Mining for frac sand is big business

BLAIR, WIS. — Lou Ellen and Jim Frei spent 40 years as hardscrabble dairy farmers, cussing the sandy soil that gave them and their tractor such fits.

Today they are finally breathing easy, thanks to that same gritty land. They just moved into a new one-story house on Sjuggerud Coulee Road. Now they don’t have to worry about climbing their old farmhouse stairs on knees made sore by milking cows.

Once so poor they couldn’t afford new shoes when their daughter started school, they now have more than $550,000 in the bank.

“We’ve even got a Jacuzzi tub now,” said Jim, 66, chuckling about their sudden change of fortune.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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