Written by John Plestina
Frontier Elementary School trustees authorized staff raises as a means of retaining employees Monday, May 12.
The school board approved classified staff compensation for 10 employees that includes pay increases of $1 per hour and a $3.50 raise to the lowest-paid employee.
Superintendent Christine Eg-gar said pay increases are necessary to retain staff.
“It’s a big raise, but I feel they can go to work somewhere else [if not given the raise],” she said.
Total pay raises for classified staff (non-teaching) total $17,230.
Eggar said total pay increases, including teachers and the offer the board extended in April for the new principal who will start before the beginning of the 2014-15 school year put the district a little over budget, but the district could work through it.
In another matter, the trustees approved contracts for independent contractors Kris Hubeek and Dave Riggin, both counselors.
Hubeek, a counselor at Culbertson School, will come in as needed to oversee the special education program and independent education plans at $500 per day to keep the school in compliance until a teacher receives certification for special education.
Riggin will receive a $750 raise to $14,750 and a gas stipend.
The board also approved classified staff contract renewals for the next school year for Jeremiah Eggar, Bev Elgie, Sheryl Estes, Renee Goodman, Janece Houg, Verda Huber, Kathy Nichols and John Rabenberg.
The board was informed of the resignations of a library aide and music teacher as an informational item only.
The board also voted to accept the results of the May 6 election and reappointment of unopposed board members by acclamation.
Brandon Babb will continue as board chairman, Mark Zilkoski will become vice chairman and Ann Landsrud will continue as clerk.
Written by John Plestina
The Roosevelt County Commissioners voted Tuesday, May 13, to move forward with a merger of the Poplar branch of the Roosevelt County Library and the Fort Peck Community College Library.
With the county librarian in Poplar due to retire in August and the lack of space in the current county library that is attached to the fire station in Poplar, commissioners have been considering a request by the Fort Peck Tribes to merge the libraries into the larger facility on the Fort Peck Community College campus.
Commissioner Gary Macdonald said the annual cost to the county is likely to be about $20,000.
“Everybody is pretty enthusiastic about it over there [in Poplar],” Macdonald said and recommended moving forward with a merger in August.
The commissioners voted to request that assistant county attorney Jordan Knudsen meet with FPCC president Haven Gourneau to discuss a contract.
Knudsen said he prefers a contract to a memorandum of understanding, which FPCC proposed.
The library will remain open to the public.
Written by Herald-News
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)
Written by John Plestina
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.
Written by John Plestina
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.