2010 - The year in review ... July through December

37_bikes-9238RACKED UP  — Right now these bikes are not getting a lot of use on the streets of Conrad, not after a strong winter storm dumped a new white blanket of snow in the area.  I-O Photo by Buck Traxler




By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor and Deanna Wakkinen, I-O reporter

JULY – The Conrad Centennial Committee gathered to discuss how to disperse left-over funds, approximately $13,000, after the big centennial celebration. Funds went to the Conrad Main St. Beautification Project, the Conrad Volunteer Fire Department, the Pondera County EMTs, the Pondera County History Association and the Conrad Recycling Project.

The Culpepper and Meriwether Circus made its way to town.

Pondera Medical Center’s Board Trustee, Jim Nelson, retires after 21 years.

The Pondera Golf Club hosted the ‘Cup’ and Conrad, Shelby and Cut Bank faced off for a weekend of competition. Conrad came out the victor.

The Rocky Mountain Riders Club hosted the 6th annual Rocky Mountain Ride and many Conrad riders were successful in taking home some gold. Winners from Conrad included: Devin VandenBos, Blayne Underdahl, Cody Preitauer, Eli Knobel, Luke Fowler, Tristen Diedrich, Tyler Huber, Owen Ostberg and Andrew Fowler.

PMC purchases Dr. John Taylor’s optometry practice on 403 S. Delaware. Taylor stays on as optometrist until his retirement later in the year.

Montana performing artists Wylie Gustafson and Paul Zarzyski’s song Hang-n-Rattle won the 2010 Spur Award for Best Western Poem in Knoxville, Tenn.

A fatal crash at highways 91 and 44 leaves three women dead. Patricia Eagle, 56, and 16 year-old twin sisters, Joellyn Eagle and Desaray Eagle, of Lander, Wyo. 2009 CHS graduate Norman Vanderbush, in a separate vehicle than the women, survived the accident.

Tyler Bucklin finishes the Western States Endurance Run in 25 hours and 37 minutes. He placed 143 out of 420 participants in this 100 mile run.

A benefit softball tournament was hosted to benefit Nathan Pruttis and his family to help cover some of his medical costs associated with the removal of a spinal tumor.

Rob Brenteson and Jayleen Harris, from Conrad, receive 4-H scholarships.

Conrad policeman, Andre Harris, resigns from the city and moves over to the Pondera County Sheriff’s Office.

Golf ball sized hail smashed through Pondera County.

Kenneth Kronebusch passes away. He had been named the Conrad Chamber of Commerce’s Unsung Hero for his help with the city’s Christmas decorations and down town projects over the years.

Mark Bergstrom, former CHS graduate, sells Montana prints to benefit reliefs in Haiti and other organizations. His photos can be viewed at mhbphoto.com.

AUGUST – The city moves to purchase an Asphalt Zipper for $158,000.

A urinal is blown up at the ball field in Conrad and the search is on for the culprits.

The 4-Hers rake in many awards at the Marias County Fair.

CHS hosts a discussion with the public on the new eligibility requirements of students participating in sports. Athletes are not allowed to have any F’s if they wish to play in game time.

The 2nd annual National Night Out was hosted in the Conrad Lion’s Club Swimming Pool Park. The event was very successful with over 300 people showing up for the festivities.

Cheryl Sawyer was awarded a certificate for her 20 years of service as an EMT.

Adam Jerome leaves the Independent-Observer for a teaching job in eastern Montana.

The City considers purchasing Norley Hall from Blue Sky Villa, no decision was made.

The Conrad Community Education Foundation began its “Round-Up for Education” fundraiser with the help of IGA. Customers had the chance to round-up their purchase to the nearest dollar with the extra amount going to the foundation.

The Port Authority had two homes available for qualifying families in Pondera County through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

SEPTEMBER – Special Olympics Montana celebrates 40th anniversary and Judy Magruder of Brady is honored as one of its key influencers.

Commissioners approve bids for an asphalt zipper for $129,950 and two mowers for $16,600 each.

Cowgirl volleyball is off to a bumpy start.

Jon Tester visits Conrad and the Shooting Sports Complex. Conrad was able to showcase the determination of a great set of volunteers in this small community.

The Commissioners received a pay increase while the libraries were determined to remain constant in their wages.

Deanna Wakkinen begins her work at the Independent-Observer.

The CHS football team loses their home opener to Malta in what became a bit of a rough season.

Molly Bock begins her work for the Chamber of Commerce just in time to get the preparations in order for the Harvest Festival.

The City Council passes the 2010-2011 budget of $10,813,737.

The County passes a $9,067,037 budget.

Over the year, 65 students received Dollars for Scholars scholarships totaling over $50,000.

Commissioners designated Pondera as a 4th class county.

Karla Breding receives the “Montana Land Title Association Executive of the Year” award.

PMC welcomes their new optometrist, Dr. Joseph Peters.

Robert Brenteson is named an AP scholar in recognition of his exceptional achievement on AP Exams.

OCTOBER – Harvest Festival went off without a hitch with many great activities around town. Rob Cook won the Kiss the Pig contest and puckered up to the swine.

PMC gets a new ambulance to replace the one bought in 1985. The old ambulance was given to the Pondera County Search and Rescue.

Stockman Bank, in conjunction with the Conrad Community Education Foundation, hosted their annual tailgate party at CHS and served up 500 hamburgers and 200 hot dogs to the community before the CHS football kick-off.

Golden Triangle Gymnastics opens its doors at the “Flippin Gym” in Conrad.

The Shooting Sports Complex hosted an open house and close to 300 people came to show their support.

Homecoming was a success all around as the Cowboys and Cowgirls came in for wins against the Cascade Badgers. Representing the Senior Class as Homecoming King and Queen were Grant Grubb and Amber Stenson.

Local media were honored at the 4-H Achievement Day program. Pat Lee of the Independent-Observer was one of the honorees.

Van Motors gave PMC $1,600 after their Super Sale Event. The funds were used to upgrade equipment in the Valier ambulance.

Head lice are an issue again in coalition with the new school year.

Conrad hosted the District 6C volleyball tournaments. All teams applauded Conrad on a well hosted tourney.

CHS volleyball participated in the District 1B tournament in Choteau but suffered loss in a match with Cut Bank.

Quality Life Concepts hosted their annual Halloween party at the Meadowlark School and David Bays and Susie Berg were nominated their King and Queen of the evening.

NOVEMBER - PMC hosted its first-ever Ghost Chaser Run/Walk and was successful at raising food for the food pantry as well as getting people out in Halloween attire to follow a trail of ghost “droppings”.

Dr. John Taylor retires from Optometry after 38 years. He moved to Helena but plans to live in Conrad part-time.

PMC reveals its plan for a new walkway into their facility.

Salon 315 opens its doors in Conrad on 315 S. Main. The salon offers hairstyling, cuts, colors and boutique shopping.

Young Dania Jones and Sheridan Johnson took home first place prizes after the Karaoke for Cancer for Kids competition at the Orpheum Theatre.

Six Cowgirl volleyball players were named Academic All-State qualifiers. These girls had a GPA above 3.5 and earned a team letter. Those recognized were Brittany Greyn, Kristine Warlick, Kara Bandow, Rashelle Johns, Taylor Johnson and Shanae Newmiller.

Six Cowboy football players were also named Academic All-Staters. They were Dallas VanLuchene, Sam Carroll, Kyle Dyrud, Ben Moerkerke, Devin VandenBos and Trent Pearson.

Dr. Grant Jackson retires after 20 years with the Western Triangle Agricultural Research Center.

Ray Moritz also retired after 40 years of driving buses for the Conrad School District.

Warm weather was the main topic as it continued to hinder the elk harvest. The weather took a sharp dip before Thanksgiving.

The Independent-Observer honored Buck Traxler and his 25 years of commitment. Traxler was awarded a clock, Pondera Golf Club certificate and a custom sweater for his golfing expeditions.

Lynn Utterback, superintendent of schools, announced his retirement early so that the board could begin the daunting task of appointing someone to fill his shoes.

DECEMBER – After months of construction, the Conrad Community Center is expected to be finished by Christmas time. After a few bumps and delays, it is currently slated to be done by close to February.

Creative Addictions, a new creative outlet for Conrad residents, opens its doors during the Christmas Stroll.

Weather changes cause hunting harvest to reach normal to above normal levels.

CHS freshman, Kristin Rossmiller, was nominated to the first-ever State Superintendent’s Advisory Board. The goal of this board is to get more students to graduate high school.

The Christmas Stroll was a chilly success with below freezing temperatures and just a little sunshine. Santa was at Stockman Bank as usual, there was a taco-in-a-bag benefit for June Sasek to aid with her medical expenses, the Lion’s Club was out grilling burgers, the kiddy carnival was hosted by the sophomore class and trees and wreaths were auctioned off for a total of $10,565.

The CHS wrestlers took 4th at the invitational opener in Billings and their bus driver was commended for braving the roads and distance to get the boys to their matches. Many teams missed out on the match because of the weather.

A VA (Veteran’s Affairs) clinic opened in Cut Bank to help meet the needs of veterans in our area.

PMC bails out of union after a year and a half. Mark Jones, CEO, noted that the hospital paid over $100,000 in legal fees and only imagines the better things the money could have gone towards.

Alyssa Morren, from Conrad, is on the Carroll College Moot Court national team and will travel to New Orleans, La for the legal argumentation simulation competition.

CHS Cowgirls begin their season with a couple wins and the Cowboys get a split.

The Independent-Observer wants to wish you and your loved ones a Happy and Healthy New Year with the hopes that each New Year is better than your last. Thank you for your continued support.