Written by The Herald-News
The Lower Missouri River Basin Advisory Council held the first in a basin-wide series of scoping meetings in Lewistown on Tuesday, Oct. 8. Nearly three dozen participants attended the meeting to learn about the Montana Water Supply Initiative planning process, surface water supplies, groundwater and water rights as well as to identify major issues of concern relating to water use in the future.
Don Pfau, member of the Fort Peck Lake Advisory Committee, questioned whether any more of the annual average of 7.2 million acre/feet of water sent downriver out of state via the Missouri could be retained to help maintain water levels behind the Fort Peck reservoir during the summer.
In ordinary measurement language, the average year's outflow from Montana, which is considered a headwaters state, is a whopping 2.36 trillion gallons, and in 2011 was 5.5 trillion gallons.
The group agreed that more research is needed to find out how much of that water must be sent along to meet downstream water right claims.
Other thorny issues that surfaced included what can be done to protect water quality as the energy boom uses more water for development of oil and gas wells in eastern Montana; would more water storage projects be a cost-effective way to make sure that water is available during drought years; how can water use be accurately measured; and will political concerns have an effect on implementation of any recommendations made as a result of this planning process.
Five more scoping meetings will be held over the next month in the Lower Missouri River basin. The Glasgow meeting was held Oct. 23 at the Cottonwood Inn. Additional meetings will be held in Culbertson, Oct. 24, at the public library; Roundup, Oct. 30, at St. Benedict's church; Harlowton, Oct. 31, at the Youth Center; and Havre, Nov. 7, at the Great Northern Inn. All meetings will begin at 10 a.m. and last until approximately 1:30 p.m., with lunch served.
All information and testimony presented at the meetings will also be available online at the Lower Missouri River Water Supply Initiative website, http://www.dnrc.mt.gov/wrd/water_mgmt/state_water_plan/lower_missouri/.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 October 2013 09:35
Written by The Herald-News
NOAA’s National Wea-ther Service has designated the week of Oct. 21-25 as Winter Weather Awareness Week in Montana.
Each year, winter storms claim dozens of lives and cause millions of dollars in damage. Winter Weather Awareness Week is the annual reminder that now is the time for Montana citizens to prepare themselves, their home and their vehicle before the extremely cold, windy and snowy weather grips the state.
Winter Weather Awareness Week offers information and ideas on how to prepare for the upcoming winter weather. Topics highlighted during the week include: Be Prepared Ahead of the Storm, Safety: Caught in the Storm and Weather Information Resources.
Be prepared for the next winter storm by monitoring National Weather Service outlooks, forecasts, watches and warnings through your favorite radio or television station, NOAA Weather Radio or the National Weather Service website at http://www.weather.gov.
Citizens can also follow the NWS via Facebook, Twitter and You Tube, where the service will be posting videos about traveling in Montana in the winter, putting together a winter survival kit and looking at the terms and definitions the service uses in winter.
Anyone looking for additional Winter Weather Awareness information can to go the National Weather Service Forecast in Glasgow’s website, the National Weather Service Office of Climate, Water and Weather Services’ website or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website.
Winter Survival Kit
Here are items people can throw together for a Winter Survival Kit if you are traveling in Montana during the winter: Cell phone and charger, first-aid kit, ice scraper, spare tire, water bottle, non-perishable food, paper towels, flares, whistles, flashlight with extra batteries, waterproof matches, maps, a compass and a multi-tool kit.
For those who have a larger vehicle, you should also consider taking sleeping bags, a small bag of sand or cat litter, battery booster and a small metal can.
Prior to leaving for your trip, you should fuel up your vehicle and try to stay above half a tank during the trip. You should also check road conditions and the weather forecast before leaving.
You should also tell someone where you are going, what route you are taking. You should also call that person once you have arrived safely at your destination.
If you run into problems, such as your vehicle getting stuck, you should keep the following items and methods in mind:
You can use a tow rope, not a chain to pull a vehicle that is stuck. Make sure it is no longer than 6 feet. Chains can backlash, and cause serious injuries or death. If a chain is the only available item, throw a heavy jacket or blanket over it before attempting to tow a vehicle out.
If your vehicle is stuck and it looks like you may be in the vehicle for awhile, keep these tips in mind:
•Stay with the vehicle, unless you can clearly see sturdier/warmer shelter.
•Run the engine 10 minutes each hour for heat, and crack the window just a bit.
•Keep the tailpipe clear.
•A hubcap or visor can be used as a shovel.
•Burning oil in a hubcap may allow rescuers to find you if conditions have improved.
•Distress Signal is: Honk your horn for three long blasts, 10 seconds apart. Repeat every 30 seconds.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 October 2013 09:15
Written by Al Stover
Several law enforcement agencies met at a press conference in Billings Oct. 11 to discuss an operation to fight crime on the Bakken oil field.
U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana Michael Cotter and Montana Attorney General Tim Fox announced “Project Safe Bakken.”
Launched in September by Cotter and Fox, “Project Safe Bakken” is a collaborative effort involving state, federal and tribal law enforcement in North Dakota and Montana to detect and stop drug trafficking organizations in the Bakken oil patch in eastern Montana and western North Dakota.
Law enforcement agencies such as the United States Attorneys for Montana and North Dakota; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Bureau of Indian Affairs; the Department of Homeland Security; and local law enforcement have joined forces to share intelligence, coordinate investigations and combat crime in the Bakken region and the communities surrounding the area.
In a statement, Fox said the project was not revealed to the public until the arrests and indictments were made in the cases that were unsealed last week.
“’Project Safe Bakken’ illustrates how well agencies at all levels can partner to get things accomplished,” Fox said. “This operation will ultimately have a major impact on crime and drugs in eastern Montana, thanks to the collaborative work of our Division of Criminal Investigations, the Richland County Sheriff’s Office, the Sidney Police Department and our federal partners.”
Although there are multiple agencies collaborating on the project, the fight against crime has not been easy. U.S. Attorney for North Dakota Tim Purdon said that increase in the population will equal more crime. He also said the federal shutdown makes things worse.
“We’re in this very, very serious fight against organized crime for control of the streets of the oil patch, and I’ve got about half of my employees home on furlough,” Purdon said. “We’re in this fight right now with one arm tied behind our back.”
In an interview with the Associated Press, Fox said that agencies have been playing catch-up with the changes in the oil patch over the years. He also said the benefits from the boom have been substantial. Eastern Montana and western North Dakota have seen an increase of more than 20,000 people since oil production rose in 2008 and more than 10,000 additional people are expected in the years to come.
FBI crime reports show that Montana’s four Bakken counties had a 64 percent increase in violent crime and a 63 percent increase in property crime between 2009 and 2012; however both categories have shown decreases in other areas of Montana.
One of the successes of the project has been the recent arrest and charging of several suspects in a drug ring on the oil patch.
According to the Associated Press, 12 people were indicted in Montana federal court and four in North Dakota federal court, on federal charges alleging they were involved in a drug ring that distributed methamphetamine in the Bakken oil patch, along the North Dakota border. The ring has also supposedly distributed drugs in other Montana cities and towns including Sidney, Fairview, Billings, Big Timber, Columbus, Livingston and Bozeman.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to drugs and weapons charges during their initial appearances in federal court and they were issued public defenders. Defendants include residents of Montana, Washington state and North Dakota, ranging in age from 28 to 49.
The previous investigations have been a collaborative effort between the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Montana Division of Criminal Investigation, Richland County law enforcement and the city of Sidney.
Back in July, North Dakota federal court charged 22 people with conspiracy to sell heroin and other drugs on a Native American reservation in the oil patch. Authorities liked that case to a national drug trafficking run that was seeking to make connections to the Bakken oil region.
During the press conference, authorities said more arrests are in the works.
The following defendants were arraigned during a federal court session in Billings, Oct. 9. Not all of the defendants have entered pleas at this time.
Jennie Lynn Britt, 33, of Sidney, was charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possession with the intent to distribute, possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.
Robert Ferrell Armstrong, 49, of Moses Lake, Wash., was charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and to possess methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine and possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.
Robert John Ferrell, 51, of Fairview, was charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and to possess methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and distribution of methamphetamine.
Kara Dawn Evans, 33, of Big Timber, was charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and to possess methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine and possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.
Lloyd Leon Westervelt, 37, of Big Timber, was charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and to possess metamphetamine with the intent to distribute, possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.
Samuel Everson III, 47, of Fairview, was charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and distribution of methamphetamine.
Enrique Lopez Solano, 39, of Warden, Wash., was charged with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine
Jaime Alberto Garza, 42, of Othello, Wash., was charged with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine.
Keith Edward Lester, 44, of Sidney, was charged with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine
Kyle Edward Lester, 25, of Sidney, was charged with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine
Sean Michael Vaira, 30, of Billings, was charged with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine
Marco Morales-Roa, 28, of Fairview, was arrested on a complaint for re-entry of a removed alien in violation of 8 U.S.C. 1326 (a) and (b) 1.
Lynn Marie Starr, of Parshall, N.D., was charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
Anthony Alan Starr, of Parshall, N.D., was charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
Blue Sky Starr, of New Town, N.D., was charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and distribution of methamphetamine.
Chadwick Leo Cummings, New Town, N.D., was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, and distribution of heroin.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 08:47
Written by The Herald-News
While deputies were investigating suspicious activity in the parking lot of the Black Gold Casino near
Bainville Oct. 3, they discovered a male subject had a warrant for his arrest out of Sheridan County.
William Dupree, 34, of Poplar, was taken into custody, reports Roosevelt County Sheriff Freedom Crawford.
Deputies also identified as female subject who was with the male as Tonya Hilliard 29, of Wolf Point. Hilliard had a felony probation warrant out of California.
Both were taking into custody and, upon further investigation, a large amount of illegal narcotics was discovered. Both were charged with felony possession of dangerous drugs (methamphetamine) and felony possession of dangerous drugs with intent to distribute.
Dupree and Hilliard are both currently incarcerated in the Roosevelt County Jail on $50,000 bond.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 08:40
Montana Wildlife Federation And Phil Tawney Hunters Conservation Endowment Offer Grants, Scholarships
Written by The Herald-News
The Montana Wildlife Federation has announced that the Phil Tawney Hunters Conservation Endowment is accepting applications for the 2014 round of annual grants and scholarships.
In the last 10 years, the endowment has awarded more than $50,000 in scholarships and grants to further Montana’s hunting, wildlife and outdoor heritage.
Established in 1998, the endowment honors the late Phil Tawney, a fourth generation Montanan, lifetime sportsman and conservation leader. Tawney was dedicated to protecting Montana’s fish and wildlife and their vulnerable habitats as he chased waterfowl in the Bitterroot Valley, elk in the Great Burn and Cinnabar Basin and trout in the blue ribbon waters of the Big Hole River and Rock Creek. The endowment was created to continue his legacy by educating the public about habitat and wildlife and involving young people in hunting and conservation.
Land Tawney, Phil’s son and endowment board officer, said, “My mother, Robin Tawney Nichols, and I are proud that the hunting legacy my father felt so strongly about can be perpetuated as a living legacy through conservation grants and scholarships. The endowment has made a significant contribution to fostering a conservation ethic in Montana.”
Project grants are available to 501(c)(3) groups to support one-year projects that involve young people in hunting and conservation, promote environmentally friendly wildlife habitats, support public policy changes to conserve habitat and promote hunting ethics, fair chase, sustainable wildlife habitat values, and safety. Projects typically range from $500 to $5,000.
Scholarships are awarded to Montana college students who have major academic fields of study that relate to conservation, that exhibit a commitment to public hunting ethics and fair chase and support values to perpetuate hunting through efforts to conserve habitats and wildlife. The scholarships provide $1,000 to support any expenses related to the pursuit of a college degree.
In 2013, the Tawney Endowment awarded a total of $4,250 to three students and two non-profit groups.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 08:36