Written by John Plestina
It won’t be Matt Dillon staring down a bad guy on a dirt street in Dodge City, but Wolf Point’s John Olson might stare down a bad guy, or good guy, on one of downtown Wolf Point’s modern asphalt streets for an old-fashioned “gunfight” during the Centennial celebration, which will be held during the 2015 Wild Horse Stampede.
The Centennial Committee discussed the likely debacle Thursday, July 31, with Olson and Dan Hutchinson, both working to organize the gunfight.
The gunfight might include things leading up to it such as people saying things in public places that could include “Be on the look out for” or “So and so is coming to town.”
It is not determined where the gunfight will take place or which day of Stampede it will happen. In the parade route, after all the horses have passed, is a possibility.
The committee also discussed having a public hanging. It is undetermined who would be hung.
Other business the committee addressed included hiring entertainment and how much would be spent. It remains undetermined whether a Montana band would be hired or a name band. A decision is likely this month.
Fundraising was discussed including obtaining a Special Events Grant Program grant through the Montana Office of Tourism, seeking funding from the Wolf Point City Council and Roosevelt County Commission and other grant and fundraising endeavors.
A recent 50/50 drawing netted nearly $2,500.
Some other possible Centennial events include a public feed, street dance, fun run and a wagon train.
Written by John Plestina
How to patent and market an invention or innovative concept while maintaining a cloak of confidentiality, and when to lift the veil and go public, were addressed during a roundtable meeting in Wolf Point, Wednesday, July 30.
The Montana Department of Commerce Business Resources Division presented a Montana Technology Innovation Partnership roundtable meeting at Great Northern Development Corp. It was one of several similar free public meetings, also held in Havre, Lewistown, Miles City and Billings. It was the first time the program has been presented in Wolf Point in several years.
The meetings address inventions and intellectual property, how the state could help with patenting and marketing, and are geared to the individual needs of attendees.
Marti Elder, a Bozeman-based counselor with MTIP for over 10 years, cautioned people to be careful when talking to others about their ideas or completed but unmarketed inventions and recommended obtaining a signed legally-binding nondisclosure agreement before discussing inventions.
She cautioned that sharing information with family could be considered a public disclosure.
“If the family members blab to somebody else, then you have a problem,” Elder said.
Non-disclosure agreements are available online.
A couple from Poplar said their grandson has an invention that could be marketable to the agricultural industry. He told someone about it and that person contacted a major manufacturer, resulting in that company contacting him.
They asked Elder if it is too late for their grandson to seek a confidentiality or nondisclosure agreement with that company.
Elder responded that it might be possible to get a manufacturer to sign retroactive agreement.
Elder said if the idea has already been made public, the inventor could get a design patent, which protects the physical appearance of the invention, but the inventor might not be able to get a utility patent, which protects the way the invention is used and how it works.
Elder cautioned that if an inventor gifts or sells even one sample of the invention to anyone, it could jeopardize confidentiality.
“If you reveal your invention in a public fashion, you have one year [to patent the invention],” Elder said.
Securing a utility patent could take two-to-five years, but that is not the case for provisional patents, also known as a beginners patents, which give an invention a patent pending status and are only valid for one year.
Provisional patents are less expensive to obtain than utility patents.
Elder estimated the cost for a provisional patent between $3,000 and $5,000, which would include fees for attorneys and filing.
A non-provisional, or utility patent, costs about $6,000 with all fees and legal costs.
A professional patent search can cost $800 to $1,200 if an attorney is used or a person could do it themselves.
“Just because there is something similar, don’t be discouraged,” Elder said.
MTIP is located on the Montana State University campus in Bozeman.
It’s objectives include offering technical assistance for proposals, assistance to businesses in securing seed capital for research and development, promotion of educational opportunities that target Montana’s technology-based businesses and service providers, identifying and guiding businesses to appropriate local and national resources and to compliment rather than duplicate services of other service providers.
For additional information, contact MTIP program manager Audrey Wooding at 406-994-3885 or visit http://mtip.mt.gov/events.mcpx.
Information on not getting scammed is available at FTC.gov.
Written by John Plestina
The deceased driver of a semi that went off the road and crashed into a chain link fence at the water treatment plant about six miles east of Wolf Point on Tuesday, July 29, had a heart attack prior to the crash, according to the Montana Highway Patrol.
MHP identified the driver as Edwin Rennick, 63, of Glasgow.
Rennick was driving an empty gravel truck eastbound on U.S. Hwy. 2, en route to a jobsite in Poplar, when he left the roadway about 8:45 a.m., struck a post and finally the heavy duty chain link fence about 800 feet off the road, MHP Sgt. Jeff Kent told The Herald-News.
He said an autopsy was done and the medical examiner determined that a medical condition caused the crash. Kent confirmed that Rennick suffered a heart attack.
“It was kind of an unique crash. I did not believe the injuries suffered in the crash were life threatening,” he said.
MHP was notified of the crash about 10 a.m., after a Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice officer stopped to check on the truck and found Rennick deceased in the cab of the tractor.
LSC Inc. of Fort Peck owns the truck.
Kent said there was damage to the fence. Damage to the tractor was minimal.
He said speed and alcohol were not factors in the crash.
Written by Herald-News
The Montana Highway Patrol reported that a Kentucky woman was killed and a St. Marie woman injured in a single-vehicle rollover on Montana Hwy. 24 in McCone County, east of Fort Peck Lake, Saturday, Aug. 2.
According to the MHP, Samantha J. Conn, 27, of Morehead, Ky., was a passenger in a minivan and was ejected when the vehicle rolled about 8:30 a.m. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
The 29-year-old driver from St. Marie was transported by ambulance to Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital in Glasgow. She is reported to be Conn’s sister. Her name and medical condition were not released.
MHP reported that the driver was distracted by deer on the side of the road and the vehicle drifted off the shoulder, over-corrected, drove into a ditch and rolled.
Alcohol was not a factor in the wreck.
Written by Herald-News
Jonathan Lee Oliver, a 41-year-old Missoula resident, was sentenced to 100 months in prison for diverting money he received from customers in eastern Montana, North Dakota and other places, and using the money to buy himself a house, several vehicles, two jet skis, a luxury motor home, a diamond engagement ring and various other items.
On Feb. 25, Oliver pleaded guilty to wire fraud, money laundering and structuring.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Racicot, the government told the court that in the Fall of 2010, Oliver rented an office and warehouse space and began conducting business under the fake name of Jon Walker. He solicited payments from several victims for the construction of steel buildings, primarily in eastern Montana and North Dakota, including in the area known as the Bakken.
He entered into contracts with the victims, received millions of dollars in advance payments, and completed only one steel building. Rather than build the structures, Oliver used a substantial amount of the victims’ money to buy personal assets, including a down payment on a house, several vehicles, two jet skis, a luxury motor home, a diamond engagement ring and various other items.
On multiple occasions, Oliver directed his employees to tell victims that a certain phase of the construction of their building was completed in order to induce the victims to send additional installment payments, when, in fact, the phase had not been completed and Oliver’s business lacked the materials necessary to complete the project because so many of the funds had been diverted by Oliver for personal expenditures.
The counts that Oliver pleaded to involve money he took from a victim totaling over $130,000 and Oliver’s purchase of a brand-new Subaru Tribeca Limited for $33,950. Oliver also pleaded guilty to withdrawing $9,950 in cash from the bank to avoid the bank’s currency transaction reporting requirements.
“The Bakken is a ripe environment for fraudulent activity and Jonathan Lee Oliver saw that. Project Safe Bakken has and will continue to prosecute fraudsters like Oliver, whose greed directly harms citizens seeking to invest and grow their money in legitimate business ventures,” said Michael Cotter, U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana.
At sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy entered a money judgment against Oliver in the amount of $6,468,186.33. The money judgment represents the forfeiture of substitute assets and corresponds to Oliver’s ill-gotten gains. The judge also sentenced Oliver to three years supervised release following his prison sentence.
The prosecution was part of Project Safe Bakken, a cooperative effort between federal and state prosecutors and federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies in Montana and North Dakota. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service conducted the investigation.