Written by Herald-News
Each year, The Herald-News interviews and introduces teachers new to Wolf Point schools. This week, we feature new teaching staff at Wolf Point Junior/Senior High School.
Five new teachers have joined the staff at Wolf Point High School for the 2014-15 school year. They are Olabinjo Aliu, Melanie Blount-Cole, Linda
Cacopardo, Danielle Solberg and Martin Toavs Jr.
Cacopardo, a junior high math, science and health teacher, came to Wolf Point from Lame Deer, where she taught the last school year.
Born on Long Island, N.Y., and raised in New York state and Maryland, Cacopardo taught in West Virginia for five years before coming to Montana.
“These kids are impressive,” Cacopardo said. “Coming here from Lame Deer, I’m thrilled to be here with these kids.”
Aliu is a new math teacher at WPHS and comes to Wolf Point from Poplar, where he taught math during the 2013-14 school year.
A native of Nigeria, Aliu taught in Philadelphia, Pa., 20 years before coming to Montana.
Blount-Cole comes to Wolf Point Junior High School as a teacher after working at Frazer School the entire 14 years of her career as a teacher and principal the last two years.
“I thought this [Wolf Point] is where I’m supposed to be,” Blount-Cole said.
Solberg teaches high school special education English and math, reading and an algebra support class.
The job in Wolf Point is her first full-time teaching position. Solberg previously taught part-time at Lighthouse Christian School in Twin Falls, Idaho.
She was born in Fargo, N.D., went to elementary school in
Scobey and high school in Boise, Idaho.
Toavs returned to Wolf Point to begin a second career as a high school agriculture teacher after working 22 years in groundwater remediation research at the University of Nebraska.
He was born in Wolf Point, raised on a nearby farm and graduated from WPHS. He said he was a sophomore when the current WPHS building opened in 1969.
“I like it here. I was hired as a sub in January and hired full-time in June,” Toavs said.
Written by John Plestina
A 16-count federal indictment has been filed against a Wolf Point woman accused of distributing methamphetamine.
According to U.S. District Court charging documents, Cheryl Lee Culbertson-Nygaard, 45, was arrested in Wolf Point, Monday, Sept. 22, and pleaded not guilty to all charges during an arraignment in Great Falls. She has been held in federal custody.
The first count of the indictment alleges conspiracy, or complicity to distribute methamphetamine between 2010 and Aug. 13, 2013, in Wolf Point and other locations in Montana.
Count 1 also reads: “...with others both known and unknown to the Grand Jury, knowingly and unlawfully conspired and agreed to possess, with the intent to distribute, a substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine.”
Count 2 alleges possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute between 2010 and 2013.
The other 13 counts claim specific incidents of alleged methamphetamine distribution on different dates during the three-year period.
Culbertson-Nygaard faces potential penalties that include a maximum of 20 years in prison, a $1 million fine and at least three years of supervised release for each count.
Written by John Plestina
The Great Northern Development Corp. board discussed supporting funding legislation during the nonprofit regional development corporation’s quarterly meeting, Thursday, Oct. 9.
The Eastern Montana Impact Coalition will draft legislative bill, with a goal of obtaining as much as $90 million for needs in the 16 counties in eastern Montana.
“We’re taking a swing at $90 million,” GNDC executive director Martin DeWitt said.
He said House Bill 218 from the last legislative session would be used as a basic template for the draft of the new bill.
HB 218 was a bipartisan bill that was intended to require the Board of Oil and Gas to administer a grant program for oil and gas impacts and would have set up a $15 million annual fund to help local governments impacted by oil and gas development.
HB 218 started at $75 million, was whittled down to about $30 million by the time it had passed in both houses of the Legislature and was ultimately vetoed by Gov. Steve Bullock.
In other business, DeWitt reported that he met with several people in Billings in August, including Ken Elliott of Wolf Point, a partner in Wolf Point Green, the developer that is hoping to clean up the 110-acre former Kenco Refinery site a few miles east of Wolf Point and develop a “clean-energy campus,” that would include a new refinery and rail terminal within about four years. DeWitt’s report included that plans are to move forward with the project.
Wolf Point Green purchased the property in December 2011. Long-range plans, according to Elliott, include a wind farm and solar and geothermal energy production that would partially power the refinery. There are also plans to build a hotel and greenhouses heated with energy produced within the site.
DeWitt also reported that the second round of construction bidding has been completed for the Wolf Point Village apartment complex development that is slated for the northern edge of Wolf Point. A first round of bids during the summer came in too high. A groundbreaking date has not been determined.
GNDC is currently administering a federal HOME Program grant for $750,000 for the development and construction of the 24-unit affordable housing complex that is anticipated to be complete and open to tenants by summer 2015.
In another matter, DeWitt reported that funding applications have been submitted for the proposed Sand Creek Winds wind farm development near Vida.
GNDC has been working with Sand Creek Winds since 2012 to determine the feasibility of a 75 megawatt wind farm to be located on 18,360 acres of private lands in northern McCone County. So far, a feasibility study and system impact study have been completed with the assistance of a $119,000 USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant and a $21,000 Big Sky Trust Fund Grant. GNDC is currently working with Sand Creek Winds on securing additional funds to move forward with an environmental assessment.
It was announced that a public meeting addressing the wind farm project will be held at the school in Vida Wednesday, Oct. 29, at 5 p.m.
The board also voted to accept online donations for community and business development funds and to make that option available on the GNDC website. The board will review that decision at the next annual meeting in July.
The GNDC board also heard a teleconference presentation from a Vancouver, Canada, fundraising company that seeks private foundations as funding sources. The cost to GNDC would be $8,995 for a five-year-membership. The representative of that company said there is a money-back guarantee. The board made no decision, but might revisit it in the future.
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.
Written by John Plestina
The Wolf Point School board approved several personnel hires and two resignations during the monthly meeting Monday, Oct. 13.
The trustees accepted resignations from head wrestling coach Ryan Helmer and assistant girls’ basketball coach Danielle Solberg. Replacement coaches will not be appointed until November. The vacancies will be advertised.
The board also authorized the purchase of a 2015 Chevrolet Suburban LS for $43,990 and a 2015 Chevrolet Traverse for $29,590, both from High Plains Motors. The funding source for the Suburban will be $21,995 from the elementary flexibility fund and $21,995 from the high school flexibility fund. The funding source for the Chevrolet Traverse will be $29,590 from the traffic education fund.
The board also voted to dispose of a 2004 Ford van by bid.
The trustees also approved an early graduation request by a female high school student who has meet all requirements to graduate.
The board approved purchase orders for $18,000 for E L Boiler Works for a hot water heater at the junior/senior high school and for $15,810 to CXTEC for a district-wide router.
The board also approved the following personnel hires: Casee Lepper and Angela Fields, substitute teachers; Diane Taylor, Southside Breakfast Buddies substitute; Thomas Olsen and Sharri Vandall, Northside Breakfast Buddies; Sonia Hawk, Northside breakfast aide; and Sharon Kolstad, junior and senior high school music accompanist. There were also several adult education instructors approved.
The trustees met in a closed executive session to consider two student discipline matters. During open session, one was expelled and the other was allowed to continue in school with an attendance contract.
The board approved moving monthly board meetings from the second Tuesday of each month to the second Monday.
Written by Herald-News
About 200 people attended the 101st annual Fireman’s Grand Ball at the Wolf Point Elks Club, Saturday, Oct. 11. The dinner by Chef Dustin of the Elks Club and dance with music by the Renegades is a major fundraiser for the Wolf Point Volunteer Fire Department. Dave Parsley Sr. won the Las Vegas trip. Pictured (from left to right) Jim Rodenberg, firefighter Paul Gysler, fire chief Shawn Eggar and Wolf Point mayor and firefighter Chris Dschaak. The next two photos are the honoring of former Wolf Point firefighter Terry Blevens and two from other departments who passed away this year.
(Photos by John Plestina)