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9-1 Letters to the Tribune

By Staff | Aug 31, 2018

Who I am and where I come from

I am asking for your vote in the ND Supreme Court election. Before you vote you deserve to know who I am and where I come from.

I grew up on a small farm on the edge of Oberon, N.D. I did all the farm boy things (think “chores”) and all the small town boy things. (Think running with a pack of friends.)

We lost our farm when I was 12 years old, had an auction sale, loaded what we had left in our grain truck and moved to Minot, very much like in John Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath”.

My dad couldn’t stand taking orders or working for other people, so he and I tore down our barn, board by board. We then took the barn rafters and set them on the bare ground along the railroad tracks about three miles north of Rugby. Thus was born “Rugby Hide, Fur, Wrecking and Salvage”. That fall, my dad and I used his combine (a self-propelled Oliver) to custom combine around the Oberon area. I operated that big green fancy machine all by myself at age 14. I learned hard work early in life, and am very grateful for that fact.

I hitchhiked to my first day of high school in Rugby, three days late. Although I was first placed in “bonehead” math and English, I quickly escaped and got to go to class with the “regular” kids. (We didn’t have “political correctness” back then.)

I graduated from Rugby High School in 1962, the same year my Rugby Panther basketball team defeated Phil Jackson’s Williston Coyotes for the N.D. Class A basketball championship. I was elected co-captain and was also leading tackler and elected co-captain of my football team, the mighty Rugby Panthers.

After high school I attended the University of North Dakota, and worked (with my new wife) my way through school. I worked two jobs one at the UND bookstore and the other as a janitor cleaning the trailer court’s two laundromats. Basically, all I did at UND was study, go to class, work and sleep. I graduated Magna Cum Laude (Economics, History and Political Science) and was selected by the Phi Beta Kappa Society as a member.

I next attended Harvard Law School, graduating in 1969. I have been an active and proud trial lawyer ever since. I have represented everyone from America’s largest corporations and insurance companies to its most destitute, nearly totally paralyzed citizen.

I first joined a large law firm in Minneapolis and “learned the ropes.” Five years later I moved back to North Dakota where I joined the Zuger, Kirmis, Bolinske and Smith law firm in Bismarck. Later, I started my own law firm and I have focused on representing persons injured as a result of the fault of another. (We have insurance so the losses the injured party suffers get paid by all of us in the form of the insurance premiums we pay.)

I also specialize in insurance Bad Faith law, suing insurance companies who (1) take our money but then wrongfully “forget” to pay our legitimate claims, or (2) otherwise unfairly treat their policy holders. I have also handled criminal cases, losing only one of approximately fifteen trials.

I am very fortunate to live in the country, right beside beautiful Apple Creek just east of Bismarck. I have an Australian Shepard puppy, a Blue Heeler mix puppy, a litter of jet black “wild” kitties which I have adopted and a Registered Quarter Horse. (Barn name “Charlie Horse”.) I love to hunt and fish, and have a desperate need just to be outside. I love North Dakota and, like my spectacular mother said “I just love life!” So do I.

I married at 18 (divorced at 33) and have one son, Robert V. Bolinske, Jr. I am single and have been for many years. Sometimes too ornery I guess. I love to give unsolicited advice, but don’t much like receiving it. Like my father, I don’t take orders very well.

My goal, if elected, is simple to verbalize but sometimes extremely hard to accomplish. I seek to provide justice, respect, and fair play for everyone. I promise to dedicate myself to that end. I mean it. I will work toward that goal like I have worked toward every other goal in my life. Like my father used to say, often when addressing and correcting his wayward little son Bobby (me): “I don’t mean maybe.” I don’t either. If elected I promise to do my very best to provide the justice you deserve.

Robert V. Bolinske,


Re: Cemetery flowers

With all the discussion concerning flowers at the Persilla Watts Cemetery, the Board of Directors would like to clarify the rules for leaving flowers on the gravesites of their loved ones.

First of all, we appreciate those who take the time to adorn the graves of loved ones and beautify our cemetery, especially during the Memorial Day holiday. It’s nice to see that people show consideration of our military as well as our families and loved ones.

The cemetery, however, does have some rules that have been in effect for quite some time. As shown on the sign near the entrance-because of the problems that arise because of them-we ask that all flowers be removed within two weeks after Memorial Day. Exceptions to that are if they are attached to the headstones or sitting on top of concrete. No additional flowers are to be planted on the graves as well. As you can well expect, the mowing that our caretakers do is very much affected by any extra items lying around.

Shortly after this deadline, the board members along with other helpers will remove those flowers from each gravesite and place them in a designated area on our property. In the past, people have picked up some of these items and repurposed them so that they live our their intended usefulness. This is done with board approval.

This is what happened recently, when cemetery flowers were reused to beautify our downtown area rather than letting them die.

Board of Directors,

Persilla Watts Cemetery

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