Wolf Point Herald

West End Fire Investigation Centers Around Squatters Staying In Boarded Up House




Firefighters from the Wolf Point Volunteer Fire Department fight the West End house fire that was out of control before they arrived. One picture shows Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice officer Michael Booth and an unidentified man moments after Booth kicked the door open before firefighters arrived. Neighbors had said two people were inside the house.  (Photos by John Plestina)

A criminal investigation by the Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice has followed a fire that destroyed a West End house early Wednesday, Nov. 18, due to squatters living in the boarded up house.
No one was injured.
Neighbors saying people were staying in the house and that as many as two people might have been trapped prompted FPTDLJ officer Michael Booth to kicked the front door open before firefighters arrived in an attempt to rescue people that might have been inside the house, but flames prohibited entry beyond a few feet.
The fire was reported to the Roosevelt County 911 Dispatch Center about 6:40 a.m.
The house is located just off Seventh Avenue North.
There were at least two explosions after the house became fully involved. They are now believed to have come from propane tanks.
Firefighters put water on nearby houses due to high winds fanning flames that were shooting from the roof.
An evacuation was ordered of several neighbor’s houses and the nearby senior citizen’s center due to wind gusts as high as 65 mph and an excessive amount of smoke in the area.
“There are a couple of people that need to be interviewed,” FPTDLJ supervisory criminal investigator Ken Trottier said Friday, Nov. 20.
“The house was vacant and boarded up, and there were some squatters in there,” he said. “We’ve got names of the people who were squatting in the house.”
The Fort Peck Housing Authority had rented the house to a person who was incarcerated at the time of the fire and other people had entered and were staying in the house, according to Trottier.
“As far as we know gas and electricity were still on in the house,” he said.
Investigators found evidence of propane tanks in the rubble that remained after the fire, raising the possibility that the tanks were the explosions heard while the house was fully involved.
“I would call it still under investigation. We haven’t made an accidental or arson determination on that,” Trottier said Friday. “What we are ruling out at this point is that somebody pried the door open with the intent to start the fire.”
The Wolf Point Volunteer Fire Department was assisted by FPTDLJ officers, the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office and Montana Highway Patrol.

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Museum Wine Tasting, Fundraiser Held Friday


The first photo is auctioneer Robert Toavs conducting the art auction during the Wolf Point Area Museum fundraiser.  The second picture is Ken Elliott holding a painting while Toavs auctions it.  (Photos by John Plestina)

The Wolf Point Area Museum held one of its two annual fundraisers — a wine tasting, art auction and spaghetti dinner — at the Elks Club Friday, Nov. 14.
Auctioneer Robert Toavs with his rapid talk and colorful pitch auctioned off numerous paintings and other art that had been donated from the community.
The Wolf Point Lions Club that catered the event for the second consecutive year dished up spaghetti, with Lions donning white shirts and red bow ties.
The museum holds two major fundraisers; a pancake breakfast held during the Wild Horse Stampede in July and the wine tasting, art auction and dinner each November.
The museum was originally the Wolf Point Historical Society Museum, which was in the basement of the Roosevelt County Library from 1941 until July 2010 when the museum moved into the current building on U.S. Hwy. 2. The main museum building formerly housed a farm implement sales business.
The name was changed to Wolf Point Area Museum in 2011.
An expansion with a second building was completed prior to this past summer. It is a 50x80-foot pole barn-style building with laminated trusses for cold storage of antique cars and trucks and tractors.
The museum is located at 203 U.S. Hwy. 2 and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., May 15 through Sept. 15.
More information is available by contacting the museum at 653-1912.

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Wolf Point Christmas Stroll, Santa’s Visit Set For Dec. 4

Wolf Point’s second annual Christmas stroll, Santa Claus’ visit at the Elks Club and other festivities were finalized for Friday, Dec. 4, during a meeting of the Wolf Point Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture board of directors Thursday, Nov. 5, and a meeting of chamber directors and several local organizations Wednesday, Nov. 11.
The Wolf Point Lions Club, Optimist Club and others were represented at the meeting.
The chamber will host Santa in the ballroom on the second floor of the Elks building on the corner of Main Street and Third Avenue South and pictures will be available by Nicole Huber Photography. Will’s Office World will print the pictures that will be available Saturday, Dec. 5, at Will’s on the corner of Main Street and Second Avenue South.
There is a possibility that another holiday favorite; Dr.
Seuss’ Grinch, will once again be walking around in the Elks Club, greeting the young and not so young and posing for pictures with admirers.
“Santa will hand out the candy canes and the Grinch will take them,” chamber president Jeff Presser said.
The Wolf Point Lions Club will dish out free chili and the Junior Optimist Club will provide hot chocolate on the gazebo in Sherman Park.
Music downtown, carolers and hayrides are likely. The large tree in Sherman Park will once again be lit up. Children from Southside Elementary School will give away popcorn in front of Bryan’s.
There was also a discussion about trying get a teepee lit up for Christmas.
“Hopefully, we can put up lights at the Elks,” said Aaron Kurokawa, who is heading up the Christmas festivities for the chamber.
The chamber is asking all downtown businesses to decorate windows and turn on Christmas lights at 5:30 p.m., so the public can stroll the downtown area, view the lights and holiday displays.
Chamber member Lester Warby suggested a donation of cans for the food pantry.
Sponsors are sought for utility pole lighting and decorations, and for stationary ground displays. People interested in sponsorships are asked to call the chamber office at 653-2012
Additional holiday plans include the fourth annual Festival of Trees drawing set for Friday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m.
The trees will be displayed around the dance floor beginning Friday, Nov. 20.
The chamber event, called “Get Lit in Wolf Point” last year, and the Festival of Trees were held the first Friday in December and were a combined success.
The Festival of Trees was held in 2012 and 2013 in the former Bryan’s store location that is now the home of Gysler Furniture and Appliance.
The chamber event will not be called the second annual “Get Lit In Wolf Point Festival of Lights and Stroll” this year. It will be “Wolf Point Christmas Stroll.”
The 2014 chamber event broke a long tradition in Wolf Point, replacing the Festival of Lights Parade that was discontinued because of diminishing participation in recent years. The combined events, held on the same night, kicked off the 2014 holiday season in a new direction.

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Burrr, Ol’ Man Winter Will Blow Through Here This Year

Bundle up, hold onto your hat and hope your shingles are nailed down good, the National Weather Service in Glasgow has forecasted blustery winds followed by chilly temperatures for the last half of this week.
NWS senior forecaster Greg Forrester predicted Monday, Nov. 16, that a change in the weather pattern would bring strong winds and colder temperatures, with a high wind watch issued for all of northeast Montana for Wednesday.
A strong cold front was expected to move through the area Wednesday morning between 4 and 8 a.m. with winds increasing by 30 to 40 mph and gusts to 60 mph by noon.
Rain and snow showers were possible Tuesday night into Wednesday with little or no snow accumulation expected.
Hazardous winds were predicted to cause direct crosswinds on northeast to southwest roads.
Temperatures that had been in the 40s and 50s at the beginning of this week were predicted to fall to the low 40s and 30s by Wednesday and 25 to 35 degrees on Thursday. Overnight lows Wednesday and Thursday are forecasted to be in the teens.
The Glasgow NWS updated the forecast Tuesday, Nov. 17, with a high wind warning for all of northeast Montana Wednesday and Wednesday night due to a strong cold front passing through northeast Montana between 4 and 8 a.m. Wednesday. Winds will increase to 35 to 50 mph with gusts as high as 65 mph by noon.
A chance of rain and snow showers were forecasted for Tuesday night and Wednesday morning with little or no snow accumulation expected.

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Ducks Unlimited Banquet And Auction


The Ducks Unlimited annual banquet and auction serves as a fundraiser for the Wolf Point-Poplar Ducks Unlimited chapter to raise money for habitat conservation for waterfowl and over 900 other species of wildlife.

In the first picture, Terry Allmer pushes his sister Charlene in a camo chair down the center isle in the Elks Club ballroom during the live auction at the annual Wolf Point-Poplar Ducks Unlimited banquet Saturday, Sept. 14. Auctioneer Robert Toavs is in the background auctioning the chair. The son and daughter of Ducks Unlimited member Lee Allmer carried paintings and other auction items for everyone to see during the auction that included paintings, hunting equipment, crafts and other items. Many of the items up for auction were sponsored by merchants in Wolf Point, Poplar and Glasgow.  The second photo is Montana Ducks Unlimited regional director Barry Allen welcomes guests to the banquet.  The third and fourth pictures are people putting in their money for chances on bucket prizes.  Ducks Unlimited members Gary Johnson and Larry Corns are pictured.  The fifth photo is Ducks Unlimited member Kevin Buckles and Deanna Buckles selling chances to Pluck-A-Duck for a prize to Harlan Burshia and Elks Club manager Brandi Charette.  (Photos by John Plestina)

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