Written by The Herald-News
Free help with tax preparation continues this year easing the minds of thousands of hard-working Montanans as tax season approaches.
A $76,800 grant recently awarded to the Montana VITA Partnership will allow the group to provide free tax services to Montanans of moderate means. The Internal Revenue Service grant helps support 62 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites across the state for the next two years, which includes Wolf Point.
“This means that moderate-to low-income Montanans will continue to have access to quality, free tax preparation with community-based organizations they trust,” said Carin McClain, VITA program manager with Montana Credit Unions for Community Development. “Millions of dollars will be returned to Montana taxpayers and, in turn, the Montana economy. We also hope that this continued funding will allow us to reach out to taxpayers who are not aware of the free tax preparation and asset building services in their community.”
This service saves hard-working Montanans money since the average taxpayer spends more than $220 to have their taxes prepared, according to the National Society of Accountants. Through this grant, IRS-certified volunteers offer free tax help to individuals and families who make $51,000 or less and have fairly straight-forward returns.
MCUCD leads the MVP, which is a statewide coalition that aims to share expertise and build capacity around free tax preparation and asset development.
“Being part of a coalition makes us better,” McClain said. “We are better able to serve taxpayers in our communities, advocate for our programs, and get the word out about important tax credits that benefit hard-working Montanans.”
Local volunteers are the backbone of all VITA sites, and last year, more than 152 volunteers prepared with 5,515 tax returns. No experience is necessary and volunteers receive free training and certification by the IRS to prepare taxes in the VITA program. For more information visit www.montanafreefile.org
Area communities hosting sites and currently recruiting volunteers: Circle, Fort Peck, Glasgow and Wolf Point.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 08:35
Written by The Herald-News
Roosevelt County Sheriff Freedom Crawford reports that on Oct. 13, sheriff’s deputies assisted the Wolf Point City Police Department with removal of intoxicated people at 214 Granville Street.
Upon investigation, one of the intoxicated subjects was non-compliant with lawful commands and began to assault a Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Deputy with a knife. The subject, 19-year-old Keaton Wolff, also spit a foreign substance in the deputy’s face.
Wolff was subdued by the deputy and placed into handcuffs.
The deputy received a laceration to the bridge of his nose and went to the Northeast Montana Health Services for treatment.
Wolff was arrested and charged into Fort Peck Tribal Court with two counts of assault on an officer, assault with bodily fluids, carrying a concealed weapon, hindering law enforcement and protection of an officer.
Crawford turned the case over to the Fort Peck Tribes Criminal Investigation unit for further prosecution.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 08:34
Written by Al Stover
Several Wolf Point School District teachers gathered at Northside Elementary School, Oct. 11, to take part in a sidewalk safety workshop presented by Journeys From Home Montana.
Paid for by the Montana Department of Transportation, Journeys From Home Montana is an organization that provides children with the experiences and the knowledge that will allow them to travel safely in their community, under their own power. It is also about training teachers to use Elementary Lessons designed to help their students be more confident walking and riding bikes in traffic.
Instructors Roger DiBrito and Taylor Lonsdale had teachers demonstrate behaviors before crossing the street as if they were walking or riding a bicycle. This behavior included: stopping at the edge of the sidewalk, looking to the left, looking to the right and back to the left, in case they did not see something the first time.
Instructors also had teachers watch videos relating to different scenarios for walking across the street such as what to do if a child encounters visual barriers that could block their view as they cross the street.
DiBrito urged teachers to show proper behavior instead of telling children what to do. He said this will help children remember and model their behavior.
“This is not about advising drivers to be more careful, but rather it is about having children identify their surroundings when they cross the street,” DiBrito said. “It is also about children drawing information from teachers and empowering them with the knowledge of controlling the flow of traffic with their body movements and alertness.”
DiBrito said this program is not something that teachers add to the current curriculum they already teach, but rather it gives them the tools to blend the lessons with what they are doing in the classroom.
One exercise Lonsdale recommended the teachers do was have students get in groups and share with their classmates the different things they find in their neighborhoods. He also said teachers can use digital tools such as Google Earth to help identify their neighborhoods.
Near the end of the workshop, DiBrito and Lonsdale took separate groups around the neighborhood. With one group biking and the other walking, the groups identified characteristics in the sidewalks and some of the difficulties the sidewalks presented to children who were walking in terms of accessibility.
During the walk, Lonsdale suggested the teachers let students choose where to go and have them discuss the characteristics they find in the area. He said this not only keeps safety prominent, but it teaches them leadership.
Teachers received disks and materials to help them implement lessons into their curriculum. In addition to the tools, DiBrito and Lonsdale donated several used bikes to the school for teachers to use in the lessons with the students.
Melissa DeWitt, a fourth-grade teacher at Northside Elementary School, said the lessons would be easy to implement in her classroom. She also said it will help students to be safer and more active.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 08:16
Written by The Herald-News
The Basket of Hope Food Bank and Thrift Store, located on Main Street, will be temporarily closing its doors Friday, Oct. 18, at 4:30 p.m.
The store will be giving away all the food. People can also take Thrift Store items no charge.
The Basket of Hope Food Bank and Thrift Store opened in 1994, after it was determined as a need in the community.
The reason for the temporary closing is because of the condition of the roof. The food bank will be looking to move into a new location and will hopefully reopen in six months.
Ron Jackson, who helped open the food bank in 1994, said the roof’s condition has also affected others areas in the building.
“It has damaged the floor,” Jackson said. “The furnace also needs to be replaced. There are too many issues to fix the building.”
Ruth Jackson said the building is not safe and that the store can be opened at some point in the future.
Ron Jackson noted there are a couple of locations they could get. He also said, after they get a new building for the store, they will have to prepare location for merchandise and apply for food.
“We’re not giving up on it,” Ron Jackson said. “We had quite a few members start it all of those years ago and I’m still here. I don’t want it to end.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 08:14
Written by Al Stover
Roosevelt County Commissioners Gary Macdonald, Duane Nygaard and Jim Shanks held a public meeting, Oct. 8, to approve several items.
The commissioners began by approving the minutes for the public meeting on Sept. 12, as well as the minutes for the regular meeting that took place in September.
During public comment, Bill Juve asked the commissioners if they found any material to fill the holes in the road. Nygaard said one of the operators in the area is on sick leave and they have not been able to fill the holes at this time. He also said he was not sure if they will be able to catch up before the roads freeze.
Under administrative issues, the commissioners approved the report of investments and pledged securities from the treasurer's office. They also approved the claims for Sept. 19.
In business matters, the commissioners also approved pay raises for Tarrah Poitra, Carol Rasmussen, Peggy Purvis, Loren Weston and Vince MacDonald.
Prior to the end of the meeting, Roosevelt County Attorney Ralph Patch introduced new deputy county attorney Jordan Knudsen.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 08:13