Wolf Point Herald

FWP Rethinks Bison Plan, Gives All To The Fort Peck Tribes

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks announced Thursday, Oct. 16, that state wildlife officials decided against shipping some of the 145 bison captured from Yellowstone National Park to the Bronx Zoo in New York and several other locations across the nation, choosing to send all the bison to the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.
The Fish and Wildlife Commission voted to transfer all the bison to the reservation instead of following a recommendation to divide the animals among the reservation, a New York-based wildlife consortium, Oklahoma’s Cherokee Nation and the State of Utah.
The bison are now being held on a ranch owned by media mogul Ted Turner under a five-year agreement that comes to an end next month, adding urgency to finding them a new home.
Commissioners said they are confident in the Fort Peck Tribes’ ability to manage the bison after successfully handling the one previous relocation of 63 Yellowstone bison in 2012. Commissioners also wanted to keep the animals in the state in anticipation of a Montana bison conservation plan to be completed next year.
Commissioner Larry Wetsit, a Fort Peck tribal member, said he is certain the tribes will work with the other groups interested in the bison.
“It’s always been the intent of the tribe to re-establish buffalo somewhere,” Wetsit said. “It’s always been our goal, and we will always work with others to ensure that does happen.”
An environmental analysis of the relocation proposal is pending. The recent vote is conditional on the completion of that analysis.
Yellowstone bison are considered extremely valuable because they are one of the few wild herds left that have no cattle genes. These 145 bison were captured a decade ago under an experimental program to start new herds using the genetically pure Yellowstone animals.
They spent years in quarantine to make sure they weren’t carrying the disease brucellosis, which has caused problems for the cattle industry.
The FWP agency recommendations The Herald-News previously reported would have given the Wildlife Conservation Society 10 bison for zoos in the Bronx, Queens and Ohio. That recommendation was in recognition of the Bronx zoo being the founder of the American Bison Society, Montana Wildlife Division Administrator Ken McDonald said.
The society was instrumental in conserving the last bison before they were wiped out in North America.
The state agency recommended only 70 of the bison go to Montana’s Fort Peck Indian Reservation, with 35 to Oklahoma’s Cherokee Nation and the remaining 30 to Utah’s Division of Wildlife.
A fifth applicant, the private American Prairie Wildlife Reserve in north-central Montana, was dropped from consideration after wildlife officials said they wouldn’t relocate bison to non-tribal lands in the state until the bison conservation plan is completed.

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More Than 700 Domestic Violence Incidents Reported In County

The Roosevelt County/Fort Peck Tribes 911 Center received 718 reports of domestic violence incidents during the one-year period between Oct. 1, 2013, and Sept. 30, 2014. It is not known how many more incidents might not have been reported.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
An estimated 50 percent of  men who frequently assault their wives also frequently abuse their children. Studies suggest that between 3.3 and 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.
Only about 55 percent of domestic violence incidents are reported.
There is a belief that up to 10 million children are being set up to become either victims or perpetrators of domestic violence. People tend to gravitate to what is familiar, even if that familiarity is abuse.
Abuse is about power and control, not about love.
Domestic violence is a cycle that can be broken by teaching young men and women what a healthy relationship looks like. Anger should be discussed, and not expressed with violent words or actions.
Victims may be embarrassed and ashamed, and might protect the abuser and blame themselves for causing the abuse. Abusers are often remorseful and promise to never do it again, until it happens again.
Anyone knowing a victim of domestic violence may contact the Fort Peck Tribes Family Violence Resource Center at 653-1494 or the Northeast Montana Victim/Witness Program at 653-2999. After hours, or if an incident of domestic violence is occurring, call 911.
For additional information, contact the Domestic Abuse Hotline at 800-799-SAFE [7233] or www.thehotline.org.

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Montana Newspaper Association Launches New Public Notice Website

Public notices — the means by which government announces day-to-day activities important to citizens — are now easier than ever to find, thanks to a new statewide website supported by member newspapers of the Montana Newspaper Association.
Notices such as public budgets, meeting agendas, sample ballots, court actions, construction projects and public hearings published in most Montana newspapers are available on the website.
The free site is available at mtnewspapers.com (click on helpful links) or directly at montanapublicnotices.com. Visitors may search by selecting key words or by selecting content for a specific newspaper. Notices will be archived on the website for 90 days after the publication date.
Weekly and daily newspapers across Montana have made a significant financial investment to bring greater access to public notices, said Jim Rickman, MNA executive director.
"This new website is a value added service that extends the reach of our members' printed pages," said Rickman. "We believe the website will help government keep important information in front of the public, and will increase awareness and understanding of their local governments."
Far more than the value it adds for government and newspapers, however, is the accessibility it delivers for information seekers in the general public.
Rickman said the new service has been found to be useful for construction and engineering firms looking for bidding opportunities all across the state. People wanting to know about trustee sales of property can find those notices with a few search terms. Folks who want to know when their county commissioners will be accepting comment on adopting a budget can also find answers on the website.
The service is made possible through new, advanced technology involving digital imaging of newspaper pages.
MNA represents 85 Montana newspapers and is celebrating its 129th year of service. The mission of MNA is “to advance and sustain the news publishing industry in Montana."

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Bibb Pleads Guilty In Two Drug Cases

Judge David Cybulski accepted guilty pleas from Malinda K. Bibb under plea agreements in two separate drug cases and denied a bond reduction in 15th District Court, Wednesday, Oct. 15.
Bibb, 31, of Minot, N.D., withdrew several previously entered not guilty pleas in both cases against her.
Bibb’s troubles with the Montana court system began 13 months ago.
Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office deputies stopped a car carrying Bibb, Brandon J. Bigham, 30, and Jamie D. Vert, 36, all of Minot, on U.S. Hwy. 2, near the North Dakota state line, Sept. 20, 2013. Vert was driving, according to the charging documents.
Methamphetamine, marijuana, drug paraphernalia and weapons [no firearms] were found in the vehicle, according to charging documents.
All three were subsequently arraigned on felony charges. Bigham and Vert pleaded not guilty to all charges and both later withdrew guilty pleas under plea agreements.
Thirteen months ago, Bibb pleaded not guilty to criminal possession of dangerous drugs, criminal possession with intent to distribute and criminal possession of drug paraphernalia. She was lodged in the Roosevelt County Jail for several months and released in May on $20,000 bond.
Under the plea agreement, Bibb pleaded guilty to felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs. The county attorney will move to dismiss other charges against her from the September 2013 arrest, according to court documents.
New charges of criminal possession of dangerous drugs, carrying dangerous drugs on a train, both felonies, and misdemeanor counts of criminal possession of dangerous drugs and criminal possession of drug paraphernalia were filed against Bibb after Wolf Point Police Department officers boarded an Amtrak Empire Builder train, Monday, Sept. 8, on a warrant for alleged bail condition violations.
Under the plea agreement for those charges, Bibb pleaded guilty to felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs. The county attorney will move for dismissal of the other charges.
According to court documents, Bibb has acknowledged that she is not eligible for deferred imposition of sentence because of prior convictions.
The county attorney has recommended four years confinement to the Montana Department of Corrections with two years suspended and treatment at Elkhorn Treatment Center in Boulder, a lockdown methamphetamine treatment center for women.
Bibb admitted in court, Wednesday, Oct. 15, that she possessed methamphetamine at the times of both arrests.
Cybulski found her guilty and ordered a pre-sentencing investigation.
Defense attorney Frank Piocos asked for a bond reduction. It is set at $50,000.
“Are you going to be dumb enough to do what you did last time you were out?” Cybulski asked Bibb.
A Williston, N.D., man in the courtroom said he previously posted $20,000 bond for Bibb. He said he was confident she would not violate bail conditions.
Assistant County Attorney Jordan Knudsen said he has spoken to Bibb’s probation officer in Minot, N.D., and that he was told she has failed drug tests.
Cybulski denied bond reduction.
“If you want to blame somebody for your problems, you should look in the mirror,” Cybulski told Bibb.

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Initial Appearances Made In District Court

Judge David Cybulski heard arraignments and initial appearances in 15th District Court, Wednesday, Oct. 15.
Kyle Fuchs, 32, of Culbertson was arraigned for disorderly conduct, partner/family member assault, assault with weapon, unlawful restraint and criminal endangerment. He pleaded not guilty to all five charges.
Cybulski said in court that Fuchs is accused of pointing a shotgun at his wife.
A trial is scheduled for Dec. 11.
Kelly Marie Severson, 47, of Saco made an initial appearance, but not an arraignment and no pleas were entered because her attorney was not present.
Severson, who is lodged in the Roosevelt County Jail, is charged with criminal possession of dangerous drugs, criminal possession with intent to distribute and criminal possession of drug paraphernalia.
She was ordered to appear in court for an arraignment Oct. 29.
Bruce Johnson made an initial appearance on a petition to revoke probation.
His attorney was not present. Cybulski advised him to speak to his lawyer before admitting or denying allegations that he violated probation conditions.
Johnson was ordered to appear in court for a hearing Wednesday, Oct. 29.

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