Written by John Plestina
Results of municipal elections held Tuesday, Nov. 3, will not be official until the Roosevelt County Clerk and Recorder’s Office canvasses the election Thursday, Nov. 12.
Bill Juve might have been elected to the Wolf Point City Council Ward 2 seat with two write-in votes.
Juve said neither of the write-in votes were from himself or his wife. He had no comment as to whether he would serve on the council if he is eligible for election.
Ashley Moran, who was appointed to the council from Ward 2 in 2014, did not file for election and she did not receive any write-in votes.
David Allen, Karen Babcock, Dave Brownlee and Susan D. Johnson each received one write-in vote for the Ward 2 seat. Ward 1 councilman John Plestina also received one write-in vote in Ward 2.
The remainder of the Wolf Point council results were as follows.
In Ward 1, incumbent Laurie Evans was reelected to a four-year position unopposed with 24 votes. Plestina, who was appointed to the other Ward 1 seat in September, was elected to a two-year position unopposed with three write-in votes.
In Ward 3, incumbent Craig Rodenberg was unopposed and reelected to a four-year position with 129 votes.
In Ward 4, incumbent Judy Page was unopposed and reelected to a four-year position with 104 votes.
Roosevelt County Clerk and Recorder Cheryl Hansen reported a 30 percent voter turnout for Wolf Point, with the highest turnouts on the north side with 44 percent in Ward 3 and 40 percent in Ward 4. On the south side, 19 percent of Ward 1 voters cast mail-in ballots and just 6 percent from Ward 2.
In Bainville, Scott Ross elected to a four-year term unopposed with 22 votes. The voter turnout was 27 percent.
In Brockton, Rae Jean Belgarde defeated Rodney Burshia 6-2 for a four-year term, and Gregory J. Brugh Jr., defeated Stacy Stangland 6-1 with a 10 percent voter turnout.
In Culbertson, W. Bruce Houle was reelected in Ward 1 unopposed with 35 votes and Jaimee Elizabeth Green was elected unopposed from Ward 2 with 52 votes. The voter turnout was 26 percent.
In Froid, Gregg Labatte and Gale Strandlund were elected to four-year terms with 48 and 47 votes respectively. There were no other candidates. The voter turnout was 54 percent, the highest of any community in Roosevelt County.
In Poplar, John Q. Grainger with 15 votes and Derrek Bridges with eight votes appear to have been elected to four-year terms on the city council. Others receiving votes were: Michael Dimas, 6 Curry Kirn, 6; Howard Azure, 5; Dallas O’Connor, 5; Charles Pollock, 5; Ward Dehner, 4; Greg Gourneau, 4; Rick Kirn, 3; Gary Sadler, 3; Billie Norgaard, 2; Frank Smith, 2; Rodney Standen, 2; Krystal Atkinson, 1; Arthur Baker, 1; Donovan Bridges, 1; Keith Erickson, 1; Patricia E. Iron Cloud, 1; Kevin Kennaugh, 1; Robert Macannally, 1; John Morales, 1; Griffin Ricker, 1; Kenneth Trottier Jr., 1; and Marjorie Youpee, 1.
The voter turnout in Poplar was 17 percent.
Written by Herald-News
The Department of the Interior released the 2015 Status Report for the Land Buy-Back Program for tribal nations last week, which summarizes its implementation to-date and significant economic impact in Indian Country.
Since 2013, the Buy-Back Program has paid nearly $715 million to landowners and restored the equivalent of approximately 1.5 million acres of land to tribal governments.
In addition to releasing the status report, the program is launching a two-part planning initiative to help determine its next implementation schedule for 2017 and beyond.
The first part seeks input from tribal governments that are interested in participating in the program. Eligible tribal governments not already scheduled for implementation are invited to formally indicate their interest in participating in the program no later than March 11, 2016.
More information is available to tribal leaders at: www.doi.gov/buybackprogram/tribes.
The second part is a nationwide recruitment drive to further identify and engage landowners who are interested in learning more about this opportunity.
“The Buy-Back Program is another excellent example of this administration’s commitment to provide more economic, social and cultural opportunities for landowners, their families, and tribal communities for the benefit of generations to come,” said Deputy Secretary Michael L. Connor. “The interest in the Program across Indian Country has been incredible and momentum is building. Already more than 66,000 individuals have had the opportunity to consider purchase offers for their fractional land interests. We are committed to collaborating with tribal governments to offer this opportunity to as many individuals as we can within the Program’s 10-year timeframe.”
The Buy-Back Program implements the land consolidation component of the Cobell Settlement, which provided $1.9 billion to purchase fractional interests in trust or restricted land from willing landowners at fair market value. The program is authorized by Congress through 2022.
For the first time, the program’s status report includes the findings of an economic impact study. According to the Department’s Office of Policy Analysis, cumulative program payments to landowners as of September 2015 have contributed an estimated $752 million to gross domestic product, $1.4 billion in the output of goods and services, and supported about 9,000 jobs nationwide.
“This program is about putting resources back into Indian Country,” said Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn. “The moment to get involved in this opportunity is right now. We have only a few short years in which to implement this important Program, and we are determined to do everything we can to provide interested tribal governments and landowners the chance to participate. This is an opportunity we cannot take for granted.”
Informed by early planning activities and its open solicitation in 2013-2014, the department identified 42 locations where land consolidation activities — such as planning, outreach, mapping, mineral evaluations, appraisals or acquisitions — have either already occurred or are expected to take place through the middle of 2017. These locations represented 83 percent of all outstanding fractional interests across Indian Country.
There are about 245,000 owners of nearly three million fractional interests across Indian Country who are eligible to participate in the program. Many see little or no economic benefit from what are often small, undivided interests in lands that cannot be utilized due to their highly fractionated state.
Interested landowners should call the Trust Beneficiary Call Center at 888-678-6836 to register their interest and confirm contact information. Registration in no way commits a landowner to sell their land nor does it guarantee that an offer will be received; it merely identifies the landowner’s interest in receiving an offer.
Individuals can contact the call center or visit their local Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians or Bureau of Indian Affairs office to learn more about their land and their options — including how the program works. The call center and local OST staff can also help landowners think strategically about how to use funds they may receive through the program.
To further help individuals make informed decisions about their land, extensive frequently asked questions and answers are also online at: www.doi.gov/buybackprogram/landowners/upload/Frequently-Asked-Questions.pdf.
Written by John Plestina
Librarian Andrea Hayes and Wolf Point author Jim Marmon display the two books Marmon donated to the library last week in the Wolf Point Roosevelt County Library. (Photo by John Plestina)
Wolf Point author Jim Marmon has donated copies of both of his novels to the Wolf Point Branch of the Roosevelt County Library and plans a book signing this week.
Marmon is the author of Alexander Barnaby Meadowlark, published in 2007, and Murder in Montana, A Bakken Oil Field Vigilante Tale, which was released Oct. 1.
He donated one copy of each to the library.
Murder in Montana, A Bakken Oil Field Vigilantly Tale is a fictional story of good versus bad with modern day Wolf Point and other nearby communities as the setting. Good people in Wolf Point and across the Hi-Line rise up and take action against the rising drug problem with vigilantism.
The book cover is red with a noose.
“It’s a tale of revenge; getting rid of some people in Wolf Point,” Marmon said of his fictional account of local vigilantes ridding Wolf Point, Frazer, Vida and Williston, N.D., of methamphetamine dealers and other bad folks.
“The big focus is on getting rid of the people who are into drugs,” he said.
“During Stampede, a bad guy is shot in front of the Wolf Point Cafė,” Marmon began, and explained that a vigilante riding a horse shoots the bad guy, who falls down on Anaconda Street and the crowd of parade watchers think the man being killed is acting and part of the parade. Meanwhile, the good guy/shooter rides his horse to the Sherman Inn, ties up his horse in the back parking lot, changes his clothes and blends in with the crowd downtown.
Marmon, a former Wolf Point and Frazer teacher, and Northside Elementary School guidance counselor, taught in the Lower Yukon School District in Alaska for 20 years until he retired more than a decade ago and returned to Wolf Point.
Marmon, who was born in Wolf Point and raised north of town, said he was comfortable teaching in several Yup’ik Eskimo villages along the Yukon River in western Alaska because he had grown up with Native Americans on the Fort Peck Reservation.
Marmon’s book signing will be at the Sherman Inn Friday, Nov. 13, from 1 to 5 p.m.
Written by John Plestina
A telemarketing scam with phony IRS agents claiming unpaid taxes that has been reported nationwide for more than a year was recently used to attempt to con several Wolf Point residents.
The Internal Revenue Service is not making the calls. The IRS initially corresponds through U.S. mail. The telemarketing scam has been going on for more than a year. The IRS issued a consumer alert in August 2014.
According to information posted on an IRS website, federal tax collectors do not make contact by telephone without first sending a tax bill through the mail, do not demand payment without providing an opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed, do not require payment by prepaid debit cards or other specific payment methods, do not ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone, do not threaten to involve local police or other law-enforcement or have taxpayers arrested for nonpayment.
The IRS does not use unsolicited email, text messages or any form of social media to discuss personal tax issues.
According to the IRS website, callers might demand money or claim that the person they are calling has a refund due and attempt to obtain private information. The callers might alter the caller ID to make it appear that the IRS is calling, use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers.
Wolf Point Police Chief Jeff Harada said he has received complaints from several people who have said they received the calls. The Herald-News has received one call from a Wolf Point resident saying a caller has alleged to be an IRS agent.
“If the IRS is going to contact you, they are going to do it by mail,” Harada said.
He recommended that people who might have been victimized read information on the IRS website.
Harada stressed that it is not rude to hang up on a telemarketer.
He said the WPPD obtained a phone number from a complainant’s caller ID. The telephone number was in the 509 area code, which is the eastern half of Washington.
“We returned a call. It was in the eastern Washington area. We spoke to a gentleman who would not confirm or deny that he was making these phone calls,” Harada said and added that the man neither confirmed, nor denied that he was using the IRS to conduct a scam.
The phone number belonged to a disposable cell phone and the man spoke with an accent, raising suspicion that the calls ― despite the Washington area code ― could have been placed outside the United States.
The Detroit Free Press reported Wednesday, Nov. 4, that a Wayne, Mich., woman lost nearly $20,000 to the scam.
The IRS recommends that people receiving telephone calls from people claiming to be from the IRS should report the calls.
Those receiving calls and knowing they do not owe taxes, should report the incidents to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at (800) 366-4484 or online at www.tigta.gov.
People believing they owe taxes should contact the IRS at (800) 829-1040. IRS workers can assist with payment issues.
Complaints may be filed through the Federal Trade Commission using the online FTC Complaint Assistant. Choose “Other” and then “Imposter Scams.” If the complaint involves someone impersonating the IRS, include the words “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.
For more information on reporting tax scams, go to www.irs.gov and type “scam” in the search box.
Written by John Plestina
Wolf Point Police have cited the driver of a car that was involved in a collision with a school bus Wednesday, Oct. 28.
Police Chief Jeff Harada said officers cited Pierrette Toussaint, 35, of Poplar for failing to yield on the right under state right-of-way violation.
According to the WPPD, the 1999 Bluebird school bus driven by a 50-year-old Vida man was traveling southbound on the 400 block of Fifth Avenue North and a 1999 Toyota Camry driven by Toussaint was westbound on Cascade Street when the car and bus collided in the middle of the intersection of Fifth Avenue North and Cascade Street at 7:52 a.m.
None of the six students on board the bus were injured, according to the Wolf Point School District.
Toussaint was taken by ambulance to the Northeast Montana Health Services - Wolf Point Campus hospital with non-life threatening injuries. She was alone in the car.
Owned by the driver, an independent contractor, the bus is contracted with the Wolf Point School District.
Wolf Point School District superintendent Gary Scott said the students who were riding the bus at the time of the crash were five Wolf Point Junior/Senior High School students and one younger child who attends Southside Elementary School.
The bus sustained minor damages including a bent bumper. The car was severely damaged on the passenger side.