Unheralded

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 …


Unheralded

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 …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — April Is A Key Month For The ‘Bridge To Nowhere’

There are a couple of new developments in the ongoing saga of the proposed Little Missouri River Crossing north of Medora, N.D. I’ve written about this extensively, most recently in December. Here’s what’s going on right now: There’s a new look to the Billings County Commission. Longtime Commission Chairman Jim Arthaud, the driving force behind the bridge proposal, was defeated …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Pollert vs. Becker; Pollert Wins; Luke Who?

In the end, the vote this past week to kick Luke Simons out of the North Dakota Legislature wasn’t about Luke Simons at all. It was about Chet Pollert showing Ricky Becker who’s in charge. Pollert’s the Majority Leader in the North Dakota House of Representatives. He introduced the resolution to kick one of his own caucus members out of …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — A REALLY GOOD FRIEND and a REALLY GOOD WIFE

This is a story about a REALLY GOOD FRIEND and a REALLY GOOD WIFE. It started about a year ago when my friend, Mike Jacobs, offered to place a bet on the 2020 June North Dakota primary election. It seems he had made a bet on a candidate in a contested primary race but was having second thoughts, so he …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Winter Of Our Discontent

I’ve been away. It’s been nearly two months since I took a punch to the gut, the likes of which I have never experienced. I lost a brother in the COVID pandemic. He was younger, just 66. Unknown to his family or friends, he suffered from severe depression, which engulfed him during the isolation of the last year, taking him …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Democratic Attorneys General Respond

There are a lot of great things about writing on a blog. There are no deadlines. You can write when you feel like it. Late Saturday night. Early Sunday morning. It doesn’t cost anything. You don’t have staff to supervise. You don’t have editors looking over your shoulder. And you can pretty much say anything you like, which I often …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Yes, Yes And Yes, When Attorneys General Break The Law

My inbox has been full of messages saying, “Did you see this?” with links to stories about the Republican Attorneys General Association participating in Wednesday’s U.S. Capitol riots, and asking, “Is Wayne Stenehjem a member of this club?” My answers are “Yes” and “Yes.” The links they sent say that an arm of the Republican Attorneys General Association sent out …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Stenehjem Investigation Under Way; Does Our Attorney General Have Blood On His Hands?

I think that as you are reading this, an investigation is under way by the North Dakota Office of Disciplinary Counsel into whether our Attorney General, Wayne Stenehjem, acted unethically, and possibly illegally, using state resources for political purposes, when he joined one of the many frivolous lawsuits to try to overturn Joe Biden’s election as President of the United …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — When Life Gives You 2020, Make Lemonade

Jan. 1, 2021. 2020 is finally over. It was a helluva year. It wasn’t ALL bad, but it was different. Very different. Here’s an example. At about 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving, just as hints of daylight were appearing in the southeast sky, four (relatively) old men huffed and puffed their way for about half …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Did Stenehjem Misuse State Funds? Investigation Sought

Earlier this week, North Dakota’s attorney general, Wayne Stenehjem, joined 17 other Republican attorneys general from across the country, all members of the Republican Attorneys General Association, an organization that in its various incarnations, has provided Stenehjem with at least $160,000 in campaign funds, in supporting a lawsuit filed by his counterpart in Texas, Republican Ken Paxton. Paxton, who it …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Two More Bad Guys Going After Our Public Lands: Stenehjem And Hoeven

On Thursday, I wrote about the jerk who runs the Bureau of Land Management and his attack on the public land he “manages,” land he would like to turn over to the energy industry before he leaves office in January. Today, I want to talk about the other federal agency so important to North Dakota, the U.S. Forest Service, which …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Public Lands Under Attack In Trump’s Final Days

In their agony, deep in the death throes of the Trump administration, America’s public lands managers are scrambling to put their final stamp on the worst conservation, environmental and public lands record in our country’s history. At risk are millions of acres of wildlife habitat and pristine recreational areas across America’s West, including the last remaining undeveloped roadless areas in …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — A Tale Of Two Bridges (Continued)

I wrote in a recent edition of Dakota Country magazine about the continuing saga of a pair of bridges — one built, the other proposed — over the Little Missouri State Scenic River, part of the ongoing effort of politicians and captains of industry to industrialize the state’s only officially designated scenic river. It seems like there’s no end to …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — ‘Responsibility Is Not Applicable’

Only the most cynical among us could have come up with a scenario for the game that played out in the election of legislators from legislative District 8, a scenario that came to an end Tuesday when the North Dakota Supreme Court settled it. Final score: Jeff Delzer 5 Doug Burgum 0. It started in the spring of 2016, when …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Orgiastic Politics: The Strange Case Of District 8

Dang it, the Bismarck Tribune stole my headline this morning, pointing out on the front page there’s going to be a “3-way” over in the North Dakota Supreme Court on Friday morning, in the case involving the District legislative seat. If it turns out to be a good “3-way,” somebody’s going to get screwed. In fact, more than one somebody …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Summer’s Gone, And Still No Refinery; Yay!

November. Another construction season has come and gone in North Dakota. It’s about the fourth construction season that Meridian Energy Group has promised (threatened?) to build an oil refinery three miles from Theodore Roosevelt National Park. So far, we’ve dodged a bullet. The company has been plagued by financial problems. The company has a $2 million lien placed against it …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Vacancy? What Vacancy?

Here’s the thing about North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum’s move Wednesday to jump in the middle of the bizarre District 8 legislative mess and appoint a coal company executive to fill the vacancy left by the death and subsequent election of Dave Andahl: Right now, there’s no vacancy to be filled. By now, all the newspapers are telling the story …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Requiescant In Pace, North Dakota Democrats

Here’s my short analysis of Tuesday’s election results in North Dakota. There were 69 legislative seats on the ballot across the state in 23 legislative districts. One Senate seat and two House seats in each district. Republicans won 65 of those seats. Democrats won four. The absolute worst performance by a political party (excluding fringe parties) in state history. RIP, …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — I Think The Rodeo’s Over

Four years ago, a couple of days after the 2016 presidential election, when the results had sunk in and America realized what it had just done, I wrote: “Here’s what I think of the election. We got all dressed up to go to the ball, and we ended up at a rodeo.” Boy, was I right. I’ve been to a …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Up Sims Creek Without A Paddle — So Long Rodney Nelson

I’ve known a lot of funny people in my life. Rodney Nelson was probably the funniest. A cowboy rancher from down in the Heart River Valley west of Mandan, N.D., Rodney succumbed to cancer Wednesday. He was just 71 years old. Now 24 hour later, wherever he is, he’s making an audience laugh. You might remember Rodney as a cowboy …

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 …

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 …