Written by John Plestina
During a special meeting, Wednesday, July 2, the Wolf Point City Council approved two applications to hold street dances on Thursday, July 10, as part of the Wild Horse Stampede festivities, although one of the applications was withdrawn early this week.
Mayor Chris Dschaak called the special meeting because of the 11th hour requests. The city asks for 60 days notice for special events, but it is not required by municipal ordinance.
The council approved applications from the Wolf Point Elks Lodge and Bob Stracener, owner of the Wolf Point Liquor Market.
Stracener said his plans included closing off Main and Anaconda streets east from the signal at Third Avenue South. The Elks proposed to hold their dance in front of the Elks building on the 300 block of Main Street.
Dschaak said Stracener contacted him during the previous week about having a street dance.
“We were approached by several people who were concerned with all the reunions there wasn’t going to be a street dance,” Bob Stracener said.
“There was a little bit of concern about the lack of 60 days [advance notice to the city],” Dschaak said.
He said he had a conversation about the Elks Club’s previously approved street dance application earlier that day with Darla Downs, a trustee of Wolf Point Elks Lodge No. 1764.
During the April council meeting, a street dance application from the Elks was conditionally approved, but the Elks did not agree to a new city requirement for street dance providers to clean the downtown area from the Sherman Inn on First Avenue South to Fourth Avenue South and one-half block on each side of Main Street from alley to alley even if only the 300 block was closed.
Disagreeing with the city’s mandated cleaning area, the Elks moved the planned dance to the gravel parking lot between the Elks Club and Prairie Cinemas and decided to hold outdoor dances with live music all three nights of Stampede.
After Stracener submitted his application on Friday, June 27, the Elks reconsidered holding a street dance and submitted a second street dance application shortly before the special council meeting.
“There is nothing in the city that says we can’t have two or three or 15 bands on Main Street,” Dschaak said.
Cheryl Stracener [Bob Stracener’s wife] said they had assumed the Elks were having a dance on the street.
Dschaak said the new requirement for street dance providers to clean about four blocks of the downtown area stems from numerous complaints last year about how bad the area looked and numerous public meetings that were held.
This was a six-month ongoing process that the council did to do this,” Dschaak said. “We had absolutely no input from anybody on this.”
Dschaak added that that the council decision about cleaning the four-block area has only recently become a problem. He said there is nothing the council could do to change it at the current time, he said.
“Prior to this year, it was just a gentlemen’s agreement [to clean up after street dances],” Dschaak said.
He said some people might consider the requirement extreme, but added that is will remain in place at least for this Stampede.
“I invite everyone of you to come [to council meetings] the third Monday of every month and hear my lovely voice. And, then, you’ll be up on everything,” Dschaak said.
With it appearing that there would not be a street dance this year, the city council, on Monday, June 16, approved a $1,000 contract for services to the Wolf Point High School football program for cleanup of the downtown area all three mornings of Stampede.
“We already have a cleanup crew of about eight people, so it shouldn’t be an issue,” Cheryl Stracener said.
The football team will clean between 5 and 7 a.m. each of the three mornings of Stampede. Several people, including public works director Rick Isle, said cleaning should start earlier, immediately after the bars close and the crowd begins to disperse.
Wolf Point resident Bill Juve weighed in on the concerns. He is not a member of Elks Lodge No. 1764.
“The due process on this application was brought forth on the assumption that the only place the street dance could be held is in the same place it has been [on Main Street east of Third Avenue South],” Juve said.
He said with the way the application is written a dance could be held anywhere in Wolf Point and the City would require the providers of the dance to clean the downtown area.
In response to one of Juve’s comments, Dschaak said, “I will not argue with the comment that this was written for a specific downtown street dance.”
Dschaak said it is the council’s responsibility to approve or disapprove each street dance application separately, not work out the logistics of having more than one street dance.
Councilman Craig Rodenberg said he would vote against the Wolf Point Liquor Market application and that he felt that the first Elks’ application should be valid. He later rescinded his position and voted for the Wolf Point Liquor Market application and the second submission by the Elks.
Dschaak asked the council to make a motion to publicly reject the first Elks’ application and then vote on the two applications separately. The council voted to disallow the Elks’ first application with Rodenberg casting the lone dissenting vote.
The vote to approve Stracener’s application was unanimous. The council also voted unanimously to approve the Elks’ second application.
Councilman Rollie Paulson was absent.
The Elks have since officially withdrawn their application for a street dance on the 300 block of Main Street and will, instead, proceed as planned with outdoor dances with live music on the gravel lot west of their building.
Written by Herald-News
In regards to the recent articles in The Herald-News on the street dance, we, the trustees of Wolf Point Elks Lodge #1764, felt we needed to respond.
Prior to the recent events, we understood that the Tavern Association was not sponsoring the traditional street dance in downtown Wolf Point.
Based on that information, our manager, LaFon Copenhaver, made plans to host a street dance in front of the Elks. We originally applied for the permit with the City of Wolf Point which was conditionally approved by the council. We let the application drop after disagreeing with the predetermined clean up area.
We then made preparations to host live outdoor music in the gravel lot west of our building for three nights.
We never intended to compete with any local business or the City of Wolf Point. We were simply trying to offer live outdoor music during Stampede.
We later learned that the tavern association received a permit through a special city council meeting called seven days before the street dance. We support the tavern association in their attempt for downtown activities; however, we have made preparations for our outdoor music and will continue with our plans.
Wolf Point Elks Lodge #1764 Trustees
Written by Herald-News
The fireworks crew gets ready to set up for the Wolf Point fireworks display, Friday, July 4. The show started at 10 p.m. Crew members include (front row, left to right) Landyn Blount, Rob Manning, Troy Blount, (back row) Robert Aguilar, Shawn Blount, Ray Ostby, George Blount, Larry Martin and Denny Blount. Matt Azure, Keegan Bushman and Megan Casey also assisted, but are not pictured. (Submitted photo)
Written by Herald-News
Chuck Worley hangs several red, white and blue patriotic fans on the gazebo in Sherman Park, Thursday, July 3, in preparation for both the Independence Day holiday and the Wild Horse Stampede. Worley, who along with his wife René, are the 2014 Stampede parade grand marshals, hangs the patriotic half-circle banners on the gazebo every year. (Photo by John Plestina)
Written by Herald-News
Poplar celebrated Independence Day with the Poplar Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Family Fun Day that included a parade on Main Street, Friday, July 4. In the first photo, four kids are chasing one Tootsie Roll and they compare their parade loot in the seond picture. The third picture is the parade announcer. There are several other photos from the parade. (Photos by John Plestina)