- Written by Culbertson Searchlight
As much as 50,000 gallons of crude oil spilled into the Yellowstone River near Glendive, Saturday, Jan. 17.
The Carrollton, Texas, headquartered Bridger Pipeline Company released a statement that it shut down the 12-inch-wide pipeline shortly before 11 a.m., Saturday. The company said it’s primary concern is to minimize environmental impacts.
A change of pipeline pressure was detected, sounding an alarm that something was wrong.
According to a statement by Dave Parker, a spokesman for Gov. Steve Bullock, some of the oil spilled onto frozen portions of the river, possibly reducing impacts.
The exact amount of oil spilled and potential environmental damages were not known early this week.
Bullock traveled to Glendive, Monday, Jan. 19, to ensure all appropriate steps were being taken to respond to the oil spill. Bullock signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency.
In Glendive, Bullock announced a series of initial steps to ensure the health and safety of Montanans, as well as evaluating impacts on Montana wildlife. He has relocated a member of his personal staff to work out of Glendive to ensure the concerns of residents are being addressed. In response to CDC’s suggestion that residents drink bottled water, he has instructed the Montana Department of Disaster and Emergency Services to bring in bottled water for residents, the first shipment of which was scheduled to arrive on Tuesday; in addition he is dispatching a public water supply specialist from the Department of Environmental Quality to work with local officials to quickly identify and address impacts on the community’s water supply. He has also tasked the Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks to monitor any adverse impacts on wildlife in the area.
“The health and safety of Montanans in the area impacted by this oil spill is my top concern,” Bullock said of the steps he announced today. “Local, state, and federal officials are working together to quickly assess this situation, and ensure that those responsible are held accountable, the oil is cleaned up and all damages are addressed. My expectation is that the cleanup will continue until it meets the standard of me and the people of Montana.”
At the direction of Bullock, the Department of Environmental Quality, the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the Department of Military Affairs have taken an active role in the oversight of this hazardous materials response in coordination with the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Bullock has committed all available resources and taken all possible actions to respond, mitigate and alleviate the situation.
- Written by Culbertson Searchlight
The Culbertson High School Speech and Drama team competed at Huntley Project High, Saturday, Jan. 17, School for their last invitational meet.
They competed with just under 400 students from Class AA, A, B and C.
Placing were: Dominica Granada, first; Garrett Reid, sixth; Chase Kilzer, third; and Michaela Cathey, fifth. The team placed first in Class C Speech Sweepstakes and second in Class C Drama Sweepstakes.
On Saturday, Jan. 24, the students will travel to Plentywood for in the Eastern B/C Divisionals.
- Written by John Plestina
A Wyoming woman who had been accused in a drug case will serve time in Montana, despite pleas by her family to send her back to Wyoming.
Michelle Parker, 41, of Rock Springs, Wyo., also has listed residences in Williston, N.D., and San Diego, Calif. She was arrested on a bench warrant and held in the Roosevelt County Jail on a petition to revoke bond.
Judge David Cybulski sentenced Parker to five years in the custody of the Montana Department of Corrections with three years suspended with credit for 174 days served and inpatient substance abuse treatment that must be completed before she would be eligible to be transferred to Wyoming probation.
Probation and parole officer Wayne Bye testified that he recommended a sentence of three years in the custody of the Montana Department of Corrections with no time suspended.
He said Parker was uncooperative during the pre-sentencing investigation.
Since that time, Parker pleaded guilty to possession of dangerous drugs in Wyoming.
Parker was sentenced by a Wyoming court to three years probation with two years suspended and an order for outpatient substance abuse treatment.
Parker’s father, Jack Cranford of Rock Springs, Wyo., testified that his daughter has lived most of her life in Rock Springs and has an 18-year-old son.
Parker’s son, Tristan Parker, 18, of Rock Springs testified that he and his mother moved from Rock Springs to Williston, N.D., when her oil industry employer transferred her there.
He said it would be hard on his family if his mother receives a sentence where she would have to remain in Montana.
According to court documents, Roosevelt County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Parker and Dale Bertram of Washington in Culbertson in July 2013 following a report that two people were attempting to break into a mini storage unit in Culbertson. Parker was later found to have been the renter of the storage unit.
Parker was found in possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia and arrested.
Parker was transferred to the Fort Benton Detention Center Thursday, Jan. 15, where she is being held until the Department of Corrections transfers her.
- 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.