Written by Angela Rose Benson
Risks to Wolf Point in the event of an oil train derailment and the possibility of an evacuation were discussed during a heavily attended Local Emergency Planning Committee meeting held at the Roosevelt County Health Department in Wolf Point Tuesday, Nov. 10.
Discussions included problem areas for Wolf Point if there was a train derailment in town.
Roosevelt County Disaster Emergency Services Coordinator Dan Sietsema said access to crossings is an issue and the close proximity of Wolf Point Junior/Senior High School to the train tracks is a concern.
The questions of how to physically evacuate Wolf Point was brought up with many people saying law enforcement would have to knock on doors and use other means such as megaphones following the use of a reverse 911 system.
Teresia Moore, of Roosevelt Medical Center’s Emergency Medical Services in Culbertson, questioned if it were possible to test the reverse 911 system in a select area to see how effective it is. Several LEPC attendees who plan to attend the 911 Dispatch Committee meeting said they would bring it up at the upcoming meeting.
LEPC chairperson Lee Allmer recapped the discussion from the last LEPC meeting about the Bainville train derailment in July.
“The last meeting in Bainville was really great,” he said.
The two issues discussed involved safety concerns for the dilapidated grain elevator and route access when trains are blocking crossings.
Allmer added that, after discussions with the Roosevelt County Commissioners, it is unclear who owns the elevator situated on Burlington Northern Santa Fe’s property in Bainville. Sietsema suggested contacting BNSF to see if there is a current lease from the most recent elevator owners. Everyone at the meeting agreed that it is sizably difficult to work with BNSF.
Sietsema began the meeting by reporting that he is busy finalizing the last quarter and the fiscal year Emergency Management Preparedness Grant.
Sietsema received an extension on the Homeland Security Grant for completing the fencing project and back-up generator system.
“Recently, things have been running smoothly without incident in the county,” he said.
Sietsema also reported that he has received little information on the progress of the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant. He received an email from the contractor stating that a portion of the plan has been finalized and will be sent for review. All LEPC members will receive a copy once it arrives. Sietsema will be on leave for several weeks.
It has been three months since the Northern Tier Committee met, according to County Commissioner Gary Macdonald.
Several upcoming trainings per the FEMA educational opportunity sheets were reviewed. Sietsema asked everyone in attendance to visit the FEMA.GOV website to see what educational opportunities are of interest that people might want to participate in. He added that there is an excellent HAZMAT training in Pueblo, Colo. For many of the trainings, all expenses are reimbursed with the exception of meals.
Discussion ensued about an article written in the media about an audit performed by the State Legislature Audit Committee that reviewed Bakken oil rail transport.
“It mentioned a lack of training and resources to handle disaster events in our area, saying that there are five HAZMAT teams in Montana. The closest to our area is Billings,” Allmer said.
The next LEPC meeting is slated for Dec. 8 at 2 p.m., at an undesignated location in Poplar.
Written by Herald-News
The Wolf Point City Council held the regularly scheduled monthly meeting Monday, Nov. 16.
Mayor Chris Dschaak told the council that he, developer Gene Leuwer, of Helena-based GL Development, and several people from Wolf Point recently attended a meeting in Helena seeking funding for the proposed $6.2 million North Star Apartments development near the Northeast Montana Health Services – Wolf Point Campus hospital.
Dschaak said Wolf Point was the only community seeking funding of several applicants competing for the funding.
Leuwer applied for $5.1 million in state-allocated low-income housing tax credits. Officials now hope to use that amount plus the $750,000 in already received housing money toward the project.
Dschaak and council members will attend another meeting in Helena in January.
The council approved a contract with Interstate Engineering for $85,000 for design and engineering for a hangar for Cape Air at the airport. Ninety-five percent of the cost will come from an FAA grant.
The hangar will provide revenue for both the city and Roosevelt County. Construction is slated for 2017.
In a related matter, the council approved $2,300 to Bear Creek for an FAA-required cultural survey at the construction site.
New zoning ordinances were approved on a first reading.
Public works director Rick Isle told the council that a streetlight is needed on Fourth Avenue North to provide additional safety for Northside Elementary School students. Isle will talk to Montana-Dakota Utilities.
The council approved the hiring of Jhona Petersen as a utility billing clerk.
The council approved the purchase of a 1999 Ford F350 truck with a flatbed for $14,500.
Written by Jaronn Boysun
The Wolf Point High School Speech and Drama team is: (from left to right) Jami Welch, seventh place in dramatic oral interpretation; Jaki Harada, fourth place in mime; Devin Northington, second place in humorous oral interpretation; and Jacob Boysun, seventh place in humorous oral interpretation. (Submitted photo)
The Wolf Point Speech and Drama team traveled to Sidney Saturday, Nov. 14, for the second meet of the season.
The Wolves represented seven of the 180 or more participants at the meet. Four Wolves finished in the top eight of their respective events.
Devin Northington finished in second place in humorous oral interpretation. Jacob Boysun also performed in HOI and brought home seventh place. Jaki Harada finished fourth in pantomime and Jami Welch finished in seventh place in dramatic oral interpretation.
This was the best showing for the Wolves so far this year. Haron Eymard also performed in HOI, just missing the final cut. Aeryn Martin and Celeste Johnston also performed for the Wolves in DOI.
“I am proud of the strong showing from our team. We hope to build on our success and continue to perform well at the next meet,” coach Jaronn Boysun said.
WPHS will host the next meet Saturday, Dec. 5.
Written by Deanna Buckles
Connie Bergen, a teacher for the Wolf Point School District, also got up to share her story on battling breast cancer. (Photo by Deanna Buckles)
With October officially over, it also marks the conclusion of breast cancer awareness month. Every year Northeast Montana Health Service’s Marketing Department hosts its annual Pink Night to raise awareness for breast cancer. Its mission is to get the entire community involved in the fight. Local businesses around Poplar and Wolf Point sold “Pink Pumpkin” pinups and NEMHS hosted its vendor fundraiser event at the Elk’s. Collectively $2,829 was raised for NEMHS’s Radiology Department.
Three time survivor of cancer, Lucy Redekopp, talked about what it was like to go through cancer more than once, and how she stayed positive.
“You need to know your body,” said Redekopp. A diagnosis of breast cancer can be a frightening thing. Initially, it’s difficult to think about the future. “I went numb’r when they told me it came back,” said Redekopp.
“How many people here know someone who has been affected by cancer?” asked Jude McTaggart, a midwife for Northeast Montana Health Services. As hands went up throughout the room there was a surrealistic silence as over half the room raised their hands.
“It can be caught and it can be treated. Take one day at a time and remember you are not alone,” said McTaggart, a 20-year cancer survivor.
Connie Bergen, a teacher for the Wolf Point School District, also shared her story on battling breast cancer. The Wolf Point High School Lady Wolves volleyball team went above and beyond to show their support for Connie and other teachers that have been affected by cancer.
“We are so grateful for the Wolf Point Lady Wolves Volleyball team tonight for their generous donation of $1,218 they raised during their ‘Volley for A Cure’ night,” said Deanna Buckles, marketing director for NEMHS.
Over 15 pumpkins were entered into the pink pumpkin contest. Jezarae Young Bear took first place with her pumpkin entitled Power of Pink, Ashia Wehbe took second place with her Hope and Remembrance pumpkin and Kevin Buckles from High Plains Motors took third place with HPM Blue pumpkin. Over $250 was raised by the pink pumpkin contest.
Helen Toews won the Breast Cancer Awareness Goodie Basket for Listerud Rural Health Clinic. Any woman that received a well woman screening at Listerud Rural Health Clinic during the month of October was automatically entered into a drawing for the gift basket.
Written by Herald-News
Helen Toews won Listerud Rural Health Clinic’s Well Woman Goodie Basket drawing. Pictured are (from left to right) Nettie McIntyre, Stacie Olinski, Toews, Andrea Vandall, Gina Nefzger and Patricia Whitright. (Photo by Deanna Buckles)