- Written by Angela Rose Benson
With harvest season underway, winter months ahead bringing snow to shovel and simply taking on the world with a busy agenda, it is hard for most to ever find time for themselves.
Tori Kirkaldie, a 2013 Culbertson High School graduate, is trying to help area residents manage stress, muscle fatigue, aches and pains or other symptoms that stem from attempting to keep up with the demands of a constant 24/7 lifestyle.
Kirkaldie received her license in massage therapy in June after passing her state exam and completing a two-year program at Williston State College in North Dakota. Recently, Kirkaldie began renting an office at Roosevelt Medical Center and takes clients Monday through Friday as an independent contractor.
“Almost everyone can benefit from a massage. People who are stressed, need more relaxation and less muscle tension are perfect candidates for enjoying the benefits of taking some time for themselves,” Kirkaldie said.
She schedules her clients around their schedules and offers sessions that last between 30 and 100 minutes.
“I feel like it’s cliché to say that I love helping people. But, it’s true. I want to help those who come to me sore and tense and know they are going to leave my office feeling better,” she said.
- Written by John Plestina
(Editor’s Note: This is the second installment of a two-part series addressing the recent vote by the Fort Peck Tribes Executive Board to legalize medical marijuana, potential roadblocks in federal law, whether the tribal law would compliment or clash with Montana’s 11-year-old voter-approved measure that allows medical marijuana and attempts to overturn the Montana statute.)
Forget the 1970s and ‘80s Cheech and Chong movies glorifying pot smoking. Toking to get a buzz remains illegal.
Montana voters approved an initiative in 2004 legalizing medical marijuana by prescription only and with a host of legal restrictions.
To date, 22 other states and the District of Columbia have statutes legalizing marijuana for medical reasons only, and Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana for adults 21 and over.
Now that a 60 percent majority of the Fort Peck Tribes Executive Board has voted to legalize medical marijuana on the reservation and recognize Montana medical marijuana cards carried by enrolled tribal members effective Oct. 1, questions loom over a federal prohibition of possessing, distributing or cultivating any amount of medical and recreational marijuana and allowing federal authorities to disregard state law.
Legal opinions have determined the Montana law does not apply to the seven Indian reservations within the state and other federal lands. It has been interpreted that non-Indians living in Wolf Point, Poplar and elsewhere on the Fort Peck Reservation cannot legally use medical marijuana.
Federal agents raided marijuana greenhouses and dispensaries in 13 cities across Montana in 2011 in a crackdown that federal prosecutors said was aimed at medical marijuana suppliers that were engaged in large-scale drug trafficking.
That federal action came two years after the federal Ogden memo said the federal government would not prosecute medical marijuana providers and patients in states that legalized it.
The Billings Gazette reported Sunday, Aug. 16, that Michael Cotter, U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana, declined to comment on the priority of future federal prosecution of medical marijuana providers.
Between 2009 and 2011, the numbers of medical marijuana providers in Montana increased, as did the number of Montanans issued cards allowing them to lawfully use marijuana for medical purposes, at least as determined in state law. That number increased from about 4,000 to 30,000 during the two-year-period and then dropped to less than a third of the 30,000 the following year.
The Montana Department of Health and Human Services has released recent data that registered medical marijuana patients have increased from 8,681 in June 2012 to 12,017 patients in June of this year.
Legal medical marijuana providers have increased from 390 in June 2012 to 442 this June. There were 4,438 dispensaries operating in Montana in 2011.
Critics of the 11-year-old law cite medical cannabis being converted for recreational pot smoking and illegal drug trade.
In April 2011, then Gov. Brian Schweitzer vetoed a bill that would have repealed the voter-approved initiative.
The Legislature also passed a bill in 2011 to dismantle the program by disallowing compensation for providers and limiting the maximum number of patients to three.
A legal challenge in a state district court in Helena questioned whether the Legislature could restrict access to medical marijuana and succeeded in eliminating the ban on compensation and the three-patient limit.
A state appeal to the Montana Supreme Court determined that a district court judge erred and bumped the decision back to the lower court. The Helena judge made the same decision.
The state has again appealed the district court decision to the state Supreme Court.
The Legislature, also in 2011, passed the Montana Marijuana Act, repealing the Montana Medical Marijuana Act that voters approved in 2004. The 2011 legislation provides for a gradual shift in the state medical marijuana system.
The state Department of Public Health and Human Services began accepting applications for providers and registry identification cards to persons with qualifying medical conditions in June 2011. The new law included a 30-day application approval process for registry identification cards and prohibited unregistered providers from being in possession of mature plants, seedlings, cuttings, clones, usable marijuana, or marijuana-related products. The 2011 legislation mandated that as of Oct. 1, 2011, all prescription marijuana providers pass background checks.
Montana’s medical marijuana program has been called unworkable by some state lawmakers resulting in two bills introduced into the last legislative session early this year. Neither made it out of committee.
Registry identification cards are issued to Montana residents only and are valid for one year or less.
The existing Montana law requires that minors younger than age 18 have permission from a parent or guardian and have a recommendation for a second physician.
Restrictions also include that: registry identification cardholders may not provide marijuana to any person unless the cardholder is also registered as a provider and the recipient is registered as that cardholder’s patient; a person may not be a registered cardholder if the person is on court-ordered probation, in the custody of or under the supervision of the department of corrections or a youth court; prohibits cardholders from providing marijuana to any person unless the cardholder is also registered as a provider, and the recipient is registered as that cardholder’s patient; makes the identities of cardholders available to law enforcement; requires that cardholders who are suspected of DUI during law enforcement traffic are required to submit to blood draws to analyze the amount of THC in the system; prohibits smoking marijuana in plain view of the public; prohibits use at primary and secondary schools, colleges, on property owned or leased by a school district or college; does not shield cardholders from workplace drug use policies; allows insurance providers to decline compensation; and prohibits subsidization through government programs.
Cards are revoked of persons convicted of DUI because of marijuana, any misdemeanor or felony drug offense, for allowing another person to be in possession of usable marijuana, marijuana infused products including edibles, plants or seedlings, or the registration card.
The Montana law limits legal possession to a maximum of four mature plants and 12 seedlings, but is vague about how cardholders could legally obtain marijuana plants. If a cardholder has selected a provider, that cardholder is not authorized to be in possession of plants and if the cardholder has elected to grow his or her own, there is no person legally authorized to provide plants to that person.
Cardholders growing marijuana must notify DPHHS of the location of the plants.
- Written by Angela Rose Benson
Nancy Mahan poses next to her life-sized Elmo and entire collection. (Photo by Angela Rose Benson)
A giant, red unidentified furry object was spotted at a yard sale located in Culbertson on Friday, Aug. 7. Residents of the town were overcome with curiosity, wondering where this object came from and why its vibrant colors made an appearance in their quiet, small town.
The well-known face of Elmo was plastered on items such as beach towels, rugs, coffee mugs, watches, socks, backpacks, etc., and this was all on display being sold outside the home of Nancy Mahan of Culbertson.
Mahan has been collecting Elmo memorabilia for some 25 years and she has obtained rare items including the original Tickle Me Elmo dating back to 1996.
“The first day Tickle Me Elmo was released onto shelves in department stores was around Christmas time,” Mahan said. “My mom brought it home for me as a gift and it was a great surprise.”
The collection grew to a couple hundred Elmo items over many years, and Mahan did not have to buy any of them, saying that they were all given to her as gifts from friends and family. Mahan’s collection has traveled with her as she has moved to states such as Oregon, Washington, Virginia and Colorado, and they have always decorated the inside of her homes.
While most of the Elmo collection was being sold at the yard sale, Mahan decided to keep her favorite: a life-sized stuffed Elmo, standing at about five-feet tall.
“I’ve given the life-sized Elmo to my niece because she snuggles up to him and seems to enjoy it,” mentioned Mahan. “He’s hers now.”
Before stopping traffic in Culbertson and retiring to cuddle up with Mahan’s niece, the five-foot tall Elmo was busy traveling the country side, visiting sites such as Yosemite National Park in California and Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota.
“I was driving from Colorado to Virginia and I buckled up Elmo so he made the trip with me,” Mahan said.
After spending many years enjoying her inner child, Mahan has decided to discontinue collecting Elmo. She now collects rocks, sand and enjoys photography.
“Eventually it’s time to grow up,” she said.
A few items from the impressive Elmo collection had been purchased at Mahan’s local yard sale, but the remaining items currently reside with Mahan inside of her Culbertson home. The whereabouts of the life-sized Elmo is unknown.
- Written by John Plestina
Three transients accused of driving to Glasgow in a stolen a pickup to visit a friend in jail had initial appearances in 15th District Court Aug. 12.
Authorities allege that two women from Missouri and a California man used a stolen truck to visit a Florida man in the Valley County Detention Center Aug. 11. According to the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office, the pickup was stolen from Cherokee Village, Ark., and had Wyoming license plates that were reported stolen from another vehicle.
A RCSO deputy arrested the three people after spotting the stolen truck at Town Pump in Wolf Point, followed the pickup into the Albertson’s parking lot where he conducted a traffic stop.
Undersheriff John Summers said it has been reported that they had used the stolen truck to visit Julian Baughman, 32, of Tampa, Fla., at the jail in Glasgow.
Baughman is one of two men accused of taking RCSO deputies on a high-speed chase in a stolen truck through Culbertson in July that ended with officers shooting out the tires to stop the pickup in a field.
Amanda Marie Broyles, 41, of Lexington, Mo., Brett Joseph Sandy, 25, of Orange, Calif., and Shannon Temmel, 40, of St Louis, Mo., were taken into custody and brought before District Judge David Cybulski the next day for initial appearances.
All are believed to have recently lived in Williston, N.D.
According to the RCSO, Temmel claims to be Baughman’s girlfriend.
Broyles is facing four charges: obtaining or exerting unauthorized control over property valued in excess of $1,500, which is felony theft; displaying a license plate assigned to another vehicle; operating a motor vehicle while the privilege to do so is suspended or revoked in North Dakota; and obstructing a peace officer by providing a false identity.
Sandy is charged with felony obtaining or exerting unauthorized control over property valued in excess of $1,500.
Temmel is charged with felony obtaining or exerting unauthorized control over property valued in excess of $1,500.
The Valley County Detention Center is holding Broyles and Temmel for Roosevelt County. Sandy is lodged in the Roosevelt County Jail. All three are held on $25,000 bail.
Baughman and Kevyn Johannesson, 26, of Williston, N.D., are alleged to have taken RCSO deputies a high-speed chase in a stolen vehicle that started in Culbertson and ended with deputies shooting out the tires to stop the truck in a field outside Culbertson July 7.
They were arraigned July 29. Baughman pleaded not guilty to three counts of felony theft, criminal endangerment, fleeing from or eluding a peace officer and two counts of criminal mischief. Johannesson pleaded not guilty on the same date to three counts of felony theft, criminal endangerment, fleeing from or eluding a peace officer and two counts of criminal mischief.
According to charging documents, a RCSO deputy pursued Baughman who was driving a van reported stolen in Williston on U.S. Hwy. 2 in Culbertson. Baughman attempted to elude the deputy and later exited the van and got into the passenger side of a pickup truck driven by Johannesson, who took the deputy on a chase with speeds reported as high as 80 mph that ended in a nearby field after one deputy fired three shotgun blasts and another discharged two rounds with a rifle into the tires to disable the vehicle.
The pickup was reported stolen from Williston.
Over $30,000 worth of stolen tools and equipment was recovered from the van, according to court documents.
The Montana Standard of Butte reported in April that Baughman and a woman identified as Shannon Michelle Culey, then 39, of St. Louis, Mo., were arrested for attempting to steal a pickup truck in Butte and being in possession of a car that was reported stolen in Billings that contained between $2,000 and $3,000 worth of stolen items. A records search showed that Culey has used the alias Temmel.
- Written by Angela Rose Benson
A Red Cross of Montana employee delivers many large crates filled with donated blood from the recent Community Blood Drive held Aug. 6 in Culbertson.
The Red Cross of Montana was able to collect a total of 27 units during their recent Blood Drive held at Roosevelt Medical Center on Aug. 6.
During that day, 32 people arrived to make a blood donation. Of those, five were designated as unable to donate.
“We had a goal of collecting 22 units and I think we had an excellent turn-out with many people who have donated before returning,” said Joann Smith, laboratory director.
The next draw is tentative for October at a date to be determined and will be held at the American Legion Auxiliary in Culbertson.
The event is being organized by members of the Red Cross.
A total of two blood drives are planned for 2016.