Wolf Point Herald

CellularOne To Discontinue Wireless Service In Montana

CellularOne has notified the Montana Public Service Commission that it will be discontinuing service in Montana, effective Aug. 31. CellularOne customers are advised to find an alternative service provider prior to that date to avoid an interruption in service.  
Wireless customers may select any carrier providing service in their area.  However, CellularOne has negotiated with AT&T a special rate plan to customers selecting to port their service from CellularOne to AT&T.  Full details of plans available may be obtained by visiting a local AT&T retail outlet.  In addition, CellularOne retail location staff are available to assist customers with this transition.
CellularOne customers should be aware that their existing wireless phones will work on the AT&T network; however, those phones may not work on other wireless networks.  Additionally, Lifeline customers are warned that not all wireless carriers offer a Lifeline discount so that should be kept in mind when considering a new carrier.  
CellularOne was designated an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier by the PSC in 2008, allowing the company to receive approximately $20 million in federal subsidies to build-out their telecommunications infrastructure in underserved rural areas. Since that time, the Federal Communications Commission has reformed the program through which CellularOne received support, and the company has told the PSC it no longer has a viable business plan to serve Montanans.
Those who have not ported to a new carrier when CellularOne turns off its network on Aug. 31 will find themselves without service so the Public Service Commission encourages customers to not delay in researching their options and making the switch.
For more information, visit psc.mt.gov or contact the Commission at 406-444-6199.  Follow the PSC at Twitter.com/@MT_PSC or visit Facebook.com/MontanaPSC.

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Ground Water Sampling Program Sign-Up Date Extended To September 1

Rural water users have voiced concerns about the potential effects on their water supply from oil development. People are worried about chemical storage, waste management accidents at well heads or injection pits, and accidents/spills during chemical and product transportation. Further uncertainties of production water disposal, frack water injections and large withdrawals of ground water have also been revealed.
The purpose of this new monitoring program is to establish baseline groundwater quality and availability in advance of oil and gas activity in our area. McCone Conservation District will prioritize and select domestic and stock-water wells to evaluate based on the proximity to a potential source of contamination such as active or abandoned oil/gas wells, injection wells, waste or chemical management areas. Selected wells must be registered with the Ground Water Information Center.
The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation and Montana Salinity Control Association are assisting the Conservation District with this program. Each well selected will be evaluated on-site for field parameters and water availability. Well samples will be analyzed for drinking water quality and for indicators of contamination specific to energy development activities.
Well sampling and lab fees total approximately $1,200 per well, but a DNRC grant covers most of the expense so McCone County residents can participate in this program for $120 (10 percent of total cost).  
If you are interested in having your well sampled, please contact Mary Hendrix at McCone Conservation District at 406-485-2744 ext. 100 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to begin the sign-up process. Sign-up ends Sept. 1.

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The Wadopana Tradition Continues

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The four-day Wadopana Celebration was held at the Wadopana grounds in Wolf Point, Thursday through Sunday, July 30, through Aug. 3. Held the first weekend of August every year, Wadopana is a time for people to dance and enjoy a time-honored celebration that had its origins during the late 1800s.
(Photos by John Plestina)

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2014 Roosevelt County Fair Underway

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The 2014 Roosevelt County Fair opened Wednesday, Aug. 6, at the fairgrounds in Culbertson.
Thursday is horse judging in the morning. A free succulent planting workshop by Friesen’s Floral and Greenhouse of Wolf Point follows at 11 a.m. Participants are asked to bring 3- to 5-inch pots.
There will be children’s entertainment and kids’ zone all day Thursday and a free corn feed sponsored by the Roosevelt County Commissioners, music by the Midway Band and a dunk tank to support non-profit groups in Roosevelt County. The Culbertson FFA alumni will take their spot in the dunk tank from 2 to 4 p.m., and the Culbertson Women’s Club is up for dunks from 4 to 6 p.m.
The FFA alumni will host a barbecue dinner at 5 p.m.
Friday has a full schedule, beginning with livestock judging in the morning, followed by a leather craft workshop at noon by Featherston Leather of Culbertson. Culbertson Jobs For Montana Graduates takes the dunk tank from noon to 2 p.m. and the small animal judging takes place at 1 p.m.
The Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office will sponsor a bicycle safety program at 3 p.m.
Also on Friday will be the “The Amazing Farm Race” where four teams will embark on a journey throughout the fairgrounds to compete for the fastest time and grand prize. Sign-ups to participate will be in the open class building. Each four-person team must have at least one female and one person over the age of 14.
The Culbertson Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a free feed at 5 p.m., along with the new buyers’ reception.
The livestock auction is also scheduled for Friday. Bidders must come early and register.
Charley Jenkins will close the evening with a night of free entertainment. Children’s entertainment will be provided all day.
Saturday wraps up the fair. The day begins with livestock showmanship. Children’s entertainment is open until 3 p.m. First Community Bank will sponsor the annual “Money in the Straw” for the youth after the rib cook-off, which begins at 1 p.m. A few spots are available for the cook-off. Contact the fair manager for more information. Bainville Main Street Restoration will be in the dunk tank over the lunch hour.
The fair will conclude with the ranch rodeo at the Culbertson Saddle Club in the evening. A calcutta is planned for 5:30 p.m. and the ranch rodeo starts at 6 p.m.
For additional information about the fair, contact Angela Miller at 478-1124.

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Commissioners Send Jail Initiative Back To Voters

The bonding issue for a new Roosevelt County Jail that failed at the polls two months ago will be before voters once again for the Nov. 3 general election. The Roosevelt County Commissioners voted unanimously, Tuesday, Aug. 5, to place the measure back on the ballot.
The need to replace the aging jail is critical due to overcrowding and outdated facilities. The county is at risk of being forced to close the facility because of potential liability. If that happens, the cost to taxpayers could be substantially higher than a mill levy increase that would be necessary to fund construction and operational costs.
The bonding issue received 57.93 percent, 986-716, of the votes cast on primary election ballots in June but failed because it did not receive a minimum of 60 percent, a state requirement when voter turnout is between 30 and 40 percent of registered voters. The voter turnout was 34.88 percent.
The bonding measure will again ask voters to authorize the commissioners to issue and sell $11.86 million in general obligation bonds to be repaid within 20 years with an estimated annual fixed interest rate of 10 percent.
The costs to taxpayers for construction-related costs would be $46.06 per year for residential properties valued at $100,000 and $11.18 annually for operational expenses.
Commissioner Gary Macdonald said in June that one problem he saw with the language on the primary election ballot was that it did not explain the cost of the new jail to voters.
All three commissioners said they are expecting a larger voter turnout for the general election.
“We are going to get some more information out and have a reasonable turnout,” presiding officer Duane Nygaard said.
“It’s going to carry if we get that 40 percent voter turnout,” Macdonald said.
The proposal is to remodel the existing sheriff’s office and jail facility behind the Roosevelt County Courthouse with an addition, a less expensive option than building a completely new facility at a different site because it would reduce construction expenses and eliminate site acquisition costs. It would also retain the jail in close proximity to courtrooms, minimizing transportation costs.
The addition would provide a 60-bed jail that would be compliant with all standards.
The bonding includes the costs of designing, building, equipping and furnishing the jail and office space for the sheriff’s office that would be included. The proposed facility would include an “eyes-on” master control center, booking area, medical isolation area and several Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant cells. An E-911 communications center would be included in the facility.
The larger jail could generate revenue by accepting inmates from other counties and would be large enough to handle a much higher volume of local offenders as increases in crime are projected.
The current 17-bed jail has a rated jail capacity, per state standards, of only 11 beds. The jail averaged 15 inmates per day in 2012, with occasional peaks as high as 20.
The approval of the placement of the bonding measure on the November ballot meets a filing deadline with the county clerk’s office by six days.

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