More vignettes from North Frackota, where rents are sky-high and adultery is illegal
Two updates in our ongoing series on North Dakota (which I like to call North Frackota in an ongoing, futile attempt to get that evocative phrase into the lexicon). The most recent entries in said series, in case you missed them: the massive growth of fracking in the western part of the state is straining its healthcare infrastructure, and the glut of oilmen producing that glut of oil is leading to an increase in inappropriate and illegal sexual behavior. North Frackota: It is now and has always been a paradise.™ (This is a motto I suggest the state adopt.)
Update one: The Minneapolis Star Tribune offers another good look at how the state is being transformed.
Pickups and semis jam long stretches of two-lane highways. Backhoes claw the ground even in frozen January. Recreational vehicles occupy former farm fields next to row upon row of box-like modular living pods.
In Williston, the epicenter of the growth, the local hospital opened a new birthing center, workers are building a giant new rec center and students are overflowing in a school that once sat empty. Civic leaders have been approving building permits and hiring police and teachers and nearly every kind of government worker. …
Lines at restaurants and stores are often frustratingly long, with few workers willing to take service jobs when more lucrative oil industry work is available. Rents have skyrocketed. With mostly men flooding into town to work, women hesitate to go out alone at night. There are more bar fights. Young parents can’t find day care for their kids.
In other words, the wealth and growth are unevenly spread and slow to flow outward. The first beneficiaries of the wealth are those industries that deal with flush workers directly. Like realtors.
On a large flashing sign next to the highway, the Value Place hotel advertised rates of $699.99 a week, well above rates for its other hotels around the country. Some people living in campers said they pay RV park owners $800 a month to park and hook up to water and sewer. Classified ads in the local Shopper listed a furnished two-bedroom apartment for $2,200. A trailer with a queen bedroom listed for $1,650 a month.
Here is a list of two-bedroom apartments available in New York City for $2,200 or less. No fracking allowed, for now.
A supper club in Lisbon, N.D.
The first criminal case filed in McIntosh County in 2013 was an unusual one. In fact, the prosecutor in the case had never filed an adultery charge in 30 years on the job.
Matthew Stasiulaitis, 23, was charged Jan. 3 with adultery for allegedly having a sexual relationship with someone other than his wife in November and December. According to court documents, his wife, Heather Stasiulaitis, found out about the affair through law enforcement officers. When she asked what she could do about the situation, an officer told her she could file for divorce or get the state’s attorney to charge her husband with adultery.
Under North Dakota law, adultery is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison and fines of up to $1,000. …
“Only the spouse can sign the complaint, and she wanted to sign the complaint against her husband,” McIntosh County State’s Attorney Terry Elhard said about the recent case.
Elhard then noted: “I guess she’s upset with him.”
Just another day in America’s fastest-growing state. North Frackota: Where the future is now.™
Philip Bump writes about the news for Gristmill. He also uses Twitter a whole lot.
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