- Written by Angela Rose Benson
The Culbertson Town Council met Monday, Aug. 3, with a light agenda where ordinances were discussed, sewage construction updates given and budgets approved.
The meeting began with a complaint by Gene Marchwick, a community member, stating that there are horses near his property that should not be in the city limits. Mayor Gordon Oelkers said Marchwick needs to obtain the annexation papers from the Roosevelt County Courthouse for the property in question in order for the city to proceed legally with further action.
“We need to see the proof that these horses are within the city limits,” said Oelkers. “If these horses are within city limits, they will be removed, but if they’re not, there is not much we can do.”
Culbertson resident Amanda Alandt is interested in raising money to clean up the park, commonly known as the “Bear Park.” She expressed her concerns for removing rust, painting and adding sand for the play pits. The council will have to approve the project before Alandt can beginning planning a community event fundraiser.
The Phase II sewage construction is currently working on installing the force main line and pouring concrete into the blower building. All piping within the blower building is complete.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting is set for Monday, Sept. 7.
- Written by Angela Rose Benson
In light of a number of teachers not fulfilling their contract obligations, the Culbertson School Board decided Monday, Aug. 3, that the vacated third grade, sixth grade and junior high science and social studies positions would be filled in the interim by current staff members Theresa McDonald, Jimie Lou Marchwick-Wix and Brad Adams, respectively.
“Currently we have reassigned staff for the third, sixth and junior high science and social studies positions, but are still advertising and will consider other hires that would prove to be sustainable candidates,” said Larry Crowder, district superintendent.
Teachers Jim Herson, Stacy Herson and Kim Francis will not be returning for the upcoming school year.
The school board approved two classified staff member contracts for Amanda Alandt who will work in the dietary department and Brooks Rattling Thunder who will work in the maintenance department.
The board listened as Crowder provided them with an update on the current and ongoing construction projects. He reported the weight room will be occupied in the next several weeks with the final adjustments being made to the recently delivered work-out equipment.
The exterior brickwork is being laid in the elementary classroom addition and should be wrapped up along with the exterior designs, including the sidewalks by the opening day of school.
The next scheduled meeting will be held Tuesday, Aug. 18, at the school at a time to be determined.
- Written by Angela Rose Benson
The Bainville Town Council held a short meeting discussing fees regarding the budget for the next fiscal year and the pending local government study commission report Monday, Aug. 3.
“The council reviewed various fees and will make possible recommendations during the next public council meeting,” town clerk Nikki Rogers said.
Questions were asked by the Council regarding the government study commission report and answers were given by Dan Clark, Local Government Center director.
Two additional members will be added to the town council.
The public council meeting, where more information will be released, is slated for Monday, Aug. 10, at 7 p.m., at the Bainville Town Hall.
Sivertsen Pessimistic Of Senate’s Six-Year Highway Bill Following House Passing Three-Month Funding Band-Aid
- Written by John Plestina
The president of Montana’s Highway 2 Association remains pessimistic of the Senate’s six-year highway bill that passed on the heals of a three-month fiscal band-aid approved before the 435 House members left for a six-week recess, leaving Congress unable to vote on the Senate bill until after Sept. 8.
The Senate voted 91-4 to pass the House’s three-month extension in order to avoid a transportation construction shutdown. It only ensures that funding is not halted for current infrastructure projects.
After the House passed the short-term fix Wednesday, July 29, Congress adjourned for the six-week recess without taking up the Senate’s long-term bill.
The Senate bill, a bipartisan six-year plan for highway, bridge and transit construction, passed 65-34 Thursday, July 30. If passed by the House and President Barack Obama signs it into law, the measure would provide about $47 billion in additional highway funding for the first three years. It authorizes infrastructure projects for six years, leaving proposed projects unfunded from 2018 to 2021.
The Senate bill would not result in a tax increase at the gas pumps. Funding would come from a variety of means, including the sale of oil from the government-owned Strategic Petroleum Reserve, reducing dividends paid by the Federal Reserve to member banks and extending various user fees and improving tax compliance.
The plan is the first long-term highway bill approved in the Senate since 2005. The short-term extension is the 34th that Congress has passed since 2009.
“The Senate did this because they say it will give them a head start when Congress reconvenes on Sept 8. Fact of matter, it will not be approved by the House, therefore more wrangling and time wasted,” Highway 2 Association President Bob Sivertsen of Havre told The Herald-News. “The people need to demand a clean highway bill.”
He said both funding proposals [House and Senate] are bad ideas and that the public needs to pressure Congress to step away from the proposals.
“The House passing a three-month extension is nothing more than kicking the can down the road,” Sivertsen said. “The House like the Senate doesn’t have a plan that will fly.”
He added that politicians in Washington are not being honest and forthright.
Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., released the following prepared statement: “The Senate just passed a six-year Highway Bill. That is good news for Montana ― a state that has 75,000 miles of road. We need to address our infrastructure challenges in a state like Montana where we have $60 billion worth of goods that move over those highways. It is unfortunate that the House did not stick around to give our Department of Transportation, our contractors and the people of Montana the certainty they need to know that we’re going to have a good highway system that supports our economy, not only this year, but well into the future,”
Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., voted in favor of the temporary extension. He called on the leadership in the House and Senate to craft a long-term plan before the senate passed the six-year plan.
“The Highway Bill is one of those ‘must-do’ bills, and I believe infrastructure is a fundamental role of government. Infrastructure is an investment, not simply an expense, that will prepare Montana for the future,” Zinke said in a prepared statement. “A long-term highway bill that is paid for with the right priorities is certainly at the top of my list, but right now Congress has no clear path forward. I am pleased that our veterans and highways remain a priority, but I look forward to both chambers coming together on a fiscally responsible way to build our roads and bridges.”
“Today the Senate took an important step in moving forward a bipartisan, multi-year bill to address our nation’s infrastructure needs. Montanans deserve a long-term solution that provides needed certainty, improves our infrastructure country, and most importantly, helps create jobs,” Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., said in a statement.
Sivertsen called for a hike in the gas/fuel tax. He said it is the only legitimate way to fund the Highway Trust.
“It’s the fairest tax, because it’s a user tax, if ya don’t drive, ya don’t pay,” he said.
“I have been an advocate for raising the gas/fuel tax for sometime now. Former Sen. Max Baucus told me some years ago, ‘As unpopular as it is, we need to raise the gas/fuel tax,’” Sivertsen said.
He said he is pleased that some representatives in Congress are advocating for the increased tax.
Sivertsen submitted a proposal to Congress that would fund the highway trust and address other related issues.
Sivertsen called a funding proposal by presidential candidate and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., “a devious political scheme. Using repatriation to collect money from corporations doing business overseas is a bogus scheme, at best.”
- Written by Culbertson Searchlight
The Roosevelt County Extension has announced the following Roosevelt County Fair 4-H Indoor Conference judging results.
Dept. B – Animal Science: Judge’s Choice Awards, Kendra Romo, plaque; Tiara Whitmus, plaque; Quinn Whitmus, $5; Katie South, $10; Carson Solem, $5.
Dept. C – 4-H Engineering & Technology: Judge’s Choice Awards, Quinn Whitmus, plaque, Brett Stentoft, $10; Solomon Grainger, ribbon; Macala Adkins, ribbon; Quinn Whitmus, trophy.
Dept. E – 4-H Family & Consumer Sciences: Judge’s Choice Awards, Patrick Kjelshus, plaque; Kaylee Olson, $10.
Dept. G – 4-H Communications & Expressive Arts: Judge’s Choice Awards, Paytyn Wilson, plaque; Allie Romo, cheeseburger, fries and pop donated by Wild West Diner.
Dept. I – 4-H Health: Kaitlyn Adkins, oven mitt; Tiara Whitmus, plaque; Katie South, bread mix.
Dept. J – 4-H County Projects, Cake Decorating: Sierra Machart, plaque; Trinity Whitmus, bread mix; Sierra Machart, Wilton Yearbook of Cake Decorating.
Dept. K – 4-H Miscellaneous: Carly Bowker, plaque; Macala Adkins, $10; Lucas Oelkers, $10; Carson Solem, $5; Carly Bowker, plaque; Cloverbuds – Elsie Wilson, $5.
Dept. L – FFA: Tessa Larsen, plaque, Logan Nickoloff, plaque; Mc-Kade Mahlen, $10; Mariah Marchart, $10; Lucas Oelkers, $5.