- Written by Eric Killelea
Although Roosevelt County has boasted several new jobs over the year, its unemployment rate remains the highest in northeastern Montana, according to the latest report from the Montana Department of Labor released last week.
The county’s unemployment rate is currently 4.5 percent, which is 0.1 percentage points lower than a year ago yet ranks 47th in the state. There are currently 4,814 people employed in the county, an addition of 36 jobs from September of last year.
By comparison, the five surrounding counties have significantly lower unemployment rates near the Montana and North Dakota border: McCone at 1.7 percent, first in the state; Sheridan at 1.9 percent, ranked second; Valley at 2.2 percent, ranked fifth; Daniels at 2.6 percent ranked 10th; and Richland at 2.8 percent, ranked 14th.
“Several agricultural jobs will pop up, but until the oilfield resumes I don’t anticipate anything,” said Roosevelt County Commissioner Duane Nygaard, who added that he was doubtful of an increase in oil-related activity here during the upcoming months. “We’ll just have to maintain what we have.”
Meanwhile, the Fort Peck Indian Reservation’s unemployment rate is 5.5 percent yet ranked second among the seven reservations in the state. The Fork Peck Tribes added 40 jobs throughout Roosevelt, Valley, Daniels and Sheridan counties over the past year.
Data shows 615 employers on the Fort Peck reservation and in Roosevelt County.
The largest employers were the Fort Peck Tribes and Trinity Hospital in Wolf Point with figures ranging between 250-499 staff members. Roosevelt Medical Center in Culbertson had between 100-249 staff.
Listed business descriptions of clinics, federal government offices, tribal housing authorities, a livestock breeder and an oil and gas producer employed between 50-99 staff.
State Increases Jobs
Montana’s unemployment rate dropped slightly in September to 4.1 percent, a decline of 0.1 percentage points from the August estimate of 4.2 percent.
“Montana’s economy continues to show strength as we head toward the end of the year,” Gov. Steve Bullock said in a statement. “Over 10,000 jobs have been added over the last 12 months, and wages are outpacing the national average.”
The state’s labor force includes more than 524,000 people. Nearly 503,000 of them are employed, leaving just over 21,500 unemployed.
- Written by Angela Rose Benson
Felicia Kleven resigned from her position as Froid Public Schools superintendent on Wednesday, Oct. 21.
An emergency school board meeting was held Oct. 22, where it was decided that principal Ken Taylor will be the acting superintendent until the position is filled.
Froid Public School will begin searching for a new superintendent at the discretion of the school board, according to Taylor.
“Felicia Kleven left to look for other opportunities,” he said.
No further information is being given at this time.
Greg Sunwall resigned from the school board a few weeks ago.
- 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. Names on the jail roster are those of everyone incarcerated and persons booked into the jail during the previous week and does not necessarily mean there is a new charge or conviction. Some individuals might be serving time for a previous conviction.)
As of Monday, Oct. 26, 11 inmates were housed in the Roosevelt County Jail. Fort Benton Detention Center was holding one male and the Valley County Detention Center was holding three females to alleviate overcrowding.
The RCSO reported that the following individuals were incarcerated at the jail between Monday, Oct. 19, and Monday, Oct. 26:
•Frank Baker, 33, Wolf Point, criminal possession of dangerous drugs;
•Amos Bridges, 39, Wolf Point, criminal contempt warrant;
•Jason Daugherty, 37, Wolf Point, criminal possession of dangerous drugs [two counts], criminal possession of drug paraphernalia, attempted assault on a peace officer or judicial officer, and resisting arrest;
•Jason Fridge, 30, Williston, N.D., driving under the influence of any drug;
•Christopher L. Hovey, 26, Williston, N.D., out-of- county warrant;
•Kevyn Johannesson, 26, Williston, N.D., fleeing or eluding a peace officer, criminal endangerment and obstructing a peace officer;
•Paul Magnuson, 47, Bainville, driving under the influence - second offense;
•Adam Meyer, 36, Wolf Point, probation/parole violation;
•Brett Sandy, 25, Orange, Calif., felony theft;
•Monte Walton, 35, Poplar, endangering the welfare of a child, violation of a protective order, first offense, criminal possession of dangerous drugs and criminal possession of drug paraphernalia.
•Loren Warmbrod, 43, Wolf Point, probation/parole violation.
- Written by Angela Rose Benson
Attending the LEPC meeting in Bainville Tuesday, Oct. 13 were: (from left to right) Mandy Hickel, town of Bainville and emergency medical services; Benjie Butikofer, town of Bainville; Chuck Hyatt, Bainville Fire Department; Kyla Traeger, Roosevelt Medical Center disaster preparedness coordinator; Lyle Lambert, Bainville Fire Department; Lee Allmer, chairperson; and Jaimee Green, secretary/treasurer. (Photo by Angela Rose Benson)
The Roosevelt County Local Emergency Planning Committee held their regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, Oct. 13, in
Bainville at the fire hall with light attendance.
During the meeting, Lee Allmer was elected to serve another two years as the chairman and Jaimee Green was elected to serve another term as the secretary and treasurer for the committee. With Green’s reluctance to serve another term, citing her busy schedule, it was noted that, should another person come forward with an interest in taking over, she could be relieved of this duty.
Minutes were approved for the months of July and September. With the absence of Roosevelt County Disaster and Emergency Services coordinator Dan Sietsema, no updates were given on the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant.
Committee member Chuck Hyatt of Bainville introduced Mandy Hickel, a Bainville council member and EMT, to the committee, and said she is another member of the community who will be attending the meetings. Allmer noted that a copy of the LEPC membership roster needs to be filed with the State’s Emergency Response Commission. Green said she will send the information once she receives the appropriate contact’s email information.
In an effort to create more dialogue during the meetings about potential threats faced by the county’s communities, a topic is selected at each meeting. This time, the scenario discussed involved Bainville and a train derailment. The two biggest concerns shared by those in attendance who reside in Bainville were the abandoned grain elevator and the limited number of accessible routes for emergency responders and community members to use for evacuation when a train is blocking roads.
“In many instances you are going to have to put yourself in harm’s way, to get out of harm’s way with the options we have for evacuation routes,” said Hyatt. “In the case of the elevator, the heat would be too intense to cross any of the roads to get out of town.”
It was noted that the grain elevator was acquired by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad and that it is not maintained. Children and transients have been found in the elevator, with one group using a camping stove inside the building where volatile grain dust in likely present.
“We just don’t know how to tackle this situation. Those buildings are deteriorating and this is a legitimate concern,” said Lyle Lambert, of the Bainville Fire Department.
Allmer said that through the LEPC, a letter could be drafted and sent to BNSF requesting information about what materials are located inside the abandoned grain elevator. This would give emergency responders a better understanding of what they could potentially be dealing with in the event of an emergency situation. It was mentioned that some time ago, there were plans underway to deal with the dilapidated elevator but the project ended.
The discussion wrapped up with many noting that an easement or purchase of property might make evacuations from Bainville easier. Another thought was to improve and maintain the Road 1011 crossing.
The next meeting is slated for Tuesday, Nov. 10, at the Roosevelt County Health Department in Wolf Point.-
- Written by Eric Killelea
Members of the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes must soon choose among five candidates to replace the current chairman.
Chairman AT “Rusty” Stafne plans to retire on Monday, Oct. 26, after serving his two-year term. He was elected chairman in 2013 by defeating incumbent Floyd Azure and former chairman John Morales.
Azure and Morales are two of five candidates now vying for chairman.
Also on the ballot are Councilman Garret Big Leggins, Larry Dean Wetsit and Barry Bighorn Sr., according to the list of candidates the tribes released.
The 2015 election is scheduled on Saturday, Oct. 31.
Winners will be announced that night and take their oaths of office Nov. 2 during a scheduled tribal board meeting.
Also on the ballots, incumbents Vice Chairwoman Patt Iron Cloud and Sgt.-at-Arms John Weeks compete for their seats.
Twelve of the 12 tribal board members are also seeking re-election. A total of 51 enrolled tribal members filed to run for the board seats.
In 2013, about 2,000 of 3,900 registered voters cast ballots, according to The Associated Press. Thirty-six tribal members filed for board seats. Several incumbents retained their seats, while six new candidates were freshly elected. Top vote-getters included Stacey Summers with 773 votes, Grant Stafne with 750 votes and Terry Rattling Thunder with 715 votes.
Also, voters passed a referendum to elect Tribal Court judges. They were previously hand-picked by the tribal council.
Associate Judge Dana Runs Above and Stacie Crawford are competing for the vacant position of Chief Judge. Associate Judge Marvin Youpee, Jr. is competing against seven candidates for his position.