By Alan Sorensen
Fort Belknap Tribal Courts are offering people whose fines date back to 1997 and before an opportunity to do something nice for the less fortunate in the community this holiday season.
Beginning immediately, the court will accept gifts purchased for the elderly or for children in lieu of the fines.
The purchases must be recent and the people responsible for the fines must provide the courts with receipts.
Each dollar spent on a gift will equal $3 toward the payment of the fine.
Plans are already under way to determine who will receive the gifts, Tribal Court Administrator Juanita Cole said.
"We have several elders in retirement homes and we have several children in foster homes, and we have a lot of needy children," Cole said. "We're already developing lists.
"In past years, they've had trees that were set up here with tags that people would tear off and buy presents for the kids on the tags."
Like the angel trees in Havre, the tags carry identifying marks rather than the children's names.
"We're going to work with that," she said. "The children go on the trees and not the elderly."
The gifts will be earmarked only for those in need, she said.
For more information or answers to any questions, call Cole at (406) 353-4875.