Amy Dalrymple is a Forum News Service reporter stationed in the Oil Patch. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (701) 580-6890.
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WILLISTON -- Native American burial grounds and a significant concentration of cultural resources are complicating a truck bypass route around Williston. Williston city and Williams County leaders agreed on a preferred route to build a permanent truck bypass, but Wednesday night they learned that North Dakota's Native American tribes strongly oppose it. Francis Ziegler, director of the North Dakota Department of Transportation, said during a public meeting in Williston he hoped the department could find a way to construct the bypass that local officials preferred without disturbing the cultu
BISMARCK -- A hunting rifle was used in the homicides that killed a New Town grandmother and three children, according to autopsy reports. Documents from the State Forensic Medical Examiner's Office state that Martha Johnson, 64, and her grandson Ben Schuster, 13, died from gunshot wounds to the head from a 25-06 rifle. Julia Schuster, 10, died from a gunshot wound to the chest and Luke Schuster, 6, suffered a gunshot wound to the neck, according to the report. The injuries occurred about 3 p.m. Nov. 18 at Johnson's home at 301 Sixth St. N.
BISMARCK -- North Dakota oil and gas producers have new guidelines to help them minimize impacts to wildlife and habitat. Industry representatives and wildlife and conservation groups announced Tuesday best practices such as consolidating facilities away from sensitive areas and establishing common routes for multiple pipelines. Even though the best practices are voluntary, the director of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department said the feedback he's received is that most companies will implement them. "I think it's going to be tremendous," said Terry Steinwand.
WILLISTON -- Kurt Wensmann is an oil field truck driver with a dream on hold. The 26-year-old artist is working long hours now so he can be debt-free by 27 and open a ceramics studio. "To make it as an artist, you have to have flexibility," said Wensmann, who spent some time as a resident potter at a New Zealand community clay center. "If you owe a bunch of people money, you don't have that flexibility." Wensmann, a 2010 graduate of the University of North Dakota's ceramics program, began working in the oil field in March of 2011.
TIOGA -- Lorin Bakken recalls it was 2007 when he began seeing his name in the newspaper and on TV frequently as the oil boom started to heat up. Since then, his family name has become synonymous with oil and opportunity. "I feel so honored," Lorin said in a rare interview. Lorin is the only son of Henry O. Bakken. The Bakken formation -- the pool of oil that lies beneath western North Dakota, northeast Montana and part of Canada -- is named for the well drilled in 1951 and 1952 on the Henry O.
A judge has dismissed a Dunn County petition to call a grand jury to investigate Gov. Jack Dalrymple over felony bribery allegations. Southwest Judicial District Judge William Herauf ruled Wednesday that at least seven signatures are not from qualified Dunn County voters, and therefore the petition did not have enough signatures to meet the requirements of a citizen-initiated grand jury process. Herauf also ruled that Dunn County was not the appropriate jurisdiction to bring the charges.
WILLISTON -- Mike Ziegwied used to take naps in his van while waiting for clients he drove through his transportation business. Now the Idaho man sleeps in that van every night after his business failed and he moved to North Dakota to pay off his debts. Ziegwied, 47, moved to Williston about a year ago to look for work rather than go into bankruptcy. The transportation business he owned for 10 years in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, primarily transported senior citizens and people with disabilities.
WILLISTON -- North Dakota's oil production surpassed 2011 totals in September, setting a new record. The Department of Mineral Resources reports that the state's oil production totaled nearly 174 million barrels at the end of September, compared with the total of 152.9 million barrels produced in all of 2011. Preliminary production numbers released Tuesday reflected an increase in oil production for September, even though the rig count had declined.
WILLISTON -- Patients of Dr. Shu-Ming Wang are surprised to hear the Chinese doctor has a hint of a Southern accent. Wang, who recently moved to Williston from Oklahoma City, occasionally has a few "y'alls" sneak into her conversations. For Wang and her husband, Dr. Doug Clark, who both work for Mercy Medical Center, the fact that they've lived all over the country is helping them connect with their new patients in Williston. Clark, a radiation oncologist, was first recruited to work for Mercy's cancer center, which is in the process of expanding.
WILLISTON -- A little-used provision of state law allowing citizens to petition for a grand jury investigation has been utilized for the second time in two weeks, with the man behind one petition drive saying there could be more to come. A petition filed in Williams County District Court this week calls for a grand jury investigation of two public officials for comments they made opposing a measure to abolish property taxes in North Dakota. The petition, signed by more than 950 residents, alleges that Williams County Auditor Beth Innis and state Sen.