Decades-old water tower in Tioga loses second leg, comes tumbling down

The Tioga water tower has had its legs cut out from under it.

After the city put up a new, 750-gallon tower, the question became what to do with the decades-old 150,000-gallon tank on legs.

When it was determined to be too old to have any resale value, city fathers decided its only value was as scrap.

Contractors cut off one of the four legs, but, for awhile, it stood as a three-legged tower.

They finally got a second leg to come loose, and the entire structure toppled to the ground in a cloud of snow, splayed out in the middle of Signal Road.

-- Tioga Tribune

New Town holding classes in church to deal with influx of students

The New Town School Board took another step to cope with an influx of students boosting enrollment.

Edwin Loe Elementary School Principal Rick Lindblad told the board that, for the first time, K-5 enrollment exceeds 500.

The result is a classroom space crunch.

Superintendent Marc Bluestone asked the board to consider transferring $1 million from the district’s oil revenue to its building fund.

The board agreed, bringing the building fund balance to $5 million and paving the way for a $6.5 million expansion of the elementary school.

Later this winter, the board will select an architect and engineers to provide design options for the project.

-- New Town News

Pipelines helping keep Divide County property tax increases in check

Pipelines and the state’s property tax buydown have helped keep Divide County property tax increases in check.

But county officials worry that both benefits are in jeopardy.

“We have one more year left,” said Auditor Gayle Jastrzebski of the state relief program.

Meanwhile, collections in lieu of taxes on utilities, notably pipelines, have helped. That’s because new pipe has been laid this year.

“We added 150 miles in Divide County,” said Commissioner Gerald Brady, who indicated the total value of state-assessed utility property is now higher than all residential and commercial property combined.

-- The Journal, Crosby

Burke County gives serious consideration to requiring buzzer to enter courthouse

Burke County leaders are talking about getting buzzed.

County commissioners recently had an extended discussion about courthouse security, giving serious consideration to requiring citizens to press a buzzer to gain access to the building.

Under the plan considered by commissioners, courthouse doors would be locked during regular business hours.

Citizens with county business would approach either the building’s front or back door and press a buzzer to gain access.

Commissioners decided to delay a decision on the plan until after Feb. 15, property owners coming to the courthouse would have easy access to pay their taxes.

-- Burke County Tribune, Bowbells

Williston City Commission passes STAR fund to assist child care providers 

Preparing for the imminent need for child care, the Williston City Commission passed a $25,000 plan to support licensed child care operators through the STAR Fund.

“The annual number of new births in Williams County is staggering, and it continues to grow,” Williston Economic Development Director Shawn Wenko said.

“Even if half of these families choose to call Williston home, we are looking at some serious child care shortages in the future.”

Since 2011, significant funding has been directed to new child care start-ups, which prompted Wenko and Keith Olson, director of the Small Business Development Center, to draft an incentive program for existing centers.

“What we didn’t address was our current licensed providers,” Wenko said. “We didn’t have any incentive program that would encourage them to relicense or encourage them to grow their capacity.”

Money for the STAR Fund comes from a 1 percent sales tax in effect through June 3, 2020.

-- Williston Herald

Steve Andrist is the former publisher of newspapers in Crosby and Tioga. Send email to