Williston newcomer leads clean up effort
WILLISTON -- With an oil boom that has made things messy in a lot of ways, Williston is in need of major spring cleaning, and it's not just locals who are rallying for the cause.
Dan Manjack, a contractor from Florida who moved to Williston to build a man camp, is leading an effort to spruce up the city.
Manjack is recruiting oil companies and other businesses to contribute money and manpower to pick up the trash and construction debris that litters ditches and intersections.
"There are a lot of people like me who want to give back to the community that's giving us an opportunity," he said.
Manjack moved to Williston five months ago to construct a man camp on the west side of town. Shortly after he arrived, he bought the domain name keepwillistonclean.com and started making plans.
Then he happened to meet Mayor Ward Koeser at church and learned that city leaders also wanted to organize a cleanup effort.
"Williston has been an oil town for 60 years, but we always had a reputation for being a clean oil town," Koeser said.
Not this year.
Construction debris from a record number of building projects is piling up around town. Some people who live out of their cars or RVs simply throw out bags of garbage onto the ground. Add to that all the truck traffic that brings mud into town.
Plus, Williston never got a good spring cleaning last year because it was such a late winter, Koeser said.
"It got way, way worse than I think we've ever had it," Koeser said.
Now Manjack is teaming up with city leaders and others in the community to get the city looking good by May 12, the date of an annual band festival.
"Our goal is to get people in Williston -- new, old, whoever -- to pick up their trash," Manjack said.
The group also is developing a long-term plan to keep the city clean. Manjack said he's passionate about the cause because wants to make Williston his home.
"It's the people, the opportunity and the growth expectation in this town that gets me to stay and really love this place," Manjack said.
Dalrymple is a reporter stationed in the Oil Patch for Forum Communications Co.