Quantcast
You are the owner of this page.
A1 A1
News
What do you think of the new four-way stop on Lincoln Avenue?

“It’s a weird location. It should have been on 5th Street SW.”

Chad Sichelstiel


Local_news
New four-way stop on Lincoln Avenue aims to create pedestrian safety

The issue A large amount of pedestrian traffic, mostly from the school, was causing a safety concern on Lincoln Avenue. The city, utilizing the intersection of Lincoln Avenue, 4th Street SW and 4th Avenue, created a four-way stop. Many vehicles drive upwards of 35 mph down Lincoln Avenue, a residential 25-mph zone. Northbound traffic using Lincoln often took the slight right onto 4th Avenue at speeds exceeding the limit, making it a dangerous crossing for school children and others. “It just wasn’t safe for kids to cross,” said Jeff Hintz, Sidney Public Works Director. “Over the years, we’ve experienced a lot more traffic down [Lincoln]. It was time to make this safer.” Hintz said the erratic speeds of drivers on Lincoln and increased traffic forced the city to solve the issue. About a year ago, Hintz passed out flyers to homes within a one-block

The issue

A large amount of pedestrian traffic, mostly from the school, was causing a safety concern on Lincoln Avenue. The city, utilizing the intersection of Lincoln Avenue, 4th Street SW and 4th Avenue, created a four-way stop.

Many vehicles drive upwards of 35 mph down Lincoln Avenue, a residential 25-mph zone. Northbound traffic using Lincoln often took the slight right onto 4th Avenue at speeds exceeding the limit, making it a dangerous crossing for school children and others.

“It just wasn’t safe for kids to cross,” said Jeff Hintz, Sidney Public Works Director. “Over the years, we’ve experienced a lot more traffic down [Lincoln]. It was time to make this safer.”

Hintz said the erratic speeds of drivers on Lincoln and increased traffic forced the city to solve the issue. About a year ago, Hintz passed out flyers to homes within a one-block radius of the intersection inviting residents to an informal meeting at city hall. He said they informed residents of the plans and people were thought it was a good idea.

What’s new

The intersection is now a four-way stop, with solar-powered stop signs. Originally the city installed five stop signs, but after some observing and a request from the local post office, agreed a yield sign made better sense for where 4th Street SW meets Lincoln.

Trees were removed along Lincoln and 4th Street SW, which were in the city’s right-of-way. Visibility has now been improved, Hintz said, and the city has plans for new curb and gutter along from 4th Street SW around the corner of Lincoln.

A large sidewalk structure now exists at the intersection, which was intended to line up 4th Avenue with Lincoln. Hintz said back when Sidney was originally being designed, roads ran perpendicular and parallel to the railroad tracks. As Sidney grew, Lincoln Avenue served as a sectional line, causing off-set intersections. The new four-way stop attempts to alleviate those uneven streets.

Landscaping will be added to the sidewalk structure this fall. Repaving of Lincoln Avenue will be done at the hands of Montana Department of Transportation (MDOT). As part of MDOT’s Urban Street Improvement project, 9th Avenue SW, 14th Street SW, Lincoln Avenue and 5th Street SE will all be repaved by the state.

Adjustment period

While some citizens have expressed disdain for the new four-way stop, Hintz said he sees it getting better everyday.

“When they put the four-way stops in at 9th and 5th and 7th and 4th, people hated them. Now it’s just in everybody’s mind to stop. ,” Hintz said. “People get used to it over time. It’s tough for people in a small town like this to change. But the whole purpose is pedestrian safety.”

Chief of Police Frank DiFonzo told city council at the last regular meeting he believes the intersection will serve as very functional.

“Every time we’ve ever put any four-way intersection up, we go through growing pains,” DiFonzo said. “While I was standing over there Friday, people that were living on that street were coming out and commenting on how they were appreciative of how we were finally doing something about it.”


Photo by Melissa Markwordt  

Sidney Jaycees Demolition Derby

In car 55 at the Sidney Jaycees Demolition Derby on Saturday, Aug. 17, is Dace Fisher of Sidney, with backfire coming out of the headers. Fisher’s car did start on fire about a minute after the photo was taken and he was voted Mad Dog, or most aggressive driver, for his heat and best paint overall.


Local_news
alert featured
Sidney man charged with assault on a minor after encounter at the fair

Richard Andrew Heckler made his initial appearance in Seventh Judicial District Court in front of Judge Katherine Bidegaray on Monday, Aug. 12, on the charge of assault on a minor, a felony, after allegedly attacking a 9-year-old boy during the fair.

According to the affidavit, a Richland County Sheriff’s deputy responded to a report at 10:20 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3, of a man attacking children behind the 4-H food booth at the fairgrounds. The responding deputy recognized the man, later named as Heckler, from previous encounters that evening.

When the deputy arrived, Heckler was surrounded by five other adults and was “struggling to formulate complete thoughts and was having a hard time staying on his feet.” The deputy believed Heckler to be heavily intoxicated, as stated in the affidavit. He appeared to have minor scrapes on his face that were not present during earlier interactions with the deputy.

The deputy spoke with the 9-year-old, who was visibly shaken from the encounter. The boy told the deputy he was playing with friends when Heckler came up, grabbed him and threw him to the ground. A group of young boys was playing catch with a football when the defendant walked in front of the ball and the ball hit him. It was then, according to the statements of the boys, Heckler grabbed the victim by the head and threw him down.

According to Montana Code Annotate section 45-5-212, if convicted, Heckler could face a prison term of no more than 20 years, be fined up to $50,000 or both.


News
5 things to know

1Richland Rangers Junior Gold Trap Tournament is Sunday, Aug. 25. Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. at the Sidney Trap Club; tournament begins at 10 a.m. Contact Bryan McDowell for more information at 480-1749. 2U.S. Senate candidate John Mues will host a meet and greet at Eastern Montana Agricultural Research Station on Sunday, Aug. 25, from 1-3 p.m. Refreshments will be served. 3Big Sky Women Sidney Area Meetup will be Tuesday, Aug. 27, at Shoppes at Peifer’s General Store from 5:30-7:30 p.m. 4Beginning on Wednesday, Aug. 28, through Thursday, Aug. 29, catch the North Dakota Downtown Conference: Downtown Williston, 8 a.m. — 12 p.m. Educate Downtown stakeholders on the positive impacts of healthy Downtowns including but not limited to: economic impact, tax efficiencies, community sustainability, affordable housing, mixed used planning, civic participation, community’s sense of place and historic preservation. 5Expectant mothers can enjoy a one-day childbirth class at Sidney Health Center on Saturday, Aug. 31, from 9 a.m. — 4 p.m. Class is free, but donations up to $25 are accepted to cover expenses.

1Richland Rangers Junior Gold Trap Tournament is Sunday, Aug. 25. Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. at the Sidney Trap Club; tournament begins at 10 a.m. Contact Bryan McDowell for more information at 480-1749.

2U.S. Senate candidate John Mues will host a meet and greet at Eastern Montana Agricultural Research Station on Sunday, Aug. 25, from 1-3 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

3Big Sky Women Sidney Area Meetup will be Tuesday, Aug. 27, at Shoppes at Peifer’s General Store from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

4Beginning on Wednesday, Aug. 28, through Thursday, Aug. 29, catch the North Dakota Downtown Conference: Downtown Williston, 8 a.m. — 12 p.m. Educate Downtown stakeholders on the positive impacts of healthy Downtowns including but not limited to: economic impact, tax efficiencies, community sustainability, affordable housing, mixed used planning, civic participation, community’s sense of place and historic preservation.

5Expectant mothers can enjoy a one-day childbirth class at Sidney Health Center on Saturday, Aug. 31, from 9 a.m. — 4 p.m. Class is free, but donations up to $25 are accepted to cover expenses.


News
alert featured
10 things to know about the 2019-20 Sidney city budget

Sidney City Clerk/Treasurer Jessica Redfield presented the city’s budget to council on Monday, Aug. 19, for the 2019-20 fiscal year. Here are some highlighted topics for taxpayers.

1This year, mills were valued at $10,720.63, down from last fiscal year’s $11,953.79.

2There is $2.4 million in revenue in the general fund and $3.4 million in expenditures. Redfield said approximately $1 million of those expenditures are transfers to CIPs, due to the audit finding of too much money sitting in the general fund. There will be an anticipated ending cash balance of $883,000.

3CIP accounts receiving a transfer from the general fund are $20,000 to police pension and training; $210,000 to snow removal; $50,000 to city hall; $50,000 to parks; $50,000 to police equipment and vehicles; $175,000 to street equipment; $175,000 to street construction; and $100,000 to fire equipment. CIP accounts are not required to be spent within a certain time frame.

4A new city-wide snow removal district was enacted last year and this is the first year it will appear on property taxes at $25 per lot.

“Something that I think is important for people to understand is that $25 is not specifically for the street in front of your house,” Redfield said. “Although we do get to residential eventually, that $25 is for the snow removal of emergency routes, school routes, downtown, all of that. Once those are taken care of, we move out to residential.”

5For several fiscal years, the city has been cutting general fund expenditures. In order to balance to the budget, transfers have been made from the oil and gas severance fund. Redfield said this is the first fiscal year the city didn’t have to budget a transfer to the general fund.

6SID 100 and SID 103 were paid off early and citizens in those districts can expect small refunds. Redfield gave a tentative timeline for refunds and said they will begin being processed in January and issued in February.

7Three years ago, the City of Sidney transferred $50,000 to a city hall CIP to be used for building renovations. City hall hopes to expand into the old firehall next door and renovate the entire building. Another $50,000 was transferred this year, bringing the total to $100,000. Redfield said a rough estimate of total building renovation was around $1 million, so the project is many years away, as the city only makes the transfer when the budget allows. In the meantime, the fund may be used for office expenditures, like new computers or office equipment.

8Ten years ago the city and the county began the Downtown Enhancement Fund, which currently sits at $64,000. The money was used for the project on Lincoln Avenue, as well as the lighted pedestrian and speed radar signs in school zones.

9Citizens will see an increase in property taxes for garbage services. The city is currently working with four garbage trucks, three of which are in need of replacement. Redfield said new garbage trucks cost around $350,000 each and the last taxpayers saw for garbage services was about five years ago. The fee will go from $150 to $175 this year.

10The increase in garbage and the increase in snow removal costs amount to about $4.16 per month per property.