- Written by Jaimee Green
Navigating the waters of healthcare reform in search of quality health insurance coverage can be confusing.
With the Feb. 15 Montana Health Insurance Exchange open enrollment deadline fast approaching, many insurance-seekers are scrambling to determine what their next step should be in ensuring adequate healthcare coverage for themselves and their families.
Roosevelt Medical Center is offering a free webinar on Jan. 28 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in the Tele-med Room at RMC, to assist residents with their health insurance questions. They will also have a staff member, referred to as a navigator, available to answer individual questions about the different policies offered through the Affordable Care Act.
“The role of a navigator is not to tell people what plan to pick, but instead, to walk them through what might work best for them based on their family circumstances and health,” said Brenda Harvey, Social Services Director and Navigator for RMC.
While the webinar is geared toward farming and ranching operations and their families, anyone looking to better understand their health insurance options will benefit from the hour-and-a-half long webinar presented by Dr. Roberta Riportella of Kansas State University.
There will also be experts, via, tele-conferencing, available to advise on questions pertaining to the Internal Revenue Service and the Small Business Administration.
The event is being sponsored through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and RMC.
The original goal of the Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2010, was to give more Americans access to affordable health insurance and to reduce the growth in healthcare spending in the U.S.
As of early January, some 6.8 million Americans were enrolled in the Affordable Care Act.
For more information, contact Brenda Harvey at 787-6432.
- Written by John Plestina
The Fort Peck Tribes Executive Board approved a resolution 7-4 to legalize medical marijuana on the reservation, during a meeting earlier this month.
There are, however, gray areas with federal law.
Montana’s state law legalizing medical marijuana does not apply to the seven Indian reservations in the state and other federal lands. It has been interpreted that non-Indians living in Wolf Point, Poplar and elsewhere on the reservation cannot legally use medical marijuana.
Voting in favor of the resolution were council members Ed Bauer, Garrett Big Leggins, Dana Buckles, Tom Christian, Marva Firemoon, Roxanne Gourneau and Stacey Summers. Casting no votes were Charles Headdress, Pearl Hopkins, Terry Rattling Thunder and Grant Stafne. Rick Kirn was not present at the meeting.
Questions remain of whether the approval of medical marijuana complies with federal law and, if not, whether federal funding to the tribes could be jeopardized.
- 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, Jan. 20, 16 inmates were housed in the Roosevelt County Jail. Valley County Detention Center was holding one female inmate and the Fort Benton Detention Center was holding one male to alleviate overcrowding.
The RCSO reported that the following individuals were incarcerated at the jail between Tuesday, Jan. 13, and Tuesday, Jan. 20:
•Cody Arcand, 26, Williston, ND., driving a motor vehicle while privilege to do so revoked, fail to carry proof of insurance, operating with expired registration and right of way violation fail to yield for authorized motor vehicle, bonded out;
•Renal Belts, 44, unknown hometown, obstructing a peace officer, bonded out;
•Amos Bridges, 38, Wolf Point, criminal possession of dangerous drugs, criminal possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting arrest;
•Dale A. Cooper, 38, Wolf Point, arrested on Roosevelt County warrant;
•Kyle Fuchs, 32, Cul-
bertson, disorderly conduct, partner family member assault, assault with weapon, unlawful restraint, criminal endangerment;
•Melissa Gould, 34, Minot, N.D., felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs;
•Amelia Hackman, 32, Scobey, issuing a bad check warrant, bonded out;
•Stuart Hamman, 26, Pensacola, Fla., contempt of court;
•Christopher Hovey, 25, Lansing, Mich., felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs;
•Melissa Jewett, 32, Williston, ND., obstructing a peace officer, criminal possession of dangerous drugs;
•Gary Jones, 44, Madisonville, Tenn., assault on a peace officer;
•Jason Knight, 37, Spokane, Wash., criminal possession of drug paraphernalia;
•Darryl Lewis, 45, San Bernadino, Calif., criminal contempt warrant;
•Robert Lindquist, Chattoroy, Wash., 41, criminal possession of dangerous drugs, criminal possession of drug paraphernalia and driving under the influence;
•Timothy Oglesby, 31, Wolf Point, sexual intercourse without consent and incest;
•Delynn Richards, 48, Idaho Falls, Idaho, criminal possession of dangerous drugs, criminal possession of drug paraphernalia and a stop sign violation;
•Jeremy Sepanski, 30, Plentywood, forgery, theft, obstruction of a peace officer;
•Sheldon Smoker, 27, Wolf Point, criminal contempt;
•Corby Vanwhy, 36, Culbertson, partner/family member assault, released;
•Bernetta Walking Eagle, 36, Poplar, holding on U.S. Marshal’s warrant.
- Written by John Plestina
The lowest pump price in Wolf Point Monday. Jan. 12, was $2.09.9 at Town Pump. (Photo by John Plestina)
How low will it go?
Prices at the gas pumps in eastern Montana and across the nation have been dropping at a rapid pace.
The lowest price in Wolf Point Monday, Jan. 12, was $2.09.9 per gallon at Town Pump. Agland Co-op reported a lowest price of $2.15.9 per gallon at the Cenex stores in Wolf Point. Oelkers’ Service Center in Culbertson reported a lowest pump price of $2.27.9.
Prices below $2 in some states have been reported for more than a week.
All three fuel dealers said there have not been noticeable increases in gallons sold with the lower prices.
The rapid decline in pump prices begs the question: Will the next drop be below $2, a price reported in some states for more than a week.
“ I really don’t know. We don’t know until we get an email. I’m expecting it to be soon,” Town Pump’s Wolf Point manager Tammy Traeholt said.
While the dropping prices might be good for consumers, but is the rapid price decline a good thing for the economy?
Crude oil prices dipped below $50 per barrel in December 2014, for the first time since 2009, a decline of more than 50 percent in crude prices in 2014. When crude oil prices go up or down, gas prices tend to follow.
Is something sinister behind the drop in crude prices? Maybe not.
There are numerous reasons reported to be behind the fall in oil process, including increased U.S. crude production and an outlook for weaker growth in global oil demand.
With market forces forcing prices lower, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, made a decision in late 2014 not to reduce oil production.
Oil prices were high for about a decade, around $100 per barrel since 2010, due to an increased demand with oil consumption in China and other developing nations increasing and wars and political conflicts in some oil producing nations.
But as oil prices increased, many energy companies found it profitable to begin extracting oil from difficult-to-drill places. In the United States, companies began using techniques like fracking and horizontal drilling in shale formations in North Dakota and Texas.
It is not known how far prices could fall before most shale oil, which may account for up to 55 percent of U.S. production, becomes unprofitable. The process of fracking through rock and using horizontal drilling to retrieve crude is costly.
- Written by John Plestina
Several people from Culbertson and Bainville expressed concern about snow plowing on rural county roads to the Roose-velt County Commissioners Tuesday, Jan. 13.
At issue are open roadways for school buses and safety issues, that include motorists and access for medical emergencies.
Newly elected commissioner Allen Bowker of Culbertson requested a discussion about snow removal, particularly on Roosevelt County Road 2051, north of Brockton and Culbertson and west of Froid.
“I got a call from a bus driver in Froid concerning the snow removal,” Bowker said.
“It’s the scheduling, not the road conditions,” he said. “We don’t want to point fingers or make anybody the bad guy.”
Bowker said he has spoken to the school superintendents in Bainville, Culbertson and Froid about the situation.
One issue that was repeated several times is that Roosevelt County is a large county that lacks enough manpower in the road department, and it sometimes takes three days to clean up after a heavy snowfall.
School bus routes are given a priority.
Culbertson School su-
perintendent Larry Crow-der suggested that county road department supervisor Ken Norgaard evaluate each road for priority needs for repairs.
Bowker said he liked the suggestion. He added that he would like to talk to county plow drivers for help coming up with priorities. Bowker said sometimes just a small section of a road needs to be rebuilt.
“All our roads need complete makeovers,” Nor-gaard said. “We’re trying, but, then again, we’ve got lots of roads and not enough manpower.”
Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office chief deputy Cory Reum said he felt that Norgaard had come under attack by some people. Reum praised Norgaard for doing a good job. He asked people to be willing to work with Norgaard.
Culbertson School principal Mike Olson called for a questionnaire to be sent to residents of rural county roads to learn where the most need is.
Bowker said he wants to find a solution. He suggested better communication between county drivers.
One man said there are culverts that need to be repaired or replaced on rural county roads in the eastern part of the county.