Williston, North Dakota is in the middle of an oil boom. Thousands of workers have flooded into the town, but they're reluctant to call it home. Instead, they live in bleak rentals, often sleeping in dorm-like trailers known as "man camps."
Local officials are trying to turn Williston into a real town, where people want to bring their families. But it's a tough sell.
On today's show, we visit Williston, and we learn why one guy endures a thousand-mile commute, why a one-bedroom apartment costs $2100 a month, and why the town is building an indoor lazy river.
The population boom in Williston, N.D., has been a blessing and a curse for many local businesses. Williston, the fastest growing small city in America, is enjoying an oil boom and has seen its population double in the past two years.
At the city's brand new McDonald's, manager Vern Brekhus struggles every day to maintain his staff of nearly 100 workers.
Sen. Kent Conrad has chaired the Senate Budget Committee since 2006. The Democratic senator from North Dakota is retiring in January 2013, but before leaving the Senate, he is a key player in the negotiations to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff." Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin speaks with Sen. Conrad about the challenges to achieving a budget compromise.
Theodore Roosevelt's Elkhorn Ranch in North Dakota is often called the Walden Pond of the West. But Roosevelt's ranch is now feeling the pressure of an oil boom that is industrializing the local landscape. Critics say a proposed gravel pit and a bridge could destroy the very thing that made such a lasting impression on Roosevelt: the restorative power of wilderness.