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Plan Week Map Golden Valley County Divide County BottineauCounty Renville County Watford City Burke County Billings County Adams County Hettinger County McHenry County DunnCounty Four Bears White Shield Mandaree Stark County Twin Buttes Mercer County Williams County Bowman County Ward County Mountrail County McLean County McKenzie County

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The Information contained on this site is the intellectual property of Vision West ND™ or one
of our strategic partners and has been developed over years of extensive fieldwork. We are
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Please contact Deb Nelson for guidance, (701) 483-2801 or


Vision West ND Main Street Success Project

Western North Dakota is feeling the effects of the reduced oil prices, but Vision West ND has a plan to help communities maximize opportunities for downtown development and maintain a good quality of life. Economic diversification is one of the 15 recommended strategies in the Vision West ND Regional Plan for Sustainability. To help communities identify how they might implement some of the activities for economic development, Vision West ND contracted with The Strom Center at Dickinson State University to gather information and seek some answers.

Matt Perdue, a senior political science major at Dickinson State University and an intern at The Strom Center, is leading the charge with the local efforts. Representatives from Beach, Beulah, Bowman, Crosby, Hettinger, Killdeer, Ray, and Stanley met at The Strom Center on November 18 to learn more about the project and to help Vision West ND understand the current quality of life situation in each of their communities.

As a result of the meeting, each community agreed to help Perdue set up a focus group in their community, a personal interview with a small group of civic leaders, and help distribute a survey to their citizens for input. The small group at The Strom Center meeting attempted to identify what their citizens feel they must have and what changes need to take place to sustain a strong local economy and quality of life. Each identified that change is difficult in small North Dakota communities. As one participant stated, “Our citizens want to see a lot of things happen in the community, but don’t want the community to change how they do things. It’s sometimes a Catch-22.”

The meetings and surveys will be completed by December 31 and the target completion date for the study is March 31, 2016.

Eye On Energy: Expanding Highway 85

A four-lane project for US Highway 85 from Watford City to Williston is nearing completion.

Now the North Dakota Department of Transportation has commissioned a study to four-lane the highway from Watford City south to Belfield, which would create a four-lane connection to Interstate 94.

To read the article and watch the clip:

Holen featured in Minot State University Alumni Assocation Connections

Vision West ND would like to congratulate Steve Holen on his cover story in the Minot State University Alumni Connections Magazine. Steve is the Vision West ND Consortium Member representative from McKenzie County.

Read the full article!


Three District Health Units Receive $2 million in an Energy Infrastructure and Impact grant.

Javayne Oyloe, the director of the Upper Missouri District Health Unit in Williston reported a $2 million dollar grant, which was awarded to three distritct health units in the western North Dakota Region. Oyloe wanted to thank VWND for supporting public health efforts. The awarded agencies were First District Health Unit, Minot ($489,500), Southwestern District Health Unit, Dickinson (967,800), and Upper Missouri District Health Unit, Williston (542,700). The money awarded will help with upgreades to buildings, software, equipment, and staffing.

International Ports-to-Plains Conference in Williston Networks Cities and Counties

Highway 85 as a trans-America highway or Can-Am highway links agri-business and oil companies from Canada to Mexico through North Dakota. That's why the annual Ports to Plains Conference is in Williston this year. North Dakota's Theodore Roosevelt Expressway is part of the multi-state Ports to Plains Alliance pushing for a 2300-mile 4-lane corridor from border to border.

The Ports to Plains annual meeting is at the Grand Williston Hotel and Conference Center October 6-8. It kicks off on the 6th with a business-to-business meet and greet. Theconferencemission, according to its website is to "address how you can make the most of your location within the

Ports-to-Plains region while navigating your future strategic planwhether you are running a business or growing a community."

To read the article:

Doerr Receives SBDC State Star Award

Vision West ND would like to congratulate Teran Doerr on receiving the SBDC State Star Award. Teran is the Bowman County representative on the Vision West ND Consortium. Vision West ND is proud of her achievements!

To read the article:

Lifting the Ban is Good for Producers, Workers, and Consumers

Below is an opinion article from Rob Lindberg, Director of Bakken Backers:

When it comes to what are likely the world's two most precious commodities, the United States of America is the largest producer of one and the largest exporter of the other. Yet one is limited in trade while the other is shipped across the world. The production of each provides the economic base of rural North Dakota communities and for technical, manufacturing and engineering jobs within each of our larger communities.

Of course, these two commodities are energy and agricultural products. Both could be traded globally to the betterment of the American foreign policy and economy.

The America of today, especially its energy economy, is much different than the stagnant conditions of the 1970s when the embargo was enacted. Pioneering techniques developed in north central Texas were replicated in North Dakota, Ohio, and Texas shale formations to unlock vast reserves where before producers recognized oil and gas but lacked the tools to extract the gas. Importantly, shale technologies continue to rapidly advance and promise to grow production from current shale oil formations, and open production in new formations in western America.

However, America is not equipped to use the qualities of oil we now produce. As much as each crop is not the same, each formation produces different qualities of petroleum, and just as a food processor accepts a certain food product, each refinery is tooled to process a certain quality of petroleum. Our refineries are tooled to accept the heavy oils that our country produced and imported for decades, not the light sweet crude produced by the shale formations. Allies, however, could process our crude, eliciting a need to lift this outdated ban.

Lifting the ban lowers world gasoline and diesel prices to the benefit of consumers, businesses, and farmers. This occurs because US refineries already export gasoline and diesel. They purchase oil at lower US prices and sell gasoline and diesel at higher international prices, which are driven by world refinery costs driven by the higher world oil price. Admittedly, initially I doubted this idea, but by understanding these economic forces, we know that lifting the ban lowers world oil prices and refining costs, thereby lowering retail prices of gasoline and diesel.

Yet, the export ban and restricted domestic refining capabilities have created lower crude prices for the Bakken and other shale formations. In North Dakota, the effect is especially pronounced, and, despite being one of the highest qualities of oil in the world, Bakken crude fetches $15 to $20 less than its worldwide competitors. This significantly impairs the number of drilling rigs operating and hampers production in the Bakken, subsequently impacting the level of jobs and tax revenue in our state.

Most importantly, eliminating the ban grows America's petroleum production and the larger America's share of world energy production, the more stable world energy prices become. When we produce more for ourselves and our allies, oil prices react less to international conflict.

Lifting the ban promises to benefit America for decades to come. What a wonderful opportunity we have found.

- Rob Lindberg

Bakken Rocks CookFest 2015

Vision West ND set-up a display at the Bakken CookFest this year in South Heart. On display was the Regional Plan, Summary of the Plan,infrastructure assessments and the most recent issue Basin Bits.

The west wins more oil tax revenue

Bismarck - Senate and House lawmakers gave final approval Wednesday to a bill designed to send a greater share of oil tax revenue to areas of western North Dakota strained by the impacts of oil development.

Read more from The Dickinson Press

Click here to see the final bill

News from the North Dakota Association of Oil & Gas Producing Counties

House Bill 1176

Brief Recap of the bill as of April 7,2015:

  • GPT distribution for counties receiving over $5 million in GPT
    from 25% to 30%
  • Hub cities in oil producing counties $375,000 per percentage of
    oil and gas related employment
  • Hub cities in non-oil producing counties $250,000 per percentage
    of oil and gas related employment
  • Hub city school districts in oil producing counties $125,000 per
    percentage of oil and gas related employment
  • Distributions to political subdivisions in counties over $5
    million distributions stay as they are in current law
  • $140 million in impact grant funds (48 airports, 30 schools, 10
    law enforcement, 10 critical access hospitals, 8 eligible counties, 6 EMS, 5
    non-big 10 political subs, 4 nursing and hospice, 3 rural fire, 2 DD, 2
    domestic violence, 2 district health units, 8.5 unlocated)
  • $112 million for non-oil counties to be distributed by UGPTI unmet
    needs to be distributed in 2016

If you have questions about the bill, please contact Brent Bogar at

Present Bill

Boomtown 101: University of Pennsylvania students visit ND to study Bakken from a planning perspective

As legislators, city commissioners and consultants debate how western North Dakota can best grow with the oil boom, a small group of East Coast graduate students gave their two cents on Friday.

Read more from The Dickinson Press

University of Pennsylvania Grad Students Visit Minot, Research Bakken Growth

The growth in the Bakken has created several problems for local communites, similar to the challenges that communities in Pennsylvania face with the shale boom.

A team of graduate students visited the Magic City today, as they embark on a week-long journey, studying the needs of western North Dakota.

In conjunction with Vision West ND, the team of graduate students put together case studies on how the oil boom impacts communities, something that residents in Western North Dakota know all too well about.

Read more & Watch the clip

Survey answers sought from area

Ever felt like spouting off about what Divide County has in the way of services, schools, healthcare or law enforcement? Maybe you have a good idea about how to improve things in the community, but don't know who to talk to about it?

Read more from The Journal

Class to be offer at DSU Energy Politics Spring 2015

Dickinson State University will hold a class called POLS 380: Energy Politics Spring semester of 2015 taught by Dr.Dana Whippo. The class will meet Tuesday and Thursday from 8:30am to 9:45am.

More information

Webinar to Focus on Making Multifamily Housing Affordable

Dickinson State University's Strom Center is hosting a free webinar on making multifamily housing affordable at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 9.

More information

Impacts of boom, good and bad, reach across the state

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - There's a buzz across the state regarding how to fund priorities in western North Dakota. Recent proposals to provide one-time "surge" funding and change the long-term political subdivision funding formula appropiately will help the many needs being faced across the western portion of our state. Cities, counites, school districts, townships and other all face multi-million dollar shortages in meeting the demand of simply keeping up with the growth, much less getting ahead of it. Counties and townships face staggering cost of $75,000 per mile per year to just maintain gravel roads. Cities are faced with hundreds of millions of dollars in water and sewer treatment facilites alone.

Read more

ROB LINDBERG & DARYL DUKART: Help the Bakken region so it can help North Dakota

DICKINSON, N.D. - Efforts to approve surge and long-term funding for western North Dakota are necessary and welcome commitments to help the development of the region, which hosts the industry that has driven economic growth and created jobs throughout North Dakota.

Read more

Study: Shale boom revenues largely help local governments manage increased demand for services

Increased oil and gas production has provided a variety of new revenue sources for local governments, in most cases helping them to cover the cost of increasing demands for their services, two Duke University researchers find.

Daniel Raimi and Richard G. Newell of the university’s Energy Initiative have spent the past year studying the "shale boom’s" impact on local government revenues and expenses in eight states that have seen a major increase in shale oil and gas production.

Read more

Shale gas webinar to explore history, challenges of Bakken oil fields

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A Web-based seminar presented by Penn State Extension's Marcellus Education Team will look at the growth of the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota and compare their development to Pennsylvania's experience with the Marcellus Shale and natural gas.

The webinar, titled "The Bakken Part 1: History and Challenges of Oil Development," will take place at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 16.

Presenters will be Vicky Steiner, executive director of the North Dakota Association of Oil and Gas Producing Counties, and Gerry Fisher, administrator for the North Dakota Energy Infrastructure and Impact Office.

Read more

State Board of Higher Education Supports MSUs Capital Building Proposal

Minot State University (MSU) and the Dakota College at Bottineau (DCB) partnered in an effort to develop new educational opportunities in the fields currently in-demand because of oil production. In collaboration, the institutions designed a plan that included both an educational and structural component. The structural component proposes building a facility on the north edge of the MSU campus. The facility’s efforts would focus on career and technical education in oil industry related fields and would offer one- or two-year degree opportunities. Although the MSU campus plans to house the facility, it will be open to DCB and all other two-year campuses in the state.

MSU submitted the eight million dollar proposal to the Budget and Finance sub-committee of the State Board of Higher Education (SBHE) for approval. At the September SBHE meeting, MSUs proposal received full support from the SBHE Board. The proposal will now move to the Office of Management and Budget for review and consideration for inclusion in the Governor’s 2015-17 budget. If approved for inclusion, the next phase of the process would require review and consideration during the 2015 ND Legislative Session beginning in January.

With Childcare in short supply, groups work to recruit new providers
by Nadya Faulx, Forum News Service

DICKINSON, N.D. - From 7:30 in the morning to 5 at night, Monday through Friday, Shauna Pengelley's home is taken over by kids.

The former EMT professional from Seattle opened Tot's Landing Child Care this spring after it became necessary for her to stay home with her four children, ages 3 to 10. She figured she could take on one additional kid, but when she went to the Stark County licensing office to become a licensed provider, "I realized there's a very serious need for child care," she said.

And so, "that one child became a full-fledged day care."

Read more

ND Child Child Care Professionals Portal - Released

The Dickinson State University Strom Center has released the ND Child Care Professionals Portal funded by Vision West ND. The portal is a resource for child care providers and future providers in North Dakota. Go to to find out more.

National Quadrennial Energy Review

The Quadrennial Energy Review was held in Bismarck, North Dakota on the Bismarck State College Campus. Panelists from right to left were Dr. John Holdren, Asst. to the President for Science & Technology; 
Melanie Kenderdine, U.S. Department of Energy; ND Governor Jack Dalrymple;
US Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx; Janice Schneider, Asst. Secretary of Interior; ND Congressman Kevin Kramer; ND Senator Heidi Heitkamp; ND Senator John Hoeven; US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz.

Vision West ND members in attendance were Deb Walworth, Teran Doerr, Janet Cron, Gaylon Baker, Rod Landblom, Vicky Steiner, Melanie Bauer-Dukart, and Deb Nelson. 

YouTube: Vicky Steiner and HUD Friends on Energy Matters

Radio personality Scott Hennen interviewed NDAOGPC Executive Director Vicky Steiner, Dwayne Marsh and Naomi Friedman about the Bakken oil development while they were at the Dunn Center CookFest held last week. This audio interview aired Tuesday, July 22 on 550 AM on the Energy Matters show with Scott and Tim Fisher.

2014 Bakken Rocks CookFest Dunn Center, North Dakota

Left to Right: Dwayne Marsh (HUD), Dayrl Dukart (VWND), Vicky Steiner (NDAOGPC), Deb Nelson (VWND), Mark Resner (VWND), Shirley Brentrup (VWND), Naomi Friedman (HUD), and Guadalupe Herrera (HUD).

Radio personality Scott Hennen interviewed VWND representative Mark Resner about the proposed ferry.

Website Offers Enhanced Resources for North Dakota Childcare Providers

DICKINSON – Aspiring childcare providers can jumpstart their businesses through a new website facilitated by The Strom Center at Dickinson State University....more

Vision West ND Newsletter

Newsletter for June 2014


Vision West ND Goes to Congress

Dawn Keeley, Red River Regional Council Executive Director, provided testimony to the U.S. Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Jobs, Rural Economic Growth and Energy Innovation on May 1, 2014. In her testimony, available here, Keeley cited the work of the Vision West ND project as an example of a regional development strategy currently at work in North Dakota. One of the top issues in the western ND region was the need for child care providers.

VWND Regional Plan Podcast

DLN Consulting of Dickinson, ND along with Vision West recently published The 2014 Regional Plan for Sustainable Development which contains groundbreaking data including the total number of oil wells to be drilled in The Bakken at 75,000. Deb Nelson with DLN Consulting breaks down the study and much more in a podcast presented by the Hegg Bakken Report.

Listen to Podcast


Projections: Southwest ND to grow to 82K by 2039: New oil technologies increase population, production guesses

The takeaway from a Tuesday webinar on shale predictions was clear: what's happening in western North Dakota is hard to predict. Comparing current predictions for oil production and related community growth to lower ones from just a year ago, economist Dick Gardner said the change between the years shows the boom is here to stay and hasn't peaked yet. Read full article

Dakota College at Bottineau
Contact: Dr. Ken Grosz
April 1, 2014

DCB’s Nahinurk Named to Statewide Committee

Jan Nahinurk, Director of the Learning Center at Dakota College at Bottineau (DCB), has been appointed to serve as a member of the statewide Early Childhood Education Advisory Committee. Ms. Nahinurk was appointed by the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction.

The Advisory Committee will help guide the Department’s efforts to design and implement various program initiatives based on the findings and recommendations from an early childhood care and education study. As a committee member, Jan will be provided information on study recommendations for policy consideration and/or initiatives to implement to the Department.

Dakota College’s Para-Professional Educator and Caregiver programs are under the direction of the college’s Learning Center. As such, Ms. Nahinurk has a working knowledge of the child care topic and is in a position to lend practical applications to the committee’s work.

Oil boom's first ferry captain
By, Baken Breakout 3/10/2014

Kirk Mendenhall wishes he were a younger man so he could pilot the Harry B. tugboat across Lake Sakakawea like he did in the infancy days of oil drilling. Mendenhall, 84, of Ray, operated a ferry from 1956 to 1960, ferrying everything from passenger cars to Halliburton oil semi trucks on a barge he tugged with a 600 horsepower diesel engine. Those were great days and profitable ones, too, and Mendenhall said it’s a real kick to hear there’s renewed interest in a ferry to create a direct north-south link from one shore of the lake to the other.

View Full Article

Group floats idea of a ferry across Lake Sakakawea
By, Amy Dalrymple Forum News Service 3/7/2014

WILLISTON, N.D. – A ferry to float vehicles across Lake Sakakawea could relieve traffic on overburdened Oil Patch highways, says a group working to plan western North Dakota’s future. Members of the Vision West ND Consortium voted this week to fund a study to explore the feasibility of a ferry that could transport cars and small trucks across the lake.

View Full Article

Vicky Steiner and Shawn Kessel Featured on Point of View
Should Gov. Dalrymple call a special session to help the people out West.
Fargo Point of View March 6, 2014
To View Video: Click Here

Vision West ND Consortium met in Williston March 6, 2014

Four Years Later: Sustainable Communities, Job Creation and Shared Knowledge

It’s hard to believe that more than four years have gone by since the creation of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. In 2009, President Obama gave HUD, DOT and EPA the directive to work together to create strong, sustainable communities by connecting housing to jobs, fostering economic development, and helping to build a clean energy economy. The goals and mission established by President Obama are becoming a reality, and today hundreds of representatives from HUD’s 143 Sustainable Communities grantee communities have gathered in Washington, D.C. to discuss their best practices, exchange ideas, and learn from each other’s experiences so that they may build stronger local and regional partnerships.

Read blog post by Secretary Shaun Donovan

Western ND officials plead for more oil tax revenue: Anderson: ‘We’re down on our knees here begging you’

By Mike Nowatzki Dickinson Press 2/20/2014

BISMARCK — Local government and school leaders facing mounting needs in western North Dakota pleaded with state lawmakers on Wednesday to give them a bigger share of oil production tax revenue, with one county official saying, “we’re down here on our knees begging you.”

Read full article


Oil patch plea: More help

By Bismarck Tribune 2/20/14

Leaders of oil patch communities say they are reaching the limits of their resources to deal with the effects of oil development and need more state help. “The needs don’t go away. They get bigger and they get left undone,” Williston City Commissioner Brad Bekkedahl said Wednesday.

Read full article


Legislatures Discuss Bakken Infrastructure Funding

North Dakota legislatures and political subdivisions are meeting today to discuss issues in Western North Dakota.

Read full article

Sustainable Communties Grantee Convening in Washing DC.

From left to right: Salin Geevarghese, Acting Director of the HUD Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities; Naomi Friedman, ND's Grant Technical Representative from HUD; Shirley Brentrup, Vision West Project Director; Vicky Steiner, Executive Director of ND Association of Oil & Gas Producing Counties; and Deb Nelson, DLN consulting and Program Manager for Vision West ND

Shaun Donovan, Secretary of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development delivered the closing keynote on Friday, December 6, 2013.

Economist recommends regional legacy trust for oil-impacted counties

Echoing what a former Minnesota politician hinted at in Dickinson last month, a rural development and resource economist from a national firm said Thursday that it might be time to set up a egional legacy trust fund specifically for western North Dakota.

Click here to read story

Western counties working on development plan

Western counties expect to have a development plan for the region by January. Regional planning typically determines land use and places infrastructure across a larger area of land than a city or town. A plan is meant to anticipate the needs of a community before those needs arise.

Read full article


Former Minn. legislator advocates regional control of oil tax revenue

By Bryan Horwath Dickinson Press 11/21/13

A model put in place years ago by leaders in Minnesota’s mining-heavy Iron Range was pitched as a way to give more regional control of oil tax revenue to energy-impacted communities in western North Dakota.

The mechanism could be used to solve challenges facing municipalities and counties struggling to keep pace with historic growth related to the Bakken oil and natural gas boom, said former Minnesota House Majority Leader Tony Sertich.

Read article

Vision West ND Discussing How Best to Spend Funding

Western North Dakota streets and sidewalks are wearing out, just one of the many problems the oil boom has caused.

"North Dakotans see their way of life changing, so they are trying really hard to identify and articulate their community values," says Karalea Cox, Planning Facilitator for Building Communities.

However, North Dakotans are getting some help from the Vision West ND initiative. Started in 2012, it's using money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to improve some of Western North Dakota's biggest problems. The initiative also receives funding from North Dakota Energy Development Infrastructure and Impact Grants.

Link to video

Western counties working on development plan

Western counties expect to have a development plan for the region by January.

Regional planning typically determines land use and places infrastructure across a larger area of land than a city or town. A plan is meant to anticipate the needs of a community before those needs arise.

Read more

Vision West ND preps regional plan for debut

After more than a year of planning, the Vision West ND Consortium members are almost ready to present the regional plan.

Read article

Western North Dakota Energy Project's Boomtown Series

What: Webinar with planningAlliance representatives about issues in Canadian oil sands area
When: 10 a.m. MST, Wednesday, Nov. 6
Where: Strom Center, Dickinson, N.D.
Contact: Deb Nelson at or Ray Ann Kilen at

Connecting to webinar: Visit
Click on 'Enter as a Guest' option.
Type in your name then click on 'Enter Room'; dial in conference number 1-800-591-2259 followed by the access code 485437#.

The session will be recorded and available later for reviewing for those who cannot attend the live session. Recordings will be available through the Vision West ND website,, or

The webinar series is made possible through support from the Bush Foundation via the Western North Dakota Energy Project and Vision West ND. The lead partners for the Western North Dakota Energy Project are the Strom Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Dickinson State University, DLN Consulting, Inc., and the National Center for Rural Entrepreneurship.

Read article about the Webinar

DCB Offers Unique Land Management Program in North Dakota

On August 26, 2013, Dakota College at Bottineau (DCB) began its new Land Management program. Through strategic planning, DCB identified "land management" as a high-demand occupation in the ND petroleum industry for which no degree is available within the state. The curriculum was aligned with national standards and developed to prepare graduates for entry-level positions in natural resources, business, and technology professions.

Read program description

Study shows which oil boom areas most need ambulance station

Large swaths of west-central McKenzie County and the Fort Berthold reservation are in great need of ambulance stations, a study has found.
Southwestern Mountrail County, Gladstone, Spring Brook and certain areas outside Minot also need stations, according to a study commissioned by the North Dakota Association of Oil and Gas Producing Counties.

Read article

The U.S. Housing Market Conditions housing market profile for the 3-county Minot-Williston area in western North Dakota has been published. The report, by Sam Young, is available on the HUDUSER website.
Download report

Join us for a Webinar on October 24


Hear how Vision West ND has moved western communities forward. Deb Nelson will address lessons learned in phase one, the next phase that involves compilation of the reports into a large regional plan and planning tools available to cities.

Presented by Deb Nelson, Vision West ND Program Manager

Title: Catching the Vision of Vision West ND
Date: Thursday, October 24, 2013
Time: 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM CDT

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server

Mac®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.6 or newer
Mobile attendees

Required: iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phone or Android tablet

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

Bowman braces for the boom

A little more than a three-hour drive from the Black Hills of South Dakota, Bowman is situated along Highway 85 — a roadway that makes motorists shudder closer to Bakken oil country — and represents, by nearly all accounts, most of the positive stereotypes of what small-town America is supposed to represent.

View Full Article

Vision West eyes 2015 legislative session

It was a mixed group of community leaders, including mayors, city councilmen, county commissioners as well as some members of the general public who came to the RTC buliding in Parshall to learn about where the Bakken is going and what will be the oil boom's impact on communities, the economy, roads, emergency services and how the State of North Dakota should respond.

View Full Article

Oil tax spending: "Pots for this and pots for that"

Over the past several state budgets, North Dakota lawmakers have created a quirky, idiosyncratci system for allocating the gusher of oil and gas tax revenue coming into state coffers. As this revenue has grown, so have the number of recipients, the amount of money received and the overall complexity of the allocation system.

Read full article

Fine-tuning the oil tax machine

Oil and gas tax revenue is a function of both energy production and tax structure. While states can't control the former, they have total control over the latter.

Read full article

Oil taxes 101

Oil and gas revenues in North Dakota are generated in several forms. The largest of these comes from an 11.5 percent severance tax on the gross value of oil and gas produced at the wellhead.

This tax is actually two separate taxes: a 6.5 percent extraction tax and a 5 percent production tax. Technically, the production tax is not a severance tax, but rather a substitute for local property taxes, and helps fund direct aid to producer counties. However, the percentage of tax revenue that is returned to producer counties is small, and as such it acts more like a severance tax because most of the money stays at the state level.

Read full article

Dickinson: Watching and learning

At the local level, one city that appears to be coping comparatively well is Dickinson.The city gets occasional visitors from local goverment officials in Texas, where small cities are undergoing similar challenges thanks to a shale oil boom in the Eagle Ford formation of southern Texas. If Dickinson is doing well, part of the reason is that the city is located on the fringe of the Bakken formation and has not seen the level of oil drilling and related activity experienced in places like Williston. "So we got the benefit of watching and learning," said Shawn Kessel, Dickinson city administrator.

Read full article

Bakken activity: How wide is the ripple affect?

The Bakken oil boom has led to strong growth in employment and record low unemployment rates in that region. Tight labor markets and high wages in the Bakken have also given rise to countless anecdotes from business owners complaining of difficulty finding qualified workers and having to pay higher wages to keep them.

But how big is the impact of Bakken activity, and how far does it reach?

Read full article

District economy continues to move forward

Employment in the district grew somewhat slower than in the nation during the first part of 2013, except in North Dakota and eastern Montana, where growth is much stronger due to oil drilling and production. Employment in district states increased 0.6 percent in April compared with a year earlier, slower than the 1.6 percent growth nationally...

Read full article

Chairperson Mark Resner Attends International Legislators Forum

Vision West ND Consortium Chairman Mark Resner attended the International Legislators Forum in Winnipeg, Manitoba on June 28.  The Forum consists of legislators from North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Manitoba who meet annually to explore issues affecting the region.

Read Full Article

Ambulance services hurting in the Oil Patch

Ambulance volunteers in western North Dakota are so stressed they can't leave for a weekend because there's no one to cover for them, said the director of an Oil Patch ambulance service.

Read Full Article

Public Health Nurses Meet

Deb Nelson attended the first North Dakota public health nurses conference. The goal of the event was create a platform for public health nurses to discuss the issues that affect them. KFYR-TV interviewed Nelson. Click on the link below to view the broadcast.

View broadcast

Oil Patch here to stay for a while

Another report is out dissecting the possible long-term projections and implictions of the Bakken energy play to western North Dakota and the findings are more of the same. The booming North Dakota Oil Patch is here to stay -probably for a few more decades.

Read full article

Maggie Arzdorf-Schubbe from Bush Foundation Speaks to Consortium

Bowman County officials identify areas for growth

As oil activity makes its way south, Bowman County and its cities are gearing up and getting ready to grow. City and county officials gathered last week for part two of their Vision West economic development planning where they identified 11 areas — including tourism, downtown development and creating a bedroom-community reputation — that they want to progress or continue focusing on.

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Vision West ND Planning Session

McKenzie County leaders and residents partcipated in strategic planning sessions as part of the Vision West ND project on May 20-21.

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Daycare Grant Program Inquiries

During the Legislative Session, Commerce was awarded $2.6 million to provide the state with daycare facilities grants. Currently, Paul G. and Beth are working along with key staff to develop the structure of this program and the timing of its launch.

View Full Announcement

McKenzie County Planning Sessions

The McKenzie County planning sessions take place today, May 20 and Tuesday, May 21 at the McKenzie County Courthouse. The steering committee meets Monday from 8:30am-4:30pm (CDT), followed by a public town hall meeting at 7:00pm-9:00pm (CDT). There will be another Steering Committee meeting on Tuesday, May 21 from 8:30am-12:30pm (CDT).

View Event Details

Mind Mixer Announces Winner of Drawing

Mind Mixer, Vision West North Dakota’s an online community-based discussion platform, announced the winner of its drawing. Any community member located in the 19 oil and gas producing counties in western North Dakota had an opportunity to win a Samsun Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0).

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Sailor Returns to Fort Berthold Community College to Administer TREND Grant

Earlier this month, the Fort Berthold Community College (FBCC) welcomed Edna Sailor as the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Program-Data Coordinator. Sailor will be administering the Training for Regional Energy in North Dakota (TREND) program grant funds made available through the U.S. Department of Labor.

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Heitkamp Brings Together Local Leaders to Discuss Western North Dakota Housing Crisis

U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today kicked off a series of discussions around North Dakota focused on finding solutions to the state's housing crisis. Heitkamp will hold similar events in Bismarck, Minot, Williston, Valley City, and Fargo during the current Congressional District Work Period.

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NDSU Predicts Oil Patch School Enrollment

Predicting the future is no easy task, especially for cities in the booming western North Dakota Oil Patch. Predicting the future number of students at any given school in that same area may seem a daunting chore.

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Study: Thousands of wells possible in area

While Billings County historically has had more oil wells than one of its eastern neighbors, Stark County, that could change in coming years, a study says.

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Study: Number of wells could reach 275

Results of a study were reviewed on Feb. 11, showing the first set of comprehensive projections for Golden Valley County employment, housing, and population in relation to North Dakota's oil boom.

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Vision West Regional Plan

Water, roads, and sewers, are all in need of improvements in Western North Dakota. Representatives from 19 counties and the 3 Affiliated Tribes met in Watford City today to work on a Regional Plan for addressing those issues.

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Housing Projections: Room for development in Ward County

Ward County will need another 10,000 housing units to accommodate projected population growth, according to an economic analysis detailed at a meeting of a Vision West ND steering committee in Minot Wednesday.

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Vision West ND Legislative Summit at State Capitol

As oil production increases, the infrastructure needs in western North Dakota keep piling up. That's why the Vision West Consortium was created, to help communities in oil country keep up with planning and infrastructure.

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Vision West ND Legislative Summit

1/28/2013 in the Great Hall of the State Capitol.

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Study: Decades of oil development ahead

According to a recent study that was presented to city and county leaders last Thursday, the number of rigs drilling and operating in McKenzie County is only going to increase between now and 2025. And so will the number of workers that it is going to take to fill all of the oilfield jobs.

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Bill puts more tax revenue back into oil patch

Western lawmakers are pushing a bill that would redirect nearly all North Dakota oil production tax revenue to oil patch counties during the 2013-15 biennium

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Developers eye Beach for 240-acre development

Although it has been on the fringes of recent Bakken oil play-related development, the city of Beach could soon be changing.

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ND Legislature's agenda includes focus on western ND

Adding more manpower to respond to rapid growth in North Dakota's oil country will be a major focus of this year's legislative session.

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North Dakota's Oil Rush: If the Boom Goes Bust

Millions of barrels of oil are rolling out of North Dakota each year and thousands of job-hungry Americans are rolling in, drawn to lucrative oil jobs. But the state faces a challenge: How much do you build when an oil boom may one day bust?

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Oil Truck Numbers Big

Hundreds of trucks travel on roads in the oil patch each day and those numbers aren't expected to decrease as oil development continues.

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DCB Paraeducation Program

Dakota College at Bottineau (DCB) is in the second year of a U.S. Department of Education grant to improve the knowledge and skills of paraprofessionals serving children with special needs in kindergarten through 12th grade.

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Bottineau County planning session currently underway 10/22/2012

Strategic Planning details coming soon.

Candidates court oil patch, Governor hopefules promise more for oil-patch counties

Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple wants to tap into oil revenues to provide $3.5 billion for infrastructure improvements. His Democratic challenger, state Sen Ryan Taylor of Towner, supports allocating 40 percent of oil revenue directly to cities, counties and townships so they can handle their infrastructure needs.

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Hard to grow little towns from scratch, says Watford City

Brent Sanford and Curt Moen are like expectant dads, only they're preparing for thousands of newcomers, not one. Sanford is Watford City's mayor and Moen is the city planner. They're nervously checking the calendar at the same time they're checking their billfolds, hoping they've got enough when the time comes.

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Day Care Issues in Western ND

The oil boom has presented many challenges for Western North Dakota -- but perhaps one of the biggest challenges facing families is child care.

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Dickinson Press

Growing Stark County: Resident feedback helps shape development plan

After listening to residents of Belfield, Richardton and South Heart, community leaders have created a plan to develop and grow several industries and sectors throughout Stark County.

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KX News

Along with North Dakota's oil development, comes concerns from small town residents. Stark County residents get their chance to voice concerns over the impact North Dakota's oil boom is having on their community.

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McHenry Plan Week

Stark County Planning Session Wrapped Up Sept. 28, 2012

Strategic Planning details coming soon.

dickinson press article

Day Care Issues Strike Richardson

Day care service, or a lack thereof, is a big issue in western North Dakota and the town of Richardton has not been immune to those challenges, a number of its residents said Wednesday.

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McHenry Plan Week

McHenry County Planning Session Wrapped Up Sept. 24, 2012

Strategic Planning details coming soon.

Dickinson Press

Letter: Mandaree Community Volunteer Needs Assessment looks at concerns

The Mandaree Community Volunteers Needs Assessment was completed on Aug. 9. Results from this assessment reveal the community's concerns.

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KX News

How will western North Dakota handle the ongoing oil boom in the coming years? KX News features the Vision West ND Project on September 5, 2012. 

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youve got mail

Mandaree's Got Mail

Lisa Deville captures the impacts the Vision West ND Project has brought to the Mandaree community in this thought provoking article. 

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consortiumMeetingLynn Helms speaks at Vision West ND Consortium meeting.


Dickinson Press on Oustretched Child Care Network

Following Vision West ND meeting regarding child care in north western North Dakota, this article appeared in The Dickinson Press on July 19, 2012. 

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child care

Child Care Shortage Out West

Shirley Brentrup with Vision West ND is quoted in this story about the child care shortage out west. The story aired on KFYR in Bismarck and KMOT in Minot on July 18, 2012: 

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cookfestBakken Rocks Cookfest

The 4th Annual Bakken Rocks Cookfest takes place in Ray on July 24 and Belfield on July 26.

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mcleanMcLean County Express Plan Week

The McLean County steering committee, which met for its plan week on June 27-28 and was led by Brian Cole, chose ten economic development strategies on which to implement.

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adamsAdams County Express Plan Week

Adams County's plan week took place June 21-22 in Hettinger, ND. Karalea Cox, a plan facilitator for Building Communities, led the steering committee through the planning program.

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burkeVision West ND is Highlighted in the Burke County Tribune

Major brainstorming and the beginning phase of strategic planning was underway in Burke County last week through Vision West ND.

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nd20USDA Releases the Final ND 2.0 Report

Fourteen community meetings were held across the state of North Dakota. The
feedback from attendees was compiled and is presented in a final report. 

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burkeBurke County Express Plan Week

Burke County recently became the latest county to complete its Vision West ND plan week. Steering committee members met on June 14th and 15th in Bowbells and discussed the possibility of pursuing several development strategies and quality of life initiatives.

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mercerMercer County Express Plan Week

Brian Cole leads Mercer County Plan Week activities held at Hazen City Hall on June 5-6.

prairie businessWND: Help is on the way

Vision West ND is highlighted in an article featured in Prairie Business sharing information regarding a $1.4 million U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant that is being used to develop regional and community plans to help solve housing, road improvement, infrastructure and daycare issues in western North Dakota counties.

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divideDivide County Express Plan Week

The Divide County Express Plan week took place April 30th – May 1st in Crosby, ND. The planning event included two steering committee meetings and a public town hall meeting. 

kxnewsOil Counties Make Plan

We all know that oil exploration has had a profound impact on life in western North Dakota. But exactly what are the impacts and how can local governments deal with them?

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consortiumVision West ND Consortium

On April 26 the Vision West ND Consortium met in Stanley, ND.

billingsBillings County Express Plan Week

Billings County Express Plan Week took place in Medora on April 19-20.

montrailMountrail County Express Plan Week

Mountrail County Express Plan Week took place (April 11-12) in Mountrail County Fair Building, Stanley, ND. 

mottHettinger County Express Plan Week

The Hettinger County Express Plan Week held on March 13th - 15th marked another huge success for the Vision West ND project. More details on topics addressed and planning efforts discussed coming soon...

watfordWatford City Express Plan Week Kicked Off February 29th

The Vision West ND project, which covers the nineteen oil and gas producing counties in western North Dakota, kicked off its first Express Plan Week in Watford City on February 29th.  Watford City residents recently completed a survey to gain insight on business and services.  The Express Plan Week event took planning to the next level.

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Vision West ND Consortium Meeting
When: Thursday December 17, 2015
Time: 8:00am (MST) / 9:00am (CST)
Location: North Central Research Extension Center, Minot, ND

Main Street Success Project Community Meetings:
November 30 - Beach
December 15 - Beulah
December 21 - Crosby
December 22 - Stanley & Ray
December 29 - Bowman
December 30 - Killdeer (Tenative)

Divide County

Divide County Plan Week


Burke County

Burke County Plan Week


Ward County


Renville County

Bottineau County



Four Bears

Mountrail County

Mountrail County Plan Week


McHenry County

McLean County

McLean County Plan Week


White Shield


Watford City

Watford City Plan Week


Billings County

Billings County Plan Week


Golden Valley County


Stark County

Hettinger County

Hettinger County Plan Week


Adams County

Adams County Plan Week


Bowman County