Written by By Joe Paine, Superintendent Wolf Point School District
The Wolf Point School District will hold a special mill levy election on Monday, Aug. 12. The purpose of the special election will be to ask the local taxpayers to help support the Elementary General Fund in the amount of $100,000 and the High School General Fund in the amount of $50,000.
The money will help cover operating costs of the district as the district is faced with declining revenues and enrollment.
Additionally, fixed costs are increasing even as cost-saving measures continue to be implemented and continually researched. Impact Aid is also generating less revenue as enrollment declines and the federal government continues Sequestration cuts. State and federal funding is paid based on enrollment. As enrollment declines, fixed costs do not.
The district is also entering the third and final year of the Montana Striving Readers Grant that has been supplementing Wolf Point educational programs since 2011 in the amount of $900,000 per year.
For the elementary, the passage of this proposal will increase property taxes, after the residential exemption, on a home with a market value of $100,000 by approximately $36.52 per year or $3.04 per month and on a home with a market value of $200,000 by $73.04 per year or $6.09 per month.
For the high school, passage of this proposal will increase property taxes, after the residential exemption, on a home with a market value of $100,000 by approximately $9.68 per year or $.81 per month and on a home with a market value of $200,000 by $19.35 per year or $1.61 per month.
The durational limit of the levies are permanent once approved by the voters, assuming the district levies that amount at least once in the next five years.
Absentee ballots are available at the Wolf Point School District office, located at the Wolf Point High School, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The polls will be open between the hours of noon and 8 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 12, at the Wolf Point High School multipurpose room.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 July 2013 08:46
Written by The Herald-News
During the afternoon of Monday, July 15, a severe thunderstorm that originated in Valley County moved into Roosevelt County and produced at least one tornado that traveled a considerable distance across the area showing that the “Summer Fury” disaster drill June 13 was indeed timely.
“The ‘Summer Fury’ disaster drill provided an important learning experience for emergency responders in Wolf Point as evidenced by the tornado north of Wolf Point July 15,” said Wolf Point Police Department Lieutenant Brian Erwin.
In their summary report, the National Weather Service indicated that numerous reports said the tornado dissipated and reformed at least twice and, given the rural nature of the area and not being able to readily see where that may have occurred, the report issued by the NWS treated this severe thunderstorm and tornado as one event.
The tornado was rated an EF-2 with a estimated maximum wind speed of 120 miles per hour, based on damage to power poles.
The estimated start time of tornado was 3:45 p.m. and its end time was 4:56 p.m. It left a 25-mile long path up to a quarter mile wide based on eyewitness reports and photographs.
A total of 10 severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings were issued by the NWS, nine of which verified with an average lead time of 23.6 minutes.
Reports started coming into Fort Peck Tribes/Roosevelt County Dispatch Center of a tornado at 3:45 p.m.
There was little but grassland in the origination location 19 miles north of Wolf Point.
The first damage that was found from the tornado was on County Road 250, 19 miles NNE of Wolf Point at approximately 3:52 p.m. A dead tree had limbs broken off and was partially debarked. The next damage that was accessible was on Montana Hwy. 13 17 miles north of U.S. Hwy. 2. A power line had a metal cross member bracket broken.
“As we continued on the survey, we traveled east down County Road 2042. A vacant residence 7.5 miles east of Montana Hwy. 13 had a shed blown over that was not anchored onto any foundation,” said the NWS summary report. “There was some debris from a dump site blown around and there were several large broken tree branches as well. As the road turned south for a short while, at 8.5 miles east of Hwy. 13, two signs were damaged. Radar indicates the tornado was at this location between 4:30 and 4:35 p.m. One sign was bent but still in place, another was totally sheared where the metal post met the ground. At this point, we could also observe large round hay bales that had been blown into tree rows. These hay bales weigh about 1,200 to 1,500 pounds each. Winds at the first residence were estimated at 70 mph. Winds at the signs and hay bales are estimated to be at 110 mph.”
“The farm with the most damage was 10 miles east of Hwy. 13 where it would have hit around 4:39 p.m. At this location, we observed a calving barn [marked as 1 in above photo] that had the west side of the roof blown off, and the walls caved in. The structural supports were still in the ground, but the 4x4s holding up the walls had been sheared about 4 feet off of the ground. A storage building  next to a larger Quonset was actually overturned back to the west, and thrown into a larger Quonset , totaling it out. The materials landed west of the large Quonset [2a]. A third Quonset that also had metal roofing that was peeled off of the building.  The storage building had heavy, long concrete foundation pieces that were pulled out of the ground and tossed onto equipment,” reported the NWS.
“Winds at this location are estimated to have been 115 to 120 mph. There were some power poles southeast of this farm that were damaged as well and the wind estimates for that are 120 mph.
“The tornado then moved across the Poplar River valley. At this point, some photos show it off the ground, but the circulation on the ground may have continued while the visible condensation funnel had to lower itself to the valley bottom.
“At 4:47 pm, a farm right on County Road 2042 had the roof peeled off of a well-constructed metal building by rear flank downdraft winds. Wind speeds at this location were estimated at 110 mph.
“From that farm, they could see the tornado two miles south and 13.5 miles east of Montana Hwy. 13. At this location, nine power poles were snapped and irrigation pipes were lifted and moved westward. A large cottonwood tree was also uprooted. Wind speeds were estimated at 100 mph.
“As the storm moved east, it dissipated about 19 miles east of Montana Hwy. 13, or four miles west of the Brockton Road, aka County Road 1041. Photo and reports from those on the ground indicate that the tornado dissipated by 4:56 p.m.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 21:57
Written by Al Stover
Brady Hove appeared in Montana’s 15th Judicial Court, July 10, to plead not guilty to the felony charge of issuing bad checks by common scheme.
According to charging documents, Hove issued nine checks from Dec. 11, 2011, to Jan. 6, 2012. Hove issued one check to the Annex Bar in Froid for the amount of $68.75. In the same city, he issued eight checks to Mint Bar, which is also known as Rod’s Mint Bar and Cafe, and Rod’s Mint, ranging from $50 to $161.75. The total amount of the nine checks came to $671.25.
The penalty of a person convicted of issuing bad checks by common scheme shall be is a fine of $50,000, imprisonment not to exceed 10 years or both.
Hove’s bond is currently set at $2,500. He also said he had a farm in Sheridan County. Judge David Cybulski said he would allow Hove to work on the farm as a condition of his bond.
Hove is expected to have an omnibus hearing, Aug. 14, at 1:15 p.m., while his jury trial date is scheduled for Sept. 26 at 9 a.m.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 16:14
Written by Al Stover
Chas Douglas Zimdars appeared in Montana’s 15th Judicial District Court July 11.
Zimdars was charged with the misdemeanor charges of criminal trespass, fleeing from or eluding peace officer and driving without a valid driver’s license. He was also charged with criminal endangerment and criminal mischief.
According to charging documents, Fort Peck Department of Law and Justice Lieutenant James Summers responded to the 200 block of East Helena Street in Wolf Point to a report of a person who had his truck stuck, although differing reports have been circulating.
When Summers arrived in the area, he saw the truck, which was later revealed to be a four-door Ford with Montana license plates, in a ditch. The male, who had been outside the vehicle, jumped back into the truck and started to drive back and forth. This led to the vehicle getting unstuck.
Documents said that the truck drove south, then turned west on Idaho Street. Summers activated his emergency lights to initiate a stop, but the truck sped north on First Avenue South, turning west on Helena Street. Summers had watched as people, who were on the street, moved to get out of the way of the truck.
The vehicle turned south on Second Avenue South and then east onto Idaho Street, back to where the pursuit started. The truck was parked east of the sewage treatment building, and was once again stuck in the mud. The driver exited the truck and walked to the rear.
Summers ordered the driver to get away from the truck and to drop whatever he was holding. The driver told
Summers to shoot him. He then dropped the object and walked toward the officer.
The driver secured in handcuffs was identified as Chas Zimdars, who said he was protecting everyone and preventing everyone from getting killed because the water treatment plant was poisoned and going to kill everyone, so he had to stop it. Zimdars was asked if he had done any drugs recently, to which he responded that he had just done some meth and he had a small amount he was using in his truck.
Charging documents stated that a witness approached Summers and told the officer that the male had been hitting a power box of the sewage treatment plant. Summers noticed the gate to the plant was open and an electrical box was visibly damaged. A witness also explained the driver had been using a big wrench, hit the box and exploded. Documents also stated the box was blackened, as if it had been on fire. Summers located a large pipe wrench on the ground behind the truck. Zimdars, who stated he felt tingly from being electrocuted by the box, was transported to the hospital for treatment for his injuries.
According to charging documents, Zimdars told Summers that, earlier in the day, he had taken a portal under the underpass in Wolf Point to another area, where he had spent most of the day. He also said he was just trying to stop the poison that was released from the water treatment center to the people.
Zimdars was medically cleared and incarcerated at Roosevelt County Detention Center with a $50,000 bond, which he posted June 14. He currently released on bail.
Zimdars pleaded not guilty to all five charges. He is scheduled to have an omnibus hearing Aug. 14 and his trial is set for Sept. 26.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 22:10
Written by The Herald-News
The United States Attorney’s Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on July 18, 2013, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, Eliseo Lopez Martinez, a 49-year-old resident of Turlock, Calif., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances.
Sentencing has been set for Oct. 21. He is currently detained.
In an offer of proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph E. Thaggard and Brendan P. McCarthy, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
In late 2012, the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Drug Enforcement Agency; the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation; U.S. Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; various drug task forces based in Billings; the Billings Police Department; the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Department; and the Montana Highway Patrol began to investigate the widespread distribution of methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin in an area stretching from Billings to the Bakken oil fields of northeastern Montana and western North Dakota.
In March, the Idaho State Police also joined the investigation.
As part of the investigation, on March 1, the Montana Highway Patrol stopped a vehicle driven by an unindicted coconspirator on Interstate 90 near Park City. The vehicle was subsequently searched and found to contain one-quarter pound of methamphetamine and a quantity of heroin the unindicted coconspirator said consisted of 80 grams.
The unindicted coconspirator admitted to distributing large amounts of heroin and methamphetamine. The unindicted coconspirator stated that the sources of supply for the drugs were “Mateo” and “Tomas.” The descriptions provided by the unindicted conspirator of “Mateo” and “Tomas” matched those people known to law enforcement officers in Billings as Martinez and Tomas Alvarado.
On March 11, Idaho State Police stopped a vehicle driven by Alvarado in Power County, Idaho. An adult female was a passenger in the vehicle. Alvarado said he and the passenger had driven from Billings to Nevada the previous day and were returning to Billings.
A search of the vehicle ensued. The authorities found a .40 caliber handgun, three gross pounds of a substance that yielded a presumptive Narcotics Identification Kit test result for the presence of methamphetamine and two gross pounds of a substance that yielded a positive NIK test result for the presence of cocaine.
On March 12, the authorities, acting under the authority of a search warrant, searched a residence in Billings occupied by Martinez. The officers recovered three handguns, over $56,000 in United States currency, two pounds of suspected cocaine, six pounds of suspected methamphetamine and over 100 grams of suspected heroin.
The officers also searched a motor vehicle at or near Martinez’s residence in Billings. That vehicle was associated with Martinez. The officers found 16 total firearms, including handguns, shotguns and rifles — including two semi-automatic, SKS assault-style rifles — in the vehicle.
Martinez was taken into custody when the search warrant was executed on March 12. When interviewed, he stated he had moved to Montana two or three months earlier as part of plan whereby he and Alvarado distributed methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and marijuana in the Billings area. Martinez estimated that he and Alvarado had sold approximately 25 pounds of methamphetamine over the preceding two months.
On March 12, the authorities also interviewed Alvarado. He stated that he and Martinez had distributed methamphetamine in Billings since approximately October 2012 and moved to Billings in November 2012 as part of the distribution scheme. Alvarado detailed that, between October 2012 and March 12, he and Martinez distributed at least 80 pounds of methamphetamine to subordinate drug dealers in Montana.
Martinez faces possible penalties of life in prison, a $10,000,000 fine and five years supervised release.
Alvarado pleaded guilty to federal charges and is awaiting sentencing.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the DEA; the FBI; the ATF; and the Montana DCI.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 22:02