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Latest Local News
Sunday, August 20th 2017
Governor Bullock Declares Drought Disaster In 31 Counties Including Valley County
MONTANA – Governor Steve Bullock today issued an Executive Order declaring the following 31 counties and six Indian Reservations are in drought disaster:

Blaine, Big Horn, Carter, Chouteau, Custer, Daniels, Dawson, Fallon, Fergus, Garfield, Golden Valley, Hill, Judith Basin, Lake, Lincoln, McCone, Musselshell, Petroleum, Phillips, Powder River, Prairie, Richland, Roosevelt, Rosebud, Sanders, Sheridan, Treasure, Valley, Yellowstone, Wheatland, Wibaux Counties, and the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation, Crow Indian Reservation, Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, and the Flathead Indian Reservation.

“High temperatures, extreme drought, and worsening fire conditions are affecting Montanans in many corners of our state,” said Governor Bullock. “We’re doing everything we can to minimize the economic impact of these hot and dry conditions and help folks get back on their feet using all resources available.”

This drought disaster declaration continues the temporary suspension of “hours of service” regulations and waives temporary registration, temporary fuel permits, and over-dimensional permit requirements for commercial vehicles providing support for the drought. The declaration also compels maximum employee assistance and cooperation with the United States Departments’ of Agriculture and Commerce to secure timely economic assistance.

As of July 10, 2017, small nonfarm businesses in 16 Montana counties are eligible to apply for low-interest federal disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration after Governor Bullock sent a letter to Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting a Secretarial Drought Disaster Designation. Affected counties and reservations are also eligible for the Livestock Forage Program.

Governor Bullock’s new Executive Order is attached. On July 19, 2017, Governor Bullock issued Executive Order 6-2017 declaring 28 Montana counties and five Indian Reservations in a drought disaster.

For more information visit www.drought.mt.gov.

Friday, August 18th 2017
Ballots Mailed Out Today For Valley View Election
Ballots are being mailed out today to registered voters in Valley County for the levy election to benefit Valley View Home in Glasgow. Voters will decide whether they want to raise taxes to provide up to $300,000 in tax funding for the next 2 years to help make Valley View Home financially stable.

Two members of the Valley View Home Task Force spoke with Stan Ozark this week about the future of Valley View Home and the upcoming election. Here is the interview with Tom Markle and Don Fast:


Tom Markle and Don Fast.

Friday, August 18th 2017
Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame announces 2017 inductions
Today the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center (MCHF & WHC) announced the tenth class of inductions into the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame. The inductees were chosen from a field of candidates nominated by the general public. Inductees are honored for their notable contributions to the history and culture of Montana.

“Our volunteer trustees around Montana vote on nominations that come from the district in which they reside,” said Jeff Bolstad, MCHF & WHC President. “It gives the local communities a strong voice in who will represent them in the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame exists to honor those who have made an impact in their part of the state and represent Montana’s authentic heritage for future generations.”

The MCHF & WHC board of directors has designated 12 trustee districts across the state from which up to 20 trustees may be appointed. Nomination criteria established by the board for the Class of 2017 inductions allowed the election of up to one Living Inductee and two Legacy Inductees from each of the 12 districts.

The 2017 inductees into the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame are:

· District 1 (Daniels, Phillips, Roosevelt, Sheridan, & Valley Counties): Living Award – Mary Louise (Hovendick) Helland, Glasgow. Legacy Award – B. M. Bower, Glasgow, and Eugene Joseph “Gene” Martin, Wolf Point.

· District 2 (Dawson, Garfield, McCone, Prairie, Richland, & Wibaux Counties): Living Award – Jim Baisch, Glendive. Legacy Award – Lorin Abarr, Sr., Fallon, and Orlando Shepard “Doc” Drake, Wibaux.

· District 3 (Carter, Custer, Fallon, Powder River, Rosebud, & Treasure Counties): Living Award – John L. “Jack” Bailey, Forsyth. Legacy Award – Jersey Lilly Bar and Café, Ingomar, and Bob & Helen (Fulton) Askin, Ismay.

· District 4 (Blaine, Chouteau, Hill, & Liberty Counties): Living Award – Nicholas Bernard “Nick” Faber, Chinook. Legacy Award – John & Fay (Vercruyssen) Stuker, Chinook, and Ed & Orah (Young) Massie, Great Falls (formerly of Chouteau County).

· District 5 (Cascade, Glacier, Pondera, Teton, & Toole Counties): Living Award – Norma Ashby, Great Falls. Legacy Award – Brian F. Connolly, Browning, and Daniel Charles “Dan” Boggs, Heart Butte.

· District 6 (Fergus, Golden Valley, Judith Basin, Musselshell, Petroleum, & Wheatland Counties): Living Award – Edgar E. Lewis, Lavina. Legacy Award – Melvin L. Cheney, Stanford, and White Wolf of the Judith Basin, Stanford.

· District 7 (Big Horn, Carbon, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, & Yellowstone Counties): Living Award – David Herman Branger, Roscoe. Legacy Award – Saint Paul Case, Hardin, and John Otis “Jack” Hash, Roscoe.

· District 8 (Broadwater, Jefferson, & Lewis and Clark Counties): Living Award – Governor Judy (Morstein) Martz, Helena. Legacy Award – Robert F. “Bob” Cooney, Helena, and James J. “Jim” McLucas, Helena.

· District 9 (Gallatin, Meagher, & Park Counties): Living Award – Ernest “Ernie” Briggs, Clyde Park. Legacy Award – John Leonard “Jack” Short, White Sulphur Springs, and Montana FFA Association, Bozeman.

· District 10 (Flathead, Lake, Lincoln, & Sanders Counties): Living Award – Ray & Shirley Jacobs, Eureka. Legacy Award – Roy B. King, Arlee, and Billy Schall, Arlee.

· District 11 (Mineral, Missoula, & Ravalli Counties): Living Award – Jack Keith Ward, Hamilton. Legacy Award – Father Antonio “Anthony” Ravalli, S.J., Stevensville, and Chief Charlo–Claw of the Little Grizzly, Stevensville.

· District 12 (Deer Lodge, Beaverhead, Silver Bow, Granite, Madison, & Powell Counties): Living Award – Bobbie Jean (Meine) Mussard, Dillon. Legacy Award – Maurice G. “Bud” Weaver, Drummond, and Hitched Horsehair & Braided Horsehair, Deer Lodge.

The MCHF & WHC will honor these inductees during the annual Circle the Wagons gathering February 2-3, 2018, in Great Falls at the Best Western Heritage Inn. More information on this event will come later in the year.

Since the initial round of inductions to the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2008, including this year’s inductions, 310 inductees have been honored. Full biographies for past inductees are available on the MCHF & WHC’s website. This year’s inductees will be added to the website soon.

Friday, August 18th 2017
FWP Requests Folks To Be On The Lookout For Greater Short-horned Lizards This Fall
As you are hitting the field (and more importantly, the prairie) this fall, be sure to take a break from scanning the horizon for game and look down at the ground once in a while. Not only will this hopefully help you avoid stepping on a cactus or a rattlesnake, you might also see one of eastern Montana’s rarely seen critters…the greater short-horned lizard; and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks would like to know about it.

The greater short- horned lizard, Phrynosoma hernandesi, or “horny toad” is a Species of Greatest Inventory Need (SGIN) in Montana due to insufficient data to determine their status.

It was once considered the second most abundant reptile along the Missouri River in Montana in the late 19th Century, second only to the Western Rattlesnake, but it is no longer thought to be common in the state.

According to Heather Harris, wildlife biologist in Region 6, “There are structured surveys being conducted in eastern Montana to try and determine status and distribution as well as proactively filling in data gaps; however, the elusive nature and cryptic coloration make them extremely difficult to locate.”

Heather and other biologists are seeking the help of folks out trekking around the countryside to provide incidental observations in addition to our structured survey efforts.

“If you happened to observe one in anywhere in the state,” says Harris, “please record the location, getting GPS coordinates if possible, date, number observed, and a photograph if you can.”

Observations can then be reported by email to Heather Harris at heharris@mt.gov, or your local FWP biologist.

A few things about the short-horned lizard:

Key ID:
-Adult greater short-horned lizards are diurnal and active during the warmer daylight hours.
-Coloration is cryptic with the soil (blends in), and varies by locality.
-The broad, flattened body separates this lizard from the other three lizard species regularly documented in Montana, and the range overlaps only with the common sagebrush lizard, which is much slenderer.
-The head has a "heart-shaped" appearance when viewed from above.
-They are usually easiest to spot when they move and catch your eye.

Habitat:
-greater short-horned lizards are found in the eastern half of Montana, but in scattered locations throughout their range.
-They inhabit ridge crests between coulees, and can be found in sparse, short grass and sagebrush with sun-baked soil .
-They are also found in flats of relatively pebbly or stony soil with sparse grass and sagebrush cover.

Friday, August 18th 2017
Last Hunter Education Classes Offered In Glasgow, For Youth And Adults
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Hunter Education course dates have been set for the last courses in the Glasgow area for this year. There will be a regular youth classroom course starting Sept. 6, and an adult online “field day” course on Sept. 10.

For the adult online field course, adults must pass the online hunter education course and receive a Field Day Qualifier Certificate. This Field Day Qualifier Certificate and a picture ID are necessary to obtain entrance into the field course.

The adult field course will be held from 4:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 10, beginning at the Quonset building at the FWP Headquarters in Glasgow.

For youth, to be eligible to hunt and be fully certified during the 2017 season, hunters must be 12-years old by January 16, 2018. Students aged 10 and 11 can take the course and hunt as an apprentice, but will not be fully certified until the year they turn 12. All registrants for this event must be 10 years of age by Sept. 6.

The youth classroom course will also be held in the Quonset building at the FWP headquarters in Glasgow. Classes will run from 5:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m. Wed., Sept. 6 and Thurs. Sept. 7, and from 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 10.

Classroom students need to pick up the Hunter Education Manual from the FWP office in Glasgow. Before students can pick up a manual, however, they must be registered and have printed and signed all necessary forms.

Students are to read each chapter and complete all review sections before class on Wednesday, Sept. 6. If workbooks are not complete, students may not be able to continue the course.

To register and learn more about the hunter education classes offered, please go to the FWP website at www.fwp.mt.gov and look under the “Education” tab. If there are any questions, please call the Glasgow FWP office at 228-3700.

Thursday, August 17th 2017
MSU Beef Specialists To Discuss Options During Drought
On Monday, August 21st at 6:00p.m., two Montana State University Beef Specialists will be in Glasgow at the Cottonwood Inn to discuss options during drought.

Dr. Van Emon will discuss early weaning strategies, including cow reproduction and calf growth performance impacts. She will also describe various supplementation strategies with an overview of general supplement types that are available and how they can impact animal performance and forage conditions.

Dr. Endecott will focus on water quality and harvested forage issues, including information on how to interpret water and forage nutrient analyses. She will also discuss impacts of high sulfate water and blue-green algae poisoning and give an overview of nitrate toxicity in forages.

Everyone is welcome to attend.

Wednesday, August 16th 2017
Jay Witkowski Agrees To Plea Agreement In Death Of Glasgow Woman
Jay Witkowski appeared in District Court on Wednesday morning and admitted that he caused the death of Glasgow resident Evenlynn Garcia on December 31st of 2016.

Witkowski appeared with his 2 attorneys, Clark Mathews and Terry Toavs and told District Court Judge Yvonne Laird that he had signed a plea agreement and will plead guilty to the charge of Deliberate Homicide and Use of Dangerous Weapon.

Evenlynn Garcia was allegedly stabbed and run over by Witkowski on December 31st near Glasgow. Witkowski is accused of repeatedly stabbing Garcia and beating her in the back of the head with a tire iron before pushing her out of a moving vehicle and running her over.

Garcia was found lying in the middle of a road covered in blood and was taken to the Glasgow hospital before being flown to Billings for additional treatment. She died 3 days later.

The plea agreement states that Witkowski shall be sentenced to the Montana State Prison for a term of 70 years on the Deliberate Homicide charge. The state is also recommending that Witkowski be sentenced to 10 years in Montana State Prison for the use of a dangerous weapon. This sentence would run consecutive to the 70 year sentence for deliberate homicide.

The case was set to go to trial on August 21st with 120 jurors being called from throughout Valley County.

Judge Laird ordered Witkowski to remain incarcerated in the Valley County Detention Center until sentencing takes place on October 2nd.

Judge Laird will pronounce sentence and can actually change the terms of the plea agreement after the pre-sentence report is released and testimony is heard at the hearing.

Wednesday, August 16th 2017
Valley View Home Transitions To New Administration
Valley View Home is seeing a smooth transition from Interim Administrator, Judy Melin, to new Interim Administrator, Kent Hanavalt.

Much has changed at Valley View Nursing Home in Glasgow since Judy Melin took over in April of 2017. Stan Ozark visited with Judy and Kent to discuss the changes and the future of Valley View Home.


Changes At Valley View Home.

Tuesday, August 15th 2017
Becoming an Outdoor Woman Beginning Kayaking Class Offered Near Fort Peck
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks' Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) program is sponsoring two beginning kayaking classes, on August 26 and 27, at the First Dredge swim beach just north of the Fort Peck Fish Hatchery near Fort Peck. One class will be offered each day (participants will choose their preferred day), and the classes will take place from 1-5 p.m. both days.
           
Participants will learn from experienced instructors about different types of recreational kayaks and equipment, fishing from a kayak, safety, and where to go. Much of the time will be spent in kayaks, including getting in and out safely, so participants need to be prepared to get wet. Kayaks, paddles, and life jackets will be available for use, but participants are encouraged to bring their own equipment if they have it available. Please note that both women that are brand new to kayaking and women who have already purchased a kayak but want to learn more about safety and tips are encouraged to attend.

This class is designed for women. Girls aged 13-17 can attend, but will need to be accompanied by a participating adult. Class size is limited, so please get your applications in by August 24. Snacks and drinks will be provided, and there will be a $10 fee to offset costs.

The registration forms will be available on the FWP website at fwp.mt.gov; click "Becoming an Outdoors Woman" under the Education tab. Forms can also be picked up at the Fort Peck Interpretive Center, at the FWP Region 6 Headquarters in Glasgow, or by emailing Lawana Grewe at lgrewe@mt.gov . Call the R6 FWP headquarters at 406-228-3700 with any questions.

Monday, August 14th 2017
Jay Witkowski Trial Set To Begin August 21st
28-year old Jay Witkowski will go on trial August 21st in Glasgow on the charge of Deliberate Homicide in the death of Glasgow resident Evenlynn Garcia.

Garcia was allegedly stabbed and run over by Witkowski on December 31st near Glasgow. Witkowski is accused of repeatedly stabbing Garcia and beating her in the back of the head with a tire iron before pushing her out of a moving vehicle and running her over.

Garcia was found lying in the middle of a road covered in blood and was taken to the Glasgow hospital before being flown to Billings for additional treatment. She died 3 days later.

120 jurors have been called to report to the Glasgow Courtroom on August 21st and jury selection will take place. It's expected that jury selection will take all day on Monday, August 21st with the trial expected to start on August 22nd. The trial is expected to continue through the entire week.

Wednesday, August 9th 2017
Northeast Montana Relay for Life Schedule of Events
Valley County Fair Grounds – Glasgow, MT
Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017

4:30 - 5:45 p.m. *Survivor Registration and reception (Under the Grandstand)
5:30 - 7:00 p.m. *Team Registration (Fair Office)
5:30 – 9:00 p.m. *Silent Auction (Under the Grandstand)
Auction will close at 9:00 p.m. Please check after 9:00 and pay for any items you may have won. All items will need to be picked up by 10:00 or the next bidder will be awarded the item.
6:00 – 8:00 p.m. *Opening by Rod Karst & Dyan Carlson
*Opening Prayer – Seth Runner
*Survivors positioned on track for lap – ALL Survivors!
*Flag presentation - VFW
*National Anthem - Everyone
*Flame of Hope Lighting – Shelly Nicol
(Special thanks to the keepers of the Flame – Bill & Kareen Nicol)
*Keynote address – Shelly George
*Survivor Lap
*Team laps begin
8:00 – 10:00 p.m. *Entertainment
8:00-8:30 - Mr. Geezer pageant
8:30-9:00 - Music by the Watterud Girls
9:00-9:30 - Mr. Relay pageant
9:30 p.m. *Caregiver Lap (caregivers pick up glow sticks in front of stage)
10:00 p.m. *Luminaria Ceremony (Public & participants encouraged to participate in lighting luminaria)
* Names and pictures scrolled on the large screen
Note: We ask that you respect those around you and keep the noise to a
minimum, and that all lights remain out during the ceremony. Thank you.
10:30 p.m. Closing ceremony
*Wrap-up of raffles and any other sales
*Wrap-up by Rod Karst & Event Leadership Team
(NOTE: If you wish to take your Luminaria bag(s) please do so at this time)
*Fight Back Ceremony
11:00 p.m. *Victory lap finale by EVERYONE
12:00 a.m. Amazing Race starts (for high school students only!)


Games for both adults and children will be held throughout the Relay.
Listen for Rod to announce all events!
Look for: Laser Tag!
Wednesday, August 9th 2017
Help Needed With Luminaria Tonight
The Event Leadership Team for the Northeast Montana Relay For Life is looking for help to fill the luminaria for this weekend's relay. They will be filling the bags at the Fairgrounds Wed. Aug. 9th at 6p.m. Snacks will be provided for those helping.

If you want to purchase a luminaria & have your loved one recognized during the Luminaria Ceremony Saturday night, then please purchase your luminaria by Wednesday night.

Cost is $10 per bag or $15 for a picture luminaria.

Tuesday, August 8th 2017
Preliminary Fair Numbers Show It Was Big Success
The Northeast Montana Fair was a big success this year; preliminary numbers for some of the events are listed below:

PRCA 2-Day Rodeo payout was over $89,000 – thanks to the Glasgow Rodeo Committee for their continued dedication in making this one of the best rodeos in the state.

The total paid out for Milk River Motorsports Demolition Derby was $12,000.

Over 1100 people attended the Joe Diffie/October Road concert including many from out of town.

320 people attended the talent show on Friday night, helping to raise over $1,000 for a performing arts scholarship.

Tuesday, August 8th 2017
City Requesting No Parking On Select Streets This Week
The City of Glasgow is requesting no parking on the the following streets on the listed dates:

- 3rd Ave. South between 6th Street South and and 8th Street South on Tuesday, August 8th and Wednesday August 9th

- 4th Ave. South between 6th Street South and 8th Street South on Wednesday, August 9th and Thursday August 10th

- Valley View Drive from 10th Street North to Valley View on Friday, August 11th

Tuesday, August 8th 2017
BLM Using Drone To Document Effects Of July Fire
As time and weather progress, the area burned by the July Fire will likely experience changes and erosion. In an effort to document the progression of these changes the BLM Malta Field Office plans to conduct mapping drone flights Aug. 7-9, 2017.

The flights will establish a baseline using a quadcopter Unmanned Aerial System, commonly called a “drone,” weighing under 5 lbs. and capable of taking pictures and video. BLM Archaeologist Josh Chase will pilot the drone.

We’ll be collecting soil and fire damage data to establish a baseline for an annual study and comparison of potential erosion and long-term fire effects on the area.

Data collected during the flight will help BLM Malta Field Manager Tom Darrington make decisions about how to proceed with stabilization and recovery efforts for the affected area.

Public safety is our highest priority. As we evaluate the need for soil stabilization treatments, particularly above the town of Landusky, UAS flights will allow us to assess areas most severely affected by the fire and focus on areas most in need of stabilization treatments. The data from UAS flights can also help measure success of these treatments in subsequent years.

Due to its size, the rechargeable battery-powered drone can operate more safely and with significantly less cost to American taxpayers than a manned aircraft. The BLM respects the ties that native and traditional communities have to public lands in the Little Rocky Mountains. The BLM is committed to making America great through shared conservation. The BLM strives to be a good neighbor in the communities we serve, where we provide opportunities for economic growth with space for traditional uses such as ranching, mining, and logging, and energy development as well as hunting and fishing. As stewards, the BLM manages public lands for the benefit of current and future generations, supporting conservation as we pursue our multiple-use mission.

Tuesday, August 8th 2017
Drought Conditions Continue Across Upper Missouri River Basin
OMAHA, NE – Drought conditions continue across the upper Missouri River basin according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “With the exception of the Fort Peck to Garrison reach, runoff into the Missouri River mainstem reservoirs during July was below average due to the continuing drought conditions in the upper basin.” said Jody Farhat, chief of the Corps’ Missouri River Basin Water Management Division.

“Runoff into Garrison was 124 percent of average, due to runoff from the remaining mountain snowmelt. July runoff ranged from 20 to 90 percent of average in the other reservoir reaches.” Runoff above Sioux City, Iowa for the month of July was 3.3 million acre feet (MAF), 101 percent of average. The 2017 runoff forecast for the Missouri River Basin above Sioux City, Iowa, is 27.9 MAF, 110 percent of average.

The total volume of water stored in the Mainstem Reservoir System is currently 61.4 MAF, occupying 5.3 MAF of the 16.3 MAF combined flood control storage zones. “System storage peaked on July 9 at 61.8 MAF and is gradually declining. The water currently stored in the annual flood control zone will be released during the remainder of the year to serve navigation, water supply and other downstream purposes and will be completely evacuated prior to the start of next year’s runoff season,” said Farhat.

As previously announced, the Corps will be providing flows to support full-service navigation as well as a full, eight-month navigation season. Full-service flow support is generally sufficient to provide a navigation channel that is 9 feet deep and 300 feet wide. “Gavins Point releases will be adjusted as necessary to meet full-service navigation targets in reaches with commercial navigation,” added Farhat. The September 1 system storage check will determine the winter releases from Gavins Point.

The Corps has announced that John Remus has been selected as the new chief of the Missouri River Basin Water Management Division. Mr. Remus currently serves as the chief of the Hydrologic Engineering Branch in the Corps’ Omaha District. Mr. Remus assumes the duties of the position in late August and replaces Ms. Farhat, who is retiring.

Weekly updates on basin conditions, reservoir levels and other topics of interest can be viewed here.

The Corps will continue to monitor basin conditions and will adjust the regulation of the reservoir system based on the most up-to-date information.
Reservoir Forecasts

Gavins Point Dam releases averaged 31,700 cfs during July. Releases were reduced from 33,000 cfs to 32,000 cfs on July 7, and then to 31,000 cfs on July 18. Releases are expected to remain near 31,000 cfs during August and will be adjusted as necessary based on downstream river conditions. The Gavins Point reservoir ended July at elevation 1206.3 feet and will remain near 1206.0 feet during August.

Fort Randall Dam releases averaged 30,800 cfs in July. Releases will be adjusted as necessary to maintain the desired reservoir elevation at Gavins Point. The reservoir ended July at elevation 1356.0 feet and is expected to decline less than a foot in August.

Big Bend Dam releases averaged 29,200 cfs in July. Releases are expected to average 29,700 cfs this month. The reservoir will remain near its normal elevation of 1420.0 feet during August.

Oahe Dam releases averaged 33,200 cfs during July. Releases are expected to average 32,200 cfs in August. The reservoir ended July at elevation 1610.1 feet, declining 0.2 feet during the month. The reservoir level is expected to remain nearly steady during August.

Garrison Dam releases were reduced from 34,500 cfs to 33,000 cfs in mid-July, averaging 33,500 cfs for the month. Releases are expected to remain near 33,000 cfs in August. Garrison reservoir ended July at elevation 1846.1 feet, declining 0.3 feet during the month. The reservoir level is expected to fall about 3 feet during August, ending the month near elevation 1843.2 feet.

Fort Peck Dam releases averaged 9,900 cfs during July and are expected to average 10,000 cfs during August. The reservoir ended July at elevation 2239.0 feet, declining 1.2 feet during the month. The reservoir is expected to fall more than two feet during August ending the month near elevation 2236.8 feet.

The forecast reservoir releases and elevations discussed above are not definitive. Additional precipitation, lack of precipitation or other circumstances could cause adjustments to the reservoir release rates.

The six mainstem power plants generated 1,118 million kWh of electricity in July. Typical energy generation for July is 940 million kWh. The power plants are projected to generate 9.6 billion kWh of electricity this year, compared to the long-term average of 9.3 billion kWh.

To view the detailed three-week release forecast for the mainstem dams, go here.

Tuesday, August 8th 2017
Low Levels In Fresno And Nelson Reservoirs
BILLINGS, Mont. – Storage levels in Fresno and Nelson Reservoirs are near expected minimum elevations for the season. Both facilities primarily store water for irrigation and municipal use for the Milk River Project.

Above average temperatures coupled with below average precipitation has led to irrigation demands remaining higher than normal and reservoir storage levels lower than normal. Fresno Reservoir is currently 30 feet below the full storage level of elevation 2575 feet. Nelson Reservoir is nearly 12 feet below the full storage level of 2221.6 feet.

Irrigation operations are starting to ramp down for Milk River Project beneficiaries, about a month sooner than normal. Both reservoirs are expected to gain storage after the middle of August into October as water from the St. Mary River Basin continues to be transferred to the Milk River Basin.

Recreationists are encouraged to use extra caution regarding changing reservoir levels. Boat launching conditions are more challenging at these low reservoir levels. It is advised that people and pets stay away from the intake structure that is directly west of the Fresno Spillway. Currently, access to this area is prohibited.

Tuesday, August 1st 2017
FWP to Host a Northeast Montana Fishing Tour!
Pictured: FWP’s Marc Kloker working with kids earlier this spring

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is organizing a Northeast Montana Fishing Tour for the public. Participants both young and old are welcome to come out and enjoy a few hours of fishing and learning. The tour will be held from Aug. 7-11, and a full list of the dates, times, locations and directions can be found below.

The fishing events are free of charge, and all equipment will be provided by FWP including fishing rods, bait, and tackle, but participants can bring their own equipment as well. Participants will register at the site, and no fishing licenses will be necessary during the day of the event.

There will be several activities to do at each site, for both youth and adults, including:
-Information on fishing in Region 6, local fish species, and some give-a-ways
-Fishing for local species on the site, using a variety of methods
-Learning to fly fish/cast, using fly casting rods and reels
-Learning to tie your own fly
-Learning to paint your own jig

Participants can attend the fishing events as long as they would like, and are welcome to go to more than one event in their area. The following list includes the date, time, locations and directions for the events:

- Mon., Aug. 7th 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Glasgow Home Run Pond
Directions: One-mile southeast of Glasgow on Hwy-42/24.

-Tues., Aug. 8th 8 a.m.-11 a.m. Fort Peck Duck Creek Campground
Directions: Southwest of Fort Peck on Duck Creek Road, turn off at the Duck Creek Boat Ramp road and drive towards the camping area, just past the vault toilet on the left.

-Tues., Aug. 8th 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Bainville American Legion Ponds
Directions: One-mile northwest of Bainville on Hwy-2

-Wed., Aug. 9th 8 a.m.-11 a.m. Culbertson Culbertson Bridge FAS
Directions: Three miles southeast of Culbertson on Hwy-16, on the south side of the bridge.

-Wed., Aug. 9th 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Plentywood Box Elder Reservoir
Directions: In Plentywood, turn north on Monroe St., following that to Box Elder St. Continue to the parking area at the east end of the dam.

-Thurs., Aug. 10th 8 a.m.-11 a.m. Madoc Buer Pond
Directions: Seven miles east of Scobey on Hwy-5, turn north on N. Madoc Rd, in 4.5 miles turn left, and follow two-track for approximately two miles.

-Thurs., Aug. 10th 6 p.m.-9 p.m. St. Marie Glasgow Base Pond FAS
Directions: 18 miles north of Glasgow on Hwy-24, turn left for one mile.

-Fri., Aug. 11th 8 a.m.-11 a.m. Saco Cole Ponds FAS
Directions: 10 miles northwest of Saco on Hwy-243/Milk River Rd

Participants should be prepared for inclement weather, insects, and warm conditions. Drinking water will be provided. If there are any questions, please contact Region 6 Information and Education Manager Marc Kloker at 406-228-3704 (office), 406-480-9234 (cell), or email mkloker@mt.gov.

Tuesday, August 1st 2017
Valley County Salary Compensation Board Recommends 4.56% Salary Increase For Elected Officials
The Valley County Salary Compensation Board is recommending a 4.56% increase in salary for elected officials for the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

Last month the compensation board had recommended a 6.8% increase for elected officials but the Valley County Commissioners voted 2-1 to reject the recommendation and went back to the board for another recommendation.

The board is comprised of elected officials in Valley County plus 4 members of the public.

At a meeting on Monday, the board took a recommendation of a 4.56% increase from Valley County Commissioner John Fahlgren and voted unanimously to send that increase to the full county commission for consideration.

The 4.56% increase would amount to a $2000 bump in pay for all elected officials in Valley County and their deputies. Fahlgren also said it is his intention to offer all county employees the same 4/56% increase in pay.

The full county commission will now take up the recommendation from the salary compensation board.

Monday, July 31st 2017
Thomas James Miller Identified As Traffic Fatality From Friday Accident
Valley County Sheriff Vern Buerkle has identified the driver of a vehicle who died in a crash in Valley County Friday as 16-year-old Thomas James Miller of Nashua.

Sheriff Buerkle said Miller, who turned 16 June 12, died from the result of injuries sustained after he was ejected from the vehicle.

A call came in of a one-vehicle rollover crash near mile marker 552 between Glasgow and Nashua on U.S. Highway 2 at 7:08 p.m. Friday, Buerkle said.

The Valley County Sheriff's Office and Montana Highway Patrol and emergency medical personnel responded.

The cause of the accident remains under investigation by the Sheriff's Office and Highway Patrol, Buerkle said.

Miller was not wearing a seat belt, the sheriff said.

Sunday, July 30th 2017
Storage Levels In Fresno And Nelson Reservoirs Expected To Continue To Decline
BILLINGS, Mont. – Storage levels in Fresno and Nelson Reservoirs are expected to continue declining through the middle of August. Both facilities primarily store water for irrigation and municipal use for the Milk River Project.

Above average temperatures coupled with below average precipitation has led to irrigation demands remaining higher than normal. Additionally, these conditions are resulting in lower than normal inflows into both reservoirs. Fresno Reservoir is projected to reach elevation 2544, approximately 12 feet lower than the current elevation, near the middle of August. This level is 31 feet below the full storage level of elevation 2575 feet. Nelson Reservoir is projected to reach elevation 2509, approximately 5 feet lower than current elevation, around the same time frame. This is 12.6 feet below the full storage level of 2221.6 feet.

Irrigation operations will start ramping down for Milk River Project beneficiaries in early August, about a month sooner than normal. Both reservoirs are expected to gain storage after the middle of August into October as water from the St. Mary River Basin will continue to be transferred to the Milk River Basin.

Recreationists are encouraged to use extra caution regarding changing reservoir levels. Boat launching conditions are expected to become increasingly challenging as reservoir levels continue to decline. It is advised that people and pets stay away from the intake structure that is directly west of the Fresno Spillway. Currently, access to this area is prohibited.

For further questions, please contact Jack Conner at 406-247-7300.

Thursday, July 27th 2017
4-year-old girl's rapist gets 42 years in prison
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A federal judge has sentenced a 22-year-old Montana man to almost 42 years in prison for kidnapping and violently raping a 4-year-old girl on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.

Wednesday's sentencing in U.S. District Court in Great Falls came in a case that prosecutors had described as every parent's nightmare.

John William Lieba II of Wolf Point was accused of chasing down the young girl at night in a park, raping and strangling her and then leaving her for dead in an abandoned pickup truck in February 2016.

A jury convicted him on counts of kidnapping a minor, aggravated sexual abuse and assault resulting in serious bodily injury on a minor.

Judge Brian Morris sentenced Lieba to 500 months in prison on each count, to be served concurrently.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Thursday, July 27th 2017
FWP “Kids to Fish” Program Allows Youths to Borrow Gear & Tackle for Free
A popular Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Region 6 program that allows children and their families to check out free fishing rods and tackle is in full swing again this year.

In time for summer fishing, FWP staff has restocked the 44 different location sites across Montana’s Hi-Line. The “Kids to Fish” program lets youngsters check out fishing rods and reels and use basic tackle, such as hooks, bobbers, and sinkers. Typically, eight rods are at each location, and usually a tackle box is available to borrow/use the available tackle.

Pure Fishing, D & G Sports & Western in Glasgow, and Stromberg’s Sinclair and the North 40 Outfitters store in Havre have given FWP substantial discounts that help keep the program sustainable. In addition, The Front Brewing in Great Falls, along with partner Nemont Beverage in Glasgow, were kind enough to donate money to the program.

FWP Region 6 intern Bowden Godfrey, a student at the University of Montana-Western, has been busy maintaining the gear and helping resupply the sites over the last few months.

“Just because someone doesn’t have a fishing rod doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be able to go fishing,” Godfrey said. “Whether it’s a cousin in town that wants to go along, or just an extra pole is needed for catfishing on the Milk River, we want as many kids as possible to go out and fish.”

“The many business owners and other folks who participate in the program deserve special thanks,” adds Marc Kloker, Region 6 Information and Education Program Manager. “They’re helping a lot of kids have fun on the water this summer.”

The sturdy loaner rods come already rigged with bobbers, split-shot and hooks. Youngsters are required to sign out the equipment at the site and return it in good working order. Kloker reminds folks that these rods are to be brought back to the loaner location, even if damaged. “We really want these poles brought back to their location sites,” says Kloker. “The next kid that comes along should also have a chance to fish.”

If poles are continually lost or stolen, the program will need to make the necessary changes and location sites may be removed. In addition, some sites that haven’t seen much use have had their poles removed and taken elsewhere with more opportunities.

More than 400 of these fishing rods are available to be checked out from the outlets by individuals, families, organizations, church groups and schools. If you have any questions about the program, or are interested in having poles available at other locations in your community, please contact Kloker at 406-228-3704.

Fishing rods and tackle are currently available to check out at these locations:
BAINVILLE
Bainville School
BIG SANDY
The Grocery Store
BROCKTON
B & S Quick Stop
CHESTER
Liberty Quick Stop
CHINOOK
Finley’s Food Farm
CIRCLE
Circle Country Market
CULBERTSON
Culbertson Public Library
DODSON
Al’s Town & Country Store
FLAXVILLE
Pro Co-op
FORT BELKNAP AGENCY
Kwik Stop
FORT PECK
Downstream (Kiwanis) Campground
Fort Peck Fish Hatchery
Lakeridge Motel & Tackle Shop
Fort Peck Marina
Fort Peck Interpretive Center
Rock Creek Marina
FRAZER
School
FROID
Froid Grocery
GLASGOW
FWP Region 6 headquarters
City-County Library
Cottonwood Inn
Ezzie’s West End Conoco
Glasgow Recreation Department
Shady Rest RV Park
HARLEM
EZ Mart store

HAVRE AREA
FWP Havre Office
Stromberg’s Sinclair
Hill County Library
The Walleye Tavern (near Fresno Reservoir)
Quality Life Concepts

HINSDALE
Sweet Memories
LOMA
Midway Mercantile (Across from Ma’s Loma Cafe) (Revise name)
MALTA
Phillips County Library
Westside Conoco Convenience Store
MEDICINE LAKE
Lake Pit Stop store
NASHUA
B&B Foods
OPHEIM
Pro Co-Op
PEERLESS
Dutch Henry’s Club
PLENTYWOOD
Sheridan County Library
Ace Hardware
ROCKY BOY AGENCY
Chippewa-Cree Tribal TANF office
SACO
Sleeping Buffalo Hot springs

SCOBEY
Pro Co-op
TruValue Hardware

Thursday, July 27th 2017
Lodgepole Fire Update (Thursday Morning)
Location: 52 miles West/Northwest of Jordan, MT and 15 miles east of Winnett, MT.
Agency Jurisdiction: Bureau of Land Management, State of Montana, Garfield County, Petroleum County

Incident Command: Western Montana Type II Interagency Incident Management Team (IMT), Rick Connell IC

Cooperating Agencies: BLM, US Fish and Wildlife Service, DNRC, Garfield County and Petroleum County Total Complex Acres: Approximately 270,200 acres over all four fires (Bridge Coulee, Barker, South Breaks, and Square Butte).

Highway: Highway 200, is open, with decreased speed limits through the fire area. Use caution as there is still a lot of fire vehicles entering and leaving the highway.

Key Message: With cooperative weather over the past couple of days firefighters have been able to make good progress on containing the fire and increasing containment to 62%. Crews will continue to patrol the lines, work on mop up, and where appropriate start working on rehabilitation of fire lines. Residents are urged to take caution as they enter their properties since hot spots might still be present in the fire area. Questions about recovery efforts for property owners can be found on the Garfield County DES website.

Background: The Lodgepole Complex started on July 19, 2017 as 4 fires following a lightning storm. The South Breaks and Square Butte Fires burned together on July 21, 2017. All the fires have now burned together as one. The fires are burning in grass, shrub, and timber.

Weather Concerns: The weather on Thursday is forecasted to include critical fire weather conditions ahead of a frontal boundary. Gusty southeast winds and lower humidity levels in the upper teens are expected with a slight chance of thunderstorms.

Evacuations: The Garfield County Sheriff office has lifted the evacuations for property owners. The area is open to local ONLY traffic and drivers need to be advised of livestock & heavy fire traffic on roads. After property inspection, landowners are urged to report losses to the Sheriff office via gcsheriff@midrivers.com to begin the documentation and needs assessment process. This includes: Physical address, Structures, including type, Confirmed livestock loss, Pasture loss, Hay loss, Fence loss.

Safety Advisory: Remember, if you feel concerned or threatened by fire activity, self-evacuate. Do not wait for someone to tell you to leave, leave when you feel you need to.

Percent Containment: 62% Personnel: 598 people

Wednesday, July 26th 2017
Federal Government Rejects Montana's Request For Aid In Battling Wildfires
HELENA — U.S. government officials have rejected Montana’s request for aid in battling a group of wildfires that have been classified as the nation’s top firefighting priority.

Gov. Steve Bullock spokeswoman Ronja Abel said Tuesday the state is appealing Sunday’s rejection of a grant application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The fire management assistance grant would allow the state to recover 75 percent of its costs to suppress the four fires that have burned nearly 400 square miles and destroyed at least 16 homes in eastern Montana.

The Lodgepole Complex is burning through a mix of private, state and federal land.

Abel says the governor spoke with FEMA administrator Brock Long, who assured Bullock that he would personally review the appeal.

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester also sent Long a letter demanding to know why the request was denied.

Wednesday, July 26th 2017
Last Hunter Education Classes Offered In Bainville for Youth
The last Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Hunter Education classroom course date has been set for the Bainville area, on Fri. and Sat., August 4-5. All hunter education classes are free of charge.

Students must register online at the FWP website: fwp.mt.gov click on the education tab, then click “hunter education programs.” Next, “Find a class or field course” and search for the available class in your area. Detailed instructions on dates, times, and other information will be found at each class’ registration page.

For youth to be eligible to hunt and be fully certified during the 2017 season, hunters must be 12-years old by January 16, 2018. Students aged 10 and 11 can take a course and hunt as an apprentice, but will not be fully certified until the year they turn 12. All registrants for these events must be 10 years old by the first day of class.

Classroom students need to pick up the Hunter Education Manual from course coordinator Chuck Hyatt. If there are any questions, please call Hyatt at 406-769-7111.

Wednesday, July 26th 2017
Lodgepole Complex Update (Wednesday Morning)
Location: 52 miles West/Northwest of Jordan, MT and 15 miles east of Winnett, MT.

Agency Jurisdiction: Bureau of Land Management, State of Montana, Garfield County, Petroleum County

Incident Command: Western Montana Type II Interagency Incident Management Team (IMT), Rick Connell IC

Cooperating Agencies: BLM, US Fish and Wildlife Service, DNRC, Garfield County and Petroleum County Total Complex Acres: Approximately 270,000 acres over all four fires (Bridge Coulee, Barker, South Breaks, and Square Butte).

Highway: Highway 200, is open, with decreased speed limits through the fire area. Use caution as there is still a lot of fire vehicles entering and leaving the highway.

Key Message: Containment for the Lodgepole Complex increased to 34%. The increase was due to better mapping and successful burnout operations along the northeast side of the Baker Fire and the east side of the Bridge Coulee Fire. These tactics increased the depth along the containment line by one quarter mile. Throughout the Lodgepole Complex there is occasional smoke columns as the fire continues to burn out pockets of interior unburned fuels.

Background: The Lodgepole Complex started on July 19, 2017 as 4 fires following a lightning storm. The South Breaks and Square Butte Fires burned together on July 21, 2017. The fires are burning in grass, shrub, and timber.

Weather Concerns: The weather on Wednesday is forecasted to be warmer and drier with gusty winds out of the south.

Evacuations: The Garfield County Sheriff office has lifted the evacuations for property owners. The area is open to local ONLY traffic and drivers need to be advised of livestock & heavy fire traffic on roads.After property inspection, landowners are urged to report losses to the Sheriff office via gcsheriff@midrivers.com to begin the documentation and needs assessment process. This includes: Physical address, Structures, including type, Confirmed livestock loss, Pasture loss, Hay loss, Fence loss.

Safety Advisory: Remember, if you feel concerned or threatened by fire activity, self-evacuate. Do not wait for someone to tell you to leave, leave when you feel you need to.
Percent Containment: 34% Personnel: 656 people

Tuesday, July 25th 2017
Lodgepole Complex Fire Update
Tuesday, July 25th, 7:30 a.m.
Location: 52 miles West/Northwest of Jordan, MT and 15 miles east of Winnett, MT.

Agency Jurisdiction: Bureau of Land Management, State of Montana, Garfield County, Petroleum County

Incident Command: Western Montana Type II Interagency Incident Management Team (IMT), Rick Connell IC

Cooperating Agencies: BLM, US Fish and Wildlife Service, DNRC, Garfield County and Petroleum County Total Complex Acres: Approximately 250,000 acres over all four fires (Bridge Coulee, Barker, South Breaks, and Square Butte).

Highway: There is minimal fire activity along Highway 200, we are not expecting delays due to fire activity but please be careful of fire traffic entering and leaving the highway.

Key Message: Firefighters were aided with more favorable weather on Monday, helping to increase the containment to 20%. The containment line is located south of Highway 200. The combination of intense initial attack by the landowners and local resources along with the work of fire crews, has halted most the fire’s progress. Interior burning continues to occur in areas where there are unburned fuels available.

Today’s forecasted weather should again help the suppression efforts. If conditions are right and the lines hold, crews will take the opportunity to start working from the fires edge to cool more of the interior. The Lodgepole complex will be staging resources to assist with initial attack should there be a need.

Background: The Lodgepole Complex started on July 19, 2017 as 4 fires following a lightning storm. The South Breaks and Square Butte Fires burned together on July 21, 2017. The fires are burning in grass, shrub, and timber.

Weather Concerns: Tonight’s there is a chance for isolated thunderstorms producing possible strong erratic winds. Tuesday the temperature will be slightly cooler with winds to the NE 10 mph.

Evacuations: Evacuations remain in place for portions of both Garfield and Petroleum Counties due to the extreme fire behavior and fire movement. In Garfield County the Evacuation Zone includes all the area north of Highway 200, west of Edwards Road to the County Line. An Evacuation Shelter has been established at the VFW Building in Jordan, MT. Sixteen homes have been destroyed by the fire.

Safety Advisory: Remember, if you feel concerned or threatened by fire activity, self-evacuate. Do not wait for someone to tell you to leave, leave when you feel you need to.
Percent Containment: 20% Personnel: 611 people

Monday, July 24th 2017
Estimated 226,000 Acres Burning In Lodgepole Fire Complex
Firefighters have been working containment lines and providing structure protection. The fire was active on the northern side due to southerly winds. There are 215+ people assigned to the fire, with more on order and arriving daily. As resources arrive they are being sent out to the fire.

Twelve homes have been destroyed, as well as an untold but significant amount of fencing and haystacks. Just over 50 people who live north of Highway 200 in western Garfield County remain under evacuation.

There is a chance of isolated thunderstorms with dry lightning ahead of a Monday morning cold front passage which will cause winds to shift out of the northwest at 15-25 mph. This could cause an increase in fire activity especially to the south and east. A Red Flag Warning remains in effect through 9:00 p.m. Monday for northern Montana east of the Continental Divide.

Basic Information
Current as of 7/23/2017, 10:33:55 PM
Incident Type Wildfire
Cause Unknown
Date of Origin Wednesday July 19th, 2017 approx. 03:17 PM
Location 52 miles WNW of Jordan, Mont.
Incident Commander Rick Connell
Current Situation
Total Personnel 300
Size 226,000 Acres
Estimated Containment Date Wednesday August 02nd, 2017 approx. 12:00 AM
Fuels Involved
Pine, grass, dead/down, sagebrush (General Habitat). Primary core Sage Grouse habitat affected south of Highway 200.
Significant Events
Extreme running, short-range spotting, isolated torching. Rapid rates of spread reported by fire behavior analyst.
Outlook
Planned Actions
Continue structure protection and re-evaluate contingency lines.
Remarks
Bridge Coulee jumped the Mussellshell River into the Lewistown Zone and jumped south of HWY 200 on July 21 causing large evacuation notifications and some structure lost. Additional structures are threatened on the Bridge Coulee fire west of the Musselshell River in Petroleum County.
South Breaks/Square Butte Fire, Baker, and Bridge Coulee fires continue to grow. Active firefighting operations in effect to stop fire progression from impacting primary residences, livestock, and grazing lands.
Fires included in this Complex are as follows:
Bridge Coulee (MT-MCD-248)
South Breaks (MT-MCD-247)
Barker (MT-MCD-246)
Square Butte (MT-MCD-243)
Acres reported are approximate due to large fire growth after initial GIS mapping missions by agency helicopter.

Monday, July 24th 2017
FEDA Scholarships For The Trades Awards
The 2017 Feda Scholarships for the Trades were awarded recently to four Valley County high school graduates. Each recipient will receive $1,375, announced Doris Leader who chairs the Valley County Community Foundation.

The four recipients are:
Nashua High School graduate Nicole Williams who will attend Missoula College in Missoula to study respiratory care.

Breanna Barstad, who attended Glasgow High School and received a GED in 2016, begins studies this fall at MSU-Billings for an associate’s degree. She plans to have a career as a radiology technician.

Trent Herbert, a 2017 GHS graduate, will attend North Dakota State College of Science to major in welding and minor in precision machining.

Jake Hentges, also a GHS graduate, will attend MSU-Northern and pursue an associate’s degree in diesel technology and a second-year certificate in welding.

Audrey and Gerry Feda of Glasgow established the scholarship with an endowment to VCCF in 2007. They designated it to benefit graduates of Valley County high schools who pursue post-secondary education in the trades. Earnings from their endowment fund the annual awards. Since 2009 when the first Feda scholarship was awarded, 15 students have received scholarships.

Graduating seniors and previous Feda Scholarship recipients are encouraged to apply. Applications for 2018 will be available next spring along with a notice of the deadline and requirements for applicants are given through local media, high school guidance counselors and the VCCF website: www.valleycountycf.net.

Monday, July 24th 2017
Governor Bullock Declares Fire Emergency In Montana
MONTANA – Citing active wildfires and extreme fire danger across the state, Governor Steve Bullock has issued an executive order declaring a fire emergency in Montana.

Prior to signing the executive order, the governor was briefed by the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation and Disaster and Emergency Services at the Department of Military Affairs. He also spoke with Rick Connell, the Incident Commander at the Lodgepole Complex area, which is currently the state’s largest fire.

“Montana is facing extreme fire conditions. Our top priority is ensuring the safety of Montanans, their property, and our communities. This declaration provides additional resources to the brave men and women fighting these fires,” Bullock said of the declaration. “As firefighters battle blazes across the state, Montanans must stay vigilant about active fires in their area, obey any evacuation orders, and prevent any actions that might spark new fires.”

The declaration allows Bullock to mobilize additional state resources and the Montana National Guard to combat the fires, as well as expend funds to meet the contingencies and needs that may arise from them.
Monday, July 24th 2017
FWP Seeking Members for Region 6 Citizen Advisory Committee
Photo: CAC members during a recent field trip in Phillips Co., learning about Wildlife Management Areas

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking applicants to fill two volunteer positions on the Region 6 Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC).

The CAC is a general advisory committee that provides input and guidance to FWP on a variety of issues—from wildlife and fisheries management to access, state parks, outdoor recreation and law enforcement.

“We look at the CAC as being a two-way street for providing and receiving information from the public,” said Mark Sullivan, Region 6 Supervisor. “We provide members with up-to-date information about the work FWP is doing, and we in turn rely on members to take that information back to their neighbors and aquaintances.

In addition, we want feedback on what CAC members are hearing from their neck of the woods for us to do a better job managing resources for the public.”

Applicants must live in FWP Region 6, which includes the counties of Hill, Blaine, Phillips, Valley, Daniels, Sheridan, Roosevelt, and portions of McCone, Richland and Choteau Counties. The committee is designed to have a membership that represents a variety of northeast Montana communities and natural resource interests. FWP welcomes applications from hunters, anglers, landowners, nongame advocates, trappers, outfitters and guides, state parks and tourism advocates, campers and other outdoor recreationists, and anyone with an interest in natural resource issues.

“There is especially a need to fill positions from the western part of the Region, such as from Hill and Blaine counties, but all applications will be considered and kept on file for future openings,” said Sullivan.

The panel of twelve volunteers typically has three meetings a year, usually at the Fort Peck Fish Hatchery meeting room. Members may be appointed for up to two consecutive, three-year terms. Meals and travel expenses are provided.

Applicants will be asked to provide an overview of their interests and involvement in natural resource issues and write a few sentences on why they are interested in serving on the CAC.

To apply, contact FWP at 406-228-3704, email Marc Kloker at mkloker@mt.gov , or stop by the Region 6 office at 1 Airport Road, U.S. Highway 2 West in Glasgow. Completed applications must be received by Aug. 15, 2017. FWP personnel will then review applications and select the new members. Successful applicants will be invited to attend their first CAC meeting in Sept. 2017.

Monday, July 24th 2017
Region 6 Volunteer Hunter and Bowhunter Education Instructors and Others Honored at Statewide Workshop
Photo: Saco hunter and bowhunter education instructor Howard Pippin with his 50-year plaque for hunter education.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks honored the service of its Region 6 Hunter and Bowhunter Education volunteer instructors, along other volunteers statewide, at the Statewide Hunter/Bowhunter Education workshop in Helena June 23-25.

The workshop, held at the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds, marked the 60th anniversary of Hunter/Bowhunter Education Program. It was held in place of the usual smaller annual workshops in FWP’s eight regions. There are more than 1,300 volunteer instructors in communities across the state.

The speaker on Friday evening was Andrew McKean. McKean is a hunter and bowhunter education instructor from Glasgow, who is currently the chief editor of Outdoor Life Magazine and a former FWP information and education manager in Glasgow. McKean’s discussion was titled “Rethinking Hunter Education,” and covered the past/present/future of hunters and hunter education. The talk generated some great discussion amongst the instructors.

Gov. Steve Bullock officially opened the workshop on Saturday. He spoke of the significant impact that hunting has on Montana’s economy and thanked instructors for their contribution.

“Hunting is a rich tradition in Montana that creates lasting memories and unforgettable adventures,” Gov. Bullock said. “Hundreds of volunteer instructors across the state pass along this treasured heritage to future generations and share their knowledge, time and passion so that we can safely enjoy this tradition on our prized public lands.”

About 230 instructors attended the workshop. Along with hearing several keynote addresses, instructors chose from a range of classes at the workshop including firearm range safety, survival skills, bear awareness, first aid/CPR, elk calling, tree stand safety, public speaking, buckskin and parfleche, ethics, hands-on learning and orienteering.

A banquet was held Saturday evening, during which service awards were given. Randy Newberg, known for his role in popular outdoor television shows and as an advocate for hunters and public access, was the keynote speaker.

Receiving awards at the workshop were numerous instructors with service ranging from 5 to 60 years. All service award recipients receive a plaque, with other milestones receiving special awards, including: 10 year: engraved knife; 20 year: FWP belt buckle; 30 year: voucher for purchase of a firearm; 40 year: coat; 45 year: Filson vest; 50 year: $500 and their name on regional Hall of Fame plaque.

The culmination of the Saturday night awards ceremony was the honoring of Region 1’s Pat McVay of Kalispell and Bob Larsson of St. Ignatius for their incredible 60 years of service teaching Hunter Education.

Highlighting the awards for Region 6 was Howard Pippin from Saco, who has been a hunter education instructor for 50 years.

“As evidenced by the decades of service our instructors give to our programs, there’s an incredible amount of dedication and commitment out there in our communities,” said FWP Region 6 Information and Education Program Manager Marc Kloker. “To instruct for 50 years, like Howard has, is both amazing and inspiring. Howard does an excellent job running his classes in Saco, and he has remarkably taught multiple generations of hunters.”

“These volunteers play a key role in shaping future Montana hunters by providing training in safety, ethics, conservation, and the proper use of firearms and archery equipment,” Kloker continued. “Howard, and others like him, works very hard to pass the state’s rich hunting heritage on to the next generations. Please be sure to thank your local hunter and bowhunter education instructors when you see them.”

Also receiving a special award, for the Region 6 instructor of the year, was instructor Tim Zabrocki from Fort Peck.

“I have seen Tim’s dedication and commitment to hunter education firsthand,” says Kloker. “He relates well to students, demonstrates all aspects of safe and responsible hunting, and is a very dedicated instructor with well-timed humor and knowledge.”

FWP is thankful to have hundreds of qualified instructors across the state, and always welcomes new additions. For information on becoming a Hunter or Bowhunter Education instructor in Region 6, please contact Marc Kloker at 406-228-3704, or go to the website to learn more and apply.

Region 6 Hunter and Bowhunter Education Award List

5 Year Hunter Ed
Rick Harman- Hill Co.
David Rummel- Phillips Co.
Terry Sanquins- Phillips Co.

10 Year Hunter Ed
Scott Vandall- Roosevelt Co.
Kelsey Heiberg- Phillips Co.

10 Year Bowhunter Ed
Scott Vandall- Roosevelt Co.
Kelsey Heiberg- Phillips Co.

25 Year Hunter Ed
Mischelle Fisher- Blaine Co.
Mark Sullivan- Valley Co.

25 Year Bowhunter Ed
John Demarais- Phillips Co.

30 Year Bowhunter Ed
Ron Cortese- Hill Co.
Greg Durward- Hill Co.

35 Year Hunter Ed
Gordon Crandell- Daniels Co.

50 Year Hunter Ed
Howard Pippin- Phillips Co.

Sunday, July 23rd 2017
Latest From BLM On Lodgepole Complex Fire
(As of 9:10 Sunday Night)
Lodgepole Complex – 125,000 acres - 0% contained
Incident website

Lodgepole Complex Update
Sunday, July 23 – 9:00 p.m.
226,000 acres – 0% Contained

Firefighters are building containment lines and providing structure protection. There are 215 people assigned to the fire, with more on order and arriving daily.

Twelve homes have been destroyed, as well as an untold but significant amount of fencing and haystacks. Just over 50 people who live north of Highway 200 in western Garfield County remain under evacuation.

There is a chance of isolated thunderstorms with dry lightning ahead of a Monday morning cold front passage which will cause winds to shift out of the northwest at 15-25 mph. This could cause an increase in fire activity especially to the south and east. A Red Flag Warning remains in effect through 9:00 p.m. Monday for northern Montana east of the Continental Divide.

https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5399/

Meanwhile, there are more incidents in other places: For details, check out our WildWeb by clicking on Recent or Open incidents.

Thursday, July 20th 2017
Governor Bullock Declares 28 Montana Counties A Drought Disaster
MONTANA – Governor Steve Bullock today issued an Executive Order declaring the following 28 counties and five Indian Reservations are in a drought disaster:

Blaine, Big Horn, Carter, Chouteau, Custer, Daniels, Dawson, Fallon, Fergus, Garfield, Golden Valley, Hill, Judith Basin, McCone, Musselshell, Petroleum, Phillips, Powder River, Prairie, Richland, Roosevelt, Rosebud, Sheridan, Treasure, Valley, Yellowstone, Wheatland, and Wibaux Counties and the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, Rocky Boy Indian Reservation, Crow Indian Reservation, and Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation

“Extreme drought conditions are threatening the hard work of farmers and ranchers in Eastern Montana communities,” said Governor Bullock. “My administration remains committed to helping these folks get back on their feet and ensuring that all Montanans stay safe during these hot summer months.”

On June 23, 2017, Governor Bullock issued Executive Order 5-2017 declaring 19 Montana counties and two Indian Reservations in a drought emergency. Since the issuance of the Executive Order, sustained high temperatures and desiccating winds have caused severe worsening conditions and additional counties to suffer from extreme drought.

As of July 10, 2017, small nonfarm businesses in 16 Montana counties are eligible to apply for low-interest federal disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration after Governor Bullock sent a letter to Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting a Secretarial Drought Disaster Designation. Affected counties and reservations are also eligible for the Livestock Forage Program.

Today’s drought disaster declaration continues the temporary suspension of “hours of service” regulations and engages maximum employee assistance and cooperation to secure further economic assistance for the affected counties and Indian Reservations.

Tuesday, July 18th 2017
Toni Plummer-Alvernaz Sentenced To Prison For Theft From A Program Receiving Federal Funds
Story from Billings Gazette:

The former director of Glasgow-based organizations intended to help domestic violence victims will spend time in federal prison for stealing grant money from the programs.

Chief U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen on July 14 in Great Falls sentenced Toni Louise Plummer-Alvernaz to one year in prison and ordered $246,024 restitution.

Plummer-Alvernaz pleaded guilty to theft from a program receiving federal funds. A second count of wire fraud was dismissed as part of a plea deal.

Plummer-Alvernaz used federal money “as a slush fund to line her own pockets,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan G. Weldon in a sentencing memo.

Congress has tried to address domestic violence in Montana and in Indian country by providing federal funding.

“Plummer chose to victimize victims yet again” by stealing money meant to help some of the most vulnerable people in the community, Weldon said.

Plummer-Alvernaz was the executive director for the Montana Native Women’s Coalition and the Women’s Resource Center.

The organizations received about $1.6 million in federal grand funds from the Department of Justice’s Office of Violence Against Women.

Plummer-Alvernaz, the prosecution said, embezzled about 15 percent of the grants by inflating work hours, using the organizations’ credit cards for vacations to Mount Rushmore and California, claiming travel when no travel occurred, taking cash advances and bonuses and paying family members money they were not entitled to receive.

The case is the latest in a series of prosecutions by the U.S. Attorney’s Guardians Project into public corruption, fraud and theft in federal grants, contracts and programs. The project is an anti-corruption strike force created in 2011 and includes agents with the FBI, DOJ Office of Inspector General and local law enforcement.

Tuesday, July 18th 2017
Montana DEQ Issues Air Quality Alert For Several Montana Counties Including Valley County
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has issued an air
quality alert for Blaine, Cascade, Chouteau, Glacier, Hill, Liberty,
Phillips, Pondera, Teton, Toole, and Valley counties in effect until
4pm today due to a band of smoke from Canadian fires and smoke from
fires along the Divide in Montana. This alert will be updated again
at 400PM on 7/18/2017.

An Air Quality Alert means that particulates have been trending
upwards and that an exceedence of the 24 hour National Ambient Air
Quality Standard (NAAQS) has occurred or may occur in the near
future.

As of 9AM, Particulate levels in Great Falls and Malta are Unhealthy
for Sensitive Groups

As of 9AM, Particulate levels in Helena, Lewistown, and Sidney are
Moderate

When air quality is Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups... State and local
health officials recommend that people with respiratory or heart
disease, the elderly and children should limit prolonged exertion.

When air quality is Moderate... State and local health officials
recommend that unusually sensitive people should consider reducing
prolonged or heavy exertion.

For more information visit the Montana Department of Environmental
Quality at www.todaysair.mt.gov

Monday, July 17th 2017
Valley County Commissioners Vote To Improve Airport Road In Glasgow
The Valley County Commissioners have voted 3-0 to spend over $774,000 to improve the Airport Road in Glasgow.

The improvements would include patching, leveling, an overlay and chip sealing for the road from Highway #2 by Ezzies, up past the airport and to the junction with Glasgow High School. The proposed improvements do not include Scottie Pride Drive.

Century Construction received the bid to complete the project and the plan is to have the improvements done by the end of August.

The commissioners rejected a recommendation from the Valley County Salary Compensation Board for a 6.8% increase in salary for elected officials. The Salary Compensation Board will have to go back to the drawing board and put forth another recommendation for the commissioners.

Monday, July 17th 2017
Hi-Line Sportsmen Offers Mini-Grant Program
Got an idea to improve hunting, fishing, access, or shooting sports in northeast Montana? Hi-Line Sportsmen wants to help fund it

The Hi-Line Sportsmen conservation club is soliciting applications for its mini-grants program to fund projects that would improve hunting, fishing, or recreational access in Valley County and elsewhere in northeastern Montana.

The grants, of up to $1,000 apiece, are intended to help improve outdoor recreational opportunities in the area. Examples of projects that are likely to be received favorably include those that expand public hunting and fishing access, promote recreational shooting and outdoor recreation of all types, enhance wildlife and fisheries habitat, and contribute to youth outdoor education.

Members of the club, which held its first-annual fundraising banquet last February in Glasgow, are veterans of species-specific conservation groups, but the Hi-Line Sportsmen does not focus its funding or conservation work on any specific wildlife species or recreational opportunity.

“Our tag line is ‘Keeping Conservation Local,’ and our grants confirm that our only focus is northeastern Montana,” says Jennifer Jackson, Hi-Line Sportsmen president. “Any individual or organization from the region is encouraged to apply for our grants. Giving back to the community in a meaningful way is precisely why we started the group.”

A review board will prioritize funding requests based on a number of criteria, including:
• The amount of benefit to local hunters, anglers, shooters, and outdoor recreationists;
• Whether the request improves public or private land;
• Whether it’s a one-time funding request or a multiple-year project;
• Whether the project promotes outdoor education.

In order to request a mini-grant application, call or email Jennifer Jackson at 263-7339 or jenn.stein@nemont.net or Andrew McKean at 263-5442 or andrew.mckean@outdoorlife.com.

Deadline to be considered for this year’s funding cycle is Oct. 1, 2017, but grants will be considered as they are submitted.

Friday, July 14th 2017
Mourning dove banding is resuming in Outlook this year
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wildlife biologist Ryan Williamson is in full swing of trapping and banding this small game bird.

Mourning doves are one of the most widely distributed and abundant birds in North America, and are also a popular game bird with hunting seasons established in 40 of the lower 48 states. As part of an effort to estimate population size, harvest rates and regulations, mourning doves are banded throughout the United States including within Montana’s Region 6.

“Banding mourning doves helps wildlife managers estimate population size and harvest rates for the species, and this in turn is used in the federal framework to establish dove hunting regulations for each state,” says Williamson, who is assisting with banding operations in Montana.

In Region 6, dove banding sites are established using wire funnel traps baited with grain to capture mourning doves. Doves are then aged and sexed based upon feather color and patterns of feather replacement and wear.

“Doves are marked with metal leg bands containing a unique number and a website and phone number that hunters can use to report the band,” Williamson says. “In return, wildlife managers receive important information on the number of banded doves harvested, and the locations and dates of harvest.”

More than 18,000 doves are trapped and banded yearly in the 14 states of the Central Management Unit, which Montana is located in.

Hunters are a crucial link to mourning dove band returns,” Williamson went on. “By checking
all harvested doves for bands and reporting banded doves, you help manage this important migratory game bird resource.”

Williamson also says the same goes for any banded bird. “It’s quick, easy, and you get to see where and when that bird was banded. The story that band will tell can be very interesting.”

“What I find most interesting about dove banding is the returns from previous years,” said Williamson. “This year, I have recaptured birds from all years I have banded starting in 2014. To think of how many miles some of these birds have seen is the neatest part about it. In addition, I had a bird that I banded last summer that was harvested in South Texas three months later and 1,400 miles south of here.”

Because some bands are very small, hunters can easily overlook them. Williamson reminds hunters to carefully check all harvested doves and waterfowl for the presence of a leg band. If you harvest a banded migratory bird, please report it by logging on to http://www.reportband.gov/RECFORM.CFM. One change to note, banded migratory birds can no longer be reported by the phone number on the band. This must be completed on the website.

Wednesday, July 12th 2017
Valley County Commissioners To Make Decision On Pay Increases And Improvements To Airport Road
On Monday, the Valley County Commissioners will vote on two big subjects, proposed improvements to the airport road in Glasgow and pay increases for elected officials and county employees.

Valley County has received a bid for $774,470 to improve the airport road in Glasgow. The improvements would include patching, leveling, an overlay and chip sealing for the road from Highway #2 by Ezzies, up past the airport and to the junction with Glasgow High School. The proposed improvements do not include Scottie Pride Drive. The commissioners will vote on the proposed project on Monday.

The commissioners will also decide on Monday, pay raises for county employees including elected officials. The Valley County Salary Compensation Board recommended a $3000 per year increase for elected officials which amounts to a 6.8% increase in salary. The commissioners are considering a similar raise for all county employees.

A decision on wages is expected to made on Monday.

Wednesday, July 12th 2017
Stage 1 Fire Restrictions Take Effect on FWP Properties in Hill and Phillips Counties, Remain in Other Counties
In response to dry, warm weather that could increase the danger of human-caused wildfires, under the recommendations of county officials, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks fishing access sites (FASs) and wildlife management areas (WMAs) are now under Stage 1 Fire Restrictions in Hill and Phillips counties. In addition, in the Region 6 area, Blaine, Garfield, Roosevelt, Sheridan and Valley counties remain in Stage 1 restrictions.

County officials in those counties enacted the Stage 1 Restrictions, which ban campfires except where specifically exempted. Landowners and agencies in those counties may or may not exempt specific sites. Stage 1 Restrictions also prohibit smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, and in areas at least three feet in diameter that are cleared of all flammable materials.

Per FWP policy, NO fires will be allowed, even in steel grates, at any FAS or WMA in the above-named counties except for Bear Paw Lake FAS in Hill County and Brush Lake State Park in Sheridan county. To be specific, campfires will be prohibited at the following areas:
-Faber FAS, Blaine Co.
-Bailey’s FAS, Hill Co.
-Fresno Tail water FAS, Hill Co.
-Rock Creek FAS, Garfield Co.
-Cole Ponds FAS, Phillips Co.
-Alkali Creek FAS, Phillips Co.
-Lewis and Clark FAS (Bridge Park), Roosevelt Co.
-Whitetail Reservoir, Sheridan Co.
-Duck Creek FAS, Valley Co.
-Fort Peck Dredge Cut Pond FAS, Valley Co.
-Glasgow Base Pond FAS, Valley Co.
-School Trust FAS, Valley Co.

For updates on restrictions and closures around the state, go to fwp.mt.gov and under the “news” tab, click on “drought and fire.”

Wednesday, July 12th 2017
Karla Nix Reaches Plea Agreement On Felony Charge Of Exploitation Of An Older Person
The Valley County Attorney has reached a plea agreement with Glasgow resident Karla Nix on the felony charge of Exploitation of an Older Person.

Nix was charged earlier this year with exploiting a 93-year old Glasgow resident by allegedly making charges on credit cards, making ATM withdrawals and taking monthly life insurance payments.

According to court documents, Nix will plead no contest to the felony charge. District Court Judge Yvonne Laird has ordered a pre-sentence investigation and sentencing is set for July 31st in Glasgow.

The plea agreement states that Karla Nix will receive a 4-year deferred sentence and a $2000 fine and must pay full restitution to the victim.

Judge Laird will make the final decision on sentencing and could change the terms of the plea agreement.

The Nix case was set to go to trial on July 5th but was vacated in June.

Wednesday, July 12th 2017
Stage 1 Fire Restrictions To Go Into Effect For C.M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge July 14th.
Stage 1 fire restrictions will go into effect for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s C.M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge, Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge and Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge, beginning at 12:01 a.m. on July14, 2017.

“In an effort to remain consistent with our partners, and to deliver a common fire danger message, these refuges will begin Stage 1 fire restrictions,” said Paul Santavy, Refuge Manager for the C.M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. “The continued hot and dry weather conditions have increased the potential for unwanted human-caused fires. Our firefighting personnel have been busy fighting lightning-caused fires and we would like to reduce the chance of them having to respond to fires caused by unattended campfires and other human activity.”

These restrictions will remain in effect until rescinded.
Under Stage 1, the following acts are prohibited: building, maintaining, attending or using a fire or campfire, except within an established, metal fire ring in a developed recreation site; smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.

Exemptions to the above prohibitions are allowed for persons using a fire solely fueled by liquid petroleum or LPG; for a federal, state, or local officer, or member of an organized law enforcement, rescue, or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty; or persons with a permit or written authorization allowing the otherwise prohibited act or omission.

The following are approved campfire locations: Crooked Creek Recreation Area in Petroleum County; James Kipp Recreation Area in Fergus County; Fourchette Creek Recreation Area in Phillips County; Bone Trail, Pines Recreation Area, and Duck Creek Bay in Valley County.

Even the smallest spark has the potential to cause significant damage, so please do your part to prevent wildfires: crush cigarettes dead out and never leave a campfire unattended. Take precautions while recreating on public lands by always carrying a shovel, bucket and fire extinguisher. Make sure your campfire is dead out before leaving your campsite.

For up-to-date fire restrictions information, please visit to www.firerestrictions.us/mt or call your local land management agency.

For more information, please contact the C.M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge at 535-2800; Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge at 654-2863 and Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge at 789-2305.
Tuesday, July 11th 2017
Thunderstorms Bring Some Rain To Northeast Montana
Two separate lines of thunderstorms ended up bringing some moisture to northeast Montana on Monday night into Tuesday morning.

The first line moved through on Monday evening, bringing mostly just high winds to the Glasgow area. The highest recorded gust at the National Weather Service Glasgow airport location was 58mph, though remote reports recorded a gust of 70mph 2 miles west of Glasgow.

The next line moved through early on Tuesday morning, and this time Glasgow received some much needed rainfall. The National Weather Service reported receiving 45 hundredths of an inch with the thunder-storms. According to the National Weather Service, the last time Glasgow had more than .45 was on October 31, 2016.

Monday, July 10th 2017
Watercraft users MUST stop at AIS inspection stations every time, even if they have already been inspected
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wardens would like to remind watercraft users that they must stop every time they pass an AIS inspection station, even if they have previously been inspected.

For example, if a person goes through an inspection station at 7 a.m. and receives a copy of the watercraft inspection form, and then drives past the same inspection station at 2 p.m. on their way home, they need to stop again.

According to Region 6 Warden Captain Ron Howell, many folks have been bypassing inspection stations after already being inspected, thinking they are in the clear for the day, or even the weekend, with the copy of the inspection form.

“The yellow carbon copy of the inspection form is not a ‘free pass’ to bypass a station,” said Howell. “Boaters still have to stop every time. Having a copy of a previous inspection may speed things along during an inspection, but it does not give a boater the right to bypass a station.”

This even includes if the boater is going back and forth to the same body of water and perhaps a camp site, while going by an inspection station, multiple times a day.

“With hundreds and even thousands of boats recreating, it is essentially impossible to keep track of who has stopped for an inspection and who hasn’t,” said Howell. “If you pass by an inspection station with a water vessel, there is a good chance you will be pulled over.”

Additionally, all nonresident watercraft must be inspected before they launch in the state of Montana, regardless whether there is an inspection station open or not. Nonresidents can get their boat inspected at any AIS station or at any FWP Regional office.

Monday, July 10th 2017
Seats selling like hot cake for Fort Peck Summer Theatre’s MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET
On December 4, 1956, four of the biggest names in music gathered for a once in a lifetime recording session. That amazing evening is re-created in the world wide phenomenon: Million Dollar Quartet. Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins come to life onstage and raise the roof in this electrifying theatrical performance.

Returning after performances in Ring of Fire, The Buddy Holly Story and Always…Patsy Cline the cast features musician-actors Ross Bridgeman (as Lewis), Tyson Gerhardt (as Perkins), John Knispel (as Elvis) and new-comer Nathan Snow (as Cash), along with Evan Goldhahn on drums and Mackenzie Leighton on bass. Also featured are Chae Clearwood as Dyanne and Andy Meyers as studio producer Sam Phillips.

Million Dollar Quartet is directed by California native and University of Montana Masters candidate Joel Shura, with a scenic design by Michaela Lynne Stein, whose credits include Assistant Scenic Designer for Frozen in Disneyland and last season’s Mary Poppins here at Fort Peck.

Performances are July 14 – July 30; Friday & Saturday at 7:30pm and Sunday at 4:00pm. This show has no intermission.

For tickets and more information visit our new online box office at fortpecktheatre.org

Friday, July 7th 2017
Info Meetings Regarding Valley View Home Scheduled
There will be several short informational meetings scheduled in Valley County for the Vote Yes Valley View Campaign.

The upcoming locations are:
Monday, July 10th in Hinsdale at 7:00p.m. at the American Legion Hall
Wednesday, July 12th at 6;30p.m. in Opheim, downstairs at the Town Hall
Thursday, July 13th at 6:30p.m. in Nashua at the City Hall
Tuesday, July 18th at 7:00p.m. at the Fort Peck Interpretive Center
Tuesday, July 25th at 1:00p.m. in Frazer at the Frazer School
Tuesday, August 1st at 6:00p.m. in St. Marie at the Town Hall
Sunday, August 6th at 7:00p.m. at the Lustre Christian High School

Everyone is strongly encouraged to attend and learn about the future of Valley View Home and what we need to do to make sure that the home remains a vibrant part of our community.

Thursday, July 6th 2017
59-Year Old Valley County Man Dies In 2 Vehicle Accident
Valley County Sheriff Vern Buerkle has told Kltz/Mix-93 that a 58-year old man died as the result of injuries suffered in a 2 vehicle collision Thursday morning near Glasgow.

Law Enforcement was called to a location 3 miles east of Glasgow on Highway 2 early Thursday morning to a head on vehicle collision. Sheriff Buerkle said that both occupants of the 2 vehicles were transported to the Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital.

The victim of the fatality has been identified as 59-year old Keith Wynegar.

The investigation is being conducted by the Montana Highway Patrol and the Valley County Sheriff's Office.

Thursday, July 6th 2017
Latest Update On Zortman Fire
– On Wednesday, strong winds increased fire activity on the southwest edge of the July Fire, while steering the fire away from the small towns of Zortman and Landusky, and the Little Rockies Christian Camp south of Landusky.

The last known acreage was 1,669 Independence Day evening 4. However, the fire grew in size overnight and throughout the day July 5. The updated acreage is now 2100 acres. The gusty northwest winds combined with hot, dry conditions to produce a dramatic smoke column as the fire expanded to the west.

The fire is burning in mixed timber and on grassy plains, mainly on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). There is no containment of the fire, which was reported near the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation around 4:30 p.m. Monday.

Additional firefighters and equipment arrived throughout the day on Wednesday, reinforcing more than 136 already on scene. The fire control effort continues to make heavy use of firefighting aircraft, engines, and bulldozers.

As the numbers of firefighters increased, a Type 2 Incident Management Team spent the day preparing to take command of the growing firefight at 6:00 a.m. Thursday, July 6.

The team will lead the efforts of crews from the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Montana Department of Natural Resources, Phillips County and a number of volunteer fire departments.

No mandatory evacuations have been ordered at this time. However, law enforcement officers from the Phillips County Sheriff’s Office and BLM are in the vicinity to assist with evacuations, if they become necessary.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. To report wildfires, call 911 or the Lewistown Interagency Dispatch Center at (406) 538-1072.
Thursday, July 6th 2017
Applications Now Available For Beck Foundation Scholarships
Applications are now available for the Theo and Alyce Beck Foundation Trust Scholarship. These scholarships are for Valley County graduates who are past their first year of education with a GPA of at least 2.5 on a scale of 4.0 and considered full-time status in a college, university or vocational-technical institution.

Applications can be picked up from Edward Jones, 317 Klein Avenue and from Ruth Ann Hutcheson at 12 1st Avenue North. Applications must be mailed and postmarked by August 1, 2017. Incomplete applications will not be considered for the scholarship.

Theo and Alyce Beck were Northeast Montana people who cared about the communities they lived in, whether it was Baylor where their lives began, Opheim where they farmed, or Glasgow where Alyce spent her retired years after Theo passed away.

Alyce was active in 4-H and Homemakers Club, as well entering plants, sewing projects and homemade baked goods in the Northeast Montana Fair, almost every year.

Shortly before she passed away in 2007, she generously decided to set up the Theo and Alyce Beck Foundation Trust for the benefit of people in Valley County.

Thursday, July 6th 2017
Four People In Custody In Connection With Weekend Death Of Poplar Man
HELENA — Four people are in police custody in connection with the weekend death of a 41-year-old man on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in northeastern Montana.

The FBI, which is handling the investigation, said Wednesday that the body of Patrick Wayne Mitchell was found early Saturday in Poplar.

The FBI said two men and two women were being held by Fort Peck Tribal Police in connection with the case. The agency did not say how Mitchell died.

Wednesday, July 5th 2017
Fort Peck Reservoir Walleye Spawn Egg-take Effort a Success, Stocking Fair
Pictured: Lane and Owen Thompson, who assisted with the spawning effort, with a nice walleye

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks annual walleye spawn egg-take on Fort Peck Reservoir was completed at the end of April. In addition, stocking efforts were completed in June.

With the help of FWP personnel and over 95 volunteers, the egg collection goals were exceeded. Volunteers, Fort Peck Reservoir Biologist Heath Headley says, are key to the operation. “We wouldn’t be able to set all the trap nets, collect fish, and spawn them on a daily basis unless we had help,” he explained. “Volunteers are the main reason this has been so successful over the years.”
A total of 2,261 walleye were captured in trap nets, with approximately 81 million eggs collected.

“The condition of some of the larger walleye was very impressive this spring,” said Headley. “This is likely due to the high numbers of cisco, an important forage species, which we’ve had over the last couple of years. This abundance of food led to good growth and excellent egg production.”

“One particular female walleye collected measured 29.8 inches, but weighed a whopping 14 pounds,” said Headley. “We also observed a good number of mature walleye in the 20-25 inch range.”
Roughly 45 million eggs remained at the Fort Peck Multi-Species Fish Hatchery, with about 36 million eggs going to the Miles City Hatchery. Combined stocking efforts from the Fort Peck and Miles City hatcheries resulted in approximately 26 million fry stocked back into the reservoir this spring.
In addition, approximately 1.8 million fingerlings from the hatcheries have been released into the reservoir recently.

Unfortunately, the production of fingerlings from the large numbers of eggs collected were not as successful as anticipated. According to Wade Geraets, the hatchery manager at the Fort Peck Multispecies Fish Hatchery, the warm, dry spring and summer in eastern Montana did not bode well for the final stages of walleye development at the Fort Peck hacchery.

“The weather made it difficult to keep the water temperatures at a safe level for these young fish at the hatchery,” said Geraets. “Warm surface water temperatures, wind, and difficulties with our current water system resulted in the loss of some fish.”

The hatchery has been looking at options to obtain cooler, more consistent temperature water from other sources, such as directly from the powerhouses at Fort Peck Dam. However, getting this potential change to happen has been taking some time.

“Presently, hatchery water is obtained from the Dredge Cuts, which can warm up quite quickly in the spring,” said Geraets. “We have really struggled with our current water system this year.”


Wednesday, July 5th 2017
Hunter Education Classes Offered In Wolf Point and Bainville for Youth and Adults

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Hunter Education course dates have been set for the Wolf Point and Bainville areas. All hunter education classes are free of charge.

A student classroom course will be held in Wolf Point on Wednesday, July 19-Saturday, July 22. The student classroom course in Bainville will be held over two days, Friday, July 21-Saturday, July 22. An adult field day will also be held in Bainville on Sunday, July 23.

All students must register online at the FWP website: fwp.mt.gov; click on the education tab, then click “hunter education programs.” Next, “Find a class or field course” and search for the available class in your area. Detailed instructions on dates, times, and other information will be found at each class’ registration page. Classroom students must be sure to pick up the Hunter Education manual before the class as instructed.

For youth to be eligible to hunt and be fully certified during the 2017 season, hunters must be 12-years old by January 16, 2018. Students aged 10 and 11 can take a course and hunt as an apprentice, but will not be fully certified until the year they turn 12. All registrants for these events must be 10 years old by the first day of class.

For the adult online field course in Bainville, adults must pass the online hunter education course and receive a Field Day Qualifier Certificate. Adults looking to complete the online course can find instructions at fwp.mt.gov. The Field Day Qualifier Certificate and a picture ID are necessary to obtain entrance into the field course. Like the classroom course, adults must go to fwp.mt.gov to register for the class.

If there are any questions, please call Shane Reed for the course in Wolf Point at 406-650-4628, or Chuck Hyatt for the courses in Bainville at 406-769-7111.

Wednesday, July 5th 2017
Latest On Zortman Fire
ZORTMAN, Mont.) –The July Fire southwest of Zortman, Mont., grew in size from July 3 through Independence Day to approximately 1,669 acres.

The National Weather Service in Glasgow, Mont., is predicting hot and dry conditions will combine with gusty winds, creating critical fire weather conditions Wednesday.

About 136 Wildland Firefights are battling the blaze. Crews responded from the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Montana Department of Natural Resources, Phillips County and a number of volunteer fire departments. A Heavy Air Tanker, multiple Single Engine Air Tankers, 4 Helicopters, 10 Engines, 2 Water Tenders and 3 bulldozers are being used in the effort. More resources were order to the fire including a Type-2 Incident Management Team.

While winds and terrain mainly carried the fire away from Zortman, it did creep slowly to within a quarter-mile of the town, with a population of 69. No mandatory evacuations have been ordered at this time. However, law enforcement officers from the Phillips County Sheriff’s Office and BLM are in the vicinity to assist with evacuations, if they become necessary.

The fire is burning in mixed timber, mainly on BLM-managed lands. There is no containment at this early phase of extended attack.

The fire is under the command of Incident Commander Josh Barta, from the Bureau of Land Management North Central Montana District. The fire was reported near the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation around 4:30 p.m. Monday.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. To report wildfires, call 911 or the Lewistown Interagency Dispatch Center at (406) 538-1072.

Wednesday, July 5th 2017
A Thank You From Valley County
The Valley County Commissioners, Firefighters, and Valley County Sheriff’s Office would like to extend our heartfelt thank you to the extraordinary citizens of Valley County.

We appreciate the cooperation, concern, and respect shown on the 4th of July during the extreme fire danger.

The care and concern shown for our county speaks volumes about the love you have for our community.

Thank you!

Monday, July 3rd 2017
City Of Glasgow Bans Fireworks
According to Glasgow Mayor Becky Erickson, the city council on Monday night voted to ban the use of fireworks within the city limits effective immediately.

With the driest spring on record, the move falls in line with other bans in the area, including the town of Fort Peck. Northeast Montana residents are all asked to be extremely vigilant regarding the dry conditions.

The fireworks show scheduled for the Valley County Fairgrounds at dusk on the night of the fourth IS scheduled to continue as planned.

Sunday, July 2nd 2017
June Was Third Driest On Record
For the third straight month, June was warmer and much drier than normal. In fact, the 0.14 inches the fell during the month wound up being the third driest June on record. It was also 2.19 inches below normal. Since April 1st, only 1.24 inches has fallen, making this the driest April through June period on record. The next driest was 2.16 inches way back in 1918.

The average temperature for the month was 65.8 degrees, which was 1.8 degrees warmer than normal. The average high temperature for the month was 80.8 degrees, with an average low of 50.9 degrees. The hottest days of the month were the 1st and 4th when the high reached 94 degrees. The coolest was on the morning of the 23rd when the low dipped down to 40 degrees.

June was rather windy as well. The wind gusted to 30 mph or greater on twenty three days, and 40 mph or greater on eight days. A peak wind of 54 mph was recorded on the 22nd.

Looking ahead to July, normal high temperatures to begin the month are in the lower 80s with normal lows in the mid 50s. By month's end, normal highs are in the upper 80s with lows in the upper 50s. Normal rainfall for the month is 1.78 inches.

Saturday, July 1st 2017
Fire Restrictions Take Effect on FWP properties in Blaine, Roosevelt, Sheridan and Valley Counties
In response to dry, warm weather that could increase the danger of human-caused wildfires, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks fishing access sites (FASs) and wildlife management areas (WMAs) are under Stage 1 Fire Restrictions in Blaine, Roosevelt, Sheridan and Valley counties effective at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, June 30.

Officials in those counties enacted the Stage I Restrictions, which ban campfires except where specifically exempted. Stage 1 Restrictions also prohibit smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, and in areas at least three feet in diameter that are cleared of all flammable materials.

Per FWP policy, NO fires will be allowed, even in steel grates, at any FAS or WMA in the above-named counties. To be specific, campfires will be prohibited at the following areas:
-Faber FAS, Blaine Co.
-Lewis and Clark FAS (Bridge Park), Roosevelt Co.
-Duck Creek FAS, Valley Co.
-Fort Peck Dredge Cut Pond FAS, Valley Co.
-Glasgow Base Pond FAS, Valley Co.
-School Trust FAS, Valley Co.

For updates on restrictions and closures around the state, go to fwp.mt.gov and under the “news” tab, click on “drought and fire.”

Friday, June 30th 2017
Valley County Farm Service Agency Now Accepting Applications For Emergency Conservation Program
Glasgow, MT), June 29, 2017 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Mike Hagfeldt today announced that Valley County is approved to accept applications for the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) to address damages from drought. ECP signup will begin on July 10, 2017, and end on August 8, 2017.

According to Hagfeldt, approved ECP practices for livestock under this authorization include installing pipe to an existing or newly developed source of water, storage facilities, including tanks or troughs, constructing and deepening wells, developing springs or seeps. Also, the one-time connection fee to public rural water utility lines charged by the water service authority is also authorized. This is limited to labor, equipment and materials. Water service charges are wholly born by the producer. This list is not all inclusive.

ECP is administered by FSA to assist producers with the cost of recovery activities required to restore the agricultural land to pre-disaster conditions. Producers who sustained damage from this disaster event are encouraged to submit their request for assistance prior to beginning reconstructive work. Submitting a request after completing qualified reconstructive work may result in forfeiture of program eligibility.

FSA county committees will complete an evaluation of submitted requests and obligate available funds based on an on-site inspection of the damaged land, taking into consideration the type and extent of the eligible damage. Completion of the on-site inspection does not guarantee that cost-share funding will be allocated.

The use of obligated funds is limited to return the land to the relative pre-disaster condition. Conservation concerns that were present on the land prior to the disaster are not eligible for ECP assistance. Approved ECP applicants may receive up to 75 percent of the cost of completing the approved restoration activity.

For more information on ECP, please contact the Valley County FSA office at 406-228-4321 x2.

Thursday, June 29th 2017
Fort Peck Native Pens Novel About Growing Up In Fort Peck
Fort Peck native, Rick Dees, recently released a novel titled "Pecker Tracks". The novel follows the antics of three 15-year old boys spending the summer of 1979 in Fort Peck, Montana.

Dees is a Science Teacher in the Billings area and this is his first novel. Rick sat down with Stan Ozark this week to discuss the novel.

For more information on the book you can visit www.rsdees.com

Here is the complete interview:

Rick Dees.

Thursday, June 29th 2017
Fire Restrictions In Place For Valley County
The long, hot days of summer are drying out the vegetation in north central Montana. The resulting increased fire danger has prompted authorities to begin implementing fire restrictions.

Blaine, Roosevelt, Sheridan and Valley counties will begin Stage 1 fire restrictions on Friday, June 30, 2017 starting at 12:01 a.m. These restrictions apply to all state, private, Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers managed lands within these counties. All U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service managed lands within these counties will not implement fire restrictions at this time.

Additionally, representatives from Fort Belknap Indian Reservation elected to enter into Stage 1 fire restrictions for all tribal lands within the Fort Belknap Reservation, which is located in both Blaine and Phillips counties.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Region 6 office has elected to ban all campfires from fishing access sites except for the Bear Paw Lake fishing access site in Hill County.

Stage 1 fire restrictions apply to campfires and smoking. Under Stage 1 restrictions, the following acts are prohibited:
• Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire except within a developed recreation site, fire ring or improved site.
• Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.

Exemptions to the above Stage 1 prohibitions include the following:
• Persons with a written permit that specifically authorizes the otherwise prohibited act.
• Persons using a device solely fueled by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels that can be turned on and off. Such devices can only be used in an area that is barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within three feet of the device.
• Persons conducting activities in those designated areas where the activity is specifically authorized by written posted notice.
• Any Federal, State, or local officer or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.
• All land within a city boundary is exempted.
• Other exemptions unique to each agency/tribe/jurisdiction.

Fireworks are prohibited on all state and federal lands. Exploding targets available for sale to recreational shooters are considered a pyrotechnic product and are prohibited on federally managed lands year round.

Any individual who causes a wildfire intentionally or through negligence will be held accountable for damage and suppression costs.

For additional information on fire restrictions, visit the fire restrictions website at www.firerestrictions.us or contact Shannon Bonney, Lewistown Area Restrictions Coordinator, at (406) 538-1900.

Thursday, June 29th 2017
Valley County Issues Statement Regarding Fireworks
Everyone in this county knows that fire danger is extremely high, and that July 4 fireworks will greatly increase the chances for fire. Firefighters in Valley County and Valley County Commissioners know that they speak on behalf of all citizens of Valley County when we ask for everyone’s cooperation, concern, and respect for this extreme fire danger.

Legal opinion advises Commissioners that while towns have authority to ban fireworks, Valley County cannot make such an ordnance. In some instances Valley County can cite a person for being a public nuisance with fireworks.

Those who choose to use fireworks, anywhere in Valley County, should know that they are liable for any damages caused by their fireworks, and that includes cost of fire crews who respond to a fire.
Bottom line- this is our county and we have to pull together to prevent fires. If you feel you must use fireworks, please use extreme caution. Precautions should include: have a readily available source of water, know the capabilities of your fireworks, be aware of wind direction, do not use in proximity of dry plants, and perhaps the best thing to do in this extremely dry year--- -- save your fireworks and use them as part of a New Year’s celebration.

Also, the Town of Fort Peck has announced that there will be no setting off of fireworks in the town limits for the 4th of July holiday.

Wednesday, June 28th 2017
Future of Valley View Home Discussed
Valley County taxpayers are being asked to help out in keeping Valley View Nursing Home a part of the community. A task force formed earlier this year has reviewed and researched the challenges facing the nursing home. The task force is recommending specific actions to insure the long term financial stability of Valley View Home.

Stan Ozark visited with two members of the task force, Tom Markle and Don Fast. The discussed the current situation of Valley View Home and the actions that need to be taken to insure the long term financial stability of Valley View Home.

Valley View Home.

Tuesday, June 27th 2017
Valley County To Receive Over $1.1 Million From PILT Program
(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester announced that Montana counties will receive $31.8 million in Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) for 2017.

“PILT payments help Montana counties provide critical services and keep a balanced budget,” Tester said. “Local officials will use these resources to builds roads, supports important infrastructure projects, and bolsters local police and fire departments. I know how important PILT payments are to Montana, and I will keep fighting to secure these essential investments for rural communities.”

As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Tester worked with Republicans and Democrats to secure these resources in the federal budget earlier this year.

Tester announced that 55 Montana counties will receive PILT payments this year. PILT payments are awarded to counties with federal lands that are not taxable by local governments, but the lands’ presence creates demands for local government services, such as law enforcement and infrastructure.

President Trump is proposing to cut PILT by 15 percent in his 2018 budget. Tester has called on the Administration to reverse course and fully fund PILT for Montana counties.

COUNTY

PAYMENT

TOTAL ACRES

ANACONDA DEER LODGE COUNTY
$453,566
216,220
BEAVERHEAD COUNTY
$757,068
2,051,997
BIG HORN COUNTY
$15,286
41,433
BLAINE COUNTY
$1,013,358
451,657
BROADWATER COUNTY
$663,448
289,667
CARBON COUNTY
$1,094,898
574,688
CARTER COUNTY
$210,792
593,732
CASCADE COUNTY
$478,564
215,375
CHOUTEAU COUNTY
$374,826
156,188
CUSTER COUNTY
$862,044
333,580
DANIELS COUNTY
$0
200
DAWSON COUNTY
$53,800
63,960
FALLON COUNTY
$42,760
115,901
FERGUS COUNTY
$1,215,142
484,357
FLATHEAD COUNTY
$2,619,256
2,442,403
GALLATIN COUNTY
$1,699,685
732,739
GARFIELD COUNTY
$234,730
814,900
GLACIER COUNTY
$1,037,183
401,760
GOLDEN VALLEY COUNTY
$73,213
31,611
GRANITE COUNTY
$259,031
702,091
HILL COUNTY
$121,875
47,718
JEFFERSON COUNTY
$1,216,670
552,622
JUDITH BASIN COUNTY
$263,528
309,918
LAKE COUNTY
$443,525
175,166
LEWIS & CLARK COUNTY
$2,458,342
1,082,843
LIBERTY COUNTY
$82,747
33,705
LINCOLN COUNTY
$644,300
1,746,346
MADISON COUNTY
$891,024
1,055,850
MCCONE COUNTY
$286,247
274,071
MEAGHER COUNTY
$179,537
486,628
MINERAL COUNTY
$236,917
642,150
MISSOULA COUNTY
$1,776,007
868,010
MUSSELSHELL COUNTY
$179,873
87,517
PARK COUNTY
$1,349,565
955,757
PETROLEUM COUNTY
$84,853
335,040
PHILLIPS COUNTY
$511,406
1,376,973
PONDERA COUNTY
$233,444
108,699
POWDER RIVER COUNTY
$219,074
593,790
POWELL COUNTY
$636,300
743,031
PRAIRIE COUNTY
$158,456
429,486
RAVALLI COUNTY
$2,375,857
1,120,238
RICHLAND COUNTY
$19,999
54,206
ROOSEVELT COUNTY
$1,580
4,284
ROSEBUD COUNTY
$120,198
325,793
SANDERS COUNTY
$338,425
917,286
SHERIDAN COUNTY
$657
1,781
SILVER BOW CENSUS CITY
$556,118
234,665
STILLWATER COUNTY
$448,508
198,822
SWEET GRASS COUNTY
$541,699
294,237
TETON COUNTY
$674,618
284,509
TOOLE COUNTY
$88,550
45,779
TREASURE COUNTY
$276
748
VALLEY COUNTY
$1,137,518
1,122,357
WHEATLAND COUNTY
$136,690
66,058
WIBAUX COUNTY
$9,959
26,995
YELLOWSTONE COUNTY
$203,279
78,195
TOTAL
$31,786,271
27,395,732

Monday, June 26th 2017
Sweet Spot for cross-country bicycle tourists to stay in #GlasgowMT

Bike Bin Camp, Smith Park

The Story

City of Glasgow said ‘ta da’ and improved the usage of Smith Park and installed a grain bin pavilion creating the Bike Bin Camp for cross country bicycle tourists.
How’d we get here?

Last year, the Glasgow TBID (Tourism Business Improvement District) proposed the City of Glasgow apply for a Montana Office of Tourism Business Development infrastructure grant to fund and designate Smith Park as the Bike Bin Camp to accommodate the bicycle tourists traveling along Hwy 2 on the Northern Tier bicycle route (Bar Harbor, ME to Seattle, WA). Late last summer the City of Glasgow was awarded $18,886.00 from the Department of Commerce, Office of Tourism Business Development. Since then the City of Glasgow, Glasgow TBID and a small group of community members teamed up making the Bike Bin Camp a reality.

So what’s in Smith Park?

Here are the current highlights: grain bin pavilion (Bike Bin) providing shelter and seating with a picnic table inside and a bike repair stand.

So what’s next?

Wayfinding (directional information) inside the pavilion & in the park itself, directing our visitors around our community-signage along Hwy 2 (name of the park)-2 bike wash station-ADA accessibility to the park-outdoor ice rink and flower beds-& lighting.
So what’s the benefit?
Bicycle tourists generate new dollars for our community businesses and the City of Glasgow-bicyclists spend on average $75.75/day (Institute Recreation & Research Study, http//www.bber.umt.edu/pubs/econ/bicycleTourism.pdf)

Saturday, June 24th 2017
Governor Steve Bullock Declares Valley County In A Drought Emergency
MONTANA – Governor Steve Bullock today issued an Executive Order declaring the following counties are in a drought emergency:

Blaine, Carter, Custer, Daniels, Dawson, Fallon, Garfield, Hill, McCone, Petroleum, Phillips, Powder River, Prairie, Richland, Roosevelt, Rosebud, Sheridan, Valley, and Wibaux Counties, as well as the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation and the Fort Peck Indian Reservation

“Farmers and ranchers from many Eastern Montana communities are feeling the impacts of drought conditions,” said Governor Bullock. “My administration is committed to making sure these impacts are minimized and will continue to work closely with these communities to monitor conditions and provide further assistance.”

Parts of these counties have seen record low precipitation, high temperatures, and excessive wind in the last two months. These conditions rapidly deteriorated crop and forage viability after a winter of below average precipitation.

The onset of drought became most notable when reports from many eastern and northeastern counties indicated producers were culling herds, buying hay, cutting crops early, and not seeing crops emerge 4-6 weeks after planting. Crops such as oats, spring wheat, edible dry peas, and sugarbeets are all suffering. In addition, pasture and range conditions are poor to very poor, per the June 18, 2017 Crop Progress Report. Ranchers reported extreme dust has made it difficult to keep track of all head, even during branding.

Governor Bullock also sent a letter to Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting a Secretarial Drought Disaster Designation, which would also allow Montana producers in affected counties and reservations to be eligible for the Livestock Forage Program, Emergency Conservation Program, and Emergency Livestock Assistance Program. Earlier today, USDA authorized emergency grazing on Conservation Reserve Program lands in Montana.

For more information visit www.drought.mt.gov.

Thursday, June 22nd 2017
Billings Gazette Reporting That VA Has Had Discussion On Making Glasgow VA Outpatient Clinic Part-Time
Story From Billings Gazette:

HELENA — A document obtained by Lee Newspapers suggests closing the 29-bed Veterans Affairs nursing home in Miles City, as well as reducing hours at outpatient clinics in Montana and Wyoming, but a spokesman for the VA says the document is just for "brainstorming" purposes and closures are not planned.

Last Thursday, the Montana and regional VA directors gave a presentation to union leadership representing VA employees, as well as staff members from Wyoming’s congressional delegation and staffers for U.S. Sens. Steve Daines, R-Mont., and Jon Tester, D-Mont.

The presentation, which is labeled a working document, makes recommendations that include closing the Miles City nursing home, which has 18 residents. It also recommends running the Glendive, Glasgow and Hamilton community-based outpatient clinics only part-time, and in Wyoming shutting one clinic and reorganizing several others. It also proposes consolidating some administration of the VAs in Montana and Sheridan, Wyoming.


Montana VA Public Affairs Officer Mike Garcia said in an email Wednesday that the document provided to Lee Newspapers is an internal document “used exclusively for the purposes of brainstorming a number of possible inefficiencies for the two VA health care systems.” Garcia said VA’s official stance “before this briefing and since has been (and remains) that there will be no closures.” He also emphasized the document did not suggest closures of any Montana clinics.

Gerald Swanke, the District II vice president for the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents some VA Montana employees, said the presentation made it seem “extremely likely” that the changes in the working document would happen. About 20-30 union employees work in the Montana facilities mentioned, including physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, certified nursing assistants and other medical staff.

In 2015 Montana had 93,356 veterans. The state is among the top in the nation in terms of veterans per capita. Veterans in Montana have long complained about the difficulty of accessing services in a large rural state. The VA Montana Health Care System has seen turnover in its leadership team over the past several years and struggles to recruit doctors due to high workloads.

Nationwide, the VA has faced major problems with access to timely care. The Secretary of Veterans Affairs resigned in 2014 after a report that at least 40 veterans had died while waiting for care in an Arizona VA facility. Tester has worked in recent years to improve the VA, sponsoring myriad bills pushing changes in the system.

On Wednesday Tester's office released a statement saying: “Jon is committed to maintaining nursing home services for Montana’s veterans and is working with veterans, our communities, and Veteran’s Service Organizations to ensure that VA provides veterans with the long-term care they have been promised.”

Limited resources
Montana and Wyoming fight for limited clinical resources, the working document says. That reduces the capability of both markets and impedes the timely provision of health care services.

Montana and Wyoming fall under the VA's Region 19, and last year that area put together a team to look at ways to address issues in the Montana and Sheridan, Wyoming, VA facilities. The team focused on how to reduce staffing redundancies and vacancies between Montana and Sheridan and ways to increase the use of telemedicine and mobile clinics.

The team also looked at demographics for veteran populations and enrollment in Montana and Sheridan, the availability of doctors, referral patterns, opportunities for community partnership and standardization of processes and procedures.

An implementation plan presented last Thursday by Ralph Gigliotti, Veterans Integrated Service Network director for area 19 of the VA, and Kathy Berger, director of Montana VA Health Care System, lists on an "Implementation Plan" slide the suggested closure of the Miles City Community Living Center, or nursing home, by Sept. 1 and says a bed request is being routed for review and approval. The clinic in Miles City would remain open, though at a different location.

A bed request is an administrative request to reduce the number of beds in an inpatient facility or clinic, Garcia said. He added bed requests are “quite common in situations other than proposed closure,” such as when a facility has a critical staffing shortage that could affect patient safety and patient numbers need to be reduced while staff is hired.

Garcia also stressed that since Oct. 1, 2016, about 420 veterans in Montana have lived in 30 contracted nursing homes and that the 18 veterans in the nursing home in Miles City make up less than 5 percent of the annual need for care.

Union representatives say they have been given until September to create a steering committee of union members, congressional staff members, veterans services organization, employees and other interested parties to figure out how to work with the changes the VA has proposed.

The VA is also gathering input from stakeholders such as the Montana and Wyoming congressional delegations, union representatives and people at the Miles City facility. This working group will come up with recommendations on what happens next.

Swanke said he understands the VA is between a rock and a hard place in terms of being able to meet patient needs while working within budget restrictions.

President Donald Trump's proposed budget increases VA spending by 6 percent, but $3.5 billion of the additional $4.4 billion would go to expanding the Veterans Choice program that allows veterans to get care at private clinics, which are then reimbursed.

Critics have said that is a step toward privatizing the VA.

“They’re essentially making government fail so they can go to a voucher and privatize the work,” Swanke said.


There are 673 VA enrollees in Custer County, where Miles City is, and surrounding counties of Treasure, Powder River, Carter, Fallon and Prairie have a little more than 500. There are provider agreements and Choice program participants in some but not all of these counties, according to the working document.

Last fall The Billings Gazette reported the VA asked Custer County if it wanted to take over ownership of the VA facility. The VA gave the county 90 days to make a decision. County commissioners have not returned phone calls asking what the county decided.

The effort to unload the property is part of former President Barack Obama's National Strategy for Real Property and the 2015 Reduce the Footprint Property, which called for federal agencies to reduce their property ownership by 20 percent by 2018.

The recommendations in the working document were reached by looking at the number of enrolled veterans at clinics, the number assigned per provider and the number of encounters clinic staff conduct on a regular basis.


The presentation says that based on the low number of veterans enrolled and appointments made, combined with the capabilities for telehealth and the Choice act, the Glasgow, Hamilton and Glendive clinics could reduce their hours to part-time.


Swanke, a veteran, said that beyond his union’s arguments for job protection, he has concerns about moving veterans' care to non-VA facilities. Doctors who see veterans regularly get familiar with their specific needs, which makes care better, he said. Veterans are also more comfortable getting care with other veterans.

“If you take this veteran that’s got these nuanced PTSD issues and put them in an environment where they're not connected to other veterans, that’s a disincentive for them to seek care. As you dilute these systems out further and further, it becomes a case where they’re calling a long-distance number as opposed to sitting in the community having a cup of coffee with a provider.”

The Glendive clinic saw the most appointments in fiscal year 2016, with 655 enrollees making 3,432 visits. Hamilton had the next-highest number of visits, with 3,035 and 2,119 enrolled. Glasgow was the least-utilized, with 2,095 appointments and 802 enrolled.

Current wait times at the Glasgow, Hamilton and Glendive facilities range from one to three days. In most cases, Garcia said, a primary care team is made up of four full-time employees that manage the care for about 1,000 patients, which is an industry standard, Garcia said.

“A part-time team would continue to provide the same quality of care to veterans in the area while allowing the health care system to use those cost savings to address staff shortages elsewhere in the state,” he said.

Fort Harrison in Helena is the VA's main presence in Montana, with a 34-bed acute care, medical-surgical facility and a wide range of specialty care. Fort Harrison also offers radiology and pathology services and has a 24-bed inpatient mental health facility.


There are VA clinics in Anaconda, Billings, Bozeman, Cut Bank, Glasgow, Glendive, Great Falls, Hamilton, Havre, Kalispell, Lewistown, Miles City, Missoula and Plentywood.

There are also two state veterans' homes in Columbia Falls and Glendive and one proposed to be built in Butte. For these homes, the VA provides partial funding to build the facilities. Once they are operating, the VA provides some funding through per-diem payments based on the number of eligible veterans that live in the home. The VA also conducts inspections to ensure the home’s environment of care, clinical programs and other factors meet the requirements for per-diem payments to continue.

The VA contracts with private nursing homes to allow veterans to be placed in long-term care facilities close to home.

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