Written by John Plestina
The lieutenant governor, state school superintendent and local officials delivered a resounding message to Wolf Point High School students to stay in school and graduate Monday, March 24, just 62 days before the next WPHS graduation.
Graduation Matters Montana Wolf Point launch event was part of a statewide effort to offset Montana’s high dropout rate.
Montana Superintendent of Schools Denise Juneau, who founded and designed the Graduation Matters Montana program, and Lt. Governor Angela McLean were the featured speakers.
Every Wolf Point High School and junior high student signed the Graduation Matters Montana pledge Nov. 26, 2013, that reads: “I will graduate from high school. No matter what it takes, how long it takes, or how hard it gets, I can do this and I will not give up.”
Students were asked to sign the pledge and to state why they think it is important to graduate.
All the K-12 students recited the pledge at the launch event.
“Today, we have the opportunity to hear several individuals and how they became educational leaders,” school superintendent Joe Paine said.
“Today, the difference between a high school graduate and a high school dropout in Montana is roughly $330,000 in lifetime earnings,” he said.
Paine asked all seniors to stand.
“I hope you don’t expect me to hand you a check for $330,000 when you graduate. You have to earn that in your lifetime,” he said.
Juneau asked students how many plan to graduate and why.
After hands were raised, she asked, “It’s important to know the why of graduating from high school.
She also stressed that graduates should go on to college.
“Soon, each one of you will be walking across the stage to get your diplomas,” Juneau said. “I know each one of you has the ability and the smarts to graduate from high school
She added that last year, 1,500 students dropped out of high school in Montana.
In 2008, Juneau was elected to her first term as state superintendent and became the first Native American woman elected to a statewide executive office in Montana.
“Many doors will open and it’s up to you to see what’s on the other side of those doors,” Juneau said. “You’ll be a better person.” “I wouldn’t be where I am today without a Browning High School diploma,” she said.
Browning is a small community on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.
McLean is a former teacher at Anaconda High School and a Graduation Matters teacher. She resigned her teaching position about six weeks ago, after Gov. Steve Bullock appointed her to replace John Walsh as lieutenant governor. He appointed Walsh to finish Max Baucus’ United States Senate term when Baucus accepted a presidential appointment as U.S. ambassador to China.
McLean told students every one of them should have a plan, and those who do are more likely to graduate and go on to college.
“Once you make a plan, stick to it,” she said.
“I firmly believe the tassel is worth the hassle,” McLean said.
Wolf Point Mayor Chris Dschaak, himself a WPHS graduate, told students of the importance of graduating.
“All of this hinges on one important piece of paper. Twenty years ago, I didn’t understand that,” Dschaak said of the time when he was a senior in 1994.
“That moment when my name was called, I walked onto the stage with all my family and friends watching,” he said.
Dschaak told the students he was asked if he was a high school graduate when he applied for his mortgage.
“Write the story of your life that people will enjoy to read,” Dschaak said.
Student council president Sarah Hafner encouraged her peers to stay in school and graduate.
“One thing that I know is, no one in this school system wants to see a student fail,” she said and added that she is proud to be graduating from WPHS in May.
The launch event was originally scheduled for Dec. 5, 2013, but was postponed due to weather.
The WPHS dropout rate for the 2012-2013 school year was 7.4 percent, a statistic the Wolf Point School District considers too high. It is hoped that participation in the Graduation Matters program will increase the graduation rate.
Local participation in the statewide initiative is a community-wide movement that involves parents, students and educators, as well as community members and businesses. All are asked to he on board in encouraging and providing opportunities for students to graduate from high school.
Other speakers included Fort Peck Community College president Haven Gourneau, school board chairman Martin DeWitt and Jerald Petersen, representing the Wolf Point Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture. Paine emceed the event.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 14:00
Written by John Plestina
Several people have filed for legislative and federal elected offices.
Candidate filing for members of qualified political parties opened Jan. 9 and closed March 10.
In State House District 31, incumbent Bridget Smith, D-Wolf Point, and Bill Whitehead, D-Wolf Point, have filed.
In house District 33, Floyd Russell Hopstad, D-Glasgow, has filed.
In house District 36, incumbent Austin Knudsen, R-Cul-bertson, and Gene O. Hartsock, D-Glasgow, have filed.
United States Senate candidates who have filed include incumbent John Walsh, D-Helena. Democrats challenging Walsh in the primary are Dirk Adams, of Wilsall, and John Bohlinger, of Helena.
Republicans are Susan Cundiff, of Missoula, Steve Daines, of Helena; and Champ Edmunds, of Missoula.
Eight candidates have filed for the single at-large congressional district. They are Elsie Arntzen, R-Helena; John Driscoll, D-Helena; Mike Fellows, Libertarian-Missoula; John Lewis, D-Helena; Matt Rosendale, R-Glendive;
Corey Stapleton, R-Billings; Drew Turiano, R-Helena; and Ryan Zinke, R-Whitefish.
The primary election will be held Tuesday, June 3. The deadline for voter registration is May 5. The general election will be Tuesday, Nov. 4. Voter registration will closes Oct. 6.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 11:39
Written by John Plestina
Several candidates had filed for school board seats as the final four days for candidate filing began.
All school districts said some candidates might wait until the final day to file, which is Thursday, March 27.
The Wolf Point School District has two seats up for election in May.
Superintendent Joe Paine said Monday morning that only one person had filed as of Monday.
That person is incumbent Tracy Miranda.
In Poplar, four candidates had filed for two seats.
They were incumbent James DeHerrera, Ken Norgaard, Thomas Brown and Don Moran.
The Frontier district reported that with four of five trustees up for election, only two incumbents had filed for reelection on Monday. There were no other candidates at that time.
Dave Kirkaldie and James Jerome have both filed for reelection.
Frazer School District No. 2 has two seats up for election, but no one had filed as of Monday morning.
The district reported that several people have picked up nomination papers from the district office.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 11:38
Written by Darla Shumway
Wolf Point and Poplar will hold the first combined Clean-Up Days during April.
The dates are set for Monday and Tuesday, April 7-8, in Poplar and Wednesday and Thursday, April 9-10, in Wolf Point.
In the event of rain, everything will be moved ahead one week in each city.
Large items may be set in alleys by dumpsters for pick up. People are asked not to obstruct traffic in alleys. Trash pick-ups will be Monday, April 7, in Poplar, and Wednesday, April 9 in Wolf Point. Pick-up times will be about 9 a.m., on both dates.
Garbage may be dropped off at the roll-off site or in the roll-off bins set up by the old elevator at no charge.
People are asked to clean their yards and place garbage in containers in the alleys.
Both Wolf Point and Poplar will have garbage trucks running all day.
Both cities, G&S Construction, Fort Peck Housing Authority and Tribal Enterprises will operate equipment for large item pickup.
Wolf Point and tribal police officers will ensure that traffic is slowing down for safety throughout the clean-up in both cities.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 11:37
Written by Vicki Viall
The Roosevelt County Planning Board discussed fracking and the proposed landfill in Culbertson while meeting in Poplar Wednesday, March 19.
The planning board has no control over the landfill. However, they had been in discussions with Culbertson Mayor Gordon Oelkers and are concerned that the location is too close to the city’s water supply and the road.
They also discussed the roads that border the Culbertson airport, which involved a housing issue and road access. This will, more than likely, require a public hearing, but it will not be held by the planning board. The town of Cul-bertson will be responsible for the public hearing and all questions should be directed to the town hall.
Two new casinos are proposed to be built on the Montana side of Montana/North Dakota border. They are two separate casinos, but will be built near a housing development that will provide housing for the employees of the two casinos. The land will be leased and the project must go through a public hearing.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 11:36