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Drowning Fatality
The Powers Lake Fire Department, assisted by the Powers Lake Police Department, put two boats in the water and were able to recover the two people from the water.

The Powers Lake Fire Department, with their boats, were able to get to the capsized boat and were able to retrieve Lloyd Skalicky, 46, still clinging to the boat.

They were also able to retrieve Skalicky from the water and began doing CPR on her in the boat. They were transported to a cabin site on the southeast part of the lake.

Once on shore, they were met by the Powers Lake Ambulance and officers from the Mountrail County Sheriff’s Office.

The unresponsive individual was loaded into the ambulance and the ambulance left the scene to meet with the Stanley Ambulance.

Sheriff Halvorson stated that after the Powers Lake Ambulance and Stanley Ambulance met, the paramedic tried to assist, but they were not able to resuscitate Carmen Skalicky.

Skalicky was pronounced dead by the Burke County Coroner’s Office, and sent to the North Dakota Forensic Examiner’s Office for autopsy.

The incident has been turned over to the Burke County Sheriff’s Department.

Commissioners Meeting
By Lyann Olson
A Lignite resident mentioned getting a mediator or additional training for the sheriff, “If we can’t get him out, we need to make him work while he is here. We also need to find a way to safeguard your staff. This courthouse is in fear. If we have one more meeting about this, we’re just banging our heads against a wall. We pay you to make the right decision. You dropped the ball two months ago, pick it up now and make a plan.”

States Attorney, Amber Fiesel explained the three ways to remove someone from office; a recall election, Grand Jury, or by way of the Governor.

Court personnel reported what is not being done in the sheriff’s office and how they are being mistreated.

One person suggested Commissioners, Terry Nelson and Sellie follow Cude around for a day or two to see how he interacts with his employees and the public, “Babysit your appointee.”

Fiesel reported that she had submitted all the files collected by Ryberg to the Bureau Criminal Investigation. The director of BCI reported back and declined to do any criminal investigation at this time. It is an issue to be dealt with by the commissioners and the voters.

“I disagree with him [the director]. I would like to talk to him personally,” stated Ryberg. “We are stonewalled at this point by going any further.”

The public attending the meeting concurred to start a petition, going through the governor for a recall. The petition must be signed by 50 qualified voters of the county.

The law allows for the governor to remove certain officials if the official is guilty of misconduct, malfeasance, crime in office, neglect of duty or habitual substance abuse or gross incompetency.

The people requested the commissioners to ask Cude to be present. Sellie went to get the sheriff, but there was a sign on the door to call the sheriff’s office for assistance and no one was in the office.

Someone spoke from the crowd, “I think you both [Nelson & Sellie] owe us an apology.”

Commissioner Sellie spoke first, “I do apologize. I gained a lot of information today. We didn’t do enough on backgound checks and I do apologize.”

Commissioner Nelson also responded, “I was wrong, that’s all there is to it. We are going to make it very clear that the commission is not supporting him in any of his actions he’s done.”

Sheriff Cude never showed.

In Other Action

Amber Fiesel informed the commissioners about the dissolution of the Flaxton Fire District and the annexation of that property into the Bowbells and Lignite Fire Districts.

Questions have been asked on why Portal wasn’t involved. At this time the only decision the commissioners could make is to accept or reject the petitions.

If the petitions were rejected Flaxton Fire District would continue to exist and new petitions would have to be done, which would take more time, as this process has been on going for two years now.

Fiesel explained that the landowners can do a petition to withdraw from Bowbells or Lignite Fire Districts and go into Portal Fire District.

All three resolutions were passed unanimously.

Fiesel also went over the policy changes adopted at the last meeting, telling the commissioners that you don’t have to live in Burke County to work at the courthouse so the personnel policy should not contain a requirement of a Burke County address.

Additionally, she advised them to not put the following policy in the handbook: “CURRENT VEHICLE AND DRIVING LICENSES. All Burke County employees must update their driver’s license to reflect a current Burke County residential address as soon as possible upon obtaining employment with Burke County. Personal vehicles must display North Dakota license plates” because there are state laws governing the updating r obtaining a driver’s license and license plates, so any complaints should be directed to the Sheriff’s Office.

Ray Sheldon and Harry Bonners of Basin Transload discussed the County Road 7/Basin Transload road with the commissioners. It was moved to go ahead with project.

Jeff Ebsch, Brosz Engineering, presented traffic counts of the Powers Lake spillway (431 cars/day and 60 trucks/day.

Ken Tetrault explained the last rain event severely tore up Burke County 12 & 16. Gravel has been replaced and bladed up. The road closures worked and signage was up within four hours.

The mowers are ready to go for next week.

The one blade’s front end wheel assist has been corrected and working good.

Tetrault has received schooling on the generator which is still in Grand Forks. A decision needs to be made on where to place it on courthouse grounds. It needs to be in a heated building (70-100 degrees).

Discussion was held on gravel pits and purchasing of gravel.
EnviroTech was in the county and sprayed two days for dust control.

Lakeview Township would like some road work done, laying of fabric and milling the paved road. The commissioners okayed this at $200/hour with the standard discount.

Tetrault also reported there are various spots where water is eroding the county’s inslopes, “We are going to need someone to come in and do some riprap.”

Two representatives from VisionWest presented a summary and regional plan booklet to the commissioners. The information was compiled from the public meetings held. Burke County’s meeting took place in Bowbells.

The bills were presented with no bills turned in by the sheriff’s department.

“We are going to start getting calls,” stated Ryberg. “He’s responsible. You two [Nelson and Sellie] are going to be fighting lawsuits. And if I get anymore calls, I’m going to publish your names and phone numbers in the paper. That’s their sheriff. That’s why I’m pissed. And I’m going to get a lot more pissed.”

The Board questioned the propriety of the Renville County Sheriff working as a Burke County Deputy and Jensen stated that there is nothing illegal in that.

Jensen told the commissioners some meetings will be needed to go over budgets. She quickly went over some figures. The county is looking at $6 million in expenditures for 2014, and $5 million in revenue.

“We are spending our money,” Jensen stated.

Marla MacBeth quickly reported on that morning’s meeting with a building permit by Bison Midstream in Lucy Township and two other applications for conditional use for gravel pits, Rita Lucy and Wayne Grindy. All three were approved.

DUI Task Force
Officers encourage motorists to designate a driver if they plan to drink alcohol and to observe warning labels on prescription medications. Both alcoholic beverages and prescriptions can alter judgment and motor skills, and result in dangerous impaired driving.

In the Northwest Williston Region, 12 law enforcement agencies participated in the second quarter of this program which was conducted from June 1-30.

By working together to create high visibility enforcement, early results show a positive impact on deterring motorists from drinking and driving. These statistics emphasize the importance of enforcement and saturation patrols in protecting motorists on North Dakota’s roadways.

The Northwest Williston Regional DUI Task Force includes the following agencies:
North Dakota Highway Patrol, Divide County Sheriff’s Department, Burke County Sheriff’s Department, Mountrail County Sheriff’s Department, New Town County Sheriff’s Department, McKenzie County Sheriff’s Department, Williams County Sheriff’s Department, Stanley Police Department, Watford City Police Department, Williston Police Department, Tioga Police Department and Three Affiliate Tribe.

The DUI Task Force began on October 1, 2010 in order to take significant steps towards reducing alcohol-related crashes and fatalities across the state. Nearly eighty percent of all law enforcement agencies currently participate in the DUI Task Force across North Dakota.

Funding for this enhanced enforcement is provided through the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT).


Video games and I have always had a strained relationship. Mainly because I stink at each and every one of them…always have and I suspect always will. Generally I’m not inclined to fits of rage or anger but video games never fail to get my Underoos in a bunch. Buck Rogers, if you must know.

My brother and I, like many children in 1982, found an Atari 2600 under the Christmas tree.

We were ecstatic, our very own video game, something else to add to the long list of things for us to fight about.

And fight we did.

As if it wasn’t bad enough that I stunk at each and every game, I had to put up with an irritating little brother beating me and telling me that I stunk.

As you Atari aficionados are aware, the Atari came with a “Joy Stick” that the smiling, happy player used to control the objects on the screen.

One stick…one button…how hard could it be?

If only the objects on the screen would have done what I wanted them to do when I wanted them to do it.

Someone at the Atari factory failed to put the “joy” in my stick.

When I was “playing,” I looked like an angry epileptic chimp trying to get the lid off a jar of homemade pickles.
Such fun, such happiness, such delight, such joy…for my brother and anyone else who played me anyway.

For me it was agony. Joyless, frustrating, agony.

I feel it welling up now 30 years later just thinking about it.

Why wouldn’t Donkey Kong jump the barrel? Why did the Pit Fall guy always..always..always fall into the alligator infested pit? Why did those ghosts in Pac-Man out maneuver me every single time? Why oh why?

There have been many video game consoles that have come out since the Atari 2600. My son has an Xbox 360 that he seems to be able to operate without much problem.

I have heard the telltale sounds of video game rage coming from his room from time to time but it’s short lived and he seems to move on with the game quickly once the fit has passed.

He’s talked me into playing a game with him a few times and yes, I still stink.

I still stink, still get frustrated, and still feel like crushing the controller into tiny little pieces each and every time some zombie gets me before I get them.

Gone is the one stick, one button layout of the previously mentioned “Joyless Stick.” The controllers now have more buttons than I have fingers, which seems unfair from the get-go and, for your information, I have a full set of 10 digits despite taking high school shop.

I watch my son’s fingers flutter with ease around the controller as the zombie killer on the screen expertly moves here and there making zombies wish they had never been born…or dead…I don’t know anymore.

Then it’s my turn.

My son’s barking directions…right flipper, “X” button, left trigger…the zombies are closing in.

I assume their closing in. I haven’t had a chance to actually look up at the screen as the 63 buttons are giving me and my 10 fingers about as much sensory input as a man in my condition can hope to handle.

I’m not sure exactly what that condition is but I know I’ve had it since Christmas 1982 and it could turn out to be fatal…for everyone but the zombies.

Happy 15th birthday to my son, Jackson. May your day be shiny and bright like the braces we got you instead of a dirt bike, a llama or a chimp.

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