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Company proposing massive natural gas power plant for region
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A developer of infrastructure projects has announced plans for a massive power plant in the Williston area.

Bakken Midstream Natural Gas LLC announced plans Tuesday, Jan. 12 for the Williston Basin Energy Center, which will use ethane as its primary fuel. The plant will be located in the Mountrail-Williams Electric Cooperative territory near Williston.

The plant will be “the largest power plant to utilize advances in combustion turbine technology that enables ethane as its primary fuel source,” according to a news release announcing the project.

Funding came from multiple sources, including founder and Executive Chairman Steven Lebow.

“For more than three years, we have been working to address the challenges ethane poses to North Dakota’s oil and gas sectors and find innovative ways to address those challenges and meet the state’s new power generation needs,” Lebow said in a news release announcing the plant. “We set an extremely high bar for ourselves with the mandate to reimagine what is possible and reengineer what exists to mitigate natural gas flaring, enable additional oil production and productively utilize ethane through ethane-fueled power generation projects. With this Energy Center we have realized the first step of our broader value-added vision.”

Lebow was joined by Gene Nicholas, Ron D. Offutt and Stephen L. Stenehjem in the funding rounds.

The announcement was praised by Gov. Doug Burgum.

“Utilizing our state’s abundant natural gas resources for ethane-fueled power generation right here in North Dakota is truly a game-changing development that will support long-term construction projects, create high paying jobs and diversify our economy,” Burgum said. “We appreciate the innovative solutions and considerable talent that Bakken Midstream has brought to bear on the ethane opportunities and flaring challenges we face in the Bakken — yet another example of what we can achieve when we focus on innovation over regulation.”

Development plans for Bakken Midstream are led by CEO Mike Hopkins, along with Lebow, and co-founders Curt Launer and Shane Goettle.

“Despite lower oil production over the past year, associated gas will continue to be an issue for producers unless a value-added industry is developed right here in the state,” Hopkins said. “Ethane has a higher heat content than pipeline quality natural gas and leaving high volumes of ethane in the natural gas stream limits export capabilities and adversely impacts the downstream consumers of North Dakota’s natural gas.”

Tuesday’s announcement is part of a long-running effort by the state and the oil and gas industry to diversify the ways gas is used.

“It’s not about coming in and doing a particular project,” Hopkins told the Williston Herald in June 2019 of Bakken Midstream’s approach. “If you want to build a value-added industry, you have to look at the whole state. You have to look at all the resources, how they are utilized and how they can be utilized. Yes, at some point it comes down to one project at a time, but in the past they tried one thing, and that, the infrastructure wasn’t there and the other services. So we are looking at it from what infrastructure is needed to attract the companies that do value-added. I don’t think anyone has come in to do what we are doing.”

Hopkins has experience in Alberta, Canada solving that problem.

“Another thing is, we do have a roadmap,” Hopkins said. “I came from Alberta, Canada. They set out to say we are going to change things. We need the infrastructure to utilize gas. They had extra flaring as you do. They were exporting a raw commodity as you do. They built out an infrastructure, and now they have a complete, value-added industry, and it really helps them. It protects them from the ups and downs of oil prices. A value-added industry is more steady. A lot of jobs are involved. It was a great addition to Alberta, making it not just a pure oil play.”

Busted Knuckle Brewery holds grand opening in Williston
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After three and half years of roadblocks and frustration, Williston’s Busted Knuckle Brewery finally opened its doors to the public on Tuesday, Jan. 12.

A true family affair, the brewery is owned and operated by the Boreson family, who also own a brewery in Glasgow, Montana by the same name. Set up in the former Williams County Highway Department building across from Cashwise, the 7,000 square foot brew pub has the feel of a garage, a tribute to founder and brewer Ben Boreson’s 30 years as a mechanic. The brewery has tables that are actual repurposed radiators, as well as other automotive-themed accoutrements implemented throughout the establishment.

On Tuesday, the Boresons, along with leaders from the City of Williston, Economic Development and the Chamber of Commerce, held the brewery’s official ribbon cutting and open house, inviting people in for the first time.

“It feels surreal,” owner Connie Boreson told the Williston Herald. “To be here today is a blessing, just a blessing. I can’t say what it means and how proud I am to be standing here today, opening something that we all have worked on so very, very hard.”

Brewers Ben and Jake brew seven different types of beer on location. Jake said the process can takes between six and eight hours, with the beer spending around two weeks in the fermenter before it’s moved into kegs. Jake Boreson said Busted Knuckle will have a selection of “full-time beers” and “part-time beers,” which will be rotated to bring in different varieties.

Mayor Howard Klug praised the brewery’s opening as another success in the development of Williston and it’s potential.

“We’ve done a lot in Williston over the last 10 years,” Klug said. “We’ve built up the infrastructure; The sewer treatment plant, the water distribution, the landfill, all of that we did looking into the future. And here it is. You’ve got one of the nicest brew pubs in the state here.”

Busted Knuckle Brewery’s regular hours will be 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. from Tuesday to Sunday. To find out more about Busted Knuckle and what they have to offer, visit them online at www.bkbwilliston.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bkbwilliston.

Speaker shares 6 tips for personal branding at Lunch and Learn event
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Everything someone does becomes part of their personal brand.

On Tuesday, Jan. 12, the Williston Young Professionals program hosted a virtual Lunch and Learn event to help young entrepreneurs harness their brand.

The event featured speaker Laiken Aune, a Program Director for North Dakota Women’s Business Center, who shared six tips for young professionals looking to create a successful brand for themselves.

“Personal branding isn’t about fonts or colors or logos,” Aune said. “For you and your personal brand specifically, it’s about your values. And that’s demonstrated through your actions. It’s defined by the things you do, from what you wear to how you compose your emails.”

Aune said that even for people who may not work in the public eye, everyone has a personal brand and it is important to make sure that you develop one intentionally so that it maximizes your values and intentionally displays the attributes that you want people to see. Aune stated that the two main factors in creating a successful brand for oneself are purpose and time.

“There are things you can be doing right now to purposefully build your brand over time, so you can accomplish all of those goals that you set out to achieve during this new year.” She said.

With that, Aune shared six steps for constructing one’s brand.

1: Understand Yourself

“Your brand should reflect who you are authentically,” Aune explained. “Do you know what you believe? Do you know what your values are?”

Aune said that often times people act in ways incongruent to their authentic selves to fit in, but that embracing your brand means “stepping in to your own truth” and portraying your authentic self to those around you. In short, she said, make sure what you say and what you do line up.

2: Understand Your Industry

Aune said that if your brand focuses on a particular industry, it’s important to be knowledgeable about the subject. Reading articles, books, trade journals; listening to podcasts, subscribing to newsletters, etc, are all ways to stay up-to-date on industry trends and ideas, Aune said.

“This is an important step to establishing yourself as an expert,” she added.

3: Be Visible and Accessible

Aune said that this step was a little easier in the days before COVID, when people could get out and meet with people face to face. But building a successful brand means being adaptable, she said, and adapting to the pandemic means more virtual get-togethers and networking opportunities.

“Thanks to technology, we can now do this, we can build our brands, from the comfort of our own homes,” she explained.

4: Build Your Online Presence

It’s important to know how you appear online, Aune said. Adding content and updating information on a regular basis will help keep your brand current. Keeping in mind what content is visible on one’s social media is another way to control one’s brand, Aune added.

5: Create a Network

While building a network may be difficult during a pandemic, Aune said, there are ways to promote yourself. One simple trick is making sure your camera is on during teleconferences and meetings. Letting others see you helps build comfort and trust, which is vital for creating and maintaining both personal and professional relationships.

“Body language is lost when speaking through the camera,” she explained. “Being visible and showing others your face makes you more accessible.”

Aune said as people navigate through a the pandemic, individuals should focus on two-way networking, fostering a relationship that is mutually beneficial to everyone.

6: Give Back

Giving back is about helping others, Aune said, and another great way to network. Finding a cause that you are passionate about already puts you in contact with like-minded individuals, which can help widen your circle and help create even more contacts. The key, Aune added, is using your own gifts to helps other be successful, without expectation of reward.

“Share your talents, be willing to give of yourself. Whatever you do, do it because you care, not just for recognition,” Aune said. “Take whatever skills you have and offer them to people, simply for their benefit. Don’t ask for anything in return, those benefits will come on their own.”

Williston Community Library offers STEAM kits for patrons to check out

The Williston Community Library is giving its patrons another way to have fun and learn with Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math.

The library has four different kinds of STEAM kits that Children’s Librarian Morgan Cote and Library Director Andrea Placher have been using in various programming for the past year. But with a lack of in-person programming due to the pandemic, the kits have been sitting unused on the shelf. Rather than let the kits collect dust, Cote and Placher decided to give them greater use by allowing patrons to check them out and take them home.

The kits consist of wooden Kiva building planks, a Makey Makey kit, which uses conductivity to turn everyday items into keyboards, pianos, sensors and more; a Sphero programmable robot and a Spirograph. Cote said the library has four Sphero kits, four Makey Makey kits, three Kiva plank kits and one Spirograph kit, which are available to check out for up to a week, however only one kit can be checked out per card.

“They were just sitting, hanging out, not be utilized and we decided to just start the new year off with something really cool and different,” Placher told the Williston Herald. “We’ve been virtual programs like crazy, we’ve been doing the Take and Make kits, and we just wanted something new that we could offer to get people excited about the library.”

One of the best things about the STEAM kits, Cote added, is that while they were purchased with children’s programming in mind, they are fun to use for patrons of all ages. The kits have been available for check-out for about a week now, and Placher said more kits will be added in to the mix in the near future.

In the meantime, the library has re-opened for computer use only, but still offers curb-side pickup and a host of online resources. Placher said the staff will be making a determination in the next week or so about allowing the library to re-open for timed browsing.

To learn more about what the library has to offer, visit www.willistonndlibrary.com.

Man facing two burglary charges
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A 29-year-old man is facing two felony burglary charges after police say he broke into a home and a shop.

Caleb Burczyk was charged Tuesday, Jan. 12, with one class B felony and one class C felony count of burglary and a class A misdemeanor count of unauthorized use of a vehicle. He was ordered held on $100,000 bond.

Williams County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Burczyk after a traffic stop early Monday, Jan. 11, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed in Northwest District Court. They had been called to a property about a report of a burglary.

The property contained a home and an attached three-car garage and shop. Inside the shop was a separate apartment.

The homeowner was out of town, but another resident told police he found Burczyk in the shop, recognized him and told him to leave, charging documents indicate. He said he saw the homeowner’s pickup parked outside and saw Burczyk’s pickup parked in the homeowner’s garage.

After Burczyk left the shop once, he came back a few minutes later carrying an axe, court records state. The resident again told Burczyk to leave.

“Mr. Burczyk stated that he was ‘already In trouble’ and Mr. Burczyk exited the shop at that time,” investigators wrote in the probable cause affidavit.

Burczyk was charged Dec. 29 with burglary and terrorizing after police say he sent threatening messages to a former employer and kicked the door of a home in on Dec. 26. He was released on $25,000 bond.

Burczyk is set to have a preliminary hearing on the charge Feb. 10.