Sidney Herald - Sidney Montana Local News, Events and Sports - Newspaper
Issue link: http://www.epageflip.net/i/274342
Club dinner, auction Great auction items and a top-notch meal are on the menu when the Boys and Girls Club of Richland County holds its annual auc- tion at the Richland County Fair Event Center Saturday. Tickets for the event are $30 per person or two for $55 and can be purchased from any Boys and Girls Club board member, at the club or at the door. The menu, prepared by the Ranger Lounge, will feature a buffet of chicken fried steak and a roast beef dinner. Doors open at 5 p.m., with dinner starting at 6:30 p.m. Butter braids Pella Lutheran Church's youth group is selling butter braids through March 23. Delivery is scheduled for April 5. Call 406-433-3350 to order. Community conference Are there things that you love about our community? Things that you would like to see changed? Join other Richland County residents Thursday from 5:30-8 p.m. in the St. Matthew's multi-pur- pose room in Sidney for an evening of food, discussion and community change. The sixth annual State of the Community Evening Conference is a public event designed to address the needs of people in the county and begin making the changes to make our county a better place. You are an important piece of the puzzle! If interested in participating in this event contact Greta or Julie at the Richland County Health Department 406-433-6895 or Heather at the library 406-433-1917. Lenten lunches The ﬁ rst of ﬁ ve Lenten Lunches will be at Lonsdale United Methodist Church from noon to 12:50 p.m. Wednesday. Join us for a great lunch and fellowship, and a presentation on the hymn "Amazing Grace". XNLV143407 Kaila Forbes DeAnne Rauschendorfer Day Light Savings Starts March 9th Insurance Agency See us for all your insurance needs. "Serving the Mon-Dak Area since 1961" 406-433-1411 • 114 2nd Ave. S.E., Sidney Kellie Gilligan Bulletin Board Deaths irwin noyes, 90 edith "edie" petrie, 86 Page 3A Inside Drilling rig count source: Baker hughes sponsored by Montana 7 N.D. 170 Agriculture .........5A Around Town .....2A Classiﬁ eds .......3-6B Deaths ...............3A Learning ............6A Religion ............. 2C Sports ................ 1C NATIONAL girl Scouts week - 2C STATE TOURNEY fairview Warriors - 1C XNLV137813 1914 2014 Published for Richland County and Bill Ackley SUNDAY, MARCH 9, 2014 ~ 106TH YEAR, NO. 20 ~ SIDNEY, MONTANA ~ WWW.SIDNEYHERALD.COM ~ 75 CENTS By BiLL vander WeeLe sIdnEy hEraLd A principal helping mop ﬂ oors, a superintendent of schools washing pots and pans after lunch and teachers ﬁ lling in for custodians are some of the situations happening in the Sidney school system due to a shortage of workers. And it may become worse. Sidney Superintendent of Schools Daniel Farr is concerned about how the housing shortage in the area may affect the recruitment of new teachers to the school district. He noted the nine apartment units the school district has won't be enough if the district needs to add up to nine new teachers due to possible retirements. Noting possible effects to services and class sizes, Farr is hoping some local landlords could help the school district in this time of need. "If people have affordable places to rent, if they could call or let us know if would be greatly appreciated," Farr said. The school district charges $788 monthly rent for its two-bedroom apartments and $1,181 for its three- bedroom apartments as a "revenue neutral" measure to basically pay for its three-year lease. Although the challenge to ﬁ nd hous- ing for new teachers is a large concern, it's not the only challenge facing the district as far as employees. The school district's food service is at least three employees short right now. "If we can't ﬁ nd them, our ability to serve hot lunch every day may be a challenge," Farr said. He noted one area school stopped serving lunch for a time period and requested students to bring lunches from home instead. "If we lose one more (food service worker), we may be in a position that we have to look at what we're going to do for lunch," Farr said. A position in the main kitchen is a full-time job while other positions are 3-4 hours daily. Bus service is another concern since one route was already consolidated this school year. With the retirement of one route driver, Farr said, "we are maxed out." If two drivers are ill on the same day, the district doesn't have enough help to cover the routes. State law requires bus service when stu- dents live more than three miles from a school. If problems continue, the school district may consider eliminat- ing stops for students that live closer than that distance from school. Farr said the district is "extremely short" of custodians. Currently, people need to be found for three positions. Finding enough instructional aides is also a concern. "It's getting tougher to ﬁ ll those posi- tions. We have more and more students coming in that need help," Farr said. "We try to be consistent with services but it's a challenge." Farr said the school district will try to be ﬂ exible if individuals can only work certain days or certain hours. In order to attract more employees, trustees have approved a $2 impact fee increase to hourly wages for their clas- siﬁ ed employees. email@example.com More help needed school ofﬁ cials expecting more challenges with job force BILL VandEr WEELE | sIdnEy hEraLd Dru Jones works in the Sidney High School kitchen. The school district's food service is short about three employees. By SuSan miniChieLLo sIdnEy hEraLd An informational meeting on Sidney's water and waste- water systems was held Tuesday night, and about 16-18 residents attended. Pat Murtagh, Murtagh Mu- nicipal Engineering, led the presentation and revealed that the total cost for all of Sidney's water and wastewa- ter systems is estimated to cost around $37.5 million. In an interview with the Herald Wednesday, Sidney Mayor Rick Norby said it's still uncertain how the costs will be covered. Although there are impact fees in places, the city's budget does not have anywhere near enough money. "There was never a nest egg ever built for any of this, and that's what's sad," Norby said. The need for new and upgraded water and waste water systems is largely due to the unexpected population growth in Sidney from the Bakken oil boom. In 2013, House Bill 218, passed by the legislature, was expected to aid eastern Montana towns with oil im- pacts but was vetoed by Gov. Steve Bullock. Funds from that bill would been useful for Sidney's wastewater and water system situation. Norby hopes money from the state will come Sidney's way in the 2015 legisla- tive session, and there was discussion of possible grants and loans during the meet- ing. The city is not eligible for the Treasure State Endow- ment Program grants, the Community Development Block Grant or the USDA Ru- ral Development grant. How- ever, the city is eligible for up to a $100,000 grant from the Department of Natural Resource Conservation, a 20- year loan at 3 percent inter- est from the State Revolving Funds and short term loans at a 1 percent variable rate through INTERCAP. Richland County is provid- ing ﬁ nancial assistance by contributing $1.6 million for phase one (of three) of the new sewage lagoon. If no state assistance comes to Sidney, the sewer rate will potentially increase to $30.44 per month to do phase one and two, and an additional $17.10 per month to do phase three. Sidney's water system is in need of additional wells, a second water treatment plant, a 750,000 gallon el- evated water storage tank to replace the existing 300,000 gallon one, a 500,000 gallon ground-level storage tank at a higher elevation and a dis- tribution system piping to the eastern part of the city. Cost for all of Sidney's water system needs is a total of $16.8 million. Source wells and piping are about $1.2 million, the second water treatment plant is $6.8 mil- lion, water storage is $3.7 Water needs to cost city $37.5 million 'there was never a nest egg ever built for any of this, and that's what's sad.' rick norby sidney mayor See Water, PaGE 10a By SuSan miniChieLLo sIdnEy hEraLd On Hans Schneider's desk at the MSU Eastern Agri- cultural Research Station, a glass paper weight with a sugar beet carved on it sits on a neat pile of papers. Behind his desk is a medium sized painting of a sugar beet made by his then 11-year-old (now 21-year-old) daughter, who lives back in the Netherlands, where he is from. He also has a mug warmer with a sugar beet, a T-shirt and even a neck tie. Just by glancing at a few of his possessions, it's clear Schneider enjoys sugar beets. "Sugar beets are a great crop to work with," Schnei- der said. "The way they grow...they are very easy to do experiments with and it's nice to see a full, healthy crop. Unfortunately, most of the time I don't see a healthy crop." the Beet CLiniC Schneider works as a sug- ar beet pathologist, professor and superintendent of the MSU Eastern Agricultural Research Station. Last week, Schneider had two meetings with farmers, one in Glendive and one in Sidney. He talked to the farmers about how he can be of service to them. He also interacts with Sidney Sugars. The research station is currently in the process of setting up a plant disease diagnostic lab, which should be ready for the next grow- ing season. "We can do research on what is causing the problem and then we try to develop integrated disease man- agement program for the farmers," Schneider said. "Diseases and pests can have a major economic impact on their crop production." Soil-born diseases in- clude rhizoctonia solani, fusarium yellows, beet cyst nematodes and aphanomy- ces. Foliar diseases include cercospora, ramularia and pseudomonas. Fusarium yellows, which eventually kills plants, is a big problem in the area. A lot can be diagnosed by just looking at infected plant tissue under a microscope, Community close-ups agricultural leader works to keep sugar beets healthy See SChneider, PaGE 10a susan MInIchIELLO | sIdnEy hEraLd MSU Eastern Agricultural Research Station superintendent Hans Schneider with his colleague Joyce Eckhoff, professor of agronomy, in the greenhouse.