Written by Herald-News
Public notices — the means by which government announces day-to-day activities important to citizens — are now easier than ever to find, thanks to a new statewide website supported by member newspapers of the Montana Newspaper Association.
Notices such as public budgets, meeting agendas, sample ballots, court actions, construction projects and public hearings published in most Montana newspapers are available on the website.
The free site is available at mtnewspapers.com (click on helpful links) or directly at montanapublicnotices.com. Visitors may search by selecting key words or by selecting content for a specific newspaper. Notices will be archived on the website for 90 days after the publication date.
Weekly and daily newspapers across Montana have made a significant financial investment to bring greater access to public notices, said Jim Rickman, MNA executive director.
"This new website is a value added service that extends the reach of our members' printed pages," said Rickman. "We believe the website will help government keep important information in front of the public, and will increase awareness and understanding of their local governments."
Far more than the value it adds for government and newspapers, however, is the accessibility it delivers for information seekers in the general public.
Rickman said the new service has been found to be useful for construction and engineering firms looking for bidding opportunities all across the state. People wanting to know about trustee sales of property can find those notices with a few search terms. Folks who want to know when their county commissioners will be accepting comment on adopting a budget can also find answers on the website.
The service is made possible through new, advanced technology involving digital imaging of newspaper pages.
MNA represents 85 Montana newspapers and is celebrating its 129th year of service. The mission of MNA is “to advance and sustain the news publishing industry in Montana."
Written by John Plestina
Judge David Cybulski accepted guilty pleas from Malinda K. Bibb under plea agreements in two separate drug cases and denied a bond reduction in 15th District Court, Wednesday, Oct. 15.
Bibb, 31, of Minot, N.D., withdrew several previously entered not guilty pleas in both cases against her.
Bibb’s troubles with the Montana court system began 13 months ago.
Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office deputies stopped a car carrying Bibb, Brandon J. Bigham, 30, and Jamie D. Vert, 36, all of Minot, on U.S. Hwy. 2, near the North Dakota state line, Sept. 20, 2013. Vert was driving, according to the charging documents.
Methamphetamine, marijuana, drug paraphernalia and weapons [no firearms] were found in the vehicle, according to charging documents.
All three were subsequently arraigned on felony charges. Bigham and Vert pleaded not guilty to all charges and both later withdrew guilty pleas under plea agreements.
Thirteen months ago, Bibb pleaded not guilty to criminal possession of dangerous drugs, criminal possession with intent to distribute and criminal possession of drug paraphernalia. She was lodged in the Roosevelt County Jail for several months and released in May on $20,000 bond.
Under the plea agreement, Bibb pleaded guilty to felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs. The county attorney will move to dismiss other charges against her from the September 2013 arrest, according to court documents.
New charges of criminal possession of dangerous drugs, carrying dangerous drugs on a train, both felonies, and misdemeanor counts of criminal possession of dangerous drugs and criminal possession of drug paraphernalia were filed against Bibb after Wolf Point Police Department officers boarded an Amtrak Empire Builder train, Monday, Sept. 8, on a warrant for alleged bail condition violations.
Under the plea agreement for those charges, Bibb pleaded guilty to felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs. The county attorney will move for dismissal of the other charges.
According to court documents, Bibb has acknowledged that she is not eligible for deferred imposition of sentence because of prior convictions.
The county attorney has recommended four years confinement to the Montana Department of Corrections with two years suspended and treatment at Elkhorn Treatment Center in Boulder, a lockdown methamphetamine treatment center for women.
Bibb admitted in court, Wednesday, Oct. 15, that she possessed methamphetamine at the times of both arrests.
Cybulski found her guilty and ordered a pre-sentencing investigation.
Defense attorney Frank Piocos asked for a bond reduction. It is set at $50,000.
“Are you going to be dumb enough to do what you did last time you were out?” Cybulski asked Bibb.
A Williston, N.D., man in the courtroom said he previously posted $20,000 bond for Bibb. He said he was confident she would not violate bail conditions.
Assistant County Attorney Jordan Knudsen said he has spoken to Bibb’s probation officer in Minot, N.D., and that he was told she has failed drug tests.
Cybulski denied bond reduction.
“If you want to blame somebody for your problems, you should look in the mirror,” Cybulski told Bibb.
Written by Herald-News
Judge David Cybulski heard arraignments and initial appearances in 15th District Court, Wednesday, Oct. 15.
Kyle Fuchs, 32, of Culbertson was arraigned for disorderly conduct, partner/family member assault, assault with weapon, unlawful restraint and criminal endangerment. He pleaded not guilty to all five charges.
Cybulski said in court that Fuchs is accused of pointing a shotgun at his wife.
A trial is scheduled for Dec. 11.
Kelly Marie Severson, 47, of Saco made an initial appearance, but not an arraignment and no pleas were entered because her attorney was not present.
Severson, who is lodged in the Roosevelt County Jail, is charged with criminal possession of dangerous drugs, criminal possession with intent to distribute and criminal possession of drug paraphernalia.
She was ordered to appear in court for an arraignment Oct. 29.
Bruce Johnson made an initial appearance on a petition to revoke probation.
His attorney was not present. Cybulski advised him to speak to his lawyer before admitting or denying allegations that he violated probation conditions.
Johnson was ordered to appear in court for a hearing Wednesday, Oct. 29.
Written by Herald-News
Montana Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation agents arrested two men in Glendive for attempting to have sex with a child, Friday, Oct. 10.
Dawson County Attorney Olivia Rieger has charged Steven Cory Unger, 25, of Glasgow and John Allyn Parker, 37, of Watford City, N.D., with one count each of sexual abuse of children.
Unger and Parker were bound over from justice court to Dawson County District Court, Tuesday, Oct. 14. They will make their first court appearance, Tuesday, Oct. 21. Unger was released on $75,000 bond and Parker was reported on Wednesday, Oct. 15, to have been lodged in the Dawson County Correctional Facility.
The Montana Attorney General’s Office reported that the men were arrested after responding in-person to prostitution advertisements that state agents placed on Craigslist and Backpage.com. When initially responding to the ads online, the suspects were notified that the females would be 13 and 15 years old. They then made arrangements to come to Glendive.
“This operation is part of our ongoing efforts to find and prosecute the predators who prey upon Montana’s children,” Attorney General Tim Fox said. “It also testifies to the great results we can achieve when local, state, and federal law enforcement partners work together for a common goal.”
The Glendive Police, Dawson County Sheriff’s Office, state investigators from Montana and North Dakota, and the FBI were involved in the investigation.
Written by Herald-News
A child from Glasgow is among 10 laboratory confirmed cases in Montana of enterovirus-D68 involving children younger than 16.
According to the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, all of the children were hospitalized at some point.
The other counties with confirmed cases are Cascade, Jefferson, Musselshell, Fergus, Gallatin, Lewis and Clark and Yellowstone.
The Centers for Disease Control [CDC] reports that enterovirus D68 is a more virulent strain of the virus that causes the common cold and is one of more than 100 non-polio enteroviruses. It was first identified in California in 1962.
From mid-August through Oct. 17, the CDC and state public health laboratories have confirmed 825 cases in 46 states and the District of Columbia.
CDC also reports that EV-D68 infections will likely begin to decline by late fall.