CS Masthead

Elizabeth Hendrickson

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The Wolf Point Centennial celebration and Wild Horse Stampede kicked off Wednesday, July 8, with a barbecue, the annual KVCK Country Showdown and a dance with Ryan Crys and the Roughcuts from Colorado. Elizabeth Hendrickson of Culbertson, the 2014 Showdown winner, provided special entertainment. Pieter VanHeerden from South Africa and currently of Wolf Point won first place with Al Bets His Medicine of Poplar finishing second and Natasha Richter of Butte taking third.  (Photo by John Plestina)

Sheriff, Deputies Get New Uniforms, Patches

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Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office undersheriff John Summers (left) and detention officer Brian Nelson model their new uniforms. At right are the new patch on the left and the old patch.  (Photos by John Plestina)

Sheriff Jason Frederick has implemented a few changes during his first year in office that include new uniforms and redesigned patches.
Frederick and all uniformed officers and jail staff changed from the traditional brown sheriff’s uniforms to black shirts and khaki pants on July 1.
Some wear black polo shirts during summer months.
Undersheriff John Summers said the new uniforms have been well received by deputies and the public.
The only concern expressed by staff has been black shirts during hot months.
“They said, ‘It’s black. It’s going to be hot,” Summers said.
Along with the change to black shirts and khaki pants came a redesign of the shoulder patches all members of the department wear.
The decision to change the uniforms came after Frederick and Summers attended a conference in Great Falls earlier this year.
“We saw how Cascade County changed their uniforms to black shirts and tan pants and liked the more professional appearance,” Summers said.
Frederick held a contest for all schools across Roosevelt County to design a new patch. The winning design was by Poplar High School student Angel Boyd.  

Bainville Mail Carrier Tells Commissioners Rutted Roads Are Damaging Her Vehicle

A rural mail carrier who works in the Bainville area told Roosevelt County Commissioners Tuesday, July 14, that three county roads are rutted and otherwise damaged to the point of damaging vehicles.
Tonya South of Bainville said county roads 1011, 1013 and 2060 are in such disrepair that they are unsafe.
South said she drives about 100 miles each day on her mail route in the east end of the county. She is also a substitute school bus driver.
South said one time her air bag warning light came on three times.
Worse, rutted road caused a transmission fluid line to break dumping her transmission fluid on the ground.
“Luckily, my transmission wasn’t ruined,” she said.
“There are huge holes. If you don’t know they are there, you will damage your vehicle,” South said.
She said there are oil wells in the area and heavy oil industry trucks use the roads.
South spoke during a public comment period so the commissioners could not address the issue.
In other business, Bainville fire chief Chuck Hyatt told the commissioners he has submitted claims for the fire hall that were rejected. He said doors at the station are too small for some of the trucks and about $50,000 is needed to correct the problem.
In another matter, the commissioners approved $3,851 for concrete construction at the fairgrounds.
The commissioners also approved the hiring of Rona Butikofer and Mackenzie Butikofer for the fair.
In other business, the commissioners appointed Thelma Hodges to the Council on Aging board.

Drug Raid Takes Down Meth Lab In Poplar Teacher Housing

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Monte Walton and Amber Walton

A drug raid by Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office deputies took down a methamphetamine manufacturing operation in the basement of a house in the Poplar School District’s teacher housing Friday, July 3.
The school district provides the single-family house on the 400 block of Fourth Avenue West to a teacher at a subsidized rent, according to the RCSO. That teacher had allowed a daughter, son-in-law and four grandchildren between the ages of three and 12 to live in the basement.
RCSO Sgt. Patrick O’Connor told The Herald-News that law enforcement believes the teacher and spouse, who are in their 60s, were not aware of the manufacture of meth in the basement.
“Those guys; I feel bad for them. They’re as innocent as they can get. They trusted someone,” O’Connor said.
The teacher, spouse and grandchildren cannot live in house until it is tested for health hazards caused by the alleged manufacture of methamphetamine.
“Their lives got turned upside down,” O’Connor said.
“There was a suspected one-pot meth lab in the basement,” he said.
RCSO deputies initially went to the house, Friday, July 3, and arrested the daughter and son-in-law of the teacher.
RCSO undersheriff John Summers identified the daughter as Amanda Walton, 32, and her husband as Monte Walton, 35.
They moved to eastern Montana from New Mexico and lived in Plentywood before moving to Poplar. Monte Walton worked in the oilfields.
Both are charged with felony endangering the welfare of children due to the presence of four children at the site of the alleged meth lab and criminal possession of dangerous drugs and misdemeanor criminal possession of drug paraphernalia and violation of a protective order.
Monte Walton is lodged in the Roosevelt County Jail and Amanda Walton is held in the Valley County Detention Center.
Endangering the welfare of children is a felony if juveniles are exposed to meth or meth paraphernalia.
“The restraining order violations were because they had restraining orders on each other. The paraphernalia was syringes,” O’Connor said.
“There are possible enhancements because it was in a house where children were present and less than 500 feet from a school,” he said.
A search warrant was executed at the house on Monday, July 6.
“I field tested a syringe and it tested positive for methamphetamine,” O’Connor said.
“There are more charges coming for the lab. The county attorney is looking at it,” he said.
O’Connor said likely charges would be operating an unlawful clandestine laboratory and criminal possession of precursors to dangerous drugs.

Former Poplar Superintendent Seeks $6.5 Million In Damages

One month after the Poplar School board placed its district superintendent on administrative leave, Dr. Kim Harding filed a lawsuit against the Poplar School District seeking $6.5 million in damages.
Harding filed her suit with Roosevelt County Superintendent of Schools Jeri Toavs on June 15, the first required step of what could be a lengthy process. A hearing will be scheduled.
The next step if Harding is not satisfied with the results of a hearing would be to appeal to the Montana Office of Public Instruction. She is required to jump through those hoops before she can take her suit into the courts.
“It’s been turned over to legal counsel and they will be doing all of our talking on it,” new Poplar School superintendent Jim Baldwin said.
“It’s a long process,” he said.
Baldwin could not comment further.
Poplar School District trustees placed Harding on administrative leave on May 14 and later bought out her contract for $95,000. Harding had held the school district’s top post since the beginning of the school year.
Harding alleges in her suit that the school district wrongfully terminated her and damaged her reputation.
Harding’s removal by school trustees came after a petition asking the district to remove her was reported to have circulated in Poplar. That followed the Fort Peck Tribes Executive Board voting 9-1 on April 27 to banish Harding from the reservation.
Numerous allegations alleged issues with Harding not getting along with teachers and she was accused of referring to several Poplar teachers as “renegades” in an email dated March 6. A Poplar teacher publicized the email from Harding on March 11.
Harding was taken to task because of historical uses of the word “renegade” that are considered offensive by Native Americans.
Harding told The Herald-News in early May that the email was portrayed in the press [not in The Herald-News] as racist in nature and described situations that had been happening at staff meetings.