- Written by John Plestina
An infrastructure bill that would benefit eastern Montana and is stalled in the Legislature, along with talk of eastern Montana being left out when it comes to state appropriations, highlighted the Great Northern Development Corporation quarterly board meeting, Tuesday, April 14.
“This past quarter has been busy with travel, mostly to testify in Helena,” said GNDC executive director Martin DeWitt, who is resigning for a new position in Billings.
DeWitt’s last day will be Friday, April 17.
DeWitt said the month of January was spent keeping up with the pulse of the Legislature.
“I also traveled to Helena to testify on House Bill 402, which is an infrastructure bill for eastern Montana that will provide funding totaling $55 million into energy impacted communities,” DeWitt said.
HB 402, which affects all of eastern Montana, passed the third reading with a 59-39 House vote and was been transmitted to the Senate, where the Senate Finance Committee tabled it.
Roosevelt County Commissioner Gary Macdonald said HB 402 was tabled because it is similar to Senate Bill 416 by Sen. John Brendan, R-Scobey, but Brendan’s bill is more of a statewide bill that doesn’t focus on eastern Montana.
“Brendan’s bill doesn’t address eastern Montana like 402 does,” Macdonald said.
He said he will be going to Helena soon and that an effort must be made to get HB 402 off the table.
Several reports were presented at the GNDC meeting. No votes were taken as the board lacked a quorum.
- Written by Culbertson Searchlight
(Editor’s Note: The Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office distributes an inmate roster each week with charges and communities of residence to The Herald-News and The Searchlight to help keep the public informed and to illustrate that the jail has been dealing with overcrowding issues in the 17-bed facility.)
As of Tuesday, April 14, 15 inmates were housed in the Roosevelt County Jail. Fort Benton Detention Center was holding one male to alleviate overcrowding.
The RCSO reported that the following individuals were incarcerated at the jail between Monday, April 6, and Tuesday, April 14:
•Joel Campos, 37, Las Cruces, N.M., felony possession of dangerous drugs;
•Sara Darnell, 39, Poplar, U.S. Marshal’s warrant, rransferred to federal custody;
•Jason Daugherty, 37, Wolf Point, criminal possession of dangerous drugs [two counts], criminal possession of drug paraphernalia, attempted assault on a peace officer or judicial officer, and resisting arrest;
•Dale Fowler, 61, Wolf Point, criminal possession of dangerous drugs;
•Alex Ganas, 28, Sacramento, Calif.,criminal possession of drug paraphernalia, released;
•Joseph Laturell, 52, Bainville, partner/family member assault, sexual intercourse without consent and aggravated kidnapping;
•Randall Lehner, 55, Wolf Point, partner/family member assault - first offense;
•Robert Lindquist, 41, Chattoroy, Wash., criminal possession of dangerous drugs, criminal possession of drug paraphernalia and driving under the influence;
•Blake Martinez, 22, Wolf Point, federal probation violation;
•John Mincey, 47, Poplar, theft - first offense;
•Samantha Nation, 32, Poplar, theft - first offense;
•Timothy Oglesby, 31, Wolf Point, sexual intercourse without consent and incest, awaiting sentencing;
•Wesley Stearns, 42, Havre, contempt of court;
•Brian Suggs, 33, Mesa, Ariz., driving under the influence, criminal endangerment, failure to carry proof of insurance, driving a motor vehicle while the privilege to do so is revoked and fail to stop immediately at property damage accident;
• David Toavs, 27, Wolf Point, negligent endangerment, serving time, released;
•Robert Yohe, 64, Bain-
ville, out-of-county warrant;
•Carroll Wells, 34, Fairview, felony theft and burglary.
- Written by Jaimee Green
Dr. Don Helland was honored April 7 as part of Roosevelt Medical Center’s celebration of Doctor’s Day. (Submitted photo)
In recognition of National Doctor’s Day, staff at Roosevelt Medical Center in Culbertson, gathered for a potluck luncheon Tuesday, April 7, in which Dr. Don Helland was honored for his contributions to RMC.
There, Helland was presented with a personalized travel-bag and a card signed by all staff members.
“Dr. Helland has a timeless commitment to excellence in healthcare. As a physician, he is a wealth of knowledge and also maintains certification in radiology, which allows him to read ultrasounds. This enables us to get vital information back to our patients without having to send away the results to be read,” said Amber Bond, RMA, and clinic coordinator for RMC.
Originally from Cul-
bertson, Helland grew up in the 1950s just south of the river on a farm. After college, he worked for a number of healthcare organizations in California including Madera Community Hospital in Madera, Sierra Kings District Hospital in Reedly, the California Department of Corrections in Delano and Visalia Community Hospital in Visalia. He returned to the area four years ago and joined RMC as a primary care provider.
He didn’t originally plan on a career in healthcare, but after time developed an interest in preventative medicine. He received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Montana State University in 1978 before going on to receive his medical degree from Loma Linda School of Medicine in 1983. He has also been certified by the American Board of Radiology since 1988.
“When I was in my first year of college, I helped the brick layers put up the walls of this hospital building. Now, 41 years later, I look back and am glad I have been able to return and contribute to my hometown,” he said.
Today, Helland splits his time between Culbertson
and Visalia, where his wife, Stephanie lives. They have three children.
“This is a career path that is challenging, interesting and ever changing. With each patient, there is an opportunity to learn and grow as not only a physician, but as a person,” he said.
National Doctors’ Day is held every year on March 30, marking the date that Crawford W. Long, M.D., of Jefferson, Ga., administered the first anesthetic for surgery in 1842, according to www.asanq.org, the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ website.
On that day, Long administered anesthesia to a patient and then operated to remove a tumor from the man’s neck. Later, the patient would swear that he felt nothing during the surgery.
The first Doctors’ Day was first observed March 30, 1933, in Winder, Ga., when Eudora Brown Almond, wife of Dr. Charles B. Almond, decided to set aside a day to honor physicians. This first observance included mailing greeting cards to doctors and placing flowers on graves of deceased doctors.
On March 30, 1958, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted a resolution commemorating Doctors’ Day. Then in 1990, legislation was introduced in the House and Senate to establish a National Doctors’ Day, and President George Bush signed S.J. RES. No. 366 on Oct. 30, 1990, designating March 30 as National Doctors’ Day.
- Written by John Plestina
The Roosevelt County Commissioners listened to appeals from 11 people who live on or near McCabe Road for the county to fix the eight-mile county road north of Culbertson.
The commissioners delayed a decision on repairs to a future meeting.
Repairs to McCabe Road north of Culbertson have been put off for about 20 years and there is heavy oil truck traffic on the already damaged road that serves nine oil wells.
Several people said the state should fund repairs because oil industry trucks have ruined the road and that it is not a farm-to- market road any more.
“The oilfield is ruining these roads and paying very little back to the county,” commission presiding officer Duane Nygaard said.
County road department supervisor Ken Norgaard said he met with engineers and the only thing that has saved the road that was built during the 1950s is the base.
Norgaard said costs to fix McCabe Road could run between $3.2 and $3.4 million.
An alternative, he said, would be scrub sealing with a chip seal on top with no lift in the roadway at a cost of about $500,000 that could last eight to 10 years.
Scrub sealing is similar to a chip seal where asphalt emulsion and crushed rock are placed on an asphalt pavement surface.
With scrub sealing, asphalt emulsion is applied to the road surface through a series of brooms placed at different angles, guiding the asphalt emulsion into cracks.
There is currently about $1.72 million in a county road account that is earmarked for McCabe Road only. The commissioners add money to that account in every annual budget. The commissioners put $461,800 into the account last year. It is unknown how much they might put in with the next fiscal year budget.
Commissioner Gary Macdonald said a contractor will do a chip seal project on Montana Hwy. 16 in the Culbertson area so that contractor might give a lower cost for work on McCabe Road.
The commissioners also discussed spending a small part of the money this year to improve the road while building up the fund each year to fix the road correctly in a few years.
While some people want to move forward with extensive repairs on an assumption that the base of the roadway is good, the engineer advised against that. Both Macdonald and Nygaard said they do not want to go against the advice of the engineer.
Several people said the right way to fix the road is to tear it up and rebuild the base.
A woman who lives on McCabe Road asked if oil trucks could be kept off the road.
Nygaard said there is a weight limit, but it is difficult to enforce.
Macdonald said the commissioners could enact an ordinance to prohibit truck traffic on McCabe Road.
He said one problem is heavy trucks servicing the oil industry coming out of North Dakota and using Roosevelt County roads to bypass scales.
Commissioner Allen Bowker of Culbertson said County Road 1007 in the Bainville area is in worse condition than McCabe Road. Bowker, who is in the garbage business, said he almost rolled a garbage truck on Road 1007.
“There will be a funeral for 1007 before there is a funeral for McCabe Road,” Bowker said.
Bowker said he does not agree with the engineer’s assertion that the base is no good. He suggested repairing as much of the road this year as the county can afford.
Bowker likened a cheaper temporary fix to putting lipstick on a pig or spray painting an old car.
The commissioners are likely to revisit the issue as early as Tuesday, April 14, or later in April.
- Written by Jaimee Green
A community-based steering committee met Thursday, March 19, to begin prioritizing health care needs in Culb-
ertson. (Submitted photo)
Residents living within the service area of Roo-sevelt Medical Center in Culbertson identified alcohol and substance abuse [49.2 percent], cancer [48.1 percent] and obesity [34.4 percent] as the top-three area health concerns in the community, following the recent compilation of the healthcare organization’s community needs assessment survey.
Collectively, 49 percent of responders indicated they felt their community was healthy.
On Thursday, March 19, a community-based steering committee meeting was held where attendees were asked to begin prioritizing the areas where the most benefits could be realistically gained for the collective community in the area of healthcare. Department managers at RMC have also begun a series of implementation meetings that will address the findings, prioritize and identify staff members to begin a plan-of-action for areas where changes can be made immediately.
“The survey results enable us to begin moving forward with positive changes that align with our strategic plan and mission of continuing to offer quality healthcare to the community. The goal throughout this entire process is ultimately to create a community where people are living happy, healthy lives with access to as many services, outreach and educational opportunities we can feasibly and financially offer,” said RMC Administrator Audrey Stromberg.
Within the community, there are a number of organizations that have resources dedicated to community health and wellness that RMC can partner with so that the community can collectively reach their common goal of wellness.
“No organization, including RMC, has the human or financial resources to identify and independently implement the changes necessary to impact every area of concern. This has to be a community-wide effort,” said Stromberg.
Today, healthcare organizations are being tasked with focusing on population-health in community settings rather than illness-based care, which will require partnering with other individuals and agencies with expertise in some of the areas identified as needs or concerns. “We are hopeful that the steering committee will continue with its’ commitment to the work that was started and will be successful with engaging others in the work that needs to be to done to assure a broad-base of health services in our frontier community,” said Sharon Schmitz, Better Health Improvement Specialist for the Frontier Medicine Better Health Partnership.
The survey found that the top-three programs community members would like to see more of in their community were geared toward weight loss, women’s health and fitness; while the top three key components for a healthy community were access to healthcare and other services, affordable housing and healthy behaviors and lifestyles.
The top-rated services offered at RMC were ambulance and laboratory services and physical therapy, with an overall Quality-of-Care rating of “excellent” to “good,” with 3.3 out of 4.0. The services most received by the community were influenza injections through the clinic, routine check-ups and cholesterol checks.
The survey revealed the community’s desire to have local access to a dental clinic, [31 percent] fitness center, [16.6 percent] and message therapy, [14.1 percent]. Those surveyed identified the top-three ways for improving access to quality local healthcare as adding more specialists, [38.3 percent], more primary care providers, [37.7 percent] and additional out-patient services, [30.1 percent].
The survey, mailed out in December to 880 random members within the community, was part of RMCs dedication to getting input from the community while meeting their obligations to maintain their non-profit status. Of the surveys returned, 58 percent of respondents were from Culbertson, 20 percent were from Froid and 9 percent were from Bainville. Of those, 59 percent were female and 38 percent were male, with a number of “no-responses” for the remaining percentages. The majority of the respondents were age 56-65, [26 percent]. The remaining participants were between the ages of 46-55, [20 percent] and 46-55, [16 percent].
“It’s important for the community to realize that, at the end of the day, RMC still has to make decisions that are fiscally responsible to ensure the implementation of those new things identified by the community as essential don’t become a detriment to the organization’s bottom line. We are a non-profit organization, so it’s important for RMC and the community to find that compromise that best meets the needs of everybody,” said Schmitz.
RMC is part of the Frontier Medicine Better Health Partnerships project, which was formed to address the unique healthcare challenges faced by frontier healthcare. Throughout the state, there is participation from 24 other healthcare organizations.
The surveys were compiled by the Montana Office of Rural Health and Area Health Education Center in Bozeman and contracted through the National Rural Health Resource Center, of Duluth, MN. The project was fully funded through the Frontier Medicine Better Health Partnership Grant.
Historically, the community needs assessment survey has served as a vital tool that has helped RMC determine parts of the population most at risk for varying healthcare issues, as well as identify the top concerns of the community. RMC then uses this data to provide care and services through community outreach programs, preventative care measures and education.
In 2010 congress enacted the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA), which put in place comprehensive health insurance reforms with the goal of enhancing the quality of healthcare for all Americans. This Act also required non-profit hospitals to complete a community needs assessment every three years in order to maintain their non-profit status.
To review the entire survey log onto www.rooseveltmedical.org
Copies are available at RMC for review.