Jailhouse Pizza is named quite appropriately. According to local lore, the building housed the original jail for Meagher County dating from 1899. Judge Egebakken reportedly worked out of the structure that became Wheatland County Jail during his early law enforcement days.
Deputy Sheriff Everett Misner and his wife Kim noticed the building was vacant shortly after they moved to town around three years ago. Despite the fact that they are admitted workaholics, the Misner’s decided they needed more to do in their lives. Buying the building and restarting the business, they thought it would be good for their three sons and our town. “To teach them some responsibility, by getting them involved in every aspect of running a business, and having a little fun along the way.”
The youngsters help out after school and on weekends. They are learning to work with the public. Making pizzas and serving customers helps them to think ahead.
Everett Misner says, “People enjoy our pizzas. We turn out a good product.”
Misner remembers it taking considerable work to get their building back together. Lots of bleach and cleaning, pressure washing the deck and some minor remodeling.
They purchased the building and property from Jeff Scalzi, who owned Jailhouse Pizza from 1998 to 2004. They also bought the rear parking lot from Joe Brouillette.
They had four state inspectors come through as they made replacements and upgrades along with painting and trimming and touching up most parts of the building including the bathroom.
“We are very pleased with the public response to the new Jailhouse Pizza. Family orders and takeout comprise most of our business. Our 30-inch pizza draws quite a bit of attention; especially since it can be tricky getting it through car and house doors.”
“We try to make the best affordable pizza with quality ingredients. We enjoy being here and greatly appreciate the support of the community.”
People who stop at Jailhouse Pizza come for pizza and that’s what they get. Wings, sandwiches, salads, and beverages compliment their menu. Chicken teriyaki seems to be the current favorite pizza on the menu.
For Everett, Jailhouse Pizza is another turn of the spiral as he worked for a year in a “Mom and Pop Pizza Shop” while he was in high school in a modest sized town situated along the Ohio River. Everett and Kim grew up in villages (smaller communities) near the larger towns. They met in high school and married young.
After high school, Everett followed the family pattern and went into the timber business. (Kim’s family members were ironworkers.) From 1987 to 2001, the Misner’s cut and transported hardwood logs for overseas (Korea, Japan, Germany) and domestic markets. The logs were later milled for veneers. The business continued for 20 + years, even after Everett’s full time career in law enforcement began.
Misner, and a crew of employees up to five, used dozers, skidders, log trucks, and sawmills in their modest logging operation. Everett and his sons recently built their own small band mill to produce structural timber, mainly for personal use. “When the economy was good, the timber industry was great. But, it became a roller coaster ride.”
By 1995, Everett was thinking it was time for a change into a job with more of a continuing education and one which allowed more involvement with his community. So, he became a Peace Officer in Marietta (population 20,000 in a county of 65,000) and attended training at the Ohio Highway Patrol Academy for sixteen weeks.
“It was a big change. Kim was supportive. She wasn’t fearful after years of me working with timber where we had close calls most every day.” Misner had a number of injuries and got banged up quite a bit, but sustained no major traumas over the years of logging.
The Patrol Academy was a “great education,” which was followed by Misner getting OJT at the side of a Training Officers for around six months. His formal training has continued ever since.
In Ohio, the workload and level of activity was higher than Montana but the problems were pretty much the same: narcotics, crimes against the family, assaults and thefts. He worked as a Patrolman and later as a Detective in multi-jurisdictional narcotics probes.
Everett and Kim first visited Montana in the 90s staying with a school friend in Jordan, seeing landscapes and spaces that they liked. The Misner’s had many years to think that “there was something better to be had” out West. Back East, “There are too many people. You can’t drink the water and you can’t eat the fish you catch.”
In 2001, Everett and Kim and sons made the cross-country move to Lewistown, MT. As a youth, Misner enjoyed hunting and fishing and was taken by stories in magazines about the romantic West.
Everett’s brother, Shawn, recently followed the family to Harlowton. He worked as a dispatcher at the Sheriff’s Office and is now employed as a Police Officer in Livingston. Nephew Richard is on Les Christensen’s construction crew.
The Misner children are beginning to leave the nest. Joshua graduated from HHS in 2008 and was fortunate enough to receive a Bair Scholarship. He is studying pre-law at the University of Montana. Daniel is in the 9th grade and Jacob in the 5th both are doing very well in school and are involved in many other activities.
Kim works in the Public Schools as the 21st Century Grant Coordinator and a speech aide. This grant covers programs such as the after school program, summer reading program, extended library hours and the mentoring program. She also teaches Sunday School at Faith Chapel.
Deputy Misner relates that working in law enforcement has been “quite an eye opener into our social structure.” His career has exposed him to a multitude; from shootings to family crises to dirty narcotics trade.
Everett worked in the Fergus County Sheriff’s Office for four years, rising to Senior Sergeant with special emphasis on investigating major crimes. After a brief return to Ohio, Misner was hired as Deputy for the Wheatland County Sheriff’s Office. He now works rotating shifts, primarily evenings and nights. Everett happily reports that crime seems to be down in recent months. “People are taking notice and I believe efforts in our office are taking effect.”
Everett Misner has spent 14 years in law enforcement, plenty of time to reflect on his work and profession. When asked the essence of his profession he replied.” I can’t bring myself to believe that the wants/desires of a few should outweigh the good of the many”.
When asked his final thoughts relating to his chosen profession, at the end of our conversation, he replied;
“I believe that our legal system is only as good as the integrity of those involved.”
“I really enjoy my job, serving the public and being involved in our community.”
Deputy Misner is obviously tenacious about doing the right thing, even if it hurts. “I was taught early on to treat people (including victims and perpetrators) as if they were my relatives.”