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 -- Voters waited in long lines to cast their ballots here Tuesday, but the strong turnout came from longtime residents rather than new workers. Inspector Claire Folvag said the four statewide measures and a contested park board race drew a stronger turnout than she has seen for other primary elections. "It's been absolutely crazy," Folvag said.
WILLISTON -- Counties in northwest North Dakota expect strong voter turnout Tuesday, but officials aren't sure how many workers living in RVs, hotels or crew camps will be among the voters. McKenzie County Auditor Linda Svihovec said she's talked to poll workers about how to handle voters who may not have traditional addresses but meet voter qualifications. "An RV doesn't mean that they're not a valid voter," Svihovec said. Newcomers to North Dakota can vote if they're U.S.
WILLISTON -- One of Williston's most visible Measure 2 supporters lives in an RV and has never paid property taxes in the state. But Palmer Reising said just because he's from Ohio doesn't mean he and other newcomers to North Dakota are second-class citizens. "I'm an American. I'm from Cincinnati," Reising said. "I take very, very seriously my obligation, my responsibility to be informed and to defend liberty and freedom for all, wherever." Reising, who moved to Williston in January, takes every spare moment to talk to people about Measure 2 and educate newcomers about how they can vote.
CROSBY -- For a family man like Mike Toenjes, working 10 hours away from home is tough. But with North Dakota's Oil Patch offering truck driving jobs with better pay, Toenjes and his family in western Wisconsin are making it work. For the past year and four months, Toenjes has been living in Crosby -- a rural town so far north that the 37-year-old calls it "the end of the world." His job is driving tank trucks to haul water for oil drilling and production in northwestern North Dakota and eastern Montana. "The problem is that I love the job, but I hate that it's so far from home," Toenjes sa
WILLISTON -- Oil Patch school districts seeing an influx of new students are in a state of emergency, superintendents told legislators Thursday during a meeting here. Stanley Superintendent Kent Hjelmstad identified more than $200 million in needs for northwest North Dakota schools that anticipate as many as 3,000 new students next year. Hjelmstad said the emergency needs include new buildings, additional staff, more buses, support for a growing special education population, teacher housing and equipment. As housing becomes available in northwest North Dakota, more oil workers are going to
WILLISTON -- The state should invest up to $5 billion in northwest North Dakota communities with the most oil activity, the president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council said Wednesday. Ron Ness, while testifying to a group of legislators meeting in Williston, said communities need significant resources to do long-range planning, but the state's grant program for those areas is only helping them react. Ness called for a five-year plan with $800 million to $1 billion per year invested in schools, roads and infrastructure for communities in the core areas of the Bakken. "The magnitude of in
WILLISTON -- When friends and acquaintances heard I was moving from Fargo to Williston, many suggested I get a gun. Others said I shouldn't leave the house without pepper spray and a Taser. One friend bluntly told me "Don't get raped." While I appreciate the concern so many showed me, this is the advice I probably needed to hear: "Amy, don't get hit by a truck while you're taking a photo along the side of a highway." Or "Amy, coveralls don't come in ladies' petite, so be careful not to trip on your pant leg while climbing the stairs to the floor of a rig." Those two scenarios are the ris
WILLISTON - City commissioners here took another step this week toward making it illegal for people to live in recreational vehicles outside of a designated RV park, but the ordinance is still being revised. The Williston City Commission unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance Thursday night that would make a violation subject to a $500 per day fine. Commissioners will continue discussing the ordinance and bring it back for a final vote June 26. Commissioners are weighing whether to allow RVs in commercial zoning districts or other areas, possibly using a special permitting p
BISMARCK -- Harold Hamm cut down his speech to three words: "Beat Barack Obama." The Continental Resources CEO who led a panel discussion Thursday during the final day of the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference said energy will play a huge role in upcoming elections. Hamm, whose company led the way in using horizontal drilling to tap North Dakota's oil producing potential, is Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney's energy committee chairman.
BISMARCK -- The Williston Basin Petroleum Conference had a surprise guest Thursday who wasn't on the lineup card. Tony La Russa, a three-time World Series championship manager, attended the CEO panel to hear his friend and Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm speak. La Russa said he was talking to Hamm a few weeks ago about North Dakota oil development and he wanted to learn more. The timing of the conference worked out well with La Russa's plans to attend a Minnesota Twins game, he said. After Hamm's speech, La Russa planned to accompany other Continental Resources executives to tour a p