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Culvert Will Replace Narrow Bridge On County Road 1013

A culvert will replace a narrow bridge on County Road 1013 between Culbertson and Bainville that has been deemed dangerous. Roosevelt County Commissioners approved a resolution Tuesday, Sept. 25, to use state gas tax funds for the approximately $117,000 project.
The 19-foot bridge with a metal guardrail is just 24 feet from Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad track.
In other business, commissioners approved a contract with ECOLAB for rodent control at the McCabe shop and two trailers on the property. The cost is $85 per visit. Commissioner Gordon said exterminator visits could be quarterly.
ECOLAB is a St. Paul, Minn.- headquartered environmental services company.
In another matter, the commissioners approved $2,163 in matching funds for streets and alleys in Brockton. The monies were formerly Brockton city funds prior to disbanding the municipal government.
The commissioners also approved a renewal of an interlocal law enforcement agreement with the City of Poplar that calls for a 25 percent decrease in funding for Poplar’s community police contract Tuesday, Sept. 25. The lower funding will reduce the daily number of hours of sheriff’s patrols within the Poplar city limits.
Poplar will pay Roosevelt County $142,500 for police services. The first Poplar offer for the coming year was $90,000. Sheriff Jason Frederick said he negotiated the contract renewal and convinced municipal officials to raise the offer. The reduced amount is a $47,500 decrease.
The commissioners approved the original interlocal agreement with Poplar Jan. 30, 2015, following the dissolution of the Poplar Police Department. Two members of Poplar’s city council contacted Frederick during January 2015 with the request for the Sheriff’s Office to take over law enforcement services. Poplar was having difficulty hiring and retaining certified police officers. The former Poplar Police Department operated with a $210,000 annual budget.
Frederick said daily patrols in Poplar will decrease from 20 hours down to 15.
The Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice also provide policing service in Poplar. Montana law mandates that incorporated cities maintain police services, whether they have their own departments or contract with county sheriff’s offices.
Other business included renewal of an annual contract with Northeast Montana Health Services for nursing services and pharmaceuticals at the Roosevelt County Detention Center for $129,000 annually.
Frederick said the nursing and pharmaceuticals contract was a cost-saving measure last year. He said there were 320 inmate visits to the nurse last year.
The commissioners also lifted the burn ban due to recent rainfall.

Culbertson School Finalizes Hiring As New School Year Begins

Brenda Harvey was re-assigned to fill a kindergarten teaching position following an unexpected increase in kindergarten enrollment numbers at a special school board meeting held Friday, Aug. 24.
Sunni Hilde was also hired as a special education aide.
On Monday, Aug. 27, another special board meeting was held and hiring Brian Manning and Mike Nickoloff as additional part-time junior high football coaches was recommended due to the availability of other assistants. Manning was hired as the part-time, prorated, assistant junior high football coach.
Rhonda Seitz was hired as the National Honor Society advisor.
Board member Gy Salvevold made a motion to hire Hayley Oelkers as the Business Professionals of America advisor. Board member Eric Bergum seconded the motion, but Salvevold rescinded the motion.
Later, at the regular school board meeting held Tuesday, Sept. 19, Valli Hauge was hired to fill the BPA advisor position.
Dave Solem was hired as the activities director, Jennesy Taberna was hired as the band director and Lana Hekkel was hired as the choir director.
The balance in the Seniors 2018 account, in the amount of $788.90, was transferred to the Student Council account. The Seniors 2018 account was closed and the money transferred will benefit the student body.
Cheryl Mahnke was hired as a guest teacher.
At a special board meeting held Tuesday, Sept. 4, Joshua Ward was recommended by Norine Haugland to fill the evening custodian position. Ward was noted at the regular school board meeting held Wednesday, Sept. 19, to be a no-show and the position is currently still being advertised.
Misty Kirn and Christina Olson were hired as bus monitors. Jennifer Lambert, Teri Sansaver, Kim Knick and Rhonda Seitz were hired as substitute bus monitors.
Dave Bengochea, Larry Crowder, Dave Solem, Leo Waldhausen, John Fordyce, Mike Machart and Ron Butikofer were approved as activity bus drivers.
Waldhausen was also hired to be bus maintenance coordinator.
Mitch Kaufman was hired as the freshman class advisor. It was approved that the junior high class clean the high school gymnasium during fall activities and the student council will clean for winter activities.
Sandra Rothkamm was hired to do the old Armory cleanings.
Other business at the regular school board meeting held Tuesday, Sept 19, included a report on fall activities which showed 25 participants in high school football, 12 in high school volleyball, eight in high school cross country, 10 in elementary/junior high volleyball, 20 in elementary/junior high football and 15 in elementary/junior high cross country.
Mike Olson gave the technology report, sharing that he is working on updating the computer inventory to reflect the movement of computers during the beginning of the school year. The end of support on Windows 7 will be January 2020. Olson has began updating computers to Windows 10 and noted it is still free.
NorthStar Technology and Marco have been in communication with Olson to fulfill the school’s server needs.
The E-Rate order will be arriving soon, which consists of four new switches to replace the ones in the elementary wing and wireless access points to be distributed throughout the school where needed.
Teresa Ross and Jordan Farmer were hired as guest teachers.
Angie Iverson was hired to coach high school speech and drama alongside Jeri Gustafson. Valli Hauge, high school girls’ basketball coach, recommended hiring Djay Hauge to fill the high school girls’ basketball assistant coach position, which the board approved.
Orion Wind Resources utilized the school’s lunchroom Thursday, Aug. 9, to conduct a public meeting on a potential wind farm in the greater Bainville area. Orion Wind Resources donated $1,000 to the school.
The board approved voiding the following warrants, as they were either lost or not received in the mail: claims warrant #63865 for $25 and payroll warrant #51560 for $530.70.

Crowder Takes On Culbertson Mayor Position

Between being Culbertson’s superintendent of schools, a volunteer firefighter and a member of the community’s Lion’s Club, it would seem that Larry Crowder has enough on his plate.
Crowder, who is serving in his 21st year as Culbertson’s superintendent of schools, however, added another commitment when he took on the responsibility of being the town’s mayor.
“Being 20 years in a community, you want to make sure you’re doing your part in giving back,” Crowder said. “I’m just filling the role, doing the best I can.”
He admits that he received a little teasing from fellow school superintendents when they found out that he was becoming mayor of Culbertson.
“Most of them joked and laughed at me,” Crowder said. “I maybe got some pity thrown my way.”
The mayoral position became open when longtime mayor Gordon Oelkers was elected as a Roosevelt County commissioner. Abe Rumsey, a longtime city council member, served as mayor until the next election took over. “Abe faithfully filled the role, but he only wanted to do it one year,” Crowder said.
When no one filed for the mayoral election, Crowder became the only write-in candidate and begin serving in the position at the start of this year. He noted there’s a lot of difference between school and city government.
“It’s been really interesting. I’ve learned a lot,” Crowder said. “I’ve barely gotten to the point of scratching the surface.”
He explained that he has been interested to serve in city government since watching his father work on the city council in Malta for more than 20 years.
“I guess I’ve always missed the deadline for elections, because the timing wasn’t right,” Crowder said.
He noted that Culbertson is solid financially, but it’s a balancing act to provide needed services and keep taxation under control. City leaders are hopeful to add a community center and a new fire hall.
Crowder thanks city council members, employees and other mayors for helping him during the transition.
“I’ve been fortunate to have really good people to work with — both employees and the council,” Crowder said. “At the end of the day, it’s all about learning. It’s good for a superintendent to be learning.”
At the school, Culbertson is enjoying an enrollment increase with 25 new students between grades 1-12. The school district has increased from one to two kindergarten classes. Crowder has been able to manage his time well with the two leadership positions.
“It’s a little more time, but the biggest thing is to make sure I am available for either, especially after hours,” he noted.
He is thankful to be able to play a positive part of Culbertson’s community.
“The big thing for me is that public service is a great thing to be doing,” Crowder said. “That’s where the real commitment to the community comes at. It’s really a lot of fun and where we do our finest work. That’s where we get to connect with the people and help out a little bit on the side.”
(Publisher’s Note: This article is reprinted by permission.)

RMC Celebrates 25 Years As Telemedicine Site

Living in a rural community has plenty of benefits. But, access to specialized care hasn’t always been one of them. Weather, distance and time present a number of obstacles for people in northeast Montana trying to manage their healthcare.
For the last 25 years, the Eastern Montana Telemedicine Network has worked to change that through the creation of real-time, two-way interactive video communications. The technology enables a patient in one town to see a provider at a distant site without leaving their community.
As one of the original five facilities to jump on board with the pilot program, Roosevelt Medical Center has been involved every step of the way, connecting area patients to specialized care via telemedicine technology.
RMC was recognized for their 25-year commitment to the program and presented a plaque at the annual EMTN convention held in Billings last month.
“Montana has been a national leader in telemedicine. I am proud that we had partners early on who were willing to take a risk and work hard. Together, we built a community of partners who truly impact the quality of care patients are receiving in the region,” said Thelma McClosky Armstrong, director of EMTN outreach services at Billings Clinic.
Today, Billings Clinic serves as the home office of the EMTN network and provides support to 42 partners in 29 rural and frontier communities throughout Montana, western North Dakota and northern Wyoming.
Since the beginning Vickie Grimsrud has served as the RMC facilitator who arranges the use of the network for classes, meetings and clinical consultations. “What makes the program so powerful are the connections patients establish with their specialty providers even when there are hundreds of miles between them,” Grimsrud said.
One of the earliest examples of RMC’s push to provide quality care to this side of the state is evident in a newspaper clipping dating back to September, 1993. Back then, with the help of a 17-year-old patient with an earache, Dr. Randy Steffens gave an hour-long presentation to onlookers, demonstrating telemedicine technology. A slide was transmitted through the system to Dr. Richter, an ear, nose and throat specialist, sitting in on the call in Sidney. He was then able to note a moderately perforated eardrum and move forward with a care plan. Through the telemedicine technology, Dr. Richter was able to illustrate what he was talking about by drawing on the transmitted image, similar to a television football commentator sketching a play. A lot has changed since then.
Back then, the technology to run the program was new, scarce and expensive. The first piece of equipment installed at RMC cost $65,000. Today, the cost is down and the highly reliable technology operates using a dedicated fiber optic connection that allows for higher quality resolution images, connectivity and continuous accessibility from increased bandwidth.
Funding of the program has been possible through a number of grants.
“All of this seemed so futuristic at the time,” said Grimsrud. “I recall watching a US West telecommunication commercial featuring Tom Selleck advertising the computer technology that was coming. I remember thinking how it seemed more like a Jetson’s cartoon episode than real life,” she recalled.
Over the years Grimsrud has seen first-hand the benefits patients receive from using telemedicine technology. “Patients who might not otherwise seek the care they need because of distance and expense associated with seeing an urban specialist have had tremendous success with managing their care,” she said.
Staff at RMC benefit too. They are able to access continuing education they would otherwise have to travel to receive. “It enables staff to attend more training and be a part of more collaborative discussions. It ensures they keep up with new trends in healthcare without adding huge travel costs to the facility,” said Jody Lizotte, director of nursing for RMC.
The community has benefitted with a number of lunch-and-learns and other educational opportunities made available on healthcare topics.
Collectively, the cost saving has been huge for the facilities as well, enabling EMTN members to save a total of 6 million in out-of-pocket costs for continuing education.
Roosevelt Medical Center joined the program under the administrative leadership of Walter Bush, who saw the need for an outreach program that connected the community with more specialized care. At the same time, Billings Clinic was looking to expand their services to outlying areas in the state and US West and the state’s office of rural health was on board with the joint effort.
“Back then, this really was a leap of faith we were asking our partners to take. Nemont joined us for the pilot project and we were able to secure a grant through the utility service to support the cost of running the five pilot program sites,” McClosky Armstrong said.
Locally, telemedicine provides access to specialists in behavioral health, nephrology, neurology, dermatology, cardiology and several others. “We see many patients for kidney disease and chronic health issues. For some, these consultations have helped them to keep on top of managing their condition and staying off dialysis,” Grimsrud said.
On average, Grimsrud schedules a dozen consultations each month but has scheduled as many as six in one day.
In the future, the EMTN will look into the viability of providing telemedicine services for remote home monitoring for patients suffering from chronic diseases such as diabetes and congestive heart failure. They will also look into the use of technology for virtual visits that allow providers to connect with their patients remotely.
The other four pilot sites were Glendive Medical Center, Sidney Health Center, Miles City Health Center and the Eastern Montana Community Mental Health Center in Miles City.

Culbertson School Board Meets, Fills Positions Prior to School Year Beginning

The Culbertson School board met Tuesday, July 17. At this meeting, policies 2-03-131 Certified Staff Compensated Absence Leave Extra-Curricular Stipends, 1-04-131 Tobacco Free, 1-04-140 Drug, Alcohol, and Tobacco Use and 2-03-119 Tobacco Free Environment were approved.

Read more: Culbertson School Board Meets, Fills Positions Prior to School Year Beginning