I took a drive through Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s South Unit near Medora on Sunday and captured a couple photographs of the park’s wild horses, including one close-up with a lone stallion. For more photos, check out my photo site.
Bailey can be a handful.
A loveable, smiling and prancing handful of soft, golden fur.
On Wednesday afternoon, the 13-month-old purebred golden retriever — still very much a puppy at heart — tore around a Dickinson apartment. She played with her toys, teased a cat and nuzzled up to whoever would pet her.
Bailey was happy. She was home.
It was a welcome and relieving sight for her owners, Luke Rodenbough, of Blaisdell, and his girlfriend, Staci Moore, of Dickinson.
A little more than two months ago, Rodenbough thought he had lost Bailey forever.
The dog he had raised, trained and loved since he got her last May as an 8-week-old pup disappeared Jan. 27 after he had taken her to a job site near Parshall.
“We just couldn’t find her,” he said.
A few weeks ago, I found myself sitting in a room with some lifelong community members.
Like men who like to talk do, we started fixing the world’s problems — starting with Dickinson’s.
Because this happened inside of a room at Trinity High School during the Region 7 boys basketball tournament, the conversation quickly turned to sports and the 2,300-person crowd packed into the Knights of Columbus Activities Center gymnasium just down the hall.
Each March, thousands of fans sardine themselves into arguably the best high school gymnasium in North Dakota to watch high school basketball tournaments.
Why? Because it’s all Dickinson, a regional hub city, has to offer.
So finally, I asked everyone a question: “Do you think this community would support a 5,000-seat event center?” The resounding answer was, “Yes.”
The spring planting season has begun in southwest North Dakota.
County extension agents and farmers south of Dickinson said fertilizing and seeding of fields is slowly starting throughout the area thanks to a mix of warm temperatures, dry conditions and general anxiousness.
“Right now, everybody is tickled,” said Duaine Marxen, Hettinger County’s extension agent.
But it isn’t full-speed-ahead quite yet, farmers said.
“We’re kind of piddling along here,” said Terry Kirschemann, who farms near Regent. “We need another week of temperatures before we can get into the heavier stuff.”
As Carol Klemm turned on the lights in the large, empty hall Monday, she got an “eerie feeling.”
The spacious room in the Dickinson Charities building on 21st Street East hosted its final bingo games Sunday. After 33 years, Dickinson Charities has decided to end its bingo nights due to a decline in participation.
“Everything runs its course,” Klemm said.
The bingo hall has been affected by the aging population of its players and additional opportunities to play bingo in the city, she said, as well as trouble finding consistent help.
In the end, it was a financial decision. Dickinson Charities also runs blackjack, pull tabs and raffles throughout the city. It had been holding bingo on Friday night and Sunday afternoon.
RURAL TAYLOR — When he first began working for Southwest Grain several years ago, Kent Candrian said there were days when he would walk about a mile or more at work — all of it in a 20-square-foot area.
Manning toggles and switches on a large wall switchboard, Candrian would make sure grain hauled to the Boyle Terminal between Gladstone and Taylor made it to the proper bins.
These days, Candrian still does that job. Instead, he sits in front of a bank of computer screens and does the majority of his work with the click of a mouse.
“I do everything in one spot,” said Candrian, a longtime driveway attendant for the CHS Inc. elevator. “Basically, it eliminates walking.”
Like many elevators, Southwest Grain has converted to automated systems that speed up its daily unloading of farmers’ trucks, its own loading of rail cars and also makes the lives of its employees easier.
“In the last four or five years, technology has advanced to the point where it just makes more sense because of the volume we do anymore,” Southwest Grain General Manager Delane Thom said. “It gets rid of some employee fatigue. It makes their job much easier and you can manage the whole system from one spot.”
NEW ENGLAND — The party didn’t stop after the post-game celebration.
In New England, the revelry for winning the Region 7 boys basketball championship game last Thursday night in Dickinson lingered until the team and fans got home. Then it spilled over onto the city’s Main Street, led by fire trucks blasting sirens, a stream of cars honking horns, and the hoots and hollers of fans in this town of about 650 people relishing something that hasn’t occurred in nearly a generation.
New England, with only 69 kids in high school, will be both the smallest school and community participating in this year’s Class B state tournament, which begins today at the Bismarck Event Center.
“For us, this is the ultimate,” said Daryl Jung, the school’s longtime athletic director. “It’s actually a dream come true.”
BELFIELD — Troy Ohlhausen never lets the needle on his pickup’s speedometer go beyond 10 mph when he’s on an oilfield site — even if the site where he’s driving is nothing more than a simulation.
As Ohlhausen drove slow and steady around MBI Energy Services’ training facility Thursday, he pointed out truck drivers training to haul crude oil by first spending time in classrooms, tank batteries set up to show employees proper safety techniques, and even one trucker undergoing a quality control check on how to properly put chains on his truck’s tires.
“You can do training out in live operations, but it’s so fast,” said Ohlhausen, MBI’s director of training. “Everything is fast-paced. We slow it down out here.”
The management company that ran Dickinson’s Hawks Point at its inception will soon be in charge once again.
Dickinson Investments LLC — the group that owns the senior living community on the Dickinson State University campus — announced Thursday that, beginning April 1, Senior Services of America will take over management of the facility.
Senior Services of America managed Hawks Point from its inception in 2007 until 2013, when the company was terminated by Dickinson Investments. From that time forward, the DSU Foundation managed the facility.
However, Dickinson Investments has been searching for a new management company since last November when North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem forced the Foundation into financial receivership.
Few Dickinson businesses felt the impact of the Great Recession.
As stock prices fell, the national housing market crashed and consumer confidence dipped, southwest North Dakota largely weathered the storm.
Trial Runners tells a different story.
Do you read?
I’m not talking about this column and newspaper, or the Facebook news feed some of you probably scrolled through to get here. Yes, that is reading, but it’s a different type of reading than I’m talking about.
Really, my question should be: Do you read books?
For me, the answer is … kinda. Let me explain …
Three small grass fires near and in Dickinson the past two days have shown area authorities and meteorologists just how dry southwest North Dakota is.
While temperatures are on an upward trend — the National Weather Service predicts that highs will be in the 40s this weekend and the 50s early next week — there’s no precipitation in the 14-day forecast.
“It’s quite dry out there and certainly this would be the time of year that’s more susceptible to grass fires,” said Bill Abeling, a meteorologist with the weather service.
Mike Zimney believes there are good and bad ways to build cities.
The Dickinson Downtown Association brought in the city planning specialist to speak to a group of about 60 Dickinson officials, business owners and others interested in revitalizing downtown Thursday afternoon at the Eagles Club.
“We can still build great places,” Zimney said early into his hour-long presentation, “Designing Great Cities.”
In a windowless room inside of a non-descript steel building at Dakota Prairie Refining’s sprawling facility west of Dickinson, there are six people whose job is to make certain America’s first greenfield refinery built since 1976 turns Bakken crude oil into diesel fuel.
“It’s a chem nerd’s dream,” laboratory technician and chemist Nicole Haller said of the lab where she works on the 375-acre refinery site.
The small lab crew — led by supervisor Holly Dalen of Dickinson — has some of the most important jobs at the refinery, which is in the final stages of testing before ramping up operations.
They already spend each day testing crude oil, diesel fuel and its sulphur levels, as well as other products to be produced by the refinery. They also run constant tests on city wastewater to be used in the refining process.
The lab crew act as the refinery’s gatekeepers. If a product goes in or comes out of the refinery, the lab has its eyes and instruments on it.
Jack Kelley and Skip Bennett are an unassuming duo with a big idea.
The entrepreneurs, together with a Taiwanese inventor and engineer, have a plan to capture natural gas, eliminate flaring at the wellhead, create a viable commodity from that gas, and pay both energy companies and royalty owners for their share.
B&A Global Energy, a small company based in Tulsa, Okla., has acquired the rights to the Energy Capturing Operating System (ECOS), a portable refinery able to be placed at a well site. The ECOS captures and processes methane gas produced in the hydraulic fracturing process into liquefied natural gas (LNG).
“This is a game-changing technology to the oil and gas business,” said Kelley, B&A Global’s president and CEO and a 25-year veteran of the energy industry who is also a retired U.S. Air Force pilot and a licensed architect.
B&A Global wants to bring its ECOS technology to the U.S. — specifically to North Dakota’s Bakken and Texas’ Eagle Ford shale formations — after witnessing the technology work in Asia.
“We have chosen the Bakken as our focus,” said Bennett, B&A Global’s board chairman and founder.
The idea, they say, is simple.