By Bonnie Davidson
The Courier 

2014: The Year That Was In Local News

Welcome back to 2014. This is the second of two parts.


Bonnie Davidson / The Courier

Normally there's a road visible here that leads to the back of the trailer park behind Trails West Campground, near Cherry Creek off Skylark Road. Floodwater covered the road on a Sunday morning in August.


• While the flood of 2011 is still a topic of conversation, necessary repair work at Fort Peck Dam is ongoing. Even though several repair projects have been completed, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers continues work on the Fort Peck spillway. Consequently the 2011 discharge caused a lot of erosion. The spillway ran for over four months. Downstream dams along the Missouri River are also undergoing flood repairs. The projects, costing around $45 million, are coming closer to completion.

• While the Children's Museum of Northeast Montana has helped house 50 kids in June for two art camps, two science camps and a backyard explorer camp, work has continued on the wildlife exhibit that will be a positive addition. Skip Erickson said that he's still waiting on some specimens that will arrive over the next nine months, but approximately 80 stuffed mammals, 110 fish and birds and 170 items will fill the space.

• While work continued on the Glasgow Milk River and Cherry Creek System Wide Infrastructure Framework (SWIF) Plan, revisions from the Army Corps of Engineers were returned to the Levee safety committee. The good news that came with it was an extension on the SWIF plan for an additional year to fix the revisions and work on budgeting and funding for repairs and upgrades.

• Valley County government is working to fix a problem regarding financial issues said to be discovered in early June and late May. According to county commission meeting minutes for the month of June, billing issues were discovered and brought to the commissioners' attention. A former secretary, Dora Jean Beil, was said to be responsible for the refuse board issues. She also was the airport board secretary and the health department billing clerk. After problems with the health department were realized, investigations on the airport board commenced.


• Tragedy struck Saturday when Robert Lee Irwin, 53, of Glasgow, was killed while doing maintenance on a Fossum Ready Mix truck at the Fossum gravel pit north of the city, investigators said.

• An arrest was made on Friday, Aug. 8, after an investigation led to a search warrant. St. Marie resident Antonio Hernandez, 31, was arrested and charged with possession of dangerous drugs – felony, and possession of drug paraphernalia – misdemeanor.

• Not a lot of opposition showed up to the city council meeting on Monday, Aug. 18, as the Glasgow City Council made a final motion to approve the change to an ordinance allowing standing headstones on certain sections of the Highland Cemetery.

• Usually those floods take place in spring as the snow melts into the rivers and creeks that surround the area. This time an unusual amount of rain fell later in the summer, catching everyone a little off guard. The rainfall from Aug. 21-24 totaled around 8 inches in some areas. Crop damage won't be known just yet as farmers and officials wait for the waters to recede. A resolution passed through the Valley County Commissioners on Monday and through the Glasgow Mayor Becky Erickson that declared an emergency. The resolution allows the county and the city to work with government agencies to obtain equipment and access funding to help with infrastructure and flood damage.


• "The band cancelled on us Aug. 25," chamber executive director Lisa Olk said.. "There were some issues regarding customs and the ivory on their pipes getting across the border. The band was not willing to take the chance and put their instruments in jeopardy to cross the border until the issues were resolved. The ivory of the pipes was the issue with crossing the border in September.

• Aug. 31 was not only the the final performance of the 45th summer season at Fort Peck Theatre, but also the groundbreaking for a new costume and rehearsal building.

• Sightings of the famous actor were reported at several businesses, the airport and at a local hotel. The trip to Glasgow was short planned but got a lot of creative juices flowing for the actor Jon Voight and writer/director John Harrison.

• Nearly a dozen people attended a meeting in the city chambers at the Glasgow Civic Center to discuss the development of a housing plan, part of a $10,000 grant given to the city to help assess the need. The bid for the housing plan was given to the Greater Norther Development Corporation, a company that helps with grants, loans and community development in six different counties in Northeast Montana, including Valley County.

• Waiting on pipe dreams is a literal term when some groups refer to the Keystone XL Pipeline. Members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are in this category, and this week they will be traveling around 900 miles along the proposed pipeline to have what they're calling a lost opportunity tour, they stopped in Glasgow along the way.


• Drugs don't discriminate. A courtroom is a place for justice, a place full of decisions and consequences, but can you imagine a court that focuses on treatment and healing? Drug courts, or sometimes referred to as treatment courts could be coming to Glasgow. Jeffrey Kushner, the Montana Drug Court Coordinator gave a presentation to local attorney's law enforcement, family services, mental health services and probation and parol officers at the Cottonwood Inn on Friday, Oct. 3.

• School board members and a few school employees took a tour of the new elementary school construction before the school board meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 8. While there was obviously a long way to go in construction, the new building is taking shape and the vision is becoming a reality.

• The Glasgow School Board discussed a possible decision on naming the new elementary school building at the school board meeting that took place on Wednesday, Oct. 8. What would seem like a simple decision, turned out to be more complicated.

• "I don't want to borrow on the highway future," Director of Montana Department of Transportation Mike Tooley said at a meeting that took place at the Cottonwood Inn in Glasgow on Friday.

Tooley came to the Highway 2 Association quarterly meeting, and he was able to address officials from along the Hi-Line. With increased traffic, some smaller communities along the Hi-Line have been concerned with maintenance and possible upgrades to Hwy. 2.

• The local WWII veterans sat at the front of the room while an audience filled the room to see the three become recipients • Lloyd Eide, Gordon Olson and Kenneth Newton – of the French Knight Legion of Honor Award. Laurence Markarian, the honorary consul of France for the state of Montana gave the awards after a short biography and history of each veteran.


• The trial ended in triumph for the prosecution that worked to build the case, and in devastation for the defendant. Gavin Ackerman, 19, was found guilty of non-consensual intercourse with bodily injury He clearly was upset as the jury decision was read to the courtroom on Friday, Oct. 31.

• Late voters are probably relieved about the decision made at the polls today, but several voters in Valley County voted ahead of time this year. County Clerk Lynn Nyquist sent out 2,300 absentee ballots this year and 2,130 ballots were returned by Election Day. The unofficial vote counts are in. The county received 3,416 ballots this year.

• Hunters found a terrible surprise on Thursday, Oct. 30. While they were out hunting on a relative's property they thought they had discovered an abandoned vehicle but on closer inspection they found that a body was inside. They made the call to dispatch just after 1 p.m. The Valley County Sheriff's Office confirmed the vehicle was registered to a missing person. Kevin Coverdell, 52, was a seasonal county employee who had been working mowing ditches and the sides of the roadways.

• The Memorial Day celebration in Fort Peck this year brought hundreds together to hear various speakers at the podium. The keynote speaker at the event, Robert O'Neill, spoke about brotherhood, camaraderie and remembering those who didn't come home. What no one knew at the time is that he was the man who made world history in recent years. He spoke out last week, stating that he was in fact the one that pulled the trigger in May 2011 that ended Osama bin Laden's life.

• The highly charged debate surrounding the Keystone XL Pipeline, which could heavily impact Valley County, found approval and rejection in a week's time. Last week on Friday, Nov. 14, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill of approval for the pipeline, 252 to 161. For those pushing toward the hopes of helping grow the economy and creating new jobs, they found themselves disappointed again on Tuesday, Nov. 18, as the vote failed in the Senate by just one vote, 59 votes in favor and 41 against. For a super majority to pass the bill, 60 votes were needed.

• It was a day for Montana's history books. While the topic is still controversial and will likely face another battle in court, U.S. District Court of Montana Judge Brian Morris ruled in favor of four same-sex couples who were suing for marriage on Wednesday, Nov. 19. His decision led to several marriages in the last week of same sex couples celebrating the decision.


• One Forsyth family had a lot to be thankful for on Thanksgiving Day. Their 14-year-old son, Marcus Rothwell, was lost over night during a hunting trip that brought them to the Timber Creek area, near Wyatt Coulee and Plum Creek.

• The Glasgow City Council met and approved to pay back water customers over the next six months after a glitch in software was found by the auditors that made their visit in November. The software was unable to convert cubic feet and gallons. The glitch only made pennies in a difference in Glasgow City billing, but over a year it added up. A total of $38,120.16 is owed and will be credited to both commercial and residential customers, just over $15,450 is owed to commercial users, the leftover $22,668 going toward residents who hooked up to city water from November last year to October this year.

• Jeremy Perlinski from Morrison-Maierle explained to the city council that the grant applications had been accepted. The $500,000 TSEP (Treasure State Endowment Program) grant ranked Glasgow 18 out of the 49 applications received, making the possibility of funding very likely. Although Perlinski told the city council that they would be recommending that all 49 applications be approved for grant funding.

• Jim Stone, who has been teaching at the Glasgow High School, is getting ready to make his move into the middle school next year. He's been chipping away at boxes and gathering equipment and supplies that will be needed for the new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) lab.


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