Written by John Plestina
Smoke wafting into Roosevelt County from fires ravaging in western Montana, Idaho and Washington have created a smoky haze that the National Weather Service in Glasgow predicts will continue until at least until the weekend.
NWS meteorologist Patrick Gilchrist said a silver lining might be beautiful sunsets because of the haze.
“At this point, the majority [of the smoke] is going to depend on how much fire activity we see in Washington, Idaho and western Montana,” he said Monday, Aug. 17.
The Thompson fire in Glacier National Park has consumed at least 13,000 acres. While a few others are burning in western Montana, dozens are burning in Idaho and Washington, including the 277,000-acre Soda fire in western Idaho.
Gilchrist said prevailing winds should keep some of the haze in the area at least until the weekend.
Drifting wildfire smoke was also reported in Billings.
High temperatures, dry conditions, lightning and wind have helped to spark fires across the three-state region as well as in California.
The National Weather Service reported Sunday that smoky conditions had improved slightly as winds pushed smoke into southwest Montana and Wyoming.
Wildfires have burned thousands of acres in Glacier National Park, other areas in Western Montana and in the two nearby states. Many residents of the impacted areas have been evacuated.
Smoke has resulted in an air quality alert in parts of western Montana with air classified as unhealthy.
Predictions for fire danger remain high in western Montana, which has been called a tinderbox due to minimal precipitation and a weak snowpack.
Written by Angela Rose Benson
Attending the Tuesday, Aug. 11, LEPC meeting in Poplar are: (from left to right) John Carlbom,
NEMHS EMS; Lyle Lambert, Bainville Fire Department; Renee Rasmussen,
Bainville School superintendent; Lee Allmer, LEPC chairmen; Chuck Hyatt, Bainville Fire Department; Benjie Butikofer, Town of Bainville; and Robin Warren, NEMHS education director. (Photo by Angela Rose Benson)
Roosevelt County’s Local Emergency Planning Committee held a heavily attended, regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, Aug. 11, at Northeast Montana Health Services - Poplar Campus.
A number of new community members from the Bainville area were in attendance, following the recent after-action meeting that took place with train derailment responders. New attendees included: Lyle Lambert, Bainville Fire Department and public works manager; Renee Rasmussen, Bainville School District superintendent; Chuck Hyatt, Bainville Fire Department and school maintenance manager; and Benjie Butikofer, Town of Bainville.
Dan Sietsema, Roose-velt County Disaster and Emergency Services coordinator, reported that he is still busy finalizing his report on the flooding disaster of 2011 for the Federal Emergency Management Agency citing rigorous reporting requirements.
Sietsema said he will begin working to secure funds for the county through the state Emergency Management Preparedness Grant. The EMPG grant application is due by Monday, Aug. 24. The grant is typically used for mitigation, planning, response and training for disaster preparedness.
LEPC chairperson Lee Allmer said that for the upcoming EMPG funding cycle, it might be a good idea to use the funds to develop a plan that allows county response entities to have more cross exposure, in an effort to create more cohesion.
“This could create an exciting opportunity for responders to become more familiar with everyone in the county,” said Allmer.
Sietsema further reporter that he has received no recent information on the progress of the Pre Disaster Mitigation Grant.
As the LEPC has attempted to further educate the county residents about disaster preparedness and has become more active at community events, they requested a small budget in the next county fiscal year. Sietsema reported the committee was allocated roughly $5,000 within the DES budget to use to continue efforts of educating the public.
Committee members volunteered their time during the Roosevelt County Fair in Culbertson to promote the LEPC while giving away preparedness brochures from FEMA, cold water donated by Agland Co-op in Wolf Point and did a drawing for an emergency radio which was donated by Gysler Hardware, also of Wolf Point.
In an effort to make the meetings convenient for all who attend, it was determined that the town of
Bainville would be included in the alternating locations where the LEPC meetings are held.
The next meeting will be held Tuesday, Sept. 8, at 2 p.m. in the Roosevelt Medical Center tele-med room in Culbertson.
Written by John Plestina
Two juvenile employees of the Roosevelt County Weed District were injured in a single-vehicle rollover crash of a county-owned truck north of Wolf Point Monday, Aug. 17.
The Montana Highway Patrol reported that the Dodge one-ton truck rolled 1½ times on Roosevelt County Road 1725, about two miles west of Montana Hwy. 250, also known as Lustre Road, about 8 a.m. The crash site is about 15 miles north of Wolf Point.
“They went off the road on the right side, overcorrected and rolled one and a half times,” MHP trooper Derek Werner said.
He said the two female occupants of the truck were transported by ambulance to Northeast Montana Health Services - Wolf Point Campus with non-life threatening injuries.
Werner said the driver was cited with careless driving.
Written by Herald-News
Several people appeared for law and motion hearings before District Judge David Cybulski in 15th District Court Wednesday, Aug. 12.
Travis Dyer appeared for an extradition hearing and waived extradition to North Dakota.
Christopher Hovey, 26, of Lansing, Mich., and Williston, N.D., appeared for a revocation hearing.
Hovey failed to appear in court in March on a bench warrant to revoke bond for failing to comply with bail conditions.
He pleaded not guilty in January to felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs with intent to distribute and a misdemeanor charge of criminal possession of drug paraphernalia.
It was stated in court in January that Hovey was wanted for parole violations in North Dakota.
He will appear in court again Oct. 29.
Bail is set at $50,000.
Joshua Jones, 36, of Williston, N.D., withdrew previously entered not guilty pleas and pleaded guilty to felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs and misdemeanor criminal possession of drug paraphernalia.
He entered not guilty pleas to the same charges in January.
Jones has a companion case that is not yet resolved.
Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Jones and Melissa Jewett, 32, of Williston in a casino near Bainville Jan. 19.
Methamphetamine and a knife were found in Jones’ pockets.
Jewett pleaded not guilty in February to felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs and a misdemeanor charge of obstructing a peace officer.
Both have been free on bond since Feb. 12.
Nicodemus Kupka, 19, Watford City, N.D., withdrew a previously entered not guilty plea and pleaded guilty to felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs.
The RCSO has identified the drug as methamphetamine.
The state presented a stipulated order releasing Kupka on his own recognizance. He had been lodged in the Roosevelt County Jail since his arrest June 15, held on $25,000 bond.
RCSO deputies arrested Kupka and Dhara Zinke, 23, of Kalispell, on U.S. Hwy. 2 near Bainville. She was charged in Roosevelt County Justice Court with misdemeanor charges of criminal possession of drug paraphernalia and endangering the welfare of a child, first offense.
Zinke, who has been free on bail since June, is the sister of Congressman Ryan Zinke, R-Mont.
Carroll Wells, 34, of Fairview was sentenced to 10 years in the custody of the Montana Department of Corrections with eight years suspended and a $40,000 fine that was suspended. Wells was ordered to pay $850 in restitution to Salvevold Grain Inc., $16,250 to Farmers Mutual Insurance and $10,237 to Allstate Insurance.
Wells withdrew previously entered not guilty pleas to charges of burglary and theft, and pleaded guilty to a single count of theft on March 25.
Authorities say he stole a pickup truck in Culbertson and damaged it.
Wells had been wanted in Roosevelt County on a warrant and was transferred in early February from the jail in Dickinson, N.D., where he had been held for about a year for a North Dakota case.
Written by Herald-News
The new foot pantry is now scheduled to open Monday, Sept. 21, in the former Boys and Girls Club building on the corner of Main Street and Fifth Avenue South.
The food pantry had been slated to open in early September, but delays in getting food delivered has moved the opening date to Sept. 21.
Volunteers are needed. To volunteer or for more information, contact Rose Green at 650-5667.