CS Masthead

Culbertson Museum

12.11.14.P1-COLOR


The Culbertson Museum is getting new lighting and a new fire and security alarm system. The new lights are less intrusive to the artifacts in the museum. The lights, fire alarm system, motion detectors and security system  are being installed by WE Integrate of Williston. Pictured are Jill Herness and a representative from WE Integrate.  (Photo by Nancy Mahan)

Complaint Filed Against County Over Jail Bond

One month after nearly 57 percent of Roosevelt County voters approved bond funding for a new jail and office space for the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s office, a Wolf Point man filed a complaint with the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices alleging misuse of county funds in support of the ballot measure that he said violated an opinion by the Montana Attorney General.
Billy “Bill” Juve, who filed the complaint Wednesday, Dec. 3, 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.
Juve’s complaint asserts that the county commissioners hired a consultant with county funds to support the jail bond and that a paid political letter to the editor [published in The Herald-News and The Searchlight] and signed by Sheriff Jason Frederick, jail administrator Melvin Clark and the Roosevelt County Commissioners, and a pamphlet inserted in the newspapers supporting the ballot measure were paid for through the county commissioners, which Juve asserted is a violation of the 2005 Attorney General’s opinion.
Juve did not have a detailed comment when The Herald-News contacted him Tuesday, Dec. 9.
“That our elected officials abide by the rules of the State of Montana,” he said. “Whatever happens, happens.”
Commission presiding officer Duane Nygaard called Juve a “ disgruntled taxpayer.”
He said he doubted if anything would come of the complaint and said he could not comment on whether a decision in Juve’s favor by the Commissioner of Political Practices could nullify the vote.
Vanessa Sanddal, an investigator for the Commissioner of Political Practices, said she could not say what might happen.
“That’s something the commissioner would have to speak to after we gather the facts,” Sanddal said. “Anyone can file a complaint.”
She said Commissioner Jonathan Motl would render a decision on the complaint, possibly after Christmas.
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 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.

New Event Center, Fire Hall Planned In Culbertson

The Roosevelt County Fair and Culbertson Rural Fire Department are working in collaboration for a new building that would be an event center and fire hall to be utilized year round by both parties.
Culbertson Rural Fire Department has doubled the amount of calls in the past five years. The department responded to 34 calls in 2009, and 71 so far this year.
Of those fire calls, only 20 percent were oilfield related. Oilfield calls averaged two per year per town. At present time, Culbertson RFD travels from Brockton to Williston, and Froid to the flashing light at the intersection of Hwys. 16 and 201 to Fairview with one hazmat truck, eight fire trucks and 24 volunteer firefighters.
Roosevelt County Fair currently hosts the annual county fair each summer and the building/grounds are also rented out for reunions, weddings, funerals, and other large functions or occasions.  Because none of the buildings are winter weather friendly, the grounds are only utilized between May and October. The new building will lay approximately at the same point where the current quonset/4-H buildings stand at the fairgrounds, and will be the same size, but because there is presently approximately 12 feet of unused space between the buildings, space will be gained. A goal for seating will exceed 500 people.
From east to west the building would be 225 feet. Half will be split by a wall for each department to have equal sides. From north to south the building will be 100 feet. There will also be an awning off the back of the building on the north side, which will gain more access for outdoor vendors and activities.  This bare structure has been bid at $900,000 or $40 per square foot. That includes ground source heating.
For a finished building, the collaboration is looking at approximately $1.5 million. That would include lockers, storage, washing machines, showers, a maintenance bay and a training facility for the fire department. The fair would also need a storage room, kitchen, and year-round office, as well as restrooms.
Nonprofit tax exempt 501C status has been set up at First Community Bank for anyone who would like to donate to the development of the project. There is also a GoFundMe account titled “Roosevelt County Fair and Fire. For additional information, visit www.gofundme.com/rooseveltfairfire.

Commissioners Ponder Possible County Ownership Of Oil Royalties

The Roosevelt County Commissioners discussed hiring an employee or consultant to research possible county ownership of oil royalties and mineral interests Tuesday, Dec. 9.
Commission presiding officer Duane Nygaard said the county might not be getting all royalties it is entitled to and research could lead to the county recovering royalties it might be entitled to.
The research could be a lengthy process, possibly taking two or three years.
Assistant county attorney Jordan Knudsen said the research should begin with the eastern end of the county where there is the most oil exploration and work westward.
Knudsen called the research “specialized borderline legal work.”
No decision was made on whether to hire an employee or a consultant.
The commission will revisit the issue at another meeting later this month.

Culbertson Speech And Drama Brings Home The Gold

The Culbertson High School speech and drama team traveled to Hardin over the weekend and did an amazing job of representing Culbertson, as they competed against 24 schools and over 400 students.
Placing were: Nica Granada, first in memorized public address; Garrett Reid, second, memorized public address; and Michaela Cathey, third, mime.
Several of the students finished within the top 10, and all the students had excellent scores throughout the day.
Overall, the team once again won first-place in both speech and drama sweepstakes.