Wolf Point Herald

Underpass Makeover

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A work in progress until completed at the end of this week, weather permitting, Wolf Point High School art students, grades nine through 12, are painting a howling wolf on each side of the 75-year-old underpass on Third Avenue South. Art teacher Vivian Schultz is supervising the project. Trevor Hamilton ison the ladder and Madison Kinzie is painting the first wolf on the east side of the underpass.  (Photo by John Plestina)

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Lt. Governor Hears About Eastern Roosevelt County’s Bakken Growing Pains

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Culbertson school board chairman Paul Finnicum explains about the school’s achievements to Lt. Gov. Angela McLean. Also pictured is school board member Ron Larsen. (Photo by John Plestina)

Growing pains forged out of the Bakken oil boom that have impacted Culbertson and other eastern Roosevelt County communities were stressed to Lt. Gov. Angela McLean in a meeting at Culbertson School, Friday, Sept. 5, with school superintendent Larry Crowder, school board chairman Paul Finnicum and board member Ron Larsen.
Crowder told McLean that the district is adding four additional classrooms to alleviate increasing enrollments and crowded classrooms.
Culbertson School is not accepting out-of-district enrollments for some grades with crowded classes.
“It’s the first time that I remember we had to turn kids away,” Finnicum said.
“Thirty-five percent are out of district. There is a reason that 35 percent of our students come from out of our district,” he said of the high standard of education in Culbertson.
“We ran out of desks. We ran out of lockers,” Finnicum said.
“Two summers ago we hired 11 new teachers,” Crowder said and added that there were fewer openings this past summer, and it was easier for the district to fill the positions.
The high cost of living in eastern Roosevelt County was cited.
“A lot of this is oil and gas. There was no real way to prepare for that,” Finnicum said.
“If I want to rent a bedroom in a basement, it’s $700 a month,” he said.
But instead of inflating wages to attract and retain teachers, the trustees opted to pay impact stipends and provide district-owned affordable housing for staff.
Oil and gas impacts have benefited the district financially, including the concentric circle funding that benefits school districts with oil and gas development and the neighboring districts. It provided just under $1 million to the Culbertson district last year.
“We haven’t levied a dime,” Finnicum said.
Preschool and pending “Early Edge” state legislation that would fund it statewide was also discussed.
“It’s hard to maintain a preschool presence,” Finnicum said.
McLean said she thinks if the legislation passes, there would be a 75 percent take-up rate the first year.
“We want the legislature to make funding available,” she said, adding that she thinks that will happen.
Finnicum said he doesn’t want to see “Early Edge” bring a preschool program into place at the cost of other educational funding from the state.
Larsen said the Culbertson district is dealing with high mobility of families with children because of the oil industry.
“Mobility is a big factor right now,” Finnicum said.
He said there is a higher percentage of children from transient Bakken families with Individual Education Plans in special education than children from more stable families.
“In the last five years, we have seen a rapid increase in our special education count,” Crowder said.
He is in his 17th year as superintendent and said he has seen significant growth and changes.
“We are keenly aware of the challenges you face,” McLean said. “[The state] will assist appropriately.”

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Storm Produces Damage, Unconfirmed Funnel Cloud Reports

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A microburst Wednesday, Sept. 3, blew out a garage door and wall on Darrell and Karen Synan’s shop near McCabe.
(Submitted Photo)


The National Weather Service in Glasgow reported that the storm system that brought thunder storms to Roosevelt, Valley, Daniels and Sheridan counties, Wednesday, Sept. 3, included a series of multicellular line thunderstorms that moved eastward between the Canadian border and U.S. Hwy 2.
The storms produced isolated areas of microburst winds and hail up to one inch in size.
The NWS conducted a damage survey based on reports that buildings and large trees were down and unconfirmed reports of funnel cloud.
Wind gusts as high as 67 mph were reported between Wolf Point and Scobey,
A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for southeastern Daniels, northwestern Roosevelt and western Sheridan County from 5:40 p.m. through 6:45 p.m.
Another warning was issued east of the original one that included southeastern Daniels County, northeastern Roosevelt County and all of Sheridan County from 6:29 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Damage was reported near McCabe and Froid.
Winds estimated to have been as high as 75 mph caused reported damage at a new home site with a modular home and a large metal pole barn located 2.4 miles east of the intersection of Montana Hwy. 16 and County Road 496.
A few nearby homes had missing shingles. A few trees were snapped or cracked. A garage door was blown in and a wall blown out on a pole barn.

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Column: From The Editor's Desk -- 9/11 Reflections

The headline across the top of the front page of The Herald-News, Sept. 13, 2001, read: “Wolf Point Reels After East Coast Terrorism Acts.”
It doesn’t seem possible that it has been 13 years since the indelible impressions of the horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001. Newspapers across the nation, small and large, reported the attack on America when 19 al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four domestic passenger airplanes, crashing two into the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center, collapsing the towers. A third plane struck the Pentagon and the fourth crashed into a field near Shankville, Pa.
The story written by Herald-News publisher Darla Downs 13 years ago this week recounted the events of the preceding Monday. A sidebar appealed to Roosevelt County residents by then Gov. Judy Martz for Montanans to donate blood for victims of the 9/11 attacks.
The front page of The Herald-News included a photo of a satellite dish installed outside the Wolf Point city office that served as a makeshift television receiver so that city employees could watch the developments as they unfolded.
Seeing that photo reminded me of being at work the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, the lead reporter at a newspaper in New England, just a few hundred miles from the carnage. Someone I worked with went home and returned with a small television. With a “rabbit ears” antenna [not yet extinct in 2001] we had live news coverage of the events. I’ll never forget witnessing the second airliner striking the second tower. A sinking feeling followed and the truth smacked me in the face that the first crash was not an accident. It was an act of terrorism, an attack on the United States, probably launched by a foreign and hostile source.
I thought about stories both my parents told of where they were and what they were doing Dec. 7, 1941, the day 353 Japanese aircraft bombed the U.S. Naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, sinking several U.S. vessels and killing more than 2,400.
I realized that I had my Pearl Harbor and felt a sense of identity with my parents I had never before felt. I understood how they felt when they heard about the attack on Pearl Harbor. Both events wrought extreme anger from most Americans. Flags were displayed everywhere and a spike in military enlistments followed. My dad wanted to fight the Japanese and he did.
The 9/11 attacks left a carnage of 2,996, about 500 more Americans than were killed at Pearl Harbor 60 years earlier.
When I saw the towers collapse on live television, I thought about visiting New York for the first time in 1971 – as a teenager from the West – and seeing the then new twin towers from the New Jersey Turnpike several miles away. The World Trade Center was my first face-to-face impression of New York City.
Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, it became known that several of the 19 terrorists were in Bangor, Maine, the night of Sept. 10 and flew from Bangor to Boston before boarding the four ill-fated flights. That hit home for me. I lived less than a mile from Bangor International Airport.
I had another reminder last October, while working as assistant editor of two newspaper in Utah. Artifacts of the World Trade Center were on tour, including a 9,000-pound piece of the slurry wall [a seven-story dam] that once held back the Hudson River at the World Trade Center. The artifacts were displayed in a high school parking lot before a homecoming game. I took a picture of a local fire chief on one knee and in tears at the piece of the wall. That photo was on the front page of the Vernal Express. The loss of 343 firefighters and paramedics in a single event would be cerebral for any firefighter.
The War on Terror followed 9/11. Bad intelligence of false weapons claims that were given to then President George W. Bush resulted in the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. The number of U.S. casualties mounted to nearly 4,500 killed and more than 32,000 wounded.
A decade later, our nation was divided over President Barack Obama wanting a military response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad reportedly responding to an assassination attempt against him by using Sarin, a deadly nerve gas that Germany’s Nazi’s regime developed during the 1930s, with 1,429 Syrian civilians dead, more than 400 of them children. The use of Sarin puts Assad in unique company, along with two other stooges – Adolph Hitler and Saddam Hussein.
Now there is the ISIS threat that Obama blew off early this year, comparing the terror group to a junior varsity sports team. Now, Obama is stepping up the bombing of ISIS targets in Iraq.

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Claims Of Shooter Cause Schools To Lockdown

A 911 call reporting a man discharging a rifle on the 100 block of East Edgar Street resulted in all Wolf Point schools and Frontier Elementary School being locked down during the afternoon hours, Monday, Sept. 8.
Wolf Point Police Department officers were on East Edgar Street in less than a minute of receiving the call a little after 2 p.m. Roosevelt County Sheriff’s deputies and Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice officers were on the scene shortly after.
No shooter was located by law enforcement.
Wolf Point Police Chief Jeff Harada said Tuesday, Sept. 9, that it was undetermined if there had been a man with a rifle or if any shots had been fired.
All area schools were locked down as a precaution for the remainder of the school day.
“We don’t know for sure [if there was a shooter], but we always take precautions,” Wolf Point School District superintendent Joe Paine said a few hours later.
Frontier Elementary School locked down at 2:45 p.m. and remained on lockdown until school was dismissed.
Frontier buses only discharged children at the Roosevelt County Courthouse. All parents were called and advised of the situation. Many of the parents picked up their children at the school rather than allowing them to ride buses into town.
“We received a message that Wolf Point locked down and we decided that we would follow suit to be safe,” Frontier School superintendent Christine Eggar said.

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