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 -- A survey of Oil Patch residents bears out the old saying that money can't buy happiness. Sixty percent of longtime northwest North Dakota residents say they have benefited economically from the oil boom, but the majority say their quality of life has not improved, according to a new survey by University of North Dakota faculty. UND geography faculty gathered perceptions of the oil boom by sending surveys to residents of Williston, Stanley and Watford City who have lived in their communities for six years or more.
GRASSY BUTTE -- North Dakota native John O'Connor left the state at age 25 because the "doggone winters" were too tough. Now at age 63, O'Connor is back in his home state to cross something off his bucket list: working in the oil field. O'Connor works for a salt water disposal well near Grassy Butte, a job he likes because the location is close to the North Dakota Badlands and it gives him enough time off to ride his mules. The New Rockford native most recently lived in a remote area of southeast Oregon, where he has a ranch.
WILLISTON -- Williston's ban on RVs begins today in residential areas, but city leaders say they'll ease residents into it because new RV parks are still in the process of opening. The ordinance adopted by the Williston City Commission makes it illegal to live in an RV outside of a designated RV park.
NEW TOWN -- Getting evicted may have a happy ending for residents of a 45-unit mobile home park on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. Residents of the Prairie Winds Trailer Court have until the end of today to move out after the property was purchased to be used for employee housing for United Prairie Cooperative, formerly Cenex of New Town. Christine Danks, who lived in the park for about a year, said residents feared they'd be homeless because of the area's housing shortage that's been exacerbated by oil development.
TIOGA -- Drilling rigs that can walk and hydraulic fracturing techniques that recycle water were highlighted Wednesday during a legislative tour of the Oil Patch. As North Dakota's oil production matures, companies are becoming more efficient and using technologies that reduce the environmental footprint, industry leaders said during a tour organized by the North Dakota Petroleum Council. Companies are replacing older drilling rigs with hydraulic "walking rigs" that can efficiently drill multiple wells on the same location, said Kathy Neset, of Neset Consulting Service in Tioga. "The techno
WILLISTON -- North Dakota's oil boom has Terry Tinnes torn. On one hand, Tinnes makes more money than he knows what to do with while working as a "company man," a position that oversees a drilling rig. But he also has seen so much growth in traffic, noise and crime in his once quiet hometown of Ray that he's leaving the house he grew up in and moving to Minnesota. "We just lost our peace and quiet here," said Tinnes, 51.
ARNEGARD -- A cigarette lighter may have caused a fire at an oil well site Wednesday near here that seriously burned two men, a spokesman for the company that owned the well said. Two men were burned in what the McKenzie County Sheriff's Office called an oil well explosion that was reported at 12:05 p.m. Wednesday. Bruce Ford, 52, and Rod Law, 48, were working at the well owned by Statoil and were badly burned, the sheriff's office said. They were taken by ambulance to Mercy Medical Center in Williston and then flown to the burn center at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minn.
TIOGA -- Larry the Cable Guy was among some of his biggest fans Tuesday when he stopped to film a show at an Oil Patch crew camp. "Oh my gosh. We're from the South.
WILLISTON -- Cleanup crews baled contaminated vegetation, scraped away affected soil and power washed equipment Monday after an oil well blowout south of here that sprayed oil and salt water into nearby fields. Meanwhile, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the death of a worker who was struck by a pickup as a worker drove it away from the spewing oil. The blowout, which sprayed 400 barrels of oil and 400 barrels of produced water used for hydraulic fracturing, is not believed to have contaminated water sources, said Kris Roberts, an environmental geologist wit
WILLISTON -- Oil field roughnecks are more like brothers than co-workers. For one drilling crew working near Williston, they hardly see anyone but each other for half the year. They work together for 12 hours a day, rotating between day and night shifts. The five guys live together on location, sleeping on bunk beds inches from each other in a trailer they share with the crew working the opposite shift. At the end of their two-week "hitch," some of them carpool to the states they call home for their two weeks off. They develop close bonds, not just so they can tolerate each other, but so