Unheralded

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Legislators Are More Extreme Than Their Constituents

Ah, we meet again, as many of us have since 1991. Remember the ‘Sixties warning — don’t trust anyone over 30? What would they say about someone who’s been “opinionating” longer than that (and, in the process, inventing words)? I often have a mental lineup of topics I want to cover. Despite advice from some in the beginning that I …


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 …


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 — 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 …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Pigs

“The other morning, when the scorching sun had shot the mercury up to the hundred mark, we got to reminiscing with one of Minot’s real old-timers, and gleaned some interesting old-time stories that we will now pass on to our readers. We got to talking about ‘pigs’. Thirty or 40 years ago, Minot had a lot of pigs, but many …

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 …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — The Problem Is Not Our Part-Time Legislators

“Of course, I’m just a wild-eyed liberal,” I said sarcastically during a conversation with a conservative friend one day. “No, you’re a moderate,” she said. “You just seem liberal in McIntosh County.” Perhaps so. On social issues, I think government ought to stay out of the bedroom, doctor’s offices and out of our personal lives in general. I don’t believe …

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 — There’s Going To Be An Election; Ho Hum

There’s an election coming. It’s a pretty boring one. In North Dakota, all the Republicans will win, except in Fargo and a few other places in the Red River Valley. And maybe one Democrat in Bismarck. District 35 Sen. Tracy Potter. I think District 35 is the only district west of U.S. Highway 281 represented by a Democrat except for …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Ashley Jewish Homesteader’s Cemetery

The following from “Prairie Mosaic: An Ethnic Atlas of Rural North Dakota,” William C. Sherman, 2nd edition: “A number of Jewish individuals, at least fifteen, filed on homestead lands about ten miles north of Flasher between 1902 and 1906. Assisted by a Jewish ‘back to the land’ organization, these early settlers located in DeVault Township in Morton County. … Within …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Jill Fuglie Powers’ Knoephla Recipe

(Posted with the permission of my sister-in-law, Jill, a mostly Norwegian North Dakotan.) No recipe. Hutterite chicken first and foremost. Cook for hours to create chicken stock. Remove chicken. Add chopped celery, onion and carrots. I then add cubes of raw potatoes … then cream. Lots of it. After the potatoes have cooked. Mix knoephla noodle recipe as follows: 6 …

TONY J BENDER — Controversial Pipeline Nears Reality

A controversial pipeline to transport toxic waste across McIntosh County is inching closer to reality. Representatives of Summit Carbon Solutions, the pipeline developer, updated the McIntosh County Commission on their progress earlier this month during the commission’s regular monthly meeting. The $4.5 billion carbon-capture pipeline, if it can overcome significant opposition, would transport liquid CO2 from 32 ethanol plants across …

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 — 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 …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 70: Here It Is July

Here It Is July at Red Oak House, and 2.75 inches of rain in two nights! And a few days ago, I dug up a shrub rose in an area that has to be re-worked and gifted it to my dear friend, Christine. She has planted it. Moved the clock and touched up the paint, and life goes on. Time …

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 …

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 …

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 …