The Rumor Mill

I grew up in a small town in southcentral North Dakota. As I was growing up, it had about 1,200 people — now it’s down to about 600 people. When my grandma Emilia died in the early 90s, her house sold for for about $5,600.  When my grandma Rebecca died a few years ago, some hunters bought her house for $25,000. The people in town seemed to be glad that things were picking up. Hunting and fishing in the area brought in customers, buyers and renters.

Though there is a pretty good newspaper in town, and many subscribe to the bigger-city papers, the rumor mill there is still the preferred method of communication, from what I hear, heh heh. I was living in the Twin Cities before I relocated to Dickinson in late June 2012. My mother called me numerous times per day to share the latest rumors about the Bakken, and more importantly to her, how that would affect me if I wasn’t VERY careful.

Rumors about sex offenders was the main topic through mid-July. One of my relatives made me PROMISE not to go to Wal-Mart after 8 p.m. I haven’t so far, but that’s mainly because I like to watch reruns of Young & The Restless on the SOAP channel at 8 p.m. and then after that I’m tired, so I just relax and then go to bed pretty early because I’m up pretty early in the morning.

I think the rumors start first a hush hush kind of thing, then slowly spread to the whole town, and reach a fever pitch after any of the big-city newspapers or TV stations in Bismarck, Fargo or Aberdeen lend any credence to the subject. Most don’t get news from western North Dakota, where the Bakken is actually located.

From what I can tell, the fever-pitch concern about sex offenders in the Bakken has quieted somewhat, and the new rumors are still in the hush hush stage. People in my hometown are starting to worry about what the oil business is doing to the water. I’ve heard concerns about that from those in my new town of Dickinson, too. They prefer not to drink the water here or go swimming in Lake Patterson out of concerns for water safety and quality. I’m hoping to do a lot of research on water issues in the next few weeks to see what I can find out.

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