Wolf Point Herald

Dancing Deputy

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Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Deputy Frederick Lee shows off his dance moves in the arena at Marvin Brookman Stadium Thursday, July 9. Rodeo clown JJ Harrison enticed or possibly conned him into coming out into the arena to dance. Lee thought he was being invited to dance with Miss Rodeo Montana Hanna Heckman. He had to dance with the clown and Heckman joined in the fun. A video version is posted on YouTube where thousands, if not millions, of people worldwide might see it.   (Photo by John Plestina)

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Drug Raid Takes Down Meth Lab In Poplar Teacher Housing

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Monte Walton and Amanda Walton

A drug raid by Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office deputies took down a methamphetamine manufacturing operation in the basement of a house in the Poplar School District’s teacher housing Friday, July 3.
The school district provides the single-family house on the 400 block of Fourth Avenue West to a teacher at a subsidized rent, according to the RCSO. That teacher had allowed a daughter, son-in-law and four grandchildren between the ages of three and 12 to live in the basement.
RCSO Sgt. Patrick O’Connor told The Herald-News that law enforcement believes the teacher and spouse, who are in their 60s, were not aware of the manufacture of meth in the basement.
“Those guys; I feel bad for them. They’re as innocent as they can get. They trusted someone,” O’Connor said.
The teacher, spouse and grandchildren cannot live in house until it is tested for health hazards caused by the alleged manufacture of methamphetamine.
“Their lives got turned upside down,” O’Connor said.
“There was a suspected one-pot meth lab in the basement,” he said.
RCSO deputies initially went to the house, Friday, July 3, and arrested the daughter and son-in-law of the teacher.
RCSO undersheriff John Summers identified the daughter as Amanda Walton, 32, and her husband as Monte Walton, 35.
They moved to eastern Montana from New Mexico and lived in Plentywood before moving to Poplar. Monte Walton worked in the oilfields.
Both are charged with felony endangering the welfare of children due to the presence of four children at the site of the alleged meth lab and criminal possession of dangerous drugs and misdemeanor criminal possession of drug paraphernalia and violation of a protective order.
Monte Walton is lodged in the Roosevelt County Jail and Amanda Walton is held in the Valley County Detention Center.
Endangering the welfare of children is a felony if juveniles are exposed to meth or meth paraphernalia.
“The restraining order violations were because they had restraining orders on each other. The paraphernalia was syringes,” O’Connor said.
“There are possible enhancements because it was in a house where children were present and less than 500 feet from a school,” he said.
A search warrant was executed at the house on Monday, July 6.
“I field tested a syringe and it tested positive for methamphetamine,” O’Connor said.
“There are more charges coming for the lab. The county attorney is looking at it,” he said.
O’Connor said likely charges would be operating an unlawful clandestine laboratory and criminal possession of precursors to dangerous drugs.

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Former Poplar Superintendent Seeks $6.5 Million In Damages

One month after the Poplar School board placed its district superintendent on administrative leave, Dr. Kim Harding filed a lawsuit against the Poplar School District seeking $6.5 million in damages.
Harding filed her suit with Roosevelt County Superintendent of Schools Jeri Toavs on June 15, the first required step of what could be a lengthy process. A hearing will be scheduled.
The next step if Harding is not satisfied with the results of a hearing would be to appeal to the Montana Office of Public Instruction. She is required to jump through those hoops before she can take her suit into the courts.
“It’s been turned over to legal counsel and they will be doing all of our talking on it,” new Poplar School superintendent Jim Baldwin said.
“It’s a long process,” he said.
Baldwin could not comment further.
Poplar School District trustees placed Harding on administrative leave on May 14 and later bought out her contract for $95,000. Harding had held the school district’s top post since the beginning of the school year.
Harding alleges in her suit that the school district wrongfully terminated her and damaged her reputation.
Harding’s removal by school trustees came after a petition asking the district to remove her was reported to have circulated in Poplar. That followed the Fort Peck Tribes Executive Board voting 9-1 on April 27 to banish Harding from the reservation.
Numerous allegations alleged issues with Harding not getting along with teachers and she was accused of referring to several Poplar teachers as “renegades” in an email dated March 6. A Poplar teacher publicized the email from Harding on March 11.
Harding was taken to task because of historical uses of the word “renegade” that are considered offensive by Native Americans.
Harding told The Herald-News in early May that the email was portrayed in the press [not in The Herald-News] as racist in nature and described situations that had been happening at staff meetings.

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Stampede And Centennial Pictures

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These pictures are an assortment of Stampede and Wolf Point Centennial events between Wednesday, July 8 and Saturday, July 11. (Photos by John Plestina)

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KVCK Country Showdown And Dance

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Wolf Point Centennial celebration and Wild Horse Stampede kicked off Wednesday, July 8, with a barbecue, KVCK Country Showdown and a dance with Ryan Crys and the Roughcuts from Colorado. The top three in the  Country Showdown were (from left to right) Natasha Richter of Butte, third; Al Bets His Medicine of Poplar, second; and Pieter VanHeerden from South Africa and currently of Wolf Point, first.  The second picture is contestants and sisters Mikela and Alissa Smith of Wolf Point.  The third photo is Al Bets His Medicine of Poplar.  The last picture is Hardy and JaeDee Braaten cutting the rug, or actually the grass, at the dance.  (Photos by John Plestina)

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