Wolf Point Herald

GNDC Makes Website More User Friendly

The Great Northern Development Corporation website might have gotten a little more user friendly.
GNDC grant administrator Brianna Vine said during the GNDC board meeting Thursday, April 10 that the new website is now online
The site had been outdated. The improved version is smart phone compatible and uses the same web address at www.gndc.org.
“This year is our 20th anniversary and it hadn’t been updated in that time,” Vine said. “We want to make it a tool and an asset.”
It includes links to GNDC projects completed within the last five years, all programs GNDC works with, the newsletter and an archive of past newsletters. The business of the year is showcased on the website, which is Glasgow Floral and Gifts.
“It’s not very exciting, but it’s necessary information for people trying to get a loan,” Vine said.
GNDC also has a Facebook page.
Other business included a possible expansion and or remodeling of the GNDC building.
The 16-county GNDC provides services to businesses, which include assistance applying for grants.
The board also discussed the annual meeting in July and possibly making it a golf event.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 April 2014 12:06

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New Animal Control Officer Hired To Limit Loose Dogs

HN.4.10.14.DOGS-1After months of canines having free run of Wolf Point’s streets, sidewalks, schoolyards and lawns, a new animal control officer is on the job, a move the police department hopes will curtail the problem.
J.T. Szymanski began working Thursday, April 3.
Originally from Wolf Point, Szymanski recently moved back after working in the oil fields in the Williston, N.D., area for seven years. He said he wanted to move back to Wolf Point to spend more time with his children, two boys and a girl.
Szymanski said he likes his new job, an hour after his third work day began. Monday started with two stray dogs caught and delivered to the pound during his first hour on the job.
The problem of loose, and sometimes nuisance, dogs has compounded since the city’s last animal control officer resigned in October 2013. Efforts to hire a qualified individual had been unsuccessful until Szymanski applied.
With the absence of the blue animal control pickup truck patrolling Wolf Point’s streets during recent months, the volume of dogs allowed by owners to run loose has multiplied. The police have had to address dog complaints every week and several reported bitings.
Police Chief Jeff Harada assigned blame on dog owners.
Harada said unrestrained dogs frequently leave their owners’ properties to follow children to school and then roam the city throughout the day. Many also roam at night.
“That’s been a heck of a problem,” he said.
“They (dogs) use the sidewalks like a pedestrian,” Harada said
He said fewer than 10 percent of the dogs that have been running the streets in Wolf Point are homeless strays and many of the uncollared canines that are loose belong to people.
“A collarless dog, I would say, 90 percent of the time has an owner,” Harada said.
“The loose dog problem has nothing to do with the dog problem. It’s irresponsible owners,” he said.
“We understand dogs get loose and we also understand that it’s been excessive, especially the last few months,” Harada said.
“It irritates me because people don’t take care of their animals and let them run,” Szymanski said.
“As soon as they (dogs) see that (animal control) pickup, they’re gone,” Szymanski said.
There are potential downfalls to being the one person the city employs that some people call the “dog catcher.”
“I’m sure I’ll get bit sometime,” Szymanski said. “I never turn my back on a dog.”
He added, “One of the things I don’t tolerate is a biting dog, especially with kids walking to school.”
The pound has a six-day hold and many dogs are euthanized because the city cannot hold them.
Wolf Point Pound Puppies took four dogs out of the pound over then last weekend and transported them out of town for adoption.
There are consequences for dog owners if the city locks up their dogs. It’s not cheap for owners to get their dogs back once they are caught and taken to the pound. There is a $10 impound fee plus $15 per day. If they leave their dogs beyond six days, there is a risk they could be euthanized or adopted. If that is the case, they cannot get them back.
There are city and tribal ordinances in place that require pet owners (dogs and cats) to leash or maintain their pets on their own property. The city requires dog licenses that are available for $5 for one year.
The Fort Peck Tribes holds rabies shot clinics in Wolf Point and Poplar.
Harada said it is the responsibility of pet owners to have their animals vaccinated.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 April 2014 12:48

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Prom Royalty

HN.4.10.14.PROM 1Wolf Point High School prom queen and king Sarah Hafner and Trenton Wemmer were crowned as 2014 WPHS Prom royalty Saturday, April 5.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 April 2014 12:46

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City Council To Ponder Police Wages And Back Pay

The Wolf Point City Council is expected to consider a change in the way police officers are paid when they meet Monday, April 21. Retroactive pay adjustments for officers might also be on that agenda.
The city’s personnel, policy and wage committee, now comprised of mostly new members, reached conclusions Wednesday, April 2, on police compensation issues dating back to 2005.
The PPW committee will recommend to the city council that officers be paid an annual salary based on 2,184 hours per year. That amount would be divided by 24 twice-monthly pay dates, giving officers the same amount on every pay, something several officers said they were concerned about.
Wolf Point police officers have requested that the city pay them an additional four hours for every 14-day period, giving them pay for every hour they work. They are paid salary twice monthly.
The officers work an average of 2,184 hours each year. The national standard for police officers is 2,080 hours per year.
City clerk and treasurer Marlene Mahlum said she discussed the issue with the Montana Municipal Interlocal Authority and was told that while the traditional 40-hour work week with overtime paid above 40 hours applies to most workers, federal law allows for law enforcement officers to work up to 86 hours during 14-day periods without paying overtime. Federal law considers it a work period, not a work week.
Lt. Brian Erwin said officers are working as much as 86 hours during 14-day periods without overtime pay.
He addressed a grievance letter that was sent to the city on behalf of the police officers.
“The grievance itself is actually skewed,” Erwin said, adding that the officers were under the understanding that they were eligible for overtime above 40 hours.
“What we’re paid and what we’re worth is not the same,” Erwin said.
“The officers don’t care how they’re paid. They just want to be paid for the hours they are here,” he said.
“I want to be fair. I don’t want to hurt anyone,” city councilman and committee chairman Rollie Paulson said. “My goal is to have a satisfied solution by the next council meeting.”
There was also a discussion about possibly paying officers per hour worked, rather than salary.
The recommendation to the council includes that they continue to be paid salary.
Also at issue is back pay for hours not paid dating as far back as 2005 for one member of the department and 2006 for another.
The committee discussed discounting the amount by 33 percent and not including the current year.
There were concerns that former employees might request back pay.
Paulson said he would discuss the matter with the city attorney.
The committee will meet again Wednesday, April 9, to make a decision on a recommendation to the city council.
There was also discussion that an additional police officer is needed because of the increase in police calls.
Mahlum asked if hiring a sixth police officer would reduce the number of work hours of the other five.
Erwin responded that he would not reduce work hours if an additional officer is hired because of the increasing work load that keeps the officers the city currently has busy.
“There’s no calling in sick. If we’re down one, we’re to the pin,” he said.
In an unrelated matter, the committee voted to recommend to the city council that health insurance costs for all municipal employees increase by 1.6 percent with no change in the available insurance options. The city offers four plans.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 April 2014 12:44

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Lions Club Ramps Up For Annual Pancake Breakfast

A tradition in Wolf Point for more than 40 years, the annual Wolf Point Lions Club’s pancake breakfast is just three weeks away.
A major fundraiser for the Lions, the pancake breakfast has served between 300 and 500 people during past years.
“It’s where we make our money for the things we do around town,” Lion Jerald Petersen said.
Volunteers from the Lions Club cook, serve and clean up.
The longtime breakfast fundraiser has been held in the Elks Club most years. Trinity Lutheran Church hosted it for a few years.
This year’s breakfast will be held at the Wolf Point Elks Club, Saturday, May 3. Tickets are available from any Lion.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 April 2014 12:42

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