Written by Herald-News
People wore their wackiest costumes, or put on their Western duds and saddled their horses for the “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” parade in Poplar. The parade was part of the annual four-day Wild West Days celebration, that included two days of rodeo performances, pig mud wrestling, a dunk tank and other fun. More photos can be found on page five of this issue. (Photos by John Plestina)
Written by Herald-News
The oldest powwow on the Fort Peck Reservation, the annual Red Bottom Celebration was held at Frazer Thursday, June 19, through Sunday, June 22. Stories vary about how and when Red Bottom started, but organizers of the event said it dates to either 1902 or 1903. Some people say annual powwows in Frazer date to the 1880s. Celebrating Native American culture and traditions through dancing, food, crafts, fellowship and a feed where over 100 pounds of roast was served, the four-day event attracted dancers and others from several reservations throughout Montana, Colorado, South Dakota, and Saskatchewan and Manitoba in Canada. The Montana Office of Tourism took pictures of native dancing for use in a statewide tourism brochure. Additional photos can be found on page 12 of this issue. (Photos by John Plestina)
Written by John Plestina
(Editor’s note: This is a column that will run occasionally about various subjects. Opinions expressed here may not reflect the opinions of The Herald-News.)
Phantom Booms? Not Quite.
Things that go boom in the night this time of the year are not phantom occurrences. After all, it’s fireworks season; not just the July 4 weekend. Unlike people do in other places I’ve lived, which is shoot off fireworks for about a week before July 4, fireworks season in Wolf Point is the months of June and July, and at least the first part of August.
Fireworks are illegal in Wolf Point, but not for everybody. Discharging fireworks has been prohibited in the city limits of Wolf Point for many years, but local ordinances that prohibit fireworks apply to less than half the population of the city because there are two separate jurisdictions. City ordinances only applies to non-tribal members.
The WPPD asks people for cooperation on a first call. Police may take a stricter approach on subsequent complaints from the same location and will act accordingly to address acts where fireworks could endanger another person or if the discharge is late at night.
Nuisance violations, including disorderly conduct, can be filed in municipal and tribal courts.
The Fort Peck Comprehensive Code of Justice neither restricts the use of fireworks, nor places a curfew on the times fireworks may be discharged, but enforcement of a tribal disorderly conduct and a noise law do apply.
Perhaps with fireworks being available for sale outside the city limits after June 1, the light ‘em and pop ‘em toys had their greatest appeal the first week. The Wolf Point Police Department reported the highest number of fireworks complaints the week of June 2-8, with seven. The numbers of calls about fireworks have decreased since.
Fireworks are legal for everyone in unincorporated areas of Roosevelt County.
The fireworks we see here are a lot safer than a tradition in rural Alaska.
Cocked and loaded, revelers in many small towns in Alaska blast their way into every new year and sometimes celebrate Independence Day by firing shotguns into the air. Local ordinances prohibiting discharging firearms within city limits isn’t much of a deterrent in many of those communities.
I lived in Bethel, Alaska, for three years during the 1990s. That’s a place you fly in an out of that is 400 miles off the road system and closer to Russia than to Anchorage or Fairbanks.
A police chief told me during the time I was editor of the newspaper in Bethel that he was concerned that someone would get shot because he knew that so many people would be drunk while blasting in 1996.
Last Dec. 31, a reveler in Tanana, Alaska, blasted a fiber-optic cable with a .410-gauge shotgun, rendering his town internet free for several weeks. The cost of the single shotgun blast was about $10,000.
All that said, I can step down from my soap box because I know I’m not hearing phantom booms, including when some of my neighbors are lighting fireworks after midnight.
Written by Herald-News
This mother puts a worm into the mouth of one of her babies while her other children wait for theirs in this nest in the announcers’ booth at the Red Bottom Celebration in Frazer, Sunday, June 22. (Photo by John Plestina)
Written by John Plestina
While most people are aware that laws control who can ride all terrain vehicles and where, local, tribal, state and federal regulations vary from one jurisdiction to another.
Two separate jurisdictions are present within the City of Wolf Point. The city has its ordinances, which apply only to non-tribal members. The Fort Peck Comprehensive Code of Justice applies to tribal members within the boundaries of the reservation, including within city limits.
The city’s ordinances do not allow the non-tribal population to drive unlicensed ATVs on streets within the city limits. In contrast, the tribal code does not address ATVs as motor vehicles, therefore licensing is not required for tribal members as long as they are operating them within the boundaries of the reservation.
The State of Montana defines four-wheel ATVs or OHVs [off-highway vehicles] as quadricycles and mandates permanent registration. The definition includes that they are four-wheel self-propelled vehicles that are designed for recreational and other off-road uses. The state description includes four-wheelers, dune buggies, dirt bikes, amphibious vehicles and any other self-propelled means of land transportation powered by any source other than muscle or wind. The state definition does not include four-wheel-drive trucks registered as motor vehicles.
All ATVs operated on public lands must be titled and registered one-time only with the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, with the owner receiving a decal to be placed on the ATV.
License plates are required for ATVs driven on any public road, including national forest two-track trails. Permanent registration fees are $61.25 for off-highway use only and $114.50 for street and off-highway combined costs. Fees must be paid at the county treasurer’s office in the Roosevelt County Courthouse.
Adults driving ATVs on public roads must have a driver’s license. Children 12 to 16 years old may operate an ATV on public roads, but only with adult supervision and only if they have obtained a safety certificate. Helmets are required for children.
In Montana, brake lights, mirrors, a horn, signal lamps, a lamp for the license plate and a quiet muffler must be added to meet minimum requirements for licensing for use on the streets.
On some Forest Service roads, children ages 12 to 16 must complete an online or hands-on safety education course and possess a safety certificate and be accompanied by a licensed operator.
Montana Off-Highway Vehicle Safety Courses are available online from Fresh Air Educators or the ATV Safety Institute.
Safety is always a concern with ATVs.
Ninety-four ATV-related deaths were reported in Montana between 1982 and 2011.
It is recommended that ATV riders stay on designated roads and trails or in permitted areas, ride in the middle of the trail to avoid widening it, avoid riding over small trees and shrubs, avoid sensitive areas such as meadows, lakeshores, wetlands and streams, unless on designated routes, always yield the right of way and respect seasonal and permanent trail closures.