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COLUMN: Despite the uncertainty, next step is same

COLUMN: Despite the uncertainty, next step is same

WATFORD CITY, N.D. -- Before you walk into most businesses here in Watford City, you’ll be greeted with a sign. It will probably be snowing or raining outside, and if it isn’t now, it was yesterday, so you’ll be asked to “Kindly Wipe Your Feet.” And you’ll understand, because, well, it’s just plain hard to keep a carpet clean around here. So, if you’re like me and came in from gravel roads and slushy driveways and hopped out of a car coated with every element in between, you’ll look down at your feet and then around the entryway in search of one of those boot-scraper contraptions screwed to the concrete with hard bristled brushes, and you’ll spend a minute or so concentrating on un-caking the mud from your feet.

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COLUMN: Spotting a childhood love in Nashville

COLUMN: Spotting a childhood love in Nashville

WATFORD CITY, N.D. -- Here’s a confession for you: When I was a kid, I wrote, stamped and addressed a fan letter to Reba McEntire, pretty convinced that the red-haired early-’90s country bombshell would write back. I mean, we had so much in common, her and I growing up on ranches and riding horses and everything. Oh, and then there’s the music and how I loved to sing, too, just like you, Reba, so there should be no question that the two of us would become pen pals. But the pen pal thing never panned out. Probably because my letters reached her at the pinnacle of her career and, well, the woman was busy.

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Demand for Bison gear brings licensing headaches

Demand for Bison gear brings licensing headaches

FARGO, N.D. - As the Bison continue to perform well, it becomes more difficult for North Dakota State University to keep up with individuals trying to sell unlicensed green and gold products. Every year Licensing Resource Group has worked with NDSU, “it’s gotten worse and worse,” said LRG regional brand manager Joe Sheeley. Sheeley’s company chases down makers who haven’t undergone the licensing process – a job that has gotten significantly more challenging since the Bison won their first NCAA Division I FCS national championship in 2012. Nothing sells gear like a winning team, which means sales of Bison products, licensed or not, have been rising rapidly.

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WILLISTON ... LIVING THE DREAM: More you should know about the 'Mothership' culture in the Bakken

WILLISTON ... LIVING THE DREAM: More you should know about the 'Mothership' culture in the Bakken

WILLISTON, N.D. - The is the last of the four-part series regarding "Surviving The Mothership" culture in the Bakken. There are just a few more things you should know or notice: Executive assigned parking: This is a "Mothership" three-ring circus. The brass park nearest to the palace atrium, avoiding the ice, mud and snow that could leave a pinhead spot on their pin-striped Brooks Brothers suit, or God forbid, smudge a scale on their alligator boots.

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WILLISTON ... LIVING THE DREAM: The Mothership Christmas, er, 'Holiday' Party

WILLISTON ... LIVING THE DREAM: The Mothership Christmas, er, 'Holiday' Party

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the third in a series of columns based on the corporate takeover of the opportunities that exist in the Bakken oil patch. Check out thee prior two week's columns which were Parts 1 and 2.
WILLISTON, N.D. - Continuing on with the explanation of the The Mothership culture. Here is a little look into the Mothership "Holiday" (Christmas) Party. Hands down this is the worst social event in the history of large corporate America. If you can politically avoid it, do so. Here are some helpful tips to survive the Mothership "Holiday" party:

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COLUMN: Christmas prank on mother takes some thought

COLUMN: Christmas prank on mother takes some thought

WATFORD CITY, N.D. -- My mother’s the Christmas queen. She decks the halls with beautiful wreaths, handmade wooden cowboy Santas, twinkling white lights and matching Christmas bulbs. The tree stands upright, symmetrical, and perfect in the corner of a family room, glowing in the light of the subtle cinnamon candles flickering and highlighting the decor neatly placed on every surface. My mom’s Christmas is kind of like her, a woman who’s known for only taking one bite of a bite-sized Snickers bar and wrapping the other half back up to put it in the fridge for later. Yes, the woman has self-control. She understands when enough is just perfect enough. And so it goes with her Christmas decorations. Visit her house on the holidays and you will find fudge cut in perfect bite-sized squares on a simple red platter.

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Task force outlines plan to pick new UND nickname

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Sue Jeno started to cry when she was asked whether she thought UND should pick a new nickname. "I just want to do it right," she said, choking back tears. "I don't want to look back and say we were wrong." At a meeting Wednesday, Jeno and the rest of the University of North Dakota New Nickname and Logo Process Recommendation Task Force voted to continue to move forward in selecting a new nickname for the institution. The group developed the skeleton of a plan that involves appointing another committee as soon as possible that will ultimately decide on the next nickname. The finalplan, which the group is still working on, will be presented to UND President Robert Kelley by Dec. 31.

COLUMN: It’s OK to be a little sad, grateful during the holidays

COLUMN: It’s OK to be a little sad, grateful during the holidays

WATFORD CITY, N.D. -- Early last month my uncle from Texas arrived. Pops took some time off work, and the entire Veeder Ranch turned into a hunting camp, just like it does every year at this time. There’s something about being out with the men who grew up here. My dad and his brother walk the draws they know so well, doing what they’ve always done. That’s always been comforting to me. Since dad’s health scare early this year, each tradition spent since his recovery has been regarded a little more precious than before. And as much as it’s made me grateful, it’s also made me shaky, a little hard and more aware of an unfair and imperfect world.

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WILLINGSTON ... LIVING THE DREAM:

WILLINGSTON ... LIVING THE DREAM:

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second of a series of columns based on the corporate takeover of the opportunities that exist in the Bakken oil patch. Check out last week's column which was part one.
WILLISTON, N.D. - Seriously, there are opportunities for young people to survive and thrive in a large, corporate environment, but it's imperative to understand "Mothership culture," terms and worst practices. Here are some basic fundamentals:

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COLUMN: Surviving the Mothership

COLUMN: Surviving the Mothership

WILLISTON, N.D. - Three to four years ago, it was real easy getting things done around here. Roughnecks came by the hundreds in their F350s or Silverado Duramaxes, pulling campers and squatting in the Walmart parking, or a field, or wherever. Local company offices were usually a 12-by-18-foot, wobbly box trailer with a propane tank, a water hose and a flex sewer line, and who knows or cared where it went. These pioneers were hard working and productive, returning back high value to their companies who just left them alone.

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Midcontinent ready to grow gigabit service in North Dakota

FARGO, N.D. – Midcontinent Communications announced Monday a plan to provide the option of gigabit-speed Internet access to all of its service area in the Northern Plains by the end of 2017. The company said about 600,000 homes and 55,000 businesses will have access to gigabit service under its Gigabit Frontier Initiative. Areas that will be among the first to have access to the high-speed service include Fargo-Moorhead, Grand Forks, N.D., and the South Dakota cities of Sioux Falls and Rapid City, possibly as soon as late 2015.FARGO, N.D. – Midcontinent Communications announced Monday a plan to provide the option of gigabit-speed Internet access to all of its service area in the Northern Plains by the end of 2017. The company said about 600,000 homes and 55,000 businesses will have access to gigabit service under its Gigabit Frontier Initiative. Areas that will be among the first to have access to the high-speed service include Fargo-Moorhead, Grand Forks, N.D., and the South Dakota cities of Sioux Falls and Rapid City, possibly as soon as late 2015.

COLUMN: We don't depend on the weatherman out here

COLUMN: We don't depend on the weatherman out here

WATFORD CITY, N.D. -- I took my last ride before the snow fell last Saturday. Even before the weatherman told us it was coming, we knew it. We have ways of knowing out here even before the air turns cold: ribbons of geese flying south in the gray sky, the thickening coats on our horses, frost on trees and a film of ice on stock dams in the morning, an ache in my left wrist, arthritic from a fall off a horse that broke it in eighth grade, hunters out in orange, sneaking and waiting for a deer to fill their tag at their freezers.

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Dakota Bowl won’t be back to Grand Forks until at least 2021

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Today’s Dakota Bowl state championship football games won’t be back at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks until at least 2021 — and likely longer. The Fargodome is slated to be the home for the title games for North Dakota’s four high school classes over the next six years, after alternating years with the Alerus. It’s all about the money, said Matt Fetsch, the executive director of the North Dakota High School Activities Association. He said the 2013 Dakota Bowl in Fargo showed a profit of almost $60,000, compared with the $27,000 a year earlier in Grand Forks. Percentage-wise, the profit gaps have been similar in previous years.

‘Overnighters’ screens in Williston

‘Overnighters’ screens in Williston

WILLISTON, N.D. -- Filmmaker Jesse Moss wanted to tell the big story of life in Williston during an epic oil boom. Instead, he would be drawn to a local pastor who opened up his home and church to workers migrating from across the country in pursuit of black gold and the riches that flow from it. Moss said he filmed “The Overnighters” in a “cinema verite” style, witnessing the lives of Pastor Jay Reinke of Concordia Lutheran Church, his family, flock and homeless guests unfolding before him — a fly on the wall.

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FACES OF THE BOOM: Musician tries to capture life in the Bakken

FACES OF THE BOOM: Musician tries to capture life in the Bakken

WILLISTON, N.D. -- Keesha Renna is drawn to stories, and in her adopted city of Williston, the tales of struggle, heartache and loneliness are boundless. Intrigued by a story she read on North Dakota’s fracking boom in Harper’s Magazine more than a year ago, Renna first landed in Minot for a few months, then moved to Williston in September 2013. Armed with a degree in anthropology, a stint as a bartender and three years as a music promoter, the 27-year-old from Boise, Idaho, is hoping her musical take on the Bakken will reflect the many perspectives she has experienced in “one of the most pivotal moments in my time.”

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