Unheralded

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Solastalgia: The Drought Of 2021 In North Dakota

Here in North Dakota in the spring of 2021, the headlines about the pandemic are being pushed aside by the daily news of the extreme drought and prairie fires. All of us search the forecast in hopes of rain, knowing the damage this is causing to the people, the critters and the landscape we love. All of us search for …


Unheralded

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — North Dakota’s Gold Rush: A Memoir About The Fracking Boom

Michael Patrick F. Smith would not seem to fit the profile of an oil field worker. He’s an actor, a musician and a playwright who sublet his Brooklyn, N.Y., apartment to head out west to Williston, N.D., during the height of the Bakken Oil Boom in 2013. As he admits, “It’s a weird resume for a man applying to work …


CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — The Promises And Pitfalls Of A Modern-Day Boomtown

When the price of a barrel of oil peaked at $145 amid the 2008 economic meltdown, thousands of unsettled men from all over the country descended on the fracking boomtown of Williston, N.D. Centered atop the estimated 7.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil contained within the Bakken Formation, Williston witnessed over the next six years what writer Michael Patrick F. …

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 …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — The Crooked Little Missouri River And Its Headwaters

The crooked Little Missouri River is in my bloodstream, deeply embedded in my psyche. I grew up working and playing on its banks in Slope County, North Dakota, and have canoed and kayaked almost every North Dakota mile of the river countless times, and frequently written about my explorations on my blog. My favorite stretches of the river are in …

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 — 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 …

RON SCHALOW: Meet Rep. Jeff Hoverson Of The Bastiat Caucus

Pastor Jeff Hoverson lives with his family on a hobby farm near Burlington — according to his Living Word Lutheran Church website — or at 1300 72nd Street SE in Minot if you want to believe the deep state. Hoverson is disgruntled with Gov. Doug Burgum for playing the science card— by belatedly mandating masks in public spaces— so Rep. …

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 — 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, …

RON SCHALOW: NDGOP Trumpedemiologist Champs Were Born This Way

Bear with Me. I’ve been pounding my head on Trump’s health care plan. The second line of Section 2 under Article I of the Declaration of Rights in the Constitution of the state of North Dakota reads: “Government is instituted for the protection, security and benefit of the people…” “Does the ‘protection, security and benefit of the people‘ have anything …

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 — 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 …

MICHAEL BOGERT: Photo Gallery — White Horse Hill National Game Preserve

Grand Forks photographer Michael Bogert recently made a trip White Horse Hill National Game Preserve, a 1,674-acre national wildlife refuge sitting on the south shores of Devils Lake, about 10 miles south of the city of Devils Lake, N.D. The refuge was first established April 27, 1904, as Sullys Hill National Park. It was designated by Congress as a big game preserve in 1914 …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Biking In The Autumn Haze Of 2020

I have been cleaning storage areas, putting away patio pots and such and taking out snow shovels, my customary practice this time of year. In doing so, I unearthed my bike carrier and thus made a pledge to myself to ride my bike every day I can this fall until it snows. In order to not lose sight of this, …

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 …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Knock A Republican Candidate Off The Ballot? Not Likely

The North Dakota Supreme Court might get one more chance to knock a candidate off the November General Election ballot. But don’t bet on the justices doing it because the candidate in question is a Republican this time, and the North Dakota Supreme Court likes Republicans. Let me introduce you to the strange case of North Dakota State Rep. Terry …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 64: Are You The Ants Or The Grasshopper?

I’m trying to take the time in my life to rediscover ancient wisdom, such as that found in “Aesop’s Fables” and in conversations with my elders, most importantly my mother. Perhaps during the upcoming fallow season, I will reread one fable each day. Time will tell. At the same time, I’m trying to learn new lessons, from family and friends of all …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Who’s REALLY At Fault For The Failures Of Measure 3?

Labor Day. Ah, September. The “Dog Days of August” are behind us. Except that this year the dogs never showed up. August used to be the month the politicians took time off to take the kids (and the dog) to the lake, while preparing for a campaign to begin after Labor Day. Not this year. In August 2020, the North …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — ‘I’ve Lived My Life’

My friend Bill Bowman died. I’m sad about that. Bill and I both grew up in southwest North Dakota, he on a ranch north of Rhame, and I down the road on state Highway 12 in Hettinger. Our paths first crossed in the 1960s, at Dickinson State College, and they crossed many times more in the 50-plus years since, more …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — ‘It Is Said’

“It is said that if one chooses to pray to a rock with enough devotion, even that rock will come alive. In the same way, once we choose to commit ourselves to spiritual practice, even the mountains and valleys will reverberate to the sound of our purpose.” — “365 Tao: Daily Meditations” by Deng Ming-Dao (published 1992) The paperback book a gift …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House: Today’s Short Story of the Trees of Arthur Drive

A short story in the life of Arthur Drive in the Highland Acres neighborhood of Bismarck today, Aug. 5, 2020. “Short” being a relative term in the eyes of the beholder. Our next-door neighbors have a lovely big tree. Some sort of boxelder, I think. Everyone in the neighborhood values their trees. (That is, of course, until a storm comes …

RON SCHALOW: NDGOP LGBTQ Bigotry Extends To Heterosexuals

“Opposition to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Bills,” reads the heading of a zealously written category of the North Dakota GOP’s 2020 resolutions, recently discovered to be their 1920 resolutions. So the Republican assistant manager removed the document from the official webpage, but the 1920 project lives on in some cloud. All went Trumpy when the NDGOP got superconcerned …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Would You Buy A Used ‘ROCET” From This Company?

I have a new friend who I’ll call “Chris,” who knows something about petroleum engineering. This new friend is some kind of engineer. I haven’t met this friend in person, but I’ve talked to Chris a few times on the computer and the phone recently. Chris sent me an e-mail this week after reading a couple of the columns I’ve …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Of License Plates And Things

Taking a break from picking on refinery companies, I decided to lighten up today and talk about fun things like license plates. Way back in 1992, the North Dakota Legislature and Gov. George Sinner agreed that it was time the state got a new design for our license plates. The license plate we had been using for five years featured …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Refinery Company’s Employees Sue For $600,000 In Unpaid Wages

A group of seven former and current (but likely to soon be former) employees of Meridian Energy Group, the California company that wants to build an oil refinery next to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the North Dakota Bad Lands, has filed a lawsuit against Meridian seeking to recover more than $600,000 in unpaid wages, salaries and bonuses. The lawsuit …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Is Absolutely Everything For Sale?

If you agree that we should not throw up a bridge in the North Dakota Badlands within a few miles of Theodore Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch Site, please write to Secretary Elaine Chou asap, and please share my letter to your network of friends. Talk about Last Best Places! The question we have to ask is — is absolutely everything for …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Quick Takes, Fast Tracks And The Destruction Of A Historic Ranch And A State Scenic River

“(Commission chairman) Jim Arthaud and the Billings County commissioners have the fight of their lives ahead of them if they plan on using eminent domain to put a bridge across our land.” That was Sandy Short, wife of the late Con Short and daughter-in-law of former U.S. Congressman Don Short, in an interview with The Bismarck Tribune three years ago. …

DAVE BRUNER: Photo Gallery — Mystical Horizons

Grand Forks photographer Dave Bruner’s recent road trip took him to Mystical Horizons, a unique and fascinating place in north-central North Dakota on the Scenic Byway of state Highway 43 near the town of Carbury. This “21st century Stonehenge” is an unusual yet fully functional solar calendar made of stone structures. It was built in 2005 from the vision of …

DAVE BRUNER: Photo Gallery — Swedish Zion Lutheran Church

Grand Forks photographer Dave Bruner took to the roads of rural North Dakota and the Turtle Mountains and came across Swedish Zion Lutheran Church in northern Bottineau County. The historic rural church, built in 1903, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in April 2013. The stone (granite) church, which had its origins starting in 1896, when a group …

DAVE BRUNER: Photo Gallery — Badlands Trip Series No. 4

“Milky Way Night In The Badlands,” that’s what Grand Forks photographer Dave Bruner calls these images, taken from 11 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. one recent day in the North Dakota Badlands. He was fortunate to have no clouds in the sky with no wind and a clear cool night with no heat waves to get a nice view and these images …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Congratulations, Jocelyne And Monique

The Lamoureux twins, Jocelyne and Monique, who led the U.S. Women’s hockey team to a gold medal in the 2018 Winter Olympics, have been named recipients of the North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt  Rough Rider Award, the state’s highest honor. Finally. They are the first and only North Dakotans ever to win Winter Olympic Gold. And they did it in a …