Written by John Plestina
Wolf Point School District trustees adopted the 2015-2016 elementary and high school budgets as presented Monday, Aug. 10. The combined budgets include a minimal mill levy increase that might result in a small tax hike for local property owners.
School district, municipal, county and other taxing entities will contribute to final determinations of taxes.
The total of 10 funds in the elementary school budget total $5,203,476 for 2015-2016, an increase from last year’s $5,103,787. The mill levy increases from 122.17 to 124.36.
The total high school budget will be $3,622,801 for 2015-2016, up from $3,449,560 in 2014-2015. In contrast to the elementary mill levy, the high school mill levy decreases from 95.18 last year to 91.87 for 2015-2016.
Current mill values are driven by taxable values of local real estate that the Montana Department of Revenue determines. Taxable values are market values of individual pieces of property times the tax rate for the property.
District superintendent Gary Scott said there has been a significant increase in taxable values in Wolf Point since the Department of Revenue conducted new tax valuations across the state during fall 2014, resulting in Roosevelt County real estate taxes increasing substantially, but more so in Culbertson and Bainville, which are Bakken Oilfield-impacted. In Wolf Point, taxes doubled and even tripled for some homeowners, increased only slightly for others and remained static for some.
Taxable value multiplied by the number of mills levied by the various taxing entities — school district, county, city, etc. — determine property tax liability.
One mill is valued at one-tenth of a penny.
How much could be appropriated from the new fiscal year budget for needed school building repairs remained in question.
The newly adopted high school budget adds $329,070 to the building reserve fund that currently has about $280,000. Part of the fund could pay for a new gym floor, repair or replacement of the bleachers, high school parking lot repaving and sidewalk drainage. The exact costs are not yet determined.
Scott is seeking private funding and grants to pay for part of the projects.
Written by John Plestina
More than two years after the robbery of Northern Lights Casino that injured one casino employee, the third person implicated in the crime has been sentenced in U.S. District Court in Great Falls.
U.S. District Judge Brian Morris sentenced Patrick Beauchamp, 35, to 34 months in the custody of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and ordered him to pay $1,358 in restitution Tuesday, July 28. Beauchamp will also face two years of supervised release.
He could have been sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Beauchamp pleaded guilty to aiding/abetting a robbery in April.
Authorities say Beauchamp planned the robbery with John Myrick, 43, Olyn Payne, 35, and Donelle Parker, 43, all of Wolf Point, and drove the getaway vehicle following the robbery and assault that injured a casino cashier on June 12, 2013. Parker was reported to have been Payne’s girlfriend.
According to court documents, Parker and Payne entered the casino and Payne struck a 19-year-old female cashier on the head with an ax handle while Parker threatened customers with a bat. The two men fled to the vehicle Beauchamp was driving with $1,340 in cash.
The injured cashier was transported by ambulance to Northeast Montana Health Services - Wolf Point Campus and treated for non-life threatening injuries.
The Wolf Point Police Department, Roosevelt County Sheriff Office, Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice and Montana Highway Patrol all responded to a 911 call. Officers stopped the car moments after they fled the Northern Lights parking lot and arrested the four individuals. Police found cash strewn throughout the vehicle, as well as the bat. The ax handle was found on the floor of the casino.
The WPPD and Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice investigated the case.
Myrick was indicted on a federal robbery charge in August 2014. He entered a guilty plea.
Morris sentenced Myrick on Jan. 13 to 46 months in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons with a court recommendation that he participate in a 500-hour residential drug treatment program in Oregon, if eligible. Myrick was ordered to pay $1,358 restitution. He was also ordered to three years supervised released.
Parker and Payne pleaded not guilty during an arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Judge John T. Johnston in Great Falls on March 10, following federal grand jury indictments.
Morris sentenced Payne on July 9 to 48 months in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons with two years supervised release, $1,358 in restitution and a $100 special assessment.
A sentencing hearing for Parker was continued from July 30 and reset for Thursday, Aug. 13.
Written by Herald-News
A grass fire burned several acres east of Wolf Point just east of Windy Hill Road about five miles north of U.S. Hwy. 2 on Tuesday, Aug. 11. Firefighters were called out at 10:42 a.m. and the fire was under control with firefighters mopping up at the scene before 1 p.m. The Wolf Point Volunteer Fire Department, Brockton Volunteer Fire Department and BIA firefighters responded. In addition to a local BIA truck and crew, trucks and crews from Wisconsin and Michigan that were in the area also responded. (Photo by John Plestina)
Written by John Plestina
Fort Peck Community College student interns Tom Tallwhiteman (left) and Wayne Sandar of Poplar work on the harvest of the FPCC Community Garden Friday, Aug. 7. (Photo by John Plestina)
Fort Peck Community College’s Community Garden in Poplar is having a good harvest.
The FPCC 150- by 100-foot community garden is in its second year in its current location just north of the James E. Shanley Tribal Library on the FPCC campus in Poplar. The garden has been in existence for about 15 years in various locations.
Terrance Gourneau of the FPCC Ag Department is the project director for the community garden. He is working with four student interns, harvesting everything that is ready to harvest.
“This is one of the better harvests we’ve had,” Gourneau said.
The garden includes corn, carrots, potatoes, peppers, cucumbers, celery, cabbage, beats, tomatoes, zucchini, squash, melons and radishes.
“They pulled an ear of corn off about a week and a half ago and ate it raw, and said it was really sweet,” Gourneau said Friday, Sept. 7.
“We’ve taken some to elders. We’ve taken some to the Lord’s Table [soup kitchen] in Wolf Point,” he said.
“[The interns] also go around the campus and they take care of the flowers,” Gourneau said.
“With this harvest, we’re trying to do a canning class,” he said.
There is an underground sprinkler system that was installed during the spring.
A Girl Scout troop from Poplar has a garden plot at the site.
Written by John Plestina
High Plains Motors salesman Phil Letsche hands Megan Knuth the keys to the 2015 Chevrolet Cruze she earned from Mary Kay Cosmetics.
(Photo by John Plestina)
Earning the use of company cars of varying values are ladders of success Mary Kay Cosmetics offers its directors and a Circle kindergarten teacher received her first company car Thursday, Aug. 6.
Megan Knuth of Circle has sold part-time for Mary Kay for about five years and became more active with the company in January, becoming a Mary Kay director in McCone County a few months ago. She has built a team of about 30 sales representatives.
Knuth earned her first car on Mary Kay’s ladder of success, 2015 Chevrolet Cruze, with a courtesy delivery through High Plains Motors in Wolf Point.
“They’re very generous. It’s full out. They treat us like royalty,” Knuth said.
“I earned it through leadership. From the time I first started working for this [car], it took me about 60 days to finish my car,” she said.
“It will be two years [that she will have the car] or until I earn another vehicle,” Knuth said.
“I’m in the top 2 percent of the company, which is an honor within itself,” she said.
Earning the use of a company-owned Chevrolet Cruze for two years is the first step on a ladder of success that advances to a Chevrolet Equonox, BMW and finally a pink Cadillac.