Written by Culbertson Searchlight
Culbertson High School student Paxton LaQua chats with Leo “Buddy” Waldhausen of Culbertson at the Jobs for Montana’s Graduates Career Development Conference in Billings.
Several Culbertson High School students recently attended the Jobs for Montana’s Graduates Career Development Conference in Billings. Pictured are Kendra Bets His Medicine (near left) and across the table (from left to right) Hannah Boyd, Rayneece Bets His Medicine and Taylor Primeau. The girl behind Kendra Bets His Medicine is not identified.
Culbertson High School students traveled to Billings for the 24th annual Jobs for Montana’s Graduates Career Development Conference Monday, April 28.
Jobs for Montana’s Graduates is a class that students take for an entire school year and work together as a team. Focusing on curriculum based around careers, proper social awareness, leadership and civic activities that empower them to compete at the state level.
The Culbertson students were among more than 350 students from around the state.
Senior Elizabeth Hendrickson sang the national anthem during the opening ceremonies.
Students were divided into groups that allowed and encouraged them to meet new people through an event called “Coordinated Chaos.”
There were competitive events and a talent show that featured Hendrickson.
Montana Pipefitters & Electrical Apprenticeships presented hands-on activities. There were career presentations that included careers, health care and wildland firefighting.
During the awards banquet, Culbertson students presented with awards included Sam Fell with a $500 scholarship from JMG, first-place awards for the talent show and public speaking for Hendrickson, third in state for individual civic activities for Angela Benson, third in words in the workplace for Sheridan Martin and first in career exploratory notebook and second in decision making for Adam Buxbaum.
Written by John Plestina
The Culbertson City Council discussed a new water rate schedule that would increase water user rates during the monthly council meeting Monday, May 5.
Montana Rural Water Systems of Great Falls gave the council a presentation on the proposed water rate structure.
If the council approves the recommendations, the base rate would increase from $14.50 to $21.05.
Another proposed change would switch the Culbertson system to an Equal Dwelling Equivalent (EDU), where water users who use more water would pay more.
“This is to line up with Dry Prairie utility billing,” Mayor Gordon Oelkers said.
The council is also considering not including water usage in the base rate. Instead, customers would only pay for the water they use.
“The people who aren’t using the 3,000 minimum won’t pay for that,” Oelkers said.
Another change the council discussed was to charge 76 cents per barrel for bulk water at the coin shack.
“For us to get our loans, we have to be at the target rate and this puts us at or below the target rates,” Oelkers said.
In other business, comments were heated during a council discussion about the Department of Environmental Quality permitting process for a proposed radioactive waste dump that would accept oilfield waste, some containing low levels of radioactivity.
“I’m personally for this,” Oelkers said. “I’m against the location where they want to put it.”
He said he is opposed to the location because 12 residences are located within a mile and a half of the 160-acre development site on Montana Hwy. 16, about five miles north of Cul-bertson. Oelkers said he wants the site moved to an area where there are no residences nearby.
“We requested a public meeting to address our concerns,” he said.
DEQ section supervisor recently told The Searchlight that a public meeting would be held but he did not know when.
In another matter, the council approved the final plat for the Wheatland Hills Subdivision, a 180-lot multi-use residential development that will accommodate a mix of new houses, apartment buildings, mobile homes and recreational vehicles.
“They’ll be starting curbing and street work next week. By the middle of the month, they’ll have some RVs coming in,” Oelkers said
“It’s a big addition for the town of Culbertson. It could increase it 200 to 400 (population). Two-hundred for sure,” he said.
The council also discussed Sionix Corporation’s buy/sell agreement to purchase the Montola Plant east of Culbertson.
“They are going to reclaim frack water and production water and sell it back as heavy frack water,” Oelkers said.
Sionix would employ between five and 20 employees in Culbertson, he said.
In another matter, Oil Stone Logistics attended the council meeting and was interested along with Sionix in leasing the city’s water treatment plant once the city is connected to Dry Prairie.
“We don’t know what we can do with our water rights on that,” Oelkers said.
The council will revisit the issue during a future meeting.
Written by John Plestina
A man who pleaded guilty to assault on a peace officer, resisting arrest and obstruction of a peace officer for an incident in Froid involving the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office received a deferred sentence that includes a stiff fine in 15th District Judicial Court Wednesday, April 30.
Probation and parole officer Darrin Moser, who works in Sidney, completed the pre-sentencing report on Gary Lee Gibbons of Fairview and recommended that the plea agreement be followed with additional fines. Moser also recommended chemical dependency and mental health evaluations and anger management.
Moser was cited for driving under the influence and domestic assaults in the past. One occurred in
Roosevelt County and the other in Idaho.
Judge David Cybulski upped the fine to $25,000 and length of probation to six years, with credit for more than a year served in the probation program. The fine must be paid over a five-year period.
“Part of my goal is so that you start your life anew,” Cybulski said. “And, you don’t do it again.”
Cybulski cautioned Gibbons that he should be honest with his probation officer if he gets into financial difficulty and has difficulty paying his fine.
Gibbons is an oil field worker employed by Basic Energy in Williston, N.D. There were concerns about jurisdictional issues that place restrictions that could preclude Gibbons from crossing the state line.
Written by Culbertson Searchlight
Culbertson voters returned school trustees Amanda Cullinan and Ronald Larsen to office Tuesday, May 6.
Larsen received 130 votes and Cullinan had 100. Write-in candidate Cassandra Bergum received 85 votes.
Superintendent Larry Crowder said the voter turnout was 25.64 percent.
No election was needed in Bainville. Dana Berwick was unopposed for reelection and was elected by acclamation.
Andrea Miller was unopposed in her bid for the Froid School Board and was elected by acclamation.
Froid voter approved four levies.
A high school levy passed 44-8, a general fund levy for the elementary school passed 45-9, a building reserve levy elementary school passed 44-10 and a building reserve levy for the high school passed 44-10.
Written by John Plestina
A passenger took this photo shortly after the derailment that shows one of the two passenger cars off the track and damaged track. (Photo by Susan Cook, Amtrak Passenger)
One person was hospitalized when two passenger cars on Amtrak’s Minneapolis to Portland and Seattle Empire Builder route derailed near Bainville Monday, April 28.
The westbound cars went off the track at a switch about 2 p.m. Both cars remained upright.
Amtrak reported that 117 passengers were onboard the 13-car train.
Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the train was delayed three and a half hours. It was held temporarily at Culbertson.
An eastbound Amtrak train was delayed 15 hours while a crew from Burlington Northern/Santa Fe repaired damaged track.
“One passenger was looked at the scene by EMS and then looked at Roosevelt Medical Center in Culbertson,” Magliari said.
The unidentified passenger was released from the hospital.
“The tracks were closed because of track damage and disabled cars and reopened this morning,” Magliari said Tuesday, April 29.
Matt Jones, BNSF director of public affairs, said the track was returned to service at 5 a.m.
He said he did not immediately have an estimate of the cost of the damage.
“There could be delays of 36 hours on shipments on this corridor,” Jones said.
Roosevelt County emergency management, sheriff’s deputies and emergency medical personnel responded to the scene.
“We appreciate the reactions of the local emergency responders,” Magliari said.
The Montana Department of Transportation closed Montana Hwy. 327 near the derailment and set up a detour for motor vehicle traffic.
The cause of the derailment remains under investigation by Amtrak and the BNSF.