Written by Jaimee Green
The Northeast Montana Health Services Charitable Foundation will host its' milestone 10th anniversary Spikes and Spurs Gala Sept. 27 at the Legion Hall in Poplar.
The "An Evening in the Wild West" themed gala will not only celebrate a decade of the charitable event, but will once again bring together local philanthropists in support of quality local healthcare.
"Our gala could not be held without the support of the generous group of businesses and community members who understand the importance of ensuring quality healthcare," said Beth Pickthorn, executive director for the foundation.
This event boasts an attendance of over 200 and raises funds to support life saving services and equipment for NEMHS's Trinity and Poplar Hospital campuses.
"The gala is the perfect opportunity to give back and support healthcare services in our community. And besides that, it's fun! When's the last time you dressed up and were able to enjoy peach champagne?" asked Sue Allmer, of KVCK Radio.
The legacy of the foundation's annual gala began in the fall of 2005, after a handful of Northeast Montana Health Services employees saw a need for hosting a fundraiser to supplement the medical needs of the two hospitals. Their goal was to create an event that would gather the community in a celebration that would be entertaining and fun, yet raise needed funds.
After seeing how beneficial the gala had been that first year, the foundation was created to bring philanthropic awareness for health care under a joined collaboration of community members. The foundation was formed Jan. 1, 2006.
A decade later, the Spikes and Spurs Gala is still going strong and is the largest fundraising event of the year for the foundation.
Ten years of gala fundraising has enabled the foundation to assist the hospitals greatly. The first money raised was given towards two new ambulances in 2007 with a total of $15,000 given. The foundation then pledged another $40,000 to the hospitals for the new digital mammography machine to be paid during 2008-2011. Other smaller projects were accomplished in each year, but it was the profit from the gala that assisted in a larger fashion.
The Spikes and Spurs Gala has made an average profit of between $40,000 to $50,000 annually to invest and donate. In the last three years, the foundation has been able to buy many items for the hospitals. They include laboratory refrigerators and plasma thawers for both locations; a drug analyzer machine for $15,000 and within the emergency departments, donations bought Bair Paw warming systems for both locations. Within 2½ years, because of successful fundraisers and games at the gala, they were able to give $65,000 to the Trinity Hospital campus for the new 4D ultrasound and cardiograph machine.
The Spikes and Spurs Gala has a history of being an enchanted, elaborate affair. Attendees have worn glamorous evening apparel or, as of late, era-inspired attire. Themes included Mardi Gras, Las Vegas, Black-Tie/Blue Jean, Roaring ‘20s and, this year, an “Evening in the Wild West."
The evening consists of drawings, silent and live auctions. A complimentary culinary chef and crew have been donated each year to serve a four-course meal. Entertainment and bands have also been a main attraction. This year, there will be a high energy performance from local group “The Belles of the West,” who will sing while the meal is being served. The evening's entertainment will be provided by Cold Hard Cash of Missoula.
The gala is raising money this year for Emergency Medical Services. They are in need of battery-powered cots. Also needed are laptops that are carried in the ambulance for transmitting vital information back to the hospital en route. This equipment will cost $35,000.
"It has been rewarding to have the community's support throughout the years," said Stephanie McGowan, this year's gala chairperson.
More information about this year’s Spikes and Spurs Gala and the foundation can be found at www.nemhscharitablefoundation.org.
Written by Bill Juve
Behold Roosevelt County Taxpayers. As the county commissioners sat in their positions of authority deciding what to do with the increased revenue from the oil severance tax, they decided the best use of our money was to give themselves and their cohorts another raise. All county employees have already been granted a cost of living raise. This oil severance tax money is a second raise.
With the stroke of a pen, the commissioners removed almost $400,000 a year from the county operating budget for their second raise. In 10 years, this will amount to almost $4 million. In previous discussions they have talked about what they perceive as a critical need, a new jail.
The question should have been: should we give ourselves another raise or use the money towards a jail or other pressing needs? You know which one won.
Their next action was to pass a resolution asking us taxpayers to allow them to raise our taxes to pay for a new jail. The second pay raise money would cover one-third of the cost of the estimated $12 million the commissioners are wanting for a new jail. Should this pass, all county employees will have money to pay the increase because they get an additional $3,600 a year. Will you?
Please keep in mind that in 2015 there will be a statewide property reappraisal, and if your property increases, your taxes to pay for this bond will go up.
There is no mass exodus of county employees going to work in the oilfield. The county may have less than 5 percent job vacancy with difficult recruitment, but this sure does not justify the $400,000 cost of another pay raise. They took your money with the stroke of a pen; they could put it back the same way.
Bill Juve, Taxpayer
Written by Herald-News
(Editor’s Note: The following blotter is a partial list of activities involving the Wolf Point police and volunteer fire departments between Sept. 1 and 7. All those arrested or cited are presumed innocent.)
2 a.m., officers responded to Cenex West for a report of two suspected stolen and forged checks and cited Sheridan Walton, 24, of Wolf Point, for theft and forgery.
3:48 p.m., officers responded to a residence on the 500 block of Garfield Street for a report of theft with a loss valued at less the $1,000. The investigation continued as of press time.
9:14 p.m., officers conducted a traffic stop on the 200 block of Front Street and arrested Kiedra Bigleggins, 28, of Wolf Point, and Wayne Bigby, 38, of Wolf Point, on warrants.
12:29 a.m., officers responded to a residence on the 200 block of Edgar Street for a report of vandalism to a vehicle with a loss valued at less than $1,000. The investigation continued at press time.
7:13 p.m., officers responded to Triangle Park for a report of two people passed out. Officers located one of the people and arrested Michael Williams, 27, of Wolf Point, for disorderly conduct and public intoxication.
9:09 p.m., officers responded to a residence on the 100 block of Benton Street for a report of a disturbance and arrested Santana Ledeau, 18, and Frank Johnston, 38, both of Wolf Point, for aggravated assault.
9:42 p.m., officers responded to a residence on the 300 block of Custer Street for a report of an assault. The investigation continued at press time.
11:05 p.m., officers conducted a traffic stop on the 100 block of Main Street and arrested Antoinette Sansaver, 25, of Wolf Point, on a warrant.
6:41 a.m., officers responded to a residence on the 300 block of Custer Street for a report of a man causing a disturbance and arrested Seth Laverdure, 18, of Wolf Point, for aggravated disorderly conduct and minor in possession of alcohol.
9:55 a.m., officers responded to Town Pump and arrested Shannon Chapman, 44, of Poplar, for driving under the influence, driving without a license and a warrant.
6:44 p.m., officers responded to a residence on the 500 block of Alder Street for a report of an intoxicated man causing a disturbance and arrested Aaron Grant, 29, of Poplar, for aggravated disorderly conduct.
12:05 a.m., officers responded to a residence on the 400 block of Fallon Street for a report of an assault with an uncooperative victim. No further action was taken.
6:58 a.m., officers responded to a residence on the 700 block of Johnson Street for a report of vandalism to a vehicle with a loss valued at less the $1,000. The investigation continued at press time.
9:09 a.m., officers responded to a residence on the 700 block of Johnson Street for a report of vandalism to property in the yard with a loss valued at less the $1,000. The investigation continued at press time.
10:20 a.m., officers took a report at the police station of a theft from the landfill with a loss valued at less the $1,000. The investigation continued at press time.
2:18 p.m., officers responded to a residence on the 300 block of Dawson Street for a report of vandalism to a vehicle with a loss valued at less the $1,000. The investigation continued at press time.
5:37 p.m., officers responded to a residence on the 200 block of Custer Street for a report of an intoxicated male causing a disturbance and arrested Michael Williams, 27, of Wolf Point, for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
8:37 p.m., officers responded to Albertson’s for a report of an intoxicated male causing a disturbance in the parking lot and arrested Luke Jackson, 39, of Wolf Point, for disorderly conduct.
11:24 p.m., officers responded to Town Pump for a report of vandalism to a vehicle with a loss valued at less the $1,000. The investigation continued at press time.
12:14 a.m., officers responded to a residence on the 600 block of Listerud Street for a report of a domestic disturbance and arrested Richard Wieser, 34, of Wolf Point, for aggravated disorderly conduct.
3:44 a.m., officers responded to a residence on the 200 block of Johnson Street for a welfare check at the request of a family member and arrested Carl Fourstar Jr., 49, of Wolf Point, on a warrant and unlawful possession of dangerous drugs.
4:49 p.m., officers responded to a residence on the 400 block of Fallon Street for a report of theft from the yard with a loss valued at less the $1,000. The investigation continued at press time.
9:36 p.m., officers responded to the Sherman Inn for a report of an assault and arrested Royce Birdsbill Sr., 45, of Wolf Point, on a warrant.
2:22 a.m., officers responded to the 200 block of Main Street for a report of a pedestrian struck by a vehicle and arrested Marcus Red Thunder, 24, of Poplar, for driving under the influence. Police reported that an unnamed person was transported by ambulance to Northeast Montana Health Services - Wolf Point Campus with undisclosed injuries.
3:49 a.m., officers responded to a residence on the 200 block of Helena Street for a report of an assault. The suspect left prior to police arrival. The investigation continued at press time.
9:49 p.m., officers responded to Town Pump and arrested David Menz, 45, of Wolf Point, for disorderly conduct.
10:20 p.m., officers responded to a residence on the 400 block of Fallon Street for a report of an assault and arrested Roxanne Bunting-Lambert, 41, of Wolf Point, for domestic abuse.
1:06 a.m., officers conducted a traffic stop on the 200 block of Custer Street after a short pursuit and arrested Charles Henry, 51, of Wolf Point, for driving under the influence and fleeing or eluding a law enforcement officer.
10:50 p.m., officers responded to Lucky Lil’s Casino for a report of an assault. The investigation continued at press time.
In addition to the above calls, the WPPD responded to the following calls between Sept. 1 and 7: civil standby, five; domestic disturbance, one; public assistance, 25; motor vehicle accidents, two; removal of unwanted individuals, 16; animal complaints, two; medical assistance, three; alarm, 10; assist other agency, three; unfounded report, seven; and driving complaints, four.
Written by John Plestina
Listening To Concerns -- Fort Peck Tribes Chairman A.T. “Rusty” Stafne listens as Sen. John Tester, D-Mont., fields a question during a listening session held in Poplar. (Photo by John Plestina)
Concerns that human trafficking could become a larger issue in eastern Montana and an increasing drug problem, especially the proliferation of methamphetamine, were major concerns expressed to Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and U.S. Attorney Mike Cotter during a listening session in Greet the Dawn Auditorium on the Fort Peck Community College campus in Poplar, Thursday, Aug. 28.
The westward creep of Bakken Oilfield development into Montana was blamed for the spike in crime.
“Montana and North Dakota have been hit especially hard,” Tester said of crime problems. “Bad actors are attracted to the profits [of Bakken trafficking].”
“We are already seeing negative impacts of oil and gas development with no benefits to us,” A.T. “Rusty” Stafne, chairman of the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux tribes, said.
Two people asked Tester and Cotter if the oil boom is worth the drug and other crime problems and the heavy trucks on the roads.
“It’s hard to imagine, but it is here in our region,” Cotter said.
He said victims of human trafficking are trafficked for prostitution or labor.
“Since the Bakken oil boom has happened here in the last 10 years, we have seen an increase in our area with illegal drugs and human trafficking that goes along with that,” Capt. Jim Summers of the Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice said.
He added that his department was focused mainly on drug crimes and that the proportions of the methamphetamine problem have increased significantly in recent years.
Summers said additional funding is needed for more and better paid investigators and officers.
Cotter said some of the drug trafficking is directly linked to cartels.
Cotter also said there has been an influx of oilfield workers into eastern Montana, many of which are young males, and many averaging $100,000 in annual earrings with substantial disposable incomes making them attractive to those trafficking in prostitution and drugs.
A woman said she was from the Bakken-impacted Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in western North Dakota and that Methamphetamine impacted 30 new born infants at Fort Bert-hold.
“So far in Montana, we have only seen sex trafficking,” Cotter said, but added that labor trafficking could come to the Bakken.
The U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Act defines human trafficking as the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purposes of subjection to involuntary servitude, as well as any commercial sex act performed by a person under 18 years of age.
Labor trafficking often targets illegal immigrants and includes forced labor debt bondage for transportation from another country to the United States, and is covered under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. It amounts to slavery.
Cotter said human trafficking purveyors often target vulnerable female victims raised in low-income, single-parent households. He said victims rarely come forward and when information is provided to law enforcement, the sources usually are other people with knowledge of the trafficking.
Sixty-one federally-funded task forces addressing human trafficking operate in all 50 states. They include the Montana Human Trafficking Task Force, established by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Montana in 2012.
Montana Assistant Attorney General Melissa Schlichting said the AG’s Office gives human trafficking a high priority.
Since 2010, 25 people have been charged for human trafficking crimes in South Dakota. Half of the victims were young Native American girls.
Cotter said several human trafficking cases have been successfully prosecuted in Montana and nearby states. They include William Richard Nielsen, of Missoula, who is serving a 40-year sentence in a federal prison. Cotter said Nielsen used the internet to lure a 12-year-old girl from Wyoming to Missoula in 2009, drugged and raped her. Cotter also talked about Iraqi refugee Mohammed Alaboudi, of Sioux Falls, S.D., who the U.S. Attorney in South Dakota said had drugged young girls and forced them into prostitution. A federal judge sentenced Alaboudi to four life terms earlier this year.
“North Dakota and South Dakota have successfully prosecuted cases that involved Native Americans as procurers and victims,” Cotter said. Some of those cases involved crimes committed in Williston.
Also cited was jurisdictional issues because of the presence of the reservation and that city, county, state and tribal law enforcement have agreements in place that allow them to work together.
Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office Jail Administrator Melvin Clark represented Sheriff Freedom Crawford, who did not attend the meeting.
Clark said man camps are a law enforcement issue.
“When we try and track them down, they’ve got a new place already,” he said.
The RCSO is under staffed.
“We’re down on the east end of the county. We can’t give as many officers to the reservation,” Clark said.
He added the deputies cannot afford rental housing in the Culbertson and Bainville areas.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has several agents based in Glasgow that work with all law enforcement agencies in the region.
Project Safe Bakken, comprised of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and others in Montana and North Dakota, is working to reduce human and drug trafficking and other crime in the area. Law enforcement in Montana and North Dakota and federal authorities share information.
Cotter asked the public to report known or suspected human trafficking.
“The public always has a place to go with evidence of human trafficking,” Cotter said.
To report a human or drug trafficking case, contact the FBI in Glasgow at 228-2533. Other law enforcement agency telephone numbers are: Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice, 768-5332; Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office, 653-6216; Wolf Point Police, 653-1093.
Written by Herald-News
The 22nd Annual Poplar Indian Days was held Labor Day weekend under the arbor in American Legion Park. A tradition in Poplar since 1993, the annual celebration was formerly the Iron Ring Celebration, held annually in Poplar in July until 1992. (Photos by John Plestina)