Unheralded

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 …


Unheralded

CLAY JENKINSON: The Future In Context — Looking For Leverage: Moving America Forward

In a week’s time, I will be attending a retreat in the Badlands to talk about the future. The organizer, a close friend of mine, invited me to participate, along with several dozen others, perhaps because I have a new book on North Dakota and the Great Plains, “The Language of Cottonwoods.” He called to talk logistics Saturday. As the …


TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — The Greatest Game

In the end, I was thankful for what seemed like the thankless task of coaching a first-year women’s softball team in Jamestown, N.D., in 1985. Early on, I realized I had just one very good ballplayer, a third-baseman named Margo, who carried herself like Geena Davis in “A League of Our Own.” We had an OK shortstop, one outfielder who …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Future In Context — The High-Stakes Dilemma Of America’s Everyday Infrastructure

President Trump promised a big infrastructure bill many times, but nothing came of his repeated declarations that he was about to launch “infrastructure week.” Now the Biden administration, in cooperation with the Democrats of Congress, is hoping to make its $3.5 trillion infrastructure investment its most important legislative accomplishment before the 2022 and 2024 elections. Two giant pieces of legislation have been working their …

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, …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Future In Context — An Origin Story that America Needs

If you don’t have an agreed-upon national narrative, you cannot accomplish great things in a democracy. One indication of America’s current confusion and disillusionment is that we no longer agree on our national identity, our origin story or our mission. We can chart how we got to this abyss, but it is much harder to imagine how we can lift …

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 …

CLAY JENKINSON: Listening To America — Losing Faith: America’s Standing In The World After 20 Years In Afghanistan

I’m a mere citizen, in no way connected with the levers of American foreign policy, but I can explain how this looks to an incessant reader of history. As a citizen, I feel deep pain for the fiasco of Afghanistan. And shame. “Nothing in his life became him like the leaving it,” says Malcolm of another soldier in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” but for …

TERRY DULLUM — The Dullum File: One In A Million

It turns out that I’m one in a million. Well actually, one in about 840,000 so far. That’s the approximately number of military veterans like myself who have volunteered for the Million Veteran Program or MVP. The goal is to enroll at least a million veterans. It’s a national medical research effort funded by the Veterans Administration to learn how …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Is “All Men Are Created Equal” A Declaration, Promise Or Question?

Thomas Jefferson, speaking for the Second Continental Congress, wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” He either meant this to be a universal proposition (self-evident) and therefore was a contemptible hypocrite since he owned as many as 600 slaves in the course of his life, or he meant the statement to serve as what …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 66 : The Summer Of Smoke

Remember when I said, on June 13, “Guess I’ll just go camping”? Well, we did. We hitched up the travel trailer and headed west, straight into the cauldron, to the historic heatwave in the Pacific Northwest. But we got lucky, and cool weather returned by the time we made it to North Cascades National Park. Highlights were glorious Mount Rainier, where …

JIM THIELMAN: Baseball Is Disappearing Into The Corn Field

An Iowa farmer builds a baseball diamond where corn should grow in the 1989 film “Field of Dreams.” Soon, ghosts play baseball. For legal reasons, actor Jimmy Earl Jones plays an author not named J.D. Salinger. The resonant bass voice of Jones says: “They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn into your driveway, not knowing …

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 …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Be Part Of The Solution

Those who are outraged by the changing recommendations regarding masking by the CDC are a case in point why people should perhaps trust science and get the vaccine rather than leaning on their own limited understanding or the advice of friends who are not credible medical and public health professionals. Life is dynamic, not static, and all things evolve, including …

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 …

TERRY DULLUM — The Dullum File: Twenty (Or So) Questions for Ali Sultan

Comedian Ali Sultan made his network television debut last month on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” Happily, he’ll be bringing his comedy to East Grand Forks this Thursday and Friday. Ali moved to America from Yemen at the age of 15. Fast forward a few years and he would be named both Best Local Comic and Artist of the …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Pasta With Eggplant And Zucchini

Two of the garden vegetables that are first on the scene during the summer are eggplant and zucchini. Both lend themselves to a variety of recipes. Eggplant Parmesan and moussaka come to mind for the purplish aubergine, while the zucchini version of carrot cake and carrot bread get the nod in many corners. Pairing the two with tomatoes and pasta …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Palestine’s Struggle To Create Its Unique Narrative

Rashid Khalidi is the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University, an endowed chair named for Said, a professor, public intellectual and a founder of the academic field of postcolonial studies. Khalidi has written a number of books on the history of Palestine and the Middle East. With his latest effort — “The Hundred Years War on Palestine: …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Facts Still Matter

Ignorance kills. It is the reason unvaccinated people are dying from COVID-19 and other diseases whose worst effects could be avoided. It is why people ignoring the consequences of climate change are wreaking havoc rather than being addressed. It is why people are victims of hate crimes and why teaching our children real history — not some whitewashed version that …

RUSS HONS: Photo Gallery — West Polk County Fair

County fairs in a way are a slice of small-town Americana. Photographer Russ Hons recently took in the West Polk County Fair in Fertile, Minn. Here is a small sampling of what he saw, including the rodeo Wednesday night and the DockDog’s competition Saturday and Sunday. (Check out more photos from Russ Hons here.)

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — America’s Declaration Of Independence On Its 245th Anniversary*

With the 245th Independence Day and the first national Juneteenth commemoration now behind us, here is the question: If we could only keep one document from American history, and one only, which would it need to be? Opinions will vary. Some might say the Emancipation Proclamation, others the Bill of Rights, still others the U.S. Constitution itself. Or perhaps Lincoln’s magnificent Second Inaugural Address, delivered …

TERRY DULLUM — The Dullum File: 20 Questions (Or So) For Ahmed Khalaf

The area’s newest comedy club, The Prohibition Comedy Room in East Grand Forks, will be in full swing Friday night with some of the Twin Cities most popular comedians providing the laughs. Among them, Ahmed Khalaf, by way of Minneapolis, San Diego and Somali. Eventually, there will be weekly Friday night comedy shows at the Prohibition. The name, by the way, …

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 …

LA VALLEUR COMMUNICATES: Musings By Barbara La Valleur — What A Trip

Like many people these days, it has been a long time since I’ve been anywhere other than La Farm in Minnesota’s Otter Tail County. So when a friend said she was selling her house in Denver where she’d lived for 30 years after her husband died this spring, and she was moving back to Whidbey Island near Seattle, I thought …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Doing Better Than Our Fathers

I sat under a partly sunny sky on Father’s Day contemplating fatherhood. I awoke to a text and Father’s Day greetings from Dylan who started it all for me nearly 25 years ago. He was on vacation in the Black Hills. India was still snoozing after a bachelorette party at Green Lake. She was pretty chipper when she went to …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Strawberry Rhubarb Crunch

It’s not too late to pick some rhubarb for your next dessert or to freeze some to get you through the long winter. I’ve been doing a little of both the past couple of weeks. I’ve vacuum sealed and frozen several 4-cup bags of the “pie plant” as it has come to be known in the U.S. as well as …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — The Story Of Black Motherhood And How It Shaped America

On Friday, federal government employees had the day off to commemorate Juneteenth, a new federal holiday formally created the day before — some 156 years after it was first celebrated by newly emancipated Black people in Galveston, Texas. Millions of White Americans became aware of Juneteenth for the first time this past year only after the racial-justice protests that followed the death of George …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Voting In America: The Urgency Of Legitimacy

“The voters, the courts and the states have all spoken. They’ve all spoken.” That from then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Jan. 6, 2021, in remarks intended to push back against those who were attempting to stop the certification of the 2020 election results. “If we overrule them, it would damage our republic forever.” Here we are, six months …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Silent Scorched Spring

Dead perennials, spring 2021 Hosta: Autumn Glow Teenie Weenie Cracker Crumbs Hacksaw Judy Blue Eyes, most (healthy and spreading for ten years prior) Prairie Angel (one of two) Tokudama Sitting Pretty Peanut Praying Hands (most) Cherry Berry True Blue (a huge and beautiful plant) The miniatures, however established, took the biggest hit. Here’s Green Mouse Ears hosta this year: And …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — FUTURE IN CONTEXT America’s New Gilded Age: The Cycles Of Constitutional Time

In “The Cycles of Constitutional Time,” Jack Balkin takes an overarching look at the dynamics of constitutional government over the history of the United States. To understand what is happening today, he argues, “we have to think in terms of political cycles that interact with each other and create remarkable — and dark — times.” Single-term presidents, Balkin notes, often …

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 …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — America’s Constitution: Its Surprising Evolution From 1788 To The 21st Century

In an earlier article, Editor-at-Large Clay Jenkinson described America’s three constitutions: The capital-c Constitution drafted in 1787; and the small-c constitution of norms and traditions not specified in the written Constitution and the ways the American people actually constitute themselves. In this third in a series, Jenkinson suggests that even — or especially — in our norm-busting times, a president’s bully …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Breaking Ice: What Happens When A Branch Of The Armed Forces Opens To Women

Long before Admiral Sandy Stosz retired from the U.S. Coast Guard in 2018, she knew that she wanted to write a book on leadership. With nearly 40 years of experience to draw on, from her early days as an ensign on polar icebreakers to her final assignment as the first female to serve as deputy commandant for Mission Support, Stosz had gained …

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 …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Memorializing The Living And The Dead

My eyes fluttered awake to the early-morning coos of mourning doves and a halo of light from the window. “Oh, it’s Memorial Day,” I remembered from somewhere in my cavernous REM slumber. I creaked to the cold kitchen in a season in which it’s too warm to run the furnace and too cold for my bones. I was desperate for …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — America’s Constitution In 2021: What Would Thomas Jefferson Do?

In an earlier article, Editor-at-Large Clay Jenkinson described America’s Three Constitutions: The Capital C Constitution drafted in 1787, the small c constitution of norms and traditions not specified in the written Constitution and the ways the American people actually constitute themselves. In this second in a series, Jenkinson looks at the Constitution circa 2021. “Some men look at constitutions with …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — The Truth Will Keep Us Free

The intransigence of the GOP leaders to move forward with a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection and attack on the U.S. Capitol is the height of party over politics. It is a glaring example of what is broken in our government.The Republicans were given everything they asked for in negotiations, including equal representation and power, and when …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — The Revolutionary Lives Of Malcolm X And MLK In The Time of George Floyd

Martin Luther King and Malcolm X rose from markedly different backgrounds to assume leading roles in the civil rights movement, and though each died violently while playing his respective part, neither man fully exited the stage. Both remain to this day celebrated figures in the fight for racial and economic justice. Their much-publicized differences, most notably violence versus nonviolence, have …

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 …