- Written by Culbertson Searchlight
Culbertson High School Jobs For Montana Graduates teacher Mary Machart took her students out of school Friday, Sept. 11, to combat terrorism with kindness in honor of 9/11 National Day of Remembrance and Service.
Some of the acts were: took small gifts to local businesses to thank them for supporting students and the community; randomly gave out flowers and small bags of popcorn and explained that they were acts of kindness in remembrance of those who lost their lives; taped envelops with enough quarters in them to do a load of laundry and wrote on them, “This load is on us”; visited employees and residents at the hospital and handed out flowers.
For many students, this was the first time they did such a thing, and were so surprised that so many asked if they wanted a donation. They replied, “No thanks, we’re just being nice.”
- Written by Culbertson Searchlight
Following the announcement from Herald-News editor John Plestina that he plans to retire in December, Eric Killelea arrived last week to join the staff of The Herald-News.
Killelea has spent the last several years reporting on a variety of topics in Montana and North Dakota. He was raised in New Jersey and graduated from The New School in New York in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in literary studies.
Upon graduation, he moved west and covered community news for the Glendive Ranger-Review. He then worked as the criminal justice and health reporter at the Independent Record in Helena. Killelea was the energy and state government reporter at the Williston Herald before taking the job as editor at The Herald-News.
- Written by Eric Killelea
Wolf Point Job Service has listings for McDonalds crew members at $8.20 per hour, concrete laborers at $13 and a city finance director position between $22.37 and $37.30.
Officials at the Montana Department of Labor and Industry have celebrated such job opportunities and the 4 percent statewide unemployment rate, the addition of 6,237 jobs last year and the average wage increase to $38,874, according to the 2015 Labor Day Report released Aug. 30. But job seekers in Roosevelt County and on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation have been suffering from lower wages and unemployment rates of 5.3 percent and 12.8 percent, while searching for educational and training opportunities.
“Roosevelt County employment levels moved down to 4,616 in 2014 from 4,677 for a loss of about 60 jobs [Fork Peck Indian Reservation had 25 job losses]. Although the state as a whole had job gains last year, some counties with oil and gas development had job losses because of the decline in oil prices in the last half of 2014,” Barbara Wagner, chief economist with the state Department of Labor and Industry, wrote in an email. “But it looks like the employment has stabilized and started increasing again in 2015.”
The economist anticipated statewide job growth in the upcoming decade, with a slowed but steady increase in areas impacted by the Bakken shale oil play. Oil production rose 2 percent to 29.9 million barrels of oil in 2014, but production will likely fall during the rest of the year to reduced drilling activity, Jim Halvorson, of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Board of Oil and Gas, wrote in an email. The drilling rig count averaged at about eight in January, but has since dropped to only one in Dawson and Wheatland counties each.
“Unlike oil booms in the past, we also haven’t seen a large ‘oil bust’ yet,” Wagner wrote. “There have been some job losses, but not very many, and employment levels appear to have stabilized in 2015.”
The listings at Wolf Point Job Service are sometimes shared via the Tribal Employment Rights Office in Poplar. T.E.R.O. currently advertises 12 vacancies, including police and corrections officer positions, along with van drivers needed to transport sugar beet laborers to Sidney.
“Since I have been here, there has never been a time that we have not advertised,” said Yvonne Bashay, a human resources officer who has advertised employment at Job Service, through the Fort Peck Journal and on the office website for nearly one year. The wages depend on federal and state funding, as do training opportunities. “But the majority of our jobs require a high school diploma or GED. The tribes encourage furthering your education [most jobs require passing a drug test].
With high expectations for the oil industry, the state Department of Labor and Industry has partnered with the Montana University System to train workers in the “manufacturing and energy industries,” Jake Troyer, communications director at DLI, wrote in an email.
For example, the RevUp Montana program has created training programs on 13 of the state’s two-year colleges, including Fort Peck Community College in Poplar. The college now offers one-year certificate courses and two-year degree programs for future heavy equipment operators, electrical liner work and welding, among others.
During the 2013-2014 school year, Wolf Point Public Schools reported a 70.4 percent high school graduation rate compared to the state graduation average of 84.2 percent. Noel Sansaver, the facilities supervisor at FPCC, said less than 10 percent of the 350 to 400 students graduate each school year, but administrators have maintained low-priced tuition and added workforce programs to accommodate those looking for work.
“We do have very good job placement,” Sansaver said. “Things have slowed in the oil patch. More people are trying to settle back in and get their degrees, but our numbers are staying up in the vocational areas. There are those people that want to get jobs immediately.”
- Written by Angela Rose Benson
Attending the LEPC meeting at Roosevelt Medical Center were: (from left to right) Dan Sietsema, Local Emergency Planning Committee vice chairperson; Ramona Ross, of Culbertson; Lee Allmer, LEPC chairperson; Jaimee Green, LEPC secretary/treasurer; Deanna Buckles, Northeast Montana Health Services marketing director; Kyla Traeger, Roosevelt Medical Center trauma coordinator; John Carlbom, Wolf Point EMS supervisor; Chuck Hyatt, Bainville Fire Department; Teresia Moore, RMC EMS supervisor; and Benjie Butikofar, town of Bainville.
(Photo by Angela Rose Benson)
Roosevelt County’s Local Emergency Planning Committee met Tuesday, Sept. 8, at Roosevelt Medical Center in Culbertson.
Dan Sietsema, Roo-sevelt County Disaster and Emergency Services coordinator, reported that he is working on preparing his year-end reports to finish out the fiscal year. He also reported that there has been no contact with the company working on the pre-disaster mitigation grant for the county.
There were no county commissioners present to report on the Northern Tier.
The group discussed several upcoming response trainings taking place throughout the state that local responders can take advantage of.
Of those, Sietsema reported that some sheriff’s office personnel plan to attend the Wide Area Search and Rescue course.
The committee’s bylaws were approved and will be forwarded to the county commissioners by Jaimee Green, LEPC secretary/treasurer.
Sietsema said that he has submitted the annual Emergency Management Preparedness Grant and from the grant, the county stands to receive an estimated $52,000, which helps offset the cost of having a county DES coordinator.
The committee discussed the importance of continuing to have emergency response representation from the fire department, local law enforcement and area businesses in order to keep the committee moving forward.
Teresia Moore, RMC EMS director, suggested that the LEPC meetings incorporate a planning-session into each regularly scheduled meeting in an effort to get conversation going and distinct response plans for the communities. The committee decided to try feedback from each community about topics of interest. Everyone agreed the recent train derailments are of interest to every community because of the potential for oil hazards.
Ramona Ross, a concerned citizen of Culbertson, was in attendance and expressed her gratitude for both the committee and local response teams that mitigated the recent derailment that happened in close proximity to her home.
“You all have a tough job and everyone handled the situation to the very best of their ability,” Ross said. She went on to talk about how important it is for community members to be educated on their role in a disaster and how they have to take some responsibility for preparing themselves during these disaster situations.
Elections could not be held as planned because it was not on the agenda. Elections will take place next month, where the committee will elect the chairperson, vice-chairperson and the secretary/treasurer.
Green addressed the committee that she is not sure she wants to continue as secretary/treasurer because of her busy schedule.
“I don’t want to leave the committee without someone to take my place. So, if necessary, I would be willing to stay on until the appropriate person could take the position,” said Green.
The next meeting is set to take place at the fire hall in Bainville Tuesday, Oct. 13.
- Written by Culbertson Searchlight
The Town of Culbertson Water Department interrupted water service for a few hours to some Culbertson residents for valve repairs Monday, Sept. 14. (Photo by Angela Rose Benson)