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2020 Chronicles

January 3 -- Headline: “Cattlewoman of the Year”. Wanda Pinnow was named Montana Cattlewoman of the Year on Dec. 11 in Billings. Wanda is the current president of the American National Cattlewomen. She explained. “I went to the awards session and they called my name. I was totally shocked,” she said, noting it was the first time the Montana Cattlewomen organization had given the award. . .The Montana Pro Rodeo Hall and Wall of Fame proudly announces the honorees for induction on the fifteenth anniversary of this prestigious organization. Local inductees to the Hall of Fame include:  Rising Ranch a five generation, 115 year old ranch established in 1904 by Oscar and Martha Keener. Rising Ranch is located 20 miles north of Baker on Highway 7 along Ash Creek. Josh Reynolds of Ekalaka for the Rodeo Legend Inductee. . .Pictures: Thick, dense fog made for dreary days Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but beautiful frost on the trees was the result. . .Kaylin Wheeler, of Baker was named to Fall semester Dawson Community College Presidents’s Honor List. . .The Class of 2024-25 Uncle Jerry’s Tee Fundraiser was a great success! Our sellers earned a record breaking amount this year. They earned over $400 in free items this year and were proud to donate them to Christmas Wishes!

January 10 -- Headline: New City Councilors sworn in. Brittany Hoversland was sworn in to office as City Councilor of Ward 2, City of Baker, and Tracey Goerndt took the oath of office as City Councilor in Ward 1 of the City of Baker from Mayor JoDee Pratt on Jan. 2, 2020 in the Fallon County Courthouse. . .Fire destroys Ismay post office. The fire was discovered about 12:30 a.m. Jan. 3 with almost the entire volunteer fire department responding, along with the fire department from nearby Plevna. By dawn, all that remained of the post office was smoldering rubble and it remained smoldering for the rest of the day. . .Montana jumps to deadliest DUI state when it comes to deaths tied to driving under the influence for 2019. In 2018, Montana was number six.

January 17 -- It took more than a week, but a water leak outside the Bank of Baker has been fixed. It was first discovered in early January when water started to flow through the grass between the sidewalk and the bank parking lot at 116 South Main Street in downtown Baker. . . In June 2020, Daylee Hanson will embark on a trip of a lifetime. Daylee will be representing Southeast Electric Cooperative Members in Washington DC. . .Richard A. Menger, Fallon County Environmental Health, is requesting support letters from the public in writing a Fish, Wildlife & Parks grant for $25,000 to construct a handicap accessible floating fishing dock connected to the Millennium Walkway that encircles Baker Lake. . .Byron Wolenetz of Baker won $250,000 on Jan. 6 playing Montana Millionaire. Wolenetz bought his winning ticket at Reynolds Market in Baker. . .High temperature Jan. 12 was 37. Low temperature Jan. 14 was -17. . .Ismay postal service moved to Plevna after the fire that burned the structure to the ground. . .State health officials said today that tobacco product retailers in Montana should comply with a new federal law and discontinue tobacco product sales to those under the age of 21.

January 24 -- Headline: Montana Teacher of the Year Linda Rost announced as a finalist for National Teacher of the Year. Rost is a science teacher at Baker High School in Baker, Montana, and was nominated for the national award after being honored in September as the 2020 Montana Teacher of the Year. The 2020 National Teacher of the Year will be selected this spring by the 2020 National Teacher of the Year Selection Committee. . .U.S. Senator Steve Daines honors Montanan of the Week, Linda Rost for her tremendous impact on the state of Montana. . .A spokesman for the United States Postal Service is saying the town of Ismay may soon have a post office active again in the community. They approved putting temporary cluster boxes in the community center as a temporary solution. It may happen within the next week. . .Kelsey Miller, a 2019 graduate graduates again as a new Marine from the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island. . .High temperature Jan. 20 was 41. Low temperature Jan. 21 was -41. . .There were 30 teams hunting in the sixth annual Coyote Calling contest. Winners were: First place with six coyotes, Mark Kellar and Mark Ferrell. Second place with five coyotes, Troy Nagle and Nathan Beck. They were also “Big Dog” with a weight of 34 pounds. Third place Dave and Shawn Wiseman with four coyotes. Fourth place Chad and Clint Zolnoski with three coyotes. “Little Dog” at 20 pounds Joe Nussbaum, Carmie and Larry Steffes.

January 31 -- Dave Breitbach, Principal and Athletic Director at Baker High School, was selected as the 2020 Class B Activities Director of the Year. ADs are nominated by members of the Montana Interscholastic Athletic Administrators’ Association. Dave left the classroom to assume duties as vice principal from 2002-2005; he has been the high school principal and activities director since 2005. . .Less than a month after a federal judge ruled lawsuits could continue over the routing of the Keystone XL pipeline through Montana, the Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt signed a decision allowing the Bureau of Land Management to offer a 44-mile right of way to TC Energy. . .Picture: Caleb and Rachel Rost took home first place in Classical Duo at Divisional Speech & Drama meet in Roundup January 25. . .The town of Ismay has approved plans to put temporary postal boxes in the town’s community center. . .High temperature Jan. 25 was 48. Low temperature Jan. 24 was 14. . .Old Miles City kidnap-murder case draws attention in Baker. In 1987, Marty Etchemendy of Miles City was kidnapped, robbed and murdered.  Vernon Kills On Top was convicted of kidnapping and murder in the case which had been moved to Baker in a change of venue. Recently, a production company reportedly visited the Fallon County Courthouse for a documentary which is planned for release in the summer. . .People gathered to March for Life on Jan. 28 in Baker.

February 7 -- Headline: Billings man arrested at rec center. A 31-year old Billings man was arrested in Baker Jan. 21 in the recreation center locker room after a vehicle reported stolen was found in a nearby parking lot. . . The recent arrest of a 31-year old man from Billings in the recreation center locker room has prompted the Baker superintendent to increase security measures at the school. . .Americanism program on Jan. 28 focused on past, current women who served the country. . .Rachel and Caleb Rost bring home the gold in Classical Duo. They won state with their adaptation of “Don’t Walk About Nothing On”. . .High temperature Feb. 1 was 53. Low temperature Jan. 31 was 9.

February 14 -- Three Baker Spartan wrestlers Devon Nesbitt-Sexton, Damien Nesbitt-Sexton and O’Connell Qualley earn trip to State in Billings. . .TC Energy has announced plans for a local meeting regarding the Keystone XL pipeline route and planned construction Feb. 27 at the Fallon County Fairground Exhibit Hall. . .The Eastern Plains Economic Development Corporation has received a grant to help start planning for a proposed childcare facility in Baker. The Department of Commerce notified the organization Feb. 3 that it will receive a $23,978 grant from the Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund. . .Baker health care workers and students are being hit hard by the latest strain of influenza, according to local health officials. . .High temperature Feb. 5 was 37. Low temperature Feb. 8 was 7. . .The community of Plevna showed its support for bringing girls volleyball back, according to the school superintendent. . .F.T. Reynolds Co. recently handed out quarterly checks to our Friends of Reynolds (FOR) participants. Receiving checks for the fourth quarter of 2019 from the Baker store are: Carter County Geological Society, St. John the Evangelist Church, Baker Recreation Department, Friends of FMC Foundation, Baker Senior Citizens Center and Baker Assembly of God.

February 21 -- A proposed Special Improvement District for improving Baker streets came under fire Tuesday in the Fallon County Courthouse. The City of Baker held the hearing on Resolution 706 with an overflow crowd filling up the hallway outside. According to one person, there were more than 30 people outside complaining they couldn’t hear what was going on and left early. . .J.K. Kinsey, of Kinsey Auctioneers & Real Estate LLC, of Baker was elected President of the Montana Auctioneers Association at the Montana Auctioneers Association (MMA) Convention in Billings on Jan. 24-26. . .After a recent arrest of an intruder at the Baker School campus Plevna school officials launched a security audit of the facility and have made some changes. . .High temperature Feb. 16 was 39. Low temperature Feb. 3 was -28. . .The business department announced that Makala Gallegos and Will Rost successfully passed their Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification exam. Both students earned industry certification in Word 2016. . .The BHS Student Council raised over $500 to be split between the families of Lance Lawrence and Jaxson Apple.

February 28 -- A controversial plan to create a Special Improvement District for improving the streets of Baker was approved Feb. 26 at Baker High School by a narrow 3-2 margin. . .Postal service returned to Ismay after townspeople agreed to have a temporary facility constructed inside the town community center. . .Picture: Senator Daines visits with Montana Teacher of the year, Linda Rost. . .Local schools have threat assessments to protect students. . .Knights of Columbus District Free Throw Contest held in Baker on Feb. 23. Gentre Coulter had 25/25, and will likely be an International Champion. . .High temperature Feb. 22 was 48. Low temperature Feb. 25 was -4. . .Fallon County has been awarded two grants, an RRGL Planning Grant for $15,000 from the Department of Natural Resources & Conservation (DNRC) and Fish, Wildlife & Parks Community Pond Program Grant (FWP) for $20,000. The DNRC grant is for Plevna to develop a Preliminary Engineering Report and Operations & Maintenance Plan for their wastewater treatment system. The FWP is to install a handicap accessible fishing dock on Baker Lake’s west shoreline.

March 6 -- Fallon Medical Complex in Baker is one of six facilities in Montana to be named on a list of the 2020 Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals in the nation. . .SMART (Southeast Montana Area Revitalization Team) and EMEDA (Eastern Montana Economic Development Agency) using recent grant to begin planning for a child care facility in Baker. . .A community hearing covering the proposed Keystone XL pipeline planned route through Fallon County was successful on Feb. 27, at the Fallon County Fairgrounds, according to a company spokeswoman. The construction phase of the project will be starting in April in Fallon County and concluding in December. They will be coming back in the spring 2021 to do remediation, to  put it back to the way it was before they came. The man camp will be constructed west of Baker. . .Beginning on March 6 , the Fallon County Times will be printed at Star Printing in Miles City. The new paper will be a little bit larger, and only contain four color pages. . .High temperature Feb. 22 was 48. Low temperature Feb. 25 was -4. . .Baker High School candidates for Prom King are: Ty Tolzien, Ethan Verke, Dillon Hickey and O’Connell Qualley.  Queen candidates are: Taylor Miller, Hope Craft, Addison Bryan,  and Alissa Bohle. . .Hunter Education class was held Feb. 29 and March 1 at the Fallon County Shooting Range. Twenty-six students received their Hunter Education Certification. Rick Madler received an award from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Area Warden, Zach Phillips. Rick has been a Hunter Education and Bow Hunter Education instructor for 20 years. He received a Montana Silversmith Buckle and Plaques for his volunteer services.

March 13 -- Baker students excel at the Montana Tech Science and Engineering Fair. For the fourth year in a row, Baker received first place among small schools. . .The Eastern Montana Community Mental Health Center is looking for some help, coloring contest planned for upcoming drug facts week. . .Individuals filed for county positions: Commissioner District #1 - Kevin Braun - R, Sandra N. Kinsey - R, Justin Owen Klauzer - R, Brian G. O’Connor - R, JoDee Pratt - R, Melissa (Missy) Thielen - R, Bill Wyrick - R and Steven P. Zachmann - R. Clerk of District Court/Public Administrator - Jeraldine A. Newell - R. . .On March 10, Senator Daines skyped with the 2020 Montana Teacher of the Year Linda Rost’s students at Baker High School. . .High temperature March 7 was 69. Low temperature March 9 was 17. . .Daines unveils proposals to protect Montana families, improve economic stability during coronavirus outbreak. . .Plevna School received new LED lights for the gym. The SMART Schools Energy Grant, which Mr. Schumacher procured earlier this year, covered 100% of the cost of the lights when added to the rebates, thus incurring no expense to the taxpayers.

March 20 -- Headline: Governor closes all schools in Montana. Baker and Plevna will be closed until March 27, by order of Montana Govenor Steve Bullock. They will join the rest of the schools in Montana after the governor issued a recent executive order in an effort to halt the spread of COVID-19 in the Treasure State. The closure will remain in effect until March 27, according to state officials. . .The closure of schools across the state has forced Baker to postpone its planned activities. The math meet that had been scheduled has been postponed, along with the staff blood draw and the after prom party luncheon. Other activities planned have also been postponed, including the parent-teacher conferences, along with a planned tennis match against Glendive and the Prom scheduled for March 28. . .Governor Steve Bullock announced that small businesses across Montana impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) are now eligible to apply for emergency loans through the Small Business Administration. . .Enos earns top State Honors in National Corn Yield Contest. . .High temperature March 11 was 55. Low temperature March 17 was 8.

March 27 -- Three BHS senior basketball players were named to the 3B All-Conference basketball teams. Riley O’Donnell and Caleb Ploeger were selected to the boy’s second team. Halle Burdick was selected for All-Conference Honorable mention. Chloe Tudor a sophomore at Plevna High School was named to the 4C Girls Basketball All-Conference second team. . .Governor Steve Bullock issued a directive on March 24, to extend closures of public schools and dine-in food service and alcoholic beverage businesses through April 10 and mandate social distancing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Montana. . .There have been no reported cases of COVID-19 in Fallon County, but that doesn’t mean the city of Baker, the county, schools and local businesses haven’t taken steps designed to prevent the spread of the virus. . .High temperature March 23 was 60. Low temperature March 20 was 7. . .Governor Steve Bullock extended the payment and filing deadlines for 2019 individual income taxpayers to July 15 in accordance with the new federal filing deadline. . .The Office of Public Instruction and Montana University System announced today that Montana juniors will have the opportunity to take the ACT free of charge this coming fall semester of their senior year. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and Montana’s pending waiver request from standardized tests, it is likely that juniors will not be taking the ACT this spring.

April 3 -- TC Energy announces start of Keystone pipeline. . .S.M.A.R.T. has established a Fallon County COVID-19 Relief Fund at Bank of Baker in coordination with the Fallon County DES office and Senior Center. The relief fund is a way to serve our communities here in Fallon County that is directly related to supporting economic stability and development, especially for those individuals, families and businesses that are experiencing economic injury (loss of income, revenue, etc.) as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. . .Wells Fargo ATM, signage disappears as building changes hands. Jade Boggs, the new owner of the building, will soon be moving his Insurance Store from across the street into the building. . .The annual Easter Egg Hunt sponsored by Gamma Beta Sorority that was scheduled for April 11 has been postponed. . .Baker Public Schools will continue offering free meals to all kids for the duration of school closure. . .Governor Bullock directs 14-day quarantine for travelers arriving in Montana from another state or country. . .Dan and Rob Stanton will join their brother, Jim Stanton (2013) as they are inducted into the Montana Coaches Association hall of fame summer. Dan was a 1986 Baker High graduate and Rob graduated from BHS in 1988. . .High temperature March 30 was 66. Low temperature March 26 was 20.

April 10 -- Headline: Baker City Council decides to postpone SID 36 project. The COVID-19 pandemic drew most of the attention when the Baker City Council attempted its first teleconference meeting. Because of the virus outbreak and its impact on the local economy, the city council decided to push back planned work on Special Improvement District 36. The city received only one bid for the Special Improvement District work, for $3,833,878.12. . .Like most of the country, masks are in short supply locally as we face a global pandemic which has already killed thousands of Americans. Now a handful of women are helping to arm the Fallon County medical personnel with handmade masks. There has been a goal set of creating 1,000 masks from fabric which could be reused and sterilized. . .High temperature April 6 was 67. Low temperature April 3 was -2. . .We all live, work, and play here. Spiffy’s recognizes that many of our LOCAL BUSINESSES have been required to reduce hours, services, or simply close during this difficult time. Our community has the commitment from Spiffy’s to support these LOCAL BUSINESSES during both good and difficult times. Spiffy’s has committed $5,000 to purchase gift cards from local businesses that our customers will be able to choose from during this promotional period of time over the next months.

April 17 -- The governor of Montana has extended the directives he issued earlier to April 24. . .High temperature April 10 was 59. Low temperature April 14 was 7. . .Fallon medical facility is preparted for virus threat. According to the director of nursing, the facility is very prepared as medical supplies, medications and personal protective equipment that is used there.

April 24 -- Headline: Montana Judge cancels needed Keystone XL permit. Brian Morris, the chief U.S. District judge for the District of Montana, ruled April 15 that the permit was canceled because the Corps of Engineers did not adequately consider the impact on species such as the pallid sturgeon, which is a large fish living in rivers the pipeline would cross along the route. . .In Baker, when the City Council holds its public meetings now, the people on the council have a different view than they are used to,  instead of using the Fallon County Courthouse’s normal meeting area, the meetings have been moved onto phones and into the basement of the building, according to the mayor. . .High temperature April 21 was 72. Low temperature April 16 was 18.

May 1 -- Headline: Compass Coffee offers caffeine kickstart. Compass Coffee will officially open at 6 a.m. on May 5. The coffee shop has ties to the Assembly of God Church in Baker. . .Carole Bettenhausen ends career with lots of memories.  A fixture at Baker for more than 40 years, she will be stepping down at the end of the semester, leaving the administration to fill some big shoes in the Advanced Placement English courses, as well as Spanish, publications and speech. . .High temperature April 27 was 72. Low temperature April 24 was 28. . .Montana governor ends order to close schools. Local districts to make decisions to open or stay closed.  Baker schools have decided to continue with online learning for the remaining of the year. Plevna will make a decision next week. . .City of Baker Clean Up Days for 2020 will be May 1 through May 17. . .Reynolds Market donated $2,500 in groceries to the Community Cupboard. . .Picture: There’s some awesome fishing on Baker Lake for trout, crappie, perch and walleye. Pictured is Carrie Gundlach with her three (3) trout caught on April 27.

May 8 -- After a lengthy closure as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Fallon County Courthouse will be reopening to the public effective at 8 a.m. on May 11, 2020, while following and adhering to the “Reopening the Big Sky” guidelines established by our Governor Bullock. . . Lindsay Chaska closes out elementary career as teacher. . .Unofficial results for Plevna School Board Election for one trustee for three year term: Total Electors Voting - 185; Lisa Rieger - 166; Robert Thielen - 18. . .Per Montana Governor Steve Bullock’s Executive Orders 2-2020 and 3-2020 Montana Counties may opt to conduct their June 2, 2020 Primary Nominating Election as a mail ballot election. The Election Administrator of Fallon County will be conducting the June 2, 2020 Nominating Party Primary Election by mail. All eligible registered voters will receive Primary Party Ballots in the mail. . .High temperature May 3 was 74. Low temperature May 2 was 32.

May 15 -- There may be some supply problems caused by the COVID-19 problems in several meat-processing plants, a local supermarket chain recently warned online. “The impact of coronavirus has now moved into meat processing plants of all species nationwide. Because of this, our supply from one week to the next, including advertised items, is unknown. We usually don’t know what quantities we will receive until our trucks arrive at our stores. We ask for your patience and understanding,” Reynold’s Market posted on its Facebook page on May 6. . .While the graduation ceremony May 17, at Baker High School’s Schillinger Stadium will be closed to the general public, the seniors will get an even bigger send-off when they participate in a parade around the city with a police escort. . .Carol Hadley has been part of education in Baker for 30 years. But shortly, she will be starting a new chapter of her life. She is retiring from teaching at the end of the school year, but begin working full-time at Stevenson Funeral Home in June. . .City creates committee to confront damage from overweight vehicles. . . High temperature May 8 was 63. Low temperature May 11 was 22. . . Anglers at the newly renovated Baker Lake are harvesting some nice-sized rainbow trout, as well as enjoying a rare opportunity to catch some decent walleye. . .May 6, during National Teacher Appreciation Week, the teachers and staff members joined together to parade through the streets of Baker to say “hello” to their students and their students’ families.

May 22 -- The graduating class of 2020 certainly had a unique graduation ceremony. Superintendent Aaron Skogen delivered the commencement address to the students who were seated in the Schillinger Stadium - with the proper “social distancing” limits imposed. Immediate family members were seated in the grandstands and friends and other family members lined the fence of the stadium to listen to the ceremony and to cheer on the graduating class. Our local radio station, KFLN, sponsored a live broadcast of the ceremony and the NFHS network streamed the event. There were four Valedictorians, Katie Wang, Caleb Ploeger, Alissa Schell and Rachel Rost, and one Salutatorian, Lena Kennel. The remaining Top Ten of the Class of 2020, Shelby Moore, Halle Burdick, Mattie Mastel, Macee Hadley and Javan Kesinger, were recognized for their dedication and commitment to their education. After the local police department and fire department led the Senior Graduation Parade throughout the town. . .For Jade Melby, the end of decades working in the Industrial Arts program at Baker won’t be an ending now that he is retiring from teacher. He plans to keep busy with his business, Melby’s Seamless Gutters. . .Fallon County will be hosting the state high school rodeo championships starting June 1, as long as the event complies with state guidelines established by the governor and state health officials. . .There will be no Memorial Day services at Bonnivale Cemetery or Union Cemetery this Memorial Day due to social distancing from Coronavirus. . .Both the county and city offices opened back up to the public May 11 as the state of Montana continues to reopen in stages after the Covid-19 hit the Treasure State. . .Governor Bullock announces Montana to enter Phase Two of reopening plan on June 1. . . High temperature May 19 was 83. Low temperature May 14 was 43. . . Will Rost was named Montana’s MOS-Word Champion. It is the first time that a student from Baker was earned this award.

May 29 -- Headline: Budget forces city to close Recreation Department. At its May 20 city council meeting the City of Baker announced that in addition to recent layoffs, the Recreation Department would be closing on May 22. . .Cindy Quade will be retiring at the end of the school year from the Baker School District. Quade has spent decades working as a school counselor in southeastern Montana. She worked for 24 years in Ekalaka and another 15 years in Baker. . .Picture: Linda Rost, 2020 Montana Teacher of the Year was on CNN on May 21 to discuss how the coronavirus  is impacting education. . .Montana High School Rodeo 2020 State Finals in Baker will begin May 31. . .High temperature May 20 was 81. Low temperature May 26 was 40.

June 5 -- Fallon County Primary Election Unofficial results for County Commissioner District I were: Kevin J. Braun (R) 286, Sandra N. Kinsey (R) 193, Justin Owen Klauzer (R) 146, Brian G. O’Connor (R) 256, JoDee Pratt (R) 38, Melissa “Missy” Thielen (R) 30, Bill Wyrick (R) 122, Steven P. Zachmann (R) 111. . .The swimming pool at Baker High School prepares to open. The pool as gone through repairs and cleaning and has been closed because of Covid-19. Darby Waldbillig hopes the pool will be open within two to three weeks. . .High temperature May 31 was 92. Low temperature May 30 was 51. . .Fallon Medical Complex was presented recognition by the Montana Health Research & Education Foundation HIIN Project (MHREF) together with the American Hospital Association Center for Health Innovation for diligent work and authentic collaboration with patients, clinicians and partners resulting in unprecedented impact on patient safety in Montana Hospitals.

June 12 -- Headline: Darlene Hornung honored as Baker’s Citizen of the Year. At the June 3 City Council meeting Mayor JoDee Pratt made the presentation. . .City Council puts water main project up for rebid. At the June 3 meeting, the council members unanimously decided to reject the only bid they have gotten on the project. Instead, it will be put out for a rebid with the hopes of getting more savings with multiple bidders. . .The Montana High School Rodeo Championships closed the 2020 season in style in Baker Saturday. Colton Turbiville of nearby Rhame, ND, was able to claim a state championship with a win by one point in cow cutting. . .High temperature June 5 was 79. Low temperature June 9 was 44. . . Classic Cruisers Car Club yearly car show was canceled due to Covid-19. So they decided to go on a short cruise. They had 21 cars participate, and it was a very enjoyable cruise. . .Five Baker High School golfers competed in the 2020 Junior Golf Tournament that was held June 3 at the Town and Country Club in Miles City. Konner Flint place 1st (76); Jaxson Tronstad placed 2nd (95); Camryn Collins place 2nd (98); Rory Lingle placed 2nd (99) and  Hallie Flint placed 2nd (119).

June 19 -- Brandon Schmidt, formerly of Baker, is at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles waiting for a heart transplant. It will be his second. He is also waiting for a visit by his mother and other family members because visitation is not permitted under California’s current COVID-19 rules. . . New signs have been placed along Highway 7 and Highway 12 giving directions to some of the many recreation options surrounding Baker Lake. . .High temperature June 13 was 94. Low temperature June 10 was 39. . .Baker Lions Club planted flowers at Centennial Park.

June 26 -- Although the City of Baker has suspended its Recreation Department in a cost-cutting battle with the loss of revenues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it still was supported by members of the City Council and almost two dozen residents attending the June 17 meeting in the Fallon County Courthouse. The closure of the recreation department will be a hardship for the community, especially with the families that have children. . .Parkview Retirement Complex residents learn about renovation plans and found out they have some decisions to make. . .Picture: COVID-19 drive thru testing was done in Baker on June 23 in the Fallon County Health Department parking lot. They completed 116 tests. . . The Tri Area Racing Association hosted the first 2020 sanctioned race by Montana Short Course Off Road Racing on June 20. . .High temperature June 23 was 85. Low temperature June 19 was 36. . .Former Baker resident Brandon Schmidt has received a new heart. The transplant operation took place June 21 after a donor heart was located and passed an inspection before it was transported to Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. . .Picture: Centennial Park is beautifully maintained by Carl Hepperle of the Lions Club. Angie, Sadie and Sylvia Rabbitt volunteered their time to paint the cement pillars as a surprise for Carl. . .Congratulations to these seniors who received the “High School Hero Cord Award”. They were Katie Wang, Trinity Dietz and O’Connell Qualley. . .A retirement party was held on June 22 for Joe Janz and Chuck Lee.

July 3 -- A multi-million dollar project to repair and renovate the oldest portion of the Parkview Retirement Complex will be moving forward, according to a Fallon County official. Identified as Parkview 1, the project will be started once the current residents are relocated. . .Fallon Medical Complex was blessed on the morning of June 25 with a gift from the Classic Cruisers Car Club from Baker. The members of this club commissioned Baker Metal to construct a beautiful bench. . .There will be no sponsored events as part of the Independence Day Celebration. The fireworks display will be set up by the baseball complex south of the lake. The show will start after dusk. . .Local band has strong rodeo flavor. Breaking Eight a group of North Dakota and Baker musicians (Jerilyn Wiseman) have already played in Las Vegas at the Professional Bull Riding Championships. . .High temperature June 27 was 97. Low temperature June 26 was 49. . .Congressman Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.) recognized Linda Rost of Baker with his Spirit of Montana commendation for her commitment to education, her exceptional, engaging science instruction, and her lasting impact on students. . .The 2020 St. Jude’s Ride was held June 21 at the Fred and Ann Hoff ranch. Coordinator, Doug Bruha noted that 28 riders enjoyed the beautiful countryside and cool day. . .There will be a Miss Montana 2020. Local Alissa Bohle, Baker, is one of the contestants competing for the title of 2020 Miss Montana.

July 10 -- Sizzling temperatures prompted a big holiday splash at Baker Lake over the Independence Day weekend, but it was a strong late afternoon storm which actually postponed the man-made fireworks show until Sunday. . .Marmarth’s population more than doubled as the celebrated on the Fourth of July with games, music, a parade and rodeo. . .A massive solar energy project planned for an area north of Baker has moved a step forward with the recent announcement that the company has lined up a customer. . .While Montana continues to increase its number of positive COVID-19 test results, Fallon County is on a different track. The eastern Montana county of more than 3,000 people still has zero positive cases. . .High temperature July 3 was 95. Low temperature July 2 was 50. . .Kennedy Lyson was the 2019-2020 NILE Merit Heifer recipient. . .In yet another blow to Keystone XL, Supreme Court rejects bid to revive key water crossing permit.

July 17 -- Fallon County had been untouched by COVID-19 which has claimed the lives of more than 130,000 Americans – until Friday, July 10. The Fallon County Department of Health announced on its Facebook page that it has recorded one positive COVID-19 result. . .The Baker School District is making plans for how to start school in just over a month, but they will have to be flexible, according to the school’s superintendent. The fall athletic programs will follow the COVID guidelines established by the Montana High School Association, the superintendent added. . .Time has run out for the partnership between the City of Baker and the Baker School District - at least as far as the after-school program is concerned. Baker Superintendent Aaron Skogen stated that his plan is to present and meet with the Fallon County Commissioners and see if they can help subsidize the program and work with them. . .Plevna School District has completed one step in planning for the coming school year after a public survey was completed. The next step is for the teachers and others to come up with plans, then have public hearings before a completed plan is sent to the school board. . .Photo: On July 7, in the early evening, a severe storm came through Baker. . .High temperature July 12 was 97. Low temperature July 14 was 44.

July 24 -- Headline: Spaying, neutering seen as a Fallon County feral cat solution. Brittany Bertsch has created a non-profit that is focused on providing spay and neutering with a local veterinarian. . .There will be a Fallon County Fair, starting Aug. 12, at the fairgrounds. The fair will be a little quieter, with the usual noisy and crowded carnival Midway not a part of the 2020 fair because of the problems keeping it sanitized, according to Shyla Hadley, the fair manager. The presence of the Coronavirus in Fallon County could end up with masks being required, she said. That would happen if the county has four cases, as the fair follows the guidelines issued by Gov. Steve Bullock. . .High temperature July 17 was 96. Low temperature July 15 was 45. . .On July 14, Vitalant blood drive went over their goal with 44 units of blood.

July 31 -- Rexall Drug Store in Baker is being sold, it has been run by the same family for almost 70 years. The new owners will be Matt and Alyse Webber. . .The Montana High School Association has released its guidelines to return to fall activities. Schools must adhere to the MHSA guidelines, as well as directives from the state and local health departments. . .Kennedy Lyson of Baker emerged as the High Point winner for the weekend, also taking the Youth All-Around title at the Eastern Montana Horse Show in Baker. . . High temperature July 23 was 99. Low temperature July 28 was 50. . .Alissa Bohle of Baker recently finished as the second runner up in the recent Miss Montana competition in Glendive. Alissa is the daughter of Kalyn and Leslie Bohle. . .The Plevna School district has a plan for how to start school and presented it Tuesday at a public feedback meeting. For the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year the district intends to offer two educational choices - onsite education with physical distancing and real-time off-site instruction, according to the information posted online. . .Picture: Baker Lions Club Members Rolph Tunby, Carl Hepperle and Dan Lagasse trimming trees at the Lions Club Park.

August 7 -- Headline: Denbury Resources agrees to restructuring plan. In addition to eliminating its $2.1 billion in bond debt,  Denbury Resources filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as part of a pre-packaged plan designed to lessen the financial burden on the company. . .More than 50 businesses in Fallon County have received assistance from the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The Bank of Baker has made loans throughout the region, totaling about $6 million. . .Grasslands Federal Credit Union has donated more than $25,000 to help local non-profits with funds generated from processed fees tied to the federal Paycheck Protection Program. . .High temperature July 28 was 93. Low temperature Aug. 2 was 49. . . The second annual Crazy Days 3 on 3 basketball tournament took place July 31 - Aug. 1. The two-day tournament jumped from 13 teams in 2019 to 29 this year. . .Governor Steve Bullock issued a directive to provide flexibility for local school districts to provide remote or offsite education in order to protect students and teachers from the spread of COVID-19 when schools reopen this fall. . .Dawson Community College announced partnership with Mid-Rivers Communications in support of the Dawson esports team. Mid-Rivers donated gaming equipment and funds totaling approximately $97,500 to the brand-new Dawson esports team. . .TC Energy notified the City of Baker and Eastern Plains Economic Development Corporation (EPEDC) that the City of Baker received a $3,000 donation to the Baker Fireworks Fund. These funds will be used to continue to promote the annual Fourth of July Event.

August 14 -- Headline: Mayor JoDee Pratt resigns. It took just a few sentences to announce her resignation Tuesday. “I am resigning from the office of mayor. It has been a honor to serve you all. Thank you for your dedication to this wonderful community. This is effective today 8-11-2020,” the note explained. In addition to deciding on Pratt’s full-time replacement as mayor, the council is also looking for a replacement for the Director of Public Works. . .Fallon County Library is a 2020 Census “Be Counted” location. The library staff will be happy to help you navigate the census website to complete the census questionnaire. . .New Teachers: Hillary Frank will be teaching Spanish, history and will also continue a publications program which puts out the yearbook and has stories about school activities published in the Fallon County Times. Amanda Leichtnam is the new English teacher for the eighth, ninth and tenth grades. Cathy Frye will be taking over as the elementary counselor position in Baker. . .High temperature Aug. 11 was 95. Low temperature Aug. 5 was 50. . .On August 7, 2020, Mid-Rivers Communications mailed capital credit checks totaling more than $1,057,000 to its cooperative members and patrons.

August 21 -- Steve Zachmann was sworn into office, as the mayor of the City of Baker, by Kevin Dukart, City Clerk on Aug 18. . .Fallon County now has zero cases of Coronavirus. . .There were about 4,000 people that attended the shows at the Fallon County Fair. Shyla Hadley, fairgrounds manager, reported that is not representative of how many people came out to the fair. Those are the people that were comfortable coming to the shows. The Cowboy Channel broadcast the rodeo live, so people had a chance to stay home and watch it on TV. . .The number of rodeo records set at the Fallon County Fair & Rodeo in Baker Aug. 15 - 16 was four! The records broken were for total payout ($211,398), tie-down roping (7.7 seconds), steer wrestling (3.2 seconds) and steer roping (9.2 seconds). . .Mollee Stenberg is a newly minted graduate of Montana State University-Bozeman   who  will begin her teaching career as the new third grade teacher at Longfellow Elementary School. . .High temperature Aug. 18 was 99. Low temperature Aug. 16 was 52.

August 28 -- Local schools have started the new school year, walking a proverbial tightrope between meeting the educational and health needs of the students, the faculty, the staff and the parents. In an age of COVID-19 guidelines established by state and local health officials, students are returning to their campuses in Fallon County. In Plevna, the students have returned and have adapted to the changes made to mitigate the possibility of any exposure. . .There are many sides to Baker’s new driving instructor. Terry Roelfsema had been retired, but decided to head back into the classroom. Roelfsema has signed on to teach woodworking, construction, sheet metal, electrical/electronics, drafting, in addition to his time behind the wheel of a car. . .High temperature Aug. 19 was 97. Low temperature Aug. 24 was 52. . .The Baker Wrestling Club held their Annual Demolition Derby during the Fallon County Fair August 16, 2020. They had 45 entry’s this year overall - High School Cars (10), Derby Cars (14), Trucks (5), Herby Racers (16) from Baker, Glendive, Ismay, Broadus, Plentywood, Sidney, Wibaux, Bowman, Beach, Belfield and Marmarth.

September 4 -- Headline: Zachmann moves into role as mayor. A month ago, Steve Zachmann was a member of the City Council. Now, the Baker resident is adjusting to his new role – the mayor of the City of Baker. The move was prompted when former mayor JoDee Pratt resigned. . .Candidates running for Fallon County Commissioner are: Kevin Braun, Chuck Lee, Sanda Kinsey, Brian O’Connor and Pete Rising. . .High temperature Aug. 29 was 93. Low temperature Aug. 31 was 46. . .For Plevna Superintendent Nick Schumacher, the result Friday afternoon wasn’t nearly as important as being there. Wearing a clear Plexiglas face shield, he was on the court as a volleyball program returned to the small school campus after a 35-year absence.

September 11 -- Headline: Wild weather swings set to slow down in September. August brought us temperatures near 100, wind storms gusting up to 80 miles per hour, rain and hail. The area was already experiencing drought conditions going into the summer, but August was almost a continuing cycle of extreme weather battering the region. . .The City of Baker will soon fill its Ward 1 vacancy on the city council. The vacancy was created when former councilman Steve Zachmann assumed the duties of mayor for the city, replacing former mayor JoDee Pratt. . .Tom Davis and the NGSPA Sharptail Championship Association presented Bo Lingle with a generous $500 donation on Sept. 4 for the Baker Baseball Association. . . High temperature Sept. 5 was 92. Low temperature Sept. 8 was 29. . .Plevna High School was awarded by The Montana High School Association to be one of the  winners of its NorthWestern Energy Academic Excellence Awards.

September 18 -- Headline: County Health Department stressing safety during pandemic. Since the pandemic started, there have been only four Fallon County residents that have tested positive. . .Fallon County businesses have been awarded more than $1.3 million in grants under the Montana Coronavirus Relief Fund grant program over the past three months. . .Photo: Remembering 9/11, 19 years later. . .Big Mac’s Pumpkin Patch has been approved to open for fun and adventure for the 2020 season and the pumpkins are growing. . .High temperature Sept. 14 was 86. Low temperature Sept. 9 was 29. . .Baker Public Schools and Plevna School District announced they were approved on September 9, 2020 for the nationwide USDA Summer Food Service Program Waiver to serve FREE breakfast and lunches to all students grades K-12, regardless of Free/Reduced or Paid status. Currently, the waiver is valid through December 31, 2020. . .There may have been less than a dozen people inside the Exhibit Hall at the Fallon County Fairgrounds Tuesday evening for the first session of a series of teleconference discussions on the changing role of rural communities

September 25 -- Michael Loutzenhiser has been sworn in as the new Ward 1 alderman for the city. Loutzenhiser became the newest member of the City Council on the morning of Sept. 17, when he was sworn in at City Hall by Mayor Steve Zachmann in the lobby of the Fallon County Courthouse. . .The City of Baker decided not to approve a federal payroll tax holiday at the Sept. 16 meeting of the city council. According to Kevin Dukart, the city treasurer and clerk, the holiday would create problems not only for the software the city uses, but also for the employees. . .Photo: Sunsets in Baker have become brilliant red and watchable to the naked eye because of the massive firestorms ranging across the Pacific states. . .High temperature Sept. 22 was 88. Low temperature Sept. 17 was 40. . . The 2020 Alzada Cowboy Poetry, Music and Art Show has been cancelled. The show  has been held on the first Sunday of October for thirty years but due to COVID concerns and other family events the organizers felt it would be best not to have it in 2020. . .MontanaPBS has launched a new streaming option that allows in-state viewers to watch the primary MontanaPBS channel live from web browsers, cell phones, tablets and other smart devices.

October 2 -- Beth Epley of the Eastern Plains Economic Development Corporation discusses some of the suggestions made Tuesday in the Fallon County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall after the second session of a Re-Imagining Rural virtual community gathering which connected Baker with other small towns in the region. . .Ismay gets cameo role in streaming television series, “Doom Patrol”. . .The City of Baker will be closing one block of George Avenue for about three weeks to make repairs and handle drainage from the north end of the football field to nearby Lincoln School property. . .High temperature Sept. 24 was 91. Low temperature Sept. 28 was 33. . .There were 46 units of blood donated at the Vitalant Blood drive which was held Sept. 22. . .The Fallon County 4-H Fall Livestock Judging contest was held Sept. 20, 2020 in the Fallon County indoor livestock arena. Thirty youth judged seven different animal classes and gave three sets of reasons. . .2020 Homecoming Candidates for Baker High School are King candidates Avery Uecker, Konner Flint, Logan Graham and Kyler Afrank and Queen candidates Sady Harbaugh, Macy Varner, Sophia Dulin and Mya Hadley. . .Spartans of the Month October: High School - McKenzie Davis was selected by Mrs. Hoversland; Middle School - Tylar Smith was selected by Mrs. Boggs; Longfellow School - Alexis Connolly was selected by Mrs. Hastig; Lincoln School - Rider Kloetzke was selected by Mrs. Varner.

October 9 -- Headline: Fallon County switches to all-mail ballot with in-person option. . .The Baker Beautification Committee has made a few changes to its flag service. To commemorate the end of slavery, Juneteenth (June 19) has been added to observe the end of slavery. The committee has also added the commemoration of Indigenous People’s Day to October 12, 2020, the day that Columbus Day is also commemorated. . .Rod Morris, who has a local consulting firm, will be taking over as the new Public Works Director for the City of Baker by mid-October. . .A Pancake and Sausage Supper has long been a staple as a fundraiser for the Plevna Volunteer Fire Department. But not in 2020. The pandemic has forced some changes. First the supper was canceled. Then the sausage making. . .Fallon County has fifteen positive cases of COVID-19, as of Oct. 6. The entire state of Montana has been hit with a wave of positives, turning the Treasure State into a pandemic hot spot. . . Picture: Sady Harbaugh and Kyler Afrank were crowned this year’s Homecoming Queen and King. . .High temperature Oct. 6 was 80. Low temperature Oct. 1 was 25.

October 16 -- The recent hike in COVID-19-19 cases in Montana and Fallon County has forced the school in Plevna to increase its vigilance in protecting the students. One of the first steps was increasing efforts to sanitize the campus. . .The Baker School District is back to where it started – at least when it comes to COVID-19. The district started the school year at what is named Scenario 4 – the lightest of restrictions. After briefly going one step more restrictive (Scenario 3) briefly in the first week of October, it returned to Scenario 4 this week. . .The Montana High School Association executive board voted Oct. 13, to delay the start of winter sports - both practices and competition - in hopes of flattening the curve during the continued COVID-19 pandemic. . .Governor Steve Bullock announced Montanans earning minimum wage will see the rate increase to $8.75 per hour beginning Jan. 1, 2021. . .High temperature Oct. 10 was 82. Low temperature Oct. 12 was 34.

October 23 -- The City of Baker has started work to improve drainage along George Avenue near the Baker High School. Mayor Steve Zachmann has said that the project will probably take about three weeks to complete and should be finished by early to mid-November. . .The annual Moonlight Madness was a big draw for downtown businesses Oct. 14. According to Karol Zachmann, the prime rib dinner sponsored by the Baker Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture was a success even though it drew a smaller crowd because of Covid-19. . .The 2020 October Breast Cancer Awareness Soup and Luncheon event has been canceled because of Covid-19 guidelines currently in effect in Fallon County. . .High temperature Oct. 14 was 51. Low temperature Oct. 18 was 16. . . For the twelfth year, The Emmanuel Evangelical Free Church in Plevna will be a drop off site for shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child.

October 31 -- Gentre Coulter is International Knights of Columbus Free Throw Champion. He is pictured with the trophy he received. . .The 17th annual Stan Wagner Memorial Game Feed has been postponed. The recent spike in COVID-19 cases prompted the decision to reschedule to a future date. There will still be an live online drawing on Facebook the night of the Nov. 14. . .A plan to help drain water from the north edge of the Parkview parking lot and the south edge of the City Park was approved Oct. 21 during the City Council meeting. . .High temperature Oct. 27 was 39. Low temperature Oct. 23 was 0. . .Spartans of the Month November: High School - Jory Miller was chosen by Mr. Waldbillig;  Middle School - Kate Holliday was chosen by Mrs. Kirschten; Longfellow School - Nakona Selle was chosen by Mrs. O’Connor; Lincoln School - Camryn Kidd was chosen by Mrs. Tunby.

November 6 -- Republican Kevin Braun easily dominated the race for Fallon County Commissioner Tuesday, getting 766 votes out of 1,526 total votes, according to the unofficial early results posted online. . .A local energy company will be permanently closing well sites near the city. WBI Energy will be closing the sites just east of Baker Lake. . .The planned George Avenue drainage repair project has run into a few obstacles, but is still on schedule. . .The Fallon County Gun Range gets new water source. It used to be supplied by a well, and now they have been connected with the city water supply. . .High temperature Nov. 3 was 72. Low temperature Oct. 31 was 22. . .The number of active cases of COVID-19 in Fallon County continues to increase.

November 13 -- The Women’s Professional Rodeo Association has cited the Fallon County Fair and Rodeo committee as the best Large Rodeo of the year. The announcement was made Nov. 2 in Colorado Springs when the WPRA announced its 2020 Committee and Contract Awards. . .Voters in Fallon County did better than the state of Montana when it came to voting. The state had 81.27 percent vote in the general election, while Fallon County surpassed that, with 85.90 percent of the voters voting. . .COVID-19 cases keep climbing in Fallon County, state. . .There are 70 active COVID-19 cases in Fallon County as of Tuesday evening – almost doubling the previous number. . .Laura Bruha will be 95 years young on Nov. 29. . . High temperature Nov. 5 was 73. Low temperature Nov. 9 was 12.

November 20 -- Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming are experiencing the largest spikes in new COVID-19 cases and are also among states considered least prepared, according to a study of Kaiser Family Foundation hospital capacity information. . .Two members of the Montana Army National Guard are currently working alongside staff at Dahl Memorial Healthcare. With several staff members missing work due to the COVID-19, Dahl administrator Ryan Tooke put in a call to Montana Disaster & Emergency Services. Private Drake and Staff Sergeant Thomson were sent to work alongside staff. . .Motor Vehicle transactions  temporarily suspended due to a major system upgrade by the Montana Motor Vehicle Division. Services is  expected to resume by Nov. 30. . .The Montana Department of Revenue has begun the process to make licenses available for recreational marijuana cultivation and sale by Oct. 1, 2021. . .High temperature Nov. 17 was 60. Low temperature Nov. 12 was 10.

November 27 -- Substitute teachers help local schools meet COVID-19 challenges. Substitute teachers have been able to help filling in at the local schools when needed. . .The annual Stanley Wagner Memorial Game Feed may have been postponed because of a pandemic, but the raffle went on live – at least on Facebook – Nov. 14 when it had been planned. Ryan Varner was the 1st prize winner of the 2020 Polaris 500 Ranger Side by Side that was the Big Raffle prize. The second prize in the Big Raffle was a $3,000 gift certificate for Guns N Things and was won by Eddie Smith. The third prize of a John Wayne Commemorative 32-40 Winchester went to Forst Eichhorn. The fourth place Commemorative Legendary Frontiersman 38-55 Winchester was won by Jamie Updike. Brian O’Connor won the Weatherby Raffle, second place went to Cassidy Jesperson, while third place went to Scott Leonard of Sidney and fourth went to Scot Buerkle and fifth was Jon Griffith. . .High temperature Nov. 18 was 63. Low temperature Nov. 23 was 13.

December 4 -- The residents of Baker got a quick visit from Santa Claus Sunday as he left his sleigh behind and rolled into the park in an old horse-drawn wagon. A short time later, the park lit up even more when the annual Christmas Tree lighting kicked off the holiday season for Fallon County. . .Fallon County recently hit a high of 80 active cases in the county, but that number quickly dropped. However, the county also recently logged its first COVID-related fatality. . . State, local health officials stress mask usage, tracing in COVID-19 fight. . .The Fallon County Fairgrounds is planning a two-night drive-in in the parking area next to the Livestock Barn. The dates will be Dec. 12 and Dec. 13. . .The increase in COVID-19 in Fallon County has had an impact on the local community cupboard. According to Carla Brown, the donations to the food pantry have dropped, and the usage is more. . .High temperature Nov. 30 was 55. Low temperature Nov. 29 was 12.

December 11 -- The City Council has approved a resolution establishing a $500 fee for marijuana business applications at its Dec. 2 meeting. Jade Boggs, president of the Baker Chamber of Commerce & Agriculture presented Baker Public Schools superintendent Aaron Skogen with a check for the After School Program. . .Baker Chamber of Commerce & Agriculture Christmas Lighting contest winners: 1st Place - Jason & Lisa Dulin; 2nd Place - Kory Dolph & Taylee Tolzein; 3rd Place - Allan & Trish Barth. . .The first winner of the Be A Winner! Shop In Baker! promotion, was Sid Childers of Marmarth, ND. He received $25 in Baker Bucks. . .The Harbaugh family graces the cover of the 2021 Calendar. The calendar that highlights first responders – Fire, Police & EMT in our communities in an effort to put a human face on the professions. . .Governor Steve Bullock announced that the first round of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine expected to be delivered to Montana in mid-December will target health care workers at Montana’s major hospitals. . .High temperature Dec. 8 was 58. Low temperature Dec. 2 was 14.

December 18 -- Marmarth local, Jimmy Carroll, recently published his first book The Riverside Stories: Ring Bell for Service. It is the first book in a series of six. . .Santa mailbox moved from park to county building. . .The second winner of the Be A Winner! Shop In Baker! promotion, was Carol Hadley of Baker. She received $25 in Baker Bucks. . .Pete Stanton, newly-named North Star Athletic Association Coach of the Year, former Baker athlete leads Dickinson State University to prefect record. . .Eastern Plains Economic Development Corporation is thrilled to announce two new positions. Alissa Miller will join the team as the new Food and Agriculture Development Assistant. Melissa Higbee joins the team as the new Downtown Development Specialist. . . High temperature Dec. 9 was 62. Low temperature Dec. 14 was 4. . .The City of Baker is close to completing the George Avenue project in the residential area east of  the Baker High School campus.


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