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Culvert Will Replace Narrow Bridge On County Road 1013

A culvert will replace a narrow bridge on County Road 1013 between Culbertson and Bainville that has been deemed dangerous. Roosevelt County Commissioners approved a resolution Tuesday, Sept. 25, to use state gas tax funds for the approximately $117,000 project.
The 19-foot bridge with a metal guardrail is just 24 feet from Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad track.
In other business, commissioners approved a contract with ECOLAB for rodent control at the McCabe shop and two trailers on the property. The cost is $85 per visit. Commissioner Gordon said exterminator visits could be quarterly.
ECOLAB is a St. Paul, Minn.- headquartered environmental services company.
In another matter, the commissioners approved $2,163 in matching funds for streets and alleys in Brockton. The monies were formerly Brockton city funds prior to disbanding the municipal government.
The commissioners also approved a renewal of an interlocal law enforcement agreement with the City of Poplar that calls for a 25 percent decrease in funding for Poplar’s community police contract Tuesday, Sept. 25. The lower funding will reduce the daily number of hours of sheriff’s patrols within the Poplar city limits.
Poplar will pay Roosevelt County $142,500 for police services. The first Poplar offer for the coming year was $90,000. Sheriff Jason Frederick said he negotiated the contract renewal and convinced municipal officials to raise the offer. The reduced amount is a $47,500 decrease.
The commissioners approved the original interlocal agreement with Poplar Jan. 30, 2015, following the dissolution of the Poplar Police Department. Two members of Poplar’s city council contacted Frederick during January 2015 with the request for the Sheriff’s Office to take over law enforcement services. Poplar was having difficulty hiring and retaining certified police officers. The former Poplar Police Department operated with a $210,000 annual budget.
Frederick said daily patrols in Poplar will decrease from 20 hours down to 15.
The Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice also provide policing service in Poplar. Montana law mandates that incorporated cities maintain police services, whether they have their own departments or contract with county sheriff’s offices.
Other business included renewal of an annual contract with Northeast Montana Health Services for nursing services and pharmaceuticals at the Roosevelt County Detention Center for $129,000 annually.
Frederick said the nursing and pharmaceuticals contract was a cost-saving measure last year. He said there were 320 inmate visits to the nurse last year.
The commissioners also lifted the burn ban due to recent rainfall.

Culbertson School Finalizes Hiring As New School Year Begins

Brenda Harvey was re-assigned to fill a kindergarten teaching position following an unexpected increase in kindergarten enrollment numbers at a special school board meeting held Friday, Aug. 24.
Sunni Hilde was also hired as a special education aide.
On Monday, Aug. 27, another special board meeting was held and hiring Brian Manning and Mike Nickoloff as additional part-time junior high football coaches was recommended due to the availability of other assistants. Manning was hired as the part-time, prorated, assistant junior high football coach.
Rhonda Seitz was hired as the National Honor Society advisor.
Board member Gy Salvevold made a motion to hire Hayley Oelkers as the Business Professionals of America advisor. Board member Eric Bergum seconded the motion, but Salvevold rescinded the motion.
Later, at the regular school board meeting held Tuesday, Sept. 19, Valli Hauge was hired to fill the BPA advisor position.
Dave Solem was hired as the activities director, Jennesy Taberna was hired as the band director and Lana Hekkel was hired as the choir director.
The balance in the Seniors 2018 account, in the amount of $788.90, was transferred to the Student Council account. The Seniors 2018 account was closed and the money transferred will benefit the student body.
Cheryl Mahnke was hired as a guest teacher.
At a special board meeting held Tuesday, Sept. 4, Joshua Ward was recommended by Norine Haugland to fill the evening custodian position. Ward was noted at the regular school board meeting held Wednesday, Sept. 19, to be a no-show and the position is currently still being advertised.
Misty Kirn and Christina Olson were hired as bus monitors. Jennifer Lambert, Teri Sansaver, Kim Knick and Rhonda Seitz were hired as substitute bus monitors.
Dave Bengochea, Larry Crowder, Dave Solem, Leo Waldhausen, John Fordyce, Mike Machart and Ron Butikofer were approved as activity bus drivers.
Waldhausen was also hired to be bus maintenance coordinator.
Mitch Kaufman was hired as the freshman class advisor. It was approved that the junior high class clean the high school gymnasium during fall activities and the student council will clean for winter activities.
Sandra Rothkamm was hired to do the old Armory cleanings.
Other business at the regular school board meeting held Tuesday, Sept 19, included a report on fall activities which showed 25 participants in high school football, 12 in high school volleyball, eight in high school cross country, 10 in elementary/junior high volleyball, 20 in elementary/junior high football and 15 in elementary/junior high cross country.
Mike Olson gave the technology report, sharing that he is working on updating the computer inventory to reflect the movement of computers during the beginning of the school year. The end of support on Windows 7 will be January 2020. Olson has began updating computers to Windows 10 and noted it is still free.
NorthStar Technology and Marco have been in communication with Olson to fulfill the school’s server needs.
The E-Rate order will be arriving soon, which consists of four new switches to replace the ones in the elementary wing and wireless access points to be distributed throughout the school where needed.
Teresa Ross and Jordan Farmer were hired as guest teachers.
Angie Iverson was hired to coach high school speech and drama alongside Jeri Gustafson. Valli Hauge, high school girls’ basketball coach, recommended hiring Djay Hauge to fill the high school girls’ basketball assistant coach position, which the board approved.
Orion Wind Resources utilized the school’s lunchroom Thursday, Aug. 9, to conduct a public meeting on a potential wind farm in the greater Bainville area. Orion Wind Resources donated $1,000 to the school.
The board approved voiding the following warrants, as they were either lost or not received in the mail: claims warrant #63865 for $25 and payroll warrant #51560 for $530.70.

Crowder Takes On Culbertson Mayor Position

Between being Culbertson’s superintendent of schools, a volunteer firefighter and a member of the community’s Lion’s Club, it would seem that Larry Crowder has enough on his plate.
Crowder, who is serving in his 21st year as Culbertson’s superintendent of schools, however, added another commitment when he took on the responsibility of being the town’s mayor.
“Being 20 years in a community, you want to make sure you’re doing your part in giving back,” Crowder said. “I’m just filling the role, doing the best I can.”
He admits that he received a little teasing from fellow school superintendents when they found out that he was becoming mayor of Culbertson.
“Most of them joked and laughed at me,” Crowder said. “I maybe got some pity thrown my way.”
The mayoral position became open when longtime mayor Gordon Oelkers was elected as a Roosevelt County commissioner. Abe Rumsey, a longtime city council member, served as mayor until the next election took over. “Abe faithfully filled the role, but he only wanted to do it one year,” Crowder said.
When no one filed for the mayoral election, Crowder became the only write-in candidate and begin serving in the position at the start of this year. He noted there’s a lot of difference between school and city government.
“It’s been really interesting. I’ve learned a lot,” Crowder said. “I’ve barely gotten to the point of scratching the surface.”
He explained that he has been interested to serve in city government since watching his father work on the city council in Malta for more than 20 years.
“I guess I’ve always missed the deadline for elections, because the timing wasn’t right,” Crowder said.
He noted that Culbertson is solid financially, but it’s a balancing act to provide needed services and keep taxation under control. City leaders are hopeful to add a community center and a new fire hall.
Crowder thanks city council members, employees and other mayors for helping him during the transition.
“I’ve been fortunate to have really good people to work with — both employees and the council,” Crowder said. “At the end of the day, it’s all about learning. It’s good for a superintendent to be learning.”
At the school, Culbertson is enjoying an enrollment increase with 25 new students between grades 1-12. The school district has increased from one to two kindergarten classes. Crowder has been able to manage his time well with the two leadership positions.
“It’s a little more time, but the biggest thing is to make sure I am available for either, especially after hours,” he noted.
He is thankful to be able to play a positive part of Culbertson’s community.
“The big thing for me is that public service is a great thing to be doing,” Crowder said. “That’s where the real commitment to the community comes at. It’s really a lot of fun and where we do our finest work. That’s where we get to connect with the people and help out a little bit on the side.”
(Publisher’s Note: This article is reprinted by permission.)