Tag Archives: working in Dickinson North Dakota

Some Suggestions For Dickinson, North Dakota

In the past several years I have written more than 500 blog posts about living in Dickinson, North Dakota.  Readers may wonder, what do I want, and what am I trying to accomplish?

I wanted to bring attention to some of the things that are wrong in Dickinson.  I thought that if I explained these things that are wrong, that many people might agree, and consider trying to change things.  Or, at least people from out of state would know how things are, what to expect, be able to make a more informed decision about moving to Dickinson, or be more prepared for Dickinson.

Here are some suggestions for Dickinson, North Dakota:

  • Everyone needs to acknowledge that it was wrong the way that housing prices were quadrupled during this most recent oil boom.  Do not persist in saying things like, “It was a matter of supply and demand”, when there are thousands and thousands of acres of vacant, flat, barren land just outside of Dickinson that stretches for hundreds of miles in every direction.  Steps were taken to make sure that there was a housing shortage, so that local people could profit and take excessive advantage of others.
  • Even though, “Millionaires were being made every day in North Dakota”, there was no homeless shelter in Dickinson.  People that were poor, down-on-their-luck, and out of work from everywhere in the U.S. came to North Dakota because of the lie that was told “Everyone was making $100,000 per year in the oil field”.  The poor people who came to Dickinson, slept in their cars, on the ground, or in the bushes at Wal-Mart, Tiger Truck Stop, Patterson Lake, along the railroad right-of-way, or in the ditch behind Kentucky Fried Chicken.  If Dickinson was not going to have a homeless shelter, they needed to contact every newspaper and every television station to try to get the word out, “Whoa, hold on everybody, you won’t make $100,000 per year in the oil field, there is a shortage of housing, and there is no homeless shelter.”
  • Dickinson needs to decide, once and for all, if alcohol can be served in bars and restaurants or not.  If the Police in Dickinson are going to try to follow and stalk everyone who is driving on the streets at night in Dickinson in order to try to give them a DUI, Dickinson should just go ahead and ban the sale of alcohol in bars and restaurants in Dickinson.
  • There are some things that are done in Dickinson, that ruin Dickinson’s chances for long term growth and prosperity.  One of these things, is the practice of most local companies in hiring convicted felons to be foremen, supervisors, and managers at the companies in Dickinson.  The local people in Dickinson so hate people with a college education, that they give preference in hiring to people who have several felony convictions, with no education.  Although local company owners are more comfortable having people like this working for them, here are the consequences:
    • When you hire a convicted felon with no college education, versus someone with a college education, for a supervisory or management position, what is guaranteed to follow, is that just about every subordinate position to that person being filled by convicted criminals, versus people with any education.  A convicted felon is already someone who has demonstrated that they don’t follow along with what is right and wrong, but whatever they feel they need to do.  If that means hiring only people who are less intelligent, less qualified, and less capable than them, in order to maintain their position, that is what they are going to do.
    • When local companies in Dickinson follow this practice of hiring convicted felons for supervisory or management positions in Dickinson, not only does this load up their company with a bunch of criminals, but this loads up Dickinson with a bunch of convicted criminals.  It doesn’t take long for normal, educated people from elsewhere, who may be doctors, nurses, engineers, attorneys, human resources people, administrators, professors, or journalists, to see, understand, and realize that Dickinson is an “Ugly” town that they don’t want to live in.  By “Ugly”, I mean no culture, no professional peers, no socializing with professionals, no where worth going, someplace that you do not want to stay.

If you people in Dickinson do not believe me, just sincerely ask one of the nurses, doctors, engineers, journalists, human resources professionals, chamber of commerce directors, or teachers who left Dickinson, to describe something that they did not like about Dickinson, and to please be honest.


Stupid People With Jumper Cables

When I lived in Florida, Virginia, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, or Idaho, I never witnessed so many people asking for help with car problems, as I have here in North Dakota.

These people with car problems are not local people or North Dakota natives, they are typically down-on-their-luck people who were not doing very well in the states where they were living, and they came to North Dakota looking for work.  They came to North Dakota with very little money, alcoholism, drug addiction, no common sense, ADHD, and stupidity.

I am sick of these people.  I have worked with them, and I have tried to help them, but I no longer want to have anything to do with them, allowing their problems to become my problems.  Once you have any involvement with people like this, it seems like they have never ending problems, which could have been avoided if they would have used any kind of common sense or planned ahead.

In North Dakota, when I go to Wal-Mart, Menards, Runnings, Prairie Hills Mall, T-Rex Mall, or a grocery store, I will not park anywhere near a beat up car with an out-of-state license plate if there is any indication that the “Hey can you help me?” routine is about to play out.  Indicators of this would be people standing and looking at their car, the hood up, jumper cables, tow strap, or jack being out.

I have had so many ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), drug addict, alcoholic, stupid people ask me to jump start their car in North Dakota, that I bought several battery jump start boxes.  Any place else that I have ever lived, I had never personally witnessed anyone mistakenly trying to connect the positive jump start cable to a negative battery terminal, but these down-on-their luck people here in North Dakota will try to do this every time.

For those of you who don’t know, if you should ever volunteer to allow someone to connect jumper cables to your car battery, and they mistakenly connect the positive terminal of one car battery to the negative terminal of the other car battery, in about 1 second, this can short out the electrical wiring and electrical components in both vehicles, causing up to about $2,000 in damage to each vehicle.  Sometimes, it is hard to tell right away just how much electrical system damage has been done to each vehicle.

Your car’s battery, alternator, wiring, connectors, fuses, relays, sensors, ECU, computers, and other components, were not designed to handle the instantaneous passage of thousands of amps of current caused by someone connecting the positive battery terminal of one vehicle, to the negative battery terminal of the other vehicle.  This can melt everything electrical in your car.  An ADHD, drug addict, alcoholic, stupid person who has already caused their own vehicle to malfunction, will try to get you to let them connect jumper cables to your car, so that they can cause severe damage to your car too.

Yesterday evening, I was about 100 miles from Dickinson, sitting in a truck stop eating and using my computer.  I looked out the window, and I saw that ten feet away from where my car was parked, there was now someone standing there with a hammer in their hand.  I was thinking, what are they doing with that hammer?  I watched to see what was going on, and there were a couple of guys who were about 20 years old, working on a beat up Nissan truck which had Washington State license plates on it.

I was thinking to myself, that I needed to move my vehicle far away from them, because I did not want any involvement in their problems.  This is exactly what I am talking about, this is what I try to avoid, the “Hey can you help me people”, who always have problems.

I continued to use my computer, and these two young guys from Washington State showed me that they were in fact the epitome of everything that I am talking about.  They went from working on the underneath of their truck with a hammer, to buying a can of Sea Foam, to buying jumper cables.  A hammer, Sea Foam, and jumper cables?  What the hell is wrong with your truck that you have a problem that requires beating something with a hammer, is a fuel problem, and is also an electrical problem, which causes your battery to be dead?

When I saw them buy the jumper cables, I said to myself that there is no way that I am letting them connect to the battery in my vehicle.  Then, they began asking each of the store employees if they could drive their personal vehicle over to their Nissan truck, to give them a jump start.

The store employees were trying to find different excuses not to do it.  I didn’t want the store employees, who were young, poor, and maybe naive, to have their vehicle electrical system destroyed.  And I didn’t want for an unsuspecting customer to have the electrical system in their vehicle destroyed either.  I stopped what I was doing, and I told the two guys from Washington State that I had a battery jump start box.

I got my 1,000 peak amp jump start box out of my vehicle, and thank God it had a full charge, so that me or anyone else wouldn’t have to use our vehicles.  I unwound the two cables on my battery jump start box, and I said to the two young men, you connect it to your battery, and when you are ready, I will turn the jump start box on.  They connected the jump start box cables to their Nissan truck battery, and the audible alarm on the jump start box began beeping.

See!  I knew it!  These stupid ADHD kids from Washington State, the very first thing that they did was connect the battery cables the wrong way.  If this would have been my vehicle, a store employee’s vehicle, or a customer’s vehicle, there would have been instantaneous severe damage done to the vehicle’s electrical system!  Or, it could have blown up a battery and started a fire.

I told them to reconnect the battery jump start box cables the correct way, and I left my battery jump start box with them, while they continued to work on their Nissan truck.  After they had their truck running, I said to them, that they needed to be more careful hooking up jumper cables to their truck next time, with the jumper cables incorrectly connected, they could have caused a lot of damage to their truck and someone else’s vehicle.

It was cold and dark outside, and I picked up my battery jump start box and I put it back in the tool box in my vehicle, and I was about to close the trunk, but I took the battery jump start box back out to see if they had turned if off.  No, they had left my battery jump start box turned on, so that its cables were energized and could have shorted out in my vehicle and caused a fire, or the battery jump start box would have just been dead when I got it out to use it next time in an emergency.

A Mexican Almost Stole My Winter Jacket

I sometimes have to work outside of Dickinson, North Dakota.  When I am working out of town, when I get off of work in the evening, I often go to a truck stop/convenience store/restaurant to get something to eat and use my laptop computer to get on the internet.

I bought a spare used laptop computer to take with me when I work out of town, so that it won’t be too much of a loss if it gets broken or stolen, but it is a good computer, worth about $200.  It would be upsetting if it got stolen, and I don’t want this to happen.

When I go to the truck stop that I usually go to, I wave hello to the cashiers who are working, and I go put my laptop computer down on a table in the dining area, take my winter jacket off, and lay it over top of my computer so that no one can see it.  I then go and pick out a drink, sandwich, or salad, and take them to the cashier to pay for them.  My jacket and my computer are not out of my sight for more than thirty seconds at a time, while I am doing this routine.

When I am eating and using my computer, I am vaguely aware of truck drivers, oil field workers, construction workers, farmers, travelers, and local people who are coming and going, paying for fuel, buying things, or sitting down at one of the ten tables in the dining area.

Usually by 8 p.m. or 9 p.m., the truck stop/convenience store/restaurant has slowed down, there are not very many customers, and I feel that it is safe enough for me to close my laptop computer, lay my jacket on top of my computer so that it can’t be seen, and go use the bathroom.  My jacket is just a common, black color, Carhart hooded jacket like most people in North Dakota wear.  Though these Carhart jackets cost $100 to $150, I thought that most North Dakotans would not stoop to stealing someone else’s jacket.

On this past Saturday night at about 9 p.m. I was eating and using my computer, there were two cashiers and one restaurant worker on duty, and only one or two customers in the truck stop.  I felt that it was perfectly safe for me to leave my jacket on top of my closed laptop computer, and walk away for two minutes to go use the bathroom.  When I got out of the bathroom, I walked over to the restaurant counter to see what they had, and I picked up a Philly cheese steak sandwich.

By this time, it seemed like there were several more customers in the truck stop, because I could hear more people walking around the aisles, though I wasn’t paying close attention.  As I was walking over to the cashier to pay for my sandwich, I happened to look back over my shoulder toward where I had been sitting and eating, and I saw a Mexican who was wearing a white T-shirt, walk around the corner, and come to a stop when he saw my winter jacket laying on the table.  There were nine empty tables in the dining area, with nothing else around, and one table with my bottled drink, napkins, fork, and jacket sitting on top of it.

I stood turned slightly sideways as I put my sandwich down on the counter, and I said to the cashier who was the manager on duty, this Mexican guy behind me seems to be taking an interest in my jacket.  Just as I said this, this Mexican leaned past the wall of the dining area, and looked at my jacket again.  The cashier said, oh yeah, I see him.   It was pretty hard not to notice, nothing but empty tables in the dining area, and this Mexican guy wearing a white T-shirt, is so focused and concerned about my jacket laying on top of the table.

I went back to my table and sat down.  I was now curious to see what this Mexican guy did in the store.  Was he going to buy anything to eat, which might have been a possible reason why he came into the empty dining area in the first place.  He must have spent at least eight minutes in the store, walking up and down every aisle several times.  He bought his son an ice cream from where a Mexican lady was working, and I don’t know if she charged him for it or not, he might not have had any money, because he didn’t buy anything else.

This Mexican guy walked out of the store and he got into about a ten to fifteen year old Dodge sedan, and backed out, almost hitting someone in a Jeep Cherokee who was already travelling in the drive lane, causing them to have to stop suddenly.  I asked the cashier/manager if this guy had been in the store before.   The cashier/manager said that yes he had, although he kind of looks like a bad person, he probably isn’t that bad a person.  This Mexican guy did look and act like someone from a ghetto/hood crime neighborhood in Los Angeles or Phoenix.

Some readers might object to what I am writing, so I will explain.  Truck drivers walk into the store at whatever pace or gait they have based on their age or health, pay for fuel, and go use the bathroom.  Travelers usually walk in the store quickly and head straight towards the bathroom.  Farmers usually aren’t in a hurry and have a casual pace.  Local people are like shoppers in a grocery store, they go and pick out the things that they want, like drinks, snacks, or food, and take them up to the cash register.

This Mexican guy, who had been in this store before, came in to the store and acted completely different and out of the ordinary.  He walked quickly over to something like this is what he was there to get, paused, then quickly walked over to something else like this is what he was there to get, paused, then quickly walked over to another area, paused, and he did this throughout the store for at least eight minutes.  You might say well, he was looking for something, or he didn’t like the prices.  At one point, he was at the drink dispensing machine, where they have the cups, lids, straws, napkins, and people fill their drink cups, he was acting like he was going to get a drink, but he didn’t.  It was like he was pretending to shop, but he was actually up to something else.

If you have ever set something down for just a minute and walked away, like a phone, set of keys, wallet, purse, jacket, ice chest, gas can, propane tank, bicycle, or left your car running, and come back to find it gone, I think that this is how this happens, and who does this.

In North Dakota, at a restaurant, bar, store, library, truck stop, laundromat, or any public place, do not set anything down and turn your back on it or walk away.  Not everyone is the same in North Dakota, and you might be unpleasantly surprised at how “diverse”, North Dakota has become.

What Is Wrong With Companies In Dickinson, North Dakota

In 2017, I wrote five or six blog posts explaining how bad it was working for companies in Dickinson, North Dakota, even the companies, or especially the companies that the Dickinson Press Newspaper could not lavish enough praise on.

Working for two of these highly esteemed companies in Dickinson in 2017, I quit because I was not paid the wages that I was owed, and I had to threaten both of these companies with filing a complaint with the Department of Labor, and taking them to Small Claims Court to get the money that I was owed.  One of the “best” companies in Dickinson, already had four complaints against them with the Department of Labor.

I have written about five times now that, “The companies in Dickinson would rather hire someone who did four years in prison, rather than four years in college”, and that, “The companies in Dickinson hate engineers, disrespect, and mistreat engineers in every way possible because they hate educated people”.

Even though I have a degree in engineering, and I have worked as an engineer, estimator, foreman, inspector, superintendent, project manager, manager, and business owner, with absolutely no criminal record, these are the two supervisors that I worked under who each had Four Felony Convictions, at two different companies in Dickinson:


If you are a person with a college education, and you move to Dickinson, North Dakota, this is who you will be working for, and you will not be treated very well.

Dermatologist Shortage In North Dakota

There is a shortage of Dermatologists in North Dakota.  To get an appointment with a Dermatologist in the state capitol of Bismarck, there is a five to six month wait.

On January 25, 2018 I noticed that I had a new mole on my right shoulder.  This mole was different than the other mole that I have had on my shoulder for the past thirty-two years, because this new mole appeared so suddenly, was dark in color, and it had a rough unhealthy looking surface.

From the television commercials that I have seen, and from reading about skin growths on the internet, I believed that this was very likely a melanoma.  A melanoma can be benign or malignant, meaning noncancerous or cancerous.  You need to have one checked right away, especially if it is dark in color, or has an irregular shape and appearance.

On February 2, I began searching for a Dermatologist in Dickinson, North Dakota and I found that there isn’t one.  This is kind of bad, because Dickinson has a population of about 25,000 people, and it is the largest town in southwest North Dakota.

I found that the nearest Dermatologists were in the state capitol of Bismarck, 100 miles to the east of Dickinson.  In Bismarck, there is the Mid Dakota Clinic of Dermatology with three Dermatologists, and two Nurse Practitioners.  I thought to myself, “Good, this is exactly what I was looking for.”

I telephoned the Mid Dakota Clinic of Dermatology, and I requested an appointment with Mark Ebertz, MD.  I was told, “Mark Ebertz is not accepting any new patients, you can choose to make an appointment with either of the two Nurse Practitioners, or one other MD, but their next available appointment is in August.”

I thought to myself, “February, March, April, May, June, July…that’s six months before I can even see a Dermatologist, and I need to get this melanoma mole looked at and removed right away!”

The administrative person at the Mid Dakota Clinic of Dermatology was not rude in any way, but I was very angry, and I ended the telephone call with her.  I could not believe the absurdity of having a melanoma, and a Dermatology clinic wanting you to wait six months for an appointment.  What kind of skin problem could a person have, that they could figure on waiting for six months to receive any kind of treatment?

I was very, very angry.  I write and write about this, but I don’t think that I ever truly convince people how backwards North Dakota is.  I thought about this for few minutes at the time, before continuing to try to find a Dermatologist in North Dakota.

I still want to give a big Fuck You!, to the Mid Dakota Clinic of Dermatology.  I hope that Dr. Mark Ebertz has some kind of life threatening emergency, where he needs the police, fire department, or paramedics to show up, and they tell him, “We are kind of busy, we aren’t accepting new calls at this time.”  Or anything that he needs done, everyone tells him, we can’t help you for six months.

I went on to telephone Sanford Health.  I telephoned the Sanford Health in Dickinson, and they told me that they did not have a Dermatologist in Dickinson, to call the Sanford Health in Bismarck.  I telephoned the Sanford Health in Bismarck, their Dermatology Clinic, and I was told that the earliest appointment that this particular clinic had was in April, but I could try calling their other Dermatology Clinic.  At the second Sanford Health Dermatology Clinic, the next available appointment was in September.

I called an older relative of mine who had had a skin growth surgically removed from his shoulder, to ask him about it, how much did this cost?  He said to me, “You can’t wait this long, you need to get this taken care of right away, it sounds like you are going to have to go to a different state to have this done.”

I looked up on the internet, a Dermatologist that I had seen in Idaho seven or eight years ago.  This Dermatologist surgically removed a small carcinoma from under my eye for about $140, which required stitches.  This was not a big deal for him, or difficult for him, and he did a very good job, not leaving any scar.

I telephoned his office in Idaho, and he had appointments available each week in February.  I explained that I was working in North Dakota, and I could not get this taken care of in North Dakota.  I explained that it was a twelve to fourteen hour drive one way to get there, I would have to drive there to get this melanoma removed, and then drive right back to North Dakota to return to work on time.

I e-mailed to the Dermatologist in Idaho, three photographs of my melanoma mole.  I followed up with a phone call to the Dermatologist administrator, saying that I didn’t want a biopsy, and that I was not looking for a preliminary visit prior to surgery, that I needed to get this melanoma mole surgically removed, and then drive right back to North Dakota.  The expected cost was $300 to $800, depending on how much they had to cut out.

I am not looking forward to this twelve to fourteen hour drive to Idaho, and the twelve to fourteen hour drive back to Dickinson, North Dakota.  The gasoline cost alone will be $350.  The weather this month has consistently been below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.  I know that the interstates will be snowy and icy the whole way.  If my vehicle breaks down, especially at night, I will be in a very dangerous situation, due to the extreme cold weather.

These Protests And Lawsuits Are Good For Dickinson, North Dakota

I am becoming more and more encouraged when I read the Dickinson Press newspaper or Google Local News, and I learn about more protests and lawsuits in Dickinson, North Dakota.  I am glad that all different kinds of people in Dickinson are protesting, fighting, and bringing their mistreatment and grievances to light, where it becomes known, for everyone to see.

There is a well known quote by Edmund Burke, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

  • I am glad that the former City of Dickinson Streets Maintenance manager David Armendariz protested his dismissal.  At the Civil Service Commission hearing, many facts came out, such as the City of Dickinson using recycled concrete for road base where Class V material was specified, 4 out of 5 of the past Civil Service Commission hearings arising from the Public Works Department, and who the Civil Service Commission were.  This led me and probably other readers to more discoveries about the Civil Service Commission, former City Attorney Goos’ dismissal, and the Strom Center at Dickinson State University.
  • I am glad that Dickinson property owner Carlos Royal has created a GoFundMe page to raise funds to begin a class action lawsuit against the City of Dickinson.

    Carlos Royal is attempting to raise $50,000 to challenge the city’s tax assessment process on behalf of “all the property owners in Dickinson who have over-assessed properties.”  This led me and probably other readers to try to find out more about the City of Dickinson’s Tax Abatement Hearings.

  • It was a huge surprise and shock that Dickinson Public Schools Superintendent

    Doug Sullivan presented a letter of resignation on Monday, January 8 to the School Board at the end of a regularly scheduled meeting.  Doug Sullivan’s resignation came after the School Board approved a long list other resignations from longtime Dickinson Public Schools teachers and administrators.  It appears to me that all of these teachers’ resignations coming at the same time is a protest response to something, that people in Dickinson should try to find out about.

    Fortunately for the City of Dickinson, they just recently switched from having the City represented by an attorney from the Mackoff Kellogg law firm, to hiring a full-time City employee City Attorney Jan Murtha, who is probably on a fixed salary, so they won’t have to pay for hourly billing from a law firm.

    Dickinson Public Schools Superintendent Doug Sullivan’s resignation seemed to me, to be like the song written by David Allen Coe, “Take this job and shove it!, I ain’t working here no more…”

    But to me, who didn’t know what it was like to be treated like a Black person, until I came to work in Dickinson, here is what I think about protesting in Dickinson:


I Didn’t Like What I Was Reading About The Civil Service Commission In Dickinson, North Dakota

My previous two blog posts were about the disputed termination of former Dickinson Street Maintenance manager David Armendariz and his hearing with the Civil Service Commission.  In a second article by the Dickinson Press from December 12 about the deliberation and finding of the Civil Service Commission, it concluded that there was nothing wrong with the City of Dickinson’s termination of David Armendariz.

This finding of the Civil Service Commission made me wonder, would the Civil Service Commission ever disagree with what the City of Dickinson does?  Who are the members of the Civil Service Commission, and how are they appointed?

I have seen many times in my life, where an individual has the mistaken belief that a company or an organization will do what is right, be a fair arbiter of fact, adhere to some kind of ethics, or do what they said they were going to do.  Some companies and organizations have a methodology of stating and appearing that they will act in good faith, but proceed to delay, waste time with formality and processes, dilute facts, disregard evidence, introduce doubt, create ambiguity, with the intention of finding in the end, whatever suited their interests.

To give an example, I have read more than several newspaper articles where an individual claimed that an Electric Company, Water Company, or Gas Company removed all of the money from the individual’s bank account through an auto-pay billing or debit card transaction, due to a supposed $10,000 charge.  Here is how Electric Companies, Water Companies, and Gas Companies handle this type of dispute by a customer:

Dear Mr. Smith,

We have investigated the matter concerning your belief that you were incorrectly charged for services.  We have conducted a review of all pertinent information and examined our records.  We can find no error in billing on our part, and the charges are correct.

Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.

Yours Truly,

Asshole at the Electric Company

The reason that I have read more than several of these stories in the newspaper, is because the only way that these individuals were able to get their money back, was by going to a television station or newspaper and getting a reporter to go to the Electric Company, Water Company, or Gas Company and begin investigating for their news story.  At that time, when the Electric Company, Water Company, or Gas Company management learned that everything was going to be exposed, which might lead to them losing their job, they always gave the money back and issued the following statement:

“There has been a misunderstanding, which has now been addressed and resolved with Mr. Smith.”

I could go on with more stories about people mistakenly believing that a company or an organization was going to be a fair arbiter of fact, but I won’t.  The point that I want to make is this, I don’t know why any individual in Dickinson would think that they were going to get anywhere with the Civil Service Commission based on the history of outcomes.  Why even bother.

One way that the Civil Service Commission benefits the City of Dickinson, is that individuals never get anywhere, their claims are denied.  Not only are the individual’s claims denied, but the City of Dickinson doesn’t even have to pay an attorney to accomplish this.

From now on, if any employee of the City of Dickinson feels like they were unjustly or unfairly treated, hire an attorney, sue the City of Dickinson.  Don’t even waste your time going to the Civil Service Commission.

Once the City of Dickinson has to litigate again, and again, and again, then you might start to see some real change in personnel and practices with the City of Dickinson.