Written by John Plestina
One Arizona man is dead and another is facing multiple felony charges following an accident with a man falling from a towed deck he was riding on north of Culbertson Sunday, June 21.
Montana Highway Patrol trooper Seth Adams said the single vehicle accident happened near the rodeo grounds and was reported at 4:46 p.m.
Adams said the deceased man was riding on a deck for a house that was being towed with a chain by a 2013 Ford F150 pickup.
Roosevelt County Sheriff Jason Frederick identified the deceased man as David Penski, 30, of Vail, Ariz.
“He died from blunt force trauma to the head,” Frederick said.
Adams said Penski was transported by ambulance to Roosevelt Medical Center in Cul-
bertson. From there, he was flown to a Billing hospital where he died.
The RCSO identified the driver as William Flynt, 36, of Tucson, Ariz. He is facing several charges in 15th District Court. Flynt is charged with felony driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident involving serious bodily injuries or a death, criminal endangerment and failure to carry proof or exhibit insurance.
“There may be more charges filed,” Adams said.
“Alcohol and drugs are considered a factor in this crash,” he said.
“The [crash] scene is roughly 100 yards long,” Adams said.
He said Flynt and Penski worked for a construction company in Culbertson. Both are listed as Arizona residents.
Written by John Plestina
The Roosevelt County Commissioners approved two contracts with Northeast Montana Health Services Tuesday, June 23, for the purchase and delivery of 2,000 Meals On Wheels meals in Wolf Point and 100 in Poplar at $12 per meal and $2.50 for each delivery.
A separate contract was approved with Buckhorn Cafe of Poplar for 500 non-delivered meals at $8.50 each.
In other business, the commissioners approved a contract for former Wolf Point School District superintendent Paul Huber to serve as needed for services to the county superintendent of schools.
The clerk of the District Court and county superintendent of schools are combined positions and do not require state certification as a superintendent.
In the event services are needed from Huber, he would receive $45 per hour and $23 per diem, lodging not included.
In another matter, the commissioners approved an interlocal agreement between the
Roosevelt County Attorney and city of Culbertson for the attorney to provide prosecutorial services.
The commissioners also approved a $5,200 request from Sheriff Jason Frederick for the purchase and installation of equipment for a car that will be used for the RCSO contract with Poplar for police services.
In other business, the commissioners discussed and took no action on a request from Wolf Point area resident Dick Johnson for guaranteed access on County Road 1071, near the Wolf Point airport, so that he can sell land.
Assistant County Attorney Jordan Knudsen said there are several ways to address it, but a preferred way would be to grant access to all property owners rather than a private easement.
Questions were raised that some of the land on the existing roadway could be tribal or trust lands.
Written by John Plestina
The Roosevelt County Compensation Board granted raises that amount to less than 3 percent to all county elected officials Friday, June 12.
The county commissioners are mandated by state law to appoint a compensation board that establishes wages of the commissioners and all county elected officials. The three commissioners and county attorney automatically serve on the compensation board by state statute.
Raises of other county officials and their deputies are based on the pay increase given to the county clerk and recorder.
“We listen to them [compensation board] and we have the final say,” commissioner Gary Macdonald said. “It takes two commissioners to agree with the compensation board before a raise can be given.”
Following several unsuccessful attempts to set Hansen’s salary, she was given a $1,500 annual salary increase to $52,500.
The commissioners’ salaries also increase from $51,000 to $52,500.
Previously, Wolf Point Justice Court Judge Tracy Harada, who serves on the board, made a motion and Sheriff Jason Frederick, also a board member, seconded the motion to increase Hansen’s wages by $2,500. That motion failed. A second motion to increase Hansen’s annual salary by $1,500 and a third to increase her pay by $1,000 also failed.
County Commission presiding officer Duane Nygaard suggested a 1.6 percent increase.
Harada cited that the cost of living is increasing faster than wages.
Nygaard said the county’s cost for employee health insurance will increase by 9 percent the next fiscal year.
Harada also said some people have longevity as county employees and that could be considered for salary increases.
Macdonald said longevity pay would break Roosevelt County.
It was also said that the $300 monthly oil revenue stipend that county employees, including the county commissioners and all department heads, receive remains in place and is separate from salary. The county received $817,541 in oil industry revenue the last quarter.
The compensation board approved the stipend and the commissioners authorized it in July 2014 for all permanent non-elected county employees and for elected officials in August 2014.
The stipends are above and beyond salaries and were intended as an incentive for employees to remain on the job.
The stipends for county employees were a response to difficulty retaining sheriff’s deputies and employees of other departments, especially on the east end of the county where the cost of housing is high.
Macdonald said the oil stipend will remain for at least the next fiscal year, which will run from July 1 until June 30, 2016.
Three days earlier, the commissioners held a special public meeting to appoint other elected officials to the compensation board.
“They [Montana Legislature] are looking at changing that structure [of county compensation boards] at the state level,” Macdonald said.
The three county commissioners automatically serve on the board. They include Allen Bow-ker, elected in November 2014 to the seat formerly held by Jim Shanks. Hansen and Harada have been serving on the board and former sheriff Freedom Crawford was on it.
County elected officials that are eligible for the three appointments are the clerk and recorder, treasurer, clerk of the courts, sheriff, and both justice court judges [Wolf Point and Culbertson]. State law allows the commissioners to appoint between two and four citizen members at-large.
All of the elected officials that have been serving on the compensation board were reelected last year and sheriff Jason Frederick ― elected in November 2014 ― has not been on it.
Harada said she didn’t see a notice in the newspaper. She said her concern where there is documentation of when appointments were made in the past.
“We have always put on the county officials who have deputies who would be effected,” Macdonald said.
Macdonald said Frederick should be appointed.
Macdonald nominated Frederick, Hansen and Harada. Bowker seconded the nomination.
The commission voted 2-1 to approve the nominations with Nygaard casting the sole dissenting vote. He said he would have made a motion to appoint Hansen, county treasurer Betty Romo and Harada.
The commissioners reappointed the two citizen members of the board, Zane Panasuk of Culbertson to a three-year term and Dave Wemmer of Wolf Point to a two-year term.
Future staggered terms of board members were also discussed.
Written by Herald-News
The Wolf Point Lions Club is building a 20-foot long replica of the 85-year-old, 1,074-foot Lewis and Clark Bridge for the Wild Horse Stampede/Wolf Point Centennial parade Thursday through Saturday, July 9-11. The Lions float will be one of several showcased floats that will be paraded around Marvin Brookman Stadium during grand entries before rodeo performances. The original three-span truss bridge no longer carries traffic across the Missouri River and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places for nearly two decades. Lions president Dave Fyfe uses a nail gun to put together pieces of the bridge float Monday, June 22. Gary Johnson, Larry Corns and Roger Wimmer are also pictured. (Photo by John Plestina)
Written by John Plestina
Dean Mahlum gets his face out of his pie plate and raises his hand in victory after a second-place finish in the fourth annual Wolf Point Jaycees Good Neighbor Days in September 1961, in Lewis and Clark Park [now commonly known as Bridge Park], where a record-setting crowd turned out to see the future Roosevelt County Sheriff participate in the contest that this newspaper called a “time-honored ritual” some 54 years ago. Yes, Mahlum got his picture with his face in a pie plate on the front page of The Herald-News. (Photo courtesy of Marvin Presser)
After lying dormant for a few decades, Wolf Point’s Good Neighbor Days will return in mid-July as part of the Centennial celebration during the Wild Horse Stampede.
The resurgence of Good Neighbor Days will be just a part of the four days of celebration that will include three days of parades, three nights of street dances with live music, a PRCA-sanctioned rodeo, carnival, car show, Human Stampede Run/Walk, kids’ stick-horse rodeo, cowboy church and more.
Good Neighbor Days will include a bed race through downtown Wolf Point and a pie eating contest, a long ago favorite for the annual fall event that was held during September in Lewis and Clark Park, now commonly known as Bridge Park.
The bed race, with four-person teams pushing beds on wheels through downtown streets with a fifth team member on the bed wearing pajamas, will be the first held locally in nearly three decades and will be a throwback to Crazy Days, a local celebration held during the 1980s.
Remembered by some local people as Jaycees Good Neighbor Days, the now long defunct Wolf Point Jaycees started Good Neighbor Days as an annual event in 1958. It was held annually for several years.
A story on the front page of The Herald-News on Sept. 7, 1961, touted the fourth annual Good Neighbor Days and called the pie eating contest a “time-honored ritual.”
The opening day of Centennial/Stampede, Wednesday, July 8, will begin with a dinner at 5 p.m. at Marvin Brookman Stadium, followed by the annual KVCK Country Showdown at 7 p.m. The popular talent contest will be held at the Stampede grounds this year after being held in the Wolf Point High School auditorium the last several years.
A dance at the Stampede grounds will follow the Country Showdown with the Colorado-based band Ryan Chrys and the Roughcuts, playing from 9 p.m. until midnight.
Other Stampede and Centennial events will include “The High Plains Drifters,” a local Old West gunfight reenactment group that will put on scripted shows with gunfights on downtown streets.