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Bakken Briefings

Tioga accepts bid

The Tioga Medical Center board of directors have awarded to a Minnesota company an $8.2 million contract for construction of a new clinic and other renovations.

Shingobee Construction, the contractor that recently completed renovations to

St. Luke’s Medical Center in Crosby, turned in the lowest of three bids submitted.

Officials are targeting the project for completion by September 2015.

The debt will be serviced by a half-cent city sales tax dedicated to the hospital. It was approved by Tioba voters in 2012.

— The Tioga Tribune

Watford gets docs

With an influx of new people to serve, the McKenzie County Healthcare System in Watford city has ramped up staffing, bringing on board a chief operating officer and two new physicians.

With 12 years of experience in the health care industry, Mike Curtis is the new COO. Dr. Donita Diamond and Dr. David Rivas joined the staff in February.

Diamond comes to Watford City from Michigan where she owned and operated a medical center.

The center also employs one other physician and two nurse practitioners. It will start construction this summer on a $55 million hospital and clinic.

— McKenzie County Farmer, Watford City

Grenora school full

When Troy M. Walters, superintendent of Grenora School District, looks at how his school’s enrollment has grown during the last five years, he understands why the school needs new digs.

“When I first came here as an administrator five years ago, there were 44 students,” he said. “During the last several years, we’ve averaged about 70 students.

“But right now, we have 180 kids in K-12,” he said.

Walters said oil field production is responsible for the increase in enrollment.

“People are coming out of Williston, moving here and saying they want what we can offer.” Walters said.

As a result, Grenora schools will hold an election April 15 on a $9.9 million bond issue to renovate the old building and add a new one.

The addition would include six classrooms, a gym with locker rooms and a weight room, expanded kitchen and cafeteria, new administrative space, a special education area and two ITV rooms.

— The Journal, Crosby

Grain cars arrive

Some 30 semis clogged Bowbells’ Main Street recently, once word got out that grain cars expected last December had finally arrived at Sun Prairie Grain.

With lucrative oil shipments dominating the northwestern North Dakota rail lines these days, farmers have had to sit on their grain.

Earlier this month, rail cars scheduled for delivery back in December finally arrived in Bowbells.

More than 30 semi trucks loaded with grain from around the region quickly arrived in Bowbells, with some drivers reporting a wait of up to seven hours to dump their loads.

The following morning, semis were pulling into town before 6 a.m.

— Burke County Tribune, Bowbells

U-Mary looks to Watford City

The University of Mary is in the beginning stages of setting up an Outreach Campus Program in Watford City, where it will offer classes for bachelor degrees, graduate education, continuing education and workforce development.

Upon the Roughrider Committee’s approval of the contract, the university will receive $50,000 in grants from the Roughrider Fund to assist with rent and ramp-up costs for the initial opening.

The University of Mary is a private, Roman Catholic university based in Bismarck. It has extension campuses in five other states and two other countries.

According to Rachel Brash, a U-Mary representative, the schoolt hopes to set up shop in the Dakota West Credit Union Building on Main Street.

“We are very excited to be here,” Brash said. “We hope to establish roots in Watford City and plan to stay for the long run.”

According to Jody Renbarger, a Roughrider Committee member, the $50,000 in grants will be disbursed over two years.

— McKenzie County Farmer, Watford City

Bishop lauds ‘heroic challenge’

Bishop David Kagan of the Bismarck Diocese lauded the “heroic degree” to which local leaders are attempting to meet the challenges in the Bakken region.

Kagan came to Tioga this month to participate in a forum hosted by Nest Consulting.

He said the oil boom represents an opportunity for all Christians to do good works.

The discussion included other Catholic clergy, farmers, contractors, city leaders from Tioga and Stanley, along with a man camp operator and representatives of the University of Mary. They talked about the booming population and an almost out-of-control economy.

The forum includes anecdotes illustrating a moral imperative in the Bakken region to address greed among landlords and the human needs of the many “broken” people who have been attracted by the promise of high-paying jobs.

Sam Fredin, manager of a Tioga travel center, described how hard it has been to cobble together a workforce and to want to help employees, only to learn one of them — an 18-year-old girl — was living in a tent for two months.

“It just breaks your heart,” he said.

— The Tioga Tribune

(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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