Written by John Plestina
No, it’s not spring yet.
The unseasonably warm January weather has broken records in northeast Montana.
“We did break a record yesterday [Monday, Jan. 26]. It was 51 degrees and broke a record of 43 set in 2006,” Glasgow National Weather Service warning coordination meteorologist Tanja Fransen said.
Weather recording at the Wolf Point airport began in 1998.
Fransen said the temperature in Wolf Point at 2 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 27, was 48 degrees and was expected to rise to 50.
“Basically we had what’s called a ridge of high pressure over the western U.S. that stretches from Texas all the way to Seattle,” she said.
“For Montana, December was the ninth warmest on record for the whole state,” Fransen said.
“In the last seven days we’ve actually averaged 15 degrees about normal,” she said.
“They haven’t officially called it an el nino yet,” Fransen said, explaining that we are experiencing a milder weather pattern.
But how long will the pseudo spring weather last?
“Not long,” said Fransen.
She said the weather will begin cooling down this week with predicted highs at Wolf Point of 37 degrees Friday and 20 degrees Sunday, and lows down to zero by Monday morning.
However, Fransen said there is an extended forecast showing warming in February. She said temperatures Feb. 4 through 10 are predicted to be above normal.
In addition, Fransen said weather patterns indicate warmer than normal weather for February, March and April.
A downside to the warmer weather, she said, could be heightened fire danger.
Written by John Plestina
The man accused of having sexual relations with a 14-year-old girl signed a plea agreement Wednesday, Jan. 21, less than two weeks before jury selection was scheduled to begin for a trial in 15th District Court.
Timothy Earl Oglesby, 31, of Wolf Point is charged with sexual intercourse without consent and incest, both felonies that carry potential life sentences and $50,000 fines. The alleged incidents were reported more than two years ago, according to the charging documents.
Oglesby was not charged until this year. He had left the area and was living in Hot Springs, Ark.
He was jailed in Arkansas last year on a Montana warrant. Roosevelt County Sheriff’s deputies brought Oglesby back to Wolf Point last summer. He has been lodged in the Roosevelt County Jail.
Under the plea agreement, the charge of sexual intercourse without consent would be dismissed if Oglesby pleads guilty to the incest charge and admits his crime in court.
A conviction for incest carries a maximum life sentence. The state would recommend a 40-year sentence to Montana State Prison with 20 years suspended and eligibility for parole after 10 years served if he completes phases I and II of sex offender treatment or an equivalent. The state reserves the right to recommend restitution and conditions. Oglesby will be a designated sex offender.
A date for Oglesby to enter his change of plea has not been scheduled. Jury selection for a trial was set to begin Feb. 2.
Seventh Judicial District Judge Katherine Bidegaray of Sidney was scheduled to preside over the trial in 15th District Court in Wolf Point and is expected to preside for the change of plea.
Fifteenth District Judge David Cybulski was disqualified in July after defense attorney Charity McLarty of Sidney filed a motion for substitution of district judge.
The Roosevelt County Commissioners approved a request Tuesday, Dec. 30, by Assistant County Attorney Jordan Knudsen for the Montana Attorney General to appoint a special prosecutor for Oglesby. That special prosecutor is Ole Olson of Helena, an assistant attorney general.
According to charging documents, Wolf Point Police took a report Nov. 18, 2012, alleging sexual assault at a south side residence.
The charging documents also allege that the victim told the WPPD that the incidents had been going on for a long time.
The alleged victim was given a sexual assault examination at Northeast Montana Health Services - Poplar Campus hospital. The sexual assault exam kit was sent to the Montana Crime Lab for forensic analysis.
The juvenile was then placed in protective custody with Child and Family Services.
A search warrant was executed at Oglesby’s residence. Officers collected a bed sheet and other potential evidence. A crime lab serology report several months later stated that there was semen on the sheet.
Written by Katelynn Smith
At the Wolf Point City Council meeting Monday, Jan. 19, the council and Great Northern Development Corporation came to an agreement that allows the Wolf Point Village apartment complex project to move forward and enables a $700,000 budget gap to be bridged.
GNDC housing specialist and marketing officer Brianna Vine informed the council that the Wolf Point Village project is on a time crunch and will need to be completed by December.
The developer will be deferring $131,360 of his developer fee through year 12 of the Period of Affordability, which is 20 years, and will begin on the date of project completion.
GNDC proposed a deferment of the $80,000 city fee. An invoice of the total amount spent on the project is to be sent to the developer at the end of construction. This would include all administrative expenses paid to GNDC, any unseen engineering fees and other expenses that might occur.
The council approved the deferment of the fee and the remainder of the $80,000 is to be paid back by annual payments from the developer to the city over the course of the 20-year Period of Affordability. These annual payments would be approximately $2,500.
Written by John Plestina
At least two of several window shooting vandalism victims said they are frustrated that no one has been charged two months after the first incidents were reported and they wonder if there will ever be restitution.
Numerous incidents were reported to the Wolf Point Police Department during November and December 2014 that left several thousand dollars in damages from holes in windows in houses, cars, trucks and at least one motor home. Glass was broken on several sliding glass doors. Authorities say the weapon is believed to be a BB or pellet gun, and all or most of the shootings were done from a passing motor vehicle. The majority of the incidents occurred on the north side of Wolf Point.
The WPPD acknowledged in December that four male Wolf Point juveniles had been identified as suspects.
Police chief Jeff Harada said recently that the investigation was continuing and that it included compiling claims for damages.
Brandon Babb owns a pickup truck that was parked in the Wolf Point High School parking lot when a hole was shot in a back window, leaving him with a $359 repair bill.
“I’d sure like to get it reimbursed — absolutely,” Babb said Saturday, Jan. 24.
“I haven’t heard a single thing about it since I filed the complaint two months ago. We reported it that night,” he said.
“I’ve seen this kind of thing through the years; all the tires that have been slashed,” Babb said and added that he wondered how many incidents were ever reported to police.
North side resident Bruce Knerr said pellets damaged two vehicles he owns that were parked on Fourth Avenue North.
The most serious damage was to a pickup Knerr owns.
“My pickup has a custom paint job. You can’t put a price on that,” he said.
A pellet caused a quarter-size paint chip. Knerr said the custom paint job cost job cost nearly $5,000.
The back window of an SUV Knerr owns was also damaged during the same incident.
Knerr said he does not believe any pellets struck his house.
Written by John Plestina
Difficulty working with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality as opposed to the federal Environmental Protection Agency was discussed during the Great Northern Development Corporation quarterly meeting Thursday, Jan. 22.
The acronyms for the state and federal regulatory agencies were thrown around during a discussion by members of the board of the nonprofit regional development corporation that included difficulties working with the DEQ. It was said that the that DEQ is more punitive than assistive.
“EPA is easier to work with than DEQ,” Roosevelt County Commissioner Gary Macdonald said. He serves on the GNDC board.
The EPA has jurisdiction on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, but EPA sometimes defers to the DEQ to ensure compliance.
GNDC works with the EPA with the Brownfields environmental cleanup program. Projects include the clean-up of the former site of Gysler Furniture and Appliance in downtown Wolf Point, that was destroyed by fire in March 2014. The clean-up began in October 2014, and was suspended the following month due to weather. Completion is anticipated in the spring.
In other business, the board heard a presentation by Maureen Rude, representing NeighborWorks of Great Falls, an organization that has helped more than 5,000 Montana families become homeowners.
It was discussed that NeighborWorks is a full rehabilitation program, therefore if demolition of an existing structure is required, it must be replaced with something comparable.
The United States Economic Development Administration and the state of Montana have certified GNDC as a nonprofit regional development corporation that serves a six-county economic development district, consisting of Roosevelt, McCone, Valley, Daniels, Sheridan and Garfield counties. The Fort Peck Tribes is also a member.
GNDC was incorporated in October 1995 and has remained in continuous operation. Garfield County was included in GNDC later than the other five counties.