- Written by Angela Rose Benson
Some Culbertson residents are waking up to a sea of pink, all in the name of fundraising for the Future Farmers of America. (Photo by Angela Rose Benson)
Either Culbertson residents have taken a liking to pink, plastic lawn ornaments or there’s another fundraiser taking place within the community. “You’ve Been Flocked” is the theme of the Culbertson Future Farmer’s of America Chapter’s fundraiser.
It all started when Jens Nielsen, Culbertson High School FFA advisor, found the fundraising idea on the internet.
“Opheim’s FFA chapter did it, so we thought to try it,” he said.
Imagine waking up to find a flock consisting of some 20 flamingos scattered about your lawn with a giant wooden sign, built and painted by FFA members, that reads, “You’ve Been Flocked by the Culbertson FFA.” According to Nielsen, some of the pink darlings are awake with their heads up, while others are sleeping standing on one leg.
Once you’ve been flocked, you will find a pamphlet, designed by FFA members, at your door, explaining that in order to remove the plastic flamingos from your lawn, you must pick where the birds migrate to next and then contact McKade Mahlen, FFA president, or any other FFA member. You have the choice of making a donation to the local FFA chapter and an additional donation to find out who sent the birds to your yard.
Culbertson FFA members will then transfer them from your yard to the next victim’s yard during the nighttime.
The fundraiser began on Saturday evening, Sept. 28, when the pink feathered birds, donated to the FFA by community members, migrated to our area.
“My students and the community really are having fun with it,” said Nielsen.
Due to the high demand of Culbertson residents interested in sending the flamingos to their friend’s or family’s lawns, a second flock has been created and is also traveling about the community.
Within one week of fundraising, a total of eight yards have had the plastic, unexpected visitors, according to Nielsen.
“We’ve actually come across community members who are upset that they haven’t been flocked yet,” he laughed. “It wasn’t our expected reaction. Some people whom have been flocked have left us notes saying ‘Dear bird people’ and others have written their checks out to the Culbertson FFA for animal control. Many of the community members have been great about it with quite a sense of humor.”
The flamingos will continue flocking lawns in Culbertson throughout October for the next three to four weeks. All funds raised will be used pay for FFA members to attend National FFA on Oct. 28-31 and the FFA State Conference in April of next year.
- Written by Culbertson Searchlight
New concrete was poured at the entrance of the American Legion Hall parking lot in Culbertson last week. (Photo by Angela Rose Benson)
- Written by John Plestina
There were no survivors of two motor vehicle crashes 22 miles apart that claimed four lives near Wolf Point and Frazer during a 14-hour period between 7 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 29, and 9:15 a.m., Wednesday.
The sheriff’s offices in Roosevelt and Valley counties identified the four people. Identifications were made on Thursday and Friday of the three victims of the fiery crash near Frazer.
The Valley County Sheriff’s Office identified the three people killed near Frazer as Richard Sudduth, 70, Mary Sue Sudduth, 68, of Saco, and Henry Seibel, 62, of Ross, N.D., which is about 60 miles east of Williston, N.D.
The Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office identified the man killed near Wolf Point as Aaron Dwight Monroe, 44, of Great Falls. According to Undersheriff John Summers, Monroe was working in construction in North Dakota and might have been traveling back to Great Falls.
The Montana Highway Patrol reported that the Sudduths and Seibel died in a head-on collision between two pickup trucks that burned about two miles east of Frazer about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29.
MHP Sgt. Jeff Kent said the pickup Seibel was driving was traveling in the eastbound lane and the Sudduth’s pickup appeared to have been traveling westbound.
Kemp said it appeared that the Sudduths encroached into the other lane and struck Seibel’s vehicle head-on.
He said Friday, Oct. 2, that the reason the truck crossed the center line was not known.
MHP trooper Seth Adams told The Herald-News Monday, Oct. 5, that the reason remained unknown.
“It’s still an ongoing investigation. We hope to have more answers soon,” he said. “The coroner did do some tests for blood.”
Seibel was on his way back to North Dakota from Great Falls.
“We believe from the damages to the vehicles that the occupants were deceased prior to the fire,” Adams said.
“It’s a reminder of how sudden things can change when you’re driving down the highway,” he said.
“Both vehicles were blocking the highway. The highway was shut down for several hours and traffic was detoured [onto Indian Hwy.],” Kent said.
“We were out there past midnight,” he said.
Summers said hot aluminum from an engine melted and fused to the highway damaging the asphalt.
The MHP reported that Monroe died in a single-vehicle rollover of a crew cab pickup Wednesday morning near Windy Hill Road. He was the sole occupant.
Monroe was westbound near mile marker 596 when his pickup drifted off the south side of the roadway, overcorrected twice and rolled several times off the north side of the highway, according to the MHP.
“The Cascade County Sheriff’s Office helped us out and notified the wife [of Monroe] and gave her the bad news,” Summers said.
“We believe he was heading back to Great Falls when he crashed,” he said.
Wolf Point Volunteer Fire Department did the extrication east of Wolf Point. Valley County Long Run Fire Department did the extrications of both vehicles at the Frazer area crash.
- Written by Angela Rose Benson
Culbertson Town Council member Bruce Houle brought solar-powered radar speed displays as a possible means of averting speeding near Culbertson School to the council agenda Monday, Oct. 5.
He said he does not know the cost but believes they would be something the council should invest in during the lightly attended, regularly scheduled meeting.
“The speed limit is 25 through town, but vehicles fly down Broadway and past the school along Hwy. 2, seemingly unaware of the set speed limit,” Houle said.
These display signs would show “your speed” on the top of the digital sign, with the set speed limit shown on the bottom. The council plans to find out more information on the radar speed displays and discuss whether or not to install them within the city limits at the council meeting in November. If the council approves the purchase of these signs, they would be placed on Broadway and on U.S. Hwy. 2 west of Culbertson Public Schools.
“There are students near the school, so we can’t have people speeding through there,” Mayor Gordon Oelkers said. “It’s a concern on Broadway as well where there are always pedestrians and some traffic.”
Rob Eaton, of Amtrak and Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroads, will be meeting with the council on Nov. 4 in Culbertson to discuss the possible Amtrak stop.
“We will basically need his blessing in order to proceed with our plans,” Oelkers said.
All ponds are lined on the Water Phase II project. Don Davis, of WWC Engineering, gave updates and said that they are waiting for stainless steal products and new valves.
Houle inquired about purchasing temporary valves until the new valves arrive, though, the council is concerned on the costs of the temporary valves. “Purchasing the temporary valves may be out of the pocket for us,” said Greg Hennessy, town attorney.
Davis plans to ask the questions needed to answer the council’s concerns at his next planning meeting.
“Other than waiting on those shipments, everything is looking sharp. B & B are doing a top rate job,” he said.
United Grains is looking to construct new bins at their offload facility. The company requested a building permit, along with several other Culbertson residents whom are planning to build sheds or a modular home. All permit requests were approved by the council.
- Written by Eric Killelea
Rep. Bridget Smith, D-Wolf Point, flies Cape Air services in and out of Billings for business and personal meetings.
She is among the declining number of passengers using the Essential Air Service program that offers flights to Billings from Glasgow, Glendive, Havre, Sidney and Wolf Point since 2013 and has been awarded a new subsidized contract by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The new contract continues service over the next four years at a 3 percent increase in annual subsidy. The current annual subsidy is $11.9 million.
Smith says the airline service is needed despite the number of passengers having dropped over the past year due to the slowdown in the Bakken oil fields of eastern Montana and western North Dakota.
The latest federal data shows most airports suffered declining figures between August 2013 and August 2014: Glasgow at 0.8 percent to 4,847 passengers; Glendive at 8.9 percent to 2,835; Sidney at 11.7 percent to 13,376; Wolf Point at 1.3 percent to 5,030. Havre increased its numbers by 0.3 to 3,029.
“Still, we need our airline service,” Smith said. “It’s one of the areas – besides roads – that we need help with here.”
Flights cost $52 each way, including all taxes and fees. The airline’s nine-passenger plane departs from the Wolf Point airport at 6:45 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on its flights to Billings, and arrives back in Wolf Point at 12:16 p.m. and 7:11 p.m.
Richard Isle, director at the Wolf Point Public Works Department with general administrative power over the airport, said passengers can take the early morning flights and return home in the same day and others can use the service to catch connecting flights elsewhere.
“The oil patch has settled down, but the airline service is going well for all of us,” Isle said. “It’s a huge benefit. People fly out for business and medical reasons. The elderly love it. They don’t have to drive for their doctor’s appointments.”
To meet federal requirements the city airport has undergone several projects over the past decade: installment of the new aerodrome beacon and airport wind socks; expansion of the terminal for Transportation Security Administration screenings; construction of a fire equipment building and the runway.
Cape Air also serves markets in the northeast, Midwest and Caribbean. Its Montana Essential Air Service predecessors include Big Sky Airlines, Great Lakes Aviation and Silver Airways. Congress created the EAS program after deregulation of the airline industry in the late 1970s to help small communities maintain regular air service.