Written by John Plestina
Dave and Tina Bets His Medicine with Barney on the examination table at Wolf Point Veterinary Clinic as veterinarian Robin Jordan [not pictured] examines the canine before a road trip to Bozeman for adoption with Tina Bets His Medicine and several other canines. Barney is one of between 35 and 40 dogs animal control officer J.T. Szymanski has picked up running at large each month since he started earlier this year. (Photos by John Plestina)
The Wolf Point Police Department’s animal control officer, J.T. Szymanski, uses a meaty bone he placed on the ground as an enticement to get a dog he had picked up out from under his truck at the pound Friday, June 6.
Now that J.T. Szymanski has been on the job as Wolf Point’s animal control officer for over two months, the numbers of dogs freely running the streets has significantly decreased.
The city hired Szymanski at the beginning of April. He filled a void that was created when the last animal control officer left in October 2013.
With the absence of the blue animal control pickup truck patrolling the streets during that six-month period, the amount of dogs that owners allowed to run loose had multiplied. The police had to address dog complaints every week, including several reported biting incidents, some involving children.
“It seems to be working well,” police chief Jeff Harada said Monday, June 9.
He added that there have been numerous compliments from the public.
“People in the community have already said they have seen a decrease in the loose animal population,” Harada said.
“He’s [Szymanski] diligent, hard working, dependable, devoted to doing a good job. He cares about the welfare and wellbeing of our citizens and he truly cares about the animals,” he said.
Szymanski impounded 40 dogs during his first month on the job. He released 21 to the owners, after they paid the required fees. The impoundment fees he collected for the city totaled $438 for the 18 dogs. There is a $10 impound fee plus $15 per day. Of the 19 dogs not claimed by owners, 18 were adopted out to new homes by Wolf Point Pound Puppies. One dog was euthanized during April.
Dogs remaining in the pound beyond six days are at risk of being be euthanized or adopted. If that is the case, owners that did not claim them cannot get them back.
Dog licenses are required and unlicensed canines must be licensed before owners may retrieve them from the pound. During April, Szymanski licensed 19 dogs and collected $95 in license fees.
There are city and tribal ordinances in place that require pet owners (dogs and cats) to leash or maintain their pets on their own property. The city requires dog licenses that are available for $5 for one year.
Harada assigned blame on owners for what had been a high number of freely-roaming dogs when there was no animal control officer.
“There are no bad pets, just bad owners,” Harada said.
“One of the most problematic issues is owners allowing their dogs to follow their children to school,” he said, adding that it creates safety issues, especially when several loose dogs congregate into a pack on the grounds of a school.
Harada cited one recent incident at Southside Elementary School when Szymanski was called to the school at 7:30 a.m. Six dogs were running together on the school grounds and had become aggressive. Szymanski caught one and the others disbursed.
“Thank God it wasn’t 20 minutes later,” Harada said of the scenario of children present with aggressive dogs running loose on the school grounds.
“Six incompetent pet owners who allowed their doge to follow their children to school,” he said.
Harada said there were three separate school-related dog incidents where Szymanski was placed at risk.
Harada estimated during the week Szymanski began working in April that fewer than 10 percent of the dogs that had been running the streets were homeless strays. He said many of the uncollared canines that had been loose belong to people.
“During the summer months, the animal control officer will be working a variety of shifts for those pet owners who deem it necessary to let their dogs out after 5 p.m.
Tina (formerly Speed) Bets His Medicine, Mary Vine and other volunteers have kept the nonprofit Wolf Point Pound Puppies going for over two years, funding much of the costs themselves.
The city’s pound has a six-day hold and many dogs have been euthanized because the city cannot keep them beyond the six days. Few are put down now because Pound Puppies takes as many dogs that have reached the six-day limit as they can accommodate at their homes or can find foster homes for. They have saved over 150 dogs and a few cats from being euthanized in a little over two years.
A no-kill shelter is something Speed said she would like to have.
Finding homes for the dogs is a priority. While some are adopted locally, a majority are placed in Billings, Bozeman and other areas of Montana.
Cash donations are needed to offset veterinarian bills and to purchase dog food. Bets His Medicine has paid much of the costs out of her own pocket. Donations for Wolf Point Pound Puppies may be made at First Community Bank. The organization has state nonprofit status.
Written by John Plestina
There will be no shortage of things to do this weekend with the second annual Brewfest and Wolf City Rods and Rides car show sharing the venue at Marvin Brookman Stadium on Rodeo Road.
The second annual Brewfest will be in the rodeo grounds Saturday, June 14, from 6 to 11 p.m. Admission will be charged.
The seventh annual car show will be a free event and feature antique and classic cars and trucks, and street rods in the stadium parking lot, Friday and Saturday, June 13-14. A poker run is also planned.
The Wolf Point Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture-sponsored Brewfest will feature the band Downtime from Billings, playing from 8 to 11 p.m. Downtime offers a blend of dance music, rock, country, pop and reggae, with music by artists from the 1960s through the present.
“We are going to have wine this year and that’s from Yellowstone Cellars from Billings. We did not have wine last year. There’s going to be hard cider this year and it’s from Lockhorn Cider House out of Bozeman,” Aaron Kurokawa, an organizer of the event, said.
Fourteen breweries from all over Montana will feature their brews, as well as Doc’Z from Wolf Point.
“Some of the brewers will be there, too,” he said.
“There will be food available for sale Dustin Hunsaker from the Elks, JJ Pederson from Wolf Point Cafe and Old Town Grill,” Kurokawa said.
Nearly 300 people attended the first Brewfest last year.
“I don’t know how many will come this year. There seems to be quite a few people talking about it. I hear a lot of people talking about it,” Kurokawa said.
There will be soda for the non-drinkers.
Admission will be restricted to people age 21 and over.
People arriving for Brewfest while it is still daylight can enjoy 80 to 100 antique and classic cars and trucks and street rods that will be on display in the stadium parking lot. The Wolf City Rods and Rides car show will be Friday and Saturday, June 13-14.
In the event the parking area is muddy due to rain, the car show will be moved to the Western Bank parking lot.
Car show organizer Randy Pautsch said the event has attracted 80 to 100 cars the past several years. About half the cars belong to local residents.
The car show is a separate event from Brewfest.
Wolf City Rods and Rides is sponsoring a poker run Friday, June 13, beginning with registration at Pro Tire at 5 p.m. and finishing at Marvin Brookman Stadium about 9:30 p.m. About 40 of the cars that will be displayed in the car show are expected to participate in the poker run that will include several stops at Wolf Point businesses and the Vida Country Club.
For more information, contact Pautsch at 650-7985 or Jason Murdoch at 650-7200.
Written by John Plestina
Awaiting Their Diplomas
The graduates anxiously await their diplomas.
(Photos by John Plestina)
The Wolf Point eighth grade graduates in the processional at the beginning of the graduation ceremony.
Honor student speaker Jacob Boysun.
The Junior High Choir performs Listen To My Song under the direction of music teacher Lynne Monson.
Honor student speaker Alexis DeWitt.
Honor student speaker Jeremiah Paine.
The Junior High Band performs Bon Jovi’s Livin’ On a Prayer under the direction of music teacher Lynne Monson.
Honor student speaker Savannah Wozniak.
Roger White performs the Honor Song.
Forty-six eighth-graders received diplomas during the Wolf Point Junior High graduation exercises Tuesday, June 3.
“Stepping up to the bottom of the food chain,” was how graduate Savannah Wozniak described the transition from being at the top of the junior high food chain as eighth-graders to becoming freshmen in August.
One of five honor student speakers, Wozniak quoted Matthew 7:24-27 about the man who built his house on a rock foundation, preventing rain, rising water and wind from knocking it down, and equated it to building a strong educational foundation.
“High school is about choices and it’s not just about what movie to see at Prairie Cinemas,” Wozniak said.
Honor student speaker Jacob Boysun opened with a quote from Benjamin Franklin: “You will find the key to success under the alarm clock.” Boysun said that could mean get up early.
“Be positive. Don’t think negatively. Attack every day with an attitude that says, ‘I’m going to succeed,” Boysun said.
Graduation means to succeed. Graduation means to move up to another level,” honor student speaker Lindsey Dahl said.
She reminded the other 45 13- and 14-year-old graduates that they are all growing up.
“Enjoy all of your blessings. Enjoy everything you have,” Dahl said.
“I believe God puts people into our lives for a reason,” honor student speaker Alexis DeWitt said.
She said the transition from elementary school to junior high was strange and different, but she would not take it back.
“We have to remember, this is just a start,” DeWitt said.
“They say that life passes by in the blink of an eye and I don’t want to miss any of it,” she said.
Another honor student speaker, Jeremiah Paine, presented a goal to his classmates in the Class of 2018.
“I hope our class has the lowest dropout rate in Wolf Point High School history,” he said.
“The past two years were fun and I can’t wait until high school,” Paine said.
In addition to Boysun, Dahl, DeWitt, Paine and Wozniak, the graduates were (in alphabetical order): Kiyen Andrews, Ayanna Archdale, Ryan Barnett, Kenneth Bauer, Jason Blaquiere, Gage Bostick, Precious Comes Last, Trevor Davis, Charles Doney, Samantha Dumont, Delia Dumont Clark, Hezekiah Follet, Chandlor Garfield, Cole Grandchamp, Jakilyn Harada, Leslie Hawk, Kayden Jackson, Marcus Jackson, Jerome Jensen, Jayden Joe, Darnell Martell, Jamilla Martell, Gillian Medicine Cloud, Norman Owens Jr., Dalton Pronto, Brandon Red Boy Jr., Jeremy Red Dog Jr., Aaron Ricker Jr., Destinee Rowe, Trevor Saindon, Ronnel Santos, Jaymee Stiffarm, Sierra Summers, Patrick Szymanski, Thomas Vandall, Roxanne Vermette, Rayna Warmbrod, Amandalaura Weeks-Combs, Jami Welch, Marques White Horse and Dalton Williams.
Written by John Plestina
Northside Elementary School sixth-graders who received the Presidential Award of Educational Excellence were (from left to right) Jed Boysun, Nick Page, Bryor Smith, Journey Erickson and Gabby Hansen. (Photos by John Plestina)
Northside Elementary School sixth-graders who received the Presidential Award of Educational Achievement were (from left to right) Hannah Steele, Sammy Brunelle, Lindsay Nefzger, Daniel Kuszmaul and Alex Sutton. Randy Russette, Jacob Weinberger and Annabella White Horse are not pictured.
The largest number of Northside Elementary School sixth-graders to receive the Presidential Academic Award in four years were awarded Thursday, June 5.
Fourteen students in the sixth grade class, which is 20 percent, qualified.
Five of the 14 earned the Gold Excellence Award. They are: Nick Page, Bryor Smith, Gabreal Hansen, Jed Boyson and Journey Erickson.
Nine students earned the silver achievement award: Randy Russette, Daniel Kuszmaul, Lindsay Nefzger, Alexandrea Sutton, Hannah Steele, Samantha Brunelle, Jacob Weinberger, Annabella White Horse and Devin Azure.
Those 14 students are advanced more than a grade level above sixth grade proficiency in scores on both math and reading state assessments. They have demonstrated the same level of proficiency in the classroom.
Principal Hannah Nieskens read a letter from President Barack Obama recognizing the students academic achievement.
“This is the most awards we have given out at Northside,” Nieskens said. “We’ve never had more than five, so 14 kids in one class is really amazing.”
Written by Herald-News
Masonic Loyalty Lodge No. 121 of Wolf Point and the Montana Masonic Foundation donated 10 Kindle e-readers to Northside Elementary School students. The Kindles were awarded by a drawing Thursday, June 5, the last day of school. The donation of the Kindles recognizes student dedication to reading. Pictured are (front row, from left to right) Ben Boysun, Laykin Cantrell, Roberto Bearhill, (second row) Jayme Martell, Jaylen Aguilar, Bryor Smith, Dean Davis and Alex Follet. Wolf Point Police Chief and Lodge No. 121 secretary-treasurer Jeff Harada is in back. Kindle recipient Sierra Barrera is not pictured. (Photo by John Plestina)