakota Republicans Riding High (But Welcome Back, Potter, And So Long, Ricky)

I think I’ve gone to a political convention of some kind in almost every even-numbered year since 1972. That year, 50 years ago now, I came home from the Navy and went to my district Democratic-NPL convention, and someone said, “Hey. We’ve got a Vietnam veteran here today, let’s send him as a delegate to the State Convention.” That’s a …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Little Missouri Bridge: Let The People Decide?

The folks out in Billings County in the North Dakota Bad Lands might get a chance to vote this fall on whether they want their county commissioners to use their power of eminent domain to condemn some of their neighbor’s land to build a bridge over the Little Missouri State Scenic River and roads connecting it to state highways. Or …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — America The Beautiful

“As we write this, America is engaged in an all-hands-on-deck effort to defeat a deadly pandemic and tackle the climate crisis. Our president has laid out a vision and a plan that will re-power America with clean energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions at home and abroad, create millions of good-paying jobs and — importantly — conserve and restore the lands …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Best Ukrainian Story Ever (Well, At Least My Favorite)

Ukrainians are much on our minds right now, with the Last World War apparently beginning in their country. North Dakota has a smattering of them. I’m going to tell you the best Ukrainian story ever, but first a little background. Where I grew up in Hettinger, in extreme southwest North Dakota, there were no Ukrainians. We were Germans and Norwegians, …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — DD 214

There are anniversaries, and there are milestones. In the past month or so, I’ve noted a couple of them. In December, I celebrated 50 years since my return from Vietnam. In January I celebrated 20 years since I met Lillian, my “current wife,” as Dean Meyer likes to say. Today is another of those red-letter days. Fifty years ago today, I stood on …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Big News For The Bad Lands

(This article first appeared in the February-March issue of Dakota Country magazine, which should be on the newstands now.) I’d like you to take five minutes to read about two nonprofit organizations that are doing important work for the North Dakota Bad Lands. Hey, it’s February. It’s cold outside. Get a cup of coffee and sit down. The two organizations …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — So Long, Wayne

North Dakota sits in stunned silence this morning, trying to make sense of the unthinkable loss of a 68-year-old lifetime public servant. Wayne Stenehjem was my friend for many years — I wonder how many people have said THAT this morning — although that friendship was a little rocky the last few years. The last time we visited in his …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — ‘The Wings Have Come Off This Pig …’

If you’ve got any friends or relatives out in Stark or Billings Counties, around Belfield, N.D., tell them to start getting ready because Meridian Energy Group is going to build them a refinery as a neighbor. It’ll be there in just three years, 10 months and 15 days — on Friday, Dec. 12, 2025. That’s what Meridian CEO William Prentice …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Best Day Of My Life

Today I am celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Best Day Of My Life. On Jan. 19, 2002 I met the most extraordinary, fascinating, person I have ever known. Two years, two months and two days later, I married her, in the same place I met her.  Her name is Lillian Crook. I love her. In early January 2002, I was …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Bridges, Oil Wells And Open Meetings

I’ve written about the proposed bridge across the Little Missouri State Scenic River north of Medora, N.D., enough times that I don’t need to go into a lot of background to bring you up to date on the project. I decided this past week that I needed a little Bad Lands time, and the Billings County Commission was going to …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — One More ‘Last Dance’ For The Sage Grouse?

“I’ve shot probably half-dozen, or maybe as many as 10, sage grouse in my life. I’m likely among a small group of North Dakotans alive today who can say that. And that group is not going to get any bigger. Ever. Because there’s an awfully good chance we’ll never have another sage grouse season in North Dakota. In fact, I’ve …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — 50 Years … And Counting

At about 2 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 18, 2021), my friend, Rick Maixner, and I poured a couple ofshots from the bottle of cognac he keeps stashed at the Sunset Nursing Home in Mandan, N.D., and toasted the fact we are still here, 50 years after we walked off the gangplank of the USS Oriskany, CVA-34, at the Alameda (Calif.) Naval …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Damn, It Hurts To Bury A Friend

I wrote here a few weeks ago that you can’t really understand COVID-19 until you’ve sat at the bedside of a good friend on a ventilator. I can say now that even then I did not understand it completely until I buried that good friend this past week. Until I watched that coffin being slowly lowered into the ground, as we all …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Remembering Ardell Tharaldson

I’m thinking today of an old friend, Ardell Tharaldson, who left us 10 years ago, Dec. 6, 2011. Our friendship dated back to Democratic-NPL politics in 1972, when he ran George McGovern’s campaign for president in North Dakot MS, which confined him to a wheelchair, and cancer, which killed him. He wrote a good book, “Patronage: Histories and Biographies of …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — ‘Scumbags’

Some random thoughts, most of which appeared in an article in the December issue of Dakota Country magazine. How do you go about summarizing a year like 2021? Try this: It’s December, the year is almost over, and we’re still here. I’m still writing. You’re still reading. Y’know, considering everything, not much else seems very important. Like me, I’m sure you’ve lost …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Is A Refinery Really A Good Investment?

I have a friend who is an investment banker. I don’t know much about his business because I don’t have much to invest. But he’s been keeping track of the articles I’ve written about Meridian Energy Group, the company that wants to build a refinery next to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. From time to time, he sends me a letter …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Highland Acres Historic District Is Becoming A Reality!

About 3½ years ago, a few residents of the Highland Acres neighborhood in west Bismarck sat down with some staff at the State Historical Society of North Dakota and began discussing the possibility of creating the Highland Acres Historic District and to nominate it for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. Today (Nov. 17), the Bismarck Historic Preservation …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Refinery Update: Another Day, Another Lawsuit; Ho Hum

If you happen to be in Texas, in the Houston area, the first week of January, and you’ve got a little time to kill, you could probably stop by the 215th Judicial District Courthouse for a little entertainment. There’s going to be a trial going on that might interest you. Lawyers for this company called Meridian Energy Group that I’ve been writing about …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Sadness And Anger

You can read all the newspaper stories with lists of vaccination and testing sites, and death counts, and you can watch the incessant pokes-in-the-arm on the 6 o’clock news, but you can’t really understand COVID-19 until you’ve sat at the bedside of a good friend in the intensive care unit of a hospital and watched a machine pump oxygen in …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The PPP Has Been Very Good To North Dakota

Well, my e-mails have sure been interesting since I wrote about the Paycheck Protection Program gifts earlier this week. The first was just after I wrote about Rick Becker’s plastic surgery clinic getting a couple of loans: “Hey, what about his bars and restaurants?!?!” Oops. I checked. Yes, he is the registered owner of a couple of places in downtown …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Augmenting Your Business With A PPP Loan

This might be the shortest story I ever post here. While doing some research for an earlier story I wrote, I came across the website that apparently tracks every single “loan” made under the pandemic-inspired Paycheck Protection Program. That’s the program that was passed by Congress in 2020 to help keep small businesses afloat during the pandemic. Businesses went to their …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The PPP Has Been Really Good To Meridian Energy

Just when you’ve got a sore neck from shaking your head over the stuff you read and learn about Meridian Energy Group, the company that wants to put a refinery beside our national park … there’s this. In spite of the fact that there is no oil refinery, and the only business the company seems to be doing is selling …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — New Office Digs For Refinery Company

I try to write an update on the Meridian Energy Group, the company that wants to put an oil refinery next to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, when there’s some news to report about them. Today’s news comes from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Meridian filed an amended report on its offering of securities with the SEC on Oct. 13. There …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — A Few Of My Favorite Things

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens Brown paper packages tied up with strings These are a few of my favorite things When the dog bites When the bee stings When I’m feeling sad I simply remember my favorite things And then I don’t feel so bad There’s so much bad news these …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — An Offer From The State To Billings County: We Could Build Your Bridge

In yet another bizarre twist to the long-running story of the controversial proposed bridge over the Little Missouri State Scenic River north of Medora to serve the oil industry, the state of North Dakota is now considering stepping in and taking over the whole project, including paying for the bridge and using eminent domain to condemn the land for the …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Best Bacon Ever

This is going to be a story about bacon. It’s an article which appears in the October issue of Dakota Country magazine, which is on the newsstands and in the mail this week. Hang in there with me for a little bit while I provide some background. I’ll get to the bacon part in a minute. This bacon is worth …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Refinery Threat To Theodore Roosevelt National Park Just Won’t Go Away

More than three years after it was first given an Air Quality Permit To Construct an oil refinery on the doorstep of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Meridian Energy Group has received another 18-month permit extension to begin building the refinery. The company said when the permit was first granted in June 2018 that it would be in operation by now, …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Yes, It’s Sept. 11 — Again

Sept.11 has mostly come and gone. The 20th anniversary of what has become simply “9-11.” I did nothing to observe that anniversary. I did not watch television, or read the newspaper stories about the events of 20 years ago. Instead, I did things I would always do on a Saturday in September. I swam at the Y. I went for …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Keeping Track Of Bridges And Refineries

A short update on a couple of things that I have written about recently. MERIDIAN ENERGY As I reported here earlier this summer, Meridian Energy Group’s Permit to Construct the Davis Refinery just three miles from Theodore Roosevelt National Park expired in June, three years after it was first issued by the North Dakota Department of Health (now the North …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Sometimes You Have To Go Camping To Get Good News

I haven’t written here lately because we went camping. For about three weeks. We went to the Pacific Northwest, seeking national parks and seafood. We found both. And we learned some things about camper trailers and “glamping.” Most importantly, camper trailers should be towed to a destination and parked for a few days. We spent too much time moving from …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Camping 101, With Diversions

This article appears in the July edition of Dakola Country magazine, which will be on the stands this week. I’m a camper. I started camping as a Boy Scout. My dad was scoutmaster for Troop 34 in Hettinger, N.D., and loved to take his Scouts to his favorite campsite, beside the Grand River just across the state line in South …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — DEQ To Meridian: You’ve Got 90 Days

At midnight Saturday, Meridian Energy Group’s Air Pollution Control Permit To Construct an oil refinery next to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, issued by the North Dakota Department of Health, will expire. Now don’t get too excited. This nightmare isn’t over. This has happened before. This is the second time the permit has expired. The Health Department (now the Department of …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — It’s Going To Be A Long, Hot Summer In The Badlands

(Reprinted from Dakota Country magazine, June 2021) Most years, the North Dakota Badlands, as I write this in early May, are changing color. As the ground warms, the winter’s snowmelt brings hints of green into the brown landscape of buffalo and crested wheat grass and little bluestem, and by the end of the month, as you’re reading this, the transition …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Like Rats On A Sinking Ship …

Meridian Energy Group, the troubled startup company that has announced plans to build an oil refinery next to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, has closed all of its offices and three of its top executives have left the company, leading energy industry watchdogs to question the future of the company. The company lists three offices on its website, one each in …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Donald Trump And I Got Censored By Facebook

Looks like it’s going to be a rainy, windy day. A day to stay inside and write, something I haven’t done for a while. I need to share with you something that happened a little more than a week ago at this same keyboard I am writing at today. I got censored by Facebook. Now I know how Donald Trump …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Curious Case Of The Drunk-Driving Legislator

I know, I haven’t written much about the North Dakota Legislature this year. Too many other things on my mind. But I followed it, read about it daily and shook my head in amazement over the stupid things the Republican majority did. I won’t tick them off here — you know what I am talking about. But something caught my …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — An Update On The ‘Bridge To Nowhere’

Somebody asked in a comment on my blog last week for an update on the proposed Little Missouri Crossing north of Medora, N.D. Here’s some information stolen from an article I wrote for Dakota Country magazine’s May issue, which should be on the newsstands later this week, or in your mailbox if you subscribe, which you should do. Out in …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Snaps® Are Back!

A little more than eight years ago, in December 2012, I wrote one of the hardest obituaries I’ve ever had to write, and believe me, I’ve written a lot of them, as a former newspaper reporter and editor. The obituary was for Snaps®. Anyone who knows me well or remembers that blog post on December 8, 2012, knows that I …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — A Short, Sweet, Norwegian Celebration

Three groups have been cheering the appointment of Debra Haaland as President Biden’s Secretary of Interior. WOMEN. Although 21st century presidents have done better, over the years, probably only about 10 percent of all Cabinet secretaries have been women — I think I read somewhere the total is about 30 since we became a country — so when a woman gets …