Wolf Point Herald

Commissioners OK Stipend For Themselves, Other Elected Officials

The Roosevelt County Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt a resolution, Wednesday, Aug. 20, that gives themselves and other elected officials the $300 monthly stipend they recently approved for all permanent non-elected county employees. It amounts to the second pay raise for elected officials in five weeks.
The commissioners approved a resolution, Tuesday, July 15, that increased annual salaries for themselves and all county department heads. With a $1,500 raise, each commissioners now receives $51,000 before the stipend, which amounts to $3,600.
When the commissioners approved the stipend for permanent non-elected employees, Tuesday, July 22, they excluded elected officials following a complaint by Wolf Point resident Bill Juve, who said roads need repair.
The stipends are above and beyond salaries and were intended as an incentive for employees to remain on the job.
The county has had difficulty retaining sheriff’s deputies and employees of other departments, especially on the east end of the county where the cost of housing is high.
“What does retaining employees have to do with elected officials?” Juve asked the commissioners Wednesday, Aug. 20.
Juve said July 22 that if the commissioners and other elected officials receive the stipends, the county’s compensation board should approve the stipends before the commissioners vote on them.
The compensation board has since met and recommended approval.
Eight of 10 compensation board members are elected officials. Two members of the public are on the board. While there could be as many as four, there were no responses when the county recently advertised for board members.
All three county commissioners, Gary Macdonald, Duane Nygaard and Jim Shanks, serve on the compensation board. The other elected officials who serve on the board are: Freedom Crawford, sheriff; Cheryl Hansen, clerk and recorder; Tracy Harada, justice of the peace; Jim Patch, county attorney; and Betty Romo, treasurer. The two citizen members are: Zane Panasuk of Culbertson and Dave Wemmer of Wolf Point.
Juve said the overwhelming majority of the members of the compensation board are elected officials and that they are giving themselves raises.
The stipends are tied to oil industry severance revenue the county receives quarterly. If the county’s revenue from the oil severance tax drops below an average of $400,000 per quarter, the stipend will cease.

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Commissioners Nix Lifting Fire Restrictions

The Roosevelt County Commissioners decided to keep Stage 1 fire restrictions in place, Wednesday, Aug. 20.
Roosevelt is currently one of two Montana counties with Stage 1 restrictions.
“Were No. 1 in the state for fires, all caused by machinery [used for harvesting] and cigarettes,” commissioner Gary Macdonald said.
The commissioners issued the restrictions, Thursday, July 24, and set them to remain in place until further notice.
The following are prohibited until the restrictions are lifted: building, maintaining, attending or using a fire or campfire except within a recreation area; smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or in a barren or cleared area at least three feet in diameter.
All land within the city limits is exempted from the restrictions.
Other exceptions include: persons with a permit authorizing an otherwise prohibited act; those using liquid petroleum or LPG fuel devices that can be turned on and off; where otherwise prohibited activities are posted as allowed; and wildlife or law enforcement officers, firefighters or rescue workers in the performance of an official duty.
Other restriction or exemptions could be posted.
The county commissioners will continue to review the restrictions.

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Man Stabbed In Wolf Point Dispute

Wolf Point Police reported that an 18-year-old Wolf Point male was stabbed and sustained serious but non-life threatening injuries, Tuesday, Aug. 19.
Officers responded to the 100 block of Benton Street for a report of a disturbance that was reported at 10:37 p.m.
He was transported by ambulance to Northeast Montana Health Services - Wolf Point Campus.
“It was some sort of a dispute between these two people,” Sgt. Ryan Michaelsen said.
The suspect, a 35-year-old Wolf Point male, left the scene prior to police arrival.
“He took off and we have not been able to find him,” Michaelsen said Monday, Aug. 25.
He said charges are pending. Police did not disclose the victim’s name or the extent of his injuries.

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Brockton School Trustee Indicted, Accused Of Child Molestation

A federal grand jury indicted Brockton School board member Wayne Delvin Littlecrow, who is also known as Wayne Todd, earlier this month, on three charges alleging sexual acts with a child younger than age 12.
Littlecrow, 49, was arrested on a federal warrant Thursday, Aug. 7, and has been jailed in Great Falls.
He appeared for arraignment before federal Magistrate Judge Robert Holter, Friday, Aug. 8.
A three-count federal indictment charged him with aggravated sexual abuse, abusive sexual contact and sexual abuse of a minor.
According to two of the charges listed in the charging documents, multiple incidents occurred in Brockton between 2009 and 2011. A third count alleges that Littlecrow engaged in a sexual act with a minor between the ages of 12 and 16.
The current age and sex of the alleged victim were not made public.
Littlecrow could face a maximum of life in prison and a $250,000 fine.
His name is listed as Little-
crow on the charging documents and Little Crow on the Brockton School District website that lists him as a current school trustee.

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Suspicious Fires In Two Poplar Houses

The Poplar Fire Department was called out to fires in two abandoned structures five blocks apart, Wednesday, Aug. 20.
One of the fires was on Second Avenue and the other was on A Street. The house on Second Avenue was completely destroyed. The other was in a trailer and it remains standing, Poplar Fire Chief Greg Gourneau Jr. said.
The fires were at about 6 a.m.
He did not want to comment about the possibility of arson. The Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice is investigating.
The Wolf Point Volunteer Fire Department assisted as mutual aid.
“Thanks to the Wolf Point Fire Department for coming down and assisting us,” Gourneau said.

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