Project gathers supplies for National Guard
Posted 12/07/16 (Wed)
Members of the Wishek Army National Guard Unit and area law enforcement officers are assisting with efforts to control protests in Morton County against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
A countywide project is underway to provide supplies for the local personnel, as they battle the harsh conditions of a North Dakota winter.
Spokesperson Stephanie Kaatz, of Wishek, says needed items include hand warmers, thermal socks, water, Chapstick or similar lip balm, body warmers, facemasks, gloves, paper towels, protein bars, sunflower seeds, and snack foods.
Items from the above list may be purchased directly and dropped off for the project. Cash donations also will be accepted. Checks should be made payable to FRG — the Family Readiness Group, which assists National Guard troops and their families.
Drop-off sites for the above items, or for financial donations, include Pinke Lumber, Farmers Elevator and Raile Insurance, all in Wishek, or the McIntosh County Sheriff's Office and the Ashley Ambulance garage, both in Ashley.
More information on the project is available by contacting Chelsey Horner, Pete Keaveny, Stephanie Kaatz, Kelly Brown, or the Sheriff's Office.
"Everything collected for this project will be delivered to our local National Guard members and law enforcement personnel," says Kaatz.
"I've been told that items seen on some lists, such as cups, paper plates and plastic silverware, are being provided through the main operations center.
"Of course, people are still very welcome to donate them, but these things (on the list above) have been specifically requested by our local guys. They are the top priority for this project."
State officials said at a news conference last week that the National Guard presence at the protest site has been boosted to approximately 500 troops. It previously had included about 200 soldiers.
Law enforcement officers from across the state also have been assisting, in response to a request by Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier.
How long the National Guard members or other personnel will be needed at the DAPL site, near Cannon Ball, has not been determined.
At press time, it also was unknown how a decision over the weekend by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to deny an easement for the pipeline at the Missouri River site, near Lake Oahe, will impact the protest movement.
Ongoing protests in support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have drawn thousands of people to the area, where Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics Partners are trying to finish work on the $3.8 billion pipeline.
The companies hope to move crude oil produced in the Baaken fields of North Dakota and Montana to terminals in Patoka, Illinois, and Nederland, Texas.