“Be calm and breathe.” -- Phil Jackson (67), Williston native, UND All-American, famed NBA coach and 1992 member of the ND Hall of Fame speaking at a seminar in Santa Rosa, CA. Jackson spoke of the relation between sports, philosophy and life, including elements of Zen Buddhism. Among his thoughts: “Clear the mind of yesterday and tomorrow. Release the clutter. Think of what’s important now, as opposed to what could be, might be, or was.” Many expect Jackson to return to the NBA as a general manager.
A decade ago, Minot was the sick sister of ND’s four largest cities. The Minot area population was dropping and ND’s congressional delegation scrambled to maintain appropriations for the Air Force Base, which was central to Minot’s economy. Now it’s different. Bismarck has ND’s oil industry regulators, leaders and professionals, while Dickinson and Williston have their noses to the ground in the oil fields. Minot is in the middle -- it’s a supplier and source of technical services, distribution and transportation for the oil industry.
Minot is a transportation hub. It’s at the intersection of two major rail lines and three highways. U.S. Highway 2 leads to the oil fields, Hwy 83 to Bismarck-Mandan, and Hwy 52, which crosses the state diagonally, is a major route for supplies and equipment being trucked to the oil fields from the Midwest. Hwy 52 also has an important role in trade with Canada. Sen. John Hoeven called Minot one of the fastest growing communities in the country. He was making the case for a $100 million expansion of the Minot airport. FAA grants will pay for roughly half, the remainder will require city and state matching funding.
Williston had a double-header -- two competitive medical centers held grand opening ceremonies on the same day. Mercy Medical Center, owned by Catholic Health Initiatives, opened a $20 million, 40,000-square-foot facility. Minot-based Trinity Health opened its $10 million, 60,000-square-foot Western Dakota Clinic. Mercy CEO Matt Grimshaw said, “As we look around, we find ourselves in the fastest-growing region in America.” Needing more superlatives, Grimshaw called Mercy the nation’s fastest-growing hospital. Williston’s mayor said the city is becoming a regional medical center.
The Wall Street Journal reports ND is one of the Top Ten national markets for hotel construction -- the state has over 2,000 rooms under construction. The hotels are needed to house energy-industry employees. A hotel builder and owner in Dickinson said, "I know of six or seven hotels going up in Dickinson. It has us a little nervous." There is a similar building frenzy in Minot and Williston.
Their city officials estimate Dickinson and Williston have each reached a population of about 23,000. Williston had about half that population at the start of the oil boom.
The USDA is a bureaucratic monster -- clearly an example of decades of mission drift. Money from the USDA flows to Rural Development in ND, where a politically appointed director steers the money through an Intermediary Relending Program to regional councils. The South Central Dakota Regional Council bestowed $151,000 on lucky recipients in a nine-county region (Wells and Foster on the north and McIintosh and Dickey on the SD border). Other ND regions will receive similar pork. Could anything go wrong with such a splendidly designed program? The new Williston Trinity clinic mentioned above received a $5.5 million loan from USDA Rural Development.
“However, the chancellor’s suggestion that student-athletes be considered a special category doesn’t fly.” -- Part of a Bismarck Tribune editorial about admission standards at UND and NDSU. The Tribune considers it a good idea to raise admission standards at both schools and screen out college freshmen needing remedial courses. Higher standards shine a light on underperforming high schools. The Tribune drew the line at special admission standards for student-athletes, saying they “should have to meet the same standards as any other students when it comes to academics.” Some coaches are concerned that, without such an exception, the two universities might have a hard time filling their athletic recruiting quotas, especially for football. This comes at a time when a good part of the NDSU football team is charged with fraud.
Carrington’s Kleinsasser family has a fondness for alliteration. Jim’s wife is named Christa and his sons are named Carter and Cayden. His sister Sheri is married to Stuart and has daughters Seely and Shya. Jim and Sheri have been chosen as UND Young Alumni Achievement Award recipients. Jim works with the Make-A-Wish Foundation at his home in Mound, Minn., while Sheri is the co-owner of a Red River Valley magazine for “Moms.” Jim was an All-American football player at UND, Sheri a basketball star; both are members of the UND Athletics Hall of Fame.
“Overall, the experience out there seemed less like the Wild West and more like a scene from the ‘Grapes of Wrath.’” -- UND professors describing their research into “man camps” in western ND. Professor Bret Weber says he “realized man camps are an inappropriate solution to a temporary problem. There’s really no social life. It’s a really sterile environment.” Weber, who has a background in social work, believes both county and state government should take a larger responsibility in finding housing for oil field workers.
The sovereignty of Indian tribes is a perplexing issue: Sovereignty is invoked when the tribes want to do something that would otherwise be a problem -- it’s downplayed when they want help. The Spirit Lake Reservation has 36 registered sex offenders. The ND attorney general said Spirit Lake “under federal law has no obligation to tell us about the registration of offenders there, and they have chosen not to.” Chairman Roger Yankton also ordered the removal of sex offenders’ photos and criminal records (including those of his brother Quentin) from display in the tribal headquarters. It’s no surprise the Spirit Lake Tribe has been informed the Bureau of Indian Affairs will be taking over the tribe’s dysfunctional social services program. Expect more negative news from this reservation.
The late Joann Slominksi (88) of Warsaw throttled back from her mother’s record -- Joann had only two children. Her mother had 19 children, possibly the largest family recorded in Walsh County. During WWII, Joann worked as a “Rosie the Riveter” in an Illinois ammunition factory. She was proud of her Polish heritage and cooking. After many years of farming, she and her husband of 63 years jumped in a motorhome and traveled the country.
Yes, she was. Dawn Bad Warrior (39) was arrested in Bismarck for stealing $15,000 from her employer Money Lenders.
Death the ND way: A 17-year-old Dickinson boy, driving without a seat belt, died when he shot a red light in Dickinson and broadsided a woman in a Hummer. The boy was previously cited for driving without a license.