Wolf Point Herald

GNDC Working To Get Stalled Eastern Montana Infrastructure Bill Passed

An infrastructure bill that would benefit eastern Montana and is stalled in the Legislature, along with talk of eastern Montana being left out when it comes to state appropriations, highlighted the Great Northern Development Corporation quarterly board meeting, Tuesday, April 14.
“This past quarter has been busy with travel, mostly to testify in Helena,” said GNDC executive director Martin DeWitt, who is resigning for a new position in Billings.
DeWitt’s last day will be Friday, April 17.
DeWitt said the month of January was spent keeping up with the pulse of the Legislature.
“I also traveled to Helena to testify on House Bill 402, which is an infrastructure bill for eastern Montana that will provide funding totaling $55 million into energy impacted communities,” DeWitt said.
HB 402, which affects all of eastern Montana, passed the third reading with a 59-39 House vote and was been transmitted to the Senate, where the Senate Finance Committee tabled it.
Roosevelt County Commissioner Gary Macdonald said HB 402 was tabled because it is similar to Senate Bill 416 by Sen. John Brendan, R-Scobey, but Brendan’s bill is more of a statewide bill that doesn’t focus on eastern Montana.
“Brendan’s bill doesn’t address eastern Montana like 402 does,” Macdonald said.
He said he will be going to Helena soon and that an effort must be made to get HB 402 off the table.
Several reports were presented at the GNDC meeting. No votes were taken as the board lacked a quorum.

Hits: 89

Commissioners Approve Subdivisions Near Bainville

The Roosevelt County Commissioners approved two small subdivisions about 11 miles north of Bainville Monday, April 13.
Glenn and Lloyd DeTienne requested approval of two adjoining identical minor subdivisions of five residential lots each, carved out of 80 acres.
Subdivisions exceeding five lots are classified as major subdivisions and require planning board approval.
In another matter brought to the commissioners, Clayton Stevenson Memorial Chapel  made a second request that the county pay for an indigent burial of a woman who died in Faith Home in March.
The commissioners approved the request.
When first brought to the commission in March, Assistant County Attorney Jordan Knudsen said he had not seen any solid evidence that the woman was indigent and recommended that the commission delay a decision.

Hits: 84

Back-To-Back Fires Destroy Two Poplar Structures

Two fires early Saturday, April 11, destroyed two structures in the Poplar area.
The first fire, reported to the Roosevelt County/Fort Peck Tribes 911 dispatch center at 1:11 a.m., completely destroyed a single-family unoccupied house just east of Poplar.
Wolf Point Volunteer Fire Department chief Shawn Eggar said the house had only been vacant a short time.
The WPVFD and firefighters from Brockton had responded as a mutual aid call. Eggar said the Wolf Point firefighters had barely returned to their station when the second call came in at 3:30 a.m. and they returned to Poplar.
The structure fire at Second Avenue West and D Street West in Poplar completely destroyed a mobile home and displaced a family.
Eggar said there were no injuries.
The causes of both fires remain under investigation.

Hits: 60

Former Gov. Babcock Dies

A Montana governor from eastern Montana who served five decades ago was laid to rest in Helena Saturday, April 11.
Gov. Tim Babcock, 95, who died in Helena Tuesday, April 7, grew up in Dawson County near Glendive. He previously served as lieutenant governor, became Montana’s chief executive in 1962 when Gov. Donald Nutter died in a plane crash en route to Cut Bank, and remained in office until 1969.
Babcock was a decorated World War II veteran and owned a trucking company. He was the oldest delegate at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Florida.
Babcock’s body laid in state at the Capitol Rotunda on Friday. His funeral was in Helena Saturday.

Hits: 57

Fairview Man Sentenced To 22 Years For Drug, Gun Crimes

In a hearing in Billings Friday, April 10, U.S. District Judge Susan Watters sentenced Ryan Edward Lee, 32, of Fairview to more than 22 years in federal prison for drug and firearms offenses.
Lee was sentenced to 270 months in prison followed by five years supervised release.
He pleaded guilty in November to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking offense.  
In pleadings filed at the time of his guilty pleas, Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Whittaker told the court that from November 2013 to Jan. 9, 2014, agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation investigated drug trafficking in the Bakken oil fields, including allegations of methamphetamine distribution in and around Sidney. Using informants and law enforcement controlled exchanges, agents observed Lee deliver methamphetamine to another individual on two separate occasions.
After the first sale, Lee was pulled over by the Montana Highway Patrol for traffic violations. Lee provided false identification and received a warning for the traffic violations.
After the second sale, the MHP again conducted a traffic stop of Lee’s vehicle. Following a pat down search, law enforcement found $2,500 in cash in Lee’s pocket. Once placed in the back of the patrol car, Lee kicked out a window and attempted to escape by fleeing on foot. After a chase, Lee was apprehended. During a search of Lee’s vehicle, law enforcement officers discovered a metal flip container with a digital scale and approximately two ounces of methamphetamine among other items and drug paraphernalia behind the driver’s seat. They also discovered, lodged between the seat and center console, a loaded .380 semi-automatic pistol. A trace on the handgun revealed that Lee had purchased it several months earlier using a false identification and a false name, which was the same stolen identity he used multiple times with the MHP.
In addition, after his arrest and while in custody in the Yellowstone County Detention Facility, it was discovered that Lee had attempted an escape by breaking out the window of his cell and that he had been chipping away the wall outside the window for at least three months.
The prosecution was part of Project Safe Bakken, a cooperative effort between federal and state prosecutors and federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies in Montana and North Dakota.
Drug crimes in the Bakken area have increased dramatically since the oil boom began in the region several years ago.
Parole has been abolished in the federal system and although Lee may be entitled to good time credit of up to 15 percent of his sentence, the sentence imposed will be the sentence served.

Hits: 69