Unheralded

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — How About A ‘Super Bridge’?

I went to the North Dakota Department of Water Resources public hearing Friday on whether they should grant the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad permission to build a new bridge over the Missouri River between Bismarck and Mandan. To quote from the Department’s meeting notice, “The new bridge is intended to replace an existing bridge, the proposed removal of which will …


Unheralded

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Rise Up, Librarians; They’re Coming After Your Books

A lot of bad bills get introduced into the Legislature over the years. Most meet the fate they deserve — into the trash. But from time to time, a bad bill becomes law because of timing. A legislator catches a wave of public interest in a subject that’s in the news and takes advantage of that to introduce a bill …


JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Signing Off

As of today I have signed off as a contributor to my favorite magazine, Dakota Country. I’m old, and I’m tired of a lifetime of deadlines. Today, Jan.1, 2023 — it’s gonna take some time to get used to typing that number and getting it right on checks — is the first time in almost 10 years I haven’t sent …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Heading Home

OK, indulge me one more time, please, while I write just one more very personal column. Then I’ll shut up for a while, maybe even until after Christmas. I’m sitting in my hotel room at the Westin St. Francis Hotel on Union Square in San Francisco. It’s a place I’ve stayed before — sort of. On Dec. 18, 1971, the …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Vacation Resumed!

The Army docs fixed me up just fine and sent me back to Waikiki late Friday, just in time for a Goodbye-To-Oahu supper. Joined my family and they splurged for dessert. Today it is off to the Big Island of Hawaii and Volcanoes National Park (if it is still there). First, a Bloody Mary on the beach (it’s still morning …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Vacation Interrupted

Wednesday, December 7, 2022, is a day that will live in infamy (to borrow a catchy phrase from my favorite president) for me. While visiting the USS Arizona Memorial on Pearl Harbor Day, I experienced severe chills in 80-degree weather. I went to the gift store and bought a really cool Pearl Harbor jacket, put it on and zipped it …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Kendley Plateau: ‘The Heart of the Badlands’

This article is reprinted from the December issue of Dakota Country magazine, on newstands and in the mail this week. I wish I could tell you there’s a lot to see on Kendley Plateau, south of Medora, N.D. I wish I could, but I can’t, because there’s not much to see there. Mostly Bad Lands, prairie grass, sagebrush and scattered …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — What If They Gave An Election In North Dakota And Nobody Came?

Headlines from this week’s papers: “GOP grows supermajority in North Dakota’s Legislature; Dems have ‘collapsed completely’” “North Dakota sees worst voter turnout this millennium” “DFL wins full control of Minnesota government” “Minnesota voter turnout shaping up to be highest in nation yet again” The Democratic-NPL Party (my party, sadly) in North Dakota is now almost nonexistent. The number of Democrats …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Term Limits? We’ve Already Got ‘Em

Everybody’s talking about term limits this week, in the leadup to Tuesday’s election. Well, not everybody, but it certainly is the topic of discussion at coffee klatches and business lunches. Even one of my lawyer buddies walked up beside me on the track at the Y this morning and asked “What do you think is going to happen with the …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Twin Buttes: Wilderness And Maybe A Few Sharptails

This article first appeared in the November, 2022 issue of Dakota Country magazine. Long ago, way back in the 1970s, I lived in Dickinson, in western North Dakota, and was a writer and editor for The Dickinson Press. My regular working hours were 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday. I was a recently returned Vietnam veteran who needed …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Attorneys General — Good Guys And Bad Guys

This article is reprinted from the October 2022  issue of Dakota Country magazine.) OK, I know, I know, I’m not supposed to speak ill of the dead. But I’m going to a little, this month, and then I’m going to offer some praise for the living. And no, it’s not dead critters or fish like you’ll read about elsewhere in …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Another One Bites The Dust

Friends have been notified that Hal Simons, 73, died at his home this past week, after a long battle with cancer. A memorial service is being planned for late October. Hal was a longtime friend, dating back to our newspaper days in the 1970s. He was a member of a loose-knit group of friends who occasionally sat around a table …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Long X Divide Offers Wilderness Hiking

There’s something almost magical about stepping onto the prairie and knowing that it’s possible — even likely — that you’re the first person who has ever put their foot down on that spot. Ever. One of the places you can do that is on the Long X Divide, near the extreme north end of the North Dakota Badlands. Long X …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Seventy-Five

On a warm summer evening in late August 1947, young Phyllis Maxine Boehmer Fuglie stood on the platform of a Chicago train station and kissed her husband, Whitey Fuglie, goodbye. Just 22 years old and heavy with child, she boarded a train for North Dakota, where her mother and his mother waited to help her with the birth of her …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — PPP Follow-Up

On Wednesday, I wrote an article about Gary Berube, the fella who writes the right-wing stink letters to the editor to all our state’s papers pretty frequently. I wrote about the hypocrisy of him criticizing the proposal to forgive college loans in a recent letter to The Forum when he had taken a free $20,000 PPP loan forgiveness from the …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Glass Houses, Candy And Ice Cream And Hypocrisy

I’ll make this short and sweet. There’s a fellow over in Mandan, N.D., named Gary Berube who’s a stockbroker and a slumlord and a frequent right-wing contributor to the state’s newspaper editorial pages. If you read North Dakota’s newspapers, you’ve seen his rants. His most frequent one appeared in Tuesday’s online edition of The Forum. It read: Democrats Are Trying …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Bad Lands Updates: Drew Wrigley, Meridian Energy Group, Land For Sale

Drew Wrigley: Case Closed As I write this Friday, it has been exactly 10 years and 27 days since four western North Dakota counties — Billings, Slope, McKenzie and Golden Valley — filed a lawsuit to try to get access to section line roads inside four parcels of land being protected by the U.S. Forest Service, the federal agency that …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — ‘HE LOST’

Saturday will mark the three-week anniversary of the day my friend, Darrell, fell through a hole in his deck. You’ll recall that I wrote about it a couple of days later. And in that story, I asked you to speculate on what Darrell’s last words were as he headed for the deck below. I had already asked Darrell if he …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — I’m Home, Not Quite OK, But Home

Last Sunday, I woke up a little later than usual. I don’t go to the Y on Sundays — church day. I woke up shaking and shivering like crazy — I was freezing. And I had intense shooting pains in my right leg. Uh-oh, I said. The cellulitis is back. Damn. I got up, took a hot shower to try …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Day Darrell Fell Through A Hole In The Deck

HIS LAST WORDS BEFORE HE HIT THE GROUND WERE _________________________! Saturday was just a typical quiet midsummer weekend day at our house — I should say MY house because it’s been all mine for more than a week as Lillian traveled to the West Coast with her friend, Christine. I picked raspberries in the morning, stopped at the Bismarket and …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — If You Live Long Enough, Good Things Can Happen

I’m going to take a little time out today from politics and saving the Bad Lands to get a little personal. A good thing has happened for me this summer, a reunion with an old pal, and I’m feeling pretty happy about it. So I’ll tell you the story. Those of you who know me know that my heart slides …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — ‘Peaches Help You Poop’

On my first trip to the grocery store, or to anywhere besides the recliner in my living room, after a 10-day hospital stay and 10 days of home confinement for treatment of a badly infected leg, I bought four peaches. California peaches, it said on the little label, not Georgia or Washington, the ones we prefer. But they were the …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — A Victory For The Bad Lands

I know, I’ve written about this legal battle in this space before, but it’s such good news — for now, at least — that I just can’t quit sharing it. Below is an article that appears in the June issue of Dakota Country magazine, on the newstands and in the mail right now. By the way, if you aren’t a …

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, …

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 — Body And Soul

Everybody in my family joins the family of Dr. Joe Mattson on this Valentine’s Day in mourning the loss of a great North Dakotan, who left us last week, and who surely had a straight shot ticket to heaven after a life well-lived. Here’s an article I wrote about him and my mom about a dozen years ago. I’m thinking …

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 …