Lauren Donovan / Bismarck Tribune
BISMARCK—It's been more than a decade since fire raged through grass and into the ponderosa pines west of Amidon in 2004, burning a relatively narrow strip some 6 miles long on private and public lands in the Little Missouri National Grasslands. Removing some fuel from the 7,000-acre footprint of the state's only ponderosa pine forest is one way to prevent a catastrophic result should fire come again.
BISMARCK—A small critter in western North Dakota tips the controversy scale well above its three-pound fighting weight. Cute as a bug's ear with its chirruping, kissing-cousin ways on one hand, it's a potent competitor to cattle grazers on the other. The black-tailed prairie dog is in the crosshairs once again, this time in a plan by the U.S. Forest Service to eradicate about one-third of its acreage and thousands of the animals where they are encroaching on private land across a designated boundary fence.
BISMARCK—Something like 10,000 live births are happening every day in North Dakota. These are wobbly legged calves, not humans, born into cold winds and wet snow of a typical spring. It's rarely a perfect outcome, made more elusive as the effects of last year's drought ripple outward like waves from a rock chucked into a stock dam. It's early days still in the months'-long calving season, but some producers are seeing the consequences of last year's stunted pastures and inadequate hay in preterm abortions and dead calves.
LEITH, N.D. — It has been four years since this Grant County village of about 20 people was briefly and ingloriously home to a white nationalist. However, recent events in Charlottesville, Va., brought it all back again like a movie rerun with a worse ending.
HEBRON, N.D. — A red and white flag symbolizing the fight to keep black Americans as slaves hangs in front of a small house in Hebron. The flag of the Confederacy is an anomaly in this pretty, predominantly white populated town, where the old Stars and Stripes flutters in front of homes and businesses up and down the streets. The Confederate flag, the Civil War monuments and all they stand for grabbed national attention when a young woman was killed Aug. 12 protesting against a white supremacists' rally in Charlottesville, Va.
HETTINGER COUNTY, N.D. — Aryn Hansen could see her coffee cup as half full or half empty, and, after opening a new coffeehouse on Mott's Main Street during one of the driest springs on record, she remains optimistic. However, during what should be a bustling harvest season, this young businesswoman notices the customers she doesn't have — the wives of the custom combine crews who might have stopped at the Tilted Tulip for a specialty coffee and fresh muffin after the crews hit the fields.
COLEHARBOR, N.D. — Steve Knorr is absolutely sure he'll get 24 inches of water on his crops this year. It's expensive water, but, in an area under extreme drought, he can look out over brilliant fields of green into a cash-flow scenario at the other end. "Without it, I wouldn't have a crop," he said. Knorr draws that precious water from a pump station on the McClusky Canal into a network of underground pipes and 37 pivot systems that sprinkle fresh water across his nearly 4,000 acres between Coleharbor and Turtle Lake.
Duane DeKrey, who directs the Garrison Diversion Unit, is becoming increasingly frustrated by the fact that it's only now that the full promise of the McClusky Canal project is being realized as agricultural producers are being allowed to tap into its potential. The canal was built in the late '60s and early '70s with federal funds as a compromise to provide irrigation for up to 1 million acres to make up for the acreage flooded by construction of Garrison Dam, the structure that impounds the Missouri River and created both lakes.
BISMARCK — After reviewing about 38,700 emails of North Dakota Oil and Gas Division employees that were on their way to a permanent cyber dump grounds, a Bismarck attorney is calling for a policy to protect important information for the public.
GLEN ULLIN, N.D. — Any trace of the dead mouse that turned up in Glen Ullin's water storage tank Monday has been eradicated and the town's drinking water declared safe to drink. Greg Wavra, drinking water program manager for the North Dakota Department of Health, said a boil order was lifted early Friday afternoon, after water samples were declared satisfactory by the state lab. "We took care of that little mouse completely," Wavra said.