Monthly Archives: August 2013

Volleyball Team Gears Up For Showdown In Choteau

As the light rainfall finished, the echo of thunder could be heard coming from inside of the Wolves’ Den.

The thunder was not because of the weather, but rather it was the result of volleyballs smacking the gym floor.

The Wolf Point High School Lady Wolves volleyball team begin their season by participating at an invite at Choteau, Aug. 30-31.

The team ended their previous season on a high note after placing fourth at districts and earning the team a trip to the divisional tournament at Choteau.

Coach John Sweet said while his goals as a coach for this season are to help his players perform the best they can he also wants to help guide the season towards helping the team accomplish those goals they have.

Sweet said there has also been an increase in players coming out for the season in the past couple of years. There are currently 30 players on the roster.

“We’re creating an atmosphere where people want to be here,” Sweet said. “We’re winning more than we’re losing. We’re competitive. It’s an exciting group of kids to watch. We have a lot of great athletes to watch.”

In addition to encouraging his players to work hard in practice, Sweet also puts an emphasis on the players putting their academics first and seeking help if they need it in the classroom.

Sarah Hafner is one of the senior captains on the varsity team. While Hafner has played different positions over the years, she will step into the role of the varsity team’s setter.

One way she has been making it less stressful to settle into her new role as a setter, Hafner has been asking the hitters for advice.

“[I ask them] how they want their sets,” Hafner said. “I’m trying to get their feedback.”

Hafner said her personal goal is to give the hitters the best sets that she can. She would also like to help the team take first place at districts.

Hafner said that she and the other senior players have been encouraging the younger teammates to work hard and “not letting them off easy” when they are slacking off in practice.

T’Elle Evans is another one of the senior captains. Like Hafner, she has been playing on the team since she was in junior high.

According to Evans, this year’s team has a good group of hitters. She also said she never thought the day would come when it would be her last year on the team.

“When you’re a sophomore you think ‘I have a long time until I’m a senior,’” Evans said. “Now that it’s here, it’s kind of crazy. Our whole team goal, and my goal, is to hopefully make it to state this year. It would be a good senior year ending.”


Wolves Ready To Claw Wildcats

The Wolf Point High School football team will kick off their season against the Plentywood Wildcats, Aug. 31.

According to coach Bruce Knerr, the team began their practices Aug. 17. He said Class B coaches petitioned for an extra week of play and get a week 0 game.

Wolf Point was originally supposed to face Conrad High School, but Conrad’s coach backed out the first week of practice. Plentywood was supposed to face Poplar High School, but that game had also fallen through. Knerr said Wolf Point High School athletic director Mike Erickson called Plentywood and asked if they wanted to play. Wolf Point’s game against Plentywood will not affect either teams’ power rankings.

One of the changes for this year’s team include a full coaching staff with two additional volunteer coaches.

“It allows us to break things down for the players and focus on the fundamentals of a position,” Knerr said.

Some of the coaches new to this year’s team include Brent Boitano, Walker Weeks and Jeff Whitmus.

Knerr was focused on bringing in coaches who have played in a similar system to Montana High School football.

“I’m trying to get Pat from Hi-Line,” Knerr said. “I’ve tried every angle to get him here and he won’t budge.”

Trenton Wemmer, senior center, wants to make all-conference, and all-state. He also said he has noticed how the program and the atmosphere on the team has changed over the couple of years.

“It’s more like football and how it should be,” Wemmer said.

For Garrett Pronto, senior tight end and linebacker, one of the goals of the season is to help the team make the playoffs.

He said Knerr and the coaches have put more emphasis on lifting and conditioning and have gone out of their way to help the younger players. Pronto said he is also helping his younger teammates to become better on the field.

As for Knerr, his goal is to make the football program more of a community affair and bring back the “old school” identity.

“This is the community’s team,” Knerr said. “There was a day in the ‘80s and ‘90s that Wolf Point football was second to none.”

Benton Pleads Not Guilty To Charges


Jesse Steven Benton appeared in Montana 15th Judicial Court, Aug. 15.

Benton pleaded not guilty to the felony charges of assault on peace officer/judicial officer-bodily injury and the misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest, partner/family member assault and escape.

According to charging documents, July 26, Wolf Point City Police Officer Mehsin Wehbe was dispatched to 512 Fairweather Street to investigate a report of a male assaulting a female in the alley. When Wehbe arrived at the scene, he made contact with a woman identified as Chelsea Simpson, who was crying.

Wehbe noticed a male in a vehicle and requested him to step out. The male, identified as Jesse Benton, said he and Simpson, who he identified as his girlfriend, were having an argument and screaming at each other.

A witness at the scene told the officer that he had heard the hits “landing” and had seen Benton strike Simpson in the face.

Another witness told Wehbe that they saw Benton push Simpson against the vehicle. Benton was arrested for partner/family member assault and transported to the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office. Before Benton was taken away, Simpson repeatedly shouted that Benton did not do anything.

At the sheriff’s office, detention officer Shane Austin started the booking process with Benton while Wehbe had gone out to the front of the facility. According to documents, Benton stood up, grabbed his wallet and ran out the back door and sally port. Austin chased after Benton while dispatch informed Wehbe that Benton had run out of the jail. Wehbe also gave chase.

Austin pursued Benton across the street, through the lawn of 111 Dawson Street. Benton attempted to climb over a fence between 107 and 111 Dawson until Austin grabbed him around the waist and attempted to pull him off the fence which resulted in the fence toppling down. Benton threw his elbow back and struck Austin under the right eye.

Benton tried to break Austin’s grip from around his waist and said,” Come on, man.” Austin did a leg sweep and was able to get Benton on the ground. Officers arrived to assist Austin while Benton resisted being handcuffed. He eventually gave up after being threatened with the use of a taser.

The officers escorted Benton back to the detention center. Benton continued to push back against Austin until the officer secured him inside the jail.

Defense attorney Frank Piocos motioned for a reduction of Benton’s bond to $10,000. Prosecutor Ralph Patch had no objection to the bond reduction.

Benton’s trial is scheduled for Oct. 17.

Commissioners Approve Unfinished Business


The Roosevelt County Commissioners  met Aug. 22 to return to some unresolved business that had been tabled from the special meeting they held Aug. 8.

The first matter of unfinished business was whether or not to approve moving Tarrah Poitra at the Roosevelt County Health Department, from part-time to full-time status.

Commissioner Gary Macdonald told Bonnie Wemmer, program director of the Roosevelt County Public Health Department, that he understood moving a nurse from part-time to full-time, but he was unsure about increasing Poitra’s hours because the possible impact it would have on the budget.

Wemmer told Macdonald that she assigned Poitra as the safety representative for her department. She made the request to boost Poitra’s hours because of the increase in the amount of paperwork coming in from Cul-bertson. Wemmer also said Poitra does all of the ordering all for the vaccinations.

Wemmer said Poitra currently works 32 hours in a week and would only be increasing her hours every week by eight.

Macdonald said he had thought Poitra was working half-time and that increasing the hours would affect the budget. He also said he did not have a problem with increasing Poitra’s hours.

After the commissioners approved Wemmer’s request, they touched on the unresolved business of the request for copies of the maps and the documents for the rural water project. Commissioner Duane Nygaard said the commissioners have the maps available for what has been proposed. Bill Juve asked if the maps were available for public viewing.

The commissioners presented physical copies of the maps to Juve, who then asked the commissioners if they would be getting updates every two weeks. Nygaard said they would probably get updates whenever the company submits a new bid.


Other Matters

At the start of the meeting, the commissioners approved the county/city agreement for the Justice of the Peace secretary.

Similar to the previous year’s agreement, the governing bodies of both the city and the county will use the same county facilities and personnel for the Justice of Peace Court and the City Court, the offices of the Justice of Peace and the City Judge will be held by the same person and both city and county will share equal costs of the judge’s support services, including any cost of living adjustment given by Roosevelt County.

On a final note, the commissioners approved the hire of DW Groethe as a part-time seasonal employee for the road department.

They also approved the minutes for the special meeting that took place Aug. 8 and the claims for Aug. 8, which amounted to $240,246.95.

Wolves’ Cross Country Strides Into Season

On a Saturday morning, a group of students run to the field, accompanied by their coach.

This is the Wolf Point boys’ and girls’ cross country team. They will have their first meet Aug. 31 in Poplar. The team’s motto is “Run like a pack, win like a pack.”

The varsity team is made up of five boys while the JV team is made up of 12 junior high and elementary students. They practice at 6 p.m. on school nights and also having the occasional Saturday practice.

Most of the practices begin with warm up runs around different areas of the city.

Janet Erickson, Stan Moran and Stacey Summers make up the team’s coaching staff.

In addition to running in practice the coaches also have the athletes record entries in a planner that keeps track of the miles they run in practice, how they felt after each practice and the goals they have for the season. As runners fill out their logs, coaches will look at and comment on the runner and their progress throughout the season.

Moran said that one of the goals for the season is to help runners keep track of their progress, which will help them improve throughout the season. He also said that the Poplar meet will help the athletes get in some base mileage for the season and show the runners what they need to work on.

Erickson said that the coaches want to show the athletes what it means to be a team, as well as to have confidence and a sense of purpose.

“We want to show them what it means to put in all the hard work,” Erickson said. “We want to show them what Stan [Moran] calls the ‘culture of running’ and how running can help them throughout their entire lives.”

Journey Erickson, sixth- grader, is running cross country for the third year. She said she hopes to make every practice and improve her time.

Trey Fourstar, seventh- grader, is a member of the JV team. He said he joined the team last year to meet new people. Like Markell Blount and Journey Erickson, Fourstar also hopes to improve his time.

One of the varsity runners is Markell Blount, a junior who moved  here from Frazer. He ran on the cross country team at his old school.

Blount said he wants to continue to improve and make all-state, as well as help his teammates. He said that running is a fun way to relieve stress. He also said he enjoys the competitiveness.

“I love the grind of the season,” Blount said.

Officer Olsen Leaves For Officers’ Basic Training

Joey Olsen, an officer of the Wolf Point Police Department, has been accepted into the Montana Law Enforcement Academy Officers Basic Training Course #151. He will start training, Sept. 16.

Olsen, who began working for the WPPD in December 2012, said he knew he would be attending the training course once he finished his probationary period.

According to Montana Law Enforcement Academy’s website, officers in Montana must complete the basic training course offered in their respective professions within a year of their hire. Some of the courses taught in the program include patrol operations, traffic enforcement and police proficiencies.

“It’s exciting to go there and learn things that I haven’t learned so far,” Olsen said.

Olsen’s father, Butch Olsen, was a graduate of the basic training course’s first class. According to Joey Olsen, his father was a member of the Montana Highway Patrol and then became the juvenile probation officer for Roosevelt County.

“I knew I couldn’t get in trouble [when I was younger],” Olsen said. “If I did, then I knew I would be in big trouble.”

Joey Olsen said what drove him to law enforcement was he respected his father and what he did in law enforcement.

Prior to joining the police department, Joey Olsen, a 2006 graduate of Wolf Point High School, studied physical education and history at University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D., for five years. He said that while he had always intended to be in law enforcement, he considered being a physical education teacher in case becoming a police officer fell through.

Joey Olsen is expected to return to Wolf Point Dec. 16. Wolf Point Police Department Lieutenant Brian Erwin said Joey Olsen is a strong, productive member of the community.

“We’re looking forward to getting him off, getting him trained and bringing him home,” Erwin said.

Update, Sept. 18, 2017 – Officer Joey Olsen successfully completed the academy and form what I’ve heard has gone on to do some good things with the Wolf Point Police Department. I left Wolf Point shortly before he finished the academy, so I wasn’t able to buy him an adult beverage when he came back.

Sports Photos I took for The Herald-News the weekend of Aug. 25

With school back in session, Wolf Point Middle School and High School students are not only getting back into the groove of learning, but also they are gearing up for the upcoming fall sports season. Call this corny, but my favorite thing about the teams are they are all Wolves, one of my favorite animals.

This past week I wrote about the football, volleyball and cross country teams as they get ready for their upcoming seasons. All three teams have some good, quality athletes on their side. Here are some of the photos I took of athletes at practice. I’m thankful the coaches let me come during practice and take pictures of the athletes.

The images are not bad for the beginning of the season. Still, I hope to improve on taking sports photos, especially the volleyball pictures. It will be my first time photographing both cross country and football, yet I’ve taken pictures of volleyball during college. This was also the first time I got to use a good, quality camera.

Also if you have more free time, take a gander at my Flickr page.

During a special football practice, here’s one of the quarterbacks looking for his receiver on the outside. Wolf Point’s football team had a promising strong offense heading into the season.

A couple of cross country athletes are gearing up for the season. Both runners are looking to make it to the top of their pack this year.

The Wolf Point offense run through some running drills during practice. The offense is getting ready for their first home game.

Wolf Point’s Sarah Hafner pumps the ball during volleyball practice. Hafner is one of the seniors who is retuning this year and is one of the captains. She’s also the setter, which is one of the major positions in volleyball, often setting the table for their team’s kills and spikes. Hafner is also a utility player and can fill many roles.

Note: Both the Cross Country and volleyball teams had success during their season. The football team won a game, but put up a hell of an effort throughout the season.