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Jun 24, 2021

Hey there, This is James, host and producer of Dakota Spotlight podcast.  This is just a quick update on what's going on with the podcast this summer. I have some important dates to tell you about and some other news.

In this part of the world (north of the equator) it is SUMMERTIME. With summer comes sunshine, the outdoors and some leisure.  North Dakota is a rough climate in the winter, so I am making attempts to spend a little more time outdoors in the sunlight.  I live fairly close to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the so called Badlands, so I’ll be doing some hiking there soon, hopefully.  I’ll likely run into prairie dogs and buffalo, or Bison, and who knows maybe a rattlesnake. I’m also looking forward to the Icelandic Festival in Mountain North Dakota, which takes place every year on the first weekend in August.  No matter where you live on the planet, no matter what your plans are, I hope you are well. 

If you listened to Season 2, ZEELAND: the untold story of Wade and Ellen Zick, their lives and tragic murders, you know all about the events that took place in south-central North Dakota in July of 1976. Wade Zick, bank manager in the sleepy town of Zeeland, and his wife Ellen were kidnapped and tragically murdered in a bank heist perpetrated by three local men.  

Well, I want to let you know that on July 10, a gathering will take place in Zeeland, ND, to pay tribute to the Zicks and to their family. I will be attending and welcome you to join us. Visitors are asked to gather at the Zeeland Community Center at 10 a.m., which is just right downtown.  You can’t miss it on main street.  At 10:30, an organized procession will go to where the Zicks lost their lives, one mile north-east of town., A new memorial monument will be inaugurated at the site, with a burger feed following at the community center. I’m looking forward to attending and meeting some of you there. That’s July 10th, in Zeeland, starting at 10 am. 

Don’t miss the Facebook-live concert for Dakota Spotlight fans at 7:30 p.m. CDT on June 29th . Peter Hicks, of the band Sleepy Driver, who provided and performed the music for Season 2, ZEELAND will be streaming live on the Dakota Spotlight Facebook group playing favorites like, this song,  ‘North Dakota.’ That's live on Facebook this coming Tuesday, June 29th, for members of dakota spotlight group. 

And by the way please support peter hicks and the band Sleepy Driver. These guys supplied this wonderful music to me and the podcast free of charge, if you can believe that generosity. I’d really appreciate it if you could check them out at on send them some support.  Head over to sleepydriver dot bandcamp dot com to listen to more of their music and maybe purchase something.  Thanks much Peter Hicks and Sleepy driver, we’ll literally see and hear Peter on Tuesday at 7:30 pm Central. 

In Season 5, A Better Search for Barbara Cotton, our search for answers continues. Barbara Cotton, aged 15, vanished without a trace on April 11, 1981 and you have not already you can listen to the intriguing twists and turns of this open investigation anywhere you get your podcasts. 

Regarding Barbara’s story and future episodes, I currently am navigating legal channels and jumping through ‘open records’ hoops in Montana and while this process is time consuming, I am making progress. I intend to travel to Montana later this summer to retrace the footsteps of, Stacey Werder, a person of interest.  Werder was seen with Barbara Cotton on the night she disappeared and later took his own life while in custody in Malta, Montana.

Another update about Barbara Cotton is this,  just yesterday I sent another tip to Williston PD.  Its a long shot but certainly intriguing and exciting.  So in a nutshell, although it has been a couple weeks since I put out an episode about Barbara, we are not done there.   

One final thing I want to tell you about is a short summer podcast Series that I will start on July 7th.  Every Wednesday for at least 6 weeks, I’ll be sharing an interview with a different true-crime podcast host or producer from around the world.  We will travel virtually from Arizona to Australia and meet other skilled storytellers, passionate victim advocates and other dedicated podcast hosts.  That’s every Wednesday starting July 7. 

And hey, If you have not gotten your Dakota Spotlight t-shirt or Sweatshirt you can head over to and check out all the cool stuff there.

You can reach me at

Thank you so much for listening to Dakota Spotlight!