The Boom/Bust Lessons of Williston ND Will Prove to be a Bitter Pill for Scott Walker and SE WI to Swallow

From Wisconsin NPR

“Walker Announces National Ad Campaign To Attract Workers”

Walker To Seek $6.8M For Ad Campaign To Lure Millennials To Wisconsin

Gov. Scott Walker on Wednesday announced plans to seek approval from the state Legislature to spend $6.8 million in state money on a marketing campaign aimed at luring more workers to Wisconsin.

“We need to go beyond our borders to attract and then in turn retain more talent here in the state of Wisconsin,” Walker said at a Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce event in Madison.

At the event, the governor introduced a plan to work with the state Legislature to fund and launch a campaign to attract who he called “Midwest millennials” to live and work in the state.

The campaign will target millennials by focusing on things like cheaper homes and shorter commutes in Wisconsin, compared to urban areas in neighboring states.

“I support the governor’s plan to market Wisconsin’s employment opportunities to out-of-state workers,” said Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, in a statement. “I look forward to hearing more about the proposal in the coming weeks and discussing it with my caucus when we reconvene in January.”

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said he’s been aware of the campaign for a while, which he said is being helmed in the Assembly by Rep. Mike Rohrkaste, R-Neenah.

If Governor Scott Walker needs to spend at least $6.8 million to attract (maybe) 13,000 workers to SE Wisconsin what does that say about SE Wisconsin and the people who live there?

And what happens when those projected construction jobs – at least 10,000 are claimed – END?

The lessons from the Bakken Shale Oil Field and Williston ND will prove why Walker’s misstep in calling for Out of State workers will create a nightmare with an exploding demand for social services, Police, Fire, and unemployment claims.

From Reuters Investigates:

What The Boom And Bust Of Williston, North Dakota Teaches Us About The Future Of Cities

The fracking party is over, and a quiet desperation has descended on the state’s once-booming communities and the thousands of people who were drawn to them.

More than 80,000 people poured into North Dakota, looking to stake their future on the fracking economy. The state’s Bakken oil patch, centered here in Williston, was a magnet for oil workers, business investors and job-hungry folks.

That future has evaporated. Those who haven’t packed up and left the Bakken are facing a new reality of smaller budgets, fewer residents and the physical detritus of a building boom that left behind hundreds of empty apartments.

Williston’s Walmart has cut hourly pay 15 percent. The Salvation Army, facing slipping donations, reduced gasoline and food assistance by a third. Statewide, oil tax revenue is down nearly 70 percent from this time last year.

EXTREME MEASURES: Dave Van Assche has started taking odd jobs around the U.S. to cover costs at his once-thriving postal services business. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen

“No one has any money to spend here anymore,” said an exotic dancer at Williston’s Heartbreakers strip club. She estimated that tips had gone down more than 60 percent since last fall.

Until recently, oilfield roughnecks were making more than $100,000 a year on average. Few command those salaries today. Many of those roughnecks used to line up outside Heartbreakers every day for its 4 p.m. opening, regardless of the weather, which plumbs 0°F (-18°C) in the dark of winter.

‘ALL YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET’

North Dakota has lived through cheap oil before.

Booms and busts in the 1950s and 1980s left many of the state’s western communities mired in debt. Williston didn’t pay off the millions of dollars it owed from municipal projects of the 1980s oil boom until the early 2000s.

Despite that experience, many welcomed the infusion of capital when Continental Resources Inc, Whiting Petroleum Corp and other oil producers began using horizontal fracking in 2008 and 2009 to tap the 7.4 billion barrels of oil estimated to lie beneath their feet.

New roads, schools, community centers and other public facilities began sprouting up, funded largely by oil tax revenue.

NAKED TRUTH: Oilfield workers used to line up nightly to get into Heartbreakers, but the strip club closed recently after a sharp decline in business that left it nearly empty most nights. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen

Now, Continental and others have stopped fracking altogether in North Dakota. Statewide, there are only eight crews fracking new wells for the few companies still willing to pay for the service. Two years ago, there were 45, a peak for the teams that pump water, sand and chemicals deep underground to extract oil and natural gas.

“This boom, it’s over, at least it feels that way,” said Mark Ohl, who lost his job on a drilling rig after Continental canceled its contract. “But if you don’t know the oil industry is cyclical, you’re an idiot.”

Ohl now spends days hunting for jobs and drinks Pabst Blue Ribbon beer most nights at Cattails, a Williston dive bar with a deer head and Bud Light beer mirrors pinned to the walls.

The slowdown has also inflicted pain on community budgets. Williston’s debt and other liabilities nearly quadrupled from 2008 to 2014, to $158 million, as the city sought to keep pace with growth.

Yet the city’s sales tax receipts fell 47 percent in March from a year earlier, according to the state treasurer.

Moody’s Corp, the credit rating agency, downgraded Williston’s general obligation bonds in March to junk status, citing the city’s reliance on those sales taxes to repay debt.

“Putting all your eggs in one basket can be very risky, and I think we’re seeing that bear out in Williston and North Dakota now,” said Hetty Chang, a Moody’s analyst.

 

From Fox News US:

Dark side of ND’s oil boom: Meth, heroin, cartels – all part of growing drug trade

The oil boom in the Bakken shale fields has touched off an explosion of growth and wealth on this remote wind-swept prairie. Big money is raining down in small towns. Oil rigs light up the night sky. But the bonanza suddenly flourishing here has also brought with it a dark side: a growing trade in meth, heroin, cocaine and marijuana, the shadow of sinister cartels and newfound violence.

Small-town police forces have been struggling to keep pace. In nearby Watford City, for instance, police calls for service have multiplied at a staggering rate — almost 100 times — in a five-year period. County jails overflow on weekend nights. Local sheriffs no longer know every name and face when they stroll down Main Street.

Drugs and dealers are popping up in all kinds of places: Heroin is being trafficked on isolated Indian reservations. Mexican cartels are slowly making inroads in small-town America. And hard-core criminals are bringing drugs in from other states, sometimes concealing them in ingenious ways: liquid meth in windshield wiper reservoirs.

“Organized drug dealers are smart,” says U.S. Attorney Tim Purdon. “They’re good businessmen. They go where the demand is and that’s what we’re seeing here. … There’s simply a lot of money involved, a lot of money flowing around in those communities.”

With the problems becoming more pronounced, the feds are pouring in resources to bolster local police and drug task forces.

“We’re battling our butts off to stay ahead of this,” Purdon says. “Our concern is that this is an open market and as people start to compete, the violence will increase. … There’s nothing less at stake here than our way of life.”

These days, the drug trade looks a lot different.

Meth is still most common, but most of it originates in Mexico. It’s more potent and is generally being found in larger quantities. (In Ward County, about two hours away, meth seizures jumped from $63,200 in 2012 to $404,600 last year, according to the sheriff’s office.)

Heroin is more visible, something that “scares me,” says Busching, who adds that he’d probably rate the drug problem in his county a 7 on a scale of 10.

Prices are up, too, fueled by demand in an area where lots of young men are flush with cash, far from their families and have little to do in their spare time. Authorities say a gram of meth that might sell for $120 in big cities can cost $200 in Williston. In Montana, an ounce that might have sold for $800 in 2008 now goes for about $2,400-$2800.

Guns also are increasingly becoming part of the business.

“We’re seeing a lot more armed drug traffickers than I’ve previously noticed,” says Derek Hill, an ATF agent in Bismarck. “It’s kind of a two-way street,” he adds, with guns used as protection and for barter.

The ATF opened a bureau last year in the tiny town of Bottineau and within the first five months, the agent had opened 14 weapons cases throughout western North Dakota, many also involving drugs, says Scott Sweetow, special agent in charge in the region.

Another difference: Authorities are seeing more criminals from out of state, some with long rap sheets. One of the suspects arrested by the Bottineau agent had 15 felonies, according to the ATF.

Local police chiefs deal with the tragic results.

In New Town, a hamlet that sits on the Fort Berthold reservation, Art Walgren, police chief until recently, said he knew when a new batch of heroin arrived, because there’d be a rash of overdoses.

Like many oil patch towns, drugs are part of a larger crime wave that includes more thefts, bar fights and domestic violence. “We kind of run around plugging holes in the dikes,” Walgren said, “hoping they don’t break.”

Local police desperately need the help.

A North Dakota State University study released last year, called “Policing the Patch,” found the number of police calls for service in Williston had quadrupled from 2005 to 2011 to nearly 16,000. In Watford City — about 30 miles away — there were just 41 calls in 2006. In 2011: almost 4,000.

Nearly a third of police officers in the study said the drug problem is acute.

Judge David Nelson sees some of those lawbreakers in his court.

A 31-year veteran of the bench, Nelson, presiding judge of the Northwest judicial district of North Dakota, says the most dramatic change in crime that has occurred is the degree of violence. “It’s not just two guys duking it out and shaking hands,” he says. “The knives come out. People drive cars over other people. The guns come out.”

Nelson estimates more than half his cases involve newcomers.

Before the boom, he says, “I pretty much knew most of the defendants. I knew their parents, their kids, their grandparents, their next-door neighbors. Now I can go weeks and see people I’ve never seen before. It’s amazing how many people are arrested within days of getting here.”

With workers living in temporary addresses and drug dealers adept at blending in, investigators find it hard to develop the kind of who’s who of local crime that other police departments have at their fingertips.

Every day, Sheriff Scott Busching — a self-described “die-hard, old-school cop” — faces the ever-changing landscape that is the Bakken:

More serious traffic accidents. (He stopped riding his motorcycle, selling his Harley.) More arrests. And a county jail filled to capacity. (The average nightly inmate population has jumped from 24 five years ago to 135.)

The veteran sheriff says he once employed a “North Dakota nice” philosophy where law enforcement tried to solve problems, whenever possible, by avoiding tickets and jailing people. Now there’s no time for that.

 

So Governor Scott Walker along with Representatives Robin Vos and Cory Mason want to violate the Wisconsin Constitution, steal people’s property, destroy generational Farms & a Community, loosen environmental protections, and provide taxpayer subsidies to multi-billionaires and their Corporations – YOU CAN COUNT US OUT OF THEIR CRIMINAL REVOLUTION AGAINST THE PEOPLE!

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2 thoughts on “The Boom/Bust Lessons of Williston ND Will Prove to be a Bitter Pill for Scott Walker and SE WI to Swallow

  1. Pingback: Racine WI – Once Again, Face Down In The Gutter – Happy New Years 2018! – Racine WI – Sin City

  2. Pingback: Racine WI – Once Again, Face Down In The Gutter – Happy New Years 2018! – Racine WI – Sin City

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