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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WATFORD CITY -- I seriously considered phoning this assignment in. I feared that driving from Williston to Watford City in heavy rain Thursday on a deadly stretch of Oil Patch highway to a press conference on road safety might make me another statistic. But with 48 traffic fatalities so far this year -- 12 of those in McKenzie County -- there is no topic that deserves more news coverage in western North Dakota than highway safety. The North Dakota Department of Transportation unveiled Thursday its $878 million construction program for 2013, the largest in the state's history. For those of
WILLISTON -- A Chicago developer wants to revitalize downtown Williston with a $16 million investment, but opponents say the loss of an existing parking lot would be detrimental to businesses. Nancy Kapp, president and CEO of The Renaissance Companies, proposes a six-story complex on Williston's Main Street that would house retail, office space, 45 apartments and underground parking. The Renaissance on Main project, which would replace a city-owned parking lot, has created a divide among Williston city commissioners and residents.
WILLISTON -- Police activity is busier in western North Dakota, but it's not the Wild West, says a researcher studying the impact of the oil boom on law enforcement. Carol Archbold, a North Dakota State University criminal justice associate professor, said interviews with more than 100 officers in the Oil Patch revealed a misconception about crime in western North Dakota. "There's a perception by people in the state and elsewhere that we have sort of a Wild West going on out there, with massive amounts of violent crime," Archbold said. In reality, however, the violent crimes are not increas
WILLISTON -- Cops in the Oil Patch say one year of experience there is what they'd see in five years elsewhere. As North Dakota's oil boom brings a spike in police calls to growing communities, many of the officers on the front lines are rookies in their early to mid-20s. "They've been thrown in the fire with gas on top of them," said Williston police Detective Cory Collings. A majority of the new hires come from Minnesota, where tight budgets make law enforcement jobs harder to get. The level of activity enticed Stacey Eissinger, 25, of Lakeville, Minn., to apply with the Williston Police
WILLISTON - High wages in the oil industry lured Williston police officer Caleb Fry away from his calling. "Money got the better of me," said Fry, who left the Williston Police Department to work in the oilfield. But after about six months of working for two different oil service companies, Fry was miserable and decided the money wasn't worth it. "Once this job gets in your blood, it's hard to be away," the 30-year-old said. Fry, originally from Choteau, Mont., returned to law enforcement in December 2010, this time with the Williams County Sheriff's Office. The past couple of years have
WILLISTON -- Oil field crew camps where two homicides and a stabbing have occurred need to beef up security or be forced to shut down, according to Williams County officials. The Williams County Planning and Zoning Commission is now requiring the Capital Lodge and Wanzek camps, both near Tioga, to provide proof of their security procedures, undergo inspections and re-apply for permits to operate in six months. The Wanzek camp was the site of a fatal shooting on Aug. 4, 2012.
WILLISTON -- Pilot Liz Lillard was in Williston on Monday as she watched a live feed of a massive tornado pass over her children's day care in Moore, Okla. "It's the worst feeling in the world to watch a tornado go over your two kids and there's nothing you can do about it," Lillard said. Lillard, a contract pilot for Hiland Partners of Enid, Okla., flies workers to and from North Dakota, which is where she was when disaster struck Monday. Lillard's son and daughter, ages 2½ and 7 months, were safe in a storm shelter at their day care, but phone lines were down, so Lillard didn't know for t
WILLISTON -- Tana Turcotte has figured out a way she can make sure her kids get safely to school in the Oil Patch. She volunteered to drive the school bus. The Alexander woman said intense oilfield traffic in the once-quiet town means her job as a school bus driver is not particularly fun. Turcotte has to cross U.S. Highway 85 in Alexander 10 times during her route, a drive she doesn't take lightly. "Safety is a huge risk out here driving bus," Turcotte said.
WILLISTON -- Landfill employees here discovered at least two "hot loads" this week, illustrating why a group of North Dakota citizens is worried about the proper disposal of radioactive waste that comes with oil production. A Williston landfill operator found an estimated 100 filter socks Thursday containing naturally occurring radioactive material.
WILLISTON -- A Williston man is being held on $1 million bond after being charged with murder Thursday in connection with the shooting death of Jack Sjol, a rancher who had been missing for three weeks. The North Dakota State Medical Examiner's Office identified the man found by the Williams County Sheriff's Office as Sjol, 58.