Written by John Plestina
The third Wolf Point man accused of growing marijuana in a Custer Street home was sentenced in 15th District Court Wednesday, Sept. 16.
District Judge David Cybulski sentenced Dustin Kinzie, 21, to a five-year deferred imposition of sentence, $5,000 fine and fees for felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs.
Two other men charged in the same case, Dougal McMorris, 19, and Pryce Paulson, 20, both received deferred imposition of sentences and fines earlier this year. All three avoid prison if they abide by sentencing conditions.
They separately withdrew previously entered “not guilty” pleas and entered new pleas under plea agreements earlier this year.
The Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office and Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice conducted a joint operation in 2014 that led to six arrests, three that were charged in Fort Peck Tribal Court.
County deputies and tribal officers entered Kinzie’s residence on the 400 block of Custer Street, across from Southside Elementary School, with a search warrant Oct. 14, 2014, and found five marijuana plants, grow equipment, about one half pound of marijuana packaged in one-ounce baggies in a backpack, two ounces of marijuana in a black air vault, several pipes and bongs, several digital scales, small unopened jeweler’s bags that are commonly used to package drugs, marijuana seeds, paraphernalia, a .25 caliber pistol, an empty box and receipt for a Mossberg pump shotgun, $783 in cash and marijuana growing equipment, according to the charging documents.
Assistant Roosevelt County Attorney Jordan Knudsen said in November 2014 that Montana law allows for a separate felony charge for dealing drugs near a school. No additional charges have been filed against anyone charged in the case.
Criminal possession with intent to sell, gun complicity with a drug crime, felony child abuse and possession of drug paraphernalia charges were filed in Fort Peck Tribal Court in the same case against Arlyn “A.J.” Headdress Jr., Tyler Nygaard and Nevaeh Yellowrobe, all of Wolf Point. All are young adults over age 18, according to tribal police.
Written by John Plestina
District Judge David Cybulski accepted "not guilty" pleas during arraignments in 15th District Court Wednesday, Sept. 16.
Frank Hank Baker, 33, of Wolf Point was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to two felonies and four misdemeanors.
The felonies are criminal possession of dangerous drugs and tempering with physical evidence. The misdemeanor counts are criminal possession of drug paraphernalia, driving a motor vehicle while privilege to do so is suspended or revoked, failure to use a turn signal and operating a motorcycle without endorsement, first offense.
A Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office deputy conducted a traffic stop of a motorcycle with a male driver and female passenger in the parking lot of Lucky Lil’s Casino after twice observing turns without turn signals during the late night hours on Aug. 21, according to the charging documents.
The driver, identified in court papers as Baker, claimed to not have his driver’s license with him. A Wolf Point Police officer who arrived to assist said he did not have a license. Baker also denied being an enrolled tribal member when he was told he had a warrant out of Fort Peck Tribal Court.
A white powder was found that was later identified as methamphetamine.
Wolf Point Police arrested Baker on warrants on June 26 and again on Aug. 12.
James Dillon Lehner, 22, of Wolf Point pleaded not guilty to felony and misdemeanor charges of criminal possession of dangerous drugs and misdemeanor counts of criminal possession of drug paraphernalia, failure to provide proof of liability insurance and exceeding the posted speed limit of 25 mph by driving 36 mph.
A Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office sergeant and U.S. Border Patrol agent arrested Lehner on Aug. 31 following a traffic stop on U.S. Hwy. 2 near First Avenue North in Wolf Point.
The RCSO sergeant observed an odor of burnt marijuana when he approached the car. Six large marijuana cigarettes, meth-
amphetamine and paraphernalia were found in the car, according to the charging documents.
Written by Herald-News
(Editor’s Note: The Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office distributes an inmate roster each week with charges and communities of residence to The Herald-News and The Searchlight to help keep the public informed and to illustrate that the jail has been dealing with overcrowding issues in the 17-bed facility. Names on the jail roster are those of everyone incarcerated and persons booked into the jail during the previous week and does not necessarily mean there is a new charge or conviction. Some individuals might be serving time for a previous conviction.)
As of Monday, Sept. 28, 14 inmates were housed in the Roosevelt County Jail. Fort Benton Detention Center was holding one male and the Valley County Detention Center was holding two females to alleviate overcrowding. The RCSO reported that the following individuals were incarcerated at the jail between Monday, Sept. 21, and Monday, Sept. 28:
•Robert Baird, 24, Anchorage, Alaska, criminal possession of dangerous drugs;
•Frank Baker, 33, Wolf Point, criminal possession of dangerous drugs;
•Amos Bridges, 39, Wolf Point, criminal contempt warrant;
•Jason Daugherty, 37, Wolf Point, criminal possession of dangerous drugs [two counts], criminal possession of drug paraphernalia, attempted assault on a peace officer or judicial officer and resisting arrest;
•Tyrule Davis, 43, Los Angeles, Calif., assault on peace officer or judicial official;
•Jason Fridge, 30, Williston, N.D., driving under the influence of any drug;
•Christopher L. Hovey, 26, Williston, N.D., out-of- county warrant;
•Kevyn Johannesson, 26, Williston, N.D., fleeing or eluding a peace officer, criminal endangerment and obstructing a peace officer;
•Joseph Laturell, 52, Bainville, partner or family member assault, sexual intercourse without consent and aggravated kidnapping;
•Anthony McClendon, 56, Culbertson, aggravated assault;
•Roy Allen Murray Jr., 30, Portland, Ore., arrested on Oregon felony warrant, driving under the influence - drug, driving a motor vehicle while privilege to do so revoked, operating without liability insurance, criminal possession of drug paraphernalia and criminal possession of dangerous drugs;
•Brett Sandy, 25, Orange, Calif., felony theft;
•Jared Thompson, 39, Ogden, Utah, partner or family member assault;
•Monte Walton, 35, Poplar, endangering the welfare of a child, violation of a protective order, first offense, criminal possession of dangerous drugs and criminal possession of drug paraphernalia.
Written by Eric Killelea
The first picture is Alonna Sansaver and Chris Strand helping with the hop harvest at Missouri Breaks Brewing last week by scaling the courtyard
fence. The second photo is Dr. Mark "Doc Z" Zilkoski, an owner of Missouri Breaks Brewing, picking hops during the brewing company’s hop harvest. (Photos by Eric Killelea)
They volunteered together: a group of patrons harvesting Cascade hops to help staff at Missouri Breaks Brewing make beer for the community. The patrons gathered the aromatic green buds grown on long, twisting vines in the back courtyard at the brewery on Main Street in Wolf Point.
Dr. Mark Zilkoski, an owner, told how he began growing the sky-reaching perennial plants at the brewery several years ago. At his own home, some 89 plants have climbed 30 feet high around telephone poles.
But most on his mind was the notion of reliable volunteerism on a Friday night, said Zilkoski who joined friends and patrons who were keeping the local hops harvest tradition strong.
“We couldn’t do it without the people that volunteer here,” he said, offering one free beer per volunteer. “It’s a community place and people here love to help out.”
Staff planned to dry the hops in an oven at 140 degrees, welcoming the citrus-like, perhaps grapefruit aroma to follow, Zilkoski said. The amount of gathered hops would create about one batch of beer, or 150 gallons.
Alonna Sansaver, a bartender, and Chris Strand, a patron, both helped with gathering hops by scaling the courtyard fence. Having returned inside the brewery, the two listed the variety of available beer: Gysler’z Guzlin Cherry Ale, Black Bear Brown Bear, Big Beaver Belchin’ Ale, Sand Pike Stout, Rattle Snake IPA. Wolf’s Wheat would return Sept. 22, while pumpkin-flavored beer would be available mid-November.
The brewery has started promoting nights of arts, chess and trivia during the week, Sansaver said.
Opening in November 2009, the business also plans to celebrate its sixth year anniversary Saturday, Nov. 7.
Written by Eric Killelea
About 94 of Wolf Point’s Southside Elementary School students — roughly 33 percent — missed at least 20 days of classes last school year, according to a report released last Monday.
“The impact of chronic absenteeism is twice as great for students from low-income families,” said Vicki Bisbee, a counselor at Southside Elementary School, who presented her report before the Wolf Point School District board of trustees. “Chronic absenteeism increases achievement gaps at the elementary, middle and high school levels.”
Members of the school board considered the report’s findings a mirror to chronic absenteeism problems in other district schools. Most were alarmed to learn that 124 students missed 16 days of school or one month of education since schools in the district began four-day weeks in the 2011-2012 school year.
“There’s something wrong with the system,” said school board chair Mark Kurokawa when speaking with vice-chair Brandon Babb during the presentation. “Our system is failing.”
The counselor’s report comes one year after Attendance Works — a national advocacy organization — showed that student absenteeism in Montana was the worst in the nation and even more troublesome among the state’s Native American student population. Bisbee’s own report revealed that all chronically absent students at Southside School were Native American — save one — and all risked decreased academic scores and increasing dropout rates.
It showed an 88 percent attendance rate for Southside School students last year, less than the 93.6 rate statewide for Montana schools. The attendance rate seemed fair to most on the board until told the situation only worsens in higher grades and that Wolf Point High School’s graduation rate was 14 percent less than the state rate last year.
Members of the board also learned that “a school can average 90 percent of daily attendance and still have 40 percent of its students chronically absent because on different days, different students make up the 90 percent,” Bisbee said, citing a 2012 study from Johns Hopkins University. The State of Montana does not require school districts to report absenteeism.
One district teacher at the presentation claimed that she referred at least 64 students to Fort Peck Tribal Court last year and 88 students the year before. Tribal law states children must be in school from pre-school age until 18. State law is age 16.
“The kids that don’t graduate usually don’t work,” Bisbee said. “They get into crime and drugs.”
The report mostly includes data for Southside School, but district superintendent Gary Scott said Bisbee’s findings “represent our whole school district.”
“Attendance is a major problem we have in our school district,” Scott said Friday afternoon. “We need to find a way to get people to come to school. Everyone has to work together on this. It’s the fault of everybody.”
Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau in August invited schools, teachers, parents, students and the community to take part in the “Graduation Matters Montana” initiative. Southside School principal Susan Brown, Bisbee and other staff formed a committee to develop a plan of action and contacted stakeholders including students, families and businesses.
The committee has started to reward classes with perfect attendance, publish a twice-month newsletter and send postcards thanking families for good attendance, improved attendance and good behaviors. The committee has encouraged family involvement while reaching out to the Fork Peck Tribal Education Committee, local businesses, law enforcement and local newspapers.
“I’m optimistic,” Scott said. “I think we can do it, but it has to be a combination of everyone.”