Year in Review

In 2017 this wetland dried up due to a lack of rainfall. In some places there was just enough rain to keep crops alive, which meant a reduced harvest over much of western North Dakota.
Photo by Kim Fundingsland/MDN

#1: Dry conditions plagued 2017

The weather took the Minot region, and most of North Dakota, for a wild ride in 2017. The year started with drifts of deep snow courtesy of a series of three blizzards that began in late 2016. From all appearances it looked like the winter of 2016-17, at least for snow depth, was going to be ...

Eloise Ogden/MDN
The east Broadway Bridge opened to two lanes of northbound traffic in Minot, as construction was substantially complete for 2017 on the U.S. Highway 83 Broadway Viaduct Replacement Project.

#2: Fixing up the city

Mayor Chuck Barney cut the ribbon at a ceremony in October to celebrate the completion of the nearly $35 million, three-year downtown Minot improvement project. A number of dignitaries were on hand for the event. The project was the largest reconstruction effort in the city’s history to ...

Photo by Andrea Johnson/MDN
Erik Ramstad Middle School entered the fall 
at or near capacity enrollment for the 2017-18 term.

#3: Contracting economy impacts budgets

Taxing entities facing declining property valuations and lower revenue forecasts had to make difficult decisions at budget time in 2017. Taxpayers who were to receive their statements just before Christmas likely saw higher bills, particularly with the elimination of the 12 percent state ...

Completion of the new Ward County jail 
occured in 2017. Inmates began occupying the new facility 
in late December.

Jill Schramm/MDN

#4: New Ward County Jail

Ward County opened a new jail addition in 2017. The expansion, which increased inmate capacity from 104 beds to 300, was officially completed Nov. 3. Prisoners were ushered into the new facility in mid-December, a schedule that allowed ample time for staff from the sheriff’s department to ...

City Public Works employees practice erecting the floodwall closure across 16th Street near the water treatment plant in July.

Jill Schramm/MDN

#5: Flood protection inches forward in 2017

Construction bids that were lower than expected on the initial phases of flood control in Minot could help to speed the completion of flood protection in the Souris River Basin. Favorable bids were among good news about flood protection that developed during 2017. On Dec. 4, Minot City ...

Jill Schramm/MDN
Josh Wolsky, right, was a newcomer to a revamped Minot City Council in 2017. At left is councilman Shannon Straight.

#6: Revamped city council seated in 2017

Minot’s City Council was given a completely new look in 2017. Voters who had made the decision to cast off the system of 14 aldermen that had been running city government, two councilmen from each of 7 Wards, voted for six of nine candidates to provide new direction for the city without Ward ...

Eloise Ogden/MDN
Front, from the left, Vice President Mike Pence, with Gov. Doug Burgum and Col. Matthew Brooks, commander of the 5th Bomb Wing, is shown after leaving Air Force Two on Oct. 27, at Minot Air Force Base. In back, from the far left, are Heather Wilson, secretary of the Air Force, and Sen. John Hoeven.

#7: Historic Day: Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Minot AFB

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE – Vice President Mike Pence promised airmen at Minot Air Force Base the Trump administration will rebuild the nation’s military. Speaking to about 200 airmen in a B-52 hangar at the base on Oct. 27, Pence told the group it’s a great honor for him to serve as vice ...


#8: Trinity on track in 2017 with new medical complex plans

Trinity Health was on track in 2017 to issue $380 million in tax-free bonds by year’s end to finance a new hospital and medical park in southwest Minot. Anticipating construction to begin in earnest in the spring, Trinity sought approval from the Ward County Commission in November to issue ...

Convicted murderer Richie Wilder Jr. was sentenced for his failed escape from the Ward County Jail in August 2015. He also appeared at a hearing that will decide whether he will be able to have contact with his two children. 

Kim Fundingsland/MDN

#9: Wilder murder case

The year 2017 was bookended by hearings for a husband and wife who plotted a murder and, in the process, effectively orphaned three children. A jury found Richie Wilder Jr. guilty in December 2016 of the brutal stabbing murder of his ex-wife, Angila Wilder – the woman he had battered during ...


#10: Drugs were a growing problem in North Dakota in 2017

The drug problem in Minot is on display every day at the Ward County Courthouse, in the endless parade of people charged with drug dealing or drug possessions, in thefts to support their habit, in the partners they have assaulted while high on drugs and in the children who have been neglected ...


Year in Review 2016

Check out this publication online! Click below:

File Photo

Lynn Johnson submits her ballot in early voting at the Ward County Administrative Building June 14.

#1 – Minot decides to change city government structure

Minot residents stated unequivocally in June that they want a smaller city council. The culmination of several months of activity by #MakeMinot, the June 14 election gave the citizens group a 75 percent margin of victory in its efforts to change the structure of city government. The ballot ...

Jill Schramm/MDN
Construction workers prepare to work on the exterior cladding on one of the two parking ramps in downtown Minot. The exterior finish on both downtown parking ramps is to be completed by Feb. 10 under a bid award granted by the Minot City Council to Rolac Contracting of Minot. Total cost is $573,6778 with contingencies and architectural/engineering expenses.

#2 — Minot was construction city in 2016

Many Minot residents could be forgiven for thinking that 2016 was the year of never ending road and building construction in downtown Minot. The first of two downtown parking structures was opened in February, following a 2 1/2 year long saga that city officials called “challenging.”  ...

Allan Blanks/MDN
Kelli Flermoen is the first woman to be named fire chief of the Minot Fire Department. During the summer, Flermoen collaborated with the American Red Cross to inspect and install smoke detectors in the homes of Minot residents.

#3 — 2016 provided new opportunities for leadership

Throughout 2016, the city of Minot experienced several transitions. From the reconstruction of Minot International Airport to the steady transformations downtown, a new era of leadership is taking place in the Magic City. When reviewing the 2016 highlights, the first shift in leadership ...

Jill Schramm/MDN
The slowdown in the oil fields in North Dakota hampered growth in Minot and surrounding area, including real estate and housing construction.

#4 — Oil field slowdown afflicts Minot area

The slowdown in the North Dakota oil patch influenced many lives and facets of the city of Minot and surrounding area in 2016. Oil production in the state hovered around slightly more than a million barrels a day for much of the year, then dropping from a million barrels a day to 981,039 ...

Andrea Johnson/MDN
This was the home where Richie Wilder Jr. murdered his ex-wife Angila Wilder in November 2015. A memorial picture of Angila Wilder is shown in the front window of her home in northwest Minot in late December 2015.

#5 — Drugs fuel crime in Minot

Crime continued to dominate the headlines in Minot in 2015. In January, Anthony Campbell was convicted of beating and stabbing Shannon Brunelle to death in an apartment garage on Sept. 15, 2015. Campbell, who maintains his innocence, will serve 30 years for the crime. In mid-December, ...

Allan Blanks/MDN
Travis Johnson, left, and his brother Tanner provide feed to the cattle at the Johnson farm in the Burlington area.

#6 — Weather woes presented challenges for farmers and ranchers

After experiencing the warmest winter in 14 years, farmers and ranchers across North Dakota faced excessive amounts of precipitation alongside weather related damages to crops and fields in 2016. Pam Brekke, a farmer from Edmore, described 2016 as an overall nightmare. “We got over 39 ...

File photo

R. Wayne Estopinal, president of TEG Architects, stands in front of schematics of the new medical park as he discusses the progress with the project in November.

#7 — Health-care providers advance plans in 2016

The rezoning of a piece of Trinity Health’s property in southwest Minot in November was a major step toward breaking ground on a new medical park this coming spring. It was among medical news ranging from grants for nursing programs to hepatitis C lawsuits that made headlines in ...

Jill Schramm/MDN

The exterior of the Ward County Jail expansion shows most of the work complete in December, with construction crews now focusing on the interior.

#8 — Jail up, sheriff out in 2016

Construction on a new addition designed to expand the capacity of the Ward County Jail, and the removal of the county sheriff in favor of an interim sheriff, provided continued news on the county front during 2016. Jail construction was one part of a county building project included in a tax ...