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Sidney Herald
Sidney , Montana
June 22, 2003     Sidney Herald
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June 22, 2003

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I copy e e ~ .... .................. PHOTO BY BILL VANDER WEELE Whtiford, Sidney, competes in the horsemanship competition for queen Wednesday. The Montana High School Rodeo Finals ends Sunday at the Richland County Fairgrounds. BY BILL VANDER WEELE Herald-Leader Alter 27 years of service in Richland County, Extension Agent Fred Barkley has announced his plans to join fellow agent Red Lovec and retire effective June 30 - sort of. Because extension agents had their Federal Appointment status rescinded in January of this year, it enabled Barkley to become eligible for a post-retirement contract with MSU and remain in his current position on half-time basis. The post- retirement contract is one year in duration and can be renewed for up to three years. Under the incentive plan offered by MSU, retire- ments had to be effective June 30. Barkley said the early retirement incentives were billed as a cost- saving measure, but in reality he thinks it will ulti- mately cost more money in the short run, plus it will disrupt service in many counties in the state. "With summer 4-H activities in full swing and the fair coming up, I w, mldn't have even consid- ered it if not for the post-retirement option," Barkley said. "I just couldn't leave the 4-H pro- gram and leaders on such short notice with a clear conscious after their support and dedication over the years." Additionally, Barkley said it would have left a big void in the Sidney Extension Office being able to serve the needs of a wide horticultural clientele base that has been built up over the years. Barkley said his announcement is late in coming because of a breakdown in communications and negotiations concerning the post-retirement option. In a meeting initially held in April with county commissioners and MSU representatives, Barkley thought an understanding had been reached that his new contract would be for a one year period. But after taking two weeks of leave, Barkley returned to find out the plans had been modified. "Basically the commissioners decided to advertise immediately to fill my position," Barkley said. If a new agent is hired, Barkley's tenure ends one day prior to that persons' arrival. That alone was not so much a problem, but the fact the job descriptions for both his and Lovec's positions changed did cause some concern. "They decided to add the horticultural part of the local program as part of the ag agent's responsibil- ity and make my position strictly 4-H and youth." Barkley disagrees with the decision and gave his reasons. "Having one agent designated for 4-H time to dew)te to the program that it requires." Barkley said he was originally hired in 1976 as strictly a 4-H agent. But because he had a keen interest in horticulture and the ag agent did not have the time needed to service all the requests received, hc "inherited" horticulture and windbreak and shel- terbelt duties. His job description was re-written to divide his time, with 55 percent being allocated to 4-H and 45 percent to horticulture. "With summer 4-H activities in full swing and the fair coming up, I wouldn't have even considered it if not,for the post-retirement option. - Fred Barkley Barkley quickly points out he by no means is an expert in the field of horticulture. "But over the years I have spent a great deal of time on research- ing local problems and finding answers to con- cerns people have," he said. "In the process, I have learned as much as the folks l've helped." Barkley has gained a large following of readers in eastern Montana and western North Dakota over the years with his weekly lawn and garden columns in local news outlets. In addition, he spends countless hours making home visits and supplying informa- tion to homeowners on every horticultural prob- lem imaginable. "That's the part of the job that is the most rewarding - being able to visit folks, hopefully offer some helpful advice, and just spend some time visiting," he said. Barkley doesn't think the powers that be really understand the degree of support the various extension programs have at the local level. "The three of us have specific disciplines in which we work and serve people, and they are extremely supportive and protective in each area," he said. He also said people who have utilized expertise provided by the local extension agents have come to expect a certain degree of service, and that some of the proposed changes could jeopardize that. Barkley ended by saying, "Coming to Richland County was one of the best decisions I've ever made. It's been a great place to raise my family and the people here are undoubtedly the most caring, kind, compassionate and supportive you'll find alone just doesn't make sense with declining a~where." enrollments and a shrinking base of pote~w long Barkley will continue to serve the peo- members throughout the county," he said. "And," pie of Richland Countyxemains to be seen. But he he added, "I think the horticultural program will said, 'Tll stick around as long as I can, or as long suffer because the new ag agent simply won't have as people want me." VANDER WEELE good sign for this time of June. rows, a mini environment begins to form. "The early planting beets are tremendous," That's when to start looking out for the Cer- sugar beet fields are looking more Fullmer said. "Anytime you have rows coy- cospora disease. than the previous several years, ered around the 24-25 in June, things are Fullmer said the real dangerous time for Fullmer, agriculture manager atlooking pretty good." the disease is usually the third or fourth Inc. Overall, the crop appears to be good and week of July. This year, however, it may be ' are looking fairly good. We'repret- healthy, but Fullmer warns there's still a the second or even the first week of July. with them," Fullmer said. long ways to go. Workshops regarding Cercospora leaf spot describes the outlook as average to Crop estimates were due at the end of the management are scheduled at the Hotel average. The last two years have been week. The figures help the factory prepare Albert in Fairview Tuesday at noon at the average. "We're getting back tofor harvest. Elks Lodge in Sidney at 6 p.m. Tuesday. we should be," Fullmer said. "For the most part, weed control looks "We have just so many weapons to use on added some fields have their rows coy- good," Fullmer said. this disease," Fullmer said. "It's important to With leaves already. He said that's a He said once leaves start covering the know what to apply and at what time." PHOTO BY LINDA STEINBEISSER Some area sugar beet fields have their rows covered at this early point of the season. renz .s David Lorenz, 19, Fairview, should be distributed to has been sentenced to five years Fairview's Drug Forfeiture to the Montana Department of General Fund. Corrections for operating an The court recommends the unlawful clandestine laboratory department place Lorenz in the in Fairview. boot camp program at the Trea- Police arrested Lorenz in Feb- sure State Correctional Training ruary for operating the laborato- Center. If he successfully com- ry to produce meth. pletes the boot camp, then the On March 5, Lorenz was department can place Lorenz in charged with criminal posses- a prerelease center for aftercare. sion of dangerous drugs, aIrigoin wrote in the court doc- felony, operation of an unlawful ument, "The reasons for this clandestine laboratory, a felony, sentence are public safety is a and criminal possession of pre- significant issue in this matter cursors to dangerous drugs, a because the defendant was han- felony, dling dangerous chemicals in a On April !5, Lorenz appeared residential area; the defendant before District Court Judge Kather- has taken responsibility for his inelrigbinandmadeapleaofguilty actions; he has shown he can pursuant to a plea agreement, achieve positive goals for him- The court accepted the guilty self; this sentence gives the pleas on June 3. defendant an opportunity for Lorenz was sentenced to a positive chance; the defendant tl-mee-year deferred sentence for is 19 years old with no criminal criminal possession of dangerous history; the deferred imposition drugs and criminal possession of of sentence in counts I and III precursors to dangerous drugs, can result in increased sentences He was sentenced for 10 if the defendant does not com- ye~s, with five years suspend- ply avith the conditions of pro- ed~for operation of an unlawful bation; the plea agreement cl~destine laboratory, between the parties; and the rec- He was fined $1,500. It was ommendation of counsel and ordered one half of the fine the probation/parole officer." lason en (Editor's note: The follow- ing features one of Sidney's special citizens. This is part of a series on the contributions of the area's special citizens who face challenges but are suc- ceeding.) BY ELLEN ROBINSON Herald-Leader Ricky Tobiason, Sidney, has been working at County Market for almost nine years. Tobiason has been bagging groceries, bringing in the carts and stocking the shelves since Sept. 10, 1994, as a courtesy clerk. "Work is fun. I like to work. If I didn't like working I don't know what I would do with myself. I would probably be bored," Tobiason said. Tobiason was 17 when he first started working at County Mar- ket. He has worked with the same people over the years. He walks to work year-round. Tobi- ason works four to five days a week for six to eight hours at a time. "I like the people I work with. We are friends; we like to pick on each other while we work. Co-workers say Ricky Tobiason, County Market. PHOTO BY ELLEN ROBINSON top, gets the job done at That keeps it fun," Tobiason workers we've got here. He is said. very dependable. If you ask His co-workers appreciate Ricky to do something, you Tobiason's work habits, know it will get done," Robin "Ricky is one of the best See Worker, page 10A