The Tenth Anniversary

Yes, it has been a long ten years. On August 29, 2001, I sat beside my wife’s bed as she looked up at her doctor, exhausted, pale and gaunt after two years of unrelenting chemotherapy, and said “No more. No more chemo.” Quietly, the doctor said, “You know what that means.” “Yes,” Rita answered. “How…
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Milton Who? Norman Who?

The last time North Dakota had two Republican U.S. Senators was 51 years ago this month. August 1960. Milton R. Young and Norman Brunsdale. Young had been in office since 1945, when he was appointed to fill out the term of Democrat John Moses, who died in office that year after serving only two months…
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Bud And Sam

I’ve read two North Dakotans’ memoir books in the past few weeks, written by two very different men. Yet there are surprising similarities between them, which made reading them back to back more interesting. Both Bud and Sam were raised in strict North Dakota Catholic families, although there is nearly a generation difference in their…
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In Praise Of Wilderness

On our just-ended vacation, we visited 12 states and 17 national parks (part of our quest to visit all the national parks) and spent 13 nights in campgrounds, most of them managed by agencies of the U.S. Departments of Interior or Agriculture. It was the U.S. Forest Service campgrounds (The Forest Service is an agency…
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Twinkle And Chubbins

You know L. Frank Baum as the author of “The Wizard of Oz.” You  may not know of Baum’s North Dakota connection. Here’s the story, as told to me by my friend Dorothy Howe (no relation to the Dorothy of “Oz” fame.) My Dorothy grew up in Edgeley, North Dakota, moved away to California, and…
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Weekenders

ONE GOVERNMENT AGENCY GETS IT RIGHT Many of you saw the story in the Bismarck Tribune, reprinted from the Billings Gazette, about the record or near-record snowpack in the mountains in Montana this year. Statewide in Montana, snowpack stands at 257 per cent of average for this time of year. Snowpack above some of the…
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A Good Book For A Flood

As we were sandbagging at Fort Mandan Friday, on the bank of the Mighty Missouri River, my friend Clay looked over his shoulder at the river and said “Maybe we’ll see a house come floating by.” Which set us both to thinking immediately about Huckleberry Finn, and we were quiet for a good long while…
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Weekenders (Pretend It’s Friday)

THE CAT’S ON THE ROOF My old friend Buckshot Hoffner (I mean “old” both ways—we’ve been friends for more than 30 years, and he is old—closer to 90 than 80) came home from World War II with a big prize. Her name was Patricia, and she was an English beauty who left her home in…
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Cor Te Reducit

Two things of note happened in my life Tuesday. In the morning, I attended the funeral of a good friend and one of North Dakota’s great liberal thinkers, Karl Limvere. In the evening I helped another good friend and his wife move the belongings from their home south of Bismarck. Both things, some would say,…
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A Letter From The Game And Fish Director

North Dakota Game and Fish Department Director Terry Steinwand will release a final draft of the report titled “POTENTIAL IMPACTS OF OIL AND GAS DEVELOPMENT ON SELECT NORTH DAKOTA NATURAL RESOURCES” by the end of May, nearly a year after it was written and two months after it was first revealed by blogger Chad Nodland…
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