Written by Herald-News
(Editor’s Note: The blotter is a partial list of incidents involving the Wolf Point police and volunteer fire departments between Oct. 5-11.)
At 2:04 p.m., officers responded to a report of an alleged 13-year-old female runaway near Bryan’s and returned her to her family or guardian in Wolf Point.
At 8:17 p.m., officers cited Veronica Lambert, 48, on suspicion of criminal mischief in the 300 block of Fourth Avenue South.
At 2:44 p.m., officers responded to a report of a counterfeit bill at the Wolf Point Federal Credit Union.
At 7:07 p.m., officers responded to a motor vehicle accident in the intersection of Third Avenue South and Anaconda Street. A 65-year-old Brockton man drove the vehicle that hit a 72-year-old man who was transported by ambulance and died later that night. No arrests were reported. Officers say alcohol and speed were not factors resulting in the incident.
At 6:29 a.m., officers arrested Joseph Bauer, 21, of Oswego on suspicion of driving under the influence, driving without a license and assault with bodily fluids in Town Pump.
At 10:58 a.m., officers responded to a report of alleged runaway females aged 13 and 14 in the 100 block of Main Street and returned them to their jurisdictions in Joliet and Idaho.
At 11:42 a.m., officers responded to a report of an alleged 17-year-old male runaway near the Amtrak station and returned him to his jurisdiction in Indiana.
At 3:36 a.m. officers responded to a report of vandalism in the 200 block of Main Street. The incident remains under investigation.
At 6:18 p.m., officers arrested Jennifer Killsnight, 36, on suspicion of simple assault in Town Pump Park.
At 11:43 p.m., officers arrested Adam Grainger, 31, of Poplar on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and refusing a test along U.S. Hwy. 2 in Wolf Point.
At 5:56 p.m., officers cited Robert Weeks, 28, of Wolf Point on suspicion of operating a motor vehicle without a driver’s license in the 500 block of Alder Street.
At 6:45 p.m., officers cited Davis Cravens, 18, of Wolf Point on suspicion of operating a motor vehicle without a driver’s license in the 500 block of Eureka Street.
At 7:11 p.m., officers responded to a report of a stolen vehicle in the 100 block of Eureka Street. A suspect has been identified.
In addition to the mentioned incidents, the police department responded to the following reports: check of wellbeing, 10; public assistance, nine; removal of an unwanted person, nine; unfounded report, nine; alarm, seven; civil stand by, five; domestic disturbance, five; medical assistance, four; assist other agency, three; animal complaint, two; school requested assistance, one.
Written by John Plestina
Dr. Kenneth Ryan makes a point to the Fort Peck Tribes Executive Board about the cultural and sacred significance of red pipestone. (Photo by John Plestina)
The Fort Peck Tribes have joined more than 20 other tribes in opposing the quarrying and sale of catlinite — a distinctive red rock also known as pipestone — from the Pipestone National Monument in Minnesota because the site is sacred to Native Americans.
The tribes executive board voted unanimously to take the position Monday, Oct. 5.
At issue is the practice of quarrying red pipestone from the monument and making trinkets for sale. The opposition to the practice stems from a Native American belief that the Creator visited the site more than 10,000 years ago and said that is the place to worship Him.
Many believe the monument is a significant site for many American Indian cultures and want it preserved a sacred place that should be treated with reverence and respect.
Pipestone is a soft, red stone found at the Pipestone National Monument, which is located in southwestern Minnesota near the borders with South Dakota and Iowa.
An act of Congress created the monument in 1937 for cultural and historical significance with the intention of preserving the pipestone quarries in a natural prairie setting.
Dr. Kenneth Ryan, director of the Fort Peck Tribes’ Workforce Development Program, said the Pipestone National Monument is a place of peace because the Creator told the people they could pray to Him there 10,000 or 11,000 years ago.
He said it should be raised to a level of a world religious site and the quarrying and sales of trinkets made from the red pipestone should stop.
“The Creator came to earth and said, ‘This is how you should contact me,’” Ryan said.
He said he participated in a conference call with the tribes and National Park Service.
“The park service asked the Fort Peck Tribes, ‘What should we do?’” Ryan said.
Executive board member Thomas “Tommy” Christian said the site should be designated as a sacred cultural site and that the commercialization and exploitation should be banned.
He made the motion and Stacey Summers seconded it.
Written by Eric Killelea
Citing “misunderstandings of language” as reason to deny an independent contract agreement the previous week, Wolf Point School District trustees voted 6-0 to rehire former Northside Elementary School principal Dr. Ann Beste-Guldborg as data analyst and assessment coordinator Monday, Sept. 28.
“I would like to apologize to the board for not keeping us on task and not making it clear on what we were voting on last meeting,” said chairman Mark Kurokawa during a special school board meeting. “There were misunderstandings for myself and possibly of the voting members.”
The school board voted 3-3 to deny the contract Wednesday, Sept. 23, with several trustees claiming citizens and educators were upset with the rehiring process. Kurokawa and trustees Corey Reum and Lanette Clark voted to deny the contract, while trustees Brandon Babb, LaRae Hanks and Linda Hansen voted in approval.
“Do what you want, but this is one of the most important jobs in the school,” said superintendent Gary Scott during the initial meeting.
The approved contract considers a total compensation package of $64,000 annually void of benefits for the former administrator, who took a buyout of her previous employment contract in 2012. Kurokawa said the contract now includes language directly from the Montana School Board Association to better ensure “safety for the school.”
It lists numerous federally and state mandated tasks for Beste-Guldborg, who planned to start work this week: enter racial and ethnicity information and Certificates of Indian Blood requests into the Student Information System; complete monitoring reports for the Title III program; complete school district reporting for the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights; complete data for the school and district report card; conduct academic assessments of job applicants.
In other business, the school board voted 5-1 to spend $21,943 to repair the bleachers in the Wolf Point High School gym. But the chairman argued that repairs to the bleacher’s motors and wheels failed to take precedence over needs at the local high school and elementary schools.
“We keep passing resolutions and spending money, but we have no plans,” Kurokawa said before voting to deny the repair project.
After the Original high school building burned, the current high school was built in the late 1960s. Since the construction of the gym’s bleachers were “grandfathered into” the Americans with Disability Act of 1990, the trustees said they would wait to update handicapped accessibility.
The superintendent said the updates would be completed in time, along with the entire gym floor replacement. Voters in the district rejected a levy in May 2014 that would have funded the replacement of the gym floor and repaving of the parking lot.
Written by Eric Killelea
Area officials plan to request funding from the Montana Board of Housing in November to build the long-awaited $6.2 million North Star Apartments.
Gene Leuwer, of Helena-based GL Development told city officials he applied for $5.1 million in state-allocated low-income housing tax credits. Officials now hope to use that amount plus the $750,000 in already received housing money toward the project.
“I think we have a 50/50 chance to get it funded,” Leuwer said during an informational meeting Oct. 1 at the Great Northern Development Corporation Office in Wolf Point. “I think we have as good a shot as anybody and a better shot than most.”
The current plan is to build 27 units: seven one-bedroom units, 12 two-bedroom units and eight three-bedroom units in northern Wolf Point. Officials plan to annex the current property into city limits.
The focus remains on families with incomes that range between 40 and 60 percent of the area median income. For example, a family of four with an annual household income between $23,960 and $35,940 may qualify for three-bedroom rent from $623 to $934 a month. Leuwer said eligible tenants could obtain “rent vouchers” to afford the cost — a “self-serving strategy to get people to move in.”
“The [state board of housing] had an appetite for the project in the past,” Leuwer said. “They are disappointed that it didn’t happen. I don’t believe there’s any ill-will or disposition against the project. My speculation is it may just be the opposite.”
Three years ago, Jonathan Reid & Associates, of Colorado worked with the city and contracted project manager GNDC to build a $5.3 million Wolf Point Village, but the developer withdrew after two rounds of over-budgeted bids. Officials said the plan did not take into consideration the high-cost of workers in the oil patch.
Several weeks ago, city officials announced they supported plans to build the newly named apartment complex – potentially constructing the first units not financed through the Fort Peck Housing Authority since the mid-1980s.
Bill Haynes, of Billings-based Collaborative Design Architects, who worked on the previous project, said if low-income housing tax credits were received they would bid the project in January or February for the spring construction season. It could take less than one year to complete the project. (The already received housing funds must be used by the March 2016 deadline.)
“There are more craftsman available now that haven’t been sucked over to Watford City or the Bakken,” Haynes said.
Written by John Plestina
Repaving the Wolf Point High School parking lot and gym floor and bleachers replacement topped a Wolf Point School District Facilities Committee discussion Tuesday, Sept. 29.
The parking lot and gym were respectively the first two items on a 15-point list of needed repairs at the district’s schools.
Superintendent Gary Scott said he hopes to have the bleachers repaired by the time basketball season starts.
Scott said the middle of the gym floor is in the worst shape. There was a discussion of retaining the old flooring at the sides of the gym and replacing the middle of the floor as a cost-saving measure.
School board vice chair Brandon Babb said cost is a concern but he would like to see the entire floor replaced.
Scott also said money could be saved by volunteers removing old flooring.
The school district selling advertising in the gym to help pay for needed repairs was discussed.
Scott also said the district should be able to shut off water in parts of school buildings, not entire building in the event of water or boiler leaks.
The committee toured Wolf Point High School/Junior High. A consensus was that restrooms were outdated and appeared dirty, even though they were not. Tiles need to be replaced.
Entries are in poor conditions and wood needs to be replaced.