Updated: 04/29/2014 12:12 PM
Created: 04/29/2014 12:08 PM WDIO.com
By: MARTHA IRVINE, Associated Press
Not so long ago, North Dakota was a place people were leaving, in danger of becoming a state filled with ghost towns. Now, a major oil boom is bringing new life to small towns in the region.
Watford City, in the boom's epicenter, is one town that has exploded with traffic and development, quickly growing from about 1,500 people to as many as 7,000.
"You just gotta live with it -- or else move out," said lifelong Watford City resident Gordon Levang.
Even in places that truly looks like no man's land, there are signs of revival. An old bank that once stood as a reminder of better times now stands in front of a row of new homes behind white picket fences.
The small-town charm is the appeal, residents say. "They see such a small community and kind people around, they want to move here because it's less traffic, slower pace," said Daniel Ibsen, gas a station clerk and longtime Grenora resident. "Everybody has their manners, y'know?"
Still, housing prices have skyrocketed, even for the most modest of homes. Crime and traffic accidents are up, causing some residents to question the oil boom's worth.
"As long as it's making money for their families, they're OK with it. But they don't want the riff-raff coming in," Ibsen said.
Either way, talk of ghost towns is dying out on this stretch of prairie.
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Bentleyville Opening Weekend Draws Large Crowd
One of the Christmas City of the North's favorite holiday traditions, the Bentleyville Tour of Lights, officially kicked off Saturday night with more than 15,000 visitors. The man behind Bentleyville, and its unofficial "mayor" Nathan Bentley says bringing the holiday light display to Bayfront Festival Park every year is about community...
Weekend Anchor Laurie Stribling Says Goodbye
Weekend Anchor Laurie Stribling had her last show Sunday night. Before she left, we took a look at some of the highlights during her time in the Northland.
Junior League Gives Back Through Festival of Trees
The Junior League of Duluth helped give back to the community while also lending a hand to local small businesses this weekend.
Alleged Wisc. Bank Robber in St. Louis County Jail
A man was arrested in Duluth Saturday night after he allegedly robbed a bank in Eau Claire, Wisc. the night before. The Eau Claire Police Department responded to a bank robbery at Wells Fargo Bank in Eau Claire on Friday night.
Licenses, Deer Population Down for Wisconsin Deer Opener
The Wisconsin firearm deer hunting tradition got off to a safe start as Department of Natural Resources officials said they had received no reports of accidental shootings or other injuries by mid-afternoon Sunday on the opener of the state's nine-day gun deer hunt.