Wolf Point Herald

Johnson New Dealer


Chevrolet northwest region zone manager Steve Spoerl (right) congratulates James Johnson as a new dealer/operator of High Plains Motors. Johnson, who has worked for High Plains for eight years, now owns half of the Wolf Point dealership, along with long-time owner Marvin Presser.
(Photo by John Plestina)

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Local Water Users Weigh In On State Water Plan

Several people from Roosevelt County offered comments on draft recommendations for a Lower Missouri River Basin water plan during a public meeting in Wolf Point Wednesday, May 7.
The meeting held in the Elks Club addressed water rights and water management, and was the fourth and final meeting the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation held with water users. Previous meetings were held in Harlowton, Havre and Lewistown.
The Lower Missouri River Basin Advisory Council is seeking public input on a recently completed draft report of recommendations. The policy document will be finalized later this month and forwarded to the DNRC in June. The DNRC is scheduled to adopt and print the final plan by Dec. 5. It would then be forwarded to the Montana Legislature.
Lawmakers amended the state water planning statute in 2009 requiring the DNRC to update the state water plan and directed the DNRC to report back to the 2015 Legislature.
Basin Advisory Councils were established in the Lower Missouri, Upper Missouri, Clark Fork and Yellowstone river basins during the summer of 2013, which coincided with the start of the Montana Water Supply Initiative project to update the state water plan the Legislature requested.
Draft recommendations include requesting legislative funding for additional research on the state’s aquifers, completion of the water rights adjudication process, possible new off-stream water storage sites and seeking funding partners for expanding and maintaining the network of streamflow gauges.
Adjudication of claims is one of several issues that were raised during the Wolf Point meeting.
“It’s hard to develop a plan if you don’t resolve claims first,” BAC facilitator Bill Milton said.
“Just because you have a legal claim on water, it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to use it and put it to good use,” he said.
Dwight Vannatta of Bainville said there are people he knows who have concerns about adjudication.
Milton, who is from Roundup, also addressed aquifer development and management.
“If you compromise the quality of the water in the aquifers, you jeopardize it,” he said.
Milton also said there were comments during previous public meetings in other towns that the draft didn’t go far enough to address protection of fisheries.
Milton said irrigators don’t have a clear understanding of fisheries.
DNRC water planner Mike Downey of Helena said most irrigation companies don’t share information from streamflow gauges.
“It would certainly help us,” Downey said.
There was a discussion that more gauges might be needed locally.
Vannatta said he would like to see gauging at the confluences where smaller rivers and streams flow into the Missouri River to provide more accurate information.
“A lot of gauges were being eliminated. We’re going backwards,” Culbertson area rancher Dick Iverson.
Milton said there is consideration of continuing with the basin advisory councils beyond the current process.
Downey posed a question of whether the people at the meeting felt the local group was effective or if sub basins would be a better option.
“What works in this area are ad hoc type committees,” Rhonda Knudsen of Culbertson said.
The draft report is available at www.dnrc.mt.gov/mwsi or by contacting Wendy Beye at 406-320-2124.
The Basin Advisory Council will look at public comments on the draft plan in the Fort Peck Interpretative Center at Fort Peck Wednesday, May 28, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Public testimony will not be taken at that meeting.

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Lord’s Table Broke Into, Trashed

When someone broke into the Lord’s Table, stole food and trashed the building Tuesday, May 6, they took donated food that was slated for free meals and forced a temporary closure of Wolf Point’s only soup kitchen.
Authorities had not determined by Monday, May 12, who committed the burglary and property damage at the Lord’s Table.
Pastor Danny Lindsay of Overcomer’s Church founded the Lord’s Table in 2001.
“They took some food and broke the front door; broke the back door,” Lindsay said.
“Think about the kids. We just shut down for the week,” he said.
“We just put in a new door last fall,” Lindsay said.
Hamburger, chicken, potatoes and pastries were taken.
This wasn’t the first time the Lord’s Table was broken into and food was stolen.
“Last time, I put mesh wire on the windows,” Lindsay said.
He said he thinks adults might have committed the burglary because a metal door was bent and a latch snapped off.
Whoever broke in carried five-gallon containers of Kool Aid and 10-pound, two-foot-long packages of hamburger out of the building.
Formerly a food pantry as well as a soup kitchen, the Lord’s Table currently serves meals five days a week. About 25 people use the services at the beginning of each month. That number swells to nearly 100 later in the month.

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DUI Task Force Elects Officers, OKs By-Laws

The Roosevelt County DUI Task Force elected officers and approved by-laws during its first official meeting Wednesday, May 7.
The board of county commissioners approved a resolution that formally established the task force Tuesday, April 29. A group has held organizational meetings since December and has sought more participation.
The task force elected the following people as officers: county commissioner Gary Macdonald, chairman; Wolf Point Police Chief Jeff Harada, vice chair; Mary Vine, who also serves as coordinator for the task force, secretary; and Kahlil Wehbe, treasurer.
The by-laws and work plan were approved.
Both were modeled after other counties.
The work plan must be submitted to the state by June 1. Macdonald said there is a possibility the task force could receive some funding this year.
Macdonald said he expected the county commission to approve the by-laws Tuesday, June 13, which was after press time.
The group must meet a minimum of four times within one year but is likely to meet more frequently.
Montana Department of Transportation has funding available to support the task force.
There was a discussion about current problems with law enforcement jurisdictional issues when a perpetrator of a crime is a tribal member and a victim is not.
A woman who was seriously injured in a crash several years ago that a drunk driver caused said there were little consequences for the driver. She said that driver is a tribal member and she is not.
Roosevelt County Sheriff Freedom Crawford said there are jurisdictional issues with Indian Country that face every Indian reservation in the country.
“It’s about helping the people. That’s what it boils down to,” he said of a need to resolve issues.
The Roosevelt County DUI Task Force will next meet at the Roosevelt County Community Services Building, 124 Custer St., Wednesday, June 4, at 2 p.m.
For more information about the DUI Task Force, contact Vine at 653-6228.

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Colgan Charged For Possession Of Pipe Bomb

Adam Blue Colgan, 33, of Poplar, appeared before U.S. District Judge Brian Morris in Great Falls on May 8 and entered pleas of not guilty on charges of possession of an unregistered destructive device and transportation of explosive material by a non-licensee.
According to court documents, Colgan “knowingly possessed a destructive device, that being a pipe bomb, which was not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record” on Sept. 27, 2012, in Roose-velt County. On the same date, Colgan also allegedly transported the pipe bomb, containing Pyrodex, a black powder subsitute.
If convicted of the charges contained in the indictment, Colgan faces 10 years imprisonment, $250,000 in fines and three years supervised release.  
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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