Written by Beth Pickthorn
John Carlbom (left to right), Trinity Campus EMS supervisor, and Nonette Brown, director of NEMHS EMS, stand behind the new Stryker battery-powered cots with one of the new Toughbook laptops. Both campuses received one of each for their Emergency Medical Services staff. (Submitted Photo)
Executive Director, NEMHS Charitable Foundation
Established in 2006 to raise awareness and funds for healthcare projects at both Northeast Montana Health Services’ campuses, the NEMHS Charitable Foundation has enjoyed strong community support and growth since its inception.
Charitable giving, event fundraising and memorial donations play a vital role within the foundation and rural healthcare. Patients and their families have been impacted in a variety of ways from assistance the community has given to the foundation.
In 2014, the foundation was pleased to accept multiple projects to support the additional needs of the hospitals. It was because of an overwhelming response to each of their fundraising events, memorial donations and business contributions that the foundation was able to purchase more items this year than prior years.
In early March, the foundation presented their final $20,000 toward their $65,000 commitment to the 4D Ultrasound and Echocardiograph machine. The total pledged amount was funded in only two and one-half years. The foundation then decided to take on another contribution for 2014.
Emergency Medical Services are an important part of rural healthcare. The 25 personnel who operate the Northeast Montana Health Service emergency services range from EMRs to EMTs. NEMHS emergency services operates four ambulances — two in Poplar and two in Wolf Point — and will run more than 52,000 miles a year with an average of five calls a day or approximately 1,800 calls per year. With healthcare costs ever changing and budgets being cut each year, the foundation wanted to make a positive impact on the first point of service many patients find themselves needing.
With the focus on the hospital EMS department, the foundation elected to obtain new and improved equipment. One item needed for the EMS department was laptop computers in each ambulance that would be connected to vital monitors that transmit essential health information in real-time to the emergency room providers via Wi-Fi capabilities. In doing so, the hospital person-
nel could observe and identify the patient’s cardiac and other system functions before they arrive through the ER door. The process will save critical time and ensure better outcomes for patients in life-threatening situations. The two laptops that were purchased are the Panasonic Toughbooks and are made to be rugged and mobile.
Two battery-powered patient cots were also needed to aid emergency personnel as they transport patients securely. Battery packs allow the cot to be raised and lowered with a touch of a button. Patient care and safety can be better accomplished with a cot that can be powered to make each transition smooth in any weather situation or terrain.
The cost of the two Panasonic Toughbook laptops and the two Stryker battery-powered cots came to $33,517. All items were paid in full in October, bringing the total pledged contributions to the hospitals from the foundation for the year to $53,517.
As the new year begins, the NEMHS Charitable Foundation is welcoming new board officers to the leadership of the organization. At their annual December meeting, a new board chairman and vice-chairman were selected, along with the addition of a new member to the board of directors.
Rodney Paulson of Wolf Point has been appointed as the new chairman of the NEMHS Charitable Foundation. He secedes Mary Nesbit, who served faithfully for close to four years as the chairman and has been a director since 2007. Paulson has been a director on the foundation board since 2011 and has been instrumental in volunteering and assisting with foundation events and business issues.
“I am very excited having been raised in the area, we have all needed healthcare services at some point,” said Paulson. “Since I have been on the board, it has been a great experience and being able to help our local health care facilities is a great honor. The NEMHS Foundation plays a vital role in offsetting costs for new equipment that benefit not only our hospitals but all of us as well. We have a great board of directors and I am excited to continue working with them and for our hospitals that we support.”
Selected as vice-chairman is Brad Moran of Wolf Point. For the past two years, Moran has been a director and has become very involved in the mission and purpose of the foundation.
“Being born and raised in the area, it’s an honor for me to be able to work with the foundation to assist in meeting the healthcare needs of our local communities,” said Moran.
Moran will be taking over the position from Rosie Kurokawa who devoted three years as vice-chair on the board along with being a dedicated director on the foundation since 2006. Kurokawa and Nesbit will remain on as directors.
Accepting the new position as a director is April Vine of Wolf Point. She will be joining a team of 11 existing board members: Arin Grainger, Kerry Hanks, Nathan Lee, Suzanne Boyd, Shannon Knowlton and Lee Loendorf as treasurer, along with Peg Norgaard as ex-officio and Beth Pickthorn, executive director. Each officer and director serves a three-year term and all positions are on volunteer basis.
The foundation provides the opportunity for the community to make a difference in many ways. Besides attending one of the foundation’s annual events, memorial donations in memory or in honor of a loved one are other methods of donating to the foundation. A family can request to restrict their donation or memorial and use it for a designated purpose or piece of equipment chosen by the donor-family. There is usually a plaque and recognition that comes with a restricted memorial. Unrestricted memorial gifts go into unrestricted designations of the general fund and are used within the foundations’ yearly pledged contribution. The fund encompasses all monies received from non-restricted event fund raising and unrestricted donations. The general fund addresses emerging medical needs, supports existing programs and promotes new innovative services and equipment.
The foundation’s mission statement is “Bridging Healthcare and Community” with their vision being “To cultivate friendships within our community that inspire philanthropic giving to support programs and services that improve the quality of healthcare at NEMHS.”
For more information about the NEMHS Charitable Foundation or how you can donate a family memorial or endowment, log on to www.nemhscharitablefoundation.org. The foundation is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization. Contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.
Written by John Plestina
The Fort Peck Tribes Executive Board reinstated the cross deputization of Wolf Point Police officer Joey Olson Monday, Jan. 26.
Olson’s renewal had been held up since November 2014, due to allegations by tribal members that could not be authenticated. For three months, Olson could not arrest or issue tickets to enrolled tribal members. City police had to request tribal officers when Olson has been the only WPPD officer on duty.
The executive board voted 8-1 to reinstate Olson with Garrett Big Leggins casting the dissenting vote. Board members Dana Buckles, Tommy Christian and Stacey Summers were not at the meeting.
“We felt the vote of 8-1 showed confidence in our department,” Wolf Point Police Chief Jeff Harada said. “We were pleased with the outcome.”
There was a consensus to continue a 14-year-old cross deputization law enforcement agreement during a meeting of several tribal representatives and Police and Animal Control Committee of the Wolf Point City Council Tuesday, Jan. 13.
Written by John Plestina
The possibility of altering future school calendars to include some Fridays was discussed by the Wolf Point School board negotiations committee and representatives of the unions representing teachers and other WPSD employees during the second round of collective bargaining negotiations Thursday, Jan. 22.
The committee of the WPSD board and representatives of the Wolf Point Education Association, which represents the teachers, and Wolf Point Educational Support Staff Association are meeting every two weeks until new labor contracts are successfully negotiated.
While discussing an existing memorandum of understanding addressing the four-day school week, superintendent Joe Paine said future school calendars could include some Friday school days. He said that could push the start of the school year past Labor Day.
It was also discussed that teachers who come to work on Fridays for professional development or other non-instructional purposes do so at their own discretion and cannot be mandated to do so.
There were discussions of how many hours constitute full-time employment.
School board chairman Martin DeWitt said he did not feel it would be fair if staff working 20 hours per week were to get the same health insurance benefits as full-time people.
There were also discussions about teachers working after school hours helping students or grading papers at home in the evenings not receiving additional pay while paraprofessional support staff are paid by the hour.
Paraprofessional aides, who are not certified teachers, are sometimes put in classrooms as substitute teachers when other substitutes are not available. There was discussion that under those circumstances, the aides currently receive their hourly compensation and are not paid the $100 substitute teachers receive per day worked.
Also, some paraprofessionals might not feel comfortable being required to be substitutes.
“They are not given a choice. That’s not right,” WPESSA representative Jennifer Zimmerman said.
“They should be able to say, ‘I don’t feel comfortable,’” Paine said.
Written by John Plestina
When people say bullying is not cool, that is so true. It isn’t and it is not acceptable behavior in or outside of schools. I have absolutely no tolerance of people who say it is part of growing up, or worse, those who encourage it.
I sat in on part of the Rachel’s Challenge anti bullying workshop at Frontier Elementary School for teachers and school counselors from throughout eastern Montana on Monday, Jan. 19.
Talking to guest speaker Peter DeAnello of Virginia made me think about two things that happened during my career; first being an editor of a newspaper in a small community that was rocked by a deadly school shooting 18 years ago where one of the victims was the school principal, whom I knew, and second, a multi-part series I wrote seven years ago about school bullying that attracted national media attention.
The 1999 Columbine High School [Colorado] shooting spree by a student that left several students dead, including Rachel Scott who posthumously inspired the Rachel’s Challenge program, was not the first of a long series of school shootings that we only hope and pray has finally ended. There were at least two before Columbine that did not get nearly as much national media attention.
During the 1990s, I was editor of the Tundra Drums in Bethel, Alaska, a remote town of about 5,000 people on the tundra near the Bering Sea that you can only fly in and out of. The biggest problems for the police were alcohol-related and included fights and DUIs until the morning of Feb. 19, 1997, when a 16-year-old student walked into the student commons area inside Bethel Regional High School armed with a shotgun he had managed to hide and sneak onto a school bus. He went to school wanting to kill people and he did. The foster child who hailed from a violent and troubled family, and had been a frequent target of bullies, shot and wounded three students and Principal Ron Edwards. One of the students, the 15-year-old son of a close friend of my girlfriend at the time, and Edwards whom I knew both died later at a hospital.
The shooter was a foster child living in the home of a school administrator [not Edwards] and took the shotgun from the foster parent’s home.
I got to know Edwards almost two years earlier during a flood on the nearby Kuskokwim River that left part of Bethel submerged for about a week during May 1995. The longtime teacher and principal, who was originally from western Montana, was an Alaska National Guard sergeant. He invited me to accompany him on a tracked amphibious SUSV as I witnessed numerous rescues during several hours I sat on top of the vehicle with Edwards, whom I got to know on that tragic day. I talked to him at many basketball games and school board meetings over the next couple of years. That day on the SUSV was the first thing I thought of when I heard he had been shot, even before I knew he died.
Today the street Bethel Regional High School fronts on is named Ron Edwards Memorial Drive, and rightfully so.
The school shooter is paying for what he did. Now 33, Evan Ramsey is serving two consecutive 99-year sentences in an Alaska prison for a total of 198 years. He will be eligible for parole in 2066, when he will be 85 years old.
The other thing I thought of when I spoke to DeAnello at Frontier School was a three-part series I wrote about seven years ago that was inspired by parents talking to me about the bullying problem at local schools while I was working for a newspaper in Nevada. The school superintendent called bullying part of growing up, some people said that some parents were encouraging bullying by telling boys they had to be tough if they were going to be men and several people acknowledged that the school district was doing little to stop the problem. My stories about the bullying problem went out on the Associated Press newswire and ABC news showed up at the middle school with a camera. That principal was not a happy camper. I rattled several people with the stories I wrote and lost friends over it. That is doing my job. The end result was that school district implementing an anti-bullying policy.
Rachel’s challenge is truly a great program and I hope all the schools in our area adopt it.
Written by John Plestina
A Poplar man on the receiving end of a telemarketing scam spotted it for what it was and called the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Jason Frederick said a telemarketer is claiming to be a Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes contractor and told a local man he won $2.5 million. The caveat to becoming a millionaire was that the “winner” must wire a $250 fee via Western Union to collect his winnings.
The caller told the local man he would be wiring the money to Kaibito, Ariz., which is on the Navajo Nation Reservation.
The telemarketer claimed he was calling from Massachusetts, but caller ID showed an 876 area code, which is Jamaica.
The caller also gave a telephone number for verification of his winnings and claimed that was Bank of America. Frederick said the call produced an answering machine with a 2012 date on it and it was not Bank of America.
House reports on its web-
site that there has been
an increase in scams with telephone calls originating from the 876 area code in Jamaica. All prizes above $10,000 are awarded in person.
Publishers Clearing House has been actively working with the FBI, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Homeland Security, Postal Inspection Service, Federal Trade Commission and local law enforcement to address these scams.
Anyone receiving these calls should contact the RCSO at 653-6216 or Publisher’s Clearing House at 800-266-0303.