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 -- Two years ago, Williston Mayor Ward Koeser was ready to step down after 16 years and let someone younger take the office. But supporters who saw the beginnings of North Dakota's oil boom -- with Williston as its epicenter -- convinced him to run again. "We really needed his strength and stability," said Brad Bekkedahl, vice president of Williston's city commission.
WILLISTON -- Two competing medical centers will operate across the street from one another in Williston, but they consider each other partners not rivals to serve the booming region. Mercy Medical Center and Trinity Health each held grand opening ceremonies Tuesday for new facilities. Mercy will begin serving patients in late October in its $20 million BirthPlace at Mercy & Outpatient Surgery Center.
WILLISTON -- A new technique being used in some North Dakota road repair projects aims to smooth out rough spots more quickly and with longer lasting results.
RAY -- You grease 'em and we clean 'em is the mantra for Breeann Barman and her co-workers. The 16-year-old has an afterschool job washing oil field clothes for CM Clean Laundry in Ray. The same-day laundry business caters to workers who live in campers or don't have access to washing machines.
WATFORD CITY -- A Watford City-based company that specializes in transporting drilling fluids and crude oil is part of a multi-million dollar merger announced this week. Badlands Energy, which operates as PowerFuels with seven locations in western North Dakota, will join Heckmann Corp., a publicly-traded environmental service company that has customers in all other major U.S. shale plays except the Bakken. Under the terms of the agreement that is expected to close by the end of the year, Heckmann will pay $125 million in cash and 95 million shares of the company's common stock.
WILLISTON -- A North Dakota Highway Patrol crackdown on truck enforcement in the Oil Patch resulted in 42 equipment violations that required trucks to be placed out of service. In addition, 18 drivers were taken off the road for driver-related violations. A total of 263 commercial vehicles were inspected in an enforcement saturation period from Aug. 28 to Aug. 30 that involved more than 12 troopers and inspectors from across the state. Troopers also identified 36 commercial vehicles with weight violations. The combined fees for those violations exceeded $46,000. Lt.
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.