- Written by John Plestina
An Amtrak employee who is alleged to have committed a kidnap and sexual assault onboard an Amtrak train that was passing through Roosevelt County on April 19 made an initial appearance in 15th District Court Wednesday, May 13.
The Roosevelt County Sheriff's Office identified the defendant as Charles Henry Pinner, 59, of Detroit, Mich.
Undersheriff John Summers said Pinner works for Amtrak and is based in Chicago, Ill.
An online search shows Pinner living in Detroit with several previous addresses in Los Angeles and two other cities in California.
Sporting long dreadlocks, a beard and gray stripped jail suit, Pinner appeared before District Judge David Cybulski where his charges were read. He did not have an attorney and pleas were not entered. Pinner is scheduled to appear for a full arraignment Wednesday, May 27.
The charging documents show two counts filed against Pinner of sexual intercourse without consent and aggravated kidnapping. Each felony charge carries maximum penalties of 100 years imprisonment.
Summers said Pinner was working onboard Amtrak’s eastbound Empire Builder route that stops in Wolf Point April 19. A woman who was a passenger onboard that train made the allegations to Amtrak. The federal Amtrak Police Department detained Pinner in Chicago. APD transported Pinner to Fargo, N.D., where he was held temporarily.
Summers said the woman who made the allegations is not from Roosevelt County.
He said APD contacted the RCSO about the allegations April 30.
The Roosevelt County Attorney’s Office filed the charges against Pinner May 1.
Sheriff Jason Frederick and jail administrator Melvin Clark drove to Fargo and brought Pinner back to Wolf Point Tuesday, May 12.
RCSO Sgt. Patrick O’Connor and federal APD detectives based in Havre and California worked on the investigation.
- Written by Nancy Mahan
The Culbertson School board met in regular session May 19. Paying the bills and the approving agenda as first order of business.
The next business was swearing in the elected board members and the reorganization of the school board. Paul Finnicum is the chairperson while Ron Larsen is the vice chair. Lora Finnicum, the current district clerk, was approved.
The 2015-16 school year student council members were present to request permission to start a student council Facebook page, controlled and monitored by their adviser. These students are: Adam Buxbaum, president; Chris Azure Melbourne, vice president; Tessa Larsen, junior secretary; Jacob Martin, sophomore class representative; Ashtyn Handy, senior class representative; Skyler Tibbs, junior class representative; Wyatt Sheldon, senior class representative; Logan Nickoloff, representative at-large; Noah Nickoloff, freshman representative at-large; Lucas Oelkers, freshman representative; Charlie LaMay, representative; at-large; and Sierra Machart, junior representative.
In other business, the summer facility projects are ready and waiting. These projects include a new ceiling in the north elementary hallway, plumbing issues in the east elementary wing will receive upgrades, as will the janitorial sink and the administrative restroom. Library computers on the east wall will get new shelving, parking lines will be repainted, windows re-caulked, on landscape finishing touches on the north side of the new gym addition, fixing the old armory leaks and replacing the interior door knobs.
In construction news, the bus barn is waiting on a heating system and the concrete apron needs poured. The south elementary addition has concrete on both levels with the anticipation of exterior walls going up soon.
The kindergarten through eight grade students meet and exceeded the expectations for the Accelerated Reading Program and all the classes earned pizza parties and field trips to the ARC in Williston, N.D.
- Written by John Plestina
The Roosevelt County Commissioners held a public hearing Tuesday, May 26, to discuss architects that are vying for the contract to design the new county jail.
The commissioners will hold a special meeting Friday, May 29, to make a decision on an architect.
The county sought requests for proposals from architects and seven responded. The field is narrowed to four finalists. They are Slate Architecture of Bozeman; Stevenson Design of Miles City; Epic of Williston, N.D.; and Klien McCarthy of Bismarck, N.D.
Voters in November approved a bonding measure to replace the aging jail with a 47.58 percent voter turnout. A lower, 34.88 percent voter turnout prevented passage of a similar measure in June 2014.
The approval authorizes the county commissioners to issue and sell $11.86 million in general obligation bonds to be repaid within 20 years.
The current jail is under-sized and does not meet current jail standards.
Legal action brought by the American Civil Liberties Union in 2013 forced Roosevelt County to reduce the number of jail beds by nearly one half.
- Written by John Plestina
The Roosevelt County Commissioners appointed two people to finish the terms of both Brockton City Council members who resigned during the weekly commission meeting Tuesday, May 26.
The commissioners did not reveal the names of the people who resigned or the reason for the resignation.
The commissioners appointed Rodney Burshia and Stacy Stangeland to fill the vacancies.
Neither were available for comments.
Brockton has a mayor who remains in office.
In other business, the commissioners voted to hire Interstate Engineering of Nashua to seek bids for a scrub seal of McCabe Road at a cost of $47,000. The county cannot afford a complete reconstruction of the eight miles of paved roadway.
The commissioners also again discussed the use of McCabe by truckers from North Dakota to avoid state scales. The commissioners discussed adopting a county ordinance closing the road to through traffic.
Sheriff Jason Frederick said he was not aware of the problem and said he could provide some patrol of McCabe Road.
In another matter, the commissioners voted to seek bids for the relocation of several hydrants in Culbertson for the fair board.
Questions were raised of whether engineering is needed.
The commissioners also denied a request by the Fair Board to create a new position of assistant supervisor and put that position at a higher pay scale.
- Written by Mary Machart
I still find it hard to believe that it’s been 23 years since I moved to northeast Montana from California. The changes I’ve experienced are endless and priceless.
The question I always faced when visiting home was, “What do you do there?” and “How do you stand the cold?”
My parents taught me to bloom where you are planted and I was quite young then. As time passed, my answer was the same for both questions, “The people.” How can the people of northeast Montana make it a great place? Many times I have seen why, but most recently it was obvious to me at the first annual [yes, annual] JMG Color Fun Run. JMG is the Jobs For Montana Graduates program.
This event came about through a discussion with a small class of seventh- graders who, at a young age, have already experienced the pain of losing someone they love. These students came together and wanted to show their compassion and support for another. A very long story short, the idea of the color run was born. The outpouring support was priceless. Each time I would announce what was donated, or how many people had registered, the smiles lit up the room. Realizing that everyone everywhere has their own issues they are faced with, they wanted to bring the communities together, all ages, and have something that everyone could enjoy and find a reason to smile again. I wish I could list each and every person who made it all possible, but I am sure to leave someone out.
We teamed up with the third annual Wrangler Play Days to make Tuesday, May 19, a great day. Following another emotional and fantastic event of dissing the ‘dis’ ablities and celebrating the “A”bilities, I headed out to the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds. When I pulled up, my eyes filled with tears. Every person who said they would help or volunteer for the Fun Run was there. Everything was being set up and it was all coming together. Business people, community members everyone was helping to make this a reality.
In the end, their goal was to make people smile again. To celebrate the end of the school year with each other and finding true joy again. I know I haven’t seen all of the pictures that are out there yet, but as far as I can tell, they were very successful in bring joy to many people.
We may not have a movie theater, bowling alley, rec center, mall or even a 24-hour restaurant, but we have something that money can’t buy. In the old west we have heard stories of barn raising parties, where everyone shows up to help a fellow neighbor in need. I have seen this time and time again. Loyalty, compassion, caring, empathy, teamwork, call it what you will, but I believe it is the spirit of the people in rural Montana that make this a real true heaven on earth. Big companies and businesses may come and go, but those with roots in this area have seen it all and there is one thing that always has and always will remain, the spirit of caring for one another and truly being a community. We may not be raising barns, but we are raising one another. I am humbled and honored to live here and be a part of it.
Culbertson High School