Written by The Herald-News
From mid-August through Labor Day, officers of the Fort Peck Tribes Law and Justice Department will increase patrols in an effort to reduce drunk driving deaths.
“Our officers want to see an end to careless decisions that cost lives,” said Police Captain Mike Headdress.
Alcohol was involved in five out of the six crash fatalities on the Fort Peck Reservation from 2009 through 2011. Eight out of every 10 drivers in vehicle crashes reported on the reservation during those three years were under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
“Looking at the three years of most recent data, it’s possible that the majority of 65 crashes that involved alcohol or drugs could have been avoided if the driver had been sober and alert,” emphasized Headdress.
The police department on the Fort Peck Reservation is one of many law enforcement agencies participating in nationwide high-visibility enforcement leading up to the Labor Day holiday. Police officers are taking extra shifts to prevent hazardous driving. Their goal is to get impaired drivers off the road before they hurt themselves or someone else.
“If you know you are going to be driving, alcohol should be off-limits. A few drinks makes you a serious risk to yourself, your passengers and other travelers — plan ahead for a sober driver or don’t get behind the wheel. If you’re not driving, be smart and refuse to ride with a driver who has been drinking alcohol,” Captain Headdress added.
The Montana Highway Patrol, sheriffs’ deputies from Valley, Roosevelt and Richland counties and the Glasgow and Wolf Point police departments are also stepping up patrols during the Labor Day crackdown. Officers will be enforcing other traffic laws as well as watching for impaired drivers.
Support for the traffic safety efforts of Fort Peck Law and Justice is provided by the Safe On All Roads program of the Montana Department of Transportation. The Safe On All Roads program is administered by the Fort Peck Tribes Transportation Department.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 August 2013 09:07
Written by Darla Shumway
American Civil Liberties Union of Montana is suing the Wolf Point School District, on behalf of seven American Indian voters.
According to a statement published on their website, the ACLU claims the seven voters are being denied the equal right to representation on the high board because of discriminatory voting districts.
Wolf Point High School District 45A unites districts 3 and 45.
District 3 has a 2010 Census population of 430, according to the lawsuit, and is comprised of a majority white residents. Voters elect three members to the school board. This is one member for every 143 residents.
District 45, which has majority Native American population, had a 2010 Census population of 4,205, according to the lawsuit. The voters elect five board members for every 841 residents.
According to court documents, none of the members of the board of trustees are enrolled members of an American Indian tribe.
According to court documents, the voters claim that continuing the practices would violate rights guaranteed to the voters by the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution, as well as violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
The union is asking a federal judge to force the school board of trustees to draw new districts.
"This clearly violates the principle of one person, one vote, and creates a school board where white members of the district are overrepresented and Native Americans are underrepresented," ACLU of Montana legal director Jon Ellingson said in a statement. "The school district has an obligation under both state and federal law to redraw voting districts every 10 years based upon accurate population numbers. It's long past time for the district to do that."
The voters in the case are Ronald Jackson, Ruth Jackson, Robert Manning, Patricia McGeshick, Lawrence Wetsit, Bill Whitehead and Lanette M. Clark. They are all American Indians.
Ellingson said the voters were the ones who came to the ACLU for help. They had researched and investigated the problem and determined that. He also said there has been no direct communication between the union and the school board.
In addition to the lawsuit, the ACLU is calling for the United States District Court to establish a preclearance for the Wolf Point school district to, as Laughlin McDonald, an attorney with the ACLU’s National Voting Right Project said “prevent such racial discrimination in the future.”
Joe Paine, superintendent of the Wolf Point School District, said since it was an ongoing case, the district was unable to comment at this time.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 August 2013 09:00
Written by The Herald-News
The Wolf Point Police Department reminds drivers that school will soon be back in session and attention is needed on the part of everyone in the community to ensure the safety of all students.
Both Wolf Point School and Frontier School students go back to school Wednesday, Aug. 21.
Drivers are asked to be cognizant of high-traffic areas during the times, morning and afternoon, when students are going to and from school. The WPPD is asking drivers to choose an alternate route and avoid these areas, if possible.
There are two major areas of concern — Fourth Avenue North near Northside School and the 400 block of Dawson Street — noted Lt. Brian Erwin.
Parents are reminded that double-parking while waiting to pick up students is a “huge safety concern” and creates a hindrance to traffic, said Erwin. Increased patrols will be done in the problem areas around the schools and citations will be issued to offenders.
The 400 block of Dawson Street has often been a problem in the past and Erwin said that they are anticipating the same problems with parents double-parking and holding up traffic as they’ve had in the past.
Wolf Point Police Chief Jeff Harada said that, at Northside School especially, drivers are not abiding by the speed limit. Traveling too fast in areas near schools is also very dangerous, since, due to the students’ shorter height, they often can not be seen between vehicles and could easily be hit by a passing vehicle.
Speed limits in school zones are 15 miles per hour, “year round!” and extend for one block on all sides of each school, noted Harada. Drivers who have been stopped for speeding in school zones often use the excuse that the speed limit was only when school was in session. This is not the case, Harada said.
Drivers are also required to yield to students on crosswalks. These students are practicing their safety skills and it is the responsibility of the driving public to practice theirs, as well.
Bus safety is another concern every year, noted Erwin. Drivers are reminded that it is against the law to pass a bus when its lights and stop sign are displayed.
Students and their parents are also reminded that the family dog should be secured at home so they can not follow the children to school.
The Wolf Point Police Department animal control officer will actively be picking up dogs who are found on school grounds.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 August 2013 08:59
Written by The Herald-News
Greater Tuna follows a day in the life of all the residents of Tuna, a small town in Texas.
Famous for its wacky characters, lightning-fast costume changes and witty comedy, larger than life characters will leave the entire family laughing in the aisles. All the residents of Tuna, Texas (of all gender, age and intelligence!) are played by only two actors.
Greater Tuna stars Fort Peck favorites Stephen Brunson, who played leading roles in All Shook Up and Ring of Fire and directed last season’s Gypsy, and Jamie Parnell, whose FPST credits include Willy Wonka in Wonka, Billy in Chicago and Edna in Hairspray.
According to Brunson, “The challenge with so many roles in one show is keeping consistent to the needs of each character, while knowing how to navigate all of the insanely fast costume changes.”
Greater Tuna is directed by Fort Peck artistic director Andy Meyers, assisted by Doug Dion, scenic design; Aaron Torgerson, lighting; Gwenn Mann, costume; Mike Rusktad, sound; Shy Iverson, props; Annie Rottenbiller, production manager; and Ryan Luwe, technical director.
Performances are Aug. 16 through Sept. 1: Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 4 p.m.
For tickets and more information, call the Fort Peck Box Office at 526-9943.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 August 2013 08:47
Written by The Herald-News
Wolf Point School District 45-45A voters have once again rejected two mill levies proposed by the school district, according to preliminary unofficial vote counts.
The proposition for the high school general fund mill levy, which is $50,000, was defeated with a combined vote of 222 to 201 with one rejected ballot.
The proposition for the elementary school general fund mill levy was defeated with a vote of 188-186 with one rejected ballot.
This is the third consecutive year that voters voted against mill levies that were requested by the school district. In the previous year, the elementary general fund mill levy for the 2012-13 school year was defeated by a 352-229 vote. The failure of the mill levy resulted in the elimination of several elementary school programs and positions. Had the mill levy been approved, it would have raised property taxes by approximately $300,000.
The Wolf Point High School building reserve levy mill had also been defeated with a combined vote of 433-210. The levy would have raised about $150,000 in local property taxes, which would have gone to partially finance the replacement of the high school’s gym floor and installation of new bleachers in the high school gym.
In May 2011, the elementary school mill levy was defeated by a 294-195 vote, while the high school mill levy was defeated, 323 to 211.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 August 2013 08:45