Wolf Point Herald

Culbertson’s Finnicum Named Montana School Boards Association President



Long-time Culbertson School District trustee and board chair Paul Finnicum was recently appointed to fill the post of president-elect of the Montana School Boards Association board.
Finnicum will succeed current MTSBA president Sabrina Steketee  at the Montana Conference of Education Leadership in October. Finnicum will serve as MTSBA president through the 2015 Legislature and the Montana Conference of Education Leadership in October 2015.
Finnicum will fill a vacancy that occurred when Wayne Todd, of Denton, no longer served on his local board as of May.    
“Paul’s experience as a trustee has served MTSBA well in the past and we look forward to Paul’s continued leadership both as President-Elect and President,” said MTSBA Executive Director Lance Melton. “In making the appointment, I believe the board recognized Paul’s tremendous experience not only in board leadership, but in understanding local control and the legislative process.”
“The MTSBA Board recognized that Paul (Finnicum) has many endearing qualities like a sense of humor and a love and knowledge of music, but with this appointment, we see the tremendous commitment he has to K-12 public education not only in Culbertson, but for all Montana students,” Steketee said.
“Paul and his family have a great history of public service not only on the school board – where Paul is a third-generation board chairman – but with local government and civic organizations as well,” she said.
“We really look forward to the leadership qualities Paul brings; he will serve MTSBA well,” Steketee said.

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Changing Of The Guard: Stennes Retiring After 41 Years, Jeri Toavs Slated To Move Up



Retiring District Court clerk and Roosevelt County Superintendent of Schools Pat Stennes (seated) with Jeri Toavs, who has acted as Stennes’ deputy clerk for 16 years.   (Photo by John Plestina)


A longtime fixture in the Roosevelt County Courthouse, Pat Stennes is retiring after more than 41 years working for the county, 23 of which as clerk of the District Court.
Stennes started working for Roosevelt County in the Clerk and Recorder’s Office in January 1973. She had returned home to Wolf Point after working in Billings following college. She later worked as a deputy under the Clerk of the District Court and was appointed clerk in 1991.
She was formally appointed Roosevelt County Superintendent of Schools in 2000. The position had been in her title earlier than 2000, but a past justice of the peace served as superintendent prior to 2000.
The changing of the guard for both of Stennes’ positions will be Thursday, July 31, with 16-year county employee Jeri Toavs as the likely designee to replace Stennes. The county commissioners must formally appoint her.
“[Toavs] started in the clerk and recorder’s office, also.” Stennes said.
After working for the clerk and recorder for about one year, Toavs began working under Stennes as a deputy district court clerk in October 1999.
Laurie Evans recently began working with Stennes and Toavs and will be the new deputy clerk. She previously worked in the county treasurer’s office.
Stennes was born in Wolf Point and graduated from Wolf Point High School. She spent time in the courthouse as a child. Her mother, Marge Stennes, is a former county employee. She continues to live in Wolf Point.
“When I was born, my mother was working in the clerk and recorder’s office,” Stennes said.
“I’ve always been here — it feels like. The lady who was my mother’s boss was still here when I started,” she said.
Stennes has seen a lot of changes come to the Roose-velt County Courthouse.
“Oh, man, the changes are unreal,” she said.
“Judge [James] Sorte was the judge when I came,” Stennes said.
The late Judge Sorte served on the bench in the 15th District from 1969 until 1994.
Judge David Cybulski took the reins of the 15th District in 1995 and remains as district judge.
“We didn’t have computers when I started here,” Stennes said.
She said everything was done manually in 1991. Today, the state provides software that is in use in the courthouse.
“The changes are the biggest thing and the changes in the crime. When I started here — criminal cases — maybe eight a year,” Stennes said.
The number of felony cases — mostly drug-related — that are currently filed in the 15th District are at least eight each month. Six people appeared in court in Wolf Point for arraignments on felony drug cases, Wednesday, June 25.
Despite the sharp increase in criminal cases, Stennes said she will miss her job.
“You see the bad, but you see the good. The adoptions; they’re the special cases,” Stennes said.
Stennes said she plans to continue to live in Wolf Point for at least a few more years, but she wants to spend more time with her daughter and grandchildren in California.

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Branson Entertainers In Concert at Culbertson City Park

The Haining Family, Branson’s premier Gospel Bluegrass Band, will perform at the Culbertson City Park, Wednesday, July 16, at 7 p.m.
Their unique blend of family harmonies, outstanding instrumental skills, and internationally-acclaimed yodeling presents an energetic, inspirational approach to gospel, patriotic and family-friendly musical favorites.
Described by fans as “True Americana at its best,” this is sure to be an evening you won’t forget. The park is located at Third Avenue East. In the event of bad weather, the concert will be moved indoors, at Bethel Community Church, 620 Third Avenue East.
The concert will be free. A free-will offering will be received.
More information is available at www.HainingFamily.com.

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Commissioners Chided For Not Fixing Rodeo Road

A Wolf Point man told the Roosevelt County Board of County Commissioners, Tuesday, July 2, that they didn’t honor a promise to repair Rodeo Road before the end of spring.
Bill Juve referred to the minutes of the Oct. 31, 2013, commission meeting where he said the board had promised to repair holes on Rodeo Road, just east of the city of Wolf Point.
“Spring is come. Spring is gone,” Juve said.
“We’ve been down this road and back for four or five years now,” he said.
Juve said potholes are causing wear and tear to vehicles.
Commission chairman Duane Nygaard said asphalt and a provider for oil are available.
“We are projecting that after Stampede, we will get that patched,” he said.
Juve responded with a question of which year’s Stampede.
“Before freeze up,” Nygaard said.
In other business, the commissioners approved a purchase of two computers for the Sheriff’s office for dispatch services for a little over $3,000.
The commissioners are required to pre-approve purchases exceeding $500, which had not been done. A representative of the Sheriff’s Office told the commissioners the 911 board approved the purchase. Commissioner Gary Macdonald told him the commissioners ultimately have the power to make decisions.
The commissioners discussed hiring one-fourth of a human resources employee to share with Valley, Daniels and Sheridan counties. A meeting with commissioners of the other counties will be held at a later date.

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Frontier Day Meal Earns Money For Pool

The Frontier Day meal earned $2,611 for the splash pool in Culbertson and a presentation of a movie made $443.
The Women’s Club is looking for local businesses or organizations that are willing to contribute time, service, materials or monetary donations for the pool.
For more information, contact Ashley Anderson at 787-5820 or Lanette Bidegaray at 480-3526 or visit www.facebook.com/culbertsonwomensclub.

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