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 -- As oil companies increase their presence in North Dakota, many are finding more ways to give back to local communities. For Marathon Oil, getting involved locally and supporting the community with donations is a priority, said Terry Kovacevich, Bakken asset team manager. "We're all trying to encourage each other to make sure we participate in the communities that we live and operate in," Kovacevich said. Marathon is the lead contributor to the Housing Incentive Fund, with a $2.5 million contribution, and has pledged $1 million toward St.
WILLISTON -- In some parts of the Oil Patch, health care is hard to come by and the challenge is becoming greater. For instance, if you're not an established patient at Williston's Mercy Medical Center, it can take weeks to get an appointment for an acute need. However, if you're looking for a doctor's appointment in Dickinson, chances are you might get in for a visit the same week. In Williston, the clinic starts each day with open slots on the schedule for current patients who need to get in, but those usually are filled by 10 a.m., said CEO Matt Grimshaw.
WILLISTON -- Looking for a hard hat decal? How about a drilling rig sticker for your pickup? Mark Hopkins is your guy. The graphic designer from Bend, Ore., known as the Decal Guy, is set up just outside of Williston's city limits selling car decals and other graphics from his custom trailer. Hopkins owns two sign shops, but takes his design shop on the road during the summer months. He added Williston to his route last year, and he's finding oil field workers to be good customers. The amount of business Hopkins does from Williston is similar to what he sees in Las Vegas.
WILLISTON -- Gov.
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 -- 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.
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.
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