- Written by Culbertson Searchlight
The Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center looks to kick off 2015 in a big way by challenging Montanans to match the $100,000 gift made by Klein and Karen Gilhousen of Copper Spring Ranch in Bozeman to the Homesteaders Campaign.
The Homesteaders Campaign funds the construction and endowment of the MCHF’s cultural education center. As the statewide headquarters for the MCHF educational programing, the center will inspire future generations through the examples of those that have contributed to our rich cultural heritage.
“We understand the importance of creating momentum to launch a fund raising campaign,” said Karen Gilhousen. “We are excited to realize the building of this center as a tribute to those that have come before us and as a resource to the next generation as it carries on the great traditions of our Montana way of life.”
“History often overlooks the hardworking members of our communities who have selflessly contributed to the day-to-day improvement of our hometowns while providing leadership for the next generation,” said director of finance Aaron Lyles. “The hall of fame exists most notably to celebrate and pass forward these examples.”
Board member Mike Gurnett observed, “This is truly an idea for which the time has come. Each day we lose more of our heritage and it is our responsibility to act now. How many of us regret not capturing the stories of our parents, grandparents, friends and neighbors before they were lost forever?”
Officially designated by
the Montana state legislature, the MCHF is a 501c3 non-profit organization. Having selected the strategic location of Big Timber for its building site, organizers have worked with nationally renowned firms Storyline Studio and ConsultEcon to complete the exhibition design and operations planning for the center. The announcement of the Homesteaders Campaign marked an important milestone for the organization as it works to realize its vision of building Montana’s premier western heritage destination attraction.
Gilhousen adds, “It is our hope that this initial challenge encourages others to become examples of leadership, and to inspire those who cherish our Montana way of life to invest in the promise it holds for the next generation.”
Looking ahead to 2015, the MCHF will host its ninth annual Circle the Wagons Gathering, Cowboy Ball & Auction Feb. 6-7 in Helena at the Great Northern Best Western Hotel. On Jan. 19, Headwaters Livestock in Three Forks will hold a special benefit cattle auction for the MCHF. Producers who would like to donate cattle to the sale should contact Lyles at 406-600-8231.
For more information about the Homesteaders Campaign and the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center, visit www.MontanaCowboyFame.org.
- 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, Dec. 30, 15 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, Dec. 23, and Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014:
•Malinda Bibb, 31, Minot, N.D., arrested on a warrant for bail condition violation, criminal possession of dangerous drugs, criminal possession of dangerous drugs with intent to distribute and criminal possession of drug paraphernalia;
•Amos Bridges, 38, Wolf Point, criminal possession of dangerous drugs, criminal possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting arrest;
•Kyle Bruce Drury, 29, Libby, disorderly conduct, reckless driving and driving a motor vehicle while privilege to do so revoked, bonded out;
•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;
•Stuart Hamman, 26, Pensacola, Fla., contempt of court;
•Dustin Houg, 23, Glasgow, driving under the influence and driving a motor vehicle while privilege revoked, bonded out;
•Christopher Hovey, 25, Lansing, Mich., felony 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;
•Carlos D. Maynard, 43, Bakersfield, Calif., operating without liability insurance and driving without a valid license, released;
•Timothy Oglesby, 31, Wolf Point, sexual intercourse without consent and incest;
•Michelle Parker, 41, San Diego, Calif., arrested on bench warrant;
•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;
•Ben A. Smith, 25, Williamson, N.D., stop sign violation, released;
•Kalob Trowbridge, 22, Wolf Point, assault on a peace officer.
- Written by Culbertson Searchlight
Fort Peck Tribes chairman A.T. “Rusty” Stafne was injured in a five-vehicle crash on Interstate 94 crash near Forsyth, Sunday, Dec. 21.
Stafne was transported by ambulance to a Billings hospital with what were reported to be non-life- threatening injuries.
According to reports, a car in front of Stafne lost control striking a guardrail and resulting in Stafne hitting that car. Three other vehicles ran into Stafne’s car.
- Written by Culbertson Searchlight
The Missouri River Rats 4-H Club decorated gingerbread houses for the nursing home at their December meeting. Taking part in the fun were Brady Craig, Brooks Solem, Colby Craig, Trevor Miller, Lucas Oelkers, Mariah Machart, Sierra Machart, Carson Solem and Zach Miller.
- Written by John Plestina
The Montana Commissioner of Political Practices has decided in favor of Roosevelt County in a complaint by a Wolf Point resident alleging misuse of county funds in support of the voter-approved public safety bonding measure to fund a new jail and office space for the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office.
The decision says the only misstep by the Roosevelt County Commissioners was a statement supporting voter approval of the bonding measure in a paid letter to the editor published in October in The Herald-News and The Searchlight.
Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl issued a 13-page decision, Thursday, Dec. 18, 13 days after Billy “Bill” Juve filed the complaint alleging that Roosevelt County violated Montana campaign practice laws by using county funds in support of the ballot measure. Juve’s position was that the county commissioners violated an opinion by the Montana Attorney General.
Juve’s complaint came about one month after nearly 57 percent of Roosevelt County voters approved bond funding for a new jail and sheriff’s office space. Juve was a vocal opponent of the bonding measure prior to the Nov. 4 general election.
In the complaint, Juve cited a 2005 opinion by former Montana Attorney General Mike McGrath that public officials may express opinions about issues, but may not do so if the expression uses the public’s time, facilities, equipment, supplies, personnel or funds.
The three major allegations in Juve’s complaint were that the county commissioners used public funds to pay for newspaper and radio advertising, for paid political letters to the editor in The Herald-News and The Searchlight, and to hire consultant Kimme and Associates Inc., of Champaign, Ill., at a cost of nearly $5,000.
Motl’s findings were that the hiring of a consulting firm and purchasing of advertising for a fact sheet about the then proposal for a new jail was not, by itself, a violation of law.
“A public officer or public employee can present neutral facts and information to electors related to a ballot issue or candidate,” the decision read.
Motl’s decision also dashed an assertion that the county commissioner’s authorization of the use county employees and county vehicles when the commissioners and Sheriff’s Office presented five public informational meetings on the bonding measure was improper. Public officials made use of PowerPoint presentations to educate the public about the need for a new jail.
Motl determined that there were no violations in published meeting notices or in anything that was said at the meetings.
The decision read: “The appearance of public officials at the events and use of public resources [vehicles] to attend the events is not improper as it serves a public purpose by allowing public presentation of information consistent with duty. Agencies of government, like the Roosevelt County Commission, are the natural repositories of information related to their areas of authority. Accordingly, agencies should be expected to [and commended when they do] provide observations, information and data to the public that is of use to an elector when making an election decision.”
The decision also states that there was express advocacy associated with paid letters to the editor. The letters signed by the commissioners, Frederick and jail administrator Melvin Clark asks voters to vote in favor of the bonding measure.
The decision reads that the statement in the letter asking voters to vote in favor of the measure meets the “express advocacy” standard and that the use of public funds to pay for the letter and the time of public officials to write the letter violated the law.
However, Motl considered whether the violation was insignificant enough that it could be excused as “de minimus,” a legal Latin term where courts sometimes refuse to consider trivial matters.
The decision read, “While Mr. Juve should be thanked for raising a necessary discussion, the commissioner [Motl] applies de minimus and dismisses the complaint.”
Juve’s also cited radio advertising for the bonding measure.
The findings were that Sheriff Jason Frederick, then a candidate for sheriff, raised funds to support his contested campaign for election and paid for radio advertising time with non-public funds. When the election became uncontested, Frederick directed prepaid radio advertising to pay for air time educating voters about the need for a new jail. The decision also stated that the jail bond announcements contained an attribution statement: “Paid for by Jason Frederick for Sheriff.”
The county commissioners had no statement in response to the decision.
Juve said he was disappointed with the decision.
“The thing that disappointed me is some of the things they don’t address,” he said.
“A ruling is a ruling. There’s nothing you can do about it except go to court,” Juve said. He responded that he was not considering court when asked if he was considering that option.
“I think he’s doing a good thing by filing the complaint,” Motl said.
He said his office addressed four complaints from the recent election cycle, including the complaint Juve filed.
“I found in favor of the governmental speech in each of the four instances,” Motl said.
As far as the decision in regards to the paid letters to the editor, Motl said, “I dismissed the violation. This area of speech is a tricky one because the county official is under the duty to explain to the public the basis for the bond, the basis for a levy.”
Motl said he spent considerable time considering the issue and writing the decision.
“I hope it helps your community understand,” he said.
“A dismissal is not automatic. It’s significant that it was dismissed,” Motl said.
He said his office accepted 80 of 94 complaints that were filed. Fourteen were rejected.
“Of the 80, we issued 55 decisions including the Roosevelt County one. Twenty-eight of them were insufficiencies, meaning they were dismissed,” Motl said.
Deficiencies were found in 27 complaints that might result in fines or possibly progress to court.
Voters in November approved the measure with a 47.58 percent voter turnout. A lower, 34.88 percent voter turnout prevented passage of a similar measure in June.
The approval authorizes the county commissioners to issue and sell $11.86 million in general obligation bonds to be repaid within 20 years.
The current jail is under-sized and does not meet current jail standards.
Legal action brought by the American Civil Liberties Union in 2013 forced Roosevelt County to reduce the number of jail beds by nearly one half.