Halek Sentenced: Probation And A Halfway House

My old friend Darrell Dorgan and I decided to sit in on the sentencing hearing for Jason Halek this morning. A couple of old, retired newsmen, we both went there thinking we were going to see the full measure of the law applied to a Texas con man responsible for one of the biggest pollution…
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Maybe The Halek Case Is Over. Maybe.

If everything goes as planned Monday morning (which would be unusual—nothing much has gone as planned in this case) Jason Halek will walk into the federal courthouse in Bismarck tomorrow morning as a free man, and walk out—figuratively, if not literally—in handcuffs, headed for a federal prison. You’ve read about Halek here many times before.…
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A Thanksgiving Proclamation

President George Washington declared November 26th, 1789, the fourth Thursday of November, to be celebrated as a day of American thanksgiving. Try to imagine how much Americans of 1789 had to be thankful for. Just six years earlier they had fought and won a war for their independence, to create their own country. Just two years earlier…
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Crying Over Spilt Oil. And Brine.

Okay, when technology fails you, sometimes you just have to do things the old fashioned way. I wrote a couple weeks ago about the North Dakota Department of Health’s Environmental Incident database, and how difficult it is to track the performance of various oil companies. I haven’t heard back from the Governor yet, and being…
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Men Just Have To TELL!

There’s an old story that goes like this. A ship sinks in the South Pacific Ocean and two survivors are washed up on the shore of a deserted island: Sigourney Weaver and a fellow named Joe. A couple of months go by and no rescue is in sight, and the two decide they might be…
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A Simple Request To The Governor: Let’s Get Technical

Dear Governor Burgum, I am writing to you today about transparency. Transparency in government. Transparency in North Dakota government. Transparency in North Dakota government as it relates to our environment and environmental protection. You’ve said often you believe in transparency. Here’s a chance to prove it. You’re a new Governor this year, and you come…
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Read Bluemle’s New Book

John Bluemle’s new book, North Dakota’s Geologic Legacy (actually published in 2016 and now in its second printing) is a culmination of a career of more than 40 years he spent with the North Dakota Geological Survey, researching all facets of North Dakota’s geology, carrying the title of State Geologist. It’s his fourth in a…
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Conflicts Of Interest Could Plague Scenic River Commission

The North Dakota Legislature approved, and Gov. Doug  Burgum signed, legislation last May authorizing the use of water from the Little Missouri State Scenic River for fracking oil wells. Now our State Engineer, Garland Erbele, has issued industrial water permits authorizing more than 2.1 billion (that’s 2,142,000,000)  gallons of water to be taken from the…
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Maybe The Governor Shouldn’t Send Engineers To Represent Him

“Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it,” the wise man said. And you might not like what you get, I might add. That’s what I was thinking about four hours into last week’s second meeting of the newly reconstituted Little Missouri Scenic River Commission. I’ve been harping for a couple…
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The Cry Of The Pheasant

One more time around for pheasants and Paul Southworth Bliss, in honor of Saturday’s 2017 Pheasant Season Opener. This will be my 59th pheasant season. Actually, more, because before I was 12, when my dad bought me my first shotgun, in 1959, I had tagged along since I was able to keep up with him…
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