New school building

School is back in swing, and McKenzie County Public School District #1 has a new elementary school. The new 90,000 square foot, $35 million Fox Hills Elementary is now filled with students. Though enrollment on the first day of classes showed a slight dip from the previous year, this second elementary was built to help provide adequate space needs for the district that has grown exponentially over the past decade. KX News did a story on the new building here.
Meet the county commission candidates

The Watford City Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting an evening forum of the six candidates who are vying for three seats on the McKenzie County Commission. The six candidates include: Thomas McCabe, Joel Brown, Craig Hystad, Clint Wold, H Wayne Olson, and Jeremy Olson. The event will take place at the Rough Rider Center at 7pm on Tuesday, September 22.

Click here for McKenzie County voting information.
Economy at a Glance

The September Economy at a Glance is now available. Some data of note:

  • McKenzie County's unemployment rate dropped from 11.2% (June) to 10.0% in July. For the same months, North Dakota's dropped from 7.5% to 6.4%.

  • July 2020 oil production for McKenzie County came in at 12.1 million barrels, compared with 9.7 million barrels in June 2020.

  • Year to date city sales tax collections for Watford City are down about $400,000 compared to the same period last year.
Workforce Connection forum

Job seekers, employers and interested community members are all invited to attend the Workforce Connection Information and Networking Forum. Job seekers will hear of ways to help them with the job search, and employers will hear about effective human resource strategies to help them find the best workers. Representatives from TrainND, Williston State College, University of Mary and Job Service North Dakota have been invited to participate. The event will run from 2-4pm CT on September 30 at the Rough Rider Center. There is no cost to participate. Contact the Rough Rider Center for more information or to participate.
New bank building for Alexander

Alexander will be getting a new building on their main street. First International Bank & Trust has announced plans to replace their current building with a new and improved building. The new building will feature expanded office space, drive-up service and an Interactive Teller Machine.
County's largest employer list

For the second year in a row, Delta Constructors LLC came out on top of the largest employer list for McKenzie County as compiled by Job Service North Dakota. The next three largest in this recently-released 2019 list include Optimized Process Designs, Bilfinger Westcon Inc, and McKenzie County School District. View the 2019 largest 25 employers for McKenzie County or to find other North Dakota places/years, visit here.
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More local workforce training

Trade Ready is a local company looking to diversify our community's workforce with much needed skilled jobs. They are seeking to offer courses relevant for the skills needed in our area. Their first class will be welding which will also cover hands-on fundamentals of being a skilled entry level oil field employee. There will be an information session at the Silver Room of the Rough Rider Center on September 16 and then again on September 22--both of them will be held at 6pm. For more information email Info@tradereadynd.com or call 701-580-8483.
 
County to waive single-family housing building permit fees

At their September 15, 2020 board meeting, the McKenzie County Commissioners voted to waive all single-family housing permit fees effective immediately. It also includes Attached and Detached Accessory Buildings, Modular Homes, and Decks. This change has come about through feedback the County's Planning and Zoning committee heard and in turn provided a recommendation for that to the commissioners. Cities and some Townships within the county still have their own jurisdiction on permit/fees within their boundaries. More discussion will be held regarding permits for housing in agriculturally-zoned areas. 
County roads survey

Do you have comments about road improvement opportunities in McKenzie County? Now until September 30, the county is sponsoring this survey to get public input on roadway safety from residents, workers and travelers. Responses are confidential.
New main street mural in WC

The Door 204 Coffee Shop has added some more vibrancy to Watford City's main street with a large mural on the side of its building. The mural depicts the landscape and economy of the area. It has been showing up in social media feeds as residents and visitors alike have taken to posting selfies with the new mural in the background. Find it at 204 North Main Street, Watford City.
Expanded space

The McKenzie County Healthcare Systems Urgent Care and Great Plains Women's Health Center now have more space with their relocation to the newly-renovated "old clinic" space. Find them at 525 N. Main St. in Watford City. See more in this KX News story.
New dance studio

Dancers throughout the area are excited about the newly-opened Rhianna's Dance Studio. Classes start at age 3 and cover a wide variety including ballet, tap, hip-hop, and more.

The Long X Arts Foundation has sponsored their mirrors.
Forward progress for presidential library and museum

An architect is set to be selected from three finalists, by the end of this week for the new Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. This one of a kind project is anticipated to bring a new slate of visitors to western North Dakota adding another attraction to our area with its location planned to be near Medora. Construction is set to begin within the next year or two and is anticipated to open to the public by 2025. See more in this Bismarck Tribune article.
Improved outdoor spaces

Residents and visitors at the Good Shepard nursing home and Horizon assisted living facility will have more outdoor options with the addition of a shelter at their central courtyard. This improvement is being made possible through a contribution from Ruth Rolfson.
Local grant opportunity

Local organizations are invited to apply for the McKenzie County Community Foundation annual grant. Nearly $7000 was awarded in 2019 to local organizations including the Long X Arts Foundation, BIO Girls, Grassy Butte Quick Response Unit, Bakken Oil Rush Ministry, McKenzie County Imagination Library, Badlands Search & Rescue, Feed My Starving Children-Watford City Mobile Pack, Bismarck Public Schools for local T4 Event, and Pioneer Museum of McKenzie County. Grant applications are accepted through September 28, 2020.

For more information view their website and their 2020 annual update.
Credit score resource

Statewide, businesses have been experiencing challenges in obtaining credit, with one of the determining factors being an insufficient credit score. Because of that challenge, the North Dakota district office of the US Small Business Administration has created this resource document. The document provides information on how credit scores are calculated, how to establish credit, and how to increase them.
2020 NDRA Rodeo finals

Once again, the 2020 North Dakota Rodeo Association's state finals are being held in Watford City. On September 25-26 at the McKenzie County Fairgrounds, cowboys and cowgirls from throughout the area will be competing for the chance to be crowned the 2020 State Champion. Concessions, beer garden and vendors will be present. More info here.
Fall frolic 5k race

As the leaves are beginning to change color, the Watford City Parks & Rec and the Rough Rider Center are making plans for the Fall Frolic 5k race. Prizes for speed as well as best costume will be awarded!

It will be held on Saturday, October 17th. Registration starts at 8:30 and the race begins at 9am. Pre-register by October 3 to guarantee you get the right-sized t-shirt.
War in Watford

The Minot Minotauros will face off with the Bismarck Bobcats North American Hockey League for the 2nd War in Watford. Games will be played at 7pm on October 2 and October 3 at the rinks of the Rough Rider Center.