“I’m going to dance my hardest at Thunder Struck dance competition.”
- Emma McPherson
“I’m going to make her a bird house and a painting.”
- Briley Turley
“I’m going to make brveakfast for her.”
- Kyler Jonsson
“I’m going to paint her a picture and ask my dad to take me to buy her a coffee cup.”
- Karlee Peterson
“I’m making her a flower out of paper.”
- Eva Hindes
“I made her a portrait with my thumbprints.”
- Brandon Vanderhide
Sidney City Council celebrated a local victory last week with the signing of House Bill 656 by Gov. Bullock on Thursday. Mayor Rick Norby and Rep. Joel Krautter (R-Sidney) attended the event.
“I hate to say it, but this is my first major accomplishment in the Legislature,” Norby said at the council meeting Monday evening.
The bill redirects funds back to oil field communities and is similar to the bill that went out of commission a couple sessions ago. The funds, which come from leasing and permitting of oil wells, will be nondiscretionary. At the height of the boom, that money amounted to upwards of $2 million; in slower times, it hovered around $300,000. Projected estimates for Sidney have not been calculated.
“This is the best session, learning-wise, that I’ve had,” Norby said.
As utility rates slowly increase for citizens over the next five years, Norby hopes the extra funding will help the city budget in other ways. Previous funds from oil revenue have been used for police department equipment that didn’t qualify for grant funding, fire department and EMS vehicles and the city’s parks and recreation department. No specific projects have been named for the expected revenue, which will likely take one to two fiscal years to generate.
With House Bill 656 comes a change in attitude about how oil communities are treated by the state. Norby said the new leadership in eastern Montana has more clarity of the needs of the entire state, not just their own communities.
“The whole state of Montana needs infrastructure, not just eastern Montana,” he said. “Once [the Legislature] realized leadership in eastern Montana has changed, they realized we’re all ok with that. We understand that.”
Norby added there was a time when 10 percent of the general fund was coming from oil field communities and that has not gone unnoticed by politicians on both sides of the aisle in Helena.
“My position is nonpartisan,” he said. “It’s the only way we’re ever going to get anything accomplished in Helena is to come to a level head and work things out. To me, that’s what’s happening right now.”
Mayor Norby also gave credit to Kelly Lynch, Tim Burton, Joel Krautter, Shane Gorder and Chris Dschaak, all of whom were instrumental in moving the bill forward.
City council agreed to divert $4,000 that would have gone to Richland County Baseball association to Moose Park maintenance this year at Monday night’s meeting. American Legion and Babe Ruth leagues will not be active this summer due to low participation numbers.
“There were some pretty big shifts in the baseball program this year,” councilmember Kysa Rasmussen said. “They’d still like to utilize the park and maintain it to ensure it’s there whenever they need it.”
The agreement was reached with the baseball association at a parks and recreation committee meeting last month.
In other business:
Sidney Clean Up is scheduled for Friday, May 17. Trash receptacles will be positioned in front of the garage doors at city hall, with trash bags and gloves available until 2 p.m.
Richland County Sportsmen Club received permission to use Moose Park for a car show Saturday, July 13.
City council approved the hire of two new police officers, Brent Norby and Max Fletcher.
Jeff Hintz, public works director, reported pool maintenance has started early this year. He is hoping the pool will be open the Monday after Memorial Day weekend.
An air compressor had to be replaced, Hintz reported, which was not budgeted for this year. The total cost of $21,600 will be taken from parks and recreation, sewer, water and street departments.
Storm drainage has been an issue for several spots around town for snow runoff and summer storms. Hintz will be attending a FEMA class in June in Butte to be able to request grant dollars from Montana Disaster and Emergency Services. He is hoping the money can be used for improvements. Hintz requested city council to think about starting a storm sewer district.
Richland County Boys and Girls Club kicks off their $100,000 in 100 Days summer campaign May 12, marking a big push in donations for the organization. Elaine Steadman, executive director of the club, said the money earned will go toward the building remodel.
“The community has been issued a challenge by the MonDak API, who recently donated $100,000 to the building,” Steadman said. “They sent a challenge out to other oil companies to match their donation.”
MonDak API is an organization made up of oil field professionals in the area and made their donation earlier this year. With $800,000 left of the approximately $3.1 million needed for the project, it will put a vital dent in remaining balance. Boys and Girls Club operates on a federated model, meaning each club is responsible for funding itself. Although it is a national program, there are no federal or state dollars allocated for the organization. Donations and grants are what keep them afloat.
Libby Berndt, marketing director at Reynold’s, said she doesn’t want people to think the job is over because the new club is operational.
“Because the doors are open now, people think everything is paid for,” she said. “That’s the stress we have, there’s still some money to own on it.” Reynold’s is a regular donor to the club and a thermometer measuring donation progress will be located there this summer.
The Boys and Girls Club will also be providing a summer food program, with free breakfast and lunches served for kids through age 18, regardless of whether they are club members or not. Breakfast is only served at the clubhouse, while lunch can be found at the club, the Glendive clubhouse (111 West Bell), and a mobile site in the high school parking lot.
Other summer activities also include full-day club membership, seven one-week camps and two overnight camps. Sign-up information can be found on the website.
The safe-keeping of area children has inspired large donation from many community members, including Tammy and Larry Christensen of Tri County Implement (over $100,000), Anne and Bud Groskinsky, the Murdoch Trust ($350,000), the Dayton Foundation ($250,000) and numerous other anonymous donors in the six-figure range.
“This is something we thought would be a good service to the community,” Anne Groskinsky said. “It’s local. This is where we live and we wanted to help children in our area.”
Tammy Christensen echoed that same thought.
“It’s for the kids and they’re the future of our community,” she said. “Larry and I just think it’s so important for our community to have a place for these kids to go.”
Donations can be made at the Boys and Girls Club, located at 200 3rd Avenue SE in Sidney, or online at richlandbgc.org.
With May being Mental Health Awareness Month, there are several events coming up in support of the topic. IGA will be hosting their customer appreciation day May 16 and all proceeds from the day will go to the Out of the Darkness Walk, to be held September 21.
The walk will start at 9 a.m. at Central Park.
IGA is hosting their Rib Fest from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. while supplies last. A full rack of ribs is $10, half a rack of ribs is $6, potato salad and cole slaw are $1, root beer floats are $3 and cookies are $1.
The Montana Lottery will also be at the event with door prizes and other prizes throughout the event such as scratch-off tickets. IGA has partnered with the Out of the Darkness Walk after IGA manager Kelly Burke joined the committee.
Nick Kallem a board member for the eastern Montana Out Of The Darkness Walk committee said, “Kelly, the manager joined the committee this year and has been very active in helping us reach our goal.”
In the spirit of Mental Health Awareness Month, Sidney Health Center and LAC (Local Advisory Committee) will be hosting an Adult Mental Health First Aid training course.
Angela Zaur, an AmeriCorps member, explained the training course will be about people being able to identify if there is something wrong and how to talk to people when they are in crisis.
“The training course will identify resources and what they are and how to help someone in crisis or who is going through a bad time,” Zaur said.
This training course has been used all over the country and can be beneficial to a lot of people. It teaches you how to identify and address mental health issues further than just anxiety and depression.
The course also focuses on substance abuse issues as well.
“It’s statistically shown that people with mental health problems often have substance abuse problems too,” Zaur explained. This program teaches the initial response to helping someone with these issues.
Zaur noted mental health issues and substance abuse are usually co-occuring.
“This program helps to understand the physiological side of things and explains why you need to help,” said Zaur. “It teaches how to reach out and to be comfortable reaching out to someone during their problem or crisis.”
This course will allow certification as a Mental Health First Aider and is valid for three years. Anyone is welcome to attend, not just healthcare professionals. Zaur noted it’s good for neighbors, friends, parents and teachers.
This program can be used for youth, but will be focused on adults. Training is May 20 and 21, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Cost is $25. Zaur said this program is backed by the National Council for Behavioral Health as well as former First Lady Michelle Obama and New York’s First Lady Michelle Paterson.
After the training session, contact the organization for more information on continuing education. To RSVP for the training event, contact Zaur at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 488.2373.
For more information about the Out of the Darkness Walk you can visit afsp.org/easternmt.
1Sidney Clean Up Day is scheduled on Friday, May 17, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Organizers for the event include the Richland County Volunteers in Action, Seitz Insurance, the City of Sidney, Sidney Chamber and Richland County. Free trash bags and gloves will be available at Sidney City Hall, where dumpsters will be located. Large dumpsters will also be located at IGA and South Shopko parking lots.
2 This week is Law Enforcement Week and Peace Officer Memorial Day will be honored Wednesday, May 15. At 1 p.m., the Sidney Police Department and Richland County Sheriff’s Department will be holding a ceremony to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. The public is welcome to join in front of the Justice Center.
3 On Tuesday, May 14, and Thursday, May 16, from 6:30 p.m. — 8:30 p.m., the Boys and Girls Club will host a reading development workshop. The Tuesday workshop is geared toward newborns to second graders and Thursday evening is for third to fifth grade reading levels. It is free and open to anyone in the community who wants to learn how to better support their child’s reading development. Childcare and snack will be provided.
4 Eastern A Divisional softball tournament hosted in Sidney begins Thursday, May 16 and goes through Saturday, May 18. Games will feature teams from Sidney, Glendive, Miles City, Hardin, Billings Central and Laurel. Catch the action at South Meadow fields, where games begin at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
5 MonDak Heritage Center is hosting an art exhibit entitled “Lobotomy” until June 1. The art is by Lino Azevedo, a professor at Williston State College. The exhibit is a reflection of Azevedo’s thoughts on the lack of engagement in today’s culture.