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Bakken Briefings

Changing Ray

The city of Ray could look very different in five years.

City Planner Brent Moore has been working with Ray’s Planning Commission over the past six months to develop a comprehensive plan, with the highway corridor and Main Street targeted as growth areas.

Moore said comprehensive plans focus on a design for growth rather than how any specific building is used.

Meetings April 7-9 will seek public comment.

Several years into an oil boom that has already swelled the city’s population beyond the 2010 census figure of 600, the city so far has only kept up with infrastructure demands.

The planning commission is looking to add shopping, office space and other amenities — maybe even a new community center.

— The Tioga Tribune

Lignite bank closed

Concern for the security of employees, operators of the only bank in Lignite have closed its doors.

A statement from First National Bank and Trust of Williston said there were many days when only one employee worked at the bank, creating an unacceptable level of vulnerability.

Without city police or Burke County Sheriff’s Department deputy stationed in Lignite, even with state-of-the-art security and surveillance equipment, all of the threat assessments done indicated the bank personnel in Lignite were highly vulnerable, the bank said.

The bank’s statement said the possibility of any monetary loss from any potential robbery was secondary to potential harm to people.

— The Journal, Crosby

Watford airport

Oil-related activity has filled not just McKenzie County roads and highways, but also its flight paths.

With air traffic roughly five times more than it was three years ago, plans have been launched for a $3.5 million upgrade of the Watford City Municipal Airport.

“A lot of the flights landing and taking off here are related to the building and construction going on in Watford City,” said Tim Taylor, chairman of the airport board.

The airport board plans to spend $3.5 million to expand the parking apron and build a new airport terminal.

“For a lot of folks flying into Watford City, the airport is the first thing they see,” Taylor said. “It’s their first impression of Watford City.”

The new airport terminal will offer a place for people who are flying in to meet family or business partners, and for pilots to relax between flights.

The North Dakota Aeronautics Commission is providing $2.33 million for the projects, and the Federal Aviation Administration is contributing $327,000 for the apron project. Another $700,000 will come from city sales tax funds, leaving $216,000 more to come up with locally.

— McKenzie County Farmer, Watford City

McLean building

It seems everywhere you look in McLean County, there’s some type of building going on.

Ryan Oberg, McLean County assessor, said the county is in the middle of the building boom. He said the increase in building permits is due to several factors, including the petroleum industry.

“Though McLean County itself isn’t in the red zone, we are situated close enough to high-activity centers that we see substantial run-off,” he said.

Other factors are the number of people leaving high-activity areas for nearby locations and the fact that the energy industry has been established in the county. Oberg said those things will contribute to the continued spike in building permits and population.

— McLean County Independent, Garrison

Mayor ‘disgusted’

After all the hubbub over the discovery of an illegal dump of radioactive filter socks in an old building, Noonan resident Michelle Eide decided it was time to lighten things up a little bit.

Even as national news media got hold of the story, Eide and some friends were ordering T-shirts that say, “I survived the nuclear disaster at Noonan, ND 2014.”

Not everyone found humor in the situation.

Noonan Mayor Cyndie Fagerbakke is disgusted by the dumpers and the state’ reaction to the discovery.

“The people who did this, they’re not from around here,” said Fagerbakke. “They’re people who don’t give a rip, people who think it’s all about themselves, that they can make a quick buck and get out. I’m disgusted by the lack of regard they have shown for human life and health with this.”

Fagerbakke’s comments came prior to news the state Health Department would like to access a fund administered by the state Industrial Commission to pay for a cleanup of the Noonan site.

— The Journal, Crosby

School bond issue

Patrons of the Lewis & Clark School District will head to the polls April 8 to decide the fate of a $15 million bond issue.

Public meetings to discuss it are planned in Ryder, Plaza, Makoti, Berthold and Carpio.

Voters will be asked to approve the bond issue to fund the construction project. Patrons also will be asked whether the district’s debt limit should be increased beyond the 5 percent limit of indebtedness now fixed by the constitution.

The district operates high schools in Berthold and Makoti and elementary schools in Berthold and Plaza.

— Mountrail County Record, Parshall

Tribal youth risks

Growing up on the Fort Berthold Reservation has never been easy. With the influx of unfamiliar people and oil money, the risks for youth on the reservation never have been greater.

Members of the Three Affiliated Tribes juvenile justice system work to help young tribal members stay on the straight and narrow. A group that includes correctional workers, court and police officers came to Edwin Loe Elementary School recently in the first of what it’s hoped will be presentations to every classroom on the Fort Berthold Reservation.

Jordan Dionne and Jennifer Lenning from the Gerald “Tex” Fox Justice Center, JoAnn Baker with TAT Tribal Court and Officer Cris Cruz of the TAT Police Force took part in the inaugural round of school visits.

“We have an anti-bullying program in our school,” said Principal Dan Anderson.

“The more communication we have with the juvenile justice system, the better the children can understand how the system works and come to trust it and use it to keep their family safe,” he said.

— New Town News

Courthouse money

Mercer County Commissioners have a plan for paying for much of the $9.8 million courthouse expansion: the state.

Commissioners this month voted to seek a $7 million loan from the state Energy Impact Office.

The coal conversion loan would be paid back by future coal conversion taxes. The remainder of the cost of the project, about $2.8 million, would be paid out of funds already on hand.

Commission Chairman Gary Murray said it was the best option for the county if the county qualified for the loan.

County Auditor Shana Brost said if the loan isn’t approved, another option would be a bond issue.

— The Beulah Beacon

(Compiled by Steve Andrist, former publisher of newspapers in Crosby and Tioga.)

Copyright 2014 Bismarck Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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