Wolf Point Herald

Future Of Wolf Point ALCO Unknown With Corporation Bankruptcy Filing

The future of the Wolf Point ALCO store is unknown with the Coppell, Texas-headquartered ALCO Stores, Inc., filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Dallas, Texas, Oct. 12.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that ALCO has plans to liquidate or sell the retail chain and that ALCO officials have approached potential buyers for the chain.
The international news service Reuters reported that ALCO is hoping to sell better-performing stores while liquidating others.
ALCO operates 198 discount, general merchandise stores in 23 states, mostly in the Midwest and a few stores in Florida and Georgia. There are three ALCOs in Montana, besides the Wolf Point location, in Cut Bank, Dillon and Sidney. The next nearest location is Watford City, N.D. There are about 3,000 employees nationwide. The company operates a distribution center in Abilene, Kan.
ALCO began in 1901 as Duckwall, a chain of five and dime stores in Kansas. The company expanded into discount retail when it founded the ALCO chain 46 years ago. In 1989, the company known as Duckwall-ALCO filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy and emerged with new financing two years later.
The company closed the last 44 Duckworth five and dime stores in 2010.
ALCO Stores, Inc., reported assets of about $222 million and debts of about $162 million. A substantial amount of the debt is owed to Wells Fargo Bank. ALCO’s debt includes over $415 million in capital leases and about $2 million in monthly rent for stores in numerous locations.
ALCO Stores, Inc., has not commented on the bankruptcy, but cited the economic slowdown on court documents.
A phone call by The Herald-News to ALCO’s Coppell, Texas headquarters seeking comment was not returned.

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Halloween Fun

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The Optimist Club of Wolf Point hosted a Halloween party Thursday, Oct. 30, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the First Lutheran Church. Funded by a grant from the 15th Judicial District Youth Court, the party was free to all children in the Wolf Point area.  (Submitted photo)

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Warren Land & Livestock First Dollar

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Wolf Point Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture president Jeff Presser presents the First Dollar Award to Warren Land & Livestock owner Bethany Toews, Friday, Oct. 31. Warren Land & Livestock opened on Fourth Avenue South near Main Street in Wolf Point in February and provides farm and ranch and residential real estate appraisals.  (Photo by John Plestina)

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ChariTEA And Trunk Show Held

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Marguerite Gysler and Margaret Abbott are reading some of the poetry displayed at recent the ChariTEA and Trunk Show. The poems were all themed after hope, courage and strength with both the high school and college level winners reading their poems at the event.

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Vida Meeting Addresses Wind Farm Proposal

A public scoping meeting seeking input for an environmental assessment for a proposed 75 megawatt, 28 turbine wind farm that would be located about eight miles south of Wolf Point was held at Vida Elementary School Wednesday, Oct. 29.
The proposed Sand Creek Winds project would be a locally-owned corporation that includes 12 partner landowners in northern McCone County.
The wind farm would connect to the existing Wolf Point to Circle 115-kV transmission line that is located about 18 miles from Wolf Point.
The Western Area Power Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy, which markets and delivers hydroelectric power within a 15-state region, is preparing the environmental assessment to assess potential environmental impacts.
The Louis Berger Group, a Morristown, N.J.,-headquartered
architectural and engineering design firm, is working with the Sand Creek Winds partners.
“If there are no significant findings, Sand Creek Winds would be free to build their farm,” Derrick Rosenbach, a Denver, Colo.,-based environmental scientist with Louis Berger, said.
He said there would be a point of interception for power lines coming from the wind farm at a substation on the west side of Montana Hwy. 13.
The partners are touting financial benefits for McCone County residents.
“There would be 664 kilowatts per year that will stay in McCone County,” Linda Twitchell, a partner in Sand Creek Winds, said.
“Law enforcement and the hospital [McCone County Health Center in Circle], all should benefit,” she said.
According to the Montana Department of Revenue, the wind farm could generate over $800,000 in property taxes annually. Eighty-three percent [$664,000] of that tax revenue would remain in McCone County.
“Right now, we are considered the developer,” Twitchell said. “Our goal is to connect to Western Area Power in September 2016.”
Rosenbach noted that a prepared timeline shows construction beginning in September 2015 with completion during the fall of 2016.
Other issues discussed included that turbines with long blades would be used for more efficiency.
Heavy equipment would need to be moved along Hwy. 13 or Hwy. 528 for construction and future maintenance. It was said that it should not be a problem for the roads and no state investment into the roads would be necessary.
A response from one of the partners to a questions from the audience of whether there are plans for expansion after the wind farm is built was that there would be no room to expand.
The partners who serve on the Sand Creek Winds board of directors are Bert and Linda Twitchell, Bill Wright, Kendall Johnson, Audrey Pipal, Shannon Vine and Cathy Hintz.

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