Written by Al Stover
The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana, representing seven American Indian voters in a lawsuit against Wolf Point School District Board, has responded to a defense motion to dismiss the case.
The ACLU filed a complaint against the school district, back in August, on behalf of the American Indian voters.
The ACLU claims the voters are being denied the equal right to representation on the high school 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.
Court documents also stated, 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 the amendment of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). The ACLU is asking a federal judge to force the school board of trustees to draw new districts.
The ACLU has also requested United States District Court establish a preclearance for the Wolf Point School District to prevent such racial discrimination in the future.
The plaintiffs being represented in the case by the ACLU are Ronald Jackson, Ruth Jackson, Robert Manning, Patricia McGeshick, Lawrence Wetsit, Lanette Clark and Bill Whitehead.
The defendants in the case are Martin DeWitt, Tracey Juve-Miranda, Glenn Strader, Janice Wemmer-Kegley, Jaronn Boysun, Brent Nygard and Ed Bach. They are being sued in their official capacities as members the Wolf Point Board of Trustees of District No. 45-45A. Naomi Erickson, in her official capacity as School District Clerk and Election Administrator, is also a defendant in the case.
The defense, filed a motion, Oct. 4, to dismiss the complaint.
The reasons for dismissal include School District 45A and its Board of Trustees not falling under the definition of a political subdivision, the defendants have no authority to redraw the districts as the system was not created by them and the defendants lacked the requisite intent to violate the Fourteenth Amendment.
In their response to the motion, the ACLU stated the defendants cite no authority to support their claim that the School District is not a political subdivision. They also said the defendants are appropriate parties to this litigation and that discriminatory intent is not required to prove a violation of One Person, One Vote.
According to attorney John Ellingson, the ACLU has responded and a preliminary pretrial conference will be conducted in the judge’s chambers at the federal courthouse in Great Falls, Nov. 8.
Tony Koeing of the Montana School Boards Association stated the conference will be set for the case and attorneys for both parties will be given an opportunity for oral argument on the school’s motion to dismiss.
Ellingson and James Taylor of the ACLU of Montana in Missoula represent the plaintiffs.
Debra Silk, Tony Koeing and Kris Goss, of the Montana School Boards Association, in Helena represent the defendants.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 October 2013 15:18
Written by Al Stover
The Wolf Point Girl Scouts participated in their first Misfit Sock March, Oct. 25. The Girl Scouts wore mismatched socks, carried signs and shouted cheers of “Bullying is bad, don’t make others feel sad,” “Kindness is priceless” and “Never fear, hear our cheer, bullies aren’t welcome here.” The march is in recognition of Anti-Bullying Month. It also advises everyone to celebrate their differences and embrace who they are.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 October 2013 09:08
Written by The Herald-News
An outbreak of disease has again impacted white-tailed deer numbers in some areas of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ Region 6, state wildlife officials say.
Epizootic hemorrhagic disease, commonly known as EHD, has been confirmed through laboratory examinations of tissue taken from several deceased white-tailed deer in the Havre area, said Region 6 wildlife program manager Mark Sullivan.
The affected area where whitetails were reported dead earlier this fall ranges primarily west of Harlem and essentially covers the western third of Region 6, Sullivan said. Other widespread EHD outbreaks have also recently been confirmed in several other areas of the state, including FWP Region 4 to the south and west.
EHD is an acute, infectious, often-fatal viral disease of some wild ruminants, especially white-tailed deer. The disease, characterized by extensive hemorrhaging, fever and a resultant urge to be near or even immersed in temperature-controlling water, has been responsible for significant die-offs over the years in the northern United States and southern Canada.
A major EHD outbreak also took place in FWP Region 6 in 2011 and was primarily centered in the Glasgow area along the Milk River where white-tailed deer numbers had been at record highs.
A similar hemorrhagic disease commonly called bluetongue also occurs throughout the U.S. and Canada, but the two diseases are clinically different. Both diseases can affect mule deer and pronghorn antelope, but not as much as white-tailed deer.
Outbreaks of EHD most commonly occur during the summer and early fall, and animals contracting highly virulent strains can die as quickly as one to three days after exposure. The disease is spread by tiny biting midges, but hard frosts kill the insects and end the outbreaks, at least for the year.
“When the insect activity slowed down with the cooler weather, apparent EHD-caused deaths started decreasing,” Sullivan said, adding that a few scattered reports of dead whitetails also came in from the Glasgow and Malta areas earlier this fall.
“However, we weren’t able to take samples from those animals because they were too decomposed by the time they were discovered,” he said. “The reports were also very few in number.”
Sullivan noted that whitetail numbers in the Glasgow area are still recovering from a series of harsh winters and the 2011 EHD outbreak. Deer hunters should take note and plan accordingly.
“Whitetail numbers remain good in the northeastern portion of Region 6,” he said. “No EHD was reported there in 2011 or this year.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 October 2013 16:13
Written by The Herald-News
The Wolf Point Southside Elementary School’s Alta Care Program was awarded the Eastern Region Program of the Year. JaNell Knowles Good Iron and Ellen Sievers brought back the award from their training in Butte. Both Good Iron and Sievers work in the school to provide mental health services for students struggling in the classroom. They also work with other programs outside of the school. In addition to their work during the school year, Good Iron and Sievers run a summer program that uses cultural and community events to help children enhance their self-esteem and encourages them to participate in the community.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 October 2013 15:56
Written by The Herald-News
Each week, the Wolf Point Junior/Senior High School chooses Students of the Week. The honorees for last week are Ronnel G. Santos and Darnell Yazzie.
Santos, 14, an eighth- grader, was selected by the history and S.F.A classes as the Student of the Week.
He is the son of Nerissa and Patrick Walton. He has three siblings: Ranielle G. Santos, 15; Cameron Walton, 20; and Akeisha Earlyne Walton, 1. His role model is Youtube star Markiplier, his favorite teacher is Mrs. Hernandez and his favorite subjects are algebra and S.F.A. His hobbies are reading, gaming and music.
Yazzie, 15, a freshman, was selected by the Native American Studies. He is the son of Rolinda and Zane Lewis and has two siblings; Jaclynn, 12; and Myklynn, 9. His favorite teachers are all of them. His hobby is creating things in his mind. He wants to attend ITT Technical Institute and is interested pursing robotics and artificial intelligence as a career.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 October 2013 15:52