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Excerpts from recent North Dakota editorials

Police participation in ‘Fracking Hell’ a shame

Williston Herald, Williston, Oct. 16, 2015

Did you watch Underworld, Inc. FRACKING HELL on the National Geographic channel?

The subtitle read “An oil fracking boom and subsequent bust have brought extortion, prostitution, drug dealing and theft to the remote prairie town of Williston, North Dakota.”

It’s bad enough when the national media shows up for another hit piece but it’s even worse when our own peace officers help pile it on.

Sgt. Caleb Fry and Deputy Corey Metzger from the Williams County Sheriff’s Department added to the illustrious cast that included “Rick” the extortionist, biker, drug dealer, “Wild Bill” the Pimp, “Hoo Doo Brown” and “Cowboy” the scrap metal/copper thieves, and Anna Bella, the independent hooker.

It’s important to note that Anna Bella also participated in another hit piece called “Trapped in Prostitution.” Anna Bella came to Williston to chase the oil dream (as a prostitute), but now is struggling to get by.

If we haven’t learned by now, as a community, that national media isn’t visiting our community for anything positive, this last iteration should prove it. Driving national media around in our police vehicles, Metzger commented that in Williston there is, “Not a lot of higher class people in Williston; we’re seeing the bottom of the barrel,” he said on the show.

We were shocked that National Geographic would air such trash that so inaccurately and incompletely portrayed the whole of Williston and Williams County. Adding to the trash talk shouldn’t be taxpayer funded.

Thursday morning we received a call from an out-of-state viewer of the program. They asked what we thought of the portrayal. The response was long and detailed about the positive things going on in our area. The viewer said, “then how would you describe Williston?” The response was “Charming, with huge opportunity for anyone that wants to move here and make a positive difference.”

This is our home. This is where we have chosen to raise our families. Being an ambassador for our community may not be the most attention-getting thing to do, but it’s the most accurate and positive way to portray and build our community.

After all these years, Wetterling family may get some answers

The Daily News, Wahpeton, Nov. 2, 2015

Imagine what it feels like after 26 years of wondering what happened to your son and knowing the answers may finally be forthcoming.

Never knowing what happened after Jacob Wetterling was abducted must be a living hell for his parents, Patty and Jerry Wetterling. She was here this summer speaking of her experience, how she had to force herself to get out of bed in the morning to take care of her family.

Losing a child is hard enough. Having one abducted and never knowing what truly happened to him is a personal nightmare that you never wake up from.

What is it like to look into the face of every man you see in a crowd and wondering, could it be Jacob?

The world may finally know what happened to him. As of Thursday, a person of interest was named in his disappearance. Investigators arrested Danny James Heinrich, 52, of Annadale, Minnesota, on suspicion of receiving and possessing child pornography and have linked him to Jacob’s abduction. He has not been charged yet in the Wetterling case. Authorities did not find any direct evidence linking him to Jacob’s disappearance, but DNA was discovered on clothing that may link Heinrich to a boy who was sexually assaulted the same year as Jacob’s abduction. Heinrich lives in an area where several boys have been assaulted.

He was interviewed twice after Jacob’s disappearance, but continues to deny any involvement in the case. The current picture of Heinrich looks eerily like the mug shot of the abductor that was posted after Jacob’s disappearance.

Patty Wetterling, Jacob’s mother, spoke to area residents during a Cherish the Child event this summer. She discussed how she dealt with the disappearance of her son more than 25 years ago. She spoke of battling her grief in the early days, when just getting out of bed was a victory. As time went on, she had to find ways to find joy in the simple things, including taking care of her family. Patty offered glimpses of her life and experiences. She offered hope and strength to those gathered, along with gratitude for being included in the remembrance.

She has never given up hope of Jacob’s return. All this family has lived on for 26 long years is hope. Now they want time.

The Wetterling family released a statement shortly after a news conference was held Thursday announcing Heinrich as a person of interest in his case: “The Wetterling family would like to thank all involved in the investigation of Danny Heinrich and his crimes against children. The search for Jacob is an ongoing investigation and we will watch and learn with everyone else. Right now we know what is being reported. We know what you all know.

“For 26 long years, we have said that somebody knows something. If you know anything about this man, his ties to St. Joseph in 1989 and his victimization of children or since, please call the Stearns County Sheriff’s Department at 320-259-3700 or 320-656-6625.

“We also need to point out the obvious. Child pornography is a devastating, harmful criminal activity. If you know of anyone who is engaged in, looking at, producing or sharing child pornography please call the police or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (1-800-The-Lost) so that these people do not harm another child.

“We are so grateful for the prayers, the support and the hope shared in our search for Jacob and the search for answers. Who took Jacob? Where is he? What happened?

“Today we ask for a little time. We will be available for comment next week but ask for some space at this point in time. We have no further comment.”

All of us hope that the Wetterling family can find out what happened to their son. His family has the right to put him to rest.

Oil decision comes with risk

The Bismarck Tribune, Bismarck, Nov. 5, 2015

The recent decision by the state Industrial Commission to give oil companies more time to bring wells online doesn’t come without risk.

Drillers are supposed to bring wells online within one year, but the commission gave them an extra year. The reason for the extension is to give oil prices more time to rebound. Higher prices will not only benefit the companies, but the state, which will collect more taxes, and the mineral rights owners. It does mean the state and mineral owners will have to wait to see the money. It’s also another year that landowners will have to wait for oil activity to be completed.

There’s also the possibility that oil prices might not rebound, that they could drop some more. That’s unlikely, but can’t be ruled out.

Recent history indicates the wells won’t be abandoned. Dry holes are rare in the oil patch and according to state and industry officials, 99 percent of drill rigs hit oil and nine out of 10 wells make money.

According to an Associated Press story, a typical well in the Bakken and Three Forks formations will produce about 624,000 barrels of oil during its 36-year lifespan and will generate more than $10 million in net profits. During its lifetime, an average Bakken or Three Forks well will pay more than $3.3 million in taxes and about $5.4 million in royalties to its mineral owners. So counting on oil prices rebounding makes financial sense.

There’s another drawback to the Industrial Commission decision. The commission has been accused and criticized over the years for catering to the oil industry and some will see this decision as another sign of this. The commission needs to be able to show this is a wise move, done to benefit everyone. If oil prices rebound in six to nine months the commission should encourage oil companies to move forward and not wait.

Everyone benefits from the highest price possible, but it’s impossible to predict or know when that peak is reached. It’s the responsibility of the Industrial Commission to make the best decision possible. It will be interesting to see how this decision plays out.

Disagree with kicking the can again

Minot Daily News, Minot, Nov. 2, 2015

Obviously, it would be better for all involved if Rep. Paul Ryan takes office as speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives with the cleanest slate possible before him. Ryan, R-Wisconsin, should not be burdened with unnecessary controversies and confrontations.

But that does not mean House conservatives should cave in to President Barack Obama’s demands for bigger government and more deficit spending.

Reportedly, some lawmakers are working hard to finalize a sweeping deal on federal spending before incumbent Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, steps down in a few days. No doubt Obama and liberals in Congress are delighted the conservatives may grant them concessions, to spare Ryan a battle.

Giving in to the White House would create more headaches for Ryan in the future, however. At some point, responsible members of the House simply must reverse the liberals’ push for more expensive, more intrusive, less responsible government. The official national debt has reached $18.1 trillion — and that does not count trillions more in off-the-books red ink.

One reason Boehner is leaving is that some fiscal conservatives were unhappy with his reluctance to preside over a spending showdown with the White House. Ryan should be among the first to disagree with the idea of kicking the can down the road again.

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.