So, are you in oil?

So, are you in oil?

Aug 17

WILLISTON, N.D. – As the economy withered in Elroy, Wis., three construction workers jumped on the Internet to search for work. “We saw there were 4,927 jobs available in North Dakota,” Bob Pangborn said. “This was the place to go.”

Overwhelmed law enforcement officers just try to keep up

Overwhelmed law enforcement officers just try to keep up

Aug 17

STANLEY, N.D.–For a couple of months this summer, Kris Halvorson was Stanley’s chief of police – and his department’s only employee. It was a bad time to be on his own.

Injury claims rise at OSHA, WSI

Injury claims rise at OSHA, WSI

Aug 17

As the oil industry work force has expanded in North Dakota and the state has jumped to become the No. 4 oil-producing state in the nation, oilfield-related injuries also have steadily risen since 2004. Though the Occupational Safety and Health Administration does not require employers to report injuries unless three or more workers are injured or a fatality occurs, Tom Deutscher, OSHA area director, said oilfield-related accidents and fatalities have increased.

Hefty wages attract labor — as well as spending

Hefty wages attract labor — as well as spending

Aug 17

WILLISTON, N.D. – The current oil boom has catapulted Williston to the top in average wages paid in North Dakota, above Fargo-West Fargo, Bismarck and Wahpeton. Workers make $49,500 on average here, to Fargo’s $38,000. In oil, the fastestgrowing employment sector, wages average more than $80,000 a year.

Western N.D. combats ‘learning curve’ on roads

Western N.D. combats ‘learning curve’ on roads

Aug 17

Late in 2008, as the rush to develop western North Dakota’s oil accelerated, a 68-year-old McKenzie County man was killed when the vehicle he was driving struck an oil work rig on a county road near Watford City. Few things concern longtime residents more about the oil boom than how it has changed life on the road – life and the fear of death.

Wandee Hushka, oilfield mechanic

Wandee Hushka, oilfield mechanic

Aug 17

BELFIELD, N.D. – You think it’s a man’s world, the tough, dirty parts of the oil industry? Meet Wandee Hushka, oilfield mechanic.

New arrivals inject diversity into Oil Patch

New arrivals inject diversity into Oil Patch

Aug 17

ROSS, N.D. – Eli Lopez spruced up a rundown golf cart by his cramped motor home with a new paint job and a working carburetor. Lopez doesn’t play golf, and he has no intention of taking it up during his stint in Ross, population 200 and not a fairway in sight. The cart will come in handy on his return to Mexico, where he heads almost every year at the first approach of an Upper Midwest winter.

Ivy League geologist rides bust and boom to success

Ivy League geologist rides bust and boom to success

Aug 17

TIOGA, N.D. – Kathy Neset saw her dream go bust not long after moving to North Dakota. The New Jersey native with an Ivy League education had ignored her family’s shock over the Midwest move. Indeed, one relative wrote, “I didn’t know anybody really lived in North Dakota.”

Prayers and beans

Prayers and beans

Aug 17

NEW TOWN, N.D. – You can’t miss the Rev. Charles Garcia’s food van, the old Ford painted in the green, white and red of the Mexican flag and almost daily suffusing the air of downtown New Town with the aromas of cilantro-spiked pork tortas and steaming beef burritos.