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Page 42 of 59

Renae Mitchell Learn more about our services and explore career opportunities at For 75 years, KLJ has worked in the oil and gas industry throughout the Bakken. We oer more than 100 services to support exploration and development. N A T I O N A L P E R S P E C T I V E . R E G I O N A L E X P E R T I S E . T R U S T E D A D V I S O R . C M Y CM MY CY CMY K Bakken_Oil_Journal_1_15_14.pdf 1 1/16/2014 10:07:34 AM 888-636-3581 used inventory sale! Mobile Offices Storage Containers back to? Are the "good old days" when perfectly good homes and outbuildings were shuttered forever because the elderly occupants died or moved to town? Were things really better when school after school, in town after town closed and consolidated — and rural churches closed by the dozen because the congregations could no longer support a pas- tor? There are more abandoned schools and churches in Divide County than there are functional ones. Indeed, there are probably more abandoned homes than occupied ones—and that does not include the ones torn down or burned over the years. The truth is the northern plains area of western North/South Da- kota and eastern Montana had been bleeding population since the 1960s. The region is littered with virtual ghost towns that had been left on life support for decades. Communities like Alkabo, Ambrose, and Alamo are anchored by prominent, once-proud but long-vacant high schools that graduated students who trudged off to college or jobs in the city. For decades, people like me have mostly come back home to hunt or attend funerals. In recent years, local and state governments, along with rural cooperatives and brave local investors, had poured millions of dollars into ill-fated economic development projects like pasta plants, hog feeding operations, and other value-added Ag pro- cessing ventures. While a few success stories exist, they were mostly desperate attempts to create a few decent jobs that could ➤ continued, pg 51 ➤ continued Renae Mitchell -

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