Written by Herald-News
Several people appeared on felony charges in 15th District Court Wednesday, Oct. 29.
John Travis Dighans, 37, of Poplar was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs with intent to distribute and misdemeanor charges of criminal possession of dangerous drugs and criminal possession of drug paraphernalia.
He was arrested Sept. 15 and is free on bail.
Bruce Johnson, 57, of Poplar appeared for the second time for a scheduled hearing for a probation and parole violation.
When he previously appeared Oct. 15, his public defender was not present. When Johnson appeared, Wednesday, Oct. 29, his lawyer said he did not have paperwork for the case.
Johnson entered general denials of alleged probation violations on his lawyer’s advice. He will appear for another hearing in December.
Bail was reduced to $5,000 for Kelly Marie Severson, 47, of Saco after Cybulski rejected a defense request for an own recognizance release.
Severson said she would live with her father.
She has been jailed for nearly a month, charged with criminal possession of dangerous drugs, criminal possession with intent to distribute and criminal possession of drug paraphernalia.
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 Oct. 27 and Nov. 2. All those arrested or cited are presumed innocent.)
9:51 a.m., officers responded to a residence on the 500 block of Custer Street for a report of a burglary with a loss valued under $1,000. The investigation continued at press time.
10:35 a.m., firefighters responded to a propane truck rollover crash on Montana Hwy. 250 about 11 miles from Wolf Point. Firefighters remained at the scene for more than 24 hours.
5:50 p.m., firefighters were called to a false alarm structure fire.
11:07 a.m., officers took a report at the police station of a theft on the 500 block of Fairweather Street with a loss valued under $1,000. The investigation continued at press time.
6:36 p.m., officers responded to a residence on the 600 block of Sixth Avenue South for a report of vandalism to a vehicle with a loss valued under $1,000. The investigation continued at press time.
10:43 p.m., officers responded to the 200 block of Helena Street and took a report of a theft that occurred at the Sherman Inn with a loss valued over $1,000. The investigation continued at press time.
1:37 p.m., officers responded to Subs and Such on U.S. Hwy. 2 for a report of a fight and arrested Darris Duboise, 25, of Wolf Point for disorderly conduct.
4:28 p.m., officers responded to a residence on the 500 block of Front Street for a report of a fight in progress and cited Darla Williams, 30, of Wolf Point for simple assault.
9:27 p.m., officers responded to Town Pump for a report of a theft and cited Cody Spaur, 25, of Wolf Point for theft.
Time not specified. Police cited Holly Toavs, 29, of Wolf Point, for driving under the influence, seat belt use required and criminal endangerment in relation to a motor vehicle accident on Sept. 18 where Toavs was driving a minivan that traveling westbound on U.S. Hwy. 2, crossed the eastbound lanes and struck a sign pole at Peters’ Auto.
2:05 p.m., officers responded to Arlo’s Bar for a report by a woman who said she was the victim of a theft but she didn’t remember where it occurred. Police believe the loss was under $1,000. The investigation continued at press time.
4:49 a.m., officers responded to Northeast Montana Health Services - Wolf Point Campus for a report of a man causing a disturbance and arrested Nathan Keiser, 20, of Wolf Point for disorderly conduct, public intoxication and unlawful possession of drugs.
4:24 p.m., officers responded to the 200 block of Front Street for a report of a man lying in a parking lot. He was removed.
9:59 p.m., officers responded to a residence on the 400 block of Helena Street for a report of a man causing a disturbance and arrested Austin Barr, 29, of Wolf Point, for domestic abuse.
11:38 p.m., officers responded to a residence on the 400 block of Granville Street for a report of a fight and cited Lance Chase, 19, of Wolf Point, for disorderly conduct and minor in possession of alcohol and cited Leslie Rouillard, 21, of Riverton, Wyo., for disorderly conduct and simple assault.
12:07 p.m., officers responded to a residence on the 200 block of Edgar Street for a report that a storage shed was forcibly entered during the previous week with a loss valued under $1,000. The investigation continued at press time.
9:06 p.m., officers responded to Arlo’s Bar for a request to remove an intoxicated male and arrested Melvin Azure Jr., 21, of Wolf Point on a warrant.
10:25 p.m., firefighters responded to a structure fire on U.S. Hwy. 2, about one-half mile east of Wolf Point. A chimney fire spread to the roof and caused some damage to the house.
12:08 p.m., officers responded to a residence on the 200 block of Custer Street for a report of vandalism to a vehicle with a loss valued under $1,000. The investigation continued at press time.
In addition to the above calls, the WPPD responded to the following calls between Oct. 27 and Nov. 2: checks of wellbeing, none; civil standby, four; domestic disturbance, none; public assistance, 19; motor vehicle accidents, none; removal of unwanted individuals, 12; animal complaints, none; medical assistance, three; fire assistance, none; alarm, five; assist other agency, four; unfounded report, eight; driving complaints, five; and school requested assistance, none.
Written by John Plestina
Spotted Bull Recovery Resource Center director Dale Four Bear makes a point to attendees at breakout session addressing substance abuse treatment and adult methamphetamine addiction. (Photo by John Plestina)
The proliferation of methamphetamine trafficking and abuse on the Fort Peck Reservation was a major focus of the three-day State of the Reservation Summit held Tuesday through Thursday, Oct. 21-23, at Greet the Dawn Auditorium on the Fort Peck Community College campus in Poplar.
Solutions to the ever increasing problem were sought.
FPCC health and wellness coordinator Adriann Ricker presented staggering data that 26.7 percent of 288 enrolled Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux tribal members between the ages of 15-24 responded to a question in a study that they have at least tried methamphetamine in their lifetime.
Dr. Teresa Brockie, who is from the Fort Belknap Reservation and works at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., conducted the study to further the understanding of non-lethal suicidal behavior among reservation-based Native American youth.
It was also reported at the summit that 40 percent of babies on the reservation have tested positive for meth.
Spotted Bull Recovery Resource Center director Dale Four Bear moderated one of several breakout sessions that addressed substance abuse treatment and the meth problem.
Four Bear posed a question: “What will treatment for the Fort Peck Tribes look like in 2020?”
George Blount, a substance abuse treatment professional from Wolf Point, said a person must have a made-up mind, good family support and spirituality is key to recovery.
Spirituality, as defined in 12-step recovery and abuse treatment programs, is a belief and reliance on God or a power greater than one’s self.
“I can’t walk this walk of sobriety alone. We need our Higher Power,” Blount said.
One man attending the breakout session said, “I don’t think anyone knows the extent of damage meth has done here in this community.”
“To say that Spotted Bull is going to do it alone — no,” Four Bear said, adding that the community as a whole must achieve a drug free lifestyle.
It was said several times during the summit that it takes an entire village to raise a child.
A woman who identified herself as a professional counselor said the No. 1 predictor of future drug abuse is physical, emotional and verbal abuse in the home.
One suggestion that came out of that breakout session was a safe house for youth and transitional living houses for adults in early recovery. The use of currently boarded up tribal houses was suggested.
The use of the old tribal jail [soon to be replace with a new facility] was also suggested, but some people said using the jail for transitional living could present triggers to use alcohol and drugs for some people who have been incarcerated there.
There was also a discussion of building a new treatment and detox facility on the Fort Peck Reservation.
Other suggestions included a call center where people can anonymously turn in people who are using meth. The courts could order people to treatment and to attend 12-step recovery meetings. Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are held in Wolf Point and Poplar.
FPCC vice president of community services Larry Wetsit said the summit happened because of the hard work of a lot of people over several months.
“They all had the same thing on their minds — a better place to raise our children,” he said.
“It [the meth problem] happened because we let it happen,” Wetsit said.
“The power on this reservation belongs to us,” he said.
“What we want to do with this conference, this summit, is to come up with solutions,” Wetsit said.
“We have only touched 200 people here the last two days,” he said and added that the information and recommendations from the summit needs to get out to everybody on the reservation.
Other topics addressed during the summit included law enforcement, community, health, affordable housing, and economic/workforce development.
Some suggestions were presented after several breakout sessions that addressed topics including Meth Affected Adults, Meth Affected Children, High School Dropouts and Work-Ready Population. The suggestions included retaining culture, giving every Native American child on the reservation an Indian name, promoting sweat lodges, preservation of language and culture for children, enforcement of the tribal education code and teaching children to pray.
There was also a suggestion that a tier of offenses leading to banishment from the reservations could be used for drug traffickers. A tribe in Minnesota was used as an example of a tribe where is used. Banishment used by an increasing number of tribes as a way to address crime problems.
A message repeated multiple times was that it takes a whole village to raise a child.
Tribal Executive Board member and former tribal court judge Roxanne Gourneau said she does not sleep well if children are hungry or sleeping on floors.
This summit was the first held in several years on the Fort Peck Reservation.
There is hope that more people attend the next summit including an abundance of FPCC and high school students.
Written by John Plestina
At least two households remained evacuated and six miles of Montana Hwy. 250 closed Tuesday morning following the rollover crash of an Agland Co-op propane truck, about 11 miles from Wolf Point.
A passing motorist made a 911 call reporting the single-vehicle crash at 10:22 a.m., Monday, Oct. 27.
Montana Highway Patrol Sgt. Jeff Kent acknowledged that the tanker was northbound, drifted to the east side of the roadway, skidded on wet pavement, went off the west side of the roadway and rolled, coming to a rest on its side about 50 feet off the road. Wind gusts might have been a factor, he said.
“Wind gusts were up to 30 mph and, with that large of a vehicle, it’s possible,” Kent said.
At the time The Herald-News spoke to Kent, he had not yet interviewed the truck driver and said he could only speculate that wind could have been a factor.
The driver was transported by ambulance to Northeast Montana Health Services - Wolf Point Campus were he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries and released.
Kent did not identify the driver, only saying he is a 52-year-old Wolf Point male.
Hwy. 250 was initially closed at the junction with U.S. Hwy. 2, about nine miles south of the wreck. Later, the road closure area was reduced to an area from mile markers 6 through 12.
MHP, Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office, Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice, Wolf Point Volunteer Fire Department and Roosevelt County Disaster and Emergency Services all responded to the scene.
Police and firefighters remained on scene throughout the night.
Wolf Point fire chief Shawn Eggar said early Tuesday that he expected the truck to be righted onto its wheels and towed sometime during the day. Six miles of Hwy. 250 would remain closed until the wreck would be removed.
Eggar said firefighters vented the tanker during the night, releasing propane into the atmosphere, which necessitated the overnight evacuation of homes as much as a mile from the accident.
“There was no way to upright the truck with the gas in it. The decision was made to let the gas go into the atmosphere,” Eggar said.
Written by John Plestina
Work has begun cleaning up the burned-out former site of Gysler Furniture and Appliance. Although there is no public health threat, workers are wearing hazmat protective suits because of a presence of asbestos. (Photos by John Plestina)
The environmental cleanup began last week of the burned-out former Gysler Furniture and Appliance site on Anaconda Street and Second Avenue South and might take a few weeks.
The City of Wolf Point now owns the two adjacent lots and hopes to resell the property for a new commercial development, possibly in 2015.
City officials are informing the public that Anaconda Street will remain open to traffic, but Second Avenue South will be temporarily closed during daytime hours between Anaconda Street and the alley one-half block south. There will be a temporary increase in truck traffic in the downtown area at times.
Worker from Safetech Inc., a Billings asbestos abatement contractor, are dressed in haz-mat protective clothing that is required by federal regulations for asbestos cleanups. Municipal officials want the community to know there is no public health threat.
City officials have been working with Great Northern Development Corporation and environmental consultant Newfields of Missoula to clean up the site and redevelop it.
The site is a designated Brownfield site where expansion, redevelopment or reuse of the property might be complicated by the presence of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants. The designation would make the city eligible for funding through a revolving loan fund and/or federal grant funding for remediation and clean-up of the site.
There is a 45-day limit for completion of the clean-up phase of the project.
A fast-moving fire on March 10 destroyed the two adjacent Gysler buildings, leaving portions of block walls and other charred remains, some of which contain asbestos.
While the buildings dated to the early 1900s, remodeling of both structures during the 1960s included roofing and flooring materials made of asbestos, which the fire this year rendered as “friable asbestos,” which is any building material containing more than 1 percent asbestos that could be pulverized or powdered by hand pressure, including asbestos that is damaged by fire. Asbestos in that condition is subject to federal regulation.
For more information about the cleanup and redevelopment of the site, contact the city office at 653-1852 and speak to Marlene Mahlum or Rick Isle.