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COLUMN: Who will take care of this place when we’re gone?

COLUMN: Who will take care of this place when we’re gone?

WATFORD CITY, N.D. -- The house seems especially quiet this morning. The sound of my fingers clicking across the keyboard is all there is to hear, really. My husband’s off to work, and I’m tackling a to-do list that includes finding homes for toy dinosaurs, books and superheroes, sweeping glitter and cracker crumbs off the floor and rearranging the dozen crayon-drawn pictures on the fridge. It might be quiet now, but evidence of the weekend spent with our nieces and nephews, all five of them, all between the ages of 4 and 11, all by ourselves, is lingering in every nook and cranny of this house.

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Mr. Rogers was real: Stories from 50 years of Prairie Public

Mr. Rogers was real: Stories from 50 years of Prairie Public

FARGO, N.D. – Bob Dambach can share many stories from his three decades at Prairie Public, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and he has a good one about Fred Rogers, better known as Mr. Rogers. The bottom line? Mr. Rogers was real. Dambach, now director of television at Prairie Public, said that in the late 1980s David Newell, the actor who played Mr. McFeely, the delivery man on Rogers’ long-running PBS show, “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,” was in the area to give a commencement address at a local high school.

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Unusual alliance on oil spill cleanup

Unusual alliance on oil spill cleanup

A year later, landowners trying to ‘go with the flow’ of 24/7 operation
TIOGA, N.D. -- On Monday, Patty Jensen delivered a treat to the workers doing the cleanup on the site of one of North Dakota’s largest oil spills. For husband Steve, it was just another day at the end of a busy harvest. But a year ago his discovery of oil in their wheat field near Tioga set off a media frenzy and an outcry over the 11-day delay by state officials in notifying the public.

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COLUMN: Existing alone yet always in contact

COLUMN: Existing alone yet always in contact

WATFORD CITY, N.D. -- I was a teenager in a time when a giant cell phone in a leather bag was the latest in communication technology. My parents would unplug it from the cigarette lighter in their minivan and detach the giant magnetic antenna from the roof only for me to reassemble the configuration in my 1983 Ford LTD before heading out to a football game with instructions to call before I left town.

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COLUMN: Our flares aren't that bad

COLUMN: Our flares aren't that bad

WILLISTON, N.D. - The Bakken region catches a lot of flak about our flares. When you pump oil, natural gas is a natural byproduct, and at this point it is not cost effective to capture it. So we just let it burn 24/7. The environmentalist and Al Gore types continue to badger us because of the waste of energy, pollution of our air and the possible long-term effects of all this gas everywhere. Believe me, we are working 24/7 on ways to capture this very valuable commodity to offset our winter temps of 40 below zero.

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COLUMN: Rekindle passions after long seasons of work

COLUMN: Rekindle passions after long seasons of work

WATFORD CITY, N.D. -- The sun is slower to rise, and the leaves on the ash trees in the coulees are starting to give in to cooler weather. I’m sitting in my big chair watching the branches bob and sway to a chilly wind. It rained last night. In a few weeks it could be snow. So we are digging out sweaters and switching the thermostat over, putting on socks and eating dinner before 10 p.m. because the sun is down by 9. Yes, it’s September, and the weather is preparing us. It’s September, and it’s time to make those plums into jelly.

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Finding 'a different route': Strategic plan in place for ND scenic byways

Robin Reynolds owns a small business in Hebron, a southwest North Dakota town along Highway 10 about 2 miles off of Interstate 94. Like so many other small towns in the state, Hebron has seen busier times. "When the interstate came in, these small towns emptied out," Reynolds said. Since the Old Red/Old Ten Scenic Byway was established in 2008 through the state's Scenic Byway Program, Reynolds said the towns along Highway 10 have benefited from tourists who have abided by the byway's motto and taken "a different route."

‘GameDay’ affirms Bison culture in eyes of recruits

‘GameDay’ affirms Bison culture in eyes of recruits

FARGO, N.D. – It was about year ago when Omaha Creighton Prep quarterback Easton Stick and his coach got in a car after a Friday night game and made the drive from Nebraska to Fargo for an unofficial recruiting visit. Before going to the North Dakota State football game, they stopped downtown. It wasn’t for a doughnut and juice. It was the big enchilada of exposure for college football coaches: Getting ESPN’s “College GameDay” in their backyard. What Stick saw was something he didn’t expect, he said.

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Downtown Fargo businesses capitalize on ‘GameDay’

Downtown Fargo businesses capitalize on ‘GameDay’

FARGO, N.D. – Within 15 minutes Monday, all 150 tickets for the Saturday brunch at Monte’s were sold to fans eager for football and fine dining. The downtown restaurant at 220 Broadway hosted a similar event for last year’s ESPN “College GameDay” broadcast, said Christian D’Agostino, chef/owner. “I think they were waiting on it,” he said of this week’s quick ticket purchasers. “We’re right in the middle of it. We’ve got the best seat.” The same special is being offered at The Boiler Room, 210 Broadway, which D’Agostino also co-owns.

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College GameDay's return puts Fargo's plan on high alert

FARGO, N.D. – When ESPN’s College GameDay returns to Fargo on Saturday, the popular pre-game TV show will again be broadcast downtown in front of the Fargo Theatre, North Dakota State University announced in a news conference Sunday. “ESPN made it clear that they had a great experience last year in downtown Fargo and they wanted to go back there,” said NDSU interim athletic director Prakash Mathew.

Seasons change, even if we don’t want them to

Seasons change, even if we don’t want them to

WATFORD CITY, N.D. -- The wild plums are ripening in the brush patch below our house. Just a few months ago those thorny branches were covered in white, soft blossoms bursting with excitement at the announcement that winter was officially over. Now those plump purple berries are whispering something about fall, but I’m not sure I’m ready to hear it.

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WILLISTON ... LIVING THE DREAM: No easy money

WILLISTON ... LIVING THE DREAM: No easy money

WILLISTON, N.D. - Yes the opportunities are great here in The Oil Patch, and one can make a six-figure income, but you do need to work ... maybe even 70 to 100 hours a week. Folks don't come here to endure 40-below wind chills, just so that they can work a 40-hour week and spend afternoons watching Oprah reruns. There ain't no easy money. I consistently convey to my twin 17-year-old sons that with a strong work ethic and goals they have the opportunity to retire at 30.

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COLUMN: What would dog say about past eight years?

COLUMN: What would dog say about past eight years?

WATFORD CITY, N.D. -- The big brown dog lying beside my bed is snoring a little this morning. The beard around his snout and his dog eyebrows have turned white. When he gets up, he gets up slowly, sort of creaking as he prepares to hit the steps to go outside.

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WILLISTON ... LIVING THE DREAM: Bored neighborly roughnecks

WILLISTON ... LIVING THE DREAM: Bored neighborly roughnecks

WILLISTON, N.D. - We have 11 roughnecks next door. They are always friendly, like when they feed, Rambo, our plastic-sewer-pipe-eating boxer, pork rinds much to the dismay of my beautiful wife, Melva. When dried, the rind particles just ain't good for our used Hoover.

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Experts offer advice for breaking the multitasking cycle

FARGO, N.D. – Multitasking might be the strategy many of us have used for years to keep up with fast-paced jobs, a growing list of daily responsibilities or even juggling time with the kids. But Dawn Kaiser has some tough love for the wannabe multitaskers: Just because we have worked on several tasks at once doesn’t mean we should. “It doesn’t mean you’re good at it,” said Kaiser, a corporate trainer with The Village Business Institute in Fargo. “I can sing, too, but nobody wants to hear me sing.”

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