Graduation a day of celebration, relief and dreams

Today, hundreds of area high school seniors will don gowns and mortarboards with tassels, walk across a stage and receive the diploma they’ve worked toward for 13 years.

It’s a day of celebration and relief for many students as they officially end their high school days and set off for either college, a trade school or the working world.

In my seven years working at The Dickinson Press, I had the pleasure of meeting several of the area’s youth through my prior experiences as sports editor.

This year’s senior class was going into the sixth grade when I first began to meet them.

My, how time flies.

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Killdeer Area Ambulance Service working to keep up with oil’s impact

Killdeer Area Ambulance Service Manager Ann Hafner, left, chats with squad leader Stephanie Bren on the steps of the service’s newly aquired ambulance on Thursday during an open house and groundbreaking for the service’s new ambulance station.

KILLDEER — Ann Hafner knew she wanted to become an ambulance volunteer after her sister-in-law, living in another state, died of an asthma attack when the ambulance responding to the call got lost en route.

“I didn’t want that to happen to anybody,” Hafner said.

Several years later, Hafner is living up to that goal as the manager of the Killdeer Area Ambulance Service.

However, she said it is becoming more difficult as the oil industry in the Bakken increasingly rears its booming head on the Killdeer landscape.

“It’s all coming this way,” Hafner said. “We have days when, ‘What’s going to happen next?’”

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Dickinson undergoing fast, amazing changes

Dickinson is a community changing so rapidly it’s almost to the point where it’s difficult to know exactly what is going where. Seemingly every day, a new building or business pops up.

The city has never been stagnant, however. In my short lifetime, I’ve seen a variety of changes.

I remember eating at Skippers and Sergios, going to Anfinsons for farm — and, as a kid, toy — needs, while shopping for groceries at Buttrey’s and going to Woolworths downtown, where my prime enjoyment came from getting to ride the escalator.

We’ve changed so rapidly over the past two-and-a-half decades that it’s amazing to sit back and realize that most of the businesses in town have held steady through one oil boom and bust, and now many are thriving like never before thanks to the latest boom.

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Growing trash problems can be fixed

An abandoned mattress sits in a ditch on the side of the road that leads to the south side of Patterson Lake outside of Dickinson on Monday. Littering and the abandonment of big items is becoming more of an issue in the Dickinson area, one of many impacts being felt because of the oil boom.

Trash and littering are becoming hot topics in western North Dakota. Just about anywhere you look, there are plastic bags and paper stuck in fences and sitting in ditches, or beer cans and bottles that have been dropped in random spots.

McKenzie and Williams counties in the much busier northern portion of the Oil Patch have been fighting an increasingly difficult bout to maintain clean prairies and cities than we have here in southwest North Dakota.

But don’t rest easy folks. As we see more and more oil activity and population influx, we’re simultaneously going to see a larger wave of trash.

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Spring is sprung, now make it worthwhile

To some, a dreary day is a great day to be productive. There’s nothing to do outside, so why not stay in and clean the house, watch five episodes of a TV show backed up on your DVR or read that book you bought five years ago and have been putting off reading ever since.

I don’t fit that mold.

Sure, I can get stuff done around the house on a rainy or — more often in our case — snowy day. Yet nothing gets me motivated to work outside or inside the house quite like a beautiful day.

As I write this, I’m sitting in my office at The Dickinson Press. Sure, it’s nice in here.

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