- Written by John Plestina
The California man alleged to have been wielding a gun and threatening police in front of Wolf Point City Hall in June withdrew a previously entered not guilty plea and pleaded guilty to lesser charges before District Judge David Cybulski in 15th District Court Wednesday, Sept. 30.
Tyrule Davis, 43, of Los Angeles, Calif., pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of carrying a concealed weapon and disorderly conduct.
Wolf Point Police officers disarmed and arrested Davis on June 26, on the 200 block of Fourth Avenue South after Davis allegedly made threats with a handgun.
He was originally charged with felony assault on a peace officer or judicial official.
- Written by Angela Rose Benson
Shown during the donation for American Legion Park Monday, Oct. 12 are (from left to right) Mike Machart presenting the $1,000 check on behalf of Nemont Telephone Cooperative, Legion Post adjutant Brian Fordyce, Jim Baldwin and Steve Baldwin, presenting the $3,000 check on behalf of the Baldwin family and Cedar Ridge Executive Suites. (Photo by Angela Rose Benson)
Since the founding of Culbertson’s American Legion Post after World War I, and later its’ Auxiliary, both organizations have been promoting Americanism, patriotism, serving fellow veterans by helping to meet their needs and, with help from the community, are now planning to breathe life back into the Legion Park.
The Legion Post is requesting donations to improve access to the park, provide parking, install signage, restore fencing and other needed updates. In order to make the park once again enjoyable to the public, the post needs help from the community by achieving a goal of $30,000 in donations.
The Legion Park is located along the Missouri River two miles southeast of Culbertson.
The Legion Park’s 36 acres were donated to the Culbertson American Legion Post in 1944 by Jim and Edna (Bruegger) Swindle. The land became known as the Legion Park after a community building in Lanark was moved onto the acres. The park was the location for Post meetings and activities, until the building was moved into the town of Culbertson, where the building is currently located.
Through many years, the park has hosted many recreational functions for the Legion and the community, including dances, picnics, school and church functions. The local Boy Scout Troop has participated in a number of camp-outs at the park, along with annual Big Muddy District Scout Troop gatherings.
The park’s native woodland setting is dominated by old growth cottonwood trees with some juniper trees. Native red dogwood shrubs also grow within the park. Deer, squirrels and other small mammals occupy the land as well.
Culbertson’s American Legion Post sponsors and participates in an annual Memorial Day Program, places flags on veteran’s graves on Memorial Day, posts flags at Culbertson businesses on holidays and remembrance days, sponsors the annual Boy’s and Girl’s State candidates, provides military rites at veterans’ funerals, raises awareness of Americanism through oratorical and government classes in local schools and provides Post Hall as a meeting place for private, commercial, governmental and public functions.
On Monday, Oct. 12, two donations were given to the post to help meets the needs of the Legion Park fix-up. Nemont Telephone Cooperative donated $1,000 and the check was presented to the post by Mike Machart, whose son, Robert Machart, is a Legion member. Steve Baldwin and his father, Jim Baldwin, who is a long-time legion member, presented a check on behalf of the Baldwin family and Cedar Ridge Executive Suites worth $3,000. Brian Fordyce, Legion post adjutant, and Clint Jacobs, of the Legion Park Committee were present to accept the donations.
“We are so thankful for these guys, and anyone else who decides to donate to us,” said Fordyce.
If any community member is interested in donating, contact a Legion member.
- Written by Eric Killelea and Angela Rose Benson
Unknown to Roosevelt County officials, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway train derailment that leaked 35,000 gallons of crude oil and forced the temporary evacuation of homes five miles east of Culbertson last July was caused by rail tracks warping in high temperatures.
The train derailed when traveling from North Dakota to Washington July 16 along a single-main track due to irregular track alignment, the so-called “sun kink” effect, according to the Federal Railroad Administration’s Aug. 31 report obtained by The Herald-News last week.
The report was released one month after the incident, but local officials say they have not yet received explanations from the railroad company or the federal agency. “There’s no new information being given at this time,” said Culbertson Mayor Gordon Oelkers on Monday, Oct. 12. “I don’t believe BNSF Railway is doing anything wrong or bad. No information has been asked or given to the city.”
No fire, explosions or injuries were reported and a hazardous-materials team contained the leak with earthen dams. Yet the derailment occurred only two days after an unconnected BNSF train carrying mixed cargo derailed due to the same “sun kink” effect about 20 miles away near Fort Kipp. The two incidents, which delayed Amtrak passenger trains, also followed fiery North Dakota crude train derailments and the 2013 explosion in Quebec, Ont., Canada, that killed 47 people.
BNSF spokesperson Matt Jones on Monday wrote in email the cause of the derailments was “thermal misalignment.” According to the company’s website, when heat expands the rail, it puts pressure on the steel, and when the pressure becomes too much, the track can buckle or bulge out, sometimes more than a foot.
The FRA said the equipment and track damage for both derailments cost about $3.2 million. It remains unclear whether the tracks were fixed or whether the federal agency will fine the BNSF trains, which were traveling at recommended speed through the county.
Despite the damages, area officials, such as Dan Sietsema, the coordinator at the Roosevelt County Disaster and Emergency Services, say they only heard “informal reasons” for the latter derailment and did not request information.
“My opinion is this stuff happens,” Sietsema said during an interview last week in his county office.
BNSF transports a wide-variety of cargo across the northern corridor in Montana and North Dakota, including agriculture, consumer, lumber and crude products. Though the number of trains and the types of cargo vary on a daily basis, BNSF averages about 35-38 trains per day on the Glasgow subdivision through Roosevelt County, Jones wrote. The railroad company reports information about the number of Bakken crude trains traveling through state counties to the state of Montana.
“BNSF is a good company to work with. They come in and take care of things,” said Sietsema, who did not have reports of train cargo. When questioned he added: “Every train that comes through makes me nervous, but trains are safer than highway transportation. It isn’t the railroad’s fault.”
Roosevelt County now operates under its 2014 emergency operating plan and hospitals and schools along the tracks rely on their own safety measures, Sietsema said. But the county must rely on limited resources and a Billings-based hazardous materials crews to battle at-risk incidents like crude train derailments.
“No community that I know of that has trains has enough [firefighting] foam to put out oil fires,” Sietsema said. “We do what we can with the best of our ability, with the resources that we have on hand. You can only purchase the amount of resources that funding allows.”
Nonetheless, the DES coordinator plans to organize mock train derailment exercises for the Roosevelt County Local Emergency Planning Committee in Wolf Point and Poplar. The federally mandated working group consists of local emergency workers who identify all hazardous materials here, Sietsema said, but the meetings have not been attended on a regular basis. A derailment simulation was planned for the summer, but the incidents occurred before the committee could gather.
- Written by Jaimee Green
Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Sgt. Tim Lingle holds a fake handgun as Jo Nelson, a Roosevelt Medical Center governing board member, attempts to escape through a window during the armed intruder drill Wednesday, Oct. 7, at RMC. In the second photo, Tricia Berezay, a radiology department employee for Roosevelt Medical Center, is handed a “Bang, You’ve Been Shot” card, during the armed intruder drill at RMC. (Photos by Jaimee Green)
After two months of training, Roosevelt Medical Center held an armed intruder drill Wednesday, Oct. 7, throughout the facility.
During the short exercise, an “armed woman,” portrayed by Jo Nelson, an RMC governing board member, entered the facility wearing a bright orange poster stating “This is a Drill” and pretended to fatally shoot and wound staff members by handing them index cards stating they had been shot, and needed to stay where they were.
Participating law enforcement officers, then entered the building and apprehended the intruder, as if the situation were real. They proceeded through several areas of the building giving staff an opportunity to practice how they need to react to law enforcement in an armed-intruder situation.
Once an “all-clear” signal was given, they held a briefing to discuss what went well and what areas need improvement.
The drill was meant to see how effectively employees responded to the emergency and how well they were able to mitigate the risks involved with the situation.
“It’s a sad reality that these instances can happen in all kinds of settings. To prepare and train with community partners makes us better prepared,” said trauma and disaster preparedness coordinator Kyla Traeger.
Leading up to the drill, staff members took part in smaller panic-alarm drills and watched several Federal Emergency Management training videos. An armed-intruder policy was also created and approved by the governing board.
“Since hospitals are constantly active, safety and security can be a challenge. There are a lot of priorities at the hospital. In addition to handling the emergency at hand, staff and administrators also need to remember to implement innovative technology that can help prevent or disrupt dangerous situations,” said Brian Fordyce, information technology specialist for RMC. “For hospitals, that is often a challenging process because of the different levels of security in varying departments.”
Throughout the year, RMC practices several drills that can include responding to natural and man-made disasters as well as weather events.
- Written by Jaimee Green
Pink is no longer just a color. It’s a state of mind. It symbolizes strength, hope and courage in the fight against breast cancer. Every October, it is the signature color that represents the nationally recognized Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Roosevelt Medical Center will host its’ first annual Pink Carpet Event on Thursday, Oct. 22, at 5:30 p.m. at the American Legion in Culbertson where attendees will enjoy hors d’oeuvres, a pink wine bar and desserts.
“This event is about raising awareness and starting the conversation about a disease that will statistically affect one in eight women in our community,” said Jaimee Green, RMC marketing/foundation director.
Elizabeth Kleppen, a physician’s assistant with RMC, will provide general breast cancer awareness and a well women health discussion. Dr. Jay Kirk, a licensed clinical professional counselor with Roosevelt County, will offer tips for dealing with the mental stages of coping with breast cancer and helping those who have it, while dealing with your own mental well being.
There will also be a breast cancer survivor story told by a community member.
Attendees who bring an unopened bottle of wine will be entered into a drawing to win a wine cellar. One person will win the Best Dressed in Pink Contest and several donated items will be raffled off.
Courage, Hope and Strength Poetry will be on display from English students at Culbertson High School, with the winning poet reading their poems to the audience.
Pink bulbs will be available for $5 to be signed and displayed annually on the RMC Tree of Hope, with proceeds benefiting local breast cancer awareness.
The event is free. For information, contact Jaimee Green at 787-6476.