Hammer attack victim dies
Lake County prosecutors to amend charges, add deliberate homicide
POLSON — Desmond Alan Mackay was originally charged with attempted deliberate homicide and two counts of assault with a weapon following an attack with a hammer earlier this month. Now, in light of the victim’s death, Lake County prosecutors are seeking to amend the charges to include deliberate homicide.
Polson resident John Barrows passed away last weekend at Kalispell Regional Medical Center after undergoing emergency surgery. He remained unresponsive and died March 15. The 67-year-old man was Mackay’s father-in-law.
Mackay had attempted to attack his brother-in-law, Jesse Waugh, whom Mackay said owed him money. Instead, Mackay accidentally hit Barrows in the head with a framing hammer.
Original court documents state that Mackay and another man were in a garage in Polson when Waugh entered, took a battery and left. Mackay then grabbed a hammer from a rack and walked over to the door Waugh exited through. The affidavit states that Mackay attempted to get Waugh to reenter the garage by taunting him, but Waugh didn’t answer. Mackay jerked the door open and swung the hammer at the person in the doorway. His blow hit Barrows squarely in the head.
Documents state Mackay uttered an apology to Barrows before going after Waugh, who was outside in the yard. The men fought, but Waugh was able to pin Mackay until authorities arrived.
Barrows was unresponsive at the scene and was rushed to St. Joseph Medical Center before being flown to Kalispell.
In an interview last week, deputy county attorney James Lapotka said the charges against Mackay were contingent on Barrows’ condition. Lapotka said Tuesday that his office will amend the charges prior to Mackay’s arraignment on Thursday to single counts of deliberate homicide and assault with a weapon.
Editorial: It makes snow sense
I remember watching a family cross-country ski down the street and I remember trudging a mile in the snow with my bag to get home. I remember businesses being closed and the appointment for my taxes being cancelled.
But I also remember screaming. I remember my shovel full of snow and debris and magazines. I remember the sound of the backhoe as it moved mound after mound of snow trying to find three people buried below.
I didn’t hear the ‘whoomph’ everyone else heard. I told my mom that the avalanche must be much farther up the Rattlesnake than I was because I hadn’t heard anything. Several minutes later, my boyfriend’s roommate Catie came to tell me that snow had slid off Mount Jumbo on Holly Street, a mere two blocks away, and an 8-year-old boy was trapped underneath.
Soon we’d learn there were three victims, but we didn’t wait for that. We ran through thigh-deep snow where the sidewalks should have been. We’d have run in the street where the snow was only knee-deep, but vehicles slid precariously along the unkempt side streets the city hadn’t had time to tend during the storm.
Answering the call
She’s in familiar company — several of her siblings, her husband Todd and her parents are all part of the team. In two years, they expect a member of the third generation will join the crew, a grandson who has played the patient in many training courses throughout the years.
There are 14 members on the active roster — seven are from the Umphrey clan. However, the situation isn’t abnormal for the Mission Valley Ambulance. The whole group is mostly made from a core of three families.
Trahan, Finley selected as CSKT chairmen
PABLO — Following three consecutive tie votes Friday morning, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Council selected Ron Trahan as chairman for the next year. Newly elected councilmember Vernon Finley will serve the second year of the term, starting in 2015.
According to a press release, the council supported the idea of dividing the leadership role into two one-year terms after the vote split even for the third time.
Though rare, the Tribal Council has agreed to the arrangement several times in the past. The most recent instance was in 1986 after Ron Therriault and Michael “Mickey” Pablo tied nine successive times, as reported by the Flathead Courier.
Therriault, a history professor at Salish Kootenai College, served the first year of the term. Pablo took his place as chair in 1987 and is still regarded as one of the council’s strongest leaders.
Trahan, who has served 10 years on the council, will be the first to address key issues that include acquisition of the Kerr Dam hydroelectric facility and the 2015 deadline to file water rights clams if the State Legislature does not support the water rights compact.
Carole Lankford held on to her position as Vice-Chair of the council during Friday’s quarterly meeting. Len Two Teeth and James “Bing” Matt were elected as treasurer and secretary, respectively.
Suspect charged with rape, murder
"Suspicious death" deemed case of deliberate homicide
POLSON - What was deemed a “suspicious death” at the beginning of summer is now being considered a case of rape and murder.
Melvin Madplume, Jr. made an initial appearance in District Court last Thursday. The 29-year-old Ronan man is being charged with felony counts of deliberate homicide and sexual intercourse without consent.
The affidavit filed by Lake County Attorney Mitch Young paints a gruesome picture of what happened the night of 28-year-old Laurence Kenmille’s death.
Note: This article ran in the Lake County Leader July 18, 2013. It was also published in the Bigfork Eagle.
From the floppy ears right down to their fluffy little tails, its is hard to deny how cute bunnies are.
They may be cute and cuddly but domestic rabbits have the potential to cause irreparable damage to the ecosystem on Finley Point near Polson.
Ronan 10-year-old's art makes splash against the pros
Dalen Siech wears many hats. In the course of a week he is an artist, a philanthropist, a photographer, and a middle school student.
Though he is just 10 years old, Siech’s photography has started getting the attention of judges and professionals alike. This spring Siech entered three of his pieces in a fine art photography contest in Hot Springs along with notable professionals from the area. All three of his works won ribbons, and his photo of aspens from the Grand Canyon was a finalist in the competition.
Humble and timid, Siech’s whole demeanor changes when he talks about taking photos. A smile spreads across his face when he recalls the trials and tribulations of getting the perfect shot of birds in flight or lying on his stomach to capture a sunflower in bloom.
Ponzi Scheme victims paid
Get $242,000 in restitution
HELENA — Restitution payments totaling over $242,000 will be made to victims of Cornerstone Financial, Inc. from Montana’s new Securities Restitution Assistance Fund.
The restitution was announced Tuesday by Commissioner of Securities Monica Lindeen and U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana Michael Cotter, who worked together to shut down the multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme in 2009. Charges in the case included wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering.
The dairy debate
In April, raw milk stirred up a commotion in the Montana Legislature. The debate didn't die with the bill, but is in a stalemate. The future of raw milk could hold big things for small farmers if a compromise can be made.
Note: This article ran in the Lake County Leader July 4, 2013. It was picked up by the West Shore News and the Bigfork Eagle.
Want to buy something illegal but don’t know where to find it? Check Craigslist.
That is where many have gone to find raw milk, which was kept outlawed by the Montana State Legislature in April. You can’t find it by searching ‘raw milk’ but type in ‘milk’ and over 100 ads pop up. With some sifting, you will soon find ads for cow shares, to receive a portion of what the cow produces, and some more blatant ads for raw milk.
Any sale of raw milk in Montana is illegal, but the debate over raw milk isn’t black and white.
Noxious weeds threaten ecosystem, economy
Tiny, white bunches of flowers span the test plot in St. Ignatius. To the untrained eye it looks like a field full of baby’s breath, but the land is full of whitetop, a weed plaguing Lake County and the entire state of Montana.
Summer is in full bloom, and so are weeds. They may look pretty, but what invasive weeds do to an ecosystem, and an economy, is downright ugly.
This is the first article in a two-part series on noxious weeds I wrote at the beginning of my tenure at the Leader. Invasive weed species, if not managed, could have irreparable effects on this agriculture-based economy.
FLATHEAD LAKE — They come in small numbers and slowly take over everything in their path. As they ruin the lives of natives, they leave the landscape changed for the worse. It’s not a rebel army or a plague of locusts; it’s noxious weeds.
And they are waging their own biological war.
According to the Montana Weed Control Association, Montana currently has 32 state-listed noxious weeds in every county of the state. Western Montana has a much larger problem given population densities where weeds are primarily spread through travel vectors.
In Lake County, residents see the brunt of the problem.
“We’re pretty inundated with noxious weeds,” Tom Benson, director of Lake County Weed Control, said.
Benson said no single entity has the budget to deal with noxious weeds and that education is a key component in preventing the spread of weeds. What needs to happen is a bridging of the gap between education and weed control, he said.
Aquatic invasive species have taken the forefront of the noxious weed discussion. While many residents of Lake County are aware of the eminent threat of zebra mussels, two lesser-known menaces are plaguing Flathead Lake.
Young eagles take flight
Photos by Jessica Stugelmayer.
POLSON — Up, up and away went planes, volunteers and excited children Saturday at the Polson Airport.
The Polson chapter of the Experimental Aviation Association (EAA) hosted their Young Eagles Fly-In as a chance for young locals to become involved with flying. Free of charge, the program takes children for a ride around Polson to view Kerr Dam and to get a bird’s eye view of the lake.
Rookie reporter Jessica Stugelmayer tames the rapids
Published in the Lake County Leader
Fresh out of college, and ready to conquer the journalism world, I immediately agreed when Leader editor Bryce Gray offered me the last seat in the boat. I wasn’t scared, mostly.
Hop aboard the “Fool Bus” with the Flathead Raft Co. and prepare for a wet and wild ride. The company has many adventure tours that include kayaking, river boarding and, of course, whitewater rafting.
You can read all of Jessica's writing on Muck Rack and Authory