Written by John Plestina
The possibility of bed races being included in the Wolf Point’s Centennial Celebration during the 2015 Wild Horse Stampede came closer to reality during the monthly Centennial Committee meeting, Tuesday, Feb. 3.
The committee first discussed including a bed race during the January meeting.
Perhaps a little bit outside the box, the unusual sport of bed racing has become an annual event in places as diverse as Twin Falls, Idaho, and Key West, Fla. At the very least, it creates a wacky sight with teams of four people pushing beds on wheels through downtown streets with a fifth team member on the bed wearing pajamas.
Bed racing is definitely not a mainstream sport. It’s not about hitting a ball with a bat or sinking a basket, but it is ranked No. 8 on the Wonderslist Top 10 Unusual Sports In The World. The eighth place ranking is ahead of Oil Wrestling and Poohsticks.
The Bed Races would be a part of the Good Neighbor Days portion of the Centennial Celebration, a return of an annual summer event in Wolf Point that has not been held since the 1960s.
Other Good Neighbor Days events will include a pie eating contest with whipped cream filled pie crusts for various age groups. The first to finish in allotted time wins. A tug of war is a possibility.
The Stampede Parade will be held three days instead of two as during past years and the Centennial Committee plans period floats that will depict historical scenes of Wolf Point and specific decades.
Parade floats depicting events and decades of Wolf Point history will be paraded around the arena at Marvin Brookman Stadium at the Stampede Grounds during opening ceremonies for rodeo performances.
The KVCK Country Showdown will be held in Marvin Brookman Stadium at the Stampede Grounds for the first time in several years.
Held in the Wolf Point High School auditorium the past few years, the talent contest, which is the annual Wild Horse Stampede kick-off event, will be held in the larger venue Wednesday of Stampede week.
There will also be a Wolf City Rods and Rides car show and possibly a poker run.
John Olson and Don Hutchinson have a group of about 25 people interested in staging one or more Old West gunfight reenactments during the Stampede and Centennial Celebration, and hope they could become “guns for hire” throughout the year.
The show will likely be Saturday after the parade and the horses are put away.
Four nights of live music and three street dances downtown are likely. The Billings-based band “Downtime” is committed to perform one or more nights.
Other plans for the celebration that have been discussed include use of the old bridge for a yet undetermined event, a large public feed and home made old fashioned ice cream.
Written by John Plestina
What might be shock therapy for high school students would be a car or pickup truck that was demolished in a drunk driving crash, placed in the Wolf Point High School parking lot during prom week in April and possibly doing the same at Poplar High School.
The school boards would have to approve the request.
The Roosevelt County DUI Task Force decided to approach both school boards with the request, Wednesday, Feb. 4.
Wolf Point High School’s prom will be held either Friday, April 17 or Saturday, April 18. The WPSD has not decided between the two dates.
Wolf Point mayor Chris Dschaak said the presence of a wrecked vehicle would “hit them hard,” referring to the expected student reaction.
He said a major alcohol-related wreck hasn’t happened here on a prom night, but it could, and should be prevented.
In other business, the task force discussed the third and final reading of House Bill 132 passing with no opposition in the House, Thursday, Jan. 29. The bill was transmitted to the Senate the next day.
County Commissioner Gary Macdonald, who chairs the DUI Task Force, said passage of HB 132 would financially benefit county drinking and driving prevention programs statewide by allowing reallocation of unspent special revenue funds to Roosevelt County and 35 other counties that have DUI task forces or other county drinking and driving prevention programs, by allowing for the county portion of driver’s license reinstatement fees collected in counties that do not have task forces to be distributed to the 36 counties that have task forces July 1 of each year on an equal basis.
The legislation would take effect July 1, if the Senate approves it and Gov. Steve Bullock signs it into law.
Twenty of Montana’s 56 counties do not have county drinking and driving prevention programs.
The bill was introduced for the current legislative session at the request of the Montana Department of Transportation.
Macdonald said he plans to address the pending legislation when it comes up before the Senate.
Macdonald said there is a possibility that the increased revenue could fund monitoring for non-tribal DUI offenders through the Fort Peck Tribal Court DUI Court program. Macdonald said there have been discussions of including a request for legislation in the next Highway Safety Plan that would mandate judges to follow stricter DUI sentencing guidelines that would remove the leeway they currently have. Macdonald said such legislation could be introduced into the Legislature in two years.
“If it’s written that way, it can prevent judges from having latitude with sentencing,” Macdonald said.
The problem with over-service of bar patrons in Wolf Point, where an establishment continues to serve a person who is intoxicated, resurfaced during the latest task force meeting.
Montana law allows for any law enforcement officer to enter any business that sells alcohol at any time to determine whether the law is being followed.
All persons who sell or serve alcoholic beverages, including restaurant employees, are required to take an alcohol server training class and be state certified.
Wolf Point police chief Jeff Harada said officers can remove a liquor license from the wall of a bar if a serious violation occurs.
“There is a form online where the local public can file a [against a bar] complaint online,” Harada said.
He was referring to the Montana Department of Revenue Disorderly Licensed Premises form that became available to the public in August 2014. Anyone who has patronized an establishment where a server continues to serve an obviously intoxicated individual, where there is a fight and employees of the establishment do not call the police, minors being served or violations of any other alcohol or drug law can download, fill out and submit the form that is available at http://revenue.mt.gov/Portals/9/liquor/education.CitizenConcernForm.pdf.
Bar owners, bartenders and managers could be charged with manslaughter if they serve an intoxicated individual and that person kills another in a drunk-driving crash.
Montana is one of 43 states that has a “dram shop law,” which allows for bar owners, managers and servers to be held financially liable if a customer becomes obviously intoxicated on their premises and subsequently kills or injures someone or causes property damage.
Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice Capt. Jim Summers said tribal police has filed complaints with the state against bars.
Some people at the meeting said there should be repercussions for bar patrons continuing to drink after becoming intoxicated and being over served.
The DUI Task Force will participate in the 2015 Alcohol Education Summit in Bozeman during May.
Written by John Plestina
The Twin Cities developer who was interested in constructing a 26,000-square-foot building for a national retailer has cancelled a purchase agreement with the Wolf Point Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture.
The chamber’s board of directors voted unanimously in September to sign a buy-sell agreement with Oppidan Investment Company, a Minnetonka, Minn., commercial developer, to sell up to 10 acres of a 25-acre site near the Homestead Inn for $35,000 per acre. The chamber has owned the former Great Northern Railroad roundhouse site since the Burlington Northern Railroad donated it during the 1970s.
Oppidan’s Drew Johnson confirmed that the deal was off to The Herald-News Wednesday, Feb. 4.
He said the previously unnamed retailer that was looking to expand into Wolf Point is Shopko and, with the ALCO bankruptcy filing in October 2014, the focus shifted to the ALCO building on Hwy. 2.
Johnson first approached the chamber board in August.
“We are in the process of doing 14 stores with them [Shopko] across four states,” Johnson said.
The four states include Montana and North Dakota.
“Shopko’s closest competitor was ALCO,” Johnson said.
He said in November that site prep costs for the chamber property would be higher than expected. He also acknowledged that the ALCO bankruptcy could be a factor for the retailer he was representing.
Johnson said during late 2014 that the major retailer would be an anchor store for what could be a development of several chain businesses.
Oppidan handles property acquisitions and develops construction sites for several national retailers, grocery chains and restaurants.
“Everyone at Wolf Point and the chamber was really great to work with. We are really disappointed it didn’t work out,” Johnson said.
Chamber president Jeff Presser expressed disappointment that the development fell through.
Written by John Plestina
Rose Neumiller Green envisions a food pantry in Wolf Point with a friendly grocery store atmosphere where people could come into a waiting room where they would be registered on a computer and then given a grocery list in which they would go around the shelves and put their own groceries into the cart.
Green, who obtained the use of the former Boys and Girls Club building on the corner of Main Street and Fifth Avenue South from the Fort Peck Tribes during late 2014, has assembled a board of directors and volunteers. More volunteers and more work are needed. Doors are being widened to allow pallet jacks to pass from room to room and an elevator will eventually be installed. A battery-operated forklift, pallet mover, shelving, grocery carts and stainless steel tables for repackaging are also needed.
A date for the food pantry to open has not been set.
Green said she expects to feed between 600 and 1,000 families each month.
Physical renovations are nearing completion in the building. Major projects are almost completed, including floors and walls. The painting, widening of doors, assembly of shelves, wiring and the installation of computers, commercial glass door freezers and refrigerators still need to be completed.
Green recognized several businesses that have been generous with donations. They include: First Community Bank, $500;Town Pump, over $4,000; Cenex, $1,200; Basket of Hope, $6,500; Gysler Hardware, scissor lift for painting; Farmers Union Lumber, paint; Wills Office World, computer and printer/fax; Mr. Wire, electrical work and commercial stainless steel sink; and many volunteers for providing labor.
Green said additional funding is currently sought from the Fort Peck Tribes, Wolf Point Community Organization, Shakopee Nation and other sources.
The Food Pantry would be open five days each week and would serve all surrounding communities.
With the closure of the last food pantry in Wolf Point, the nearest services are currently in Culbertson.
The board of directors is complete and includes Green, Billi Brownlee, Roxanne Gourneau, Paul Gysler, Gary Johnson, Rhonda Mason, Larry Monson, John Plestina, Marlene Turner and Winona Runsabove Meyer.
Contact Green at 650-5667 to volunteer or with any questions.
Written by Herald-News
The Missouri River mainstem reservoir system has the full flood control zone capacity available for the 2015 runoff season because all of the previously stored flood waters have been evacuated, according to the U.S Army Corps of Engineers Missouri River Water Management Division.
“The last remaining 2014 flood water was evacuated in early January when the combined storage in the reservoirs fell below 56.1 million acre feet, the base of the flood control zone,” said Jody Farhat, chief of the Missouri River Basin Water Management Division. “The entire flood control capacity of the mainstem reservoir system is ready to capture runoff in the spring, reducing flood risk while providing good support to the other authorized project purposes.”
Based on the current soil moisture and mountain snowpack conditions, the 2015 forecast runoff in the Missouri River Basin above Sioux City, Iowa, is 25.5 MAF, 101 percent of normal. Normal runoff is 25.2 MAF. January runoff into the Missouri River Basin above Sioux City, Iowa, was 178 percent of normal. Runoff typically slows during winter months as snow accumulates and rivers freeze, reducing inflows into the reservoir system. However, warmer-than-normal temperatures during the last half of January melted plains snow and river ice, resulting in above normal runoff for the month.
“Because of the warm temperatures, system storage climbed in late January, ending the month at 56.5 MAF, 0.4 MAF above the base of the annual flood control zone,” said Farhat. “Typically, this inflow would occur in early spring; it came a bit early this year but doesn’t impact the reservoir system’s ability to reduce flood risk.”
As of Feb. 5, the mountain snowpack was 95 percent of normal in the reach above Fort Peck Dam and 101 percent of normal in the reach from Fort Peck to Garrison dams. Mountain snowpack will continue to accumulate during the next few months and normally peaks in mid-April.
“Currently, the mountain snowpack and runoff forecast are near average, but there are more than two months remaining in the snowpack accumulation season,” said Farhat. “We will continue to monitor basin conditions through the winter and into spring and will fine tune the regulation of the reservoir system based on the most up-to-date information.”