- Written by John Plestina
District Judge David Cybulski agreed to reduce bail for a Williston, N.D., couple with companion felony drug cases from $25,000 each to $5,000 with waivers of extraction Wednesday, Feb. 11, allowing them to return to jobs in a Williston tattoo and piercing business. Both were freed on bond the following day.
Joshua Wayne Jones, 36, was arraigned on a felony charge of criminal possession of dangerous drugs and misdemeanor criminal possession of drug paraphernalia.
Melissa Ann Jewett, 32, was arraigned immediately after Jones on felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs and a misdemeanor charge of obstructing a peace officer.
Both pleaded not guilty to all counts.
According to the Roose-velt County Attorney’s Office, the business that employs Jones and Jewett is Skinful Pleasures, a Williston tattoo and piercing parlor.
Both have tattoos on their necks and Jones has what is clearly a swastika on the right side of his neck.
Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Sgt. Patrick O’Connor and Deputy Chelbi Brugh arrested Jones and Jewett Monday, Jan. 19, after making contact with them inside the State Line Casino near Bainville. Casino staff had requested that the RCSO remove Jones and Jewett from the establishment.
The RCSO had prior contact with the pair when the Gold Dust Casino, also located near Bainville, called Dec. 31, 2014, telling deputies that Jones was making employees nervous. At that time, deputies told Jones and Jewett to leave the casino. According to the RCSO, Jewett had given a false name and birth date. The RCSO dispatch data center was not operational for checks of suspects.
Jewett’s true identity became known Jan. 19, as well as Jones being on federal probation for a counterfeiting conviction. It was later learned that Jones was off supervised probation.
“Deputies had received criminal history information about Jones violent tendencies and his prior arrests for drug possession and weapons possession,” a narrative from Roosevelt County Undersheriff John Summers read.
The narrative also stated that Jones tried several times to put his hands in his pockets and was told not to by O’Connor and Brugh at the State Line Casino. Jones had to be secured in handcuffs.
Methamphetamine and a knife were found in Jones pockets.
One hydrocodone pill was found on Jewett that she did not have a prescription for.
The car Jones and Jewett were driving when they were arrested was towed to the RCSO in Wolf Point and a search warrant was secured. More hydrocodone pills, a pill bottle with a name on it other than Jones’ or Jewett’s and several cell phones were found in the car and secured as evidence.
The car was released to Jones when he and Jewett bonded out of jail Thursday, Feb. 12.
May 11 trial dates are scheduled.
- Written by John Plestina
The Roosevelt County Commissioners authorized the hiring of a legislative lobbyist in Helena at a cost of $12,000 to push for approval of bills that could have financial impacts locally Tuesday, Feb. 17.
E.J. Redding of the Helena firm of M & B Strategies will focus on bills that could make funding available for road repairs and the new jail.
Commissioner Gary Macdonald said if grant funding could be secured for part of the cost of the jail, the county would not have to bond for as much money.
“It’s think it’s a good move,” he said.
“That’s going to be money well spent,” Commissioner Allen Bowker said.
In other business, the commissioners approved the purchase of a 2005 Chevrolet 3500 extended cab flatbed truck from High Plains Motors for $13,500.
The commissioners also authorized the purchase from Acme Tools of a side-by-side all-terrain vehicle for the weed board for $18,291.
- Written by Jaimee Green
Integrated Solutions Consulting of Fargo, N.D., has been awarded the contract to review and update Roosevelt County’s Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan in collaboration with Valley, Daniels and Sheridan counties’ joint PDM Grant.
Collectively, the four counties are working together through the shared grant, with each county receiving its own personalized plan to fit its hazards-needs for mitigating natural and manmade disasters.
ISC met Feb. 10 with the county’s Local Emergency Planning Committee to present them with an overview of the process set to take place over the next 18 months which will identify the key potential hazards within the county.
Once the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state approves of the plan, the county and incorporated towns will be asked to adopt it.
“It’s important for people to understand the financial significance and importance of this process. It is estimated that, for every $1 spent on mitigation planning the county does, an estimated $3 is saved during the disaster event and recovery period. More importantly, planning for these events is morally and ethically the right thing to do save lives and property and it is vital for the people of this community to be a part of that process,” said Mike Kemp, an ISC consultant.
The plan will examine the wide range of hazards that affect Roosevelt County, recent events, the probability of future occurrences and the vulnerabilities of our population. From that assessment, a plan of action to mitigate these hazards will be developed.
This process enables a community to remain resilient in times of disaster. It’s a proactive approach to dealing with what could happen in our community in terms of disaster.
“With the dangers presented from the Bakken Oil, this is an excellent time to be looking at our current plan and improve upon it. As an example, people may not realize that a derailed oil tanker has the potential to require a half-mile isolation area. That would mean evacuating our entire town. Those are the potential realities we need to be looking at in this plan,” said Dan Sietsema, Roosevelt County Disaster and Emergency Services coordinator.
Using a “Whole Community Approach,” the four-phased planning process will first look at the community’s profile and makeup. In phase two, potential hazards will be identified and, in the third phase, a formula will be used to identify the top threats to the area that need to be focused on. The final phase will consist of identifying and implementing changes that may mitigate or lessen the potential devastation created by these threats.
“The goal at the end of the day is to essentially put together policies and procedures that help us manage and recover from hazards and the disasters they create,” said Kemp.
FEMA requires that PDM plans be updated every five years in order for the county to remain eligible to receive disaster mitigation funds.
The PDM grant is a matching-grant that requires the county to cover 25 percent of the cost through money, or in-kind matching. The remaining 75 percent is absorbed through FEMA.
The county’s LEPC meets at 2 p.m. on the second Tuesday of every month at rotating locations. Future public meetings will be taking place to involve the community in drafting the plan at various locations throughout the county.
For more information, contact Dan Sietsema at 653-6224.
- Written by Jaimee Green
The Roosevelt County Local Emergency Planning Committee is hosting a free Incident Command System course to help ensure the continued cohesiveness of hazards planning and on-scene recovery in our area in the event of natural and man made disasters.
The ICS 300 course will take place March 16-17, at 8:30 a.m. at the Sherman Inn in Wolf Point, and will include a full-day of instruction on March 16, followed by a half-day of instruction on March 17.
The upper-level course will provide training and resources for emergency personnel who require advanced knowledge and application of the Incident Command System and expands on information covered in national ICS 100 and 200 courses.
It is designed for mid-level management and people who serve as command staff, section chiefs, unit leaders, supervisors and directors in emergency and disaster situations. Those who attend can expect to learn about ICS staffing, transfer of command, proper form documentation, unified command, resource management and interagency mission planning.
The course will further enable responders to understand and adopt the integrated, organizational structure of ICS, helping them navigate through the complexities and demands of disaster incidents. It will also enable them to better understand their roles in incident management while exploring ways to work more cohesively alongside other agencies.
The course will be instructed by Mark Gruener, District 6 Disaster and Emergency Services supervisor, and Steve Harada, Roosevelt County Fire Warden.
Coffee and water will be made available. Lunch will not be provided.
For more information, or to sign up for the course, contact Dan Sietsema, DES coordinator, at 653-6224, or Lee Allmer, LEPC chairman, at 653-1900.
- Written by Culbertson Searchlight
The Missouri River mainstem reservoir system has the full flood control zone capacity available for the 2015 runoff season because all of the previously stored flood waters have been evacuated, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Missouri River Water Management Division.
“The last remaining 2014 flood water was evacuated in early January when the combined storage in the reservoirs fell below 56.1 million acre feet, the base of the flood control zone,” said Jody Farhat, chief of the Missouri River Basin Water Management Division. “The entire flood control capacity of the mainstem reservoir system is ready to capture runoff in the spring, reducing flood risk while providing good support to the other authorized project purposes.”
Based on the current soil moisture and mountain snowpack conditions, the 2015 forecast runoff in the Missouri River Basin above Sioux City, Iowa, is 25.5 MAF, 101 percent of normal. Normal runoff is 25.2 MAF.
January runoff into the Missouri River Basin above Sioux City, Iowa, was 178 percent of normal.
Runoff typically slows during winter months as snow accumulates and rivers freeze, reducing inflows into the reservoir system.
However, warmer-than- normal temperatures during the last half of January melted plains snow and river ice, resulting in above normal runoff for the month.
“Because of the warm temperatures, system storage climbed in late January, ending the month at 56.5 MAF, 0.4 MAF above the base of the annual flood control zone,” said Farhat. “Typically, this inflow would occur in early spring; it came a bit early this year but doesn’t impact the reservoir system’s ability to reduce flood risk.”
As of Feb. 5, the mountain snowpack was 95 percent of normal in the reach above Fort Peck Dam and 101 percent of normal in the reach from Fort Peck to Garrison dams.
Mountain snowpack will continue to accumulate during the next few months and normally peaks in mid-April.
“Currently, the mountain snowpack and runoff forecast are near average, but there are more than two months remaining in the snowpack accumulation season,” said Farhat.
“We will continue to monitor basin conditions through the winter and into spring and will fine tune the regulation of the reservoir system based on the most up-to-date information,” Farhat said.