Written by Al Stover
Inside the Billings Clinic in Billings, a piano is locked and covered in a blanket with a picture on top.
Robinson was known for volunteering his time to play piano at the Billings Clinic and St. Vincent’s Hospital. He liked to be known as “Piano Man.”
According to his obituary, Robinson was born in June 1952 and was placed in an orphanage in Twin Bridges. He was adopted by Ruben and Agnes Baerg of Lustre, two weeks before his fourth birthday.
Eileen Traeholt is one of Robinson’s foster siblings. She said she “probably” had the closet relationship with Robinson and that he was always musical.”
“We would visit him off and on, whenever we went to Billings,” Traeholt said. “He would call me up and in his deep voice say ‘Hey Sis.’ He always called me ‘Sis.’”
Besides the piano, Robinson could also play accordion, clarinet and guitar. While he learned to read music at an early age, he could play music by ear. He also wrote and composed a lot of his own music.
Robinson also did a lot of volunteer work outside the hospital. According to Traeholt, he traveled on mission trips to Japan and provided music at various services. In an interview with the Billings Gazette, Robinson said he also played at senior centers, block parties and weddings.
“He always had his music,” Traeholt said. “Wherever he could find a piano, he would sit and play.”
In addition to playing instruments, Robinson also created beadwork, which he sold in several states.
Diana Hukak, who works at the Billings Clinic, said Robinson’s music filled the commons with beautiful music that touched the “hearts and souls of our patients.”
“Reno [Robinson] surprised a lot of people with his musical talent and opened peoples' hearts to how music can communicate and heal. He humbly transcended cultures and stereotypes,” Hukak said. “He was a gentle spirit who played from his heart with gifted hands.”
Hukak also said that Robinson’s piano playing had gained him many friends who appreciated him and the music he shared.
“We will miss his quiet, however playful laugh, the twinkle in his eyes, passing atomic fireball candy to us and the beautiful music he generously shared with all of us,” she said.
Traeholt said she thought what the clinic did with the piano was a “neat tribute” to her foster brother. Prior to Robinson’s death, she had been able to record him playing the piano.
Traeholt, who contributes to The Herald-News by writing the Lustre news, said when she writes about a death, she thinks of the cycle of life. During the burial service, Robinson was buried next to his older foster brother. Traeholt said she noticed that her older brother had died a month before Robinson was born.
“It brought back the idea of the circle of life and how one life ends and another begins,” Traeholt said. “God has a plan of us all.”
His obituary can be found on page six of this issue of The Herald-News.
Reno Frederick (Baerg) Robinson, 61, died Monday morning, Sept. 2, 2013, in Billings.
He was born June 25, 1952, to Lillian Shindler and Reno Red Boy. He was placed in the orphanage in Twin Bridges at a very young age. At the age of four, Ruben and Agnes Baerg of Lustre were granted permanent custody and he soon became a legal part of their family.
He truly loved life on the farm, playing in the sand box with the Tonka toys, learning how to ride bike, raising steers for 4-H projects and many other activities.
Music became a focal point early in life and many times would be seen kneeling on the piano bench plunking out a tune or strumming his guitar.
He grew up attending the Bethel Lustre Mennonite Church where he became a Christian, was baptized and joined. He attended the Lustre Grade School for the first eight years of his schooling and graduated from the Lustre Christian High School in 1970.
He attended the Native American Junior College Art School in Albuquerque, N.M., and then on to Denver for a short time. He returned to Great Falls and attended church. While attending church, he was given the chance to travel to Japan to play piano.
Over the course of his life, he also lived in Lame Deer, Great Falls and lastly in Billings. His love for the piano earned him the nickname “The Piano Man” and could often be heard volunteering his time playing at the Billings Clinic and St. Vincent’s Hospital.
His artistic abilities were used in creating beautiful beadwork items, which he sold in several surrounding states, thereby supplementing his income.
He is survived by his foster brother, Eugene Baerg; foster sisters, Karen Waller and Eileen Traeholt; son, Pernell Begs His Own; biological brothers and sisters, Jerry, Myrna, Judy, Sandra, Cecil and Margaret.
A graveside service was held Monday, Sept. 9, at the Bethel Lustre Mennonite Cemetery in Lustre. Clayton Stevenson Memorial Chapel of Wolf Point was entrusted with the arrangements.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 September 2013 09:22
Written by The Herald-News
Nemont is working to upgrade wireless service in Wolf Point.
To improve and expand wireless service in Wolf Point, Nemont has deployed a new tower in Wolf Point to enhance wireless coverage and mobile data speeds. The new tower expands wireless coverage, improves mobile data speeds and grows voice call capacity in and around Wolf Point.
Additional network upgrades are planned for the Wolf Point market in the coming months to further enhance the wireless network in the area.
To further expand the mobile data network, all North Dakota towers were upgraded in 2013. As a result, the Nemont mobile data network is available from as far east as Crosby, N.D., to as far west as Sleeping Buffalo.
If your travel plans carry you outside Montana and northwest North Dakota, our mobile data service is available in all 50 states through partnerships with nationwide providers.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 September 2013 09:19
Written by The Herald-News
The Yellowstone City-County Health Department and the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services are reporting the first human case of West Nile Virus in Yellowstone County and in Montana for 2013.
The case was diagnosed at a Billings hospital and confirmed last week. The patient, a Yellowstone County female resident in her 50s, did not require hospitalization and is expected to fully recover. The individual had no history of travel outside the state within the past month.
“West Nile Virus is most commonly found in people over 50 years old, but every Montanan should be taking precautionary measures to help prevent WNV infection,” said DPHHS director Richard Opper.
In the U.S. this year, 497 human cases of WNV have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of these cases, 20 have died.
The first indication of the presence of WNV in Montana this year occurred in mid-July when mosquitoes with WNV were found in Prairie County. The first WNV positive bird was also detected at that time in Sheridan County. Horses with WNV infection were reported in late August from counties in central and eastern parts of the state.
Most people who become infected with WNV experience no symptoms. Some individuals may develop a mild illness, called West Nile fever, which may last for three to six days. Other individuals, fewer than one out of 150, may be come severely infected with West Nile encephalitis or West Nile meningitis. Symptoms of this disease may include headache, rash, high fever, stiff neck, mental confusion, muscle weakness, tremors, convulsions, coma and paralysis.
There is not available treatment for WNV infection other than supportive care. Individuals who develop any of these symptoms should see their healthcare provider.
DPHHS reminds Montanans to take precautions and protect against West Nile Virus by following the 5 Ds of WNV prevention. The 5 Ds include:
•DUSK/DAWN - mosquitoes are most active during this time. If possible, stay indoors during the early morning and evening hours.
•If you must be outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, DRESS in long sleeves and pants.
•Before going outdoors, remember to apply an insect repellent containing 25 to 35 percent DEET when outdoors. Children ages 2-12 should use repellent with 10 percent DEET or less. DEET is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is the most effective and best studied insect repellent available. Products containing picaridin and permethrin have also been found to be effective in repelling mosquitoes, as has oil of lemon eucalyptus.
•To keep the mosquito population at bay around your home, DRAIN standing water in old tires, barrels, buckets, cans, clogged rain gutters, and other items that collect water. Change water in pet bowls, flowerpots and birdbaths at least twice a week.
For more information about WNV protection and detection efforts, contact your local health department or the state Department of Public Health and Human Services at 406-444-0273.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 September 2013 09:11
Written by Al Stover
The Department of Transportation selected Hyannis Air Service Inc., D/B/A Cape Air, to provide northeast Montana with air service.
According to documents, Cape Air’s Essential Air Service contract is expected to run Dec. 1 to Nov. 30, 2015, at a combined annual subsidy $11,950,426.
Nine-passenger Cessna 402 aircraft will be will be provided for Glasgow, Glendive, Harve, Sidney and Wolf Point. There will be two daily round trips from Wolf Point to Billings. Sidney will have five round trip flights a day under the contract.
Cape Air was one of three companies who had made bids to take over the contract. Boutique Air Inc. submitted a proposal consisting of three options. Great Lakes Aviation Ltd. presented a proposal that would provide air service to Glendive and Sidney on a stand-alone basis.
The department had sent letters to members of the Montana EAS Task Force that detailed the proposals from the air companies and asked them for proposals. They received a letter 10 days later, saying that Montana communities voted in favor of Cape Air’s first option.
Cape Air began serving customers in 1989. Over the years, they have expanded with over 60 planes and fly up to 850 flights a day.
According to Trish Lorino, Cape Air’s managing director of marketing and public relations, Cape Air anticipates having 50 full-time employees based in Montana.
In a statement, Cape Air president Linda Markham said the company is “thrilled” to have been selected to provide service to northeast Montana.
“Cape Air is proud to be able to offer reliable, affordable air service that connects rural cities to our nation’s air network,” Markham said. “We look forward to starting up and investing in these communities.”
Prior to Cape Air, the department selected Silver Airlines in February 2011 to provide air service to these cities, as well as Lewistown and Miles City, for a two-year period.
The department terminated the eligibility of Lewistown and Miles City in June under the EAS program after the department learned that both cities exceeded the average subsidy per passenger per flight of $1,000. Both cities had filed a petition for reconsideration on July 2. On Aug. 22, Lewistown filed a motion to withdraw its petition. Miles City made the same motion six days later.
In June, Silver filed a 90-day notice to terminate its subsidized service contract, which would have been effective Sept. 26.
Since the department would have not completed the carrier-selection process, they extended Silver Airline’s obligation to Glasgow, Harve, Sidney and Wolf Point for 30 days after the 90-day notice period, which would have been Oct. 26, to ensure no break in air service to the communities.
The department expects that Silver and Cape Air will work together to ensure a smooth transition and that Silver will notify passengers holding reservations for travel after their suspension date and assist passengers in making alternative travel arrangements or refund their tickets without penalty.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 September 2013 09:01
Written by Al Stover
Prior to a successful weekend event in July, the Wolf Point Wild Horse Stampede kicked off its 2013 year by receiving the Heritage Award from Montana Pro Rodeo Hall & Wall of Fame as a pro rodeo committee.
Members of the Wild Horse Stampede committee accepted the award back in January at the annual gathering of the Montana Pro Rodeo Hall and Wall of Fame in Billings.
According to its website, the Montana Pro Rodeo Hall and Wall of Fame honors professional cowboys, cowgirls and organizations who exemplify Montana’s western heritage.
Clint Long, chairman of the Wolf Point Wild Horse Stampede Committee, said he was surprised when he got the call that the rodeo had won the award. He also said he was happy about it and honored to be considered one of the “big boys.”
“It’s an award given to few of the older and better rodeos in the state,” Long said. “Wolf Point is considered a small town. It’s great to be honored by big town standards. It’s a honor to be considered one of the big boys.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 September 2013 10:03