Unheralded

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Shotguns, Dead Dogs, Liars And Courtrooms

This article first appeared in the May issue of High Plains Reader. I am an old man. I have been a politics junkie most of my life. I have been involved in many campaigns, but have not run for office myself. Each time someone has suggested I do that, I tell them the same thing: I will not put my …


Unheralded

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Much Ado About Nothing

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” — Ecclesiastes 1:9 Hmmm. Nothing new under the sun. Perhaps North Dakota Gov. Douglas Burgum needs to spend a little time with his Bible. Wise man, that Solomon. I’m referring to Burgum’s much ballyhooed announcement of the creation of …


JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Headed For Mar-A-Lago?

In an attempt to share with you what’s going on in my phone’s text messages, without offending your sensibilities, I’m going to keep this short. As I mentioned in an earlier column, I continue to get text messages from the Trump campaign after North Dakota’s failed presidential candidate, Doug Burgum, shared my personal contact information with the Trump campaign. I’m …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Just How Rich Is Billings County?

I’ve been moping around the house most of this cold, wet, windy, dreary, week, feeling sorry for myself because I can’t get out in the garden. I managed one garden day early in the week and planted about half of what I hope will be this year’s potato crop, but I’ve got a big bag of seed potatoes in the …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Does The Governor’s Office Have A “Slush Fund?” Well, Not Really …

When residents of Billings County in western North Dakota, home to the Bad Lands and Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Medora, head to their mailboxes sometime this week or next, they’re going to find a letter from their county commissioners. That’s unusual. About the only time county government sends you a letter is with your property tax bill. But this …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — And Then The Conventions Were Over …

Humorist Will Rogers once said, “I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat.” North Dakota Republicans left Fargo mumbling something like that Sunday morning, changing the last word, after the fiasco that was their purported state convention. Democrats, meanwhile, trickled out of town knowing they had at least three credible candidates at the top …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Convention Notes … So Far

Saturday morning. The first Saturday of April. Time for Spring. I’ve played a lot of golf on the first Saturday of April over the years.  Not last year, of course, when there was 2 feet of snow on the ground outside my bedroom window. But this year, the grass is getting a green tint out there, and I’d at least …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Thin Ice

OK, Doug Burgum, this time you’re on thin ice with me. It’s that time of year. The ice is getting thinner and thinner. but YOUR ice is really thin right now. This past summer, you used your thick billfold to try to become president by offering to send $20 gift cards to anyone sending you a dollar, so you could …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Little Missouri Bridge Work Halted; Judge: ‘Taking Property By Eminent Domain Is An Odious … Process’

“The crux of this case is the preservation of the untouched and dramatic beauty of the Shorts’ property in the North Dakota Bad Lands while the underlying legal issues are resolved. Theodore Roosevelt once described this area in compelling terms: ”From the edges of the valley the land rises abruptly in steep high buttes, whose crests are sharp and jagged. …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — George Santos, Meet Tammy Miller

In the Bismarck Tribune about North Dakota Lt. Gov. Tammy Miller’s announcement that she was running for governor this past week. Tribune reporter Jacob Fulton wrote this: Miller touted her childhood “cleaning toilets and stocking shelves” at the family lumber and hardware business in Brocket; she also said she “defended the store from robbers with her shotgun.” Now I had …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Crabs and Algorithms; Here’s A Shopping List

I said the other day I was going to stick to writing about King Crab Legs. So here goes. OK, Facebook, OK! I like King Crab Legs! You know that, just like you know a hundred other things about me. But did you have to tell every fish house in America? OK, so now I know, for sure, where I …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Billings County Voters Might Get To Vote On The Bridge

The North Dakota Secretary of State’s office says it is OK for Billings County residents to vote in June on whether they want their County Commission to use its power of eminent domain to take land for a road and bridge across the Little Missouri State Scenic River. The vote would not be binding on the commissioners or the bridge’s …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Oops; Maybe Nobody Was Listening After All

This past week, I wrote a story in this space that said the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party had apparently been the victim of electronic eavesdropping after a device that might have been a “bug” was found in a door frame at the party’s former headquarters, the North Dakota Kennedy Center. Turns out that I and several members of the Kennedy …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — King Crab Legs; No, Really

I am a sucker for seafood. No, wait, let me shorten that sentence. I am a sucker. You’d think by now, at my ripe old age, I’d know to be mindful of the old saying “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” In my case, I’d change “probably” to “definitely.” I got scammed. Really, really scammed. …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Future Of The Bad Lands Is In The Hands Of A Judge

The only thing we know for sure after Monday morning’s court hearing on the proposed bridge over the Little Missouri State Scenic River is that the bridge is not going to get built before March 1. U.S. District Judge Dan Traynor made sure of that because he’s not going to issue a decision on whether he’s going to grant a …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Anybody Need A New Tent Or Vacuum Cleaner Or Pool Table?

This space can get awfully discouraging much of the time, as I go after oil barons and county commissioners and politicians and other bad guys, and most of my friends will tell you pessimism is not generally my demeanor, so I continually go looking for things to get me back on the “sunny side of life.” From time to time, …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

That’s the title of a storied 1969 movie starring Jane Fonda. The first time I saw it was the first time I fell in love with Jane Fonda. God, she was hot. I was a lad of barely 20, and she was 10 years older than me, but I’ve been in love with her from a distance ever since. No …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — A New Year’s Etymology Lesson

Sunday night (New Year’s Eve) over supper with family and friends (Lillian’s extraordinary Swedish Meatballs with her secret ******berry ingredient and homemade egg noodles), we had one of those end-of-the-year conversations about the state of things. We decided things are not so good. Oh, our personal lives are pretty much OK, considering those around the table had survived car crashes, …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Season’s Greetings From Red Oak House

Lillian and I have cut back on our Christmas mailing this year, so we’re using our blogs to send out our 2023 short Christmas letter. Dear Friends and Family, 2023 was a travel year for us. Including last December, when we were away from home the entire month, the states and provinces we’ve been to: Hawaii (2 new national parks). …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — So Which Cabinet Post Should Burgum Pick?

It’s almost here. 2024, an election year. I get the feeling that most North Dakotans, like their fellow Americans, shudder at the thought. That’s OK. Politics in America, which I used to call “my favorite spectator sport,” has taken a sad turn away from what used to be the path to the most successful democracy in the world. Elections, too. …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Where’s The Most Expensive Pasture Land In North Dakota? Looks Like It’s In Billings County

I wrote this past week about the battle between the Short family and the Billings County Commission and how it is going to finally go to court in January. The Short family, descendants of the late U.S. Congressman Don Short, own the land on the west side of the Little Missouri State Scenic River — the west end of the …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Billings County Lawsuit Hearing Scheduled

The heirs of North Dakota’s U.S. Congressman Donald Levingston Short are going to get their day in court. You can join them Jan. 22, 2024 if you sit quietly in Courtroom 1 of the U.S. Courthouse in Bismarck. At precisely 9 a.m., U.S. District Judge Daniel Traynor will gavel the audience to quiet and begin hearing a request from attorneys …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — If COVID Wants You …

Eventually, I kept saying, everyone is going to get COVID. Everyone. Eventually. My “eventually” time came this past week. Lillian and I came home from New York with raging cases of COVID. It’s the worst disease I’ve ever had. It’s the sickest I’ve ever been. For a full week. We came home late Saturday night. I started coughing Sunday. I …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Doug Burgum For Speaker?

OK, so we don’t have a Speaker of the House. And there’s no one stepping forward from the ranks of the U.S. House Republican caucus to grab the gavel. Well, no problem. The House can pick anyone it wants to be the Speaker, according to Article I, Section II, Clause 5, of the U.S. Constitution, which reads: “The House of …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Another Roosevelt In North Dakota This Week

OK, this is kind of a big deal. I’ve been friends with Tweed Roosevelt for almost 30 years. We’ve hunted and fished and sat around campfires together in North Dakota, and we’ve spent wonderful days and nights at his home on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. Now, this week, I’m just going to sit and listen to him. Tweed’s the keynote …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Bring Back The Name ‘Redskins’; Now I’ve Seen It All

I swear, I thought this was a spoof story, a la The Onion,until I got down to the bottom and saw this: “NAGA president Eunice Davidson released a statement through theg roup’s media advisors Global Impact Campaigns. Global Impact Campaigns is run by marketing and PR veterans who have worked as strategists for various government, political, and media organizations, including for …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Check’s In The Mail … Er … At The Courthouse

In a file cabinet at the Billings County Clerk of Court’s office in Medora, N.D., there are four checks totaling $54,975 waiting to be picked up by members of the Short family, owners of a ranch about a dozen miles north of town. County Clerk of Court Juliana Hammerstrom is not holding her breath waiting for them to be claimed. …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Sept. 11 Thoughts Revisited

This is a re-run of something I wrote a dozen years ago, Sept. 11, 2011. And now I’m going to forget what today’s date is and have a good day in the garden. Yes, it has been a long 10 years. On August 29, 2001, I sat beside my wife’s bed as she looked up at her doctor, exhausted, pale and …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Gift Cards, Golf Balls, Toddler Shirts and Koozies; Good Grief

OK, a couple of months ago, I bit on Doug Burgum’s now-famous gambit to send $20 gift cards to anyone who would send him a dollar to help him qualify for the debate last week. I sent him a dollar July 17. I immediately got an e-mail that said, “Thank you for your donation! Due to high demand the gift …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — A Big Day In The Bad Lands

Forty-mile-per-hour winds drove a pouring rain sideways outside the Billings County Courthouse in Medora, N.D., this past Thursday afternoon, washing the Bad Lands dust from a dozen or more cars and pickups (mostly pickups) parked on the streets outside. Inside, another storm was brewing, this one going on behind closed doors, as a handful of drivers of those vehicles waited …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Northern Lights

An e-mail from an old friend, the filmmaker John Hanson, came out of the blue Wednesday, the day before the newspapers all said we were going to have a northern lights display tonight. The front page headline in the Bismarck Tribune on Wednesday blared “Solar storm to create Northern Lights.” Whoa. Not so fast. The correction at the bottom of …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — And Then There Were None; RIP, Minot Mafia

He was a handsome young Georgia Marine in spit-shined shoes, a white hat and a sharply pressed dress uniform, a member of the United States Marine Corps Drill Team, stationed in Washington, D.C., in the mid-1950s. She was a pretty little country girl from North Dakota, working in the Washington office of a North Dakota congressman. Their paths crossed. She …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The E-mails Just Keep On Comin’

Been about 10 days since I reported on the status of the Burgum for President campaign. I can report this morning that the e-mail machine is alive and well. I’ve gotten a couple of dozen more e-mails, at least two a day, since Doug announced he was running. I haven’t responded. Yet. But I might. You can as well. Just click on …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Most Patriotic Dad In America

When I was a boy growing up in southwest North Dakota, I thought my Dad, Whitey Fuglie, was the most patriotic man in America. I know that I heard him say “God Bless America!” at least a hundred times. Maybe 200. Maybe several hundred. He really was a patriot. A World War II veteran of the U.S. Navy Air Corps, …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Just Another ‘Bored Billionaire’

Many years ago (well, actually seven years ago this past Sunday), on the eve of the 2016 North Dakota primary election), I wrote in this space, “On Tuesday, I’m going to vote in the Republican primary election for Doug Burgum for Governor of North Dakota.” As I’ve written here many times, I’m a Democrat, and I don’t take crossing over …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — 102.4 Miles For Cancer Research

About a month ago, I agreed to walk 100 miles in the month of April to raise awareness of cancer and the deadly toll it is taking on us and to raise money for the American Cancer Society. My goal: $250, to be donated by me and my friends. I had the help of a fine list of friends: Valerie …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — 23 Crossings

As you’ve driven down Interstate 94 to Medora, N.D., for the past dozen or so years, you’ve seen a couple of yellow signs just inside the park boundary fence a few miles east of Medora that say, “Land for Sale.” Until I found out the story behind them, they gave me some pause. Hmmm. The park is selling off part …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — $20,000 An Acre!

At about 9:15 Tuesday morning, in the Billings County Courthouse in Medora, N.D., Billings County commissioners voted to go into executive session and told the general public attending the meeting to leave the room. Well, two of the three commissioners — Steve Klym and Lester Iverson — voted to do that. A third, Dean Rodne, voted against the motion to …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Thank You

A letter to a whole bunch of really good friends. Dear Friends, The nightmare is over. My lawyer says I can talk about it now. Some of you know about it already. Most don’t. Here’s the short version. About a year and a half ago, there was a knock on my front door. A kind of unruly looking fellow, probably …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Where We’ve Been, What We’ve Been Doing And Why

“On New Year’s Eve, 1940, Paul Southworth Bliss, a veteran of the Great War in Europe and a Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, took his service revolver from its holster in his small apartment at the Kansas City, Missouri, YMCA, put the pistol to his head, and pulled the trigger. He was just 51 years old. He left a …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — ‘The Buck Stops Here’ (At The Governor’s Desk)

I’m pretty sure these phone calls have already happened. Rrring! Rrring! “Hello, Governor’s Office, this is Doug Burgum.” “Hello, Governor, this is Bill Peterson over at the State Historical Society. They’re telling me I have to decide if I should sign off on letting the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad tear down its historic bridge over the Missouri River so …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — How About A Job In The Bad Lands?

Do you know some young person just starting or just ready to start a professional career in North Dakota? Someone who’s a good communicator — maybe a journalism degree) — and is interested in the outdoors (especially North Dakota’s Bad Lands)? Well, I’ve got an idea for them. I’ve been a member of an organization for more than 20 years …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — A Letter From A Reader

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about some bad bills in the North Dakota Legislature that attempt to ban books from our pubic libraries. One, SB 2123, was a goofy bill that just removed libraries from the list of places “dirty books” are allowed to be displayed. It was such a bad bill that it failed in the Senate …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Here We Go Again; The ‘Bridge To Nowhere’ Is Back

Elections, as they say, have consequences. What’s been going on in Billings County, North Dakota, elections has been pretty consequential. Billings County is an important place. It’s home to the Bad Lands, Medora and Theodore Roosevelt National Park. And the Little Missouri State Scenic River. More about elections in a minute. You’ve been reading here for more than 10 years …