Tim Leeds Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
The headlines of The Havre Daily News over the last year ranged from heartwarming to heart wrenching, from honors and awards and human triumph to strife. Articles recounting community life recorded the local university pushing forward as a leader in new fuel and energy technology, Havre losing one of its grocery stores, local residents helping those in need, as well as chilling stories of assault, arson and murder. Below is a selection of some of the top headlines in 2008.
Wild Horse, Border Patrol Work progressed on several projects of major importance in the area, including the construction of a new patrol station for Havre Border Patrol agents and on upgrading the border crossing north of Havre. After residents last year expressed concern that a proposed new Border Patrol station involved the chance of Havre losing the sector headquarters, zoning was approved in April on land north of the Havre Middle School on 16th Avenue West to build the new station. The groundbreaking for the building, which is being built by private contractors and will be leased to the government, took place on May 29 and the Border Patrol confirmed this month that, although it is running a few weeks behind schedule, a grand opening for the community is planned for late January or February. While the Wild Horse port of entry into Canada north of Havre was not opened to 24-hour commercial operation as proponents in both Montana and Alberta are advocating, Sen. Jon Tester announced in November that Customs and Border Patrol had agreed to extend the summer hours, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., from March to October rather than the previous May 15 through September dates. Tester said he will introduce next year his legislation directing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to upgrade the crossing to 24-hour commercial status.
Baucus, Tester on border security In a related issue on border security, both Sens. Max Baucus and Tester said over the year that they would hold Homeland Security to task to ensure the security of the Northern Border, with Baucus citing in June a Government Accountability Office report stating that tests had shown deficiencies in operations on the northern border, and Tester holding a Senate field hearing in Havre in July on the issue. Tester later said in an interview with The Havre Daily News published in December that he was both encouraged and upset by a GAO report showing that a report by Homeland Security on the Northern Border was deficient in addrssing security issues. Tester said that while he was upset about the review of the report, it would serve as a starting point on improving the situation, particularly with the administration of Presidentelect Barack Obama coming in next year. Dental clinic, VA clinic In an intertwined story, two projects years in the making were announced to be in the final stages late this year with the creation of a community health center dental clinic and a Veterans Affairs health clinic in Havre. After the Bullhook Community Health Center pushed for several years to bring a dental clinic to Havre, which would use a sliding fee scale for qualifying patients and would accept Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program payments, it announced it had received a state grant to help pay for creating the clinic. It then announced that it was having trouble finding a location, when it was unable to provide a guarantee of three year’s lease payments in a request from Northern Montana Hospital for property Bullhook had reserved the first right of refusal. Bullhook later announced it had found a location in the Atrium Mall. The loss of the space from NMH was tied into another long quest, the creation of a VA clinic in Havre. North-central Montanans now have to travel to Great Falls, Glasgow or Cut Bank to receive care from a VA clinic. In November, the VA announced it was leasing the space from NMH which Bullhook had desired. A local VA clinic is expected to be opened next month.
Improvements to the area The north-central Montana region saw several improvements to the area, including the completion of a two-year project to rebuild U.S. Highway 2 where it passes through Havre as 1st Street and a resurfacing and addition Of street-long passing lanes on 5th Avenue. Business owners and residents seemed ruefully willing to put up with the consequences of the 1st Street construction, including delays, detours and loss of services including disruption of water. The completion was celebrated with a ribbon- cutting during Festival Days in September. Tied in with the work on 5th Avenue was an at-least temporary solution to complaints by residents of cemetery road that their street needed to be paved. Havre relocated asphalt ground off of 5th Avenue to the street that runs past the Highland and Calvary cemeteries, oiling it down and providing a muchneeded improvement to the surface. Other improvements ranged from a new Christmas light display put up by the city at Memorial Park on 5th Avenue to a new decorative clock installed by the Havre Rotary Club on the Montana State University-Northern campus, and the dedication of the renovated and renamed Fireman’s Park in Big Sandy. Another improvement being planned is an industrial park which could attract businesses with an agro-energy slant to the area. The Hill County Commission accepted in October an offer from a private owner to donate land to create an industrial park, south of Havre near U.S. Highway 87. That land is adjacent to land Allied BioEnergies announced it had purchased for the creation of a biodiesel plant it is planning to build in the area.
M o n t a n a S t a t e University-Northern Havre’s local university saw many improvements and some problems over the year. The school’s high-tech fuel lab in its Applied Technology Center was in the spotlight throughout the year, including the grand opening of its Bio- Energy Innovation and Testing Center, the addition of new equipment to that center and visits by notables including Gov. Brian Schweitzer and Havre native state Department of Commerce Director Tony Preite, who presented Northern with a grant check for nearly $300,000 for equipment for the lab. Other visitors included the board of the 25 x ’25 national organization, a grassroots group pushing to increase the use of alternative energy, when it held its meeting in Montana in July. Other news from Northern ranged from the start of a search to find a permanent chancellor to take over for int e r I'm Chanc e l l o r Ro l f Groseth, appointed after Alex C a p d ev i l l e r e s i g n e d i n December 2007, to news that Northern was shutting down the operation of historic Donaldson Hall due to problems with its heating system. Local business owners and Northern staff stepped in toward the end of the year to fix problems with its heating system to keep the building from going completely into disrepair, and a fund drive has been proposed to find ways to repair and renovate the building, the first completely new structure completed on the Havre campus.
Local, state and national campaigns in Havre The 2008 election was hotly contested in Havre with races ranging from state legislators to the major state offices to the presidential campaign. With one of the most closely contested presidential races in recent Montana history, the area saw a high level of campaigning including former President Bill Clinton coming to Havre to campaign for his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton, during the primary and Sen. Barack Obama, the eventual winner of the primary and the general election, setting up local offices and his campaign bringing in figures including former Mississippi Gov. Ray Mabus to address local voters. State-level candidates running for positions including attorney general, state superintendent of public instruction and the state auditor also made several stops in Havre campaigning. Campaigns also ran hot in legislative elections, including the race in which incumbent Rep. Bob Bergren, D-Havre, beat his opponent, Republican Kyle Austin, and Republican Wendy Warburton defeated Democrat Perry Miller in the race for the open seat for House District 34.
City vs. County paying for the pool A two-year row between the city and county came to a head in November when the City of Havre filed a lawsuit asking the courts to find a 1974 agreement between the county and city to be legal and binding, requiring the county to pay one-third of the annual expense of operating the community swimming pool and also asking for more than $280,000 in back payments. The county had maintained since 2006, when the city first asked for back payments, that the 1974 agreement was not a legal document, and that while it would continue to pay for pool operation it could not afford to pay one-third. It requested the city to negotiate a new agreement on pool funding. The city first asked for the county to undergo binding arbitration to determine the validity of the 1974 agreement, which the county declined. Then, after the Havre City Council approved pursuing legal action if any was advised by its attorneys, it made a new offer of the county paying 25 percent. The county commissioners said they could not increase their annual payment from the $19,000 that had been made to the nearly $60,000 that 25 percent would require. The county made a counter-offer to increase its payment from $19,000 to $30,000, following which the county filed the lawsuit. That case is still pending in state District Court in Havre.
Albertsons closes The end of an era came to Havre in the spring when the successor of a century-old business closed. Albertsons grocery s tore, whi ch bought the Buttrey’s grocery location by t h e v i a d u c t i n Ha v r e, announced in March that it was closing. After some delays in the original closing date, it was confirmed that Gary & Leo’s Fresh Food was buying the Albertsons location. In May, Albertsons, which took over the location of the former Buttrey’s store the Buttrey’s chain had been in Havre since the turn of the 20th Century closed and Gary & Leo’s moved from its location on 1st Street West to reopen at the 1st Street and 7th Avenue locaiton.
Action in the courts and jails T h e n o r t h - c e n t r a l Montana area has been rocked by charges, trials, pleas and convictions in cases ranging from drug transactions to assaults and murder. The first of two trials stemming from the November 2006 beating death of Lloyd Kvelstad in Havre was completed last month, with a jury finding Kim Norquay Jr. Of Havre guilty of felony charges of deliberate homicide and tampering with evidence. Norquay is scheduled for sentencing on Dec. 15, and is also scheduled for another trial next year on a felony charge of possession of a weapon by a prisoner. Norquay is accused of sharpening the end of a toothbrush to a point while incarcerated in the Hill Conty Detention Center. James Main Jr. Of Fort Belknap is scheduled for trial in February for a charge of homicide stemming from the death of Norquay. Melissa “Missy” Snow of Havre pleaded guilty to a charge of tampering with evidence stemming from the incident. Eric Jones of Havre also awaits trial in February on a charge of deliberate homicide. Jones is accused of the beating death of his former girlfriend, Kimberly Calf Boss Ribs, in March in a shop on River Road north of Havre. Th i s mo n t h a Fo r t Belknap man was accused of murder after two residents of Lodge Pole, Calvin Snell, 69, and Doreen Manzanares, 62, were stabbed to death in their residence. Elwyn Floyd “Jay” Has The Eagle was charged with murder and other charges in tribal court, and an FBI representative said federal charges would also be filed or a grand jury investigation conducted. A Havre resident was sentenced to 30 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of several charges stemming from the beating and threatening of another Havre man. Judge David Rice sentenced Brian Allen as a persistent offender after a jury found him guilty of two charges of assault with a weapon, for threatening and beating the victim with a pistol, and of criminal endangerment for the discharge of the pistol in a residential neighborhood. In September, Wallace John Bear of Fort Belknap pleaded guilty to a federal murder charge s temming from the February death of Joseph DuBois. He is schedu l e d f o r s e n t e n c i n g i n January. In October, Dallas James Walker of Fort Belknap pleaded guilty to a federal charge of voluntary manslaughter, reduced from a charge of second- degree murder, stemming from the March 30 death of David Azure. Walker is schedul ed to be s ent enc ed i n January.
Awards, victories and honors Many groups and individuals were recognized on the Hi-Line for championships, retirements, years of service and a multitude of other awards and recognitions. Those included a Havre native being selected to travel to Washington to help light the national Christmas tree, which was cut in Montana. Chris Gabrielsen, a Havre fourthgrader, won a drawing to represent the state in the tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 2. Other honors included Mayor Bob Rice honoring long-time volunteer Norm Gorder with his own honorary day, the Havre High School swimming and wre s t l ing teams being recognized for record-setting state championships the girls swim team for being the first girls team in history to win nine straight state championships, and the wrestling team for winning its second-straight championship with a record-setting score for Class A competition. Ron Harmon was honored by the Small Business Administration when he was selected as Montana Exporter of the Year for his work rebuilding and reselling tractors, especially Big Bud tractors. Harmon bought the business in 1975 from Wilbur Hensler and Bud Nelson, the creators of the Big Buds. Nel son was among thos e attending a celebration of the creation of four-wheel drive articulated tractors hosted this month at Harmon’s Big Equipment Co.