Corps To Hold Informational Meeting Tonight (Posted
Wednesday, April 30, 2003 07:29 AM)
The Corps of Engineers will hold their annual Fort
Peck Lake Spring Informational meeting Wed. April 30th at 7p.m.
at the Cottonwood
Inn. Topics will include the predicted lake levels for the upcoming
recreational season, planned recreation development around the
lake, updates on the Interpretive Center & Fish Hatchery construction & general
questions & comments about Fort Peck Lake. All interested parties
are welcome to attend.
Fort Peck Tribal Employee Charged With Theft (Posted Wednesday,
April 30, 2003 07:28 AM)
(AP) A former U-S Fish and Wildlife Service employee with the
Fort Peck Tribes has pleaded innocent to fraudulently obtaining
and then stealing more than 36-thousand dollars in federal grant
The federal grand jury indictment says 43-year-old Scott
Rickettson obtained two federal wildlife extension agreements
between July 2001 and March 2002, ostensibly to be used on tribal
He allegedly forged the name of a fictitious tribal
official on the agreements, arranged to have the funds transferred
tribes, then lied to tribal officials to convince them to sign
the money over to him.
Rickettson was a biological science
technician stationed at the Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Montana and now lives in New York state. He is free pending
further action in U-S District Court at Great
Falls. (Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material
may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
River Management Most Controversial Corps Issue
(Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2003 06:18 AM)
The management of Missouri River flows has created more controversy
for the U-S Army Corps of Engineers than almost any other issue
in the corps' 224-year history.
That's according to corps chief
Lieutenant General Bob Flowers, who spoke at a news conference
today in Omaha, Nebraska. Flowers says drought conditions have
given a sense of urgency to the corps' efforts to finalize a
master manual for the management of the river.
A manual has been
works for 12 years and, when finished, will address the regulation
of river flows while taking into account environmental and
navigational interests. The management of river flows has caused
a rift between
upstream and downstream states for years.
Omaha district corps
commander Colonel Kurt Ubbelohde says the
Corps hopes a manual will be in use
next year. (Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This
material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Nashua Schools Host Candidate Forum On Thursday (Posted
Monday, April 28, 2003 10:20 PM)
The Nashua schools will host a meet the candidates
night at the Nashua School on Thursday at 5:30pm in the school
is invited to attend.
School Board Forum Wednesday (Posted Monday, April 28, 2003 10:18
Kltz/Klan will be sponsoring a candidates forum on Wednesday,
April 30th featuring the candidates for the Glasgow School Board.
There are two positions available on the board and the school district
election is set for May 6th.
The five candidates include Tom Schmidt, Mike Dailey, Jennifer
Chalmers, Rod Ost and Karla Nix.
The public is invited to attend the forum which will begin at 7:00pm
at the high school auditorium. Stan Ozark will moderate the forum
and questions will be taken from the audience.
Over $4,200 Raised For Fireworks (Posted Monday, April 28, 2003
The bootdrive for the July 4th Independance Day Celebration was
held on Friday and over $4225 was raised by volunteers standing
in two of Glasgows downtown intersections.
The donations will be used to pay for the fireworks display set
for July 4th at the Valley County Fairgrounds.
Other events planned
for that evening include a Classic Car and Bike Show by the Flatland
Cruisers, portable basketball hoops for the kids, a BBQ, music
and karaoke by Dave Pippin and other special entertainment.
The event is sponsored by the Glasgow Area Chamber of Commerce
Former Frazer Teacher Charged With Sex Crimes (Posted
Wednesday, April 23, 2003 05:17 PM)
A former teacher in Frazer
has been charged with four felony sexual
as the result of an
investigation by the Glasgow Police Department.
Richard Schuhrke was teaching in Frazer when the alleged incidents
occurred during a period from January through May of 2002. According
to court documents, Schuhrke, had sexual encounters with several
juvenile males all under the age of 16 during the 5 month
period in 2002. He has also been charged with 3 misdemeanor counts
of endangering the welfare of children.
Schuhrke is no longer in the teaching profession and lives in Jackpot,
Nevada. He made his initial appearance in district court on Monday
and pleaded not guilty to the charges. His next court appearance
is set for June and he has been released on his own recognizance.
County Population Dwindles (Posted Monday, April 21, 2003 01:56 PM)
The population in Valley County continues to decline according
to the U.S. Census Bureau. The latest estimates of population
for Valley County shows 7,382 residents in the county as of July
The Census in 1980 had Valley County with
10, 250 residents and the 1990 census had the county with 8,239
2000 census showed Valley County with 7,675 residents.
Board Votes To Move 7th And 8th Graders To High
School (Posted Friday, April 18, 2003 01:57 PM)
The Glasgow School Board has voted to move the 7th and 8th grades
to the high school building starting next school year.
The school district is facing budget cuts of over $200,000 next
year and the board decided the best way to save money is to better
utilize the high school building. The high school was built to
house over 600 students but currently houses just 230 students.
By moving the 7th and 8th grades the district would be able to
eliminate one principal position and also a music position and
this would save nearly $100,000. Other saving would come from cutting
the activities budget and running a $40,000 mill levy to be voted
on in the month of May. Other teaching positions would be
eliminated under the proposal passed by the school board but the
board members haven't yet decided what teachers will have
their jobs eliminated.
This revamping of the school system will leave the district with
a K-6 principal and a 7-12 principal. The board has discussed reassigning
the current principals but have made no final decision.
One other note regarding the Glasgow school district, the new superintendent
of schools for Glasgow, Glenn Hageman, will paid a yearly
salary of $74,000.
Hatchery Timeline Released (Posted Tuesday, April
15, 2003 10:14 AM)
About 30 people attended the informational meeting
on the Fort Peck Warm Water
More concerns were voiced
over what parts of the project may be dropped if the project ends
up over budget.
Also, there has been quite a bit of interest in bidding from both
contractors and sub-contractors. The bid opening should occur late
this month or in early May. According to the hatchery project manager
for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, that process then usually
takes about 3 weeks.
Ted Strekfuss wouldn’t give any specific dates, but did come
up with a general timeline for the hatchery construction. He said
that the contractor could probably be in the field in August, doing
mostly dirt work and utility relocation.
The majority of the work would occur in 2004, with completion of
the project somewhere around mid-June 2005.
Adopt-A-Fish gives students
a virtual visit to Missouri River (Posted Tuesday, April 15,
2003 07:48 AM)
by Andrew McKean, Region 6 Information Officer
The easiest way to bring a paddlefish into your classroom isn’t
in a bucket. It’s over the internet, by participating in
Adopt-A-Fish, an educational partnership between a variety of agencies
and conservation groups who hope students learn more about the
native fish and their habitat in the lower Missouri and Yellowstone
Paddlefish aren’t the only stars of this show. Biologists
have also surgically implanted radio transmitters in pallid sturgeon,
blue suckers and shovelnose sturgeon, 142 in all, in hopes they
can learn more about seasonal migrations, habitat preferences and
the species’ life cycles.
Sixteen of these fish were chosen to become part of the Adopt-A-Fish
program, four each of paddlefish, blue suckers, shovelnose sturgeon
and pallid sturgeon. Information gathered from those radio-tagged
fish is then uploaded once a week to the internet, where it’s
available to classrooms participating in the Adopt-A-Fish program.
Classrooms can “adopt” up to two fish, name their fish,
keep track of seasonal movements, and extrapolate from those individuals
larger lessons that apply to the species at large and other varieties
of fish that fin in the Missouri River below Fort Peck Dam and
the Yellowstone River below Intake Diversion Dam.
This virtual relationship has some very tangible benefits: No need
to feed your fish, or change its water, or worry about leaving
it at school over the weekend. Plus, there’s no worries about
too many students crowding around the fish. The program was started
last year, when a couple hundred students in a dozen schools participated.
There’s no limit to the number of classrooms or individuals
who can participate, and organizers are hoping to double or even
triple the number of participating classrooms.
This year’s program started the first week of April, but
classrooms can join the program at any time. The weekly updates
continue through May, but when school is recessed for the summer,
the classroom dimension of the project stops until next spring.
Initially I figured this would be just a Montana thing, but last
year we had schools from Wisconsin,” says Mark Henckel, the
Outdoors Editor for the Billings Gazette who manages the program’s
web site (www.walleyesunlimited.com/adopt-fish/home.html). “This
year we have a school from Independence, Missouri, a homeschooled
student from Leesburg, Virginia, and more schools from Wisconsin,
in addition to Montana schools.”
According to Bill Wiedenheft, the regional fisheries manager in
northeastern Montana, Fish, Wildlife & Parks is especially
interested in involving schools along the Hi-Line, where students
are familiar with the geography and scenery along the Missouri
and Yellowstone rivers.
We’re hoping to involve schools from around the country,
even the world,” says Wiedenheft, “but it would be
neat to have more local schools participate, too, because the river
is their own back yard.”
The stars of the program are the fish themselves, a mix of native
species of various sizes and sexes implanted with a radio transmitter
the size of a film canister. Those radios transmit a specific “signature” code
constantly, so biologists can identify each fish even in a larger
school of similar species. Last year biologists tracked 15 total
fish, 5 each of paddlefish, blue suckers and shovelnose sturgeons.
This year students will track 16 fish, four each of those species,
plus four endangered pallid sturgeon which were implanted by the
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service out of Bismarck, North Dakota.
Biologists run the river each week in specialized boats equipped
with “listening” devices, receivers that can pick up
the frequency of the radios carried by the fish. There are also
6 ground stations strung along the river equipped with receivers
that can record pulses of fish, their direction of travel and time
that they passed. Data from those remote stations is used to fill
in the blanks, add information about fish movements between the
weekly boat trips.
Taken together, the information provides a composite sketch of
fish movements and habitat preferences, says Dave Fuller, a fisheries
technician with Fish, Wildlife & Parks who is tracking the
142 fish. Each week Fuller collects information about fish locations,
then returns to the office and emails results to Henckel, who posts
them on the web and also reports the week’s events in the
It takes us about four days to make the 300-mile run down the Missouri
and up the Yellowstone,” says Fuller. “That’s
a lot of water, and those fish can be almost anywhere. Some fish
are real mobile and may move 100 miles or more in a week. Others
are real home-bodies and may stick around the same hole for the
entire length of the project.”
But all that information is valuable to biologists, even if it
can seem boring to students. The radio-tracking project is designed
to gather baseline biological data about the native fish species
in both rivers.
No one gathered information on fish movements before Fort Peck
Dam was built, so we’re trying to find spawning locations
and what areas fish are using between the dam and Lake Sakakawea
in North Dakota,” says Fuller. “It’s good information
to have, but we’re gathering it in preparation for a proposed
warmwater release from Fort Peck’s spillway (which could
take place in the next few years) that will mimic the natural flow
of the river before the dam was built.”
Fuller says last year’s Adopt-A-Fish project generated plenty
of interest among students, and his own crew embraced the idea
of personalizing the fish they tracked.
We had guys who couldn’t wait to get out from week to week,
just to see where those fish were and how much they had moved,” says
Fuller. “Each classroom names their own fish, and we’d
be out there on the river looking for individuals. Guys would say ‘There’s
the Fredster,’ or ‘Where’s Jaws?’ The (Adopt-A-Fish)
program is a neat way to make what could be considered pure science
more understandable and relevant.”
Sponsors of the program include Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks;
U.S. Geological Survey; U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers; the Billings Gazette; and Walleyes Unlimited
IF YOU WANT TO PARTICIPATE
There’s no limit to the number of classrooms and students
that can participate in the Adopt-A-Fish program. If you’re
interested in becoming a cooperating school, email Mark Henckle
and he’ll respond and enroll
you in the program, provide background on the program and even
offer some curriculum ideas. You can check out the project on the
internet by going to www.walleyesunlimited.com/adopt-fish/home.html.
North Dakota Governor Signs Ethanol Subsidy Bill
(Posted Monday, April 14, 2003 11:13 AM)
(AP) Governor Hoeven calls it a new direction
North Dakota's ethanol industry. Today he signed a bill to provide
almost three-point-one million dollars in subsidies to the
industry. Almost one-point-three million dollars is set aside
to promote construction of a new ethanol plant.
Hoeven says the
bill will begin to set up an ethanol plant construction incentive
fund. A new plant will get subsidies when the ethanol market is
down. The subsidies will be less if ethanol prices are good --
and corn prices are lower.
Hoeven says he's not worried about the
subsidy money running out over the next two years. But he says
if the money is exhausted -- that will be a good problem to have
-- because it means more new plants are being built.
Senator Jerry Klein is one of the sponsors of the measure. He
says it's good for North Dakota's farm economy. Wimbledon Representative
Phil Mueller says increased ethanol production will
reduce U-S dependence on foreign oil. Copyright 2003 Associated Press.
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast,
rewritten or redistributed.
Students Follow Pallid Sturgeon Electronically (Posted Monday,
April 14, 2003 11:02 AM)
(Minot-AP) -- "Jaws" lurks in the murky waters of the Missouri River just above
Williston. It's not the famed movie shark, but a radio-implanted pallid sturgeon
some Wisconsin school children have named.
They're tracking the sturgeon under
a program with state and federal fisheries biologists.
program is in its second year and has about a dozen school
Students are able to follow paddlefish, blue suckers and shovelnose sturgeon
on the Missouri River of Montana and North Dakota, between Fort Peck Dam
and the headwaters of Lake Sakakawea.
The fish have surgically
implanted radio transmitters
in them -- about the size of
two "D" cell batteries. Electronic beeps tell students and biologist where
the fish are located in the river.
Wade King is a Bismarck-based biologist
U-S Fish and Wildlife Service. He says the agency tagged 10 pallid
sturgeon in 2000, and five in 2001. King says biologists plan
to tag 15 of the endangered
fish this year. Copyright 2003 Associated Press.
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast,
rewritten or redistributed.
County Sells Land North Of Hinsdale (Posted Monday, April 14,
2003 10:52 AM)
Valley County Commissioners held a land auction on Monday morning,
selling one piece of land north of Hinsdale for $29,600.
The commissioners Monday afternoon meeting agenda includes discussion
of: the volunteer fireman policy, the Valley County fair booth,
apportionment of land sale funds. Also on the agenda was reappointment
of Robert J. Bender and Bob Lipscomb to the Glasgow City-County
Planning Board, and reappointment of Elaine Maas to the Nashua
Mosquito Control District Board.
Chinese Auction A Success (Posted Monday, April
14, 2003 10:52 AM)
The Fort Peck Summer Theatre Chinese auction
was held on Saturday night. Approximately
with over 120 items donated
from local businesses, the evening was a huge success.
Exact amounts were unavailable Monday morning, but oney raised
was equal to last year and funds collected will go toward the handicap
set to begin this spring.
The Fort Peck Fine Arts Council would like to thank the community
for supporting the auction and the theatre.
Live Streaming Video Available From Montana State Legislature
(Posted Monday, April 14, 2003 10:48 AM)
Most Montana students will never have a chance to come to Helena
to see the Legislature in action. Witnessing a live floor debate
or committee discussion provides a learning opportunity that can
last a lifetime.
The Montana Office of Public Instruction and Legislative Services
are pleased to announce that all students across Montana will now
have the opportunity to view live coverage of the Legislature.
Using video streaming technology, schools can tune in using a personal
computer. Last month, OPI and Legislative services launched the
historic live video streaming of the State of Education address
to the joint Legislature.
We're excited that we are able to connect Montana schools with
the Legislature in a very economical and efficient way. It will
help our students to better understand how a bill becomes a law.
We will be streaming two channels for the remainder of this session.
Each channel will play a single selection from the seven Legislative
Committee hearing rooms, or the Senate and House floors. On a daily
basis, the Legislative Services staff will select the channel locations.
To visit the site, view this link: http://www.opi.state.mt.us/streamer/legislature/
Montana Community Foundation To Award Grant
Funds (Posted Tuesday, April 8, 2003 03:37 PM)
The Montana Community Foundation will award $6,800
in grant funds to projects the Missouri River Region by June 30,
Markle of Glasgow who chairs the regional committee. This is
a re-granting program of Steele-Reese grant funds and each of the
MCF state regions has received an equal amount to grant.
The Missouri River Region includes Blaine, Daniels, Fergus, Phillips,
Petroleum, Sheridan, Roosevelt and Valley Counties.
Non-profit organizations with projects that meet the specific
criteria are welcome to apply. The criteria are: rural; helping
help themselves; modest in ambition; narrow in function; unglamorous;
based on experience; enjoying community financial support; essential
rather than merely desirable; yielding a direct rather than a
remote benefit to people; run by smart and ambitious mangers.
must be in these categories: rural education, rural welfare,
rural health and rural humanities.
Applications are due by May 15. For more information and to receive
applications, contact Markle at 406-228-8090 in Glasgow, Teresa
McKeon in Malta at 406-654-1575, or Linda Twitchell in Wolf Point,
FWP releases Fort Peck Lake stocking proposal
(Posted Tuesday, April 8, 2003 03:34 PM)
Fort Peck Lake will receive some 2 million
walleye fingerlings and about 30 million walleye fry this year,
according to Fish,
Wildlife & Parks.
That’s in line with recent years, but not as high as the
4 to 5 million fingerling that are likely to be stocked once the
Fort Peck Multi-Species Hatchery is on line starting in 2005.
Mike Ruggles, the fisheries biologist who manages Fort Peck’s
fishery, made the stocking recommendations at a public meeting
last Saturday in Glasgow. He says he’d propose stocking more
walleye if the lake’s level was higher. It is currently at
about 2208 feet above sea level, or more than 35 feet below full
pool, and projected to drop even lower. The low level has suppressed
reproduction of spottail and emerald shiners, perch and crappie,
which together comprise most of the shoreline forage that Fort
Peck’s younger walleye need to survive. Without that natural
forage, walleye will become emaciated.
Ruggles is also concerned about populations of cisco, the lake
herring that prefer deeper water and are the favorite prey for
larger walleye and northern pike, Chinook salmon and lake trout.
Two million fingerling walleye is the minimum recommended by the
2002 Fort Peck Fisheries Management Plan,” says Ruggles. “But
the plan outlines a number of conditions that must be met before
stocking is increased. They include a rising pool, abundant shoreline
forage and cisco, and we’re not meeting those qualifications,
so we’re recommending a normal walleye stock.”
Ruggles also presented new data at the meeting that indicates walleye
stocked as fry contribute significantly to Fort Peck’s fishery.
Some 51 percent of all the walleye Ruggles and his fisheries crew
catch in sampling nets was stocked in the lake as fry.
In addition to the walleye, Ruggles has proposed stocking 200,000
northern pike fingerlings, about 400,000 Chinook salmon fingerlings,
and 30,000 smallmouth bass.
The Fort Peck Fisheries Management plan calls for a public meeting
annually in the springtime to give a status report on the lake’s
fishery and update the public on stocking proposals and other management
decisions. This year’s meeting was held April 5 in Glasgow
and was attended by about 25 people.
April 14-18 Is Severe Weather Awareness Week
In Montana (Posted Monday, April 7, 2003 05:39 PM)
The Montana Department
of Emergency Services in conjunction with the
Service have proclaimed
the week of April 14 to April 18 as Montana Severe Weather Awareness
Summer is right around the corner, and that means severe weather,
tornadoes and flash flooding will once again be on the National
Weather Service (NWS) radar scope. By adopting a "Ready,
Set, Go" routine, you can minimize the impacts of this dangerous
What do we mean by "Ready, Set, Go?" It is a way to
be prepared for severe weather, and to know what to do when it
happens. Being "ready" means having a NOAA Weather
Radio. Do you know that there are 9 different transmitters broadcasting
weather information 24 hours a day? They have a warning alarm
tone in them that will automatically alert you to any storms
be severe. Being "ready" also means listening to the
weather forecast and knowing that there is the potential for
thunderstorms to occur.
The NWS in Glasgow issues a hazardous weather
outlook every morning by 6 a.m. Local radio stations have this
and you can access it directly on the internet at: http://www.weather.gov.
Then click on your county in northeastern Montana to get your local
information. Lastly, being ready means that you know what to do
ahead of time if severe weather hits. This could mean getting information
from your local Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator, or
it could mean attending a Severe Weather Spotter Training course,
or even requesting information from the NWS in Glasgow.
What about "Set?"
Where does it fit in? This is where
the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) in Norman, OK comes in. They
monitor the entire United States for potential areas of severe
weather. If the storms are going to be widespread enough, SPC then
issues a severe thunderstorm or tornado watch. They are generally
issued from 1 to 6 hours ahead of an event occurring, and are a
great opportunity to set your emergency plans into motion. This
could include putting the car in the garage, taking down the umbrella
on the deck, or postponing a picnic or baseball game. If you live
in a trailer home, it would be a good time to think about a sturdier
alternate building to go to.
And finally we are at "Go!" This is where the local
offices of the NWS issues a warning. It means that severe weather
is expected shortly, or it is already occurring and action is required
immediately. This is the point where people should seek shelter,
instead of standing outside to watch the storm come in.
Remember, most deaths due to severe weather occur when people are
caught unprepared. The goal of the Montana Severe Weather Awareness
Week is to help people have
a plan in dealing with severe weather situations; as it may be a matter of life
Public Meeting To Be Held
On Hatchery: Community To Hear From Planners, Managers (Posted
Monday, April 7, 2003 05:34 PM)
Representative interests in the construction and management
of the Fort Peck Multi-Species Hatchery will hold a public meeting
on Friday, April 11, 2003 at the Cottonwood Inn in Glasgow from 1:30
pm to 3:30 pm.
Recent questions and concerns raised about the planned construction
have resulted in several meetings between the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, and members of Walleyes
Unlimited and Citizens for a Fort Peck Fish Hatchery. In the interest
of answering any remaining questions within the community, representatives
of each of these groups will give a statement regarding the status
of the project followed by a question and answer session. Local
officials and representatives of the Montana congressional delegation
also attend the meeting.
For further information please contact Pam Tierney-Crisafulli in
Senator Conrad Burns' office at 1-800-344-1513 or (406) 365-2391.
You may also call the Glasgow office of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
School Board Picks Sheridan Superintendent To Replace
Monson (Posted Monday, April 7, 2003 05:28 PM)
The Glasgow School
Board has hired Glenn Hageman as the superintendent of the
Hageman will replace Glenn Monson who is retiring after three years
as superintendent and 38 years with the Glasgow School District.
Hageman currently serves as superintendent in Sheridan, Montana.
Prior to Sheridan, Hageman has also served as superintendent
/principal for the Terry and Carter County School Districts.
He earned his Masters in Education from Montana State University-Bozeman.
The school board interviewed four candidates on Thursday and made
their final decision early Friday morning.
Governor's Cup Walleye Tournament Set For July
10-12 (Posted Wednesday, April 2, 2003 05:36 PM)
The 16th Annual
Montana Governor's Cup Walleye Tournament is set for
Fort Peck Lake.
The Governor's Cup is the richest walleye tournament in Montana
with a top prize of $10,000 awarded to the winning team after
two days of fishing.
Along with the actual tournament fishing the activities include
a kid's fishing contest, family entertainment and a huge fish
fry on July 11th for all fishermen and their families.
There is a 200 team limit to the tournament and the tournament
has sold out for the past three years. Entry fee is $300 for
each 2-person team.
Exchange Student Speaks At Kiwanis (Posted Wednesday, April 2,
2003 05:31 PM)
||Nigar Rzayeva (left), exchange student from Sumqayit,
Azerbaijan, was a recent guest speaker at a noon luncheon
meeting of Glasgow Kiwanis. Nigar is hosted by Levi and Sheila
Doll (right). For Kiwanis membership information, please call
Lila at 228-4346 or Bill at 228-9225.
Baucus Introduces Legislation To Boost Indian Economies, Provide
Reservations With More Job Opportunities, Flexibility (Posted Wednesday,
April 2, 2003 05:27 PM)
Senator Max Baucus today introduced a bill to create job opportunities
on Indian reservations by improving the Temporary Assistance for
Needy Families (TANF) welfare program for tribes in Montana and
across the country.
“My top priority is boosting Montana’s economy and creating good-paying
jobs so those on welfare have the opportunity to move from welfare to work,” Baucus
said. “As a top member of the Finance Committee, I’ll make sure that
any welfare reform we pass is right for Montana and our Indian tribes.”
The bill, among other things, would create a “Tribal TANF Improvement Fund.” The
fund would provide $500 million in nationwide grants to improve tribal human
services programs and give technical assistance to tribal TANF programs to boost
economic development and expand job opportunities on reservations.
“The most important part of the welfare program is moving people from welfare
to work,” Baucus said. “They must have job opportunities to do that.
My bill will provide grants to help tribes develop their own economic development
strategies and expand their authority to issue bonds, which will boost economic
activity and job creation through such programs as housing construction.”
Baucus, as top Democrat on the Finance Committee, has jurisdiction over welfare,
and is working together on the Finance Committee to craft overall federal welfare
reform policy that is good for Montana and helps move recipients from welfare
In 1996, Baucus voted to reform welfare by establishing the Temporary Aid for
Needy Families program, which limited the time that individuals could stay on
welfare and placed emphasis on moving individuals from welfare to work.
Baucus’s new legislation, the American Indian Welfare Reform Act, contains
a number of common-sense provisions that would tailor welfare law for reservations.
More than 30 tribes, including the Confederated Salish-Kootenai and Fort Belknap
tribes of Montana, have begun to operate their own TANF programs, Baucus said.
“The American Indian Welfare Reform Act is comprehensive legislation with
tremendous benefits to tribes implementing TANF or planning to implement a tribal
TANF plan,” said D. Fred Matt, chairman of the tribal council of the Confederated
Salish and Kootenai tribes. “The legislation provides performance incentives,
and begins to address economic development on Indian reservations. The tribes
need to support our Montana senator in his efforts to put us on equal footing
with the states.”
Montana is home to 11 tribes and seven reservations that add a wealth of heritage
and community to Montana, Baucus said. But the U.S. Census Bureau notes that
about 26 percent of American Indians live in poverty, more than twice the national
The average household income for Indians in 2000 was only 75 percent of that
of the rest of Americans.
“We must do better,” Baucus said. “My bill will expand the
provisions of the 1996 welfare program to provide Native Americans with more
flexibility and resources to make the program effective and provide opportunities.
Welfare reform must work for everyone. And it’s important that tribes exercise
their sovereignty to make welfare programs best fit the needs of their people.”
Details of The American Indian Welfare Reform Act
A comprehensive bill to support and improve welfare reform for Indians, including
measures to support tribal TANF and other social services programs as well as
encouraging economic development on reservations. Specifically, the bill would:
Create a Tribal TANF Improvement Fund. The $500 million Fund would provide grants
to improve tribal human services programs, adjust tribal TANF grants, and support
technical assistance to tribal TANF programs.
Support Economic Development on Reservations. Tribes could qualify for expanded
bonding authority to issue tax-exempt private activity bonds. $50 million in
tribal development grants would support efforts to improve the business climate
Include the Daschle-McCain Tribal Foster Care Bill. Tribes could get direct federal
reimbursement for operating foster care programs, as set out in S. 331 introduced
by Senators Tom Daschle and John McCain.
Consolidate and Expand Tribal Job Training Programs. The two tribal job training
programs – Native Employment Works and tribal Welfare-to-Work grants – would
be consolidated into a new Tribal Employment Services Program, open to additional
grantees, funded at $37 million per year, to serve low-income parents in need
Provide Equity for TANF Tribes. Under current law, TANF tribes are not able to
access certain sources of funding – the Social Services Block Grant, the
TANF high performance bonus, the TANF contingency fund – that states have.
Tribes would be able to receive these funds.
Provide More Child Care Funding. The set-aside for tribal child care programs
within the Child Care and Development Block Grant would be increased to 5 percent,
up from the current 1 to 2 percent.
Clarify “Equitable Access” Requirements. Under current law, states
are required to provide “equitable access” to Indians in their programs.
Under this proposal, states would be required to describe in state TANF plans
how they are providing this equitable access. They would also be required to
consult with Indian tribes within the state when developing state TANF plans.
Improve Time Limit Rules for Areas of “Joblessness.” States would
receive greater flexibility to appropriately define work activities on Indian
reservations where more than 20 percent of adults are jobless, better reflecting
the immense difficulty of finding work in those areas. In addition, months of
assistance while residing in these high joblessness areas would be exempted from
the time limit rules, provided the recipient otherwise complies with state or
tribal TANF program rules.