CS Masthead

Man Run Over In Hit-And-Run Outside Culbertson Tavern

A Culbertson man was seriously injured when he was struck and run over by a pickup truck in the parking lot of the Stagecoach Bar, late Friday, July 3.
According to witnesses, Lee Damm had reached into the back seat of a pickup truck when the driver pulled forward knocking him to the ground. The driver then ran over Damm and fled the scene. Damm was flown to Billings early Saturday morning. He was reported to have suffered fractured ribs, a pelvic fracture and received stitches in his left leg.
The driver was reported to be a Caucasian man with a passenger, a Native American man. They drove a gold colored dodge pickup.
Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office chief deputy Corey Reum said Tuesday that the RCSO has leads as to the identity of the driver and is continuing to investigate.
The public is asked to contact the RCSO with any information that could help locate the two men.

Smoke Lingering From Canadian Fires Persists

Thick smoke generated by about 200 wildfires burning hundreds of miles north in Canada continues to be a problem in northeast Montana.
Smoke has invaded the area for more than a week.
The National Weather Service in Glasgow has contacted several county and tribal health departments in the region about ongoing smoke issues.
NWS reports that it anticipates smoke will continue on and off with different levels of severity for several weeks.
At one mile or less visibility, NWS will issue dense smoke advisories.
NWS reported that 3,678,884 acres were burning in northern Saskatchewan, northern Alberta and the Northwest Territories Tuesday, July 7. It has also been reported that about 318,000 acres were burning in British Columbia, resulting in some smoke invading northern Montana.
Smoke has been reported as far south as Oklahoma and Arkansas and as far east as Illinois.
Health precautions include staying inside an air-conditioned building with windows closed. N95 masks are recommended for people who have to be outside. Cloth painting masks are not going to help.

Public Service Commission To Review MDU’s Request For 21.1 Percent Rate Increase

The Montana Public Service Commission will review a request from Montana-Dakota Utilities for an $11.8 million, or 21.1 percent, rate increase for its approximately 25,000 customers in eastern Montana. MDU filed the “rate case” on June 25.
The increase to the average MDU ratepayer is estimated to be about $14.80 per month. The Montana PSC must by law issue an order on the rate case within 270 days after MDU filed the request. MDU’s last general electric rate review was in 2011, when the Montana PSC approved an increase of just over 6 percent.
“The increasing regulation of energy production proposed by the federal government has concerned me ever since I was elected to the Commission,” said PSC District 2 Commissioner Kirk Bushman, who represents Custer County. “Utilities like MDU will have to continue to invest millions to meet new federal requirements, and I expect utilities will continue to request larger rate increases than they have in years past as a result of these costly regulations. The Montana PSC will most assuredly review the proposal by Montana-Dakota Utilities to determine if it meets all the necessary standards, including providing long-term benefit to Montana-ratepayers.
Public Service Commission Vice Chairman Travis Kavulla represents northeastern Montana, including Sidney, Glendive, Plentywood and Wolf Point where MDU electric customers are located. He said, “We will review the request to determine if the utility took the most cost effective approach to supply their customers with energy.”
MDU’s application asks the Commission to authorize a 10 percent return for the capital invested by the company’s shareholders. In addition to increasing the per-kilowatt-hour charge for energy, it would also increase the fixed monthly charge. MDU is also asking the Commission to approve additional “rate riders” on customers’ bills related to environmental and transmission costs. It also includes a proposed revision to the net-metering tariff under which customers who generate their own electricity are credited for excess production.
To view Montana-Dakota Utilities’ news release regarding the rate increase request, visit http://www.montana-dakota.com/utility-menu/news.

Eastern Montana Veterans Stand Down To Be In Sidney

The sixth annual Eastern Montana Veterans Stand Down will be held at the Richland County Events Center in Sidney this year on Saturday, Sept. 26, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The event’s primary focus is to connect homeless or at-risk veterans with services to assist them with their daily struggles.
However, the stand down is open to all who have served.

Property Owners To Receive Appraisal Notices

The Montana Department of Revenue is mailing out classification and appraisal notices to all owners of residential, commercial, industrial, agriculture and forest land properties, with the department’s determination of a property’s market and taxable values.
“We ask you to review the information thoroughly,” said Mike Kadas, director of the Montana Department of Revenue. “Although this is not a tax bill, it is important information that your county treasurer’s office will use when calculating your property tax bill.”
New this year, property owners can access additional details about their property characteristics and values online by visiting revenue.mt.gov/property-assessment.
If property owners disagree with the department’s determination, they can submit a Form AB-26, request for informal classification and appraisal review, to the department. The Form AB-26 must be submitted within 30 days from the date on the classification and appraisal notice. To obtain a Form AB-26, property owners can contact their local department office located in each county or go online to revenue.mt.gov/appeal-process.
Instead of submitting a Form AB-26 for an informal review, property owners may choose to make a formal appeal directly to the county tax appeal board, also within 30 days of the notice date. However, the department does encourage taxpayers to file a Form AB-26 as most property taxpayer concerns are resolved informally with the department through the AB-26 process.
Montana law requires the department to send a classification and appraisal notice to property owners at the beginning of each appraisal cycle and whenever a change in ownership, classification or value has occurred. Under new state law, residential, commercial, agricultural and industrial properties are now classified and appraised every two years. The reappraisal cycle for forest land remains at six years.
The public can find contact information for local Department of Revenue offices by visiting revenue.mt.gov/contact-us or by calling toll free (866) 859-2254.