Written by John Plestina
Roosevelt County Commissioners delayed a decision for two weeks on the Montana Department of Transportation’s proposal to realign Secondary Highway 327 to include paving, a bypass of Bainville and bridge replacement during the weekly commission meeting Tuesday, April 1.
Paving and other proposed improvements have been in various forms of discussion since the 1970s.
Current and projected heavy truck traffic from the Bakken Oilfield has made the combination paving, bridge replacement over the Little Muddy Creek and bypass of Bainville urgent.
Highway 327, also known as the Bainville-Snowden Road, runs from the North Dakota state line southeast of Bainville into the town with access to U.S. Hwy. 2. The roadway also connects to a North Dakota state highway that goes to Williston, N.D.
The project has been called the most costly state secondary road project in northeast Montana.
The commissioners have been addressing proposed improvements to the road for at least 14 years.
“It came on the list for paving in 2000,” presiding officer Duane Nygaard said.
The MDT recently held a public meeting in Bainville.
Nygaard said a good deal had been negotiated with the state.
“A bonus we got the other day is we will be getting oil patch design,” Nygaard said.
Oasis Petroleum is planning to drill several hundred new oil wells south of Bainville, according to discussions during the commissioners’ meeting.
Bainville resident Wagner Harmon called the planned drilling a “mini boom” within an oil boom.
He said files from the Bainville Community Club show attempts to get the road paved date at least to 1976.
With the project now being closer to happening, Harmon said he wants to see the project benefit Bainville.
Completion of the project is estimated for 2017 at the earliest, Nygaard said.
Harmon said people don’t want a high volume of heavy truck traffic going down Main Street in Bainville, but it is going to happen before the project can be completed in about three years.
“I agree. You’re going to have a real mess the next two or three years,” commissioner Jim Shanks said.
Harmon asked if the paving, bridge and bypass project is the best option to help the county. He expressed concern about safety with railroad crossings.
He also questioned the safety of the existing bridge with a high volume of heavy truck traffic.
Nygaard said a concern would be if both railroad crossings in Bainville were closed at the same time, there could be a safety issue for emergency traffic.
While some people said they did not want to delay the project and were concerned that the state could divert the funding for projects in other parts of Montana, the commissioners voted 2-0 to table the matter until Tuesday, April 15, for a final decision. One reason given was to gain more input from people who live in the Bainville area. Another was that commissioner Gary Macdonald was absent due to a family emergency.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 April 2014 15:15
Written by John Plestina
Western Bank of Wolf Point has announced that its donor advised fund, administered by the Montana Community Foundation, has awarded $30,000 in grants to benefit the projects of three local community organizations.
The Wolf Point Elks Lodge #1764, a 501c (3) organization, received $10,000. The proceeds are to be used for the Elks’ ongoing efforts to renovate the 60- plus-year-old Elks building.
Used frequently as a community center for Wolf Point, this grant will be used to help make the three-level facility handicap accessible and ADA-compliant. The grant is intended to be a catalyst toward additional fund- raising efforts by the local Elks to upgrade the facility.
The second grant of $10,000 was received by the Lustre Christian High School Endowment Fund, also a 501c (3) organization. Proceeds of the grant are to be used for the renovation of the Lustre Christian High School facilities, including making rest-rooms ADA-compliant.
The planned undertaking is estimated to cost $400,000 to $500,000. Approximately $225,000 in private donations and other sources has been committed so far to this Lustre project.
Construction efforts will begin in May of this year.
The final grant award of $10,000 was made to the Northeast Montana Veterans’ Memorial, Inc., a 501c (19) organization, to assist the group in building a permanent memorial honoring the veterans of northeast Montana.
The memorial will be located in the town of Fort Peck. The total cost of this endeavor is estimated at $1 million.
R.J. Doornek, chairman of the board of Western Bank of Wolf Point and a member of its endowment advisory committee, made the following statement in announcing the grants, “The board of directors, officers and staff of the Western Bank of Wolf Point are proud of the bank’s accomplishment in providing a source of financial assistance to our local community organizations through its Donor Advised Endowment Fund. Since 1998, the Bank has contributed $354,000 to the fund that is administered by the Montana Community Foundation. Earnings from this fund have made it possible for awards of $80,700 made to various community organizations since 2009. Other beneficiaries of the grants have included Missouri Valley Development Corporation, NEMHS Charitable Foundation and Wolf Point Museum. We are optimistic about the opportunity that the fruit of the seed planted by the Western Bank of Wolf Point Donor Advised Endowment Fund will provide for the future benefit of our community.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 April 2014 15:14
Written by John Plestina
Several candidates filed for school board seats just short of the Thursday, March 27, deadline.
The election will be held May 6.
The Wolf Point School District has two seats that are up for election in May.
Incumbents Tracy Juve Miranda and Martin J. DeWitt have filed.
Also filing were Lee J. Allmer, Yvonne Smoker Bashay, Juanita R. Cantrell, Elliot Four Star and Perry Scott Lilley Sr.
In Poplar, six candidates filed for two seats.
They were incumbent James DeHerrera, Ken Norgaard, Thomas Brown, Don Moran, Doug Marottek and Emerson Young.
In the Frontier Elementary School District, four candidates, including two incumbents, filed for four open seats.
Incumbents Dave Kirkaldie and James Jerome both filed for reelection. Jeff Spotts and Mark Zilkoski also filed.
The Frazer School District has two board seats up for election. Incumbents Yancey Beston and Dorian Talks Different filed.
Because the number of candidates equals the number of seats open, the Frazer district plans to settle the election by acclamation, rather than holding an election.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 April 2014 15:13
Written by John Plestina
(Editor’s Note: The following blotter is a partial list of activities involving the Wolf Point Police Departments between March 24 and 30 and the Wolf Point Volunteer Fire Department between March 22 and 30. All those arrested or cited are presumed innocent.)
4:52 p.m., firefighters responded to a small grass fire near the sewage treatment plant. Two trucks and five firefighters responded.
4:31 p.m., firefighters responded to a mutual aid call in Valley County for a small grass fire near Oswego. The fire was in the Missouri River bottom and accessible only by foot. Firefighters fought the fire by hand. Three trucks and six firefighters responded.
7:56 p.m., firefighters responded to the 300 block of Fairweather Street for a gas leak caused by a vehicle striking a gas meter. Firefighters shut off the gas and Montana-Dakota Utilities repaired the damage. Eight WPVFD firefighters assisted the Glasgow Long Run Fire Department.
12:44 a.m., officers responded to the 300 block of Second Avenue South for a report of a domestic disturbance. Michael Fer-
kovitch, 47, of Wolf Point was arrested for domestic abuse.
9:24 a.m., officers responded to Town Pump for a report of a loss valued under $500. Charges are pending.
3:34 p.m., officers responded to ALCO for a report of a theft with a loss valued under $500. Charges are pending.
8:21 p.m., officers responded to Albertson’s for a report of an assault in progress. Officers arrested Melvin Lilley, 21, of Wolf Point for disorderly conduct and simple assault.
11:29 a.m., officers responded to the 400 block of Blaine Street for a report of a theft from a vehicle with a loss valued under $1,000. The incident remains under investigation.
3:04 p.m., officers responded to a report of a male passed out at Fort Peck Community College. Officers arrested Darwin Melbourne, 27, of Poplar for disorderly conduct and public intoxication. He was transported to the tribal jail.
6:30 p.m., officers responded to Albertson’s for a report of a van full of unattended children. The van left the scene before an officer arrived.
8 p.m., officers responded to the 300 block of Fairweather Street for a report of windows broken out of a recreational vehicle. Witnesses reported seeing a car leaving the scene. The incident remains under investigation.
8:18 p.m., officers responded to Faith Home for a report of juveniles throwing rocks at the building. The juveniles fled.
9:15 p.m., an officer observed an abandoned blue Pontiac Grand Am on U.S. Hwy. 2. The owner returned intoxicated. The individual was removed from the area and the vehicle was towed.
10:50 p.m., officers responded to Arlo’s Bar for a report of an altercation between a male and female who police said are siblings. The man left the scene and the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office arrested the woman.
11:10 p.m., officers responded to a report of an intoxicated man laying in the street at First Avenue South and Fairweather Street. Officers transported the man to his home.
8:09 a.m., officers responded to the 400 block of Benton Street for a report of a theft from a residence by an adult male who had stayed overnight at the residence.
8:21 a.m., officers responded to the 100 block of Fifth Avenue South for a report from an individual who said he gave a ride to a couple and that the pair stole items from the vehicle.
5 p.m., officers responded to the 200 block of Granville Street for a report of an individual assaulted outside the city limits. It was alleged that a male and female harassed and assaulted two females. The case was turned over to the Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice.
6:30 p.m., officers responded to ALCO for a report of a theft. The incident remains under investigation.
7:22 p.m., officers responded to ALCO for a report of a theft and arrested Amber Kelsey, 29, for theft and simple assault.
1:58 a.m., officers conducted a traffic stop on the 600 block of First Avenue South and arrested Scott Kohl, 26, of Poplar for driving under the influence.
11:12 a.m., firefighters responded to a mutual aid call in Valley County for a dumpster fire at the roll-off site at Oswego. Two WPVFD firefighters assisted the Glasgow Long Run Fire Department.
2:56 p.m., officers cited Crystal Warclub, 28, of Wolf Point for theft stemming from a previously reported incident.
5:18 p.m., officers responded to the 500 block of Edgar Street for a report of a theft from a residence with a reported loss valued at less than $1,000. The incident remains under investigation.
6 p.m., officers responded to the 400 block of Benton Street for a report of vandalism to property with reported damage valued at less than $1,000. The incident remains under investigation.
8 p.m., firefighters responded to a mutual aid call in Valley County for a single-wide mobile home that was fully engulfed by fire. WPVFD firefighters assisted the Glasgow Long Run Fire Department.
10:18 p.m., officers responded to the 200 block of Custer Street for a report of a burglary with reported losses valued at more than $1,000. The incident remains under investigation.
8:36 a.m., officers responded to the 200 block of Custer Street for a report of a disturbance in progress. A 38-year-old female was transported by ambulance to Northeast Montana Health Services - Wolf Point Campus. Charges are pending against a 35-year-old woman.
10:14 a.m., officers responded to the 100 block of Granville Street for a report of social media being used for harassment that involved juvenile females and a fake Facebook profile. The incident remains under investigation.
10:22 a.m., officers responded to the 200 block of Third Avenue South for a report of damage done to an awning at the entrance to an apartment building.
11:50 a.m., officers responded to a report of a drunk driver on eastbound U.S. Hwy. 2. Officers arrested Melvin Lilley Jr., 38, for driving under the influence and no driver’s license. He was transported to the tribal jail.
10:54 p.m., officers responded to Dad’s Bar for a report of an assault and arrested David Moran, 31, for disorderly conduct.
1:58 a.m., officers responded to a report of a large fight in the 200 block of Main Street. A female was assaulted by several adult females and some males were involved, according to police. Officers broke up the fight. No arrests were made.
3:57 a.m., officers assisted the Wolf Point Volunteer Fire Department at a grease fire in the kitchen at the Sherman Inn.
3:57 a.m., firefighters responded to a kitchen grease fire in the Sherman Inn. Six firefighters responded.
2:13 p.m., officers responded to Albertson’s for a report of two intoxicated males. Officers arrested Harris McConnell, 50, of Wolf Point on a tribal warrant.
2:31 p.m., officers responded to the 300 block of Johnson Street for a report of an assault occurring. Officers removed one of two males from the scene.
In addition to the above calls, the WPPD responded to the following calls between March 24 and 30: checks of wellbeing, five; civil standby, two; domestic disturbance, six; public assistance, eight; motor vehicle accidents, none; removal of unwanted individuals, 13; animal complaints, five; medical assistance, three; fire assistance, one; alarm, five; assist other agency, five; unfounded report, five; driving complaints, six; and school requested assistance, one.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 April 2014 15:12
Written by Jaimee Green, NEMHS
The Roosevelt County Local Emergency Planning Committee is hosting two weather spotting classes in collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration April 8 in Culbertson.
The first sky-warn class will immediately follow the regularly scheduled monthly LEPC meeting from 1 to 3 p.m. at the new Roosevelt County complex building in Culbertson. The second class will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Culbertson High School gymnasium.
“This is an opportunity for everyone to become better acquainted with the weather our area experiences each year and become familiar with the signs related to dangerous weather,” said Dan Sietsema, Roosevelt County Disaster and Emergency Services coordinator.
While everyone can benefit from the class, the course could be extremely useful for summer little league coaches, people who work outdoors and emergency first responders.
Two classes are being held to accommodate busy community members busy schedules. However, attendees only need to go to one class.
The two-hour classes will be conducted by Tanja Fransen, meteorologist, of Glasgow and John Pulasky, a meteorologist with the Northern Ag Network, of Billings.
The classes are free to the public and everyone is encouraged to attend.
The LEPC meets monthly in an effort to help better prepare the county in the event of natural and manmade disasters. In 1986, the Roosevelt County Local Emergency Planning Committee was established by the Roosevelt County Board of Commissioners to pursue the development of an awareness program involving the community, industries, local governments and media.
“The committee’s goal is to generate community involvement in an effort to ensure Roosevelt County is prepared for emergencies and also to ensure they are able to understand the needs of other supporting emergency agencies when they work together. Offering educational opportunities to the community is one of the ways we can accomplish this cohesion,” Sietsema said.
Some of the issues that have been discussed at LEPC meetings have focused on the strain and potential impact the increase in population is having on the area’s emergency response agencies and progressive measures that can be taken to avoid some issues faced by oil boom towns like Williston, N.D., and Sidney. The increase in motor vehicle accidents on highways, the potential for hazardous fires involving oil-site structures and the increase in patients seen in already busy emergency rooms are just some of the issues being reviewed.
Originally, the LEPC was designed to provide a forum for emergency management agencies, responders, industry and the public to work together to evaluate, understand and communicate chemical hazards in the community and develop appropriate emergency plans in case of accidental release of these chemicals.
In recent years, the LEPC’s planning efforts have been refocused to include planning for a variety of disasters that may affect the community. Floods, hazardous material spills, wildfires, natural disasters, and even terrorism all constitute real challenges facing community leaders today. Federal and state planners have advocated for development of all-hazards planning, which prepares towns for any disaster, not just those from chemical releases.
LEPC’s are the product of federal legislation that was passed in the wake of the Bhopal disaster in India where more than 2,000 people died because of an event involving the accidental release of hazardous chemicals in a residential area. In response to this disaster, LEPCs were established by the Federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act as Title III of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986.
The local LEPC would like to have representation from many areas of the community including: the Fort Peck Tribes, elected state and local officials, emergency management, fire, police, public health, hospitals, Red Cross, industry and facility representatives, local community and civic organizations, schools, local media and transportation agencies to name a few.
“The committee thinks it is important for a wide variety of organizations to be represented on this committee because when an emergency happens, we all have to work together to ensure a successful outcome. The more understanding we gain about each other’s organizations and needs, the easier it is to organize for events that are often chaotic and confusing,” said Lee Allmer, LEPC Chairman.
Current members include Lee Allmer, chairman; Sharon Dschaak, vice chairperson; Jaimee Green, secretary/treasurer; Dan Sietsema, DES coordinator; Jeff Wozniak, Roosevelt County 911 Dispatch; Steve Harada, Roosevelt County Fire Warden; Gary Macdonald, Roosevelt County Commissioner; Teresia Moore, Roosevelt Medical Center EMS supervisor; Michelle Barsness, grant and disaster coordinator for the Roosevelt County Health Department; and Vicki Bell, director of the Roosevelt County Health Department.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 April 2014 15:11