Shepherd Seniors dig into lunch at new community center

Shepherd Senior Citizens meet and eat at their new community center off Haynes road in Shepherd for the first time on March 2, 2016. (Jonathan McNiven photo)

Shepherd Senior Citizens meet and eat at their new community center off Haynes road in Shepherd for the first time on March 2, 2016. (Jonathan McNiven photo)

The Shepherd Senior Citizens group met for the first time Wednesday at the Shepherd Community Center on Haynes Road. The lunch meeting drew 56 people, including several guests from the Adult Resource Alliance of Yellowstone County: Bee Ann Melichar, Joan Kimball, JoDee Samano and Judy Hughes, along with Yellowstone County Commissioner Jim Reno and commission candidate Denis Pitman. Phyllis and Ed Weidinger of the Worden Senior Citizens group were also on hand. Rose Fritz, president of the Shepherd senior group, said about 40 people usually attend.

The Shepherd Senior Citizens meet every Wednesday at 11:30am for lunch. The Shepherd Community Center is a project that was completed with outside playground, open area for picnics, and community parking by the Shepherd Lions Club. Fundraisers over the last decade like the annual Shepherd Jamboree helped contribute to the Shepherd Community Center, playground and location for groups in the Shepherd area to meet. (Jonathan McNiven photos)

Voters to be asked to OK county jail addition loan

Originally published in the weekly print edition of the Yellowstone County News.

BILLINGS — Following department head discussions on Thursday, Yellowstone County Commissioners on Tuesday, approved placing a Resolution of Intent on the agenda next week calling for a public hearing to place a request on the June 7 primary ballot to increase the county’s borrowing authority in order to build an addition to the jail.

The authority will allow county commissioners to increase their borrowing limit to $9.7 million. Without voter approval state law restricts counties from borrowing more than $2 million for any one purpose. Increasing the borrowing limit does not involve a property tax increase. The debt will be paid off with the revenue collected under existing tax rates.

The resolution sets the public hearing for Tuesday, March 8, at 10 a.m. in Room 403A.

As recommended by County Finance Director Kevan Bryan, the debt will be repaid in annual payments of $750,000 over 20 years. The level of indebtedness leaves the county flexible enough to deal with other likely needs in the future, said Bryan.

A 148-bed addition to the Yellowstone County Detention Facility is projected to cost $9.95 million.

The commissioners plan to use an additional $7.8 million drawn from other county funds and reserves to help pay for other jail improvements which are needed, the cost for which bring the grand total of planned expenditures to $16.8 million. The other improvements include housing unit upgrades, a new kitchen and laundry, etc.

Even at $16.8 million there remain other needed improvements at the jail that total almost another $3 million in costs that Bryan recommended postponing for a while, including replacing the roof.

The county got a “hard” estimate as to replacing the roof at $1.8 million, but Bryan said that with some patching and maintenance the roof would probably hold for another four or five years.

Borrowing the money needed is a second approach being pursued by the commissioners, after voters rejected last year a request to increase the levy by six mills to build and maintain a $7 million, 100-bed addition.

The Yellowstone County Detention Facility has been struggling with over-population for a number of years, but over the past year the number of inmates keeps spiking above 500 in a facility built to house 286. The overcrowded conditions are especially hard on what is typically some 100 women inmates who are crowded into an area designed for 38.

While efforts to reduce the jail population by other means have been successful, the number of bookings are increasing at a faster pace.

There has been much public comment about using a jail in Hardin that stands empty, but county officials pointed out that sending 100 prisoners to Hardin will cost over a period of four or five years as much as building and refurbishing Yellowstone County’s jail. And, at the end of that time, the county will still not have a jail and over-crowding is likely to be just as bad.

Bryan recommended increasing the proposed size of the addition from 100 beds to 148 beds in order to keep ahead of the demand curve. Building an addition for just 100 beds would put the county on par with current needs but still facing almost certain increases in future demand. Building the additional space now is far more cost effective, while creating an opportunity for the county to generate some revenue, in the interim, to help pay the costs of building the jail by housing state and federal prisoners and a few for other counties.

Once the infrastructure is in place the cost of housing additional prisoners changes very little. Deputy County Attorney Dan Schwarz pointed out that it is because of that that the county would save very little if they were to send prisoners to Hardin, while it would cost over $2 million annually.

Commissioner Bill Kennedy voiced concern about the state legislature being unwilling to pay the real cost of providing jail service to the state. He said he doesn’t want the county subsidizing the state.

Shepherd Basketball teams make history with district championship trophies

Shepherd Basketball District Champions- Shepherd Boys and Girls Basketball Teams. Click on image to enlarge. (Courtesy photo by Kim McCrae)

Shepherd Basketball District Champions- Shepherd Boys and Girls Basketball Teams. Click on image to enlarge. (Courtesy photo by Kim McCrae)

The Shepherd Mustangs and Fillies swept the 4B District competition in Columbus on February 18, 19 and 20 each winning District Championships.  The Fillies continued their winning streak throughout the season and tournaments and are sitting undefeated at 20-0. The Mustangs took on some tough competition and defeated their rivals, the Huntley Project Red Devils as well as the Red Lodge Rams and Roundup Panthers in order to claim their District Championship trophy. The Mustangs have not won a District Championship since 2012, and the Fillies have not won since 2014. This is the first time, though, in Shepherd school history that both teams have won together. Great job to all of the players and their coaches!  (Courtesy photo by Kim McCrae)

Shepherd School sports had some other history moments this year in sports.  Check the community website to see what else has happened at Shepherd.


Lockwood sewer ready for new connections

by Evelyn Pyburn-originally published in the weekly Yellowstone County News print edition

Some residents in Lockwood will be able to begin connecting to the Lockwood sewer.

As part of the Lockwood Phase Two Sewer Project, a two-block area and the lines connecting it to mains will be completed by the end of this week, and Lockwood Water and Sewer District manager Mike Ariztia recommended the district board allow residents to begin installing connections.

During a meeting last Wednesday, the LWSD Board approved the idea.

Jill Cook, who is overseeing the sewer project on behalf of Morrison Maierle, said that construction workers report residents are always asking them how soon they can connect. LWSD assistant manager Tony Reed added that they come into the district office almost daily to ask the same question.

COP Construction is on schedule and expects to complete the second phase of the Lockwood sewer by the end of August, said Ariztia. He reported that areas along Peter Street, Greenwood, Juniper, Hickory, Hemlock and Nightingale are essentially complete and crews will be moving this week to Sunrise and Eagle Rock. Work is beginning on Becraft, said Ariztia, where the line is going in 20-feet deep.

Ariztia asked for and received approval from the board to update and loop water lines for portions of Piccolo and read more

Jail funding may seek voter approval

Oringinally published in the weekly Yellowstone County New print edition.  

BILLINGS — Yellowstone County may be asking voters on the primary ballot on June 7 permission to borrow the funding needed to build a 148-bed addition to the jail.

The request would not be for an increase in taxes, but to borrow the money needed, to be paid back through future existing revenues.

Last year, voters rejected a request for a 6- mill levy increase to build and maintain a $7 million, 100-bed addition.

The details of what is needed, whether to borrow, and if so, how much to borrow will be the topic of a departmental meeting at 2 p.m. Thursday. The county can borrow no more than $2 million without going to a vote of the people.

If they opt to borrow more than $2 million, the Commissioners will act on a Resolution of Intent to put the matter on the ballot. Last week, they set dates for hearings for public input. The first will be held at 9:30 a.m., Feb. 23 at the County Commissioners’ board room at the Courthouse, and a second hearing is set for March 8.

The Yellowstone County Detention Facility has been struggling with overpopulation for a number of years, but over the past year, despite multi-faceted efforts to reduce the number of inmates, the population keeps spiking above 500. On Jan. 18, it reached its highest level ever, at 514, even though they had reduced by every means possible, the number of inmates, said Sheriff Mike Linder.

The facility was built to house 286 inmates.

The overpopulation problem is especially impacting female inmates, many of whom are bunking on floors due to the lack of space.

In explaining his recommendations on how to finance the jail addition, County Director of Finance Kevan Bryan said that due to limited resources, “we have to read more

Voters asked to support senior services mill levy

by Evelyn Pyburn-originally published in the weekly print edition 2-12-16 of the Yellowstone County News.

BILLINGS — Yellowstone County Commissioners have set a hearing for Feb. 23 to gather public comment on a Resolution of Intent to place a request of voters to increase property taxes for senior services, on the June 7 primary ballot.

The proposal would be a perpetual levy of 1.73 mills, which would raise about $578,335 a year in property tax revenue. The Adult Resource Alliance (Senior Services Center) already receives 2.51 mills which raises about $839,088. The Alliance administers a wide range of programs which serve the elderly in communities throughout Yellowstone County, including Meals on Wheels, transportation services and in-home support.

The new levy amounts to $4.67 on a home with a $200,000 market value or $2.33 on a home with a market value of $100,000.

The last time the Alliance received a mill levy increase was in 2006, in the interim demand for services have continually increased as the population of seniors has increased with the aging of the baby-boomers, explained Bea Ann Melichar, the executive director for the Adult Resource Alliance.

About 25,568 people in Yellowstone County are 65 and older. That number is expected to be more than 36,000 by 2026 and over 41,000 by 2036.

Melichar reviewed the budget, explaining some of its disbursements to area communities. Senior Centers have been held to the same levels for the past four years – Huntley $3,142, Worden $3,605; Shepherd $2,266; Custer $5,150 and Broadview $5,150. With the mill levy approval they will get an additional $2,000 this year. (Centers are also located in Billings and Laurel.)

Funding is also made available for bus service for Custer and Laurel, which they hope to be able to expand to more frequent trips and to serve more areas. They help fund MET for medical transportation, as well as provide cabs for medical appointments or to get to meal sites.

The Alliance oversees an organization of volunteers and reimburses them for transportation costs. Many of those trips in the past are to take seniors grocery shopping, said Melichar, they hope to be able offer a grocery delivery service with help of volunteers in the future.

Other programs include a senior dinner program (serving 2,306 people annually) and Senior Helping Hands and other support services.

Meals on Wheels serves 468 people and has a waiting list of at least 50 more. Its annual cost has been $58,894.

Jury: Deputies not criminally liable in Simpson’s death

Kevin Evans, undersheriff of the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s department, testifies about officer training on Tuesday during the coroner’s inquest into the shooting death of 28-year-old Loren Simpson. At left is Park County Coroner Al Jenkins, who presided over the inquest. (Judy Killen photo

Kevin Evans, undersheriff of the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s department, testifies about officer training on Tuesday during the coroner’s inquest into the shooting death of 28-year-old Loren Simpson. At left is Park County Coroner Al Jenkins, who presided over the inquest. (Judy Killen photo

by Judy Killen-originally published in the weekly Yellowstone County News

BILLINGS — Loren Simpson was driving a stolen SUV, had a near-lethal blood level of methamphetamines and a bottle of whiskey in his coat sleeve when he was shot and killed by two Yellowstone County sheriff’s deputies in January 2015.

After a two-day coroner’s inquest, a jury on Wednesday determined that the deputies were not criminally liable for his death.

After deliberating for just over half an hour, the jury of four men and three women returned a majority opinion that Simpson’s “death was not occasioned by criminal means,” said Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito.

A coroner’s jury has a narrow focus, Twito said:

“What really is important is, under the laws of our county and our state, did a crime occur in this officer-involved shooting?”

In this case, the jury determined that a crime did not occur.

Twito pointed out that a coroner’s jury’s verdict is advisory, but added, “in my practice, I give great deference to the jury and their findings.”

In this case, the jurors were active and engaged, he said, asking witnesses dozens of questions during the two days.

“They asked a tremendous amount of questions today,” Twito said.

Park County Coroner Al Jenkins presided over the inquest. A coroner’s inquest is a standard procedure in officer involved shootings.

Yellowstone County sheriff’s deputies Jason Robinson and Christopher Rudolph shot at Simpson, a 28-year-old Lockwood resident, on Jan. 8, 2015, as he drove the stolen Ford Explorer SUV toward their patrol car on a slippery, snow-covered rural road south of Huntley.

The deputies were near the end of their 12-hour shift. They had spent time throughout that day pursuing the stolen SUV and investigating complaints of suspicious activity at several locations.

By late afternoon, they were trailing the SUV on White Buffalo Trial, near Justice Trail, where a burglary had been reported. They were piecing together evidence that pointed to Simpson.

Victoria Callendar, a deputy county attorney who questioned witnesses during the inquest, told jurors that Robinson “had some knowledge of Loren Simpson” and suspected he might be the driver of the SUV, and they had searched for the vehicle throughout that day.

When they saw it in the area where the burglary had been reported, they read more

It’s official: Greg Gianforte runs for governor

Greg Gianforte announces his candidacy for Montana governor on Wednesday at Peterbilt in Lockwood. The Bozeman Republican thanked his wife, Susan, at left, for her support at the beginning of his speech. (Jonathan McNiven photo)

Greg Gianforte announces his candidacy for Montana governor on Wednesday at Peterbilt in Lockwood. The Bozeman Republican thanked his wife, Susan, at left, for her support at the beginning of his speech. (Jonathan McNiven photo)

by Judy Killen-originally published in the weekly newspaper Yellowstone County News.

LOCKWOOD — Greg Gianforte launched his anticipated campaign for governor on Wednesday, telling 70-plus people gathered for his announcement that he intends to “give Steve Bullock pink slip.”

Speaking to a crowd of local Republicans and reporters, Gianforte, a Bozeman businessman, said he intends to fight federal regulations that he believes strangle Montana businesses and called Bullock, the current governor, a “chicken” who’s failed to stand up for Montanans in the face of lost jobs and a struggling economy.

“I fell in love with Montana 40 years ago,” said the 54-year-old Gianforte. He moved here with his young children and started a business in Bozeman, which paid high wages and stimulated business growth, he said.

He said federal officials use regulations to curtail and threaten Montana jobs and resources, including timber and mining.

“They think a prairie chicken is more important” than peoples’ jobs, he said, and the current administration in Helena is “too chicken to stand up to them.”

Gianforte announced his campaign at Montana Peterbilt in Lockwood, launching a read more

Pat Goggins remembered as business pioneer, generous friend

Ty Thompson, at left, speaks at Pat Goggins' funeral Wednesday morning as Rev. Dave Reichling listens. More than 800 people attended the Mass at St. Bernard's Catholic Church. (Judy Killen photo)

Ty Thompson, at left, speaks at Pat Goggins’ funeral Wednesday morning as Rev. Dave Reichling listens. More than 800 people attended the Mass at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church. (Judy Killen photo)

SHEPHERD — People across Yellowstone County this week remembered Pat Goggins as a shrewd businessman, livestock auction pioneer and friend who was always generous, especially to people who needed it most.

Goggins, who owned PAYS and Billings Livestock auction companies and the Western Ag Reporter as well as several ranches and a real estate company, died Dec. 31. He was 85.

More than 800 people attended a funeral Mass for Goggins Wednesday at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church in Billings officiated by Rev. Dave Reichling.

People came from across Montana, Idaho, Colorado and Wyoming for the funeral.

“This is the day I’ve been kind of dreading for a long time,” Rev. Reichling said. “But there’s joy in my heart because he was such a strong believer.”

Reichling knew Goggins well, both as a faithful parishioner and as a family friend, attending holiday celebrations and summer picnics hosted by the Goggins family.

Then there were the road trips. Goggins consigned him to a trip to his Diamond Ring Ranch in Custer County near Miles City a few years ago. After being waved off by a highway patrolman after a speeding stop, they arrived at the ranch where Goggins asked

Reichling to bless the fields and livestock and pray for rain. He asked Reich to sprinkle holy water over a dry creek bed.

Two days later, rain flooded the ranch, which Reichling attributed to Goggins’ faith.

A similar trip to Goggins’ Pryor Creek Ranch ended with a similar blessing and prayer. Goggins leaped out of their vehicle and began “shouting to the heavens, ‘I believe it will happen!'”

“Two days later, it did,” Reichling said.

Reichling said Goggins always carried the light of Christ given to his parents and godparents at his baptism as an infant.

“Indeed, he did, he carried the light of Jesus Christ” in his daily actions and his care for his family, employees and friends, Reichling said. “I’m sure Pat is just smiling down, seeing this wonderful crowd here.”

Reichling had never seen more people — or more flowers — in the church for a funeral.

Pat Goggins

Pat Goggins

Goggins brushed against death several times, Reichling noted, and received the Sacrament of the Last Rites — prayers given to a dying person — “A number of times, but he always read more

McNiven’s Meanderings – New Year’s Resolutions

Jonathan McNiven-Editor/Publisher

Wow, another year has come and gone! Where does all the time go? As we go into this New Year, it’s time to make (and break) New Year’s resolutions and mine, of course, is set to be completed… well, I hope.

We will be rolling out our new YCN logo (as you see on this week’s front page). It’s taken us some time to figure out what our logo is going to be. We wanted our new logo to be something that reflects who we are, our location we serve along with our coverage area.

There are three elements of our new logo: The sun, the rolling hills, and the meandering Yellowstone River, all entangled in the words, “Yellowstone County News.” You will be seeing our logo on our new newspaper dispensers, in the paper, online, in stores, on our delivery vehicle and on all things that are associated with the paper.

We like the image of the rising sun, as it shows a new day is coming as you read the paper, hence the rising sun. Secondly, we live in the Yellowstone Valley area with rolling hills on either side of us. The rolling hills reflect our geographic features and location. Third, the meandering of the Yellowstone River is associated with our coverage area of Yellowstone County and each population of Billings, Lockwood, Shepherd, Huntley, Worden, Ballantine, Pompeys Pillar and Custer. In addition, my section is called McNiven’s Meanderings, which associates with a meandering river and articles… at times. Our new tag line is “Weekly News, Local Views;” I hope you’ve seen that recently in the paper.

Anyhow, I hope you like the new logo. Give us some feedback. We want you, the reader, to be able to easily associate with our brand, location, and what we do quickly when looking at our logo with the tag line.

So rolling out this new logo at the beginning of the year demonstrates another new beginning and changes for us. This is but one of the new changes at YCN this year, and we have many more to come. As you know, if you don’t write down a goal, then it’s just a dream. If you are serious about a New Year’s Resolution, then write it down. We have made our own plan and have written it down and given ourselves checkpoints in order to mark our progress and give us an opportunity to assess how we are doing and if we are running on-time or not. Make an action plan showing what action is going to take place in order to achieve the desired goal.

Now, did you know that only a tiny fraction of us keep our resolutions? In fact, the University of Scranton (according to Google) research suggests that just 8 percent of people achieve their New Year’s goals. I hope my averages of goals reached are higher than that. So I would encourage you to figure out what it is that you want to achieve this next year, write it down, make it logical and realistic and then make a detailed plan on how you will achieve it. We will do the same here at YCN. We hope you had a Merry Christmas and you have a happy & safe New Year!


Until then, see you in the paper!


Governor Bullock Appoints Mike Cooney as Lieutenant Governor

Helena, Mont.— Today Governor Steve Bullock appointed former Montana Secretary of State

Mike Cooney

Mike Cooney

as Montana’s Lieutenant Governor.

“Mike has spent the last four decades serving the people of Montana as both a legislator and as a longtime Secretary of State,” Bullock said.  “I’m impressed by Mike’s hard work and his commitment to public service. Mike is a proven leader who will work with me to responsibly manage our finances, hold the line on taxes, increase the number of high paying jobs, and ensure our economy remains one of the nation’s strongest.”

Cooney has a long and successful history as a statewide elected leader and public servant.  Once one of the youngest legislators in Montana’s history, Cooney also served three terms as Montana Secretary of State.

“It is an honor to serve read more

Coroner’s inquest in Simpson case set for Feb. 2

BILLINGS — A coroner’s inquest into the shooting death of Loren Benjamin Simpson has been scheduled for Feb. 2.

Two Yellowstone County sheriff’s deputies shot and killed Simpson, a 28-year-old Lockwood man, as he drove a stolen SUV toward them on Buffalo Trail south of Huntley on Jan. 8.

The deputies Jason Robinson and Christopher Rudolph, both resigned as deputies after the incident. Robinson returned to his former position as a detention officer in the read more

Proposed Lockwood roundabouts rile business owners

by Evelyn Pyburn-Originally published in the Yellowstone County News. 

LOCKWOOD — Proposed designs for roundabouts at the Johnson Lane Interchange and how they could impact Lockwood’s truck traffic was the primary topic of discussion at the Lockwood Business Group (LBG) meeting on Tuesday evening.

Concern that roundabouts could negatively impact the lifeblood of about half of Lockwood businesses quickly put the issue on the front burner for those attending one of the first meetings of the reorganized group. Roundabouts could hamper the ability of trucks to negotiate Lockwood streets, which could prompt truckers to stop elsewhere to refuel, and discourage transportation- based businesses from locating in Lockwood.

Dustin Bretz of Bretz RV reported on the research he did regarding the bypass project, saying he discovered that MDOT is further along in the planning process than what most people realize. Lockwood residents will have to act quickly to have any input on what is done, he said.

LBG members decided that no time should be lost in making sure that every business in Lockwood is aware of what is being proposed for the Billings Bypass. Special invitations will be sent to every Lockwood read more

Obituary: Ronald J. “Ron” Scherry

Ronald J. “Ron” Scherry

Under the twinkling lights of Christmas, Ronald J. “Ron” Scherry passed away at his home in Ballantine, MT of cancer, surrounded by his family on Thursday, December 17, 2015.   Ron was born on December 28, 1948 to Letitia and Edmund F. “Bill” Scherry in Sheridan, WY.

Ron married Barbara Lyon, the love of his life, in 1970 in Story, WY, and they went on to have two boys Arlo and Joe. Barb was his “Rock” and they navigated life together for 45 years. They spent the last 15 years traveling between Montana and Wyoming sharing their love of books.

Ron’s education began at Holy Name School. “OH MY” those nuns! He graduated from Sheridan High School in 1967. He then went on to graduate from Sheridan College, and the University of Wyoming earning a BA of History in 1972 and a BA of Education in 1974. He graduated with honors from MSU-Billings with a Masters in Education in 1986. His career in education touched many lives. He began teaching 4th grade in read more

Lockwood Fire Announces lower ISO rating which benefits homeowners

The Lockwood Fire Department received notification from the Insurance Services Office (ISO) that the Lockwood Fire Department classification has been reduced from a 5/9 class to a 4/4Y classification. ISO is the organization that determines the response preparedness and water delivery capabilities for communities. This classification is then shared with insurance companies, so they can best determine the cost of home owner protection premiums. Typically the lower the classification, the lower the premium costs to home owner’s insurance policy.

The reason for the split rating has to do with the location of the structure in relation to fire service. The first number is for all the buildings inside a 5 mile radius of the Lockwood Fire Station, located at 501 Johnson Lane. The second number is for structures outside that location. The 4Y classification should result in a significant reduction for those insured properties since the number is being reduced by 5. Anyone with no fire protection such as the Sage Hills subdivision, is rated at a 10 and would pay the highest premium an insurance company offers.

Chief John Staley stated that this is the result of many hours of planning and preparation by Lockwood Fire members and the Lockwood Fire Board. He also acknowledged that the Lockwood water district can certainly share some of the credit for their progress in adding water lines and hydrants to the Lockwood community over the last 10 years.

Huntley Christmas Stroll

Happy Pappy, front left, of Western Romance Company giving free mule-drawn wagon rides to Keith Rauch, front right, of Shepherd, and his family last year at the Huntley Christmas Stroll. Free wagon rides will be available in Huntley from noon – 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19, weather permitting. (Jonathan McNiven Photo)

Happy Pappy, front left, of Western Romance Company giving free mule-drawn wagon rides to Keith Rauch, front right, of Shepherd, and his family last year at the Huntley Christmas Stroll. Free wagon rides will be available in Huntley from noon – 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19, weather permitting. (Jonathan McNiven Photo)

Huntley Christmas Stroll- Gather up the kids, friends and neighbors and soak up some Christmas spirit at the 16th annual Huntley Christmas Stroll on Saturday, Dec. 19, from 10 to 5 p.m. Strollers can pick up a Christmas Stroll Passport at any participating businesses (see official Passport in the Yellowstone County News’s edition of 12/11/15 and 12/18/15). Then they’ll visit each of the merchants to have their Passports validated and sample their treats. The Passports then becomes an entry to the prize drawings, to be held at 5:15 p.m. at Pryor Creek Golf Clubhouse. Dennis McNiven, with Western Romance Company will be giving free mule-drawn wagon rides during the event, weather permitting of course.

The Yellowstone County News’ annual Christmas Coloring Contest winners will be displayed around town. Coloring contest winners can pick up their prizes at YCN office. Don’t forget to have your child color the pages and turn them in to win! Santa Claus is coming to town.

Santa will make a visit riding on a fire engine at the Huntley Fire Station at 3:30 p.m. Children are welcome to explain their wish list to Santa and receive a goody bag courtesy of the Worden Fire Department, and a candy bar courtesy of Pryor Creek Golf Course. All prizes will be drawn after 5:15 p.m. at Pryor Creek Golf Club at the end of the stroll, but you need not be present to win. Prizewinners and names will also be in the Yellowstone County News Christmas edition if you were not there to claim your prize. Prizes will not be mailed—they must be picked up at Yellowstone County News’ Office at 117 Northern Ave., Suite B by Jan. 1, 2015. Prizes for this year’s Huntley Stroll include interesting selections of gifts from Huntley merchants, the Worden Fire Department, Yellowstone Valley Electric Co-op, YCN and R&R Hardware and Trading. (If you’re a merchant and also wish to donate, please contact the Yellowstone County News.) Watch for a full listing of prizes in YCN’s weekly paper. Additionally, all merchants and area businesses are participating in Huntley Bucks.

Those who turn in a completed passport are eligible for prizes and Huntley Bucks. The Huntley Bucks can be spent at any participating merchant on the Passport. Drop off completed passports at Yellowstone County News by 4:50pm p.m. on Dec. 19. See you at the Christmas Stroll!

Error leaves Pedestrian Safety District off Lockwood tax bills

LOCKWOOD — If Lockwood taxpayers closely examined their tax bills in November, they would have noticed that one tax was not included.

Because it was new tax district, a snafu in the bookkeeping process resulted in the 10-mill levy for the Lockwood Pedestrian Safety District not being assessed. It simply wasn’t listed in the taxing jurisdictions upon which the Montana Department of Revenue calculated everyone’s tax bill.

The error will be corrected, and taxpayers within the Pedestrian Safety District will receive revised tax bills as soon as the proper paperwork is processed. County Finance Director Kevan Bryan asked County Commissioners to suspend the interest on the loan that they extended to the district so that the district does not suffer any negative impacts from the mistake.

Read the rest of the article on the community website.

‘Grandpa’s Diary’ a fun, historical read from author with local roots

HUNTLEY PROJECT — A lifetime habit of keeping detailed journals of the day’s events has evolved into a book for a Huntley Project native who became a counter spy for the FBI.

Dorwin Schreuder lives in Bozeman now, but grew up here and graduated from Huntley Project High School. During his FBI career, he kept detailed notes of cases and assignments, diaries his grandson Adam discovered in his home one day and encouraged him to publish.

“I had no intention of writing a book when I started,” Schreuder said, although he saw the value of preserving his stories for his grandchildren and beyond. His father was part of his inspiration to create the book, “Grandpa’s Diary, From Country Boy to Counter Spy.”

“My dad was a great storyteller,” Schreuder said, “and when he died it was like burning a library.”

At first, “I thought, I’d write down his story.” But then, he attended his 50th class reunion here, which led to a lot of “remember when” stories with classmates about their early years.

Those classmates told him he should write a book.

“I had so much encouragement,” he said. Some of his friends (who appear in some of his stories) wanted more stories about the early homestead days. Some wanted to hear more about his FBI days.

Schreuder places great credit with the read more

Interstate temporarily shuts down due to wreck

Damaged 1968 F-100 pickup truck with frontend damage due to slippery road conditions on Wednesday Nov. 25th on Yellowstone River bridge on Interstate 90. Fire fighters are hooking to the pickup in order to pull it off the interstate in order for traffic to start moving again on the Interstate.

Damaged 1968 F-100 pickup truck with frontend damage due to slippery road conditions on Wednesday Nov. 25th on Yellowstone River bridge on Interstate 90. Fire fighters are hooking to the pickup in order to pull it off the interstate in order for traffic to start moving again on the Interstate.

Interstate 90/94 was shut down for about 30 minutes at the Yellowstone River bridge connecting Billings to Lockwood Wednesday due to a 3 vehicle wreck that occurred on the Yellowstone River bridge.

Danny Kramer (41) of Billings, was in his 1968 F-100 pickup truck traveling eastbound on I-90 when he lost control of his vehicle at the entrance of the Yellowstone River bridge.  He stated that his truck “did 3-180 turns bouncing read more