- Written by John Plestina
A Michigan couple, accused of attempting to obtain narcotics by deception, entered not guilty pleas in 15th District Court Wednesday, Aug. 13.
Jesse Gottschalk and Shelby Rider, both 22, and both of Algonac, Mich., are alleged to have attempted to obtain drugs from Roosevelt Medical Center in Culbertson by making false claims.
Both are charged with felony possession of dangerous drugs, attempting to fraudulently obtain dangerous drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Both are scheduled for trials Nov. 13.
Defense attorneys Mark Epperson, representing Rider, and Mary Louise Zemyan, resenting Gottschalk, requested bail reductions from $50,000 to $10,000. Assistant county attorney Jordan Knudsen opposed the reductions. Judge David Cybulski reduced bond to $20,000 for each. They also must waive extradition if freed on bond.
Epperson said Rider’s father recently bought a home in North Dakota and that she could live with him while awaiting trial.
According to information provided by the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office, Rider’s father is alleged to have provided and sold illegal prescription drugs to his daughter and Gottschalk.
The RCSO reported Monday, Aug. 18, that Rider was free on bond.
The RCSO provided The Herald-News with a written report by Deputy Patrick O’Connor, the arresting officer.
An RMC staff member had reported suspicious behavior by Gottschalk and Rider and requested law enforcement on June 25 at about 5:30 p.m.
O’Connor wrote that a hospital employee told him Rider was claiming abdominal pain and wanted to be prescribed Percocet, the brand name for a pain medication containing oxycodone, which is classified as a schedule II dangerous drug.
“When Rider was told she needed to provide a urine sample, she covertly gave the specimen cup to Gottschalk, who took it into the bathroom and filled it with his own urine,” O’Connor wrote.
A hospital staff member observed Gottschalk with the specimen cup and took it from him.
O’Connor stated in his narrative that Gottschalk attempted to leave the hospital when he saw the deputy approaching him. O’Connor handcuffed Gott-schalk outside the emergency room entrance and informed him of his rights.
“Gottschalk admitted to urinating in Rider’s specimen cup and told me he did so because Rider was unable to provide a sample herself for some reason,” O’Connor wrote.
Rider was arrested shortly after on the hospital grounds.
O’Connor further wrote in his report that an RN told him the pair were behaving suspiciously “and he felt Rider was attempting to fraudulently obtain Percocet and Phenergan” [the brand name for promethazine, a non-controlled drug used to treat anxiety]. The nurse told O’Connor that Rider had complained of abdominal pain and specifically requested those drugs.
The sheriff’s report further alleges that that Rider attempted to obtain the same medications from a hospital in Crosby, N.D., a few weeks prior, also claiming abdominal pain. At that time she checked in using the name Melissa Gottschalk.
“When I asked Rider about the visit to the Crosby hospital, she admitted providing them with a false name and said she did so to avoid paying the hospital bill,” O’Connor wrote.
Rider gave O’Connor permission to look inside her purse, which was inside Gottschalk’s pickup.
“I discovered a pink plastic pen tube with white powdery residue on the inside. The residue was field tested later and indicated positive as oxycodone, the active ingredient in Percocet. Rider told me she used the pen to snort a crushed-up Percocet,” O’Connor wrote in his report.
Rider told O’Connor she has an addiction to Percocet and frequently abuses other prescription drugs, including Xanax.
“Rider said she’s been abusing prescription pills since her father began providing them to her when she was about 17 years old,” O’Connor wrote.
Gottschalk gave O’Connor permission to retrieve pills, which were wrapped in a cellophane wrapper from a cigarette pack, from the driver’s door pocket in his truck.
Later, at the sheriff’s office in Wolf Point, Gottschalk admitted to an addiction to Xanax and said he bought 10 Xanax pills from Rider’s father on June 24, according to the sheriff’s narrative.
The narrative also stated that Rider acknowledged that her father sold the pills to Gottschalk.
- Written by Culbertson Searchlight
It is time once again for the annual Fort Kipp Celebration, a pow-wow that is a celebration of native culture and traditions through dancing, food, crafts and fellowship.
The Fort Kipp Celebration starts Friday, Aug. 22, with grand entry at 7 p.m. Grand entries will be at 1 and 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 23-24. Thursday, Aug. 21 is camping day and a youth pow wow will be held.
The celebration is a long-standing tradition on the Fort Peck Reservation.
Dance categories will be: adult; teen, ages 13-17; junior, ages 7-12; and tiny tot.
Daily specials are planned.
There will be a one-mile walk/run on Saturday, Aug. 23. Registration will be from 7:30-8 a.m. The walk/run begins at 8 a.m.
The public is welcome at the celebration.
- Written by Culbertson Searchlight
Elected officials are entrusted with representing the voters and doing what is in the best interest of county taxpayers. This includes the best use of discretionary funds to benefit all county residents/taxpayers. Resolution 2015-4 used Oil Severance Tax money to raise almost all county employees by $300 per month/$1.73 per hour/$3,600 per year or totally about $360,000 county-wide. This resolution specifically states this stipend is for help with temporary housing during peak oil production in the County. Only county employees get this monetary benefit. I find it very hard to believe that all county employees are having difficulty finding housing, but I wouldn’t turn down a salary increase if I was handed one either.
What about the rest of the taxpayers in Roosevelt County? Are they not in the same situation as county employees? Shouldn’t this money benefit all taxpayers in the county, not just a privileged few?
The compensation board is being convened to consider giving this stipend to elected officials. How can any one of the elected officials justify needing more money for housing assistance? The salaries they are receiving seem adequate. They range from $109,272.40 year/$52.53 hr. to $61,218.80 year/ $29.43 hr. This includes the $9,718.80 they receive yearly for health insurance. In addition to this, they get an additional 8.17 percent of their gross salary paid into each of their retirement funds.
Why can’t the rest of the county taxpayers get some assistance with this “extra” money? I have talked to business owners and they have the same problem recruiting and retaining employees but they can’t just give everyone a raise. They have no pot of gold. Maybe a tax rebate to taxpayers might be a better solution so everyone can get a piece of the pie.
This Oil Severance Tax money should be used to reduce taxes or fix infrastructure that need addressing. I have tried for the last five years to get one mile of road adequately repaired, it has never happened. No money, no people, no equipment, no materials! I was told years ago that there was going to be a fund set up to address the repairs, but this has never happened.
The taxpayers have been asked to increase taxes to provide more sheriff’s deputies. Now the commissioners want more money to fund a new jail. Also, there is concern that the tax base may be lowered because of the Cobell buyback program. Would it not be a better use of this money to save it for upcoming expenses or fixing current needs rather than giving the privileged few a raise?
Bill Juve, Taxpayer
(Editor’s Note: The above letter was presented at the compensation board meeting to the board members and reprinted here by request of Bill Juve.)
- Written by John Plestina
The man who admitted stealing a Burlington Northern/Santa Fe truck in Poplar and leaving it in the Walmart parking lot in Williston, N.D., was sentenced in 15th District Court Wednesday, Aug. 13.
Kyle Lee Stevens, 36, of Tomball, Texas, withdrew not guilty pleas he had entered in May for felony theft and criminal mischief and pleaded guilty to the theft charge with the second charge dismissed under a plea agreement.
A trial had been scheduled for July 17.
Stevens admitted stealing the truck and trailer from BNSF in Poplar on Aug. 18, 2012, and leaving it at the Williston Walmart undamaged, except for a window Stevens broke when he entered the tractor and hotwired it.
Defense attorney Frank Piocos asked the court to impose sentence without a pre-sentence investigation.
Judge David Cybulski sentenced Stevens to five years in the custody of the Montana Department of Corrections with two years suspended, credit for time served and a $5,000 fine and fees.
Stevens has several prior convictions and had been on parole in Missouri.
- Written by Culbertson Searchlight
The Montana Democratic Party chose a freshman state representative from Butte to replace Sen. John Walsh as the party’s nominee for the U.S. Senate seat Walsh withdrew his candidacy for during a nominating convention in Helena, Saturday, Aug. 16.
Amanda G. Curtis, 34, is a math teacher at Butte High School and represents House District 76.
Curtis has less than three months to convince Montana voters to choose her over Republican Steve Daines, who serves as the state’s only congressman.
Daines had been heavily favored to win over Walsh. The GOP has not held the seat since 1913.
Curtis gained notoriety for a pierced nose and uploading video updates of the Montana House onto YouTube and Facebook.
Curtis is on record supporting expanded background checks for firearms purchases at gun shows.
Walsh, 53, announced his withdrawal from the race following accusations of plagiarism and an investigation by the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa., where he had obtained his master’s degree in 2007. The New York Times reported in July that portions of Walsh’s thesis had been plagiarized without attribution.
Gov. Steve Bullock appointed Walsh [then lieutenant governor] to the Senate in February when Sen. Max Baucus resigned to become ambassador to China.
Walsh is a former adjutant general of the Montana Army National Guard.
Walsh will continue to serve in the Senate until his appointed term expires in January, 2015.
There was no representation from Roosevelt County at the special nominating convention.