Written by John Plestina
Three Wolf Point youth between 14 and 16 years old were injured, two seriously, after illegally boarded a freight train in Wolf Point after midnight Monday, April 13, and jumping off near Poplar while the train was traveling at more than 60 mph.
Roosevelt County Undersheriff John Summers said Tuesday afternoon that a 14-year-old girl and 16-year-old boy were in critical condition in a Billings hospital. They were flown from Poplar by an air ambulance.
Another 14-year-old girl was injured, but not as severely.
Authorities know the two most seriously injured teens jumped from the train while it was traveling at high speed.
“We’re guessing between 60 and 65 miles an hour,” Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice chief investigator Ken Trottier said.
“One young lady who jumped was able to walk to a residence,” he said.
The injured 14-year-old girl, who had been walking on RY Road east of Poplar, was taken to Northeast Montana Health Services - Poplar Campus with non-life-threatening injuries.
Trottier said she told officers while at the hospital that her two friends had jumped but not with her.
“The Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railroad was contacted and the train was stopped in Williston,” Trottier said.
The train was searched and the youths were not found, leaving the likelihood that the youths jumped off the train in the Poplar area.
“One of the track inspectors for BNSF located both a male and female at 8:10 a.m. Both were alive but had significant injuries and were flown to Billings,” Trottier said.
He said he believes the boy is 16 and the girl 14.
“From what we know their plan was to hop the train in Wolf Point and get off in Poplar. We don’t know what they were going to do once they were in Poplar,” Trottier said.
Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Corey Reum said the Roosevelt County Dispatch Center received the initial 911 call that the youths were missing between 2 and 3 a.m.
Reum said the girl told authorities that two others jumped off the train, but not when she jumped, when a FPTDLJ officer made contact with her. She had been on walking on RR Road, about two miles east of Poplar.
Written by John Plestina
A Lions Tradition
There is a saying in Lion Clubs International: “Lions Serve.” These Wolf Point Lions cook pancakes in the Elks Club kitchen for the third annual Pancake Day, May 7, 1960. The money raised from the 1960 Pancake Day benefited the maintenance of Lewis and Clark Park (also known as Bridge Park), which the Wolf Point Lions took care of for many years. This picture was on the front page of the May 5, 1960, Herald-News. Pictured are (from left to right) Kenny Voss, John Witte (at the grill), Bob Reed, Art Zervas, Earl Maltby and Doug Mahlum. All are deceased. (Photo courtesy of Marvin Presser)
The Wolf Point Lions Club will hold its 58th annual Pancake Day breakfast fundraiser at the Elks Club Saturday, May 2.
One of the Lions’ major fundraisers, the annual breakfast has been in tradition in Wolf Point since the first Pancake Day in 1958. It typically serves between 250 to 450 people and raises between $1,000 and $1,500 after expenses to put back into the community.
The proceeds help fund several Lions’ programs, including two $500 scholarships for the male and female Wolf Point High School graduates with grade point averages behind the valedictorian and salutatorian.
The Lions have also helped fund youth baseball and soccer programs, the Lord’s Table soup kitchen, and vision and hearing programs.
Volunteers from the Lions Club and family members cook, serve, clean up and run between the kitchen and serving line delivering pancakes and little smoky sausages, and cleaning tables.
The longtime breakfast fundraiser has been held in the Elks Club most years. Trinity Lutheran Church hosted it for a few years.
The Lions held the first Pancake Day Saturday, May 17, 1958.
Breakfast will be served from 6-11:30 a.m.
Tickets are available from any Lion.
Written by Herald-News
Jhett Tiernan and Octavia Reum were named Wolf Point High School king and queen during the annual WPHS prom Friday, April 17. This year’s theme was Moonlight Masquerade. (Photo by John Plestina)
Written by John Plestina
With a need to replace the carpeted gym floor at Frontier School that has been in place since 1981, school district trustees are trying to find funding and the right type of flooring in hopes of installing a new floor this summer.
Ed Hennessy of Wolf Point and a contractor from Missoula presented options to the Frontier School board Monday, April 13.
The board hasn’t made any decisions except we don’t want to go with carpet. That’s what we have in there currently. It’s been in there 34 years and its held up,” superintendent Christine Eggar said.
She said a hardwood floor is a possibility, but there are concerns about maintenance. Rubber and polyurethane flooring with a padded base are also being considered.
“I think we have about $44,000 set aside for the gym floor. The bid we got was in the ‘70s,” Eggar said.
“If we could get it done this summer, I think we could find the money. We have two budget years to work with,” she said.
Athletic Director Marianne Rees recently held a fundraising basketball tournament and raised about $1,200 for the gym floor.
The district is researching the cost of maintenance of various materials, length of time for installation and availability of contractors to do an installation. The school board will discuss the findings at the next board meeting.
The gym and most of the school building were built in 1964.
Written by John Plestina
A small number of Wolf Point voters met 12 of the 14 candidates that are running for six seats on the Wolf Point School Board during a meet and greet and candidate forum, Monday, April 20.
The Wolf Point Education Association sponsored the event.
Five of the trustee positions are newly redistricted single-member districts within Wolf Point and there is single at-large position that includes all of Wolf Point and the Frontier School District.
Redistricting came as a result of a federal court-mandate in 2014 forcing the election for all board seats.
All six current trustees were elected at-large.
The candidates by district are:
District 45-1, two-year term, Yvonne (Smoker) Bashay, Corey E Reum;
District 45-2, one-year term, Jaronn R. Boysun [incumbent], Linda L. Hansen;
District 45-3, three-year term, Mark Kurokawa, Gib R. Medicine Cloud;
District 45-4, three-year term, Paul K, Gysler, LaRae Hanks, Lawrence “Larry” Wetsit;
District 45-5, two-year term, Lanette Clark, Mary Vine;
At-large district 45A, one-year term with Brandon Babb, Roxanne Gourneau and Glenn Strader seeking election.
Boysun is the only incumbent running.
Gysler and Medicine Cloud did not attend the forum.
The candidates answered the same questions.
First they were asked why they are running and what their positive assets are.
Hansen said she has 28 years experience working in higher education and she wants to bring her experience to the school board and further her presence in the community through public service.
Boysun said he believes in the things the current board [which he is a member of] is doing. He said he has not accomplished everything he has set out to do as a school board member. He also said he wants the district to become financially responsible. He said repairs and updates for school facilities are important because the students deserve the opportunity to learn in an environment that promotes learning.
Hanks said she is a team player and skilled in management. She said she would represent all of the students. She said she believes all students deserve the best education possible.
Wetsit said the WPSD did a great job educating his children. He said every great community begins with a great education system. Wetsit said he took part as a plaintiff in the lawsuit against the WPPD that forced redistricting so that Indians would have a better say in local education.
Babb said he is running to make a difference. He sited his school board experience on the Frontier School Board and said the main thing he would like to accomplish is help the board set and follow good policy.
Vine said she is running for the board because she wants to be a voice for all students and see achievement and success for all students.
Clark said she is a lifelong Wolf Point resident except for two years. She said she wants to help students move forward in their lives. She said she has been involved with the Johnson O’Malley and Title VII programs for over 20 years. She said the more students that graduate the stronger the community will be.
Kurokawa said he wants to put forth his ideas and he brings more than 20 years experience in management with the Montana Department of Transportation. He said his experience includes budgets, working with unions, employee management and facilities maintenance. Kurokawa wants the district to hire and retain good employees.
Reum said he grew up in Wolf Point, went to local schools and is running for the school board to help the students. Reum said he often addresses issues with youth for the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office. He serves as chief deputy.
Bashay said she is a strong believer in education as a powerful, professional and efficient method for students to change their surroundings with the power to change their lives and community.
Strader said he is a former WPHS teacher, former WPSD board member and a past Frontier school board member. He said he wants to be part of the change the community needs to improve relations between the school board and the public, which he said are not good.
Gourneau said she would not favor one side over another. She said education can and should get better and she wants to fix a disconnect in the community. She is the Fort Peck Tribes education chair. She said she wants Wolf Point schools to become the best in Montana.
The candidates also responded to a question of how they would address the school district budget.
Hansen said she would take a systematic approach to the budget. She said she does not want to cut anything that would bring essential services to students.
Boysun said the district needs to spend money on the childrens’ education. He cited technology, facilities and administration. Boysun said facilities are a major thing. He also called the board’s cutting the preschool program last year a hard choice.
Hanks said she would evaluate the budget needs and consider academic needs.
Wetsit said strategic planning is needed. He said he is big on academics and that every student needs to be better prepared for college or vocational programs.
Babb said 80 to 90 percent of the school district budget goes to wages and employee insurance. He said good planning and aggressively going after grants is necessary. Babb said the district needs good administration and enough teachers to educate the students.
Vine said she would evaluate by the importance of specific needs and if those needs are going to benefit the education of the students.
Clark said with more funding to the school district available with more students, retaining students is important. She said the district is losing students at the high school level and some of them are getting into trouble. Clark also questioned if the lawsuit that forced school board redistricting and resulted in costs for the district was necessary and if two superintendents in place a the same time a few years ago was necessary. Clark was a plaintiff in the lawsuit.
Kurokawa said the board needs to work with administration and teachers. he said we cannot leave our children behind. Kurokawa called for everything to be open and transparent.
Reum said the district should be creative and listen to what the teachers need. He said the district needs to find money when mill levies don’t pass.
Bashay said she would construct a budget analysis and utilize grants, fundraising and a strategic plan.
Strader said teachers and employee insurance are the biggest expenses. He cited the Poplar School District hiring grant writers from outside the local area to find funding.
Gourneau said there are unmet needs and the community should be enlightened about why the needs are necessary. She cited the preschool program, which was discontinued after the last school year and technology. She asked if the district is tracking needs or just spending.