CS Masthead

Sheriff Freedom Crawford Tenders Resignation

Sheriff Freedom Crawford submitted a letter of resignation to the Roosevelt County Commission, effective Oct. 1, more than one month prior to the fall election.
Crawford, seeking a third term, is opposed by Deputy Jason Frederick, who garnered considerably more votes than Crawford in the June primary election. Crawford finished second among four candidates.
Commissioner Gary Macdonald said the commission is expected to accept Crawford’s resignation Tuesday, Sept. 16.
He also said he did not know if the three-member commission would appoint Frederick, undersheriff John Summers or anyone else to serve as interim sheriff until after the election.
Macdonald said he would consult with assistant county attorney Jordan Knudsen prior to the meeting.
The commissioners meet at 11 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 16.

Lt. Governor Touts Jobs For Montana Graduates Program During Visits To Culbertson, Brockton Schools

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The first picture is Lt. Gov. Angela McLean chatting with preschooler Lauren Rumsey, 4, and Culbertson High School sophomore Sierra Machart in the lobby of Culbertson School.  McLean meets another Angela in the second photo, Culbertson High School senior Angela Benson in a Jobs For Montana Graduates classroom at CHS.  The third photo is Culbertson school superintendent Larry Crowder explaining about the school's achievements to McLean.  (Photos by John Plestina)


Lt. Gov. Angela McLean touted the importance of the Jobs For Montana Graduates
program during a visit to the schools in Brockton and Culbertson, Friday, Sept. 5.
The Montana Legislature first funded Jobs For Montana Graduates in 1990, as a school-to-work class designed to help students in grades 9-12 prepare for their futures. The Montana program is an affiliate of Jobs for America’s Graduates, to encourage students to stay in school, graduate and successfully transition from school into employment, post-secondary education, other training or the military. JMG students develop career plans that could include college, technical education or military service to achieve their career goals.
Civic responsibility, including volunteering, is also taught.
JMG is in most area schools, including Wolf Point High School.
McLean’s visit to the two Roosevelt County schools was part of Gov. Steve Bullock’s back to school tour focusing on innovation in Montana public schools.
“My number one job is to make sure they graduate from high school,” Culbertson JMG coordinator Mary Machart said.
She said a lot of the students have jobs.
The Culbertson students will attend the JMG Fall Leadership Conference in Helena in October.
Brockton High School is also hoping to send some or all of the JMG students.
McLean invited the students from both schools to the capital.
JMG is in its second year at Brockton High School.
Brockton JMG teacher Roxanne Smith, a Brockton graduate, asked the JMG students what they want to do after high school. The responses ranged from construction, to aviation, to computer engineering and the military as a career.
“I was a classroom teacher up until about seven months ago,” McLean told the Brockton JMG class.
She resigned as an Anaconda High School teacher in February when Bullock appointed her to fill the lieutenant governor position that John Walsh vacated when he was appointed to fill the U.S. Senate seat that Max Baucus resigned from to become U.S. Ambassador to China.
“I taught social studies,” McLean said. “It’s really good to be back in a classroom.”
She said the efforts of the students is why she was there. The trip was her third to the Fort Peck Reservation since February.
“That’s one of the reasons we’re here today. We want to celebrate you. We want to celebrate your teachers,” McLean said.
“You matter. The work you do here matters. We want to make sure you all graduate,” she said.

Go-Getters’ Kids Rodeo

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Go-Getters Rodeo queen contestant Tally Berwick of Bainville.  (Photo by John Plestina)

Lt. Governor Hears About Eastern Roosevelt County’s Bakken Growing Pains

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Culbertson school board chairman Paul Finnicum explains about the school’s achievements to Lt. Gov. Angela McLean.  School board member Ron Larsen is also pictured.  (Photo by John Plestina)

Growing pains forged out of the Bakken oil boom that have impacted Cul­bertson and other eastern Roosevelt County communities were stressed to Lt. Gov. Angela McLean in a meeting at Culbertson School, Friday, Sept. 5, with school superintendent Larry Crowder, school board chairman Paul Finnicum and board member Ron Larsen.
Crowder told McLean that the district is adding four additional classrooms to alleviate increasing enrollments and crowded classrooms.
Culbertson School is not accepting out-of-district enrollments for those grades with crowded classes.
“It’s the first time that I remember we had to turn kids away,” Finnicum said.
“Thirty-five percent are out of district. There is a reason that 35 percent of our students come from out of our district,” he said of the high standard of education in Culbertson.
“We ran out of desks. We ran out of lockers,” Finnicum said.
“Two summers ago we hired 11 new teachers,” Crowder said and added that there were fewer openings this past summer, and it was easier for the district to fill the positions.
The high cost of living in eastern Roosevelt County was cited.
“A lot of this is oil and gas. There was no real way to prepare for that,” Finnicum said.
“If I want to rent a bedroom in a basement, it’s $700 a month,” he said.
But instead of inflating wages to attract and retain teachers, the trustees opted to pay impact stipends and provide district-owned affordable housing for staff.
Oil and gas impacts have benefited the district financially, including the concentric circle funding that benefits school districts with oil and gas development and the neighboring districts. It provided just under $1 million to the Culbertson district last year.
“We haven’t levied a dime,” Finnicum said.
Preschool and pending “Early Edge” state legislation that would fund it statewide was also discussed.
“It’s hard to maintain a preschool presence,” Finnicum said.
McLean said she thinks if the legislation passes, there would be a 75 percent take-up rate the first year.
“We want the legislature to make funding available,” she said, adding that she thinks that will happen.
Finnicum said he doesn’t want to see “Early Edge” bring a preschool program into place at the cost of other educational funding from the state.
Larsen said the Culbertson district is dealing with high mobility of families with children because of the oil industry.
“Mobility is a big factor right now,” Finnicum said.
He said there is a higher percentage of children from transient Bakken families with Individual Education Plans in special education than children from more stable families.
“In the last five years, we have seen a rapid increase in our special education count,” Crowder said.
He is in his 17th year as superintendent and said he has seen significant growth and changes.
“We are keenly aware of the challenges you face,” McLean said. “[The state] will assist appropriately.”

Storm Produces Damage, Unconfirmed Funnel Cloud Reports

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A microburst Wednesday, Sept. 3, blew out a garage door and wall on Darrell and Karen Synan’s shop near McCabe.  (Submitted Photo)


The National Weather Service in Glasgow reported that the storm system that brought thunder storms to Roosevelt, Valley, Daniels and Sheridan counties, Wednesday, Sept. 3, included a series of multicellular line thunderstorms that moved eastward between the Canadian border and U.S. Hwy 2.
The storms produced isolated areas of microburst winds and hail up to one inch in diameter.
The NWS conducted a damage survey based on reports that buildings and large trees were down and unconfirmed reports of funnel cloud.
Wind gusts as high as 67 mph were reported between Wolf Point and Scobey,
A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for southeastern Daniels, northwestern Roosevelt and western Sheridan County from 5:40 p.m. through 6:45 p.m.
Another warning was issued east of the original one that included southeastern Daniels County, northeastern Roosevelt County and all of Sheridan County from 6:29 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Damage was reported near McCabe and Froid.
Winds estimated to have been as high as 75 mph caused reported damage at a new home site with a modular home and a large metal pole barn located 2.4 miles east of the intersection of Montana Hwy. 16 and County Road 496. A few nearby homes had missing shingles. A few trees were snapped or cracked. A garage door was blown in and a wall blown out on a pole barn.