Written by John Plestina
This is an artist’s rendering of the new Buffalo Rivers Casino & Lodge that the Fort Peck Tribes plan to build near Fort Kipp with an opening date in May 2016.
With a $29 million loan from a Minnesota tribe, the Fort Peck Tribes are now planning to break ground in mid-June for the $33 million dollar Buffalo Rivers Casino & Lodge that will be located near Fort Kipp.
Buffalo Rivers is projected to open in May 2016, on U.S. Hwy. 2 at BIA Route 170.
Anticipated proceeds from the resort are more than $5.8 million.
Many months of preparation, research, planning, meeting, designing and forecasting went into the project.
“To finally see this wonderful casino become a reality is very good for our tribes,” Fort Peck Tribes Executive Board member Garrett Big Leggins said in a prepared statement.
Buffalo Rivers will be designed to be an entertainment and vacation destination with a 75-room hotel, 150-person restaurant with a buffet, gaming floor with 400 Las Vegas-style video gaming machines and four poker tables, events center that will seat more than 400 people, a lounge that will accommodate live entertainment, snack bar and a gift shop.
Aesthetically, Buffalo Rivers will honor Native American culture.
Once completed, an estimated 220 full-time jobs will be created in addition to part-time positions. The estimated annual wage income for all employees is projected at just over $5.4 million. Job training will be provided. There will be an estimated 80 to 100 construction jobs created.
“I believe the jobs and the training that this project will provide is a huge boost for our people, both now and for our future generations,” Big Leggins said in the prepared statement.
Buffalo Rivers will also encourage an atmosphere of employee growth, allowing strong employees to gain more responsibility in their positions year after year, according to the statement from the tribes.
According to information provided by the Fort Peck Tribes, the Fort Peck Economic Development Committee and the Tribal Executive Board will be tasked with the allocation of Casino profits, with opportunities to advance and enhance tribal health care, education, employment assistance, construction of new amenities and many other options.
The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, located about 25 miles from Minneapolis, Minn., will finance the majority of the cost of the casino project. The Minnesota tribal community owns and operates the Mystic Lake Casino Hotel with a full casino that includes most table games and slots, 586 hotel rooms and a championship golf course.
Written by John Plestina
In the photo at left, Tanner Hughes, 1½, of Wolf Point digs into the feast before him during the 2014 Schmeckfest. The other picture is a few of the more than 900 people in the chow line at Schmeckfest last year. (File photos by John Plestina)
Schmeckfest will celebrate the golden jubilee for the annual fundraising dinner for Lustre Christian High School with a little nostalgia, Friday, March 27.
This 50th annual dinner is the major fundraiser for the Lustre Christian High School and commemorates the German-Mennonite heritage of much of the Lustre community.
Schmeckfest features an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord style German meal, crafts, silent auction, live auction, bake sale and entertainment.
The dinner held in March every year began in 1966 as the Lustre Bible Academy Smorgasbord and in 1973, became Schmeckfest, which translates to German festival of tasting. The private Christian school became Lustre Christian High School in 1978.
The two surviving members of the committee that organized the first fundraising dinner in 1966 will be in attendance for the golden jubilee. They are Ethel Wall of Glasgow and Lillian Toews of Olympia, Wash.
The annual fundraising dinner has grown since 1966.
Dean and Julie Reddig head the steering committee for Schmeckfest. Both, who graduated from Lustre Bible Academy, have attend every one of the previous 49 dinners. They have all 50 programs.
“I was a sixth-grader and he would have been a freshman,” Julie Reddig said.
“Dean and I have been at all of them and we’ve seen a lot of change. It’s more organized today. We have pretty much all of the committees who are responsible for all their positions and it works like clockwork,” she said.
“Amanda Wall kept very detailed records on all the past Schmeckfests. Since she quit doing it, I have been updated it every year and as far as I can for in 2015,” Reddig said.
“It has grown as far as people go. It started out as a planned potluck. In ‘66, there was some German food but not as much as there is now,” Julie Reddig said.
She said 450 people attended the 1966 dinner and more than 900 meals were served at the 2014 Schmeckfest.
“I think we’ll have as big a crowd or bigger since its the 50th,” Reddig said.
The largest Schmeckfest crowd was in 1984 with 1,246 people.
The annual fundraiser has earned above $50,000 most of the recent years.
“Last year we were right at $75,000. That would be awesome if we can top that,” Reddig said.
“They are pulling some of the stuff out from some of the previous programs because it is the 50th,” Reddig said.
This year, there will be some entertainment from past years. There will be a community mens chorus and the Lustre Christian High School band as well as Gary and Roxann Funk performing. His father was on the 1966 program.
Most of the musical instruments that were played in 1966 will be displayed.
A live auction has been held annually since 1990. Wolf Point auctioneer Robert Toavs is in his sixth year serving as auctioneer for the event.
The live auction with 12 items will include a quarter sawn oak bookcase china hutch by Keith Unger, a stained glass horse with knotty alder frame by Joan Unger, a leather picture by Dan Reddig, a barn watercolor by Lorene Hintz and barbecue meal for eight people by Warren and Dee Dee Fast.
The doors will open about 4:30 p.m., with dinner served from 5 to 7 p.m. The live auction will begin at 7:15 p.m., or later, depending if people remain in line to be served.
Written by John Plestina
A computer virus hijacked Roosevelt County’s computer software Monday, March 16, and held county finances hostage for several days with a demand that ransom be paid online with Bitcoins.
The virus attacked accounting software and shut down the ability to conduct business for several county offices.
The county’s IT manager Cole Hanks explained that the county was not hacked. He said the problem was caused by a virus picked up at an unknown site on the internet.
Hanks said a ransom of two Bitcoins was demanded to decrypt the files.
Bitcoin is a digital currency that has gained popularity with some people in recent years. According to Nasdaq, one Bitcoin was valued at $248.03 Tuesday, March 24.
The ransom was not paid and Hanks has decrypted the files.
“This was one of the worst ones [computer viruses] I would say,” Hanks said.
“No personal information was hacked. It’s just we couldn’t use our files,” he said.
Sheriff Jason Frederick referred the matter to the FBI in Glasgow.
“It looks like our hacker is from overseas,” Frede-
The sheriff’s office and county attorney were not affected.
Written by John Plestina
The Wolf Point School District board whittled down the list of candidates to become the next district superintendent to four and finally two during a screening meeting Monday, March 23.
The next superintendent will replace Joe Paine, who submitted his resignation to become a principal in Grenora, N.D. Paine’s final day is June 15. He served the Wolf Point district 24 years as an educator and administrator; the past four years as district superintendent.
The school board is working with the Montana School Board Association to attract and screen applicants. The district wants a new superintendent to be in place July 1. Kerri Langoni of the MTSBA is assisting the board with the process.
The two finalists invited to Wolf Point to interview Monday, March 30, are Vinson Gundlach of Miles City and Rixon “Rick” Raftor of Ketchikan, Alaska. The other two candidates are Debra Combs of Dodson and Charles Smith of Heart Butte. Either could be invited to interview if Gundlach or Rafter do not travel to Wolf Point to interview. Travel, lodging and meals will be at school district expense.
Gundlach is currently an assistant principal in Miles City with 26 years experience in education, two as a principal. Raftor is currently a human resources director for the school district in Ketchikan, Alaska, and has 29 years experience in education, 23 years as a principal.
In addition to interviewing with the school trustees, the candidates will meet with the two unions representing teachers and support staff, and will attend a meet and greet for the public that will be scheduled for early evening on Monday.
The salary range will be $80,000 to $90,000 annually, depending on experience, with full family medical benefits and other benefits.
The district is paying the MTSBA $5,500 for the search and screening process and paid $5,000 for the same services two years ago. Additionally, the district pays the MTSBA nearly $10,000 for annual dues and has paid additional funds for legal issues.
Written by John Plestina
With time running short to declare candidacy for newly redistricted school board seats, just four people had declared their candidacy in three of five districts at the close of business Monday, March 23.
The deadline for candidates to file is Thursday, March 26, at 5 p.m.
The election by mail for school district trustees will be May 5.
Corey Reum and Yvonne Smoker-Bashay are running in District 1, which is the western part of the north side of Wolf Point.
Incumbent Jaronn Boysun was the only announced candidate in District 2, which is south of Fairweather Street.
Paul Gysler was the only declared candidate in District 4, which includes the eastern part of the north side of Wolf Point and a small part of the south side to Benton Street.
All six current board members are at-large trustees.
Earlier this month, board chairman Martin DeWitt and trustees Edward Bach, Tracy Juve-Miranda and Brent Nygard all said they would not run in single-member districts. Boysun, who is the vice chairman of the board, was undecided about running two weeks ago and Janice Wemmer-Kegley is yet to say if she will seek a term in a single-member district.
Federal court-mandated redistricting is forcing the election for all board seats with five of six in single-member districts and one at-large position.
Voters will elect two districted trustees to three-year terms, two to two-year terms, and two to one-year terms.
After the 2015 election, all trustee elections will be for three-year terms.
Ballots will be mailed on April 16 to all registered voters. Ballots must be returned to the school district office by 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 5.