Written by John Plestina
Roosevelt County Commission presiding officer Duane Nygaard read a letter from the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Billings Tuesday, March 17, commending Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Sgt. Patrick O’Connor for the arrest of Misha Marie Canon, 48, of San Bernardino,
Calif., near Bainville on Jan. 25.
Canon was the last of a 40-member East Coast heroin and cocaine ring to be taken into custody.
In other business, Culbertson Airport Committee members Rick Knick and Bob Petersen requested county assistance for Big Sky Field, the county-owned airport at Cul-
Knick asked for help with with an appraisal needed for a land acquisition that would be necessary to lengthen and widen a runway that would allow air ambulances to land in Culbertson. Currently, airplanes used as air ambulances must land in Poplar and patients must be transported more than 30 miles by ambulance.
“We see this as essential to keep the hospital in Culbertson,” Petersen said.
Commissioner Allen Bowker of Culbertson asked Knick how much it would cost the county and how long the county would have to wait for FAA reimbursement.
The response was that reimbursement might take more than a year and land in the area has sold between $5,000 and $20,000 per acre. He added that it might not cost as much.
“We all know the oil boom is bust, so we don’t know what the appraisal would come in at,” Knick said.
Nygaard said he wants to see an environmental assessment for the runway project.
Also, a Bainville resident is asking for a new hangar on the south side of the ramp area.
Knick asked Assistant Roosevelt County Attorney Jordan Knudsen to review a draft of a lease agreement.
The commissioners discussed needed fencing repairs at the airport and will vote on funding repairs or replacement Tuesday, March 24.
In another matter, Tina Magnan of Wolf Point told the commissioners that people who live in rural areas have been dumping trash in dumpsters within the city. She suggested a county landfill fee for rural residents.
One rural resident took offense, saying he would not be willing to pay an additional tax.
Nygaard said some rural county residents pay a fee to use the dumpsters in Wolf Point.
Knudsen said he would research the law pertaining to the matter. He said enforcement and prosecution would be a start.
In another matter brought to the commissioners, Clayton - Stevenson Memorial Chapel requested that the county pay for an indigent burial of a woman who recently died in Faith Home.
Knudsen said he has not seen any solid evidence that the woman was indigent and recommended that the commission delay a decision.
The commissioners will revisit the matter at a later date.
The commission also voted to hire Tamara Fossetta to become the librarian in Culbertson.
In other business, the commissioners voted to hire Lowell Boyd Jr. and Lee Frederick as deputy sheriffs to work in Poplar. The RCSO recently took over city patrol duties because the Poplar Police Department disbanded.
Written by John Plestina
After several years as Great Northern Development Corporation’s executive director, Martin DeWitt will soon vacate the position.
That was the news GNDC housing specialist Brianna Vine gave the Wolf Point city council Monday, March 16.
The Herald-News questioned DeWitt in early March about a rumor that he would soon leave the position. He did not comment.
DeWitt is also the chairman of the Wolf Point School board. He told The Herald-News he would not seek another term on the board.
Vine told the council that DeWitt accepted a position with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Billings. She said April 22 would be his last day at GNDC.
DeWitt’s position has not been filled.
Written by John Plestina
Wolf Point Education Association, the union that represents teachers, presented proposed salary schedules to the Wolf Point School Board negotiations committee, Tuesday, March 10.
Negotiations between the school district and the two unions representing district employees have been ongoing for several weeks and will continue weekly until the process is completed.
The WPEA proposal calls for a three-year contract with base salaries of $29,500 for the 2015-2016 school year and $29,750 for 2016-2017. With a 164-day school year at 1,325.5 hours worked for the 2017-2018 school year, the WPEA proposed a base salary $30,000.
Other WPEA proposals included that if a substitute teacher is not available and a certified teacher who is on the staff is requested by a principal to serve as a substitute in another teacher’s classroom, that person would receive $60 per day.
Other proposals include if a teacher is terminated after four years of longer continuous employment, that individual would receive 25 percent of accrued, unused sick day pay.
Written by John Plestina
A Washington man who was arrested on drug charges while traveling through Roosevelt County said in court that he picked the wrong traveling companion before he was sentenced Wednesday, March 11.
Jason Jackson Knight, 37, of Spokane, Wash., has served more than a year in the Roosevelt County Jail and will not go to prison in Montana, but his legal troubles might be just beginning in his home state that is accusing him of operating a “bucket shop.”
District Judge David Cybulski sentenced Knight in 15th District Court to five years in the custody of the Montana Department of Corrections, all suspended. Knight served 428 days in the Roosevelt County Jail. He had been charged with criminal possession of dangerous drugs and criminal possession of drug paraphernalia.
The time suspended sentence isn’t a get out of jail card for Knight. He has warrants issued by Washington for second-degree theft, second-degree possession of stolen property and maintaining a bucket shop, related to alleged illegal transactions involving the selling of stocks and bonds.
Knight agreed to sign a waiver of extradition. He will be returned to Washington by April 1.
The name bucket shop comes from the first half of the 20th century when bucket shops would do trades all day long, throw the tickets into a bucket, and later decide which accounts to award the winning and losing trades to.
The U.S. Supreme Court defines bucket shops as stock exchange businesses, or businesses that are really for the registration of bets, or wagers on the rise or fall of the prices of stocks, grain, oil or other commodities with no transfer or delivery of stock or commodities.
Other definitions of bucket shops include: the equivalent of off-track betting parlors, a fraudulent brokerage firm that uses aggressive telephone sales tactics to sell securities that the brokerage owns and wants to get rid of; making trades on a client’s behalf with promises of a certain price, but the brokerage makes the trade at a different price, keeping the difference as profit.
Written by John Plestina
A Wolf Point man is behind bars in the Roosevelt County Jail, accused of several offenses in Roosevelt and Valley counties that include felony drug charges, probation violations, attempting to assault a Wolf Point police officer and trying to elude a Valley County Sheriff’s deputy and Fort Peck Department of Law and Justice officer in Frazer.
Jason Daniel Daugherty, 37, was arraigned in 15th District Court, Wednesday, March 11, and pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of criminal possession of dangerous drugs and misdemeanor criminal possession of drug paraphernalia. In a second and separate case he was arraigned for, Daugherty pleaded not guilty to felony attempted assault on a peace officer or judicial officer and misdemeanor resisting arrest. Both cases were from December 2014.
Valley County Sheriff Glen Meier told The Herald-News that a VCSO deputy responded to Frazer Feb. 10, to assist a FPTDLJ officer that had located Daugherty, who was wanted on warrants out of Roosevelt County, for failing to register as a violent offender and a Montana Probation and Parole warrant. The Montana Highway Patrol was also involved in Daugherty’s arrest. He was lodged in the Valley County Detention Center until he was transferred last week to the Roosevelt County Jail.
“Daugherty was not reporting and not doing the things he was supposed to be doing for parole and probation,” Meier said.
“They had a pick up order to get him under control,” he said. “He hasn’t been abiding by his probation officer and doing all the things he was supposed to.”
When Daugherty was located in Frazer Feb. 10, he ran from a tribal officer and a Valley County deputy, resulting in the officers chasing him in the snow.
Daugherty was on probation for a 2010 conviction in 7th District Court for felony criminal possession of precursors to dangerous drugs in McCone County during 2009. He was also convicted in 15th District Court in 2010 for operation of a clandestine drug laboratory in Roosevelt County in 2009. Daugherty also has a conviction for a 1997 burglary in McCone County.
Daugherty’s recent round of troubles began Dec. 17, 2014, when Wolf Point Police officer Joey Olson observed Daugherty gambling in Northern Lights Casino, a violation of parole and probation conditions. According to charging documents, Olson recognized Daugherty and asked for identification. Daugherty responded by asking “Why?” Daugherty then admitted being on parole and pleaded with Olson to overlook the violation. Olson and a FPTDLJ officer searched Daugherty’s person and vehicle. Daugherty claimed there was nothing illegal in the car, but the search revealed a substance that later tested positive for methamphetamine, syringes, glass pipe and other paraphernalia, and several small ziplock plastic bags and a digital scale.
Daughery ran from casino parking lot. Olson remained with the car while the tribal officer pursued Daugherty on foot unsuccessfully.
Olson next encountered Daugherty two weeks later, on Dec. 31 when he conducted a traffic stop of a Ford Taurus with no license plates on the 200 block of Eureka Street. Daugherty was seated in the front passenger seat, slumped in the seat with a hood covering his head, looking away out the passenger window, according to the charging documents. Daugherty failed to look at Olson and lied about his name when Olson asked. Daugherty attempted to reach under the seat after Olson recognized him. Olson pulled him out of the car. Daugherty attempted to strike Olson in the face with his right elbow and with his left fist, according to the charging documents. Olson forced him to the ground but was unable to gain control of Daugherty and threatened to use his taser.
Daugherty said, “You will have to taser me; I am never going back to prison.” He began running and Olson deployed his taser but it was not effective. Olson chased Daugherty who eluded him.
Daugherty was on the run until a tribal officer spotted him in Frazer six weeks later.
During the arraignment, Daugherty’s defense attorney sought bond reduction or own recognizance release for the recent charges in Roosevelt County.
District Judge David Cybulski denied bond reduction which is set at $50,000 for each case.