Written by John Plestina
A Wolf Point woman accused of embezzlement, changed a not guilty plea to a guilty plea in 15th District Court, Wednesday, June 11.
Kendra Chamberlain, 26, pleaded guilty to a single felony charge of theft by embezzlement. She had entered a not guilty plea Wednesday, Feb. 26.
She was charged following an investigation by Wolf Point Police that began on Jan. 13.
Authorities became involved after an allegation by Ag-Land management of employee theft at the Cenex East convenience store that included alleged cigarette thefts and returns to the store and false lottery ticket transactions.
The charging documents allege several falsified returns and lottery ticket transactions between September 2013 and Jan. 13.
A trial date had originally been set for May 15.
Judge David Cybulski has not set a date for sentencing.
Written by Herald-News
Wolf Point Police have announced charges against two men stemming from a large disturbance that occurred on the 400 block of Granville Street, Wednesday, June 4, at 6:03 p.m., and a second incident of a fight that was retaliation.
Following further investigation, citations were issued during the following week against Zachariah Zilkoski, 22, of Billings, and Kyle McGill, 22, of Wolf Point, both for criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.
Lt. Brian Erwin said charges are pending against several other individuals.
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 June 9 and 15. All those arrested or cited are presumed innocent.)
11:46 a.m., officers responded to the 200 block of Johnson Street for a report of theft from a residence with a loss valued under $1,000. The investigation continues.
11:31 a.m., officers responded to the 200 block of Helena Street for a report of an assault with minor injuries. Charges are pending.
12:35 p.m., firefighters responded to a grass fire on Montana Highway 250 near mile marker 18 with two trucks and four firefighters. They returned to the station at 2:13 p.m.
10:22 p.m., firefighters responded with two trucks and four firefighters to a mutual aid call in Oswego with the Valley County Long Run Fire Department.
12:46 p.m., officers responded to the 200 block of Anaconda Street for a report of a fight in progress. Roosevelt County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Kevin Bendon, 43, of Minnesota, for disorderly conduct.
1:47 p.m., officers responded to the 400 block of Custer Street for a report of a domestic disturbance and later arrested Frank Johnston, 33, of Wolf Point, for domestic abuse.
3:15 p.m., officers responded to the 100 block of Idaho Street for a report of a theft with a loss valued under $1,000. The investigation continues.
7:20 p.m., officers responded to the 700 block of Sixth Avenue North and cited Carrie Manning, 43, of Wolf Point, for dog at large.
6 p.m., officers responded to the 500 block of Custer Street for a report of a theft with a loss valued under $1,000. The investigation continues.
12:10 a.m., officers responded to the 300 block of Custer Street for a report of suspicious individuals and cited a 15-year-old Wolf Point female for minor in possession of alcohol and a curfew violation. Officers arrested the same juvenile one hour later on the 400 block of Granville Street for domestic abuse.
8:45 a.m., officers responded to Git-N-Go for a report of a theft with a loss valued under $1,000. Charges are pending.
5:20 p.m., firefighters responded to a fence post fire at a residence in west end housing with one truck and two firefighters. They returned to the station at 5:44 p.m.
8:19 p.m., officers responded to the 100 block of East Fairweather Street for a report of a disturbance in progress and cited Lance Fourstar, 37, of Wolf Point, for disorderly conduct.
10:19 p.m., as a result of a pedestrian stop on the 100 block of Alder Street, officers arrested Lance Fourstar, 37, of Wolf Point, for criminal mischief and disorderly conduct.
10:33 a.m., officers responded to the 500 block of Alder Street for a report of a theft from a vehicle with a loss valued under $1,000. The investigation continues.
6:05 p.m., officers responded to the 200 block of Custer Street and arrested Kevin Belgarde, 27, of Wolf Point, for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
1:51 a.m., firefighters responded to a rubbish fire on Slaughterhouse Road with two trucks and four firefighters. They returned to the station at 2:24 a.m.
4:11 a.m., officers responded to the 500 block of Benton Street for a report of an assault with minor injuries and arrested Tyler Lilley, 18, of Wolf Point, for disorderly conduct and simple assault.
6:16 a.m., officers discovered 18 vehicles with slashed tires on and near the 200 block of Custer Street with combined losses totaling over $1,000. The investigation continues.
1:53 p.m., officers responded to the 200 block of Helena Street for a report of a domestic disturbance with minor injuries. Charges are pending.
1:35 a.m., officers responded to Arlo’s Bar for a report of a disturbance in progress and arrested Kathy Birdsbill, 59, and Hailey Cantrell, 23, both of Wolf Point, for disorderly conduct and simple assault.
In addition to the above calls, the WPPD responded to the following calls between June 9 and 15: checks for wellbeing, eight; civil standby, three; domestic disturbance, six; public assistance, 10; motor vehicle accidents, four; removal of unwanted individuals, six; animal complaints, two; medical assistance, one; alarm, two; assist other agency, five; unfounded report, five; driving complaints, six; fireworks complaints, one; and driving complaints, six.
Written by John Plestina
Beach is pictured during a speaking engagement while free for 18 months awaiting a new trial in 2012. The Montana Supreme Court rejected a district couort decision putting him back in prison a little more than a year ago.
The Montana Board of Pardons and Parole announced Wednesday, June 14 that it rejected a clemency application from former Poplar resident Barry Beach, dashing Beach’s hopes that the board would hold a full hearing and commute his 100-year sentence with no eligibility for parole so he could have become eligible for parole.
Beach was convicted in 1984 of the 1979 slaying of Poplar High School classmate Kim Nees and dumping her body in the Poplar River. Both were 17 at the time.
Beach’s recent clemency application was partly based on a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision that juvenile offenders can no longer be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Beach has maintained for 30 years that he was innocent of the murder and wrongly convicted.
Gov. Steve Bullock wrote a letter in April asking the board to focus on Beach’s worthiness for parole and not on whether he is guilty or innocent just days before the board considered Beach’s request.
Other people supporting clemency included former Gov. Brian Schweitzer, and U.S. Sen. Jon Tester and former U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns. Numerous people from Wolf Point and Poplar have called for clemency.
Written by John Plestina
Dave and Tina Bets His Medicine with Barney on the examination table at Wolf Point Veterinary Clinic as veterinarian Robin Jordan [not pictured] examines the canine before a road trip to Bozeman for adoption with Tina Bets His Medicine and several other canines. Barney is one of between 35 and 40 dogs animal control officer J.T. Szymanski has picked up running at large each month since he started earlier this year. (Photos by John Plestina)
The Wolf Point Police Department’s animal control officer, J.T. Szymanski, uses a meaty bone he placed on the ground as an enticement to get a dog he had picked up out from under his truck at the pound Friday, June 6.
Now that J.T. Szymanski has been on the job as Wolf Point’s animal control officer for over two months, the numbers of dogs freely running the streets has significantly decreased.
The city hired Szymanski at the beginning of April. He filled a void that was created when the last animal control officer left in October 2013.
With the absence of the blue animal control pickup truck patrolling the streets during that six-month period, the amount of dogs that owners allowed to run loose had multiplied. The police had to address dog complaints every week, including several reported biting incidents, some involving children.
“It seems to be working well,” police chief Jeff Harada said Monday, June 9.
He added that there have been numerous compliments from the public.
“People in the community have already said they have seen a decrease in the loose animal population,” Harada said.
“He’s [Szymanski] diligent, hard working, dependable, devoted to doing a good job. He cares about the welfare and wellbeing of our citizens and he truly cares about the animals,” he said.
Szymanski impounded 40 dogs during his first month on the job. He released 21 to the owners, after they paid the required fees. The impoundment fees he collected for the city totaled $438 for the 18 dogs. There is a $10 impound fee plus $15 per day. Of the 19 dogs not claimed by owners, 18 were adopted out to new homes by Wolf Point Pound Puppies. One dog was euthanized during April.
Dogs remaining in the pound beyond six days are at risk of being be euthanized or adopted. If that is the case, owners that did not claim them cannot get them back.
Dog licenses are required and unlicensed canines must be licensed before owners may retrieve them from the pound. During April, Szymanski licensed 19 dogs and collected $95 in license fees.
There are city and tribal ordinances in place that require pet owners (dogs and cats) to leash or maintain their pets on their own property. The city requires dog licenses that are available for $5 for one year.
Harada assigned blame on owners for what had been a high number of freely-roaming dogs when there was no animal control officer.
“There are no bad pets, just bad owners,” Harada said.
“One of the most problematic issues is owners allowing their dogs to follow their children to school,” he said, adding that it creates safety issues, especially when several loose dogs congregate into a pack on the grounds of a school.
Harada cited one recent incident at Southside Elementary School when Szymanski was called to the school at 7:30 a.m. Six dogs were running together on the school grounds and had become aggressive. Szymanski caught one and the others disbursed.
“Thank God it wasn’t 20 minutes later,” Harada said of the scenario of children present with aggressive dogs running loose on the school grounds.
“Six incompetent pet owners who allowed their doge to follow their children to school,” he said.
Harada said there were three separate school-related dog incidents where Szymanski was placed at risk.
Harada estimated during the week Szymanski began working in April that fewer than 10 percent of the dogs that had been running the streets were homeless strays. He said many of the uncollared canines that had been loose belong to people.
“During the summer months, the animal control officer will be working a variety of shifts for those pet owners who deem it necessary to let their dogs out after 5 p.m.
Tina (formerly Speed) Bets His Medicine, Mary Vine and other volunteers have kept the nonprofit Wolf Point Pound Puppies going for over two years, funding much of the costs themselves.
The city’s pound has a six-day hold and many dogs have been euthanized because the city cannot keep them beyond the six days. Few are put down now because Pound Puppies takes as many dogs that have reached the six-day limit as they can accommodate at their homes or can find foster homes for. They have saved over 150 dogs and a few cats from being euthanized in a little over two years.
A no-kill shelter is something Speed said she would like to have.
Finding homes for the dogs is a priority. While some are adopted locally, a majority are placed in Billings, Bozeman and other areas of Montana.
Cash donations are needed to offset veterinarian bills and to purchase dog food. Bets His Medicine has paid much of the costs out of her own pocket. Donations for Wolf Point Pound Puppies may be made at First Community Bank. The organization has state nonprofit status.