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Articles written by James Walling


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  • Courthouse Square Happenings

    James Walling, The Courier|Mar 21, 2018

    Valley County Sheriff Vernon Buerkle told the Courier that a Glasgow resident was arrested on DUI charges, as well as disorderly conduct, in the early hours of March 18. At press time, the driver remains in the Valley County Detention Center. George Beckett also remains in the jail at press time on drug charges originating out of Phillips County, including possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. Sheriff Buerkle asked that the public be reminded to turn on headlights when driving in the heavy fog. Valley County Commissioner...

  • Courthouse Square Happenings

    James Walling, The Courier|Mar 14, 2018

    As of Monday, March 12, the window to file for open Valley County positions has officially closed. Final additions to the unusually long list of names includes Joe Horn for sheriff, Christine Gamas for justice of the peace, and Darwin L. Johnson has filed for a committeeman position for the Valley County Republicans, Precinct 34. Improvements are in process at the Council on Aging building across the parking lot from the courthouse at 328 4th Ave S. A new floor has been installed in the kitchen. County Commissioner Paul Tweten told the Courier...

  • Law Enforcement Brief

    James Walling, The Courier|Mar 7, 2018

    Valley County District Court has issued felony warrants for Hunter Vegge, Cassandra Washington and George Beckett on a range of charges, including possession of dangerous drugs with intent to distribute, possession of dangerous drugs, and various additional charges and misdemeanors. Sheriff Vernon Buerkle told the Courier that there were no serious injuries or wrecks at press time on Valley County roads during the recent weather event. He expects most roads and highways to be clear by March 7, but asked to remind residents to watch for drifts...

  • Trio of Artists Host Downtown Receptions

    James Walling, The Courier|Feb 28, 2018

    New Glasgow High School art teacher Bridget Schmidt has partnered with the Sean R. Heavey Gallery to feature artwork by seniors Ashtyn Myrick and Taylor Trathen. A reception is planned at the gallery on March 2 beginning at 5:30 p.m. Myrick is a 19 year old senior at GHS participating in multiple sports as well as visual arts. She produces art about emotional events and experiences and strives to represent feelings through imagery. Myrick's media of choice include acrylic paint, ink, and...

  • Commissioners Take Bids, Approve Alvarado

    James Walling, The Courier|Feb 21, 2018

    The Valley County Commissioners approved Hinsdale’s Crystal Alvarado as the new director of Valley County Public Health. She replaces Connie Boreson. The commissioners also took bids on area projects at a Feb. 20 public meeting. These include bids for equipment for the road department, specifically eight motor graders. Valley County Refuse District 1 also seeks a wheel loader. The commissioners will announce their selections by the Feb. 28 discussion and decision meeting....

  • Sheriff's Office Hires Two

    James Walling, The Courier|Feb 21, 2018

    Valley County Sheriff Vernon Buerkle confirms the arrest of Robert Micheal Grimm in Nashua on Feb. 17. Grimm has been charged with assault on a partner or family member, and destruction of a communication device used to obstruct, prevent, or interfere with the reporting of a criminal offense. Sheriff Buerkle also confirms the hiring of two new deputies. The names of the new hires will be released in coming weeks, following official notifications. One deputy has been hired to replace former Chief Deputy Matt Remmich. The second deputy was hired...

  • Highway Patrol Makes Drug, DUI Arrest

    James Walling, The Courier|Feb 21, 2018

    The Montana Highway Patrol arrested Duy Thanh Nguyen, of Portland, Ore, on multiple charges on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation Feb. 15. The arrest was made with the assistance of the Tri-Agency Drug Task Force. Charges are pending at press time, but include driving while suspended, driving under the influence of alcohol, and criminal possession of dangerous drugs. Thanh is currently being held at the Valley County Detention Center....

  • Otto Osen at Wheatgrass

    James Walling, The Courier|Feb 21, 2018

    Otto Osen is the Wheatgrass Arts & Gallery Artist of the Month for March. He describes his work as made up mainly of nonrepresentational or abstract drawing and paintings. The shy artist didn't go on much when prompted at press time, but did mention that most of the works on display will be from a recent period of time spent living in Missoula. Osen's show follows works by Terry-based photographer Mary Kate Teske, who was Artist of the Month for February. There is a reception for Osen scheduled...

  • Courthouse Square Happenings

    James Walling, The Courier|Feb 14, 2018

    Valley County Commissioner Paul Tweten told the Courier at press time that the commission expects to pick a replacement for Connie Boreson as head of the Valley County Health Department at the Feb. 14 meeting. Valley County Planner Rene Clampitt explained that local permits are in place for Keystone XL Pipeline work camps planned for Burns Road near Hinsdale and Highway 117 near Park Grove. According to Clampitt, TransCanada must still apply to meet Department of Environmental Quality stipulations. New additions to the list of candidates for...

  • Fahlgren, Art Mobile Visit Frazer School

    James Walling, The Courier|Feb 14, 2018

    Glasgow's Tess Fahlgren brought the Art Mobile of Montana to Valley County students recently, beginning with a stop at the Frazer School on Feb. 8. Fahlgren spoke to more than a dozen children, sharing works of art from around the state with a presentation that is part show-and-tell, part how-to, part art appreciation. The kids were clearly engaged as Fahlgren invited them to guess at the materials used to make different artworks and told them a bit about the processes used to create them. They...

  • Law Enforcement

    James Walling, The Courier|Feb 14, 2018

    Valley County Sheriff Vernon Buerkle told the Courier that his office will be testing prospects for two open deputy positions this week from a pool of nine applicants. Once the list has been reduced to two names, they will have to pass additional background and mental health checks. Sheriff Buerkle expects to put his picks before the county commissioners for approval by early March of this year....

  • Courthouse Square Happenings

    James Walling, The Courier|Feb 7, 2018

    Valley County Sheriff Vernon Buerkle told the Courier that area residents and businesses have reported that a telephone scam related to tax season is making the rounds. Please don’t share personal information without confirming the identity of any caller claiming to represent the IRS or any out-of-state tax preparation organizations. Sheriff Buerkle also confirmed one DUI arrest over the weekend. Jay Witkowski’s sentencing hearing for aggravated kidnapping charges has been moved to Feb. 20, in Valley County District Court. Todd Young has added...

  • County's Dowell Seeks Clerk and Recorder

    James Walling, The Courier|Feb 7, 2018

    The impression I want to relay about candidate for Valley County Clerk and Recorder Ruth Dowell is one of competency and attention to detail. Weekly, I find myself speaking to our sitting county commissioners about county business and meeting agendas, always with Dowell present in her current role as the commissioners' administrative assistant. The conversations, always collegial, can cause a crook in my neck as I glance back repeatedly to Dowell's desk in council chambers for confirmation on...

  • Alcohol Compliance Checks, Highway Crash

    James Walling, The Courier|Jan 31, 2018

    Members of the law enforcement community in Glasgow attended a suicide prevention training course on Jan. 29. Valley County Undersheriff (and current candidate for sheriff) Luke Strommen was among the attendees. According to Sheriff Vernon Buerkle, alcohol compliance checks are planned at area businesses in coming weeks and months. Sheriff Buerkle stressed that the checks are designed to increase compliance restricting sales of alcohol to minors. If you operate a point of sale location in Valley County, this means you. Despite a public notice...

  • Courthouse Square:

    James Walling, The Courier|Jan 24, 2018

    Jay Witkowski faces a sentencing hearing related to his recent plea of guilty on an aggravated kidnapping charge. He will appear before Valley County District Court on Jan. 29 at 10:30 a.m. Valley County Sheriff Vernon Buerkle told the Courier that his office processed three individuals for violations of judgement over the weekend, following incidents at area drinking establishments. Valley County Commissioner Paul Tweten expects the commissioners to move forward with plans to establish a speed zone (limit) for portions of Airport Road and...

  • Teske Photos at Wheatgrass

    James Walling, The Courier|Jan 24, 2018

    February's Wheatgrass Gallery Artist of the Month, Mary Kate Teske, has been quietly infiltrating the pages of the Courier with her photographs for over a year. Last week's issue featured two of her pictures prominently. It wasn't the first time. Nor is ours the only publication following the 24-year-old's work. Teske and her 1961 Dodge Lancer have graced the pages of The Billings Gazette, Last Best News, Folk Magazine and even the airwaves over at Yellowstone Public Radio. On Jan. 7, Teske was...

  • Law Enforcement

    James Walling, The Courier|Jan 17, 2018

    Joe Hall, 27, of Kila, Mont., was arrested for felony burglary and theft in a joint effort by the Valley County Sheriff’s Office and the Glasgow Police Department. The arrest took place on Jan. 14 in the Shopko parking lot. At press time, Hall remains in custody at the Valley County Detention Center. According to Sheriff Vernon Buerkle, there have been two DUI arrests made in Valley County by area law enforcement since the books closed on 2017. Please don’t drink and drive....

  • Witkowski Pleads Guilty to Kidnapping

    James Walling, The Courier|Jan 17, 2018

    Jay Witkowski completed a change of plea hearing on Jan. 16. He appeared before Judge Yvonne Laird in Valley County District Court. According to Valley County Attorney Dylan Jensen, Witkowski plead guilty to the offense of aggravated kidnapping. He then was placed under oath and then provided the court with a factual basis to support his plea. “Witkowski acknowledged he and another inmate kidnapped a Valley County Detention Officer by using force,” Jensen told the Courier, “after which they took her keys to make an unsuccessful escape attem...

  • Putting the Sip in Supper

    James Walling, The Courier|Jan 17, 2018

    As of Jan. 12, the thirsty among us will have already noticed a big change at the old Sam's Supper Club location on Highway 2 in Glasgow. Here's the latest: The Knodel family, responsible for the award-winning pizzeria under the Googie lighting next to Reynold's Market, have extended their empire to include the aforementioned Sam's building, re-dubbing the establishment Sam & Jeff's. The biggest change is the drinks menu and the ambiance (think Sean Heavey photography, leather couches and a...

  • Glasgow City Council Denies Pet Rescue Permit

    James Walling, The Courier|Jan 10, 2018

    In a vote of four to one, the Glasgow City Council has voted to deny Cindy Ramsbacher’s application for a permit to operate a pet rescue at her home address within city limits. A well-organized group of opponents, made up of area homeowners, made their feelings regarding the permit known in statements and in writing at the Jan. 2 meeting in council chambers. Ramsbacher, of Northeast Montana Pet Rescue, is respected and well known in the area for offering services to abandoned and mistreated pets, and her efforts have placed animals in many l...

  • Staffing Changes at VCSO

    James Walling, The Courier|Jan 10, 2018

    Valley County Chief Deputy Matt Remmich has officially bid Glasgow farewell. Remmich is taking a position as a police officer with the Montana State University Police Department in Bozeman. He told the Courier that he is grateful to the people of Valley County, adding: "For almost eight years I've had the privilege of waking up each day into my dream of public service through law enforcement. Keeping teamwork in mind, I hope I have helped Valley County become a little safer so everyone who...

  • Calling All Musicians

    James Walling, The Courier|Jan 10, 2018

    The Gateway Club and Dave Pippin are hosting an impromptu jam band session at the former’s Fort Peck location on Sunday, Jan. 21, at 2 p.m. All musicians are welcome. Drink specials are on offer, with $2 beers and $3 mimosas during the event. The Gateway’s Stacy Britzman also told the Courier that they’ll have an indian taco bar for $10 per plate with musicians eating free. Pippin told the Courier that the general idea is an old fashioned musical gathering. “Bring your instruments, amps and kits,” he said, “and let’s play.” He added, “One rea...

  • Courthouse Square

    James Walling, The Courier|Jan 3, 2018

    Balmy conditions on Jan. 2 had the usual suspects around Courthouse Square smiling. Commissioner Paul Tweten confirmed that Commissioner Bruce Peterson will continue as chairperson in 2018. All three commissioners were pleased to report that county roads are being cleared as usual, with minimal inconveniences and delays despite the record-setting cold. Commissioner Peterson and County Planner Renee Clampitt told the Courier that county residents waiting for channels 5.1, 5.2, and 5.3 of the Valley County TV District to resume consistent...

  • Strommen Receives Dan R. Taylor Award

    James Walling, The Courier|Jan 3, 2018

    Valley County Undersheriff Luke Strommen has received the Dan R. Taylor Award. Sheriff Vernon Buerkle told the Courier that Strommen, who has been with the department since 2009, was singled out for the numerous felony investigations he's played a role in, including Operation High Tide, which culminated in 17 felony arrests on drug charges in June, 2011. Buerkle also cited the Mary Strand case, on which Strommen teamed up with the FBI, and the Jay Witkowski homicide investigation. Strommen has...

  • Literacy Raised, Chocolates Swapped

    James Walling, The Courier|Jan 3, 2018

    Capitalizing on Toni Marie LaGree's goodwill and a bit of Icelandic lore, the Sean R. Heavey Gallery and The Loaded Toad in downtown Glasgow featured a white elephant book and chocolate swap on the afternoon of Dec. 23. The well-attended event was LaGree's brainchild, and she held court as the rules of the game were explained to the dozens of happy attendees who came out to show solidarity with area readers, the charms of chocolate, and increased literacy generally in a county with no brick and...

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