Category: West River News

News from Around Western North Dakota

Fire Disaster Avoided in Beulah

BEULAH – Last night local authorities consulted residents of Beulah to evacuate due to a grass fire, looming just south of town. This morning, a sense of calm carried over the west river town, as firefighters were able to contain and extinguish the fire, before it breached city limits.

The Knife River was the only barrier that kept the fire from becoming a major disaster. “The terrain was a huge difficulty fighting this fire,” said Eli Schumann, Beulah Fire Chief to the media.

About 100 first responders, and volunteers from various local agencies helped battle the blaze, up to the edges of the knife river. Residents were asked to go to the Beulah Civic Center for shelter until the blaze was contained. Evacuations in some areas were on a volunteer basis until about 11pm on Monday night.

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Energy Crisis! Coal Country Teams Defeated

BEULAH – Entering the quarterfinal round of the NDHSAA Football playoffs, the Beulah Miners and the Hazen Bison were labeled favorites. Road teams Kindred and Minot Ryan had other plans on Saturday. Minot Ryan defeated Hazen 31 to 14, while Kindred downed Beulah 34-21.

Minot Ryan came off of a huge comeback win over Heart River last weekend, 62 to 33. They kept their roll going right away, returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown. On Hazen’s first possession, they went three and out. The Lions roared to a quick touchdown and made it 14 to 0 before most Bison fans had a warm seat. Two more first half touchdowns made the score 28 to 0.

Meanwhile, at Riverside Park in Beulah…..

The Kindred Vikings took the opening kickoff, and marched on an impressive opening drive, covering 70 yards, and making it 7-0. At the end of the first quarter, it was the Vikings leading Beulah 21-0. Kindred added another touchdown to make it 28-0, while Beulah struck with a late first half score to make it 28 to 6.

Back in Hazen, the Bison made the game interesting, scoring two third quarter touchdowns to make it 28-14. But, they couldn’t get any closer despite a few chances. Ryan added a field goal to make it a 31 to 14 final.

The Beulah Miners also made the game more interesting, getting a 30 yard touchdown from Matt Schnabel to make the score 28 to 14. Then came the backbreaker, as Kindred scored on a 57 yard connection from quarterback Ethan Lingen to Brock Benson. Beulah had some late chances to get within a score, but couldn’t get in the endzone.

[Filed by Derek Stacklie and Donavon Schnabel]

Off the Saddle! Aggies Down Cowboys

KILLDEER – The Killdeer Cowboys were looking for a third straight trip to the Dakota Bowl, while the Velva/Sawyer Aggies were looking for revenge, since they had lost to the Cowboys in last year’s state semifinals.

They got their revenge with a 28 to 9 win. The game started out with the Aggies quarterback Nick Effertz finding Hunter Brabandt for a 15 yard touchdown. On the next possession for Killdeer, a costly fumble gave the Aggies great field position, and another connection from Effertz to Brabandt that made it 12 to 0.

The Cowboys continued to shoot themselves in the foot, fumbling three more times in the game, and falling behind 28 to 0 in the 2nd quarter. The Cowboys defense stiffened in the second half, but the offense couldn’t get any consistent traction, and the Aggies defense continued to play well.

Tough way to end a good season for the Cowboys, but they simply committed too many turnovers to expect to beat a good team like the Aggies. Velva/Sawyer will travel to Des Lacs-Burlington next week in the quarterfinals.

[Filed by Derek Stacklie | October, 22 2016]

Lake Sakakawea Pipeline Project Angers Tribal Leaders

BEULAH – Legal disputes have raised awareness for another pipeline construction project in Western North Dakota, this time pitting the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nations against Paradigm Energy Partners, who are installing two pipelines for the Sacagawea Pipeline Company.

Paradigm is constructing oil, as well as natural gas pipelines under Lake Sakakawea, which Tribal leaders say they never gave permission for. The Tribal Business Council voted last month to issue a cease and desist order to halt all construction at the site, for both pipelines which will reach from McKenzie to Mountrail counties.

However, Paradigm filed a federal lawsuit against Tribal Chairman Mark Fox and Tribal Police Chief Nelson Hart, on the grounds that they had no authority to halt construction. U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland granted a temporary restraining order, authorizing construction to continue, with both parties returning to court over the dispute.

This incident happens concurrently as another Tribe protests the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a 1,100-mile pipeline, which is nearly halfway complete on a section that would sink beneath the Missouri River, just north of the reservation of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

Meanwhile, the Paradigm project has additional issues to contend with, as the Public Service Commission, and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, investigate claims by a former worker, who claims contractor, Boyd & Company, failed to properly inspect the pipeline.

“Sacagawea Pipeline Company stands behind our contractors and third-party inspectors and remains fully committed to preserving the environment and ecological safety of Lake Sakakawea and all areas where we operate,” Paradigm said in a statement.

The investigation and court battle continues, as partners in the project announced that the Lake Sakakawea pipeline should be operational by the end of September.

[Filed by Piper Combs|The Dakota Dispatch]

New Faces, Same Result Miners Win 37th Annual Coal Bowl

BEULAH – The Beulah Miners won the NDHSAA Class AA Football Championship last season behind a huge, talented group of seniors. This year, a new group of starters joined returning stars Mikey Morris, Matt Schnabel, and Reese Hoherz to defeat Hazen 33 to 6 in the 37th Annual Coal Bowl.

Reese Hoherz was a starting defensive back on the Miners state title team, but this was his first year as the starting quarterback. His first start went about as well as it could have, as he completed 8 of 11 passes for 129 yards and three touchdowns. Two of those went to new wide receiver Mason Dolbec, who was making his first start.

Another newcomer, lineman Cory Rueb returned an interception 58 yards for a touchdown. Then there was returning All-State running back Mikey Morris, who scored a pair of touchdowns, one on a 14 yard reception, and the other on a 93 yard run.

The game was not as lopsided as the final score would have indicated, as Hazen kept it close in the first half despite turning the ball over multiple times, and stalling on a drive deep in Miner territory at the end of the first half. The Bison couldn’t execute once they got the ball in the red zone. Hazen has a lot to be proud of, hanging with the defending state champions despite not having their best performance with the turnovers.

Beulah looks to be a well oiled machine moving forward, and they will face of with Central Cass next week before opening regional play against powerhouse Bismarck St. Mary’s, while Hazen takes on Bottineau and Westhope-Newberg-Glenburn over the next two weeks. The Coal Bowl however, will reside in Beulah for another year, and the Miners earned it tonight with a mix of new and veteran players.

[BY DEREK STACKLIE|PHOTO DONOVAN SCHNABEL|THE DAKOTA DISPATCH]

Disaster Fund Formed for Victims of Killdeer Storm

KILLDEER – Just days after the annual fourth of July Killdeer Mountain
Roundup Rodeo, residents were confronted with a storm that hit without
much notice, and changed lives overnight. On Sunday July 10th, up to
3-inch hail tore through the Dunn County town of Killdeer, and left
historic damage in its path, homes, businesses, and cars.

Local observers said the next day, Killdeer resembled a “war zone” with
many windows blown out throughout the city, such as the Hill Top Home of
Comfort nursing home, who took residents into emergency mode to avoid
severe injuries. It’s almost a month later, and damage is still visible
and residents are still trying to rebuild their losses, and the drown out
process of insurance investigations.

Now a new Killdeer Area Storm Relief Fund has been created by The North
Dakota Community Foundation, to help those seriously effected by the
storm. Donations to the fund are tax-deductible, and the foundation will
waive management fees to contributors.

A committee of local citizens will recommend grant awards from the fund to
help the community recover.  Some of the funds may be granted to the
Lutheran Social Services Unmet Needs Committee, which provides direct
assistance to individuals approved for possible home repair assistance,
for homeowners impacted by the recent storm but who do not have sufficient
resources for recovery.

After insurance and all other resources are exhausted, verified
storm-caused unmet needs will be presented anonymously to the Unmet Needs
Committee by the Lutheran Social Services Disaster Response case manager.

If you wish to make a contribution to the Killdeer Area Storm Relief Fund,
please visit: http://www.ndcf.net or call the NDCF main office at
701-222-8349.

Great River Energy to Close Stanton Station

STANTON – Great River Energy (GRE) announced that it will retire its nearly 50-year old Stanton Station coal-fired power plant in early 2017. Located near Stanton, North Dakota on the Missouri River, the 189 megawatt plant represents the 237th coal-fired power plant to be retired nationwide since 2010.

“Great River Energy’s decision today to move away from coal is an enormous victory for clean air and energy security in our communities,” said Michelle Rosier, Senior Campaign Representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign in North Dakota. “Today’s decision will put an end to the Stanton Station coal plant’s 50-year legacy of mercury, arsenic, and other toxic pollutants that have threatened the health of North Dakota families. Now, it’s time for Great River Energy to ensure that workers, communities and those impacted by this announcement are not left behind as we transition away from coal.”

Great River Energy cited the declining cost and greater availability of cleaner forms of energy, like wind, in its decision to retire the plant, which had reduced its operating capacity in order to avoid greater financial losses in a declining market for coal.

Pollution from the plant contributes to six deaths and 97 asthma attacks annually, according to the Clean Air Task Force. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), GRE’s Stanton Station had been responsible for dumping over 1.28 million metric tons of carbon pollution into the air in 2014.

“As the cost of wind and solar energy continues to decline, it’s clear that clean energy can and will provide affordable, reliable energy to communities in North Dakota and across our nation. We look forward to working with Great River Energy to ensure a smooth transition away from coal at the Stanton plant, while increasing access to more clean energy in our state,” said Rosier.