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» B I G T I M B E R ' Wednesday, February 1, 1984 Volume 96 Na 22 Serving Big Timber and Sweet Grass County, Montana 2£C • Several county positions are opening up during this election year. See details on page 10 • New high school hour*? Could be. Read the proposals on page 6 • S I 200 for the March of Dimes! See picture of well-known horse and rider on page 6 Get sick in Big Timber, i f s cheaper If you’re going to get sick, get sick in Big Timber. If you’re going to have a baby, have it in Big Timber. Why, you ask? Because it’s cheaper. A survey compiled by Mike Bell representing Mt-Wyo Regional Health Services, comparing Big Timber’s hospital rates with the state average plus facilities in Livingston, Bozeman and St. Vin cent’s in Billings has been pre sented to the local Hospital Board. Discussion on the statistics was had at the annual meeting of the Sweet Grass Community Hospital Inc. held here January 23. The Hospital Board is consider ing raising room rates at the Big Timber facility from SI 70 toSI80 a day, and also increasing the newborn nursery charge to $110 from the present $95. The charts compiled by Bell reflect the higher rates. Based on the presentation a “sample patient” (which includes a 6-day stay in the hospital, $200 for supplies, 12 lab tests, 1 EKG, and $100 for drugs) would accu mulate a bill for $2210 based on the state average. The state average is average hospital char ges throughout Montana. A sam ple patient would be charged $2179 at S t Vincent’s, $2207 in Bozeman, $2124 in Livingston, but only SI,880 in Big Timber. A “normal delivery\ (which would include a 2-day stay in the hospital for mother and baby, one delivery, $50 in supplies, 4 lab tests, and $25 for drugs) would rack up a $1077 bill based on the state average. In S l V’s the normal delivery would cost $1161, in Bozeman $1319, in Livingston $1027, and in Big Timber a bargain at $858. Other comparisons presented by Bell include: Room rates — state average $ 176 a day; St. V’s and Bozeman $192; Livingston $158; Big Tim ber $180. Delivery — state average S196; S t V’s $235; Bozeman $350; Livingston $180; Big Timber SI 80. Medical Supply — state aver age is a $3.11 cost to patient on an item which cost the hospital SI.00; S t V’s $2.42; Bozeman S2.04; Livingston $3.40, Big Timber $1.50. Lab — state average $13.27; St. V’s $18.32; Bozeman $22.23; Livingston $11.54; Big Timber $11.54. X-ray — state average $59.16; St V’s $76.19; Bozeman $40.00; Livingston $48.74; Big Timber $48.74. Pharmacy — state average S3.04; S t V’s $2.43; Bozeman $3.35; Livingston $3.40; Big Timber $3.00. The study was done to acquaint the Board with where the Big Timber hospital stands cost-wise in comparison to surrounding facilities. Figures from the Harlo- town and Columbus hospitals were not included in the presen tation. Good news & bad news at hospital meeting There was good news and bad news at the Sweet Grass Com munity Hospital, Inc. meeting on Monday, Jan. 23. Over 20 people attended the annual session. The bad news was that the Big Timber hospital shows a loss of $71,000 in 1983, figuring expen ses over revenue. That was $10,000 more than the year be fore. But the good news is that the Board and Hospital Administrator Lois Williams expect that loss to be cut in half by the end o f 1984. The reasons for the hospital’s - increased revenue, they antici pate, is the coming of a new doctor this summer, Dr. Ray Jackson. Dr. Jackson has expressed an interest in using the hospital and keeping it going, it was reported. - Revenue sharing funds totaling $50,000 were allocated by the county last year to help cover operating costs. Also, the com missioners designated $ 14,600 for building maintenance. The remin ing $6,000-plus is reflected in depreciation and gifts. Administrator Williams ex plained the facility’s attempt to provide other services to the com munity, including it’s use by regul arly visiting physicians, employ ment of the ultra-sound maching and whirlpool tub, and the new* “ swing bed\ arrangement, which allows Pioneer Home residents to stay at the hospital when the Nursing Home has no vacancy. The swing beds are expected to also bring in additional revenue to the hospital - money which pre viously has not been available. Elected to the Hospital Board were new members Fern Prather and Alice Adams. .The meeting was prematurely ^ adjourned because of the loss of electricity throughout the city. HERDER DUFF BERGQUJST (33) scores two points over Livingston Ranger Tom Lane Saturday night Despite the basket the Herders lost to their archrivals 77-71. The home team went on to defeat Boulder at home the next night Story and more pictures inside (Photo courtesy Dean Hendrickson) FRIENDS A CO-WORKERS honored retiring County E x tension Agnet Olaf Brekke Friday afternoon at an Open House He recei ved numerous cards and gifts at the party, including a lamp and new camera from the 4-H Council and clubs a scrapbook from the Trio Club and belt buckles from the Rodeo Association and the courthouse crew. Brekke has retired after 16 years in Sweet Grass County. Olaf Brekke retires from Extension Agent position Retiree reflects on accomplishments, challenges, and disappointments Brekkc’s last “ County Agenf i Corned' on page 9 By BECCY OBERLY Sweet Grass County Extcntion Agent Olaf Brekke retired last week after 16 years in Big Timber. An Open House in his honor was held at the courthouse Friday afternoon Friends and fellow workers gathered to wish the retiree good luck in the future and to thank him for his years of service to this community. Brekke undertook his responsibilities as Exten sion Agent in Sweet Grass County in 1968. He also has been the agent, primarily working in the area of the 4-H programs, in Wheatland County for the same time period Brekke is a 1937 graduate of the Ringling MT high schooL He attended St Olaf College from 1937 to 1939, and then transferred to Iowa State College, from which he received a Bachelors Degree in Animal Husbandry in 1942. Brekke worked on the Higgins Hereford Ranch in Ringling from 1942 until 1956. For the next four years he was in private business, including live stock order buying and selling automotive acces sories. In 1960 the retiring man began his job as ex tension agent at the Fort Belknap Indian Reser vation in Blaine County. Living in Chinook, Brekke was under contract with MSU and the tribe. There his primary duties included 4-H work and dealing with the revolving loan program and loan appli cations. In 1965 the agent received a Masters Degree in Animal Science from Montana Stale University and in 1968 took charge of the extension office here, replacing Ellis Williams. Brceke's responsibilities have included a finger in a lot of pics. As extension agent, he served as secretary anchor an active member in a number of groups including the Weed Board. Fair Board, Wool Growers, 4-H Council and others. He has often been called upon to be the organizer of various projects and his office was the focal point of com munication and delegation of jobs for numerous events. What has he enjoyed the most in all his varied duties? Working with the 4-H program. Brekke said without hesitation “ It was the most challenging, and r ve seen it change over the years to include more project opportunities, more trips, scholar ships. and awards available,’’ Olaf commented Brekke points with pride to the accomplishments the Weed Board has made as one place he has seen significant forward movement in recent years. “There’s still a lot to be done, but we have ac complished much,” he said He cites the group’s ability thus far to stay on top of small infestations as a major feat Of helping to control leafy spurge and knapweed he says, “ We've got it here, but ifs nothing like it could have been if we hadn't stepped in.” But related to this same field Olaf commented on the lack of interest many local residents have taken in using the extension office's education related services to help them in their work. Speaking specifically of the use of fertilizers, Brekke feels there are many users “ still flying by the seat of their pants”. The office can help teach proper usage and alternative methods if people will just take advant age of the materials and resources. Generally this area — the little use of the extension office for further knowledge — has been a great disappointment to the retiring agent “ We are the educational arm of the University, but so few take advantage of us,” he reflected Indeed Brekke said the trend in extension service is to lean towards the education end of the spectrum rather than the service area. “ But I felt that by working with people, I could bring the educau'onal part of my job to their attention,” he said His replacement. Brekke hinted may look at this philosophy differently. It is not expected an agent will replace Olaf for several months. MSU will have a say in wf>o is assigned to Brekke's position Brekke has high praise for the extension secre taries who have worked for him over the years. “There’s not a one I didn’t get along with,” he commented In his absence, present secretary Arlene Yost will be at the office. In the course of his career the computer age has entered the extension world The Agnet system has been available at the courthouse office for several years but is not employed much now. Much of the non-use has to do with the coming of home computers. Brekke feels, as they are able to perform many of the tasks the Agnet was designed to accom plish. Brekke is confident it's time for him to move on to another segment of his life and is looking forward to more leisure time. He and his wife Esther intend to remain at their home in Big Timber, but some travel is included in their future plans. Through the years. Brekke has branched out his interest from his job into other community organi zations. He is active in the Big Timber Lions Club, in the Lutheran Church, and is a member of the Sweet Grass Education Council. He intends to remain busy with these activities, particularly on the Education Council where he feels continued learn ing can be acheived for desiring members of the community. “ 1 really feel I'm in good health and could keep on working\ Brekke summed upi “ But I’ve lost my enthusiasm to get with new concepts. If s a good time for the county to get a new person in this job, one with more recent schooling” But in the meantime the southwest comer of the second story of the Sweet Grass County Court house is going to seem empty without Olaf at his desk.