Wolf Point Herald

Bridge Park Trash Rankles Caretaker, FWP


Bridge Park caretaker Dave Fyfe points to a mattress and two box springs that were illegally dumped beside a picnic area between Aug. 24 and Aug. 27.    (Photo by John Plestina)

People using Lewis and Clark Park, commonly known as Bridge Park, as a garbage dump has raised the hackles of the park’s caretaker and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, which manages the site.
FWP has managed the site that includes the Lewis and Clark Fishing Access Site near the Montana Hwy. 13 bridge that separates Roosevelt and McCone counties since 1999. It is about seven miles east of Wolf Point.
The scenic park along the Missouri River, that should be pristine at all times, has been used by some people to dump trash, much of which is thrown on the ground.
A mattress and two box springs were illegally dumped beside a picnic area between Sunday, Aug. 24 and Wednesday, Aug. 27.
“I wish I could catch the guys who are doing this,” Dave Fyfe, the park’s caretaker, said.
“Somebody has to know. Somebody has to have seen them doing it,” he said.
“It isn’t hunters or fishermen who are doing this. They take care of it,” Fyfe said.
“At one time, the Wolf Point Lions Club took care of the whole thing,” he said.
Fyfe is the current Lions president.
Woody Baxter, FWP Region 6 fishing access site manager, is in charge of the park, including the fishing access site.
“Of 220 fishing access sites, this is the most abused one in the state,” he said.
“We have scheduled maintenance, but walls on the restroom building get covered with graffiti on average of twice a year,” Baxter said.
“The caretakers on the average last about two years and they get fed up with it. They just get fed up with it,” he said.
Baxter reiterated what Fyfe said about fishermen not abusing the site.
“You’ve got such a treasure there. It just gets abused by a few,” he said.
“We also have a problem with locals throwing their trash in our dumpsters,” Baxter said of some McCone County residents crossing the bridge and throwing their garbage in dumpsters at the park.
Dumping trash and other violations may be reported to FWP by calling (800) TIP-MONT (800) 847-6668.

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Chamber Signs Buy-Sell Agreement For Big Box Development

The Wolf Point Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture board of directors voted unanimously, Tuesday, Sept. 2, to sign a buy-sell agreement with a Twin Cities developer, paving the way for a national retailer to build in Wolf Point.
Oppidan Investment Company, a Minnetonka, Minn., commercial developer, told the chamber board, Tuesday, Aug. 5, that an unnamed national retailer is interested in locating on the 25-acre site on U.S. Hwy. 2, east of the Homestead Inn that the Wolf Point Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture has owned since the 1970s. Oppidan would then build a 26,000-square-foot building for what Johnson called a general merchandise retailer and lease the building to that company.
One month ago, Oppidan asked the Chamber to sell the land for $1 per acre. The agreement the chamber board signed calls for Oppidan to pay the chamber $35,000 per acre for up to 10 acres.
The proposed 26,000- square-foot building would be slightly larger than the 25,000- square-foot ALCO store in Wolf Point.
Oppidan handles property actuations and develops construction sites for several national retailers, grocery chains and restaurants.
It is unknown if more than one business might locate on the site.

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City Moves Forward On Gysler Property Purchase, Cleanup

The Wolf Point City Council authorized the city’s purchase of the charred former site of Gysler Furniture and Appliance on the 100 block of Anaconda Street for $1 during a special meeting, Thursday, Aug. 21.
The purchase is contingent on Gysler Furniture and Appliance owner John Gysler paying a 20 percent match of the cost of the cleanup, which is $55,493, and providing proof of continued insurance coverage on the property.
The council also advertised for a request for qualifications for engineering firms under the guidance of Great Northern Development Corporation, authorized a special committee under the city council to select a firm based on the RFQ and authorized acceptance of terms and conditions for a federal Brownfields program loan to the city with loan forgiveness.
The site qualifies as a designated Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields site where expansion, redevelopment or reuse of the property might be complicated by the presence of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants. The designation makes the city eligible for funding through a revolving loan fund and/or federal grant funding for remediation and clean-up of the site.
While the Gysler buildings dated to the early 1900s, remodeling of both structures during the 1960s included roofing and flooring materials made of asbestos, which the fire this year rendered as “friable asbestos,” which is any building material containing more than 1 percent asbestos that could be pulverized or powdered by hand pressure, including asbestos that is damaged by fire, and is subject to federal regulation.
“Due to the asbestos, we are not allowing anyone to go in and we are not allowing anything else hazardous into the property,” Mayor Chris Dschaak said.
He said he wants to see the site cleaned up this year, which had been the intention of city officials since they first began working with GNDC and environmental consultant Newfields of Missoula to remediate the site in June.
GNDC had approved the loan just hours before the council met and the Eastern Montana Brownfields Coalition approved the loan Tuesday, Aug. 26.
The council is expected to award bids by the end of September.
There is a clause for a minimum resale price for the property of $25,000 for the two adjacent lots. If a buyer cannot be found that would pay that price, the city is permitted to give the property to GNDC, which would then attempt to sell it.
The council approved a call for bids for the cleanup during the monthly meeting, Monday, Aug. 18.
A fast-moving fire on March 10 destroyed the Gysler buildings.

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Tribes To Receive Federal Grant To Fight Domestic, Sexual Violence

The Fort Peck Tribes is one of five entities that will share $3 million dollars in grants from the Office on Violence Against Women to increase local and tribal capacity to prosecute violent crimes against women and provide services to victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking in the Bakken region of Montana and North Dakota.
The Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence will also benefit.
U.S. Associate Attorney General Tony West announced the grants, Tuesday, Aug. 26.
The Fort Peck Tribes will also receive a three-year $450,000 grant to support the salary, travel and training costs of a tribal prosecutor, who will be cross-designated to serve as a tribal special assistant United States Attorney in the District of Montana U.S. Attorney’s Office in Great Falls.
“This news comes at a meaningful time in Montana,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Cotter. “Communities in and around the Bakken are witnessing its impact, and this grant provides critical resources, including mental health counseling, legal assistance, and other resources to prevent violence against women and help victims recover.”
 The Office on Violence Against Women’s Bakken Region special initiative launched in April 2014 and is the first large scale project targeting resources to support the expansion of services to victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking as well as aid the local criminal justice system in responding to these crimes in the Bakken region.
With the funding, the Fort Peck Tribes will be able to enhance responses to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking, and expand mental health assistance, advocacy, legal assistance, prevention education, sexual assault forensic examiner programs, sexual assault response teams and law enforcement training. The grants are part of the Justice Department’s ongoing commitment to protecting women from violence and strengthening the capacity of communities to respond to domestic and sexual violence.

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School Board Extends Reading Grant

The Wolf Point School board extended a reading grant and hired three people during a special meeting, Tuesday, Aug. 26, at 5 p.m..
The board approved a two-year extension of the Montana Striving Readers Grant, which was originally a three-year grant.
The principals of each of the schools talked to the trustees about the grant program’s benefits.
In other business, the school board hired Judy Leddige and Kelli Vine for the Southside Elementary School Breakfast Buddies program. Karen Yellow Robe was hired as an assistant cook.
Four closed executive sessions were held to address student issues.
The regular school board meeting for September is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 9, at 6 p.m. in the Wolf Point Junior/Senior High School library.

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