Written by John Plestina
The Wolf Point City Council approved a $1,000 contract for services to the Wolf Point High School football program for cleanup of the downtown area all three mornings of the Wild Horse Stampede.
Several council members expressed disappointment that the Wolf Point Elks Lodge opted to hold a dance during Stampede in the parking lot beside the Elks Club and not a street dance as was planned. The Elks did not agree to a city mandate to cleanup the entire downtown area of the Stampede if a street dance were held on the 300 block of Main Street.
In other business, Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice officer Eric Johannasen asked the council for more speed limit signs on city streets, which he said would make speed enforcement easier.
Mayor Chris Dschaak said the city would look into it.
In another matter, Wolf Point Police Chief Jeff Harada presented his activity report for May that showed a 58 percent increase in arrests, citations and civil documents over May 2013.
The report included police response to 464 complaints and 103 arrests and tickets, an increase from 65 for the same period last year.
For animal control, 34 dogs were impounded during May, 29 of which were released to owners after fees were paid and five were euthanized. Fifteen were adopted by new owners. The animal control officer collected $795 in impound and dog license fees.
Jennifer Zimmerman, who identified herself as a Cape Air employee at L.M. Clayton Airport, asked the council for $1,000, the estimated cost of replacing chairs and a television in the passenger waiting area of the terminal.
Dschaak said the budget for the next fiscal year that will begin July 1 is not finalized and the city could look into the matter. The city appropriating the funding and seeking one-half from Roosevelt County was discussed.
Written by John Plestina
The Frontier School board is likely to consider a counter offer for co-op athletics with the Wolf Point School District during the next Frontier board meeting Monday, July 14.
Several Frontier trustees and others expressed concerns about a WPSD board decision that would affect Frontier during a work session following a Frontier board meeting, Thursday, June 12.
Wolf Point trustees approved developing a co-op contract with Frontier Elementary School for all junior high sports for an estimated savings to the WPSD of $8,500. That includes charging Frontier a $400 fee per sport totaling $2,800 and splitting travel costs with Frontier to scheduled events for a cost savings of $5,200.
The WPSD board decision was part of nearly $300,000 in budget cuts approved Wednesday, May 28, that included athletic and extra-curricular spending cuts totaling $51,050 and more than $20,000 in fee increases.
A copy of a list of finance committee recommendations to the WPSD board was distributed to the Frontier board. It included a statement that if Frontier does not accept the terms, the WPSD would discontinue allowing Frontier students to participate in WPJH athletics.
Frontier and the WPSD have co-oped for junior high football, wrestling and track for many years.
Several Frontier board members said they wanted to leave the co-op agreement as it has been and retain some Frontier Mustangs’ teams.
“All seventh graders would become Wolves [with a full co-op agreement]. That would mean no Mustang sports,” Frontier superintendent Christine Eggar said.
She said she met with Wolf Point superintendent Joe Paine since the WPSD board decision.
“When I talked to Mr. Paine, he said that’s not firm,” Eggar said.
Frontier teacher Louise Peterson suggested a one-year trial, but said she had a problem with no Frontier Mustang sports.
She said some parents might not send their children to Frontier if they are playing sports as Wolf Point Wolves.
Eggar said of a scenario where Frontier students would only participate on Frontier teams, “Football, we’re half the team. [Wolf Point Junior High is] going to be hard pressed without us.”
There were concerns that Frontier athletes would be playing on larger Wolf Point teams than they would be if they were on Frontier teams.
“I have a concern for our kids that they will not get the playing time,” Eggar said.
Frontier board chairman Brandon Babb made a similar comment that Frontier students might not play as much on WPJH teams.
Other issues included Wolf Point schools being on a four-day week and different eligibility requirements for athletic participation.
The Frontier district does not allow any “D” grades for eligibility while Wolf Point does.
“This whole thing was money motivated for that school district,” Babb said, and added that what is best for Frontier students was his concern.
“Every time [Wolf Point] have been in a bind for transportation, we have stepped up,” dean of students Jeff Whitmus said.
Written by John Plestina
A Wolf Point resident asked the city council Monday, June 16, to consider allowing him to establish weekly swap meets in Sherman Park.
Eric Johannasen said he envisions more high-end merchandise, services being showcased and clientele than are available at flea markets. He said he is considering music at the swap meets and providing portable restroom facilities.
Johannasen said he would like to start having swap meets, possibly about the beginning of August, as a test for his proposal for monthly swap meets in Sherman Park. He also said he plans to ask the Fort Peck Tribes for the use of the new activity center during winter months.
“We’re always looking for economic stimulus in the city,” Johannasen said. “It’s always good to bring people in for business purposes.
Mayor Chris Dschaak said Johannasen’s proposal could be doable, but there would be required fees and proof of liability insurance.
Dschaak said the parks, recreation, cemetery and tree committee will consider the proposal. That committee will then make a recommendation to the council.
Written by John Plestina
In the wake of a recent decision by the Wolf Point School board to discontinue the preschool program due to funding not being available, school trustees discussed a proposal by Gov. Steve Bullock for the state to fund preschool programs statewide Tuesday, June 10.
Bullock unveiled his “Early Edge” proposal in January to fund early-childhood education in Montana and seeks public support. He plans to submit the proposal to the 2015 Legislature.
Montana is one of only nine states with no significant publicly funded preschool or early-childhood education program.
Bullock’s proposal calls for expanding access to pre-kindergarten programs among low-income families, improving standards for early-childhood education providers, strengthening the early-childhood workforce and preparing all children for kindergarten.
In 2013, the Bullock administration and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau applied for a $37 million federal grant from the Obama administration, to help fund early-childhood education. Montana was not one of six states that were awarded grants totaling $280 million.
Wolf Point School board chairman Martin DeWitt praised the Bullock’s efforts during the school board meeting Tuesday, June 10.
DeWitt cast the sole vote to keep the district’s preschool program during a special school board meeting where the trustees were cutting the budget.
Ninety percent of brain development occurs before age 5 and early childhood education programs aid in development.
According to state statistics, at-risk children who do not participate in high-quality early education are: 25 percent more likely to drop out of school; 40 percent more likely to become a teen parent; 50 percent more likely to be placed in special education; 60 percent more likely to never attend college; and 70 percent more likely to be arrested for a violent crime.
There is an online petition for public support of Bullock’s proposal at http://earlyedge.mt.gov.
Written by Herald-News
The United States Attorney’s Office announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls, June 6, before U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris, David V. Chaser of the Fort Peck Reservation was sentenced to a term of 54 months imprisonment, three years supervised release and a special assessment of $200.
Chaser was charged with and pleaded to three counts of assault after hitting a man over the head with a glass bottle at a house, then taking its jagged remains and stabbing a woman in the face and neck with it. The injuries barely missed her jugular vein and an important artery, which could have led to massive blood loss or death. Chaser then ran to a nearby gas station where he reported to law enforcement that he had just stabbed someone.
The court sentenced Chaser to 54 months of imprisonment, with three years of supervised release to follow. Because there is no parole in the federal system, the truth in sentencing guidelines mandate that Chaser will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, he does have the opportunity to shorten the term of custody by earning credit for good behavior. However, this reduction will not exceed 15 percent of the overall sentence.
This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice.