Flares and electric lights on oil well pads illuminate low-hanging clouds near Watford City, North Dakota. Andrew Cullen hide caption

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Oil Boom Means Sky Watchers Hoping for Starlight Just Get Stars, Lite

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In rural North Dakota, where Melanie Hoffert grew up on her family farm, discussing subjects like homosexuality and same-sex marriage is often considered taboo. Courtesy of Beacon Press hide caption

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A North Dakota Family Breaks The Silence On Gay Marriage

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Joel Heitkamp smiles while broadcasting in 2009 at AM radio station KFGO in Fargo, N.D. Elaine Thompson/AP hide caption

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Radio Connects North Dakota Residents Divided On Gay Rights

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Diane Gira (left) and Valerie Nelson (right) pose with their son, Madison, in their home near Wahpeton, N.D. Maggie Penman/NPR hide caption

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Church Ceremonies Push North Dakota Town To Grapple With Gay Rights

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The small town of Wahpeton, N.D., is one of the places where conversations on same-sex marriage are playing out in schools, churches and families. Maggie Penman/NPR hide caption

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What We Talk About When We Talk About Gay Marriage

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Colorado educators take part in a concealed carry course in Englewood, Colo., on Nov. 8. The course is open to all state school employees. Participants who complete the training are eligible to apply for a permit to carry a handgun. MATTHEW STAVER/Landov hide caption

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Colorado Pushes For Concealed Guns In K-12 Schools

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Quinault Indian Nation President Fawn Sharp stands on the docks as tribal crabbers unload their catch. The tribe has vowed to fight the oil train-to-ship terminals proposed for Grays Harbor. Ashley Ahearn/KUOW hide caption

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Washington State County Unsure If It Can Take Wave Of North Dakota Crude

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Abortion-rights supporters outside the Supreme Court in January for the annual March for Life. This week North Dakota and Colorado struck down ballot measures restricting abortion, while Tennessee passed an initiative that may result in restricted rights. Alex Wong/Getty Images hide caption

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Two Of Three States Reject Ballot Measures Restricting Abortion

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A fireball goes up at the site of an oil train derailment in Casselton, N.D., in this Dec. 30 photo. The fiery crash left an ominous cloud over the town and led some residents to evacuate. Bruce Crummy/AP hide caption

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Fiery Oil-Train Derailments Prompt Calls For Less Flammable Oil

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Dan Selvig says wetter conditions helped convince his family to shift their plantings to corn. John Ydstie/NPR hide caption

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Shifting Climate Has North Dakota Farmers Swapping Wheat For Corn

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President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, and Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Nation Chairman Dave Archambault II, left, and his wife Nicole Archambault, right, applaud as they watch a Cannon Ball flag day celebration, at the Cannon Ball powwow grounds in Cannon Ball, N.D., on June 13. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP hide caption

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Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., receives a kiss from his grandson Wednesday in Great Falls, Mont. Tester won re-election in a tight contest with Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg. Michael Albans/AP hide caption

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A file image shows the flooded Red River separating Moorhead, Minn., (right) from Fargo, March 2010. National Weather Service forecasters say that the chance for major flooding this year is above 90 percent. Scott Olson/Getty Images hide caption

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