The Sidney Herald

August 31, 2014

Sidney Herald - Sidney Montana Local News, Events and Sports - Newspaper

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Sidney schools release Sidney Public Schools has early release Wednesday all year for Professional Learn- ing Communities work. Stu- dents will be released at 2:10 p.m. every Wednesday. Buses will run at 2:15p.m. Oktoberfest tickets The MonDak Heritage Center and Northeastern Arts Network present the Sixth Annual OktoberFest, Saturday, Oct. 4, at 7 p.m. at the MonDak Heritage Center in Sidney. This year's celebration features music from Andy Hackbarth and Wayard Tam- bourine. A contemporary folk ensamble with award- winning singer/songwriter Andy Hackbarth, this group creates music bearing the stamp of the contemporary west. The group will play a mix of intricately-arranged orginal songs, one-of-a kind renditions of popular cover tunes and virtuosic guitar selections with an upbeat show. Ticket prices which are $45 for members and $55 for non-members will give you admission to the concert, a souvenir glass, delicious food including sausage and bratwurst from Redneck meats and an unmatched selection of beverages. The sponsors for Okto- berfest our Wells Fargo, Blue Rock Distributing and Redneck Meats. The event has sold out in the past for attendants are urged to come get your tick- ets as soon as possible. Tickets are on sale now at the MonDak Heritage Center or call 406-433-3500 for more information. Justin N. Jones Broker/Owner (406) 480-9525 Jerrian Franzen (406) 478-3773 Dennis Wick (406) 480-1550 Kristin Larson (406) 480-5139 Lauren Milroy (406) 794-5541 310 14th St SE • 406-433-4445 Here to Assist you with all your Real Estate Needs! Residential, Commercial, Farm & Ranch XNLV172971 Bulletin Board Deaths Ila Larson, 86 Page 3A Inside Drilling rig count Source: Baker Hughes sponsored by Montana 8 N.D. 183 Agriculture .........5A Around Town .....2A Classifieds .......5-8B Deaths ...............3A Homecoming ......3B Religion .............4B Sports .............1-2B R&L FusIoN Homecoming - 3B aRea spoRts highlights - 1-2B XNLV137813 1914 2014 Published for Richland County and subscriber Dennis Albrecht SunDAy, Aug. 31, 2014 ~ 106th yeAR, no. 70 ~ SiDney, MontAnA ~ www.SiDneyheRAlD.CoM ~ 75 CentS Judge responds to appeal in Spell case By BILL Vander WeeLe Special to tHe Herald District Judge Richard A. Simon- ton has responded to the Defense of Michael Spell's appeal to the Supreme Court regarding whether Spell is fit to stand trial. Spell is one of two men charged with the murder of Sidney teacher Sherry Arnold. In his response, dated Wednes- day, Simonton wrote the Defense relies on decisions in 2007 and 2010 to dismiss criminal charges against Spell because of findings of incom- petency. Simonton wrote, "The Court has already addressed that argument, but again noted that the most recent finding was four years before the defendant's evaluation at the Mon- tana State Hospital. Four years of living, working, socializing and traveling passed since the last determination." The judge defended the findings of Dr. Virginia Hill of the Montana State Hospital in his response. Simonton noted also that the Defense fails to recognize that a finding of mental illness or devel- opment disability in itself does not result in a finding of incom- petency. "All parties acknowledge that the defendant has an intellec- tual disability. This Court did not find that the intellectual disability made him unable to understand the proceedings or assist in his own defense." Simonton noted two different approaches were taken on the issue of competency. "The Court believes that the best and most accurate evaluation of competency was presented through Dr. Hill, and based on her observations and those of the Montana State Hospi- tal staff who reported to her over a 60-day period." Spell By SuSan MInIcHIeLLO Sidney Herald If there's one thing eastern Montana home- steaders and some transient oil workers have in common, it's the experience of economic hardship. Bert Lepel, physician assistant at River Valley Clinic, knows the struggle of both. His family roots trace back to a homestead in Dawson County in 1912, and family stories of keeping food on the table and clothes on their backs are documented in "An Immigrant Homesteaders Memoir," a family book put together by his mother from writings of his grandmother, Mary Klempel. At his clinic, Lepel interacts first hand with the community, including people drawn to the economic boom of the Bakken oilfield. "We're seeing a lot of people coming into this area that are really struggling. Some of them have driven 20-plus hours to come to work here," Lepel said. Oilfield workers usu- ally come to see Lepel for a physical examina- tion. Lepel said reading about his family's homesteading roots helps him identify "with the opportunity of this area." Lepel noted many of the oilfield workers are away from their family, sending money back home. "My family came here and had a tough time, and these guys are struggling, too," Lepel said. "I enjoy taking care of people and that we can help people from all over the country who come here. It's a privilege." In 2012, Lepel started with physicals — for sports, work and the Department of Transpor- tation (DOT). Truck drivers need to compete a DOT physical as a part of their CDL qualifica- tions. By February of this year, Lepel began his family practice, River Valley Clinic. The build- ing is located at 813 S. Central Ave. in Sidney. "I have seen people here that are from the countries I've visited," said Lepel, who has filled in at Fairlight Medical Center in Wil- liston, N.D. Lepel and his wife, Mavirda, who is also the office manager at the River Valley Clinic, have both taken medical mission trips. In 1995, he went to Central African Republic. In 1997, when Mavirda was pregnant with their daughter, now 17-year old Johanna, they went to Togo in West Africa. In 2002, Lepel went to Liberia. Born in Idaho, raised in Sidney, Lepel moved away for awhile and lived in seven states. Mavirda is from Texas. "It's helped me identify, in a way, with people and have a common understanding of where they're coming from," Lepel said. He moved back to the area in 1991, to Culb- ertson. He resided there until 2002, when he moved back to Sidney. SuSan MinicHiello | Sidney Herald Sen. Jon tester, left, hosts a listening panel on human trafficking in the Bakken at Fort Peck Community College thursday. u.S. Attorney for the District of Montana Mike Cotter, right, listens in. SuSan MinicHiello | Sidney Herald Physican's Assistant Bert lepel and his wife Mavirda at the River Valley Clinic in Sidney. community spotlight: pa identifies with oilfield worker patients Tester addresses human trafficking in the Bakken By SuSan MInIcHIeLLO Sidney Herald At a listening panel in the Dawn Auditorium of Fort Peck Community College Thursday, Sen. Jon Tester and U.S. Attorney Mike Cot- ter heard from residents and law enforcement officials about the increase in human and drug trafficking in the Bakken. "It's hard to imagine, but it is here in our region," Cotter said. "President Obama has called trafficking of humans 'modern day slavery.' He is right; it is slavery." Joined by a panel of Native American and state officials, the listening session shed light to some of the chal- lenges of tackling trafficking crimes in the Bakken, which includes understaffed agen- cies and high cost of living. "We need to address these problems head on," Tester said. OIL BOOM IMpacT Cotter said human traffick- ing occurs "in the margins of our country and around the world." Victims are trafficked for labor and/or sex. He called for awareness about the issue, particularly among among law enforce- ment officials. "So far in Montana, we have only seen sex traf- ficking. However, with the economic and population boom in the Bakken, we are vigilant to the issue of labor See TraffIckIng, page 4a

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