Unheralded

UNHERALDED LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Bullion Butte: The Mother Ship

Bullion Butte: The Mother Ship (at least it is to me) Where do I start, I ask myself? How do I not make this dry and unreadable? How do I sort through my lifetime of memories of Bullion Butte and the files in our house? But start I will. I’ve written before about the buttes of southwest North Dakota and …


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 …


LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Another Wind Event In North Dakota

We know at Red Oak House we’ve had another “wind event” when the local tree service trucks begin to show up to deal with the fallout. In other news, a massive and gnarly tumbleweed blew into our front yard in the middle of Bismarck! Wonder where that came from? On the bright side, the National Weather Service says the drought …

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 …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Blue Sky And Sunshine At Red Oak House

Friday, April 15, 2002: I was up at dawn to look out the windows here to check on the status of the historic blizzard of April 2022. My treat was a beautiful amber full moon setting in the west, which meant some blue sky sunshine today. So far no wind here. One neighbor left in his 4-wheel drive pickup for …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Day Three, April 2022 Blizzard: Lucinda Gets The Final Word

Dispatch from Red Oak House (April 14): I dug some snow, watched someone go by with a pickup, heard snowplows and pondered whether a trip to the market was advised. Canceled a plan to drive to Rhame tomorrow (postponed for another time). Did other work around the house. No paper or mail delivery. Filled the bird feeders again. Did some …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Day Two, April 2022 Blizzard

Dispatch from Red Oak House (April 13, 2022): Mostly I shoveled snow, trying to keep ahead of it. Spotted lots of birds, including a Sharp-Shinned Hawk flyby and some Turkey Vultures taking shelter in the neighborhood trees.  My siblings and relatives elsewhere in North Dakota were texting me photos of the snow at their houses. (Family in other parts of the …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Day One, April 2022 Blizzard

Dispatch from Red Oak House (April 12, 2022): I shovel the driveway and back patio four times. Jim sets up the indoor greenhouse in the dining room for the vegetable seedlings. I text back and forth with various family members across the country, including my uncle in Mississippi who is watching the same Weather Channel report from Bismarck as me. (In …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — ‘Keep It Between The Ditches’

The blizzard has begun here at Red Oak House. On days like today, if indeed we were going to drive (much less leave the farmhouse), my Slope County Grandpa Andy (and my Mother, his daughter) would say, “Keep it between the ditches!” My Mother said this until her last days to her children when she was worried about us traveling. …

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 …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Early April Accomplishments

Planned some North Dakota Road Trips for camping and hiking. Took out some seasonal stuff from storage, chatted with neighbors and friends and daughter and others. Didn’t watch The Masters. Watched and listened to spring birds, filled bird feeders, laughed at squirrels and bunnies and spotted new spring growth here in North Dakota. Lastly, took out my hand saw and …

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 …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Vernal Equinox Road Trip To Western North Dakota Counties: A Visual Essay

A Spring road trip to southwestern North Dakota counties and the Little Missouri National Grasslands: a Visual Essay, in no particular order. My very first in-person shopping at Roxie’s Smoke Shack. Jim is a celebrity there. We had some laughs and bought some stuff. Then I walked across state Highway 12 to mail a Marmarth postcard to my brother with …

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 — 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 …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Winter Notes No. 7

Gentle readers, those who know us here at Red Oak House know that I write my blog when time permits, and I feel inspired or moved in some way. In our busy lives, Jim and I joke about “the lives of the English majors.” The past two years have been a blur, “smushed together” some might say.Thursday and Friday, Jim …

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 …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Winter Notes No. 6

Journal entries 20 October 2021 3:15 p.m. Sunny calm autumn day. A very large and healthy coyote just ran up my street, ahead of my vehicle a full block, and then zipped behind the house next to Red Oak House, in broad daylight (no photo, I was driving). I grew up in Slope County and I know what I saw, …

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 — 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 …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — A Meditation On Yellow: Missouri River Watershed

Autumn in the Missouri River watershed is a yellow time. Goldenrods, Maximilian and other sunflowers, curlycup gumweed, green ash, rubber rabbitbrush and the plants of the willow family that includes aspen and the ubiquitous cottonwood — which to me is emblematic of the Little Missouri and Missouri landscape. The first hints of autumn yellow come from the late summer flowers. …

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 — 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 …