- Written by Culbertson Searchlight
Celtic finger-style guitarist and storyteller Jerry Barlow of Golden, Colo., performed at the Culbertson Public Library Thursday, Nov. 6. He entertained the audience with Irish and Scottish melodies played on a handmade Irish guitar and wove bits of history from the two countries into his performance. The Roosevelt County Library in Wolf Point sponsored the performance. Plans are for a return concert in 2016. (Submitted photo)
- Written by John Plestina
Winter Storm Astro, the season’s first named winter storm, dropped plowable snow in northeast Montana Sunday, Nov. 9, into Monday, Nov. 10, and brought a cold air intrusion that was a rude awakening for some.
The temperature in Wolf Point at 5 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 11, was just below zero with a wind chill of minus 19. Early morning air temperatures as cold as minus 8 are forecast for this week.
The National Weather Service at Glasgow reported 3.5 inches of snow in Wolf Point, 3 inches near Lustre, 2.5 inches near Poplar and 1 inch in and around
The Weather Service recorded a storm total of 6.1 inches of snow in Glasgow, breaking a record for Nov. 9 that stood 74 years. The new record of 6.0 inches in a single day surpassed the previous record of 4.6 inches that was set in 1940.
“The heavier amounts were generally in western Phillips County. Northeast Garfield County had the highest reported amount, 8.8 inches,” said meteorologist Rex Morgan, with the National Weather Service in Glasgow.
There was also a 7-inch value recording 13 miles northeast of Bloomfield in Dawson County.
All this begs the question: what do Typhoon Nuri and Bombogenesis have to do with Wolf Point’s weather?
Not much directly, but both do have indirect impacts on the current local weather.
Typhoon Nuri came out of Asia with a vengeance late last week and became the strongest storm on record to hit Alaska. Measured as a hurricane, it recorded a category 5. Nuri has been termed a massive non-tropical superstorm that has added energy to the jet stream. It generated high-altitude winds of nearly 200 mph over the Pacific Ocean. It has since generated a ripple effect of snow and cold weather across much of the nation.
“[Typhoon Nuri] shoved the cold air front from the Arctic down here,” Morgan said.
Bombogenesis is a term sometimes used when a mid-latitude cyclone rapidly intensifies. The term has been associated with Typhoon Nuri.
“We don’t really like that term [Bombogenesis] as meteorologists. It seems kind of alarmist,” Morgan said.
The National Weather Service predicts unseasonably cold temperatures and possible flurries later in the week.
- Written by John Plestina
Brian Scott “Kodiak” Dahl
A high-profile federal drug case has finally come to an end, more than two years after an alleged gang member who had been savagely beaten, strangled and cut with razor blades was found sopping wet in his own blood in a field adjacent to a Culbertson home more than two years ago.
Tim Purdon, United States Attorney for the District of North Dakota, announced Monday, Nov. 3, that Brian Scott “Kodiak” Dahl, 51, of Williston was the seventh and final member of the “The Family,” a large-scale Williston, N.D. methamphetamine distribution organization, to be sentenced in U.S. District Court in Bismarck, N.D.
Dahl was sentenced to 17 years in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and possession of a firearm while committing a drug-trafficking crime. He had pleaded guilty.
Dahl, who was arrested in January 2013, had transported meth from Washington, according to federal court documents.
Co-defendant Jeffrey Jim “Pops” Butler, 47, of Williston pleaded guilty to kidnapping and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and was sentenced to 20 years in a federal prison in October, 2013.
The other five men who pleaded guilty to charges related to the case and sentenced in 2013 were: Nicholas James Gordon Woodford, 24, 15 years; Tyler Michael White, 24, 13 years, 9 months; James Dean Odeneal, 24, 12 years; Zachary Russell Mills, 24, five years; and Matthew Powers, 23, five years.
All seven men had lived in the Williston area less than two years. All were reported to have been staying in several campers parked behind a house in Williston. They were alleged to have had a substantial amount of weapons in their possession. Dahl was arrested with nine rifles, six pistols, four shotguns and three revolvers.
Montana, North Dakota and federal law enforcement first became aware of “The Family” and allegations of large-scale drug trafficking after a resident of Roosevelt County Road 1017 just east of Culbertson saw a severely injured man stagger into a field adjacent to the reporting party’s house on Aug. 12, 2012, and made a 911 call for help. Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Tim Lingle and deputy Joe Moore were dispatched at 6:02 a.m.
The RCSO identified the injured man as Robert Osterhout, then 44, of Oswego, N.Y. Several media sources also have identified Osterhout.
He was transported by ambulance to Roosevelt Medical Center in Cul-
bertson and later to Mercy Medical Center in Williston, N.D. Osterhout was reported to have been suffering from multiple broken bones and other injuries.
Federal charging documents for now convicted members of “The Family” alleged that Osterhout was abducted, severely beaten with brass knuckles, strangled with a rope or string, shocked with a stun gun and cut with razor blades inside a camper in Williston, after members of “The Family” attempted to kill him, believing he would tell authorities about their illicit activities. According to charging documents, the men bound Osterhout, put him in a plastic-lined car trunk and drove him across the state line into Roosevelt County. Osterhout attempted to escape, was beaten again and left for dead in a rural area near Culbertson, according to federal court documents.
Osterhout survived and later told his story to the FBI while hospitalized in Williston.
There is no record of any charges against Osterhout.
Roosevelt County Undersheriff John Summers said Osterhout had walked covered in blood from where he had been dumped to the field beside the reporting party’s home with both eyes swollen shut, blood frozen on the back of his head and shaking uncontrollably due to cold temperatures. Osterhout was wearing only sweatpants and socks, Summers said.
“Deputies found drag marks on the county road with shoe prints visible, and a cell phone and a pop bottle. It appeared that a struggle had taken place near where the victim was found,” Summers said.
“The victim would not answer questions about what had happened when initially questioned by deputies,” he said.
Summers said he and Lingle returned to the scene four days later after residents of the area reported finding evidence in a nearby field.
He said they collected a black baseball cap, syringe-type needle, lighter, two pieces of rope, three pieces of plastic tape and a knife. Summers said they observed what appeared to be a spot of blood on the ground. Summers and Lingle photographed the crime scene. The RCSO later turned the collected items over to over to North Dakota law enforcement who were investigating the case as a possible kidnapping.
- Written by John Plestina
Roosevelt County voters approved a new jail, Jason Frederick as sheriff, Allen Bowker as a county commissioner and reelected Austin Knudsen as a state representative Tuesday, Nov. 4.
Steve Daines was elected to the U.S. Senate and Ryan Zinke to U.S. House of Representatives as part of the nationwide wave by Republican candidates, winning control of the Senate and adding to the number of GOP held House seats.
Roosevelt County Clerk and Recorder Cheryl Hansen reported that 2,728 ballots were cast countywide, with 5,738 registered voters, for a 47.58 percent turnout.
New Jail Approved
The new jail and improved office space are now on tap for the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s office with voter approval of the jail bond.
The jail bond was approved 1,502-1,149 with a 47.58 percent turnout at the polls. Nearly 57 percent of ballots cast were affirmative for the new jail.
A previous attempt to gain voter approval for a jail bonding measure failed at the polls in June due to a voter turnout that was too low to meet the legal state requirement. That bonding issue received 57.93 percent [986-716] of the votes cast. The voter turnout was 34.88 percent.
The approval authorizes the county commissioners to issue and sell $11.86 million in general obligation bonds to be repaid within 20 years.
The projected mill levy increase would add $42.68 annually to the taxes on a residence assessed at $100,000.
Legal action brought by the American Civil Liberties Union in 2013 forced Roosevelt County to reduce the number of jail beds by nearly one half and the threat of further legal action against the county has loomed over the aging jail that does not meet current standards.
Interim sheriff Jason Frederick defeated recently resigned sheriff Freedom Crawford 2,433-223.
County Commission Dist. 1
Allen Bowker defeated Frank Smith 645-368 for the Roosevelt County Commission District 1 seat that is currently held by Jim Shanks, who did not seek another term.
Republican Austin Knudsen of Culbertson was reelected to state House District 34, defeating Gene Hartsock of Glasgow 3,276 to 1,022.
In State Senate District 19, Republican Frederick Davis Moore defeated Democrat Bill McChesney 5,216 to 2,438.
In State House District 31, Democrat Bridget Smith was reelected unopposed with 1,797 votes.
In State House District 37, Republican Lee Randall defeated Democrat Dixie Rieger 3,622 to 902.
Republican Steve Daines received 57.89 percent of the statewide vote, defeating Democrat Amanda Curtis 211,331 to 145,902 for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by John Walsh. Libertarian Roger Roots received 7,721 votes. In Roosevelt County, Daines defeated Curtis 1,331 to 1,255. Roots had 56 votes.
Republican Ryan Zinke received 55.47 percent of votes cast, defeating Democrat John Lewis 201,436 to 146,474 for the at-large U.S. House of Representatives seat currently held by Steve Daines. Libertarian Mike Fellows received 15,105 votes. In Roosevelt County: Zinke, 1,256; Lewis, 1,251; Fellows, 116.
Montana Supreme Court Justice 1: Jim Rice over W. David Herbert 234,221 to 64,462. Rice won 1,761-422 in Roosevelt County.
Montana Supreme Court Justice 2: Mike Wheat over Lawrence VanDyke 192,811 to 133,351. Wheat won in Roosevelt County 1,402 to 922.
State Ballot Questions
Legislative Referendum No. 126, which would have ended Election Day voter registrations, failed 203,024 to 153,986. LR 126 lost 1,448 to 1,149 in Roo-sevelt County.
Constitutional Amendment No. 45, which would have changed the name of the state auditor to commissioner of securities and insurance failed 175,365 to 164,547. Roosevelt County voters voted down the measure 1,381 to 1,092.
For Public Service Commissioner District 1, Republican Travis Kavulla was elected unopposed with 48,967 votes. He received 1,882 votes in Roosevelt County.
- Written by Richard Peterson
Nellie Silk of Wolf Point, a fluent Dakota speaker, talks about a painting of her late grandfather, Chief Follows The Road, in the documentary film Cante Etanhan Iapi [Language of the Heart]. The 36-minute film is about the preservation and revitalization effort by the Fort Peck Tribes to save their Dakota and Nakoda languages. (Photo by Rich Peterson)
Leroy Comes Last of Poplar works with a horse in the documentary film Cante Etanhan Iapi [Language of the Heart], produced by the Fort Peck Tribes about the effort to save the Nakoda and Dakota tribal languages on the reservation. (Photo by Rich Peterson)
The Fort Peck Tribes Language and Culture Department will premiere its documentary video, Cante Etanhan Iapi [Language of the Heart], on Thursday, Nov. 13.
Faced with a dwindling number of Dakota [Sioux] and Nakoda [Assiniboine] language speakers, the department hopes the 36-minute film will inspire its 13,000 tribal members to learn and preserve the languages.
Currently, there are only 25 Nakoda and 35 Dakota speakers remaining on the reservation.
The video highlights efforts being made to revitalize the languages among Fort Peck youth. A camera follows the summer immersion program as they learn about their culture and history by traveling to the tribes’ buffalo ranch, Little Bighorn Battlefield, gathering traditional foods and summer pow-wows. Included are interviews with some of the remaining language speakers.
“Cante Etanhan Iapi sheds important light on our language and culture with the elders and youth. The elders are waiting to hear and help the youth with our language and culture. The youth are going to carry the message and our language and culture’s future from the elders,” said Ramey Growing Thunder, the director of the Fort Peck Tribes’ Language and Culture Department.
“All this happens because our ancestors are with us wherever we go and whatever we do. They are the ones making the connections. And it is Creator that’s at work for all of us. How beautiful it is,” Growing Thunder said.
The video for the premiere will be held Thursday, Nov. 13, at 6 p.m., in the historic Poplar Theater.
The video was funded by the Fort Peck Tribes and the Montana Indian Language Preservation Pilot Program. The program developed from Senate Bill 342, passed in the 2013 Legislative Session and sponsored by Sen. Jonathan Windy Boy, D-Box Elder, to help preserve and teach Montana’s native languages on the state’s seven Indian reservations.