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Ag Partners, LLC
Brian Gregory, Computer Consultant (406-230-0643)
Edward Jones, local agent Bryan Krumwiede
Glenn's Automotive Repair & Wrecker Service
Oasis Lounge Eatery & Casino
Park Grove Bar & Grill
Pehlke's Furniture & Floor Coverings
Robyn's Nest Home Decor and Fine Gifts
Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Shelly George
Triple A Glass
Will's Office World
Gysler Furniture & Appliance in Wolf Point
Diamond Rio Concert, Northeast Montana Fair Rodeo and Demolition Derby Officially Cancelled
The Northeast Montana Fair Concert Partners made it official this week, by voting to cancel the Diamond Rio Concert planned for the Northeast Montana Fair. On Wednesday the Valley County Commissioners voted to cancel the Northeast Montana Fair Rodeo and Demolition Derby. Haylie Shipp has the story:
FMDH And Valley County Health Announce Community COVID-19 Testing On June 25th Resulted In 100% Negative Tests
(Valley County, Montana): Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital and the Valley County Health Department are happy to report that 100% of the asymptomatic COVID-19 tests run at the Community Snapshot testing event at the NE MT Fairgrounds on 06/25/20 are NEGATIVE.
We encourage you to attend the next free Community Snapshot testing event on Wednesday, 7/15/20. There are two time slots available, no appointment is necessary.
• Drive-thru the NE MT Fairgrounds between 11am and 1:30pm, or
• Walk-thru downtown Glasgow (by D&G) between 5:30pm and 7:30pm.
Community Snapshot testing provides valuable information about asymptomatic community spread of the virus for specific points in time. Even if you attended the previous Community Snapshot testing event, we urge you to attend again on 7/15/20.
National Weather Service Reports From Tuesday's Thunderstorms
Peak wind gusts of 89 mph in Malta, 54 mph in Glasgow and 83 mph at St. Marie (1 mile ENE).
4:40 p.m. Several trees blow over in Malta Cemetery.
5:24 p.m. 1 mile north of Saco: Wind pushed harrow 200 feet and picked up a grain bin and carried it over a wind break. Wind also carried a few bulls, some other buildings, and a junk pile 300 yards to a nearby lake. Damage to siding, gutters, and roofing, along with several trees toppled. garden shed destroyed. Time estimated from radar. From social media.
5:50 p.m. 1 mile west of Duck Creek: Public posted photo to social media showing a house with the roof completely removed.
Tornado warning 4:53 for East Central Phillips, West Central Valley County T-storm capable of a tornado
Supreme Court Deals Blow To Keystone Pipeline
The U.S. Supreme Court has handed another setback to the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada by keeping in place a lower court ruling that blocked a key permit for the project.
Canadian company TC Energy needs the permit to continue building the long-disputed pipeline from Canada across U.S. rivers and streams. Without it, the project that has been heavily promoted by President Donald Trump faces more delays just as work on it had finally begun this year following years of courtroom battles.
Monday's order also put on hold a earlier court ruling out of Montana as it pertains to other oil and gas pipelines across the nation.
That's a sliver of good news for an industry that just suffered two other blows - Sunday's cancellation of the $8 billion Atlantic Coast gas pipeline in the Southeast and on Monday a ruling that shut down the Dakota Access oil pipeline in North Dakota.
In the Keystone case, an April ruling from U.S. District Judge Brian Morris in Montana had threatened to delay not just Keystone but more than 70 pipeline projects across the U.S., and add as much as $2 billion in costs, according to industry representatives.
Morris agreed with environmentalists who contended a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers program was allowing companies to skirt responsibility for damage done to water bodies.
But the Trump administration and industry attorneys had argued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit program, in place since the 1970s, was functioning properly when it was cancelled by Morris over concerns about endangered species being harmed during pipeline construction.
TC Energy spokesman Terry Cunha said the company is not giving up on Keystone, but it will delay large portions of the 1,200-mile (1,900-kilometer) oil sands pipeline.
An attorney for one of the environmental groups involved in the case called Monday's order a major victory in the fight against Keystone. But he acknowledged the plaintiffs had hoped to hamper oil and gas projects nationwide.
"Our focus was originally on Keystone, so we're very happy the court order ensures it can't move forward under this unlawful permit," said Jared Margolis, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity.
Grobel Scholarship Recipients Announced
The Grobel Scholarships, each in the amount of $2,500, are awarded each year to graduates of Valley County high schools who are engaged in a course of study leading to a degree in nursing or other medical related field. For information on the 2021 scholarships, please contact Jessica Pehlke at First Community Bank.Recipients of 2020 Grobel Scholarships are:
Red Cross Will Test For Coronavirus Antibodies From Donated Blood At Blood Drive In Glasgow On Tuesday And Wednesday
The American Red Cross will have Blood Drives Tues. & Wed. July 7th & 8th at the Glasgow VFW. Tuesday is from 11a.m. – 5:30p.m., Wednesday is from 9a.m. – 2p.m. This is by appointment only, call 406-263-0321 to schedule yours.
For a limited time the American Red Cross will be testing for coronavirus antibodies from blood, plasma, and platelet donations.
This test will locate whether or not someone has the antibodies that form to fight off the corona virus infection.
The results of your test are available after roughly a week after your donation through the blood donor app or online. If you do decide to donate there are some new requirements from the CDC. Donors are required to wear a mask while donating…practice social distancing and have a temperature check done before you enter the blood drive or center.
The results of the antibody test will not show whether or not someone has the illness and the Red Cross recommends anyone who is not feeling well to postpone any donations and get tested until they are symptom-free for at least 28 days.
Tax Deadline Approaching July 15th
With the July 15 deadline for federal and state individual income tax filing and payments approaching, the Montana Department of Revenue reminds those with difficulty paying their state income taxes that they can design and request payment plans online.
Taxpayers can request a payment plan by creating an account and logging into the department’s TransAction Portal (TAP) at tap.dor.mt.gov.
“We understand many Montanans are facing financial stresses right now, so we want to work with taxpayers to find payment options that work for them,” said Gene Walborn, director of the Montana Department of Revenue.
The department will consider the requests on a case-by-case basis.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, both federal and state income tax filing deadlines were extended to July 15 from the usual deadline of April 15. Montana taxpayers may receive an additional automatic extension for filing their returns, but the payments of 2019 income taxes are still due July 15.
For more information call (406) 444-6964 or email DORcollections@mt.gov.
Northeast Montana Fair Commission Discusses Future Of 2020 Fair
The Northeast Montana Fair Commission met on Thursday evening in a special meeting to discuss the future of the 2020 Northeast Montana Fair.
This years fair is a month away and due to COVID-19 there was speculation on whether there would actually be a fair this summer.
Haylie Shipp of Kltz/Mix-93 has the story!
Governor Bullock Releases Plan For Reopening Schools In Montana
HELENA – Governor Steve Bullock and Lt. Governor Mike Cooney Thursday released the Governor’s Plan for Reopening Safe and Healthy Schools for Montana to provide flexible guidance for public schools to prepare to offer in-person instruction in the fall.
“We are acutely aware of the role played by in-person teaching, not only in the students’ lives, but also in the lives of the entire family. Public education has shaped who we are today, and we want to make certain that our children have the same experience. This is why we’ve made the safe reopening of our public schools a top priority,” Governor Bullock and Lt. Gov. Cooney wrote in the plan. “Noting the uniqueness of every school district in Montana, our goal for this document is not to be prescriptive, but to provide effective, flexible guidelines to all schools in hopes that we can safely resume in-person instruction in the fall.”
“Keeping each person in our community safe as we re-open schools is a solemn responsibility. As a member of my own district's back to school team, I appreciate the guidance given in this document, which will help frame our plans to return safely to school,” Sharon Carroll, a teacher in Ekalaka said. “Engaging local public health authorities and local school district leadership teams while using the resources, procedures, and protocols shared in the Governor's Plan will assist teams in developing a Health and Safety Plan unique to each district. As a teacher, a rancher, and a former chair of Montana's Board of Public Education, I have often observed Montana grit. We've got this, Montana.”
“MFPE appreciates the Governor’s inclusion of our members throughout this process. MFPE members will rely on this guidance as they continue planning to safely reopen schools in the fall,” MFPE President Amanda Curtis said.
Governor Bullock tasked Lt. Gov. Cooney with bringing together experts including superintendents, principals, teachers, union representatives, and public health officials to develop the plan based on insight and firsthand knowledge of challenges schools are facing. Governor Bullock has authority to close schools during the emergency and provided guidance reviewed by health experts to ensure schools have the tools they need to reopen as safely as possible this fall.
The plan acknowledges the critical role in-person instruction plays in the lives of students and their families. Schools provide students with structure and familiarity and offer socialization and connection. Many families rely on schools for nutritious meals, counseling, and childcare. Additionally, staff and teachers who spend in person time with students are able to identify signs of child abuse or neglect.
Governor Bullock and Lt. Gov. Cooney are encouraging schools to consider the guidance provided and develop their own Health and Safety plans to reopen. While every district is unique, school districts should consult their local public health officials to address the specific needs of each school and take every possible safety measure to keep students, educators, and staff healthy and safe.
The plan is categorized into three different phases to align with Governor Bullock’s Reopening the Big Sky Plan. Nothing in the guidance prevents a school from taking additional precautions based on their needs.
Each phase has high level guidance for schools and includes more specific protocols and recommendations for each school to consider for their individual plan. The plan also includes best practices related to academics, extracurricular activities, transportation, physical and structural protocols to minimize interactions and crowding, while considering ways to promote the social, emotional, and behavioral health of students.
Some of the highlights encourage schools to consider:
• Accommodations for students, teachers, and staff who are in at risk group
• Occupancy limits that allow for social distancing
• Guidance on traffic flow to avoid crowding in congregational spaces
• Cleaning and disinfecting protocols
• Processes for monitoring students and staff for symptoms and history of exposure
• Producing guidelines in relation to isolation or quarantine if needed
• How to serve meals while minimizing congregation
• Adjusting transportation schedules
• Protocols for sports and other extracurricular activities
A list of comprehensive additional resources is provided for schools including from the Centers for Disease Control, the Office of Public Instruction, and the Montana High School Association.
The full plan is available here: https://covid19.mt.gov/Portals/223/Documents/Education%20Final.pdf?ver=2020-07-02-123418-013
Fireworks Allowed In City Limits Of Glasgow
City of Glasgow ordinance does allow for the use of fireworks within the city limits for a time period between July 3rd and July 5th.
During this time, permissible fireworks by be fired, set off, exploded, or discharged within the city limits, but aerial projectiles may not have the ability to exceed 10 feet in air.
The use of fireworks shall be permitted between the hours of 12:30pm and 12:30am each day.
Corp Of Engineers Encourages Outdoor Enthusiasts To Recreate Responsibly And Safely This Holiday Weekend
PORTLAND, Ore. -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers encourages outdoor enthusiasts to recreate responsibly and safely this holiday weekend. With reservoirs throughout Oregon near normal capacity and many areas now reopened, Corps officials are expecting increased activity on its water and land-based recreation sites.
"The fourth of July is a great time to celebrate with family and friends, but it can also be one of the most dangerous weekends of the year," said Park Ranger Christie Johnson. "This year, with COVID-19 still a concern and most public holiday events cancelled, we want to make sure that people who come out to recreate understand the risks and are prepared."
Corps park rangers would like to remind the public of the following safety guidelines:
Be prepared. Some parks have limited access to amenities and services so bring your own personal protective supplies including hand sanitizer, soap, water, face mask, and disinfectant wipes. Not all areas are open for camping and parking may be limited so have a plan B.
No fireworks. Do not bring your personal fireworks as use of fireworks is prohibited on Corps land except through special event permits. Additionally, all public fireworks events scheduled at Corps reservoirs have been cancelled this year. Burn bans may be in effect in some areas so plan accordingly.
Be mindful of social distancing. Recreate safely in this COVID-19 environment and stay home if you are exhibiting any cold or flu-like symptoms. Recreate locally and only with those in your household, avoid crowds and gathering in large groups, maintain a six-foot social distance from others and utilize facial coverings as often as possible.
Wear a life jacket! Calm waters and nice weather is when most people drown and nearly 90 percent of the drowning’s that occur at Corps managed waterways involve people not wearing a life jacket. Drowning is preventable. Remember, all activities near water are risky so regardless of your swimming or boating abilities, wear your life jacket. Be alert and aware of posted restrictions around dams because even though the water may look calm, cold water combined with currents circulating underneath the surface and hazardous floating debris can pull you under the water or trap you against log jams. Alcohol and water are a deadly combination so play it safe this Fourth of July and recreate responsibly.
TC Energy Donates To Fort Peck Volunteer Fire Department
As a part of its Community Investment Program, TC Energy has generously donated $10,000 to the Town of Fort Peck to help repair Fort Peck Volunteer Fire Department’s Pierce Truck. The 1986 Pierce truck has needed serious valve repairs to be able to pump water in rural areas that do not have access to a pressurized water system and to make the equipment safe for our volunteers to operate. These repairs will help extend the life of the Truck and help protect property in the Town of Fort Peck and surrounding area for years to come.
The Town would like to extend a sincere thank you to TC Energy for being an excellent community partner. The Town would also like to thank Thompson & Sons for doing the repairs, and the Glasgow Fire Department for their guidance and help with getting the trucks tested.
The department currently has thirteen volunteers and is actively looking for new members. If you are local and interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter or for more information please contact the Town Office at 526-3220.
4th Case Of COVID-19 Confirmed In Valley County
Valley County, Montana): Valley County Public Health Department and Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital today confirm the fourth positive case of COVID-19 in Valley County. Three cases are active and one is recovered.
Case #4 is a male in his 30s who is not hospitalized and is isolating at home. The case was identified through contact tracing and had been undergoing quarantine. The individual does not have symptoms.
Valley County Public Health Department is following up directly with all individuals who have had close contact with active cases and are at risk of infection. All close contacts will be notified and tested for COVID-19.
Take the following steps to aid in the contact tracing process and protect yourself and your family:
• Please have your voicemail set up and cleared so that you can receive messages.
• Through contact tracing, Valley County Public Health Department will ask close contacts to be tested.
• Limit your contact with others. Avoid large group gatherings. Wear a mask when social distancing is difficult.
• Monitor yourself and family members for the development of COVID-19 symptoms, including a new/sudden dry cough, shortness of breath, body aches, sore throat, fatigue and a fever of 100.5 or greater. If you are experiencing these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider.
• Continue to practice COVID-19 precautions, including staying home when you are sick, monitoring for symptoms, washing your hands, and cover your cough.
• Vulnerable populations, including those over 65 and those with compromised immune systems, should continue to stay at home.
Fort Peck Theater Season Suspended Due To COVID-19
With a very heavy heart, Fort Peck Fine Arts Council has determined that the 2020 Fort Peck Summer Theatre season will be suspended. After being contacted and advised by authorities regarding the recent COVID-19 cases in the area, FPFAC is following the health professionals’ recommendations and will not present the summer season.
BOX OFFICE/TICKET INFO:
As our staff and box office prep to accommodate refunds, FPFAC does humbly suggest that audience members might consider the option of keeping unused ticket as a donation.
At this time, Fort Peck is still planning to run the annual Performing Arts Camp as scheduled in August. The directors continue to explore the most efficient ways to follow all guidelines and keep the safety of both campers and staff as the priority.
As the universe allows, Artistic Director Andy Meyers and company plan to return in full force next season. They thank audiences for all the continued patience as they navigated this aberrant year. They find their commitment and passion for the arts in this area has only been heighten by the current circumstances. The summer of 2021 will also debut the long-awaited new stage floor. This is a major technical upgrade for the company and will showcase some of the original aesthetic designs of the historic building.
Hinsdale Ambulance Service Receives $2500 Grant From Northwest Farm Credit Services
SPOKANE, Washington?(June 29, 2020) – Northwest Farm Credit Services is proud to award Hinsdale Ambulance Service a $2,500 Rural Community Grant.?
“Hinsdale Volunteer Ambulance Service continues to provide our community, friends, families and the surrounding area with the best patient care possible,” says Gregg Hunter, Hindsdale Ambulance Service Volunteer. “Without the help of generous donations such as the Northwest Farm Credit Services Rural Community Grant, we would struggle to provide this service. Thank you so much for the support you’ve given us, and remember, if you’re ever in our neighborhood, we have your back!”
Northwest FCS is committed to helping rural communities succeed.?In 2019, Northwest FCS committed over $237,000 to?190?projects in rural communities across Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. Since the program’s inception in 2007, it has awarded 1,364?grants totaling more than $2.44?million.
This year, Northwest FCS has shifted the focus to support non-profit organizations that are meeting the essential needs of rural communities during the COVID-19 crisis. Since this shifted focus, $345,000 has been donated. More details and the online application are available at northwestfcs.com/ruralgrants.
Northwest FCS is a $13 billion financial cooperative providing financing and related services to farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses, commercial fishermen, timber producers, rural homeowners and crop insurance customers in Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Alaska. Northwest FCS is a member of the nationwide Farm Credit System that supports agriculture and rural communities with reliable, consistent credit and financial services. For more information, go to northwestfcs.com
Pictured left to right: Gregg Hunter, Delaney Biel, Dorothy Jensen, Northwest FCS Relationship Manager/Branch Manager Whitney Tatafu, Jamie Mix and Heidi McColly.
Valley County To Receive $1,116,033 In Federal PILT Funding
WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt announced today that more than 1,900 local governments around the country will receive $514.7 million in Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) funding for 2020.
“This year’s distribution of $514.7 million to more than 1,900 counties will help small towns pay for critical needs like emergency response, public safety, public schools, housing, social services, and infrastructure,” said Secretary Bernhardt.
PILT payments are made annually for tax-exempt Federal lands administered by U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) agencies including the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the National Park Service (NPS), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), for lands administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service (USFS); and for Federal water projects and some military installations.
Using a statutory formula, the annual PILT payments to local governments are computed based on the number of acres of Federal land within each county or jurisdiction and on the population of that county or jurisdiction. The lands include the national forest and national park systems; lands in the FWS Refuge System; areas managed by the BLM; areas managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; U.S. Bureau of Reclamation water resource development projects; and others.
Since PILT payments began in 1977, DOI has distributed over $9.7 billion dollars to States and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
DOI collects more than $13.2 billion in revenue annually from commercial activities on public lands, such as oil and gas leasing, livestock grazing, and timber harvesting. A portion of these revenues are shared with States and counties. The balance is deposited in the U.S. Treasury, which in turn pays for a broad array of Federal activities, including PILT funding.
Individual county payments may vary from year to year as a result of changes in acreage data, which is updated annually by the Federal agency administering the land; prior-year Federal revenue sharing payments reported annually by the Governor of each State; and population data, which is updated using information from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Federal revenue sharing payments are made to local governments under programs other than PILT during the previous fiscal year, including payments such as those made under the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act, the Refuge Revenue Sharing Fund, the National Forest Fund, the Taylor Grazing Act, the Mineral Leasing Act, the Federal Power Act, and the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000, as authorized.
A full list of funding by State and county is available at Payment in Lieu of Taxes website.
Confirmed Covid-19 Case In Valley County Is A FMDH Employee
Valley County, Montana): Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital would like to confirm that one of the three positive Valley County COVID-19 cases is a hospital employee. The employee has not worked at the FMDH facility since they were exposed.
Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital reassures you that we continue to take all appropriate precautions to keep our community protected. We are safe, ready, and open to care for you. You are encouraged to practice social distancing, wash your hands, and wear a mask in public.
Valley County Community Foundation Grants $34,791 To Valley County Projects
Hammers are pounding, trenches are dug, a building is being inspected, and projects all over Valley County are coming to completion thanks to $34,791 from the Valley County Community Foundation. Eight organizations recently received checks from the Foundation’s
annual grant program.
Board Chair Doris Leader of Nashua explained where funding for these grants comes from. VCCF is something like the community’s savings account, she said. Donations to VCCF are invested and earnings from this endowment come back to Valley County in the form of grants.
“The grants given to local governments and nonprofits in Valley County assist by providing necessary items that they might not otherwise be able to obtain,” she said. “I am honored to be a part of the Board of VCCF. The donations to this organization go to very worthy recipients in Valley County.”
This year’s grantees are:
• Glasgow City-County Library: $5,000 for basement improvements that will modify an exit route and help build two restrooms;
• Opheim School: $3,000 to pay for an energy audit in preparation for replacing the school’s heating system;
• Hinsdale Student Council and FFA Chapter: $2,401 to help make the final payment on the lease agreement on the Healthy Snack Vending machine;
• Irle School: $6,990 to purchase a 3-D laser printer and the compact filter;
• Nashua Senior Citizens: $1,500 to help pay for materials and labor to install new windows in the entry to the Center;
• Glasgow Wrestling Club: $3,000 to help purchase wall mats for the wrestling area in their new facility;
• Glasgow Reds: $7,900 to help install a Dry Prairie Water line to Legion Field, including the hook-up fee, piping, trenching and supplies;
• Two Rivers Economic Growth for the Smith Bike Park on Hwy 2 in Glasgow: $5,000 to install a pathway into the Park, purchase a grill and a clothesline, and bring electricity to the grain bin shelter.
While total costs on some projects are greater than the amount granted, each grant fulfilled the amount requested by the organizations.
Financial gifts to the VCCF from local residents, and others who treasure life here, are invested with the statewide Montana Community Foundation. As of March 31, the VCCF endowment value has grown to $1,032,830. Earnings from the funds within it provide money for these grants, along with two separate scholarship programs. Since 1999, VCCF has awarded $259,204 in grants for 147 projects and $70,325 in scholarships to 47 students.
VCCF awards grants to non-profit organizations with 501 (c) (3) tax status, educational institutions, and government entities, all within Valley County. Applications for the annual grants are due in March. Information is available at www.valleycountycf.net.
VCCF is an independent, non-profit, 501 (c) (3) organization that recently celebrated its 20th year in existence. It is sometimes confused with the Valley County Combined Campaign, which is also an independent organization. The two are separate entities.
Along with Leader, VCCF board members are Vice Chair Sam Waters; Treasurer Maggan Walstad; Secretary Darla Larson; Jean Carlson of Fort Peck; Heidi Johnson of Hinsdale; Jeff Sanders of Richland/Glasgow; and Ken Jansa, Cindy Markle, Whitney Tatafu, and Gary Wageman of Glasgow.
Counterfeit Bills Being Passed In Glasgow Area
The Glasgow Chamber of Commerce has received reports that counterfeit bills are being passed in the Glasgow area. Merchants are asked to be aware of the possibility of these bill being passed.
2 Additional Cases Of Covid-19 Found In Valley County
Valley County, Montana): Valley County Public Health Department and Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital today confirm the second and third positive cases of COVID-19 of Valley County residents.
Case #2 is a female in her 20s who is isolating at home. The case investigation is ongoing and contact tracing has begun. The individual was symptomatic.
Case #3 is a male in his 30s who is isolating at home. The case investigation is ongoing and contact tracing has begun. The individual was symptomatic.
Valley County Public Health Department is following up directly with all individuals who have had close contact with either cases and are at risk of infection. All close contacts will be notified and tested for COVID-19.
Take the following steps to aid in the contact tracing process and protect yourself and your family:
• Please have your voicemail set up and cleared so that you can receive messages.
• Through contact tracing, Valley County Public Health Department will ask close contacts to
• Limit your contact with others. Avoid large group gatherings. Wear a mask when social
distancing is difficult.
• Monitor yourself and family members for the development of COVID-19 symptoms,
including a new/sudden dry cough, shortness of breath, body aches, sore throat, fatigue and a fever of 100.5 or greater. If you are experiencing these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider.
Continue to practice COVID-19 precautions, including staying home when you are sick, monitoring for symptoms, washing your hands, and cover your cough.
Glasgow High School Graduate Involved In Testing Wastewater For COVID-19
Testing wastewater to detect the virus that causes COVID-19 has the potential to be an early warning sign for COVID-19 spreading in any particular community.
Blake Wiedenheft is a graduate of Glasgow High School and a researcher at Montana State University in Bozeman. He was a guest on Thursday's edition of Live Under the Big Sky and talked about efforts to test wastewater in Gallatin County for COVID-19.
Wiedenheft was asked how testing wastewater came about when dealing with the Covid pandemic.
The Gallatin County Health Department reports that the information received from the testing of the wastewater has been vital:
The wastewater testing that has been completed so far tells us at least two key pieces of information:
Finding the virus in wastewater has either come just before or at the same time as new confirmed cases in Bozeman, West Yellowstone, and Big Sky. This gives us information about where the virus is and where it is spreading. For example, if the virus is found in wastewater in towns with no confirmed cases, this could mean that new cases will soon appear. In towns where no virus is found in the wastewater, this could mean that few people, if any, are infected in the community.
Wastewater testing also shows whether viral levels in wastewater are going up, staying the same, or going down from week to week. For example, decreasing virus levels in wastewater seems to be linked with decreasing numbers of new confirmed cases in Bozeman and West Yellowstone.
Valley County Employees Receive Increase of 1.81% Per Hour
The Valley County Commissioners approved a salary increase of 1.81% per hour for all regular full-time and part-time employees effective July, 1 2020.
This also affects all elected officials in Valley County government.
The new salaries for elected officials beginning July 1, 2020:
Valley County Commissioner: $50,766.89
Valley County Treasurer: $50,766.89
Valley County Clerk of District Court: $50,766.89
Valley County Justice of Peace: $30,459.95
Valley County Sheriff/Coroner: $59,163.26
Valley County Clerk and Recorder/Superintendent of Schools/Election Administrator: $58,081.88
Valley County Attorney: $122,170.67 (The State Of Montana contributes $72,366.58 of this salary)
256 Individuals Tested For COVID-19 At Drive-Thru Testing Event In Glasgow
256 individuals were tested for COVID-19 at a drive-thru testing event at the Northeast Montana Fairgrounds on Thursday.
The event was used to determine asymptomatic positive COVID-19 cases for surveillance purposes.
Individuals who were tested will find out results within 10-14 days.
Fort Peck Tribal Operations Shut Down For 10 Days Due To COVID-19
A notice sent out to all Fort Peck Tribal Employees directs that Tribal operations will be shut down for 10 days due to COVID-19.
The memo accompanies this story:
Bison Moved From Yellowstone National Park To Fort Peck Indian Reservation
BILLINGS (AP) — A group of Yellowstone National Park bison has been transferred to a Montana quarantine facility, the fourth shipment meant to help boost herd numbers across the nation.
The 11 animals were moved to the Fort Peck Indian Reservation Wednesday, The Billings Gazette reports.
The Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes worked with the state of Montana and partnered with conservation organization Defenders of Wildlife to truck the bison from corrals at Corwin Springs.
The corrals were used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to conduct bison quarantine studies.
Fort Peck in northeast Montana has received 104 bison since April 2019 that were quarantined by Yellowstone bison managers.
Yellowstone bison are known to carry brucellosis, a disease that can cause pregnant cattle to abort and infect humans with undulant fever, which causes fever, weakness and muscle pain.
Fort Peck's herd has reached its capacity of about 350 to 375 animals spread across 23.4 square miles. New animals will be transferred to other herds.
Tribal herds of Yellowstone bison will contribute to the interior department goal of developing a connected population of wild bison from Canada to Mexico.
Governor Bullock Announces Directive That Permits Safe Visitation In Nursing Homes And Assisted Living Facilities
MONTANA – Governor Steve Bullock today announced an updated directive that permits safe visitation in nursing homes and assisted living facilities that are able to follow infection control protocols per guidance issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“I’d like to offer my thanks to the staff of residential facilities for older adults across Montana for all they have done and continue to do to keep Montanans safe and healthy,” said Governor Bullock. “We recognize this has been a particularly challenging time for Montana’s older adults and it’s our hope that these Montanans will be able to have some social interaction in safe ways with their loved ones.”
Nursing care and assisted living facilities for older adults in Montana may allow visitors after giving notice to residents and family members. Visitation should be conducted in accordance with the strict screening, physical distancing, sanitation, hygiene, testing, and other infection control protocols set forth in the CMS and CDC guidance applicable to nursing homes. Before permitting visitation, facilities should review the applicable CDC and CMS guidance and determine that they are capable of following them.
CMS guidance can be found at this link: https://www.cms.gov/files/document/qso-20-30-nh.pdf
Governor Bullock’s April 22 Phase 1 reopening directive continued the suspension of visitation for all visitors and non-essential healthcare providers, except as for certain compassionate care situations.
Montana FWP Proposing To Purchase Conservation Easement Southeast Of Hinsdale
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is proposing to purchase a conservation easement on approximately 3,400 deeded acres in Valley County, roughly 5 miles southeast of Hinsdale.
The public is invited to comment on the proposal, and FWP will hold a public meeting at the Cottonwood Inn in Glasgow on Monday, June 29, at 6:30 p.m. The meeting is expected to be small and will be held consistent with Montana’s Phase 2 social distancing guidelines. People can also provide comment online, in writing or via email. If you feel ill please stay home and comment via another venue.
Conservation easements are partnerships between FWP and willing private landowners to conserve important native wildlife habitats and provide public recreational access. The proposed easement, called the Ash Coulee Conservation Easement, would provide protection, enhancement, and public access to prairie riparian corridors, sagebrush and shrub grasslands, and plains grasslands adjacent to the Milk River. A rest rotation grazing system would be implemented to maintain and improve wildlife habitat on the property.
A draft environmental assessment is available for review and public comment. The EA can be viewed online at fwp.mt.gov/news/publicNotices/conservationEasements/pn_0044.html or a hard copy can be obtained by calling 406-228-3700. Comments can be submitted online, emailed to wildlife biologist Drew Henry at email@example.com, or mailed to: MT FWP, Attn. Ash Coulee Conservation Easement, 1 Airport Road, Glasgow, MT 59230.
For any additional information or questions, please contact Drew Henry at 406-228-3709. The public can comment up to 5 p.m., Friday, July 10. If the project moves forward following public comment, it will go before the Fish & Wildlife Commission for a final decision.
Fort Peck Tribal Executive Board Prohibits Departments From Participating In Wolf Point Stampede Due To Covid-19
The Fort Peck Tribe Executive Board voted Tuesday to prohibit Tribal Departments from participating in the Wolf Point Wild Horse Stampede July 9-11. The TEB also encouraged tribal members not to participate in the event.
Here is the document passed by the Tribal Executive Board:
Valley County's First COVID-19 Drive-Thru Testing Is Thursday
Valley County's 1st COVID-19 drive-thru testing event will be held Thurs. June 25th from 10a.m. – 3p.m. at the Northeast Montana Fairgrounds.
This will be used to determine asymptomatic positive COVID-19 cases for surveillance purposes. All you need is yourself inside a vehicle, more than 1 person can be in the same vehicle to be tested.
There is no charge & no appointment is necessary as this is 1st come 1st served. Anyone that is asymptomatic, must be healthy at time of sample collection, can be tested - there are no age or other demographic restrictions. This is for anyone that would like to be tested, regardless of where you live.
This test is only used to identify current positive cases of COVID-19. They have the capability of administering up to 500 tests & you will receive your results in the mail in 10-14 days.
Tester Secures Nearly $1 Million for Montana Health Care Workforce Training
Funding for University of Montana and Montana State University to increase diversity, improve health care access in rural Montana
(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced he has secured nearly $1 million to help Montanans train for and secure a job in health care.
Tester announced the funds, which are available through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), will benefit students at the University of Montana and Montana State University. UM will receive $438,278 for a program that trains medical residents in rural and underserved areas, and MSU will receive $344,880 for scholarships to increase diversity in the health care workforce.
“The COVID-19 health crisis has shone a spotlight on the critical need for good doctors and nurses here in Montana” Tester said. “This funding will help us get more quality health care providers into our rural and underserved areas, and help make the health care workforce looks more like the folks they care for. I am going to keep fighting to make sure Montana communities have the resources they need to stay healthy and secure for the duration of this crisis and beyond.”
Tester has fought relentlessly to improve access to health care in rural Montana by training more providers to work in frontier communities and making sure hospitals in those communities have the resources they need. He voted in support of the Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations Bills that provided $430 million for HRSA Health Workforce programs. Tester also authored the Restoring Rural Residencies Act in 2016 after hosting a Rural Health Summit that brought together more than 100 health care professionals and policy-makers to discuss challenges facing health care providers in Montana. This bill would allow rural hospitals to bill for time residents spend training at their sites. The Administration finalized a policy change to allow hospitals to receive reimbursement for residents’ training time based on Tester’s proposal.
Tester has also worked tirelessly to ensure that Montana hospitals and health care facilities are prepared to combat the COVID-19 crisis. He recently announced nearly $50 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to help Montana expand testing capacity. He also secured $3 million for 14 Montana community health centers to expand COVID-19 testing, and he delivered nearly $200 million in relief funding for 121 rural Montana hospitals, health centers, and clinics.
Drought Early Warning Update For The North Central U.S.
Extreme Heat & Dry Conditions Forecasted to Persist: Potential Impacts in the Missouri River Basin & Midwest
This Drought Early Warning Update is issued in partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to communicate a potential area of concern for drought expansion and/or development within the North Central U.S. based on recent conditions and the upcoming forecast. NIDIS and its partners will issue future Drought Early Warning Updates as conditions evolve.?
This covers the following states in the North Central U.S.: Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Drought conditions have been recently deteriorating over areas of the North Central U.S. (Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming). Abnormally dry conditions have recently expanded as well.
A recent increase in atmospheric demand (i.e., crop water use) is starting to cause some stress on rangeland, grassland, and crops as soil moisture availability is decreasing.
Forecasts show the possibility for rainfall in some areas over the next week. However, it is not likely to be widespread. In addition, there is a greater chance for above-normal temperatures across much of the north central U.S. through the end of June into early July. Therefore, for those that do receive rainfall, hotter temperatures will likely continue to worsen conditions in some areas.
U.S. Drought Monitor Conditions
Severe (D2) to extreme (D3) drought persists across much of Colorado and western Kansas.
Moderate drought (D1) recently developed in portions of the Missouri River Basin and Midwest as well.
Abnormally dry conditions (D0) also expanded this past week by around 10% in the Midwest and 8% in the Great Plains.
Valley County With Unemployment Rate of 5.2% In May
April, the Montana unemployment rate was at 11.9%. The Montana unemployment rate remained below the national rate of 13.3% in May.
“Due to our early action to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we’ve been able to continue with the phased reopening of our state, our economy is recovering, and thousands of Montanans have returned to work,” said Governor Bullock. “As we keep working to fight the spread of the virus, we will keep working every single day to stimulate our economy and support Montana families and businesses through this time.”
Montana posted the third fastest payroll employment growth among states in May with 4% over the month growth, and had the 7th lowest unemployment rate in the country. Private payroll employment also posted a record-breaking gain of 15,700 jobs over the month, with improvement across most private industries. Job losses in the local government sector kept overall payroll employment gains to 13,300 jobs. Total employment (including both payroll jobs and the self-employed) added 16,780 jobs over the month – the most jobs added in any single month since the data series began in 1976. Despite these large job gains, Montana’s May employment estimate remains roughly 44,000 jobs below its pre-pandemic peak.
Since this employment data was captured in May, unemployment claims continue to drop, suggesting future employment data will continue to improve. Since the peak of unemployment claims during the week of April 18, nearly 29,000 Montanans have gone back to work to date and are no longer making a claim. In addition, approximately 15,000 Montanans have gone back to work part time.
Valley County had an unemployment rate of 5.2% with total employment of 3,695 and a total job decrease of 312 from last year.
Valley County Resident Tests Positive For COVID-19 But Is Not Currently In Valley County
Valley County, Montana): Valley County Public Health Department and Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital today confirm one positive case of COVID-19 of a Valley County resident. This person is a male in his 60s who is not currently in Valley County. He will remain in isolation in the county in which he was infected for the duration of his illness.
Valley County Public Health Department is following up directly with all individuals who have had close contact with the case and are at risk of infection. All close contacts will be notified and tested for COVID-19.
Governor Bullock Announces Creation Of Loan Deferment Program
MONTANA – Governor Steve Bullock today announced the creation of a loan deferment program to assist Montana businesses impacted by COVID-19.
The Montana Loan Deferment Program will allow businesses and other entities to defer payments on existing loans for six to 12 months and free up a significant amount of otherwise dedicated capital for the borrower to leverage on a monthly basis. If a borrower is approved for the program, Coronavirus relief funds will be used to provide payments to participating lenders to cover interest payments for six-to-twelve months, up to 6 percent or $150, 000.
“Through the Coronavirus Relief Fund, we’ve been able to consider and begin meeting the needs across all sectors of the economy and in all corners of the state,” Governor Bullock said. “The funds we’ve distributed have gotten Montanans back to work, stabilized businesses, provided a safety net for individuals, and jumpstarted industries while considering what support should be available to ensure long term sustainability.”
Governor Bullock is directing $125 million to the program with $25 million specifically dedicated to hotels and restaurants and the remaining $100 million dedicated to other eligible borrowers.
The amount currently dedicated to this program could help defer between 5,000 and 10,000 loans and free up capital to bring stability for businesses and other entities in the long term.
“This program will provide a much needed lifeline to many Montana small businesses to help them recover from the impact of COVID-19 and allow them to get stronger for the future,” said Randy Chesler, CEO of Glacier Bancorp.
“This program will not only provide much needed relief to Montana businesses, it will do so in a way that allows the state’s banks to mitigate risks in the marketplace. Montana’s community banks have stepped up in a big way and will continue to do so through this program in order to help the people of Montana get through this crisis,” said Andy West, President of Eagle Bank in Polson.
To be eligible, borrowers must have experienced a 25 percent reduction in gross revenue due to COVID-19. The borrower must also not have access to 12 months of working capital from any other source and be actively registered with the Secretary of State to do business in Montana. The full eligibility criteria are available at COVIDRELIEF.MT.GOV.
The program will be jointly administered by the Board of Investments and the Department of Revenue. Borrowers will apply through their existing lender, which will submit the application to the Board of Investments and Revenue for review and payment if approved. Recipients will be listed on the transparency website that is updated weekly.
For businesses seeking access to new capital, the state is currently developing a program that will assist those with needs for new capital.
Governor Bullock also announced he is allocating $530,000 to the Department of Commerce to promote the Census through October 31, the new deadline for completing the decennial count.
“We know an accurate and complete count of all Montanans is critical for determining the federal funding distributed to the state for education, highways, health care and over 300 other programs,” Governor Bullock said. “This funding will support the state over the long term and ensure we do everything we can to get a complete count and our fair share of federal funding over the next decade.”
While the federal government is tasked with counting all households every 10 years, the state supports the effort to educate and promote the importance of the Census. The U.S. Census Bureau suspended all field operations from March to early May to slow the spread of COVID-19, which put Montana’s response rate below the national average. An accurate and complete count of all Montanans is critical for determining the federal funding distributed to the state, it shapes local voting districts, and it determines whether Montana will receive a second seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The following programs have been created in under two months using funding through $1.25 billion in federal emergency relief funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act:
• Montana Meat Processing Infrastructure Grant, Montana Department of Agriculture
• Montana Business Adaptation Program, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation
• Montana Business Stabilization Program, Montana Department of Commerce
• Montana Innovation Grant Program, Governor’s Office of Economic Development
• Montana Food and Agriculture Adaptability Program, Montana Department of Agriculture
• Local Government Reimbursement Program
• Emergency Housing Assistance Program, Montana Department of Commerce
• Public Health Grants, Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services,
• Stay Connected Grants, Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services
• Food Bank and Food Pantry Assistance, Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services
• Social Services Nonprofit Grants, Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services
• Telework Assistance Grants, Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services
More than $30 million has gone to Montanans and Montana businesses impacted by COVID-19. To find the transparency webpage and learn more about where the funds are going, go to COVIDRELIEF.MT.GOV.
Amtrak To Reduce Service On Empire Builder To Three Days A Week
Amtrak will cut service later this year on most of its long-distance routes nationwide to three times a week instead of the current daily service because ridership has fallen significantly during the coronavirus pandemic.
Amtrak spokeswoman Kimberly Woods said Wednesday that the cuts will take effect Oct. 1 and remain in place until at least the summer of 2021, but daily service could be restored if demand improves along its long-distance routes.
Jim Mathews, president and chief executive of the Rail Passengers Association advocacy group, said he thinks the cuts are short-sighted and will hurt long-term demand for these routes.
“The long-distance services declined the least among Amtrak’s three business lines during the coronavirus-induced slowdown, and its services remain essential to the hundreds of small communities across the United States with fewer options than Philadelphia or Boston or New York City,” Mathews said.
The train routes being cut to three days a week include the California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, City of New Orleans, Coast Starlight, Crescent, Empire Builder, Lake Shore Limited, Palmetto, Southwest Chief, and Texas Eagle. The Sunset Limited and Cardinal trains already operate three times a week.
Amtrak said its Auto Train, which runs from the Washington, D.C., suburbs to the Orlando, Florida, area, is the only long-distance route that will continue to operate daily.
Trump Administration Asks Supreme Court To Revive Permit Program That Would Allow Keystone Pipeline To Cross Waterways With Little Review
HELENA, Mont. -- The Trump administration has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to revive a permit program that would allow the disputed Keystone XL pipeline and other new oil and gas pipelines to cross waterways with little review.
Earlier this year, a Montana judge suspended the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ permit program when environmental groups seeking to block construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline argued the permit process allows companies to skirt responsibility for damage done to water bodies.
The permit program, known as Nationwide Permit 12, allows pipelines to be built across streams and wetlands with minimal review if they meet certain criteria.
Canadian company TC Energy needs the permit to build the long-disputed pipeline from Canada across U.S. rivers and streams. Industry representatives said U.S. District Judge Brian Morris' ruling blocking the program could also delay more than 70 pipeline projects across the U.S. and add as much as $2 billion in costs.
Morris ruled that Army Corps officials in 2017 improperly reauthorized the program, which he said could harm protected wildlife and wildlife habitat.
Last month, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied an emergency request to block Morris' ruling filed by the U.S. government, states and industry groups.
On Monday, U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco asked the Supreme Court to do what the 9th Circuit court wouldn't: block Morris' ruling and let the permit program operate again while the lawsuit plays out in court.
The government's application to the court says Morris shouldn't have blocked the program, the which has been in effect since the 1970s, and the Army Corps and private companies “rely on it for thousands of activities annually," the solicitor general wrote.
“The district court had no warrant to set aside NWP 12 with respect to Keystone XL, let alone for the construction of all new oil and gas pipelines anywhere in the country,” Francisco wrote.
One of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement that the Supreme Court should reject the Trump administration's request.
“Pipelines like Keystone XL are a disaster waiting to happen," senior attorney Jared Margolis said in the statement.
In May, TC Energy built the first piece of the disputed oil sands pipeline across the U.S. border. But with Morris' ruling on the permit program, it would be difficult for the company to complete the $8 billion project.
The 1,200-mile (1,900-kilometer) pipeline from Alberta to Nebraska was stalled for much of the past decade before President Donald Trump was elected and began trying to push it through to completion.
Reminder: Federal And State Income Taxes Are Due July 15th
As Montanans look forward to summer, the Montana Department of Revenue has a reminder: Federal and state income taxes are due July 15.
“Montanans have handled a lot in these past few months, so I thank all those who have already filed their returns,” said Gene Walborn, director of the Department of Revenue. “For those who haven’t, this is a good time to make sure you have your tax information available and find any help you may need to file.”
Filing electronically is the easiest and most secure way to submit your return, and is the quickest way to receive any refund due.
This year, the department has a new way for Montanans with simple taxes to file their state income tax returns online, quickly and for free. MT QuickFile is now available for Montanans who:
• Were full-year Montana residents in 2019;
• Only have income documented on W-2, 1099-DIV or 1099-INT forms;
• Are filing as single, head of household, or married filing jointly;
• Are taking the standard deduction;
• Are not claiming any tax credits (other than the Elderly Homeowner/Renter Credit.)
Montanans who meet all these criteria should check if they can use MT QuickFile, available at MTRevenue.gov.
To avoid delays in receiving refunds, all Montanans should keep their mailing address current with the department.
For more information, visit MTRevenue.gov.
FPST Opens With Sunshine Boys
We are all ready for a comedy, and Fort Peck Summer Theater is sure to deliver with the season opener, The Sunshine Boys. Rivalry, memories and lots of laughs are certain to resurface when a former vaudeville team grudgingly re-unite for a Television Special! Neal Lewing, who was a member of the original FPST company, 51 seasons ago, returns to direct and star in this classic Neil Simon comedy.
George Burns and Walter Matthau famously starred in the Oscar winning film adaption.
The FPST production is in collaboration with Port Polson Players, where it performed last season. Along with Lewing in the Matthau role, it stars Louis Jepson, Mike Gillpatrick, K.C. Isaman and Karen Lewing. Scenic Design is by Cole Bakke, with Lighting by Spencer Perry.
Performances are July 3 – July 12; Friday & Saturday at 7:30pm and Sunday at 4:00pm.
For more information call 406-526-9943 or visit our online box office at fortpecktheatre.org
Determined to safely overcome the obstacles set by COVID-19, FPST has restructured the originally announced 2020 season, with the continued goal to bring enriching and exciting entertainment to Northeast Montana audiences. Following The Sunshine Boys, the 2020 season continues with:
• Ed Asner in God Help Us: July 17 – July 19
• The Big Zany Family Friendly Variety Hour (different theme each week): July 24 – August 9
• Love Letters: August 14 – August 16
• Wait Until Dark: August 21 – September 6
DPHHS Proposes Rules to Eliminate the Sale of Flavored E-Cigarettes in Montana
The Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) filed T a proposed rule notice to eliminate the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in response to the epidemic of youth e-cigarette product use in Montana.
The proposed rule would eliminate the selling, offering for sale, marketing, advertising or otherwise distributing flavored electronic smoking products that target Montana youth.
“This is a serious health issue in Montana that is causing major health consequences for our youth driving a lifelong addiction to nicotine,” DPHHS Director Sheila Hogan said. “I strongly encourage Montanans to participate in this public process by submitting their feedback, thoughts and suggestions on this critical step to protecting the health of Montana’s children from flavored tobacco.”
A public hearing will be held via remote conferencing to consider the proposed rules on Thursday, July 16, 2020 at 3 p.m. Interested parties wanting to provide public comment are encouraged to participate by calling into the hearing. Call-in information is provided in the rule posting.
Montana historically has ranked above the national average in youth vaping rates. Nearly 60% of Montana high school students and 30% of middle school students have tried vaping. In 2019, almost one in 10 Montana high school students vaped daily, exposing their brains to the long-term effects of nicotine addiction. This is a 263% increase from 2017.
A recent report by the FDA states that 96% of 12 to 17-year-olds who initiated e-cigarette use started with a flavored product, and 70% report the flavors as the reason they use e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes are available in thousands of youth-appealing flavors, including fruit, candy, mint and menthol. The overwhelming majority of youth e-cigarette users report using flavored products.
This rule would eliminate the sale of all flavored e-cigarette products. The rule, however, does not apply to medical marijuana products sold by licensed providers.
Massachusetts was the first state to restrict the sale of all flavored tobacco products. New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island have restricted the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. Over 270 local cities and counties across the country have enacted restrictions on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, from Colorado to Minnesota to Massachusetts.
Earlier this year, the FDA restricted the sale of some flavor in pod-based e-cigarettes, however, the federal policy does not apply to many types of e-cigarettes, like open systems and disposable e-cigarettes, leaving states with the job of taking action to protect kids.
Montana teens use e-cigarettes at twice the national average, and more is being learned about the health effects of vaping. Research has shown that youth who use e-cigarettes are four times more likely to become smokers.
“The best way never to get addicted to nicotine is not to start,” said DPHHS Public Health and Safety Division Administrator Todd Harwell. “Sadly, most individuals who are currently addicted to nicotine started using these products before the age of 18, and youth are enticed by the flavors.”
Nicotine is a highly addictive drug that can have lasting damaging effects on adolescent brain development since the brain continues to develop until age 25. Nicotine exposure in youth causes long-term structural and functional changes in the brain, can lead to long-lasting effects like lower impulse control and mood disorders, and can prime young brains for addiction to other drugs such as cocaine and meth.
The Glasgow City Council members are once again presenting a Yard of the Week to Glasgow residents. Each council member will select a yard in their respective Ward.
Todd Young this week selected the yard of Carol Robbins.
Carol lives at 811 7th Avenue North in Glasgow. Todd Young presents Carol with $25 in Chamber Big Bucks.
Nashua Senior Citizen News
Darwin Johnson was recently recognized by the Nashua Senior Citizens, along with the Commodity Supplemental Food Program in Nashua, for his many years of service to the Commodities Program. Darwin has carried the foodstuffs in and out of the distribution faithfully for over 15 years. He was presented with a quilt made by Patricia Neuleib for his many years of dependable help. Thank you, Darwin!
The Commodity Supplemental Food Program is available to seniors 60 years of age and over and WIC families with children. It provides a box of 30 pounds of food per month. Seniors must meet income requirements, which are 130% of the 2019 poverty level. Applications are available at the Nashua Senior Citizens or through Vicky Wetz at the Council on Aging in Glasgow, phone 228-9223.
The Nashua Senior Citizens has recently been awarded two grants. The Valley County Community Foundation awarded a grant to help replace windows at the Center. Also, a grant was awarded from the State of Montana Covid Relief Program to offset losses during the Covid shutdown. The Center has been shut down since March, and it won’t open until Montana’s Phase 3. These funds will be greatly appreciated by the Seniors.
The Nashua Senior Citizens have set a date for the Annual Nashua Community Rummage Day to be July 18, the third Saturday in July. Anyone in Nashua who has items that they want to get rid of, set this date as your garage sale date. If there are coordinated garage/rummage sales, people could come to Nashua for the day to all of them.
Jeff Jurgens Memorial Scholarships Awarded
Six Valley County high-school graduates have received Jeff Jurgens Memorial Scholarships to enable their studies at colleges and universities.
The scholarships are awarded annually by the Scottie Booster Club in memory of the late Jeff Jurgens, Glasgow student and rabid sports fan whose namesake basketball tournament, held annually in March, is the source of the funds. While this year’s Jeff Jurgens Memorial Tournament was cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions, the Scottie Booster Club is awarding scholarships regardless.
“The mission of the Scottie Booster Club is to support youth of the community, and we felt obligated to fulfill that mission despite missing our year’s biggest fundraiser,” says Mike Pehlke, president of the Booster Club. “Especially this year, with so much disruption of their senior year in high school, we are pleased to be able to support a class of standout athletes and students as they continue their success at the next level.”
In order to be eligible for the Jeff Jurgens scholarship, students must have graduated from a Valley County school and either played varsity basketball or are entering a medical or health-related field of study. This year, the Booster Club selected six scholarship recipients from Glasgow High School, Nashua High School, Hinsdale High School, and Lustre Christian High School.
Applicants’ athletic backgrounds are considered, along with academic achievement and career plans, community service, citizenship, and financial need.
This year’s JJMT Scholars are:
Salomon Hansen – A 2020 graduate of Glasgow High School, Hansen participated in four different sports as a Scottie, and played in the Jeff Jurgens Memorial Tournament for seven straight years. He was selected for National Honor Society and served as a Key Club member and G Club officer. Hansen, the son of Peggy and Steve Hansen, plans to attend Montana State University in Bozeman starting this fall.
Taylor Pederson – Another 2020 graduate of Glasgow High School, Pederson intends to attend Williston State College this fall. She participated in four years each of basketball, volleyball, and softball, was a member of the National Honor Society, Key Club, JMG, and BPA. She also played for multiple years in the Jeff Jurgens Memorial Tournament on various Glasgow teams. Taylor is the daughter of Marie and Duke Pederson.
Timothy Wageman – The son of Annette and Gary Wageman, Tim is a 2020 graduate of Glasgow High School, where he played Scottie basketball all four years and participated in football, cross country, and track. He also participated for seven years in the JJMT. Wageman was a member of the National Honor Society, G Club, was a class officer for four years, and has been a Cub and Boy Scout for 12 years. He plans to attend MSU-Bozeman to pursue a degree in electrical engineering.
Megan Fast – A 2020 graduate of Lustre Christian High School, Fast plans to attend Bismarck State College this fall to pursue a degree in surgical technology. Fast played basketball and volleyball for two years, was a member of National Honor Society, served as class officer all four years at Lustre, and is active in her church. She is the daughter of Susan and Jared Fast of rural Frazer.
Elise Strommen – 2020 Hinsdale High School graduate Elise Strommen will attend Montana State University this fall to pursue a degree in business management. The daughter of Amber and Justin Strommen of Vandalia, she participated in basketball, volleyball, and track all four years of high school, and also served as a student council officer, participated in 4-H, FFA, H-Club, and was a member of the National Honor Society. She also played in the JJMT for a Hinsdale squad.
Cordell Younkin – Another 2020 Hinsdale High graduate, Younkin plans to attend MSU-Northern this fall to study welding. He played Raiders basketball for four years, and played football for four years and ran track for two years. He also participated in the JJMT for five years. Younkin, the son of Kay Roub Younkin and Jeff Younkin, was a member of FFA, 4-H, and is active in St. Alberts Catholic Church.
University Of Montana Releases Dean's List and President's List For Spring Semester 2020
University of Montana Dean’s List and President’s List, Spring
Semester 2020, In-State Students
The students listed below made UM’s spring semester 2020 Dean’s List or the President’s 4.0
List. Double asterisks after a name indicate the student earned a 4.0 GPA. A single asterisk
indicates a GPA greater than 3.5 but less than 4.0.
Montana State University Announces Undergraduate Honor Roll For Spring Semester
BOZEMAN — Montana State University has announced its undergraduate honor rolls for spring semester 2020.
There are two MSU honor roll lists, the President's List and the Dean's List. To be eligible for the lists, students must have earned at least 12 college-level credits. This honor roll list was current as of June 11 and includes all registration corrections or grade changes processed to that date.
The 2,439 students with a perfect 4.0 grade point average for the semester were named to the President's List. An asterisk follows their names below.
The Dean's List includes the 4,067 students earning grade point averages of 3.5 or higher for the semester.
Glasgow: Luke Breigenzer, James Fauth, Autumn Gault, Logan Gunderson, Andrea Hansen, Bailee Holstein, Madison Knodel, Noah Lipszyc, Garrett Lloyd, Benjamin Miller, Abigail Schultz, Rachel Sigmundstad
Hinsdale: Emilie Carrillo, Chaykota Christensen, Mickayla Johnson, John McColly
Fort Peck: Emily Skyberg
Nashua: Chloe Koessl, Sophia Koessl, Trevor Toavs, Nicole Williams*
Saco: Bailey Funk, Chandler Pippin
Glasgow Voters To Decide Fate Of Backyard Chickens And How City Council Members Are Elected
The Glasgow City Council approved 2 items to put on the November ballot for the voters in the City of Glasgow to decide their fate.
At a work session on Wednesday, the council approved a resolution to let the voters decide whether to allow chickens to be raised in the city limits of Glasgow. The other resolution would allow the voters to decide how the City of Glasgow elects’ members of the Glasgow City Council.
The issue of chickens has been much discussed in the city and the Glasgow City Council voted down a proposed ordinance allowing backyard chickens in 2018. But Madelyn House, who had spearheaded the issue in 2018, came back before the council and asked the council to put it on the ballot and let the voters decide. The Glasgow City Council agreed by a vote of 4-2. Council members Butch Heitman, Todd Young, Stan Ozark and Doug Nistler agreed to let the voters decide while Council Members Rod Karst and Dan Carr voted against the resolution.
The Council also voted to let the voters decide on how council members are elected in the City of Glasgow. Currently, Glasgow consists of 3 wards and each ward has 2 council members. The members elected from those wards must live within the boundaries and only residents who live within those boundaries may vote on those 2 council members. The resolution passed by the council would change that and allow all members of the Glasgow City Council to be elected at-large. This would eliminate the ward system and every voter in the City of Glasgow would vote on all members of the Glasgow City Council. This passed resolution will put the issue on the ballot in November to let the voters decide. The Council voted 4-2 to put this issue on the ballot. Council members Butch Heitman, Todd Young, Stan Ozark and Doug Nistler agreed to let the voters decide while Council Members Rod Karst and Dan Carr voted against the resolution.
Poplar Man Sentenced For Sexually Abusing A Child
Story from www.greatfallstribune.com
A Poplar man was sentenced in federal court to four years in prison and five years of supervised release after pleading guilty to sexually abusing a child.
Lloyd Wallace Youpee, 93, pleaded guilty in January to the sexual abuse which reportedly occurred between February and December of 2018, according to U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme.
Prosecutors stated that Youpee initially denied touching the victim, who was under the age of 12, before admitting to the sexual assault. While being interviewed by investigators, Youpee reportedly said he did not want kids to be around him while he is drinking, saying he knows how he is and that he likes sex.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Cassady Adams prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the FBI and Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice.
Mussel-Fouled Boat Tracked Down In Glasgow After Driving Past Inspection Station In Nashua
Another mussel-fouled boat was tracked down after driving past the Nashua AIS watercraft inspection station. Watercraft inspector Ron Ost noticed the drive-by and called warden Todd Tryan, who tracked the vessel down in Glasgow. Ron was especially concerned because it was a sail boat. It turns out the boat was from Wisconsin and was being transported through the state on the way to Canada.
The driver didn't think he needed to stop as the boat was not being launched in Montana, only passing through. This, however, is not how the law works. Warden Tryan issued a citation for failure to stop, as ALL watercraft are required to stop at ALL watercraft inspection stations. Since the boat was from Wisconsin, a state known to have mussels, warden Tryan required the boat go back to the inspection station, where mussels were found on the rear hull of the boat. The boat was "locked" to the trailer for the rest of transport.
Thanks to inspector Ost and warden Tryan for intercepting this boat!
-ALL watercraft must stop at ALL inspection stations, regardless of whether they plan to launch in Montana or not.
-All watercraft coming into Montana from out of state (whether nonresidents or residents that take their boat out of state) must be inspected before launch...even if they need to wait for an inspection station to open.
-Drivers with watercraft knowingly driving by an open watercraft inspection station without stopping WILL be cited.
CLEAN. DRAIN. DRY.
Fundraising Continues For Valley County Swimming Pool
Over $943,000 has been raised by a group advocating for a new swimming pool for Valley County. While close to a million dollars might seem quite a bit of money for a new pool the group remains short of their goal of raising $2.775 million to construct a new pool and bathhouse plus other improvements.
The fundraising was boosted significantly earlier this year according to Maggan Walstad of the Valley County Community Pool Campaign.
Maggan goes on to describe what the new pool will include when it is finished:
For more information on the Valley County Community Pool Campaign visit their website:
Fort Peck Summer Theater Announces Changes To Summer Lineup
Due to continued challenges caused by COVID-19, Fort Peck has made one more difficult, but necessary and exciting change to the 2020. Previously announced Working has been replaced. Inspired by Laugh In and The Ed Sullivan Show, enjoy iconic music, dance sequences, comedy sketches, historic tributes and lots more surprises in a live theatrical extravaganza: The Big Zany Family Friendly Variety Hour. Audiences can expect appearances many FPST alum, local and audience favorites. Featuring 3 different unique themed weekends:
• Outside the Box: July 24 – July 26: Be inspired to see things from a different angle, explore in unique ways and be silly, with an innovative musical anthology that encourages imaginations to run wild!
• Christmas in July: July 31 – August 2: Heartwarming and nostalgic interpretations of everyone’s favorite classics, as well as some modern material about the pressures, excitement and bustle of the holidays.
• Let’s Go to the Movies! August 7 – August 9: Do you remember where you were the first time you heard Celine belt out Titanic’s anthem ‘My Heart Will Go On’, or first tapped your toes to the opening chords of ‘Summer Nights’ from Grease? Did your heart race when you saw Gene Kelly tap dancing in the rain? From the timeless black-and-white Oscar winners, to modern day block busters, FPST honors the magic of the movies.
For more information call 406-526-9943 or visit our wesbite at fortpecktheatre.org. Fort Peck continues to explore and implement all steps to assure the safety of our audiences and actors. For those of you who had previously purchased tickets for Working, those tickets will automatically be transferred to The Big Zany Family Friendly Variety Hour. The tickets will be either emailed or mailed within this week of June 8.
The rest of the 2020 Line Up remains as previously announced:
• The Sunshine Boys: July 3 – July 12
• Ed Asner in God Help Us: July 17 – July 19
• The Big Zany Family Friendly Variety Hour: July 24 – August 9
• Love Letters: August 14 – August 16
• Wait Until Dark: August 21 – September 6
Governor Bullock Announces Support for Local Meat Processors, Small Businesses and Local Governments Across Montana
MONTANA – Governor Steve Bullock today announced funding through the federal CARES Act will be used to boost in-state processing and storage capacity for local meat processors, to provide additional financial assistance for small businesses, and to reimburse local governments for COVID-19 related expenses.
The Montana Meat Processing Infrastructure Grant is available to aid small and medium-sized meat processors responding to COVID-19 supply chain disruptions by supporting local meat processing infrastructure and capacity in Montana.
“These grants will boost processing and storage capacity. They’ll help Montana businesses put more Montana meat onto more shelves. Plus, an increase in in-state processing means more direct sales, and better, value-added markets for producers,” Governor Bullock said. “These investments will bolster Montana’s food security, making us stronger in response to the pandemic, as well as long into the future.”
Due to interruptions in national supply chains, meat processing capacity throughout the US has been significantly impacted. Supporting in-state meat processing infrastructure and capacity will provide alternative market channels for Montana’s cattle, hog and poultry producers. Examples of eligible expenses include equipment and infrastructure that increases processing and/or storage capacity, costs associated with becoming state or federally inspected, and other business adaptation and diversification activities. Total funding available through the program is $2,000,000, with a maximum award of $150,000. Applications are being accepted now at COVIDRELIEF.MT.GOV. The deadline to apply is July 2, 2020 at 5:00pm.
Governor Bullock also announced an additional $25 million will be added to the Business Stabilization Program to aid small businesses in recovering from the economic impacts of COVID-19. The program, which is operated by the Department of Commerce, was initially allocated $50 million. The program has received more than 8,000 applications, with funding requests totaling more than $60 million. Learn more and apply at COVIDRELIEF.MT.GOV.
Additionally, Governor Bullock is making available reimbursements to local governments for COVID-19-related expenses. Localities can submit requests to the Department of Administration for reimbursement for items like medical expenses, public health expenses, or employees’ regular and overtime hours substantially dedicated to mitigating or responding to COVID-19.
“Along with Montanans, our local governments have gone to great lengths throughout our response to COVID-19 to keep their local communities safe – and that has come with an extra cost,” Governor Bullock said. “I’m pleased we have been able to build on long-established working relationships with the Montana Association of Counties and the Montana League of Cities and Towns, and on our existing partnerships with county commissioners, mayors and other local officials across Montana to respond with a united front in the face of the pandemic.”
“From the creation of the Task Force which prioritized private sector recovery and economic stability; through the framework for local government reimbursement for public safety and public health stability; we thank the Governor and his administration for allowing input from Montana Counties,” said Eric Bryson, Executive Director, Montana Association of Counties.
“We are thankful for the ongoing partnership with the Governor and his team at the State,” said the President of the Montana League of Cities and Towns and Roundup Mayor Sandra Jones. “We have worked side by side during this pandemic including developing the local government reimbursement program. These funds are critical to Montana’s 127 cities and towns and the work we do to serve Montanans every day.”
Localities will submit requests for reimbursements by June 12, July 17, September 4, and/or December 1, 2020, and will be reimbursed within 30 days of these deadlines. Any entity will receive a maximum of four reimbursement payments.
Local governments may also be eligible for reimbursement through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance grant program for costs related to emergency protective measures as a result of COVID-19, such as emergency operations center activities, training, facility disinfection, technical assistance and more.
Local governments can apply at COVIDRELIEF.MT.GOV or email LGSportalregistrations@mt.gov for questions.
The funding announcement today through the CARES Act is part of the $1.25 billion provided to Montana from the federal government. Today’s announcement adds to the $123 million in funding announced by Governor Bullock in May. A comprehensive information resource and application portal is available at COVIDRELIEF.MT.GOV.
Closing Time Extended For Restaurants, Breweries, Distilleries and Bars During Phase 2 Of the Plan To Re-Open The Big Sky
Bar seating can be accommodated and be protective of public health. This guidance is intended to assist with the safe reopening of bar seating in restaurants, breweries, distilleries, and bars during Phase 2 of the Plan to Re-Open the Big Sky. The required time of closure at these establishments is extended from 11:30PM to 12:30AM. In order to open seating at a bar the following social distancing and sanitation protocols must be followed, unless, an equally protective measure utilizing spacing, or physical barriers, has been proposed in place of a listed requirement and has been approved by the local health department.
1. Maintain six feet of social distancing between patrons
2. Frequently clean and disinfect commonly touched services
3. Eliminate shared or community items
• No bar seating within 6 feet of a well or taps, an area where drinks are passed to servers, ice machines, or other areas used to prepare or serve food or beverages;
• Bars stools should be spaced 6 feet apart;
• All patrons should have a place to sit; No standing and mingling allowed at the bar or elsewhere;
• Keep all barstools 6 feet apart. If a group of 6 or less comes in and requests to be seated together, a staff member can group seat together and then re-space to 6ft once the group leaves;
o Facilities should use discretion in accommodating group seating when considering group seating;
• If 6ft cannot be maintained between patrons and servers/staff using well areas or taps, a physical barrier or closing wells may be used to protect servers/staff;
o The barrier must be at least 36 inches high and offer enough protection to prevent employee exposure to droplets from anyone seated within 6 feet of either side of the serving area;
o Wells taken out of use should be marked with a sign to remind staff.
• There may be a designated area at the bar, away from other costumers, wells, taps, prep-stations where patrons may place and receive orders. 6 feet of social distancing should be maintained by all patrons of sperate parties and only one customer may use this space at a time. Patrons may grab their drink or order and then return to their seats. (see above if 6ft cannot be maintained)
Clean and Disinfect
• Disinfect barstools and counter space between patrons;
• No reusing drink coasters unless they can be disinfected between patrons;
• No refilling glasses, new glass is needed for each order;
• No shake-a-day unless dice and cup can be disinfected in-between patrons.
Eliminate Community Items
• No community peanuts or other foods unless they can be served in individual containers;
Poker rooms are allowed in Phase 2 with the same goals of the bar seating. We recommend working with their local health department on guidelines and best practices.
13 Boats Intercepted In Montana Carrying Invasive Mollusks Into Montana This Year
Montana watercraft inspection stations have intercepted 13 boats carrying invasive mollusks into the state this year. As of May 30, inspectors have caught 12 boats with invasive zebra or quagga mussels and one boat with red rim melania snails attached to watercraft.
The mussel-fouled boats typically come from mid-west states or Arizona after having spent several weeks or months in mussel-infested waters. All boat owners must have their watercraft inspected when entering Montana.
Last week, a pontoon boat that was purchased in Minnesota came through the Flowing Wells watercraft inspection station located east of Jordan. The new owner planned to launch from Rock Creek in Fort Peck Reservoir and knew that the boat needed to be inspected before launch. Flowing Wells inspectors removed invasive mussels on weeds that were wrapped around the fuel line going to the engines of the boat. No other mussels were found on the boat.
Invasive Red Rim Melania snails were found on a motorboat at the Anaconda station on May 11. The boat was traveling from Lake Havasu, AZ, to Washington state when the Anaconda inspectors found the snails under a live-well screen. Red Rim Melania snails are native to Africa and Asia and are thought to have been introduced to North America when someone dumped an aquarium tank into open water.
Montana inspection stations have checked nearly 16,000 boats this year, which is 6,700 more boats than this time last year. Inspection numbers for March through May are greater than the previous two years.
FWP reminds all those transporting motorized or nonmotorized boats into Montana to have their watercraft inspected before launching. Boat owners are required to stop at all open watercraft inspection stations they encounter. To find a watercraft inspection station, go to CleanDrainDryMT.com or call the FWP Aquatic Invasive Species Bureau at 406-444-2440.
Valley County Election Results
Montana Voters Set Primary Voting Record. Valley County Turnout At 52%.
A record number of Montanans have voted in the 2020 primary election with two days left to cast ballots.
State election data shows 312,398 ballots received through Sunday evening. Participation is 18,850 votes better than the old record, set four years ago. Ballots will continue to be accepted until 8 p.m. Tuesday.
This is Montana’s first all-mail election, in which every active voter was mailed a ballot with postage paid for return. The last sure day ballots could be returned by mail was May 26.
Turnout through Sunday was 51.8% according to the Montana Secretary of State’s office. As a percentage, turnout is not a record, but is the highest primary since the 1978 primary when turnout was 54.5%.
Among the most populated counties, Silver Bow County, with 59.3% had the best early turnout. Cascade and Lewis and Clark counties had turnout at better than 56%. Yellowstone County turnout was 55.2% through Sunday.
Valley County with a turnout as of Monday at 52%. 2450 ballots had been returned out of 4686 mailed out to active registered voters.
Voter turnout in Primary Elections is traditionally lower then a General Election. Here are the voter turnout percentages for Valley County in Primary Elections:
Beck Foundation Scholarships Available
Application 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 vocation-technical institution.
Applications can be picked up from Ruth Ann Hutcheson, 12 1st Avenue North or from Edward Jones, 317 Klein Avenue. An electronic version can be requested at
Elizabeth.firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications must be mailed and postmarked no later than July 1, 2020. 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 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 as entering plants, sewing projects and homemade baked goods in the Northeast Montana Fair, all most every year. Shortly before Alyce passed away, she generously decided to set up the Theo & Alyce Beck Foundation Trust for the benefit of people in Valley County.
Amtrak In Need of Supplemental Funding To Maintain Minimum Service Levels
WASHINGTON – Amtrak submitted a letter to Congress outlining an additional $1.475 billion in supplemental funding needed in FY 2021. This additional funding is necessary for Amtrak to operate minimum service levels across the passenger rail network and continue capital investments for the future. The funds would also support Amtrak’s 17 state partners on the National Network and nine commuter and state partners on the Northeast Corridor.
“As the severity and duration of this pandemic and its economic fallout become clearer, we are seeking supplemental federal funding for the next fiscal year,” said Amtrak President and CEO Bill Flynn in the letter.
To help offset the impact of revenue losses, Amtrak is taking significant steps to reduce its operating costs by approximately $500 million, including temporarily reducing train capacity across our system to match demand, restructuring our workforce, and controlling discretionary expenses. Yet even with these steps, Amtrak still requires additional federal investment in FY 2021.
Amtrak has stated that they are planning on shifting long-distance routes to less than daily service to match capacity more closely with demand.
This would include the Empire Builder Route which has a stop in Glasgow.
With strong ridership and revenue levels in the first quarter of FY 2020, Amtrak was on track for another record-breaking year. However, Amtrak, like all other modes, has seen a dramatic decline in demand for service since the pandemic, and is expecting ridership to only return to approximately 50% in FY 2021. The $1.475 billion is in addition to Amtrak’s $2.040 billion annual grant request submitted to Congress earlier this year, and without this support, Amtrak will be unable to minimize the impacts to service and its workforce as described in the letter.
Montana Moves Into Phase Two Of Governor Bullock's "Reopening The Big Sky" Plan Today
Montana will move to phase two of the "Reopening The Big Sky" plan on Monday, June 1st. Governor Steve Bullock outlined the following indicators which prompted him - in consultation with public health officials and disaster response personnel - to move into Phase Two beginning on June 1:
A downward trajectory of positive tests as a percent of total tests within a 14-day period.
The current ability to contact and trace, along with plans to add additional contact tracers to the existing workforce.
Ensuring that health care workers have the supplies they need to treat COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.
Ramping up testing capacity to eventually meet a target of 60,000 tests a month and prioritizing testing for vulnerable Montanans and tribal communities. A total of 5,600 tests were conducted last week. Increased testing continues with sentinel testing efforts in nursing homes and assisting living facilities, testing events in tribal areas, and drive through testing being conducted at a few sites.
Here are some of the highlights of phase two:
Avoid gatherings in groups of more than 50 people in circumstances that do not readily allow for appropriate physical distancing. Groups larger than 50 people should be cancelled unless physical distancing can be maintained. It is recommended to continue to social distance in gatherings of any size.
Restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries, and casinos remains in the same operations status as Phase One, but with an increase to 75% capacity.
Gyms, indoor group fitness classes, pool, and hot tubs can operate at 75% capacity and only if they can adhere to strict physical distancing and they exercise frequent sanitation protocols.
Concert halls, bowling alleys, and other places of assembly may operate with reduced capacity and if they adhere to strict physical distancing guidelines.
All businesses are required to follow the social distancing and sanitation guidelines established in Phase One, and Montanans are strongly encouraged to continue sanitation practices, including hand washing and wearing masks in public places like grocery stores.
Supreme Court Rules Ballots Must Be Returned By 8pm Election Day
The Montana Supreme Court on Wednesday said the deadline for receiving mailed, absentee ballots in Montana’s primary election will remain at 8 p.m. Election Day, next Tuesday – thus blocking a district judge’s order that said the ballots need only be postmarked by Tuesday.
The 5-2 decision said the high court will consider an appeal of last Friday’s ruling by District Judge Don Harris of Billings, but that the current deadline law will remain for the primary election.
The court majority noted that ballots mailed to 600,000 Montana voters in early May, in Montana’s first statewide all-mail election, had instructions that said the ballots must be returned by 8 p.m. Election Day to be counted.
Because of those instructions, “we conclude that there is good cause to maintain the election-day deadline for this primary election in order to avoid any voter confusion and disruption of election administration,” Justice Beth Baker wrote for the majority.
Secretary of State Corey Stapleton had asked the court to block Harris’s order, while it heard his appeal of the case.
Attorney General Tim Fox also asked the court this week to take control of the case and rule quickly, before the primary election.
The court, however, rejected that latter request and said it would allow a regular appeal of Harris’s order to proceed and decide the case before the general election in November.
In a statement Wednesday, Fox said he's pleased that the Supreme Court maintained Montana's "long-standing" ballot receipt deadline of 8 p.m. on Election Day, and noted that some counties are using prepaid return envelopes that are not postmarked.
"Ten days before an election is not an appropriate time to upend an important and widely known voting deadline," he said.
Montana is holding an all-mail-ballot election because of the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak, closing polling stations on June 2 to avoid putting voters or election judges in danger.
The Montana Democratic Party and others filed suit in March, challenging the law that said mailed absentee ballots must be received by election day to be counted and saying they need only to be post-marked by that date.
Last Friday, Harris granted a request by the plaintiffs to block the current law while the case is decided, saying ballots must be counted if they are post-marked by June 2.
Stapleton and Fox, both Republicans, quickly appealed Harris’ order to the Supreme Court and asked the court to block the order.
Chief Justice Mike McGrath and Justice Dirk Sandefur dissented from Wednesday’s order, saying they would not have blocked it.
“Given the fundamental right of voting, I would not grant a stay,” McGrath wrote. “Allowing ballots to be counted in the same manner as military ballots is not a significant distinction from the current system.”
Ballots cast by Montanans in the military and overseas can be received until June 8 and still be counted.
Glasgow Police Department Arrests Two Individuals And Charge With Felonies
On May 24, 2020, at 10:18 p.m. the Glasgow Police Department received a report of an assault that had happened at a bar. During the course of the investigation, an officer located the suspect a short distance from the bar walking. When the officer attempted to place the suspect under arrest, she ignored the officer’s commands and started to fight with the officer. As a result of the incident, Amiee Lynn Bryson, 38, was arrested and remanded to the Valley County Jail for Assault, Resisting Arrest and Assault on a Peace Officer (Felony). The officer later received medical treatment for injuries received during the incident.
On May 25, 2020, at 11:02 p.m. the Glasgow Police Department and the Valley County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report made by a female stating her husband had just threatened her with a gun in the parking lot of a downtown business. During the investigation, the female stated that she and her husband had gotten into an argument. The husband then took out a gun and pointed it at the female. The male identified as Scott Myron Gunderman, 41, was arrested and remanded to the Valley County Jail for Partner or Family Member Assault and Assault with a Weapon (Felony).
These two incidents are still under investigation but believed to be closely related.
GHS Educational Trust Application Reminder
Glasgow High School graduates who are attending college or trade school are reminded that the application deadline for financial aid from the Glasgow High School Educational Trust is July 1, 2020. All students who have completed one year of college or one semester of trade school, are in good academic standing, are attending full-time, and are showing progress toward the completion of a degree may apply. Students enrolled in on-line or correspondence programs full-time (12 credit minimum) also may be eligible. The application is available on the trust’s website at www.ghsedutrust.org. The site also lists certain other requirements that must be met, such as the inclusion of a student’s signed Financial Aid Acceptance letter (FAFSA) if the student applied for financial aid. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the trust will accept reference letters submitted electronically as long as they include the reference’s email address for verification. Also, if students have difficulty getting paper copies of their official transcripts sent to them, they may request that the institution send them directly by email to email@example.com.
Applications must be complete and submitted on time to be considered. Students should contact Danielle Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 406-230-0153 if they have any questions.
The Glasgow High School Educational Trust was established by the GHS Class of 1938. Since its inception in 1964, it has awarded a total of $2,325,000.00 to 736 different students. Students who receive grants may reapply for up to a total of eight semesters if they continue to meet the eligibility requirements. Now, more than ever, with so many families facing unprecedented economic pressures, the costs of higher education escalating each year, and student debt at all-time highs, all eligible students should apply for this generous opportunity made possible through the contributions of hundreds of faithful trust supporters.
Unemployment Rate In Valley County Surges To 7.5% In April
MONTANA – Governor Steve Bullock today announced Montana’s unemployment rate was at 11.3% in April due to impacts created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Montana unemployment rate remains below the national rate of 14.7% in April.
“Montana took early and aggressive action to combat the virus and save lives, allowing us to be one of the first states in the nation prepared to reopen,” Governor Bullock said. “While we are not immune to the significant economic challenges facing the nation, we are working every day to safely reopen and ensure Montana stays on a path to long-term economic recovery. There is still a lot of work to do, and we are dedicated to maintaining a healthy workforce, while continuing to provide immediate economic relief for Montana families and businesses who are hurting.”
Montana’s unemployment rate for the month of April was captured on April 12 during the stay at home order. Total employment, which includes agricultural, payroll, and self-employed workers, decreased by 55,766 jobs in April. Since the unemployment rate was calculated in April, a significant number of Montanans are returning to work. Nearly 18,000 Montanans have already returned to work since the state began reopening.
DLI has issued $376 million in unemployment benefits since March 16 to ensure Montanans can continue to provide for their families during the emergency.
Montana was among the first states in the nation to begin processing claims for those who are self-employed. The Montana Department of Labor & Industry has worked diligently to process an unprecedented number of unemployment insurance claims and implement new programs issued by the federal government to provide an extra $600 a week benefit, to extend the length of time individuals can receive benefits, and offering unemployment insurance for self-employed and other individuals typically not eligible for benefits.
Leisure activities, which includes hotels, restaurants, movie theaters, and other entertainment and recreation businesses, was the hardest hit, with losses approaching nearly half of their total employment and exceeding 32,000 jobs. All industries posted losses except the federal government.
The most up-to-date claims and economic information, including county impacts, can be found at DLI’s job tracking website at lmi.mt.gov/home/job-tracking.
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) fell 0.8% in April, with the sharpest decrease in gasoline prices. Prices for apparel, airline fares, lodging away from home, and vehicle insurance also contributed to the decline. The index for all items less food and energy, also called core inflation, fell by 0.4%.
Unemployment figures are seasonally-adjusted. Seasonally-adjusted numbers remove the effects of events that follow a more or less regular month-to-month pattern each year. These adjustments make non-seasonal patterns easier to identify. The margin of error for the unemployment rate is plus or minus 0.6 percentage points at the 90 percent confidence level. All questions relating to the calculation of unemployment rates should be directed to the Montana Department of Labor & Industry’s Research and Analysis Bureau at 406-444-4100.
The next Labor Situation Report for the month of May will be released on Friday, June 19.
INFORMATION AVAILABLE ON THE INTERNET
Visit our website at www.lmi.mt.gov for additional information and analysis, including industry employment levels, background on the unemployment rate, and wage rates by occupation.
* COUNTY UNEMPLOYMENT RATES ***
The unemployment rate and ranking for each of Montana’s 56 counties is provided below for your convenience. County unemployment rates and employment levels are not seasonally adjusted and should be compared to the unadjusted statewide unemployment rate of 11.9%.
Unemployment Rate Employment
Rank County Current Unemployment Rate Change over Year Current Employment Job Change from Last Year
1 Liberty 2.8 0.8 918 -31
2 McCone 3 1.4 871 -57
2 Petroleum 3 0.1 255 -15
4 Carter 3.2 0.3 606 -5
5 Daniels 4.3 2.9 799 -71
6 Garfield 4.4 2.8 689 -35
7 Treasure 4.6 1.9 310 -15
8 Powder River 5.3 3.6 879 -43
9 Blaine 5.4 2.2 2,225 -190
10 Fallon 5.9 4.4 1,483 -178
11 Chouteau 6 3.6 2,214 -145
12 Prairie 6.2 2.8 411 -43
13 Golden Valley 6.8 2.7 328 -24
13 Sweet Grass 6.8 4 1,588 -125
15 Teton 6.9 3.8 2,431 -223
16 Beaverhead 7.2 4.3 4,395 -499
17 Dawson 7.3 5.2 3,919 -603
18 Judith Basin 7.4 4.6 951 59
18 Pondera 7.4 3.7 2,331 -232
20 Valley 7.5 4.7 3,525 -385
21 Rosebud 7.7 3 3,238 -367
22 Phillips 7.8 3.9 1,665 -148
23 Meagher 7.9 4.5 833 -85
24 Roosevelt 8 3.3 3,730 -592
25 Toole 8.1 6.3 1,821 -232
26 Custer 8.3 5.7 5,127 -724
26 Madison 8.3 5.8 4,497 -460
28 Fergus 8.4 5.6 5,088 -822
28 Sheridan 8.4 6.6 1,546 -174
30 Hill 8.7 5.4 6,432 -876
31 Stillwater 9.4 6.4 4,685 -277
32 Jefferson 9.5 6.4 4,842 -626
33 Musselshell 9.6 5.9 1,933 -249
34 Lake 9.7 5.7 11,221 -1,268
35 Powell 10.2 6.1 2,455 -339
36 Deer Lodge 10.5 7.3 4,265 -602
36 Wibaux 10.5 7.4 394 -42
38 Big Horn 10.6 3 3,896 -621
39 Lewis and Clark 10.7 8 30,309 -4,196
39 Ravalli 10.7 6.8 17,330 -1,982
41 Yellowstone 11.1 8.2 70,945 -8,324
42 Broadwater 11.2 7.4 2,182 -260
43 Richland 11.3 8.7 4,856 -790
44 Cascade 12.1 9 32,481 -4,313
44 Wheatland 12.1 9.1 717 -34
46 Gallatin 12.3 10.2 58,770 -6,817
47 Carbon 12.4 9.1 4,813 -478
48 Glacier 13 5.4 4,507 -535
49 Missoula 13.1 10 56,316 -5,316
50 Sanders 13.8 7.5 4,062 -440
51 Silver Bow 13.9 10.2 14,254 -2,197
52 Granite 16.4 10 1,434 -155
53 Flathead 16.6 11.6 39,811 -4,811
54 Park 16.9 13.5 7,493 -839
55 Mineral 18.3 12.7 1,441 -203
56 Lincoln 18.5 10.8 6,459 -892
Judge: Ballots Postmarked On Or Before June 2 Will Be Counted
Story from www.billingsgazette.com
With the state's primary election just over a week away, a Montana judge has temporarily suspended a state law that says absentee ballots must be received in a county election office by 8 p.m. on election day in order to be counted.
“All absentee ballots postmarked on or before election day shall be counted, if otherwise valid,” District Judge Donald Harris wrote Friday. The ballots must be received by the Monday after election day, which is the deadline for receipt of federal write-in ballots for military and overseas voters.
Montana’s June 2 primary is being held by mail because of the coronavirus.
The disparity and inconsistency in how long it takes the U.S. Postal Service to deliver a mailed ballot is a significant burden to absentee voters, Harris said. Delivery times around the state can vary by as much as two weeks, and people who mail their ballot before this year's June 2 primary have no guarantee it will be delivered in time to be counted, he said.
Harris’ ruling came in a challenge filed by former state Sen. Robyn Driscoll of Billings, the Montana Democratic Party and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the law firm Perkins Coie LLP said.
Harris also granted a preliminary injunction against enforcement of a voter-approved referendum called the Ballot Interference Protection Act, which limits one person to turning in a maximum of six absentee ballots and asks that they fill out a form saying whose ballots they are returning.
District Judge Jessica Fehr on Wednesday had issued a temporary restraining order against enforcement of the same ballot collection law in a challenge filed on behalf of Native American tribes and two get-out-the-vote groups. She had set a hearing for May 29 to consider a preliminary injunction.
The Democratic groups challenged both the absentee ballot deadline and the Ballot Interference Protection Act. Harris found the laws would significantly suppress voter turnout by disproportionately burdening voters who are Native American, elderly, disabled, poor, parents working low-wage jobs, college students, first-time voters and those who have historically relied on ballot collection services.
The judge also noted the ballot collection and receipt deadline “will only exacerbate voter suppression because of the COVID-19 pandemic” because the collection law eliminates the use of secure ballot drop boxes and the receipt deadline could lead later voters to turn in ballots in person, possibly causing lines that would violate the social distancing recommendations meant to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The state argued the laws are needed to prevent voter fraud and ensure quick and accurate results.
However, Harris said, the state presented no evidence of any absentee ballot collection fraud in Montana and noted that even an election clerk characterized it as the “Voter Suppression Act of 2018.”
Montana election clerks count federal write-in ballots for military and overseas votes until the Monday after election day and can count absentee ballots postmarked by June 2, as long as they are received by June 8, and still "accurately and timely certify election results without disenfranchising the thousands of eligible voters whose ballots are now ignored under the receipt deadline,” Harris wrote.
Governor Bullock Signs Proclamations Honoring Victims Of Coronavirus And Memorial Day Holiday
I hereby order all flags flown in the state of Montana to be displayed at half-staff until sunset on Sunday, May 24th, 2020 out of respect for the victims of the novel coronavirus pandemic and their families.
Together, we mourn every life that has been claimed by the novel coronavirus in Montana and around the Nation. To date, 93,061 Americans have lost their lives to this horrific disease and it continues to claim more than 1,000 American lives each day. Each of those deaths leaves behind countless loved ones who mourn the loss of a parent, sibling, child, or friend.
My heart and the hearts of all Montanans go out especially to the 16 Montanans whose deaths were caused by COVID-19 and to their families and friends.
Dated this 22nd day of May 2020.
I hereby order all flags flown in the
state of Montana to be displayed at half-staff on Monday,
May 25th, 2020 until noon and then raised to full-staff in honor of Memorial Day.
On this day, we mourn the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedoms and liberties we cherish. Though we are in mourning, at noon the flag is raised to full-staff to honor the heroes still among us and symbolize that we are a living nation—resilient when faced with loss.
Dated this 22nd day of May 2020.
TC Energy Completes First Piece Of Keystone XL Pipeline In Montana
Story from www.billingsgazette.com
A Canadian company has built the first piece of the disputed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline across the U.S. border and started work on labor camps in Montana and South Dakota. But it has not resolved a courtroom setback that would make it hard to finish the $8 billion project.
The 1,200-mile pipeline from Alberta to Nebraska was stalled for much of the past decade before President Donald Trump was elected and began trying to push it through to completion.
Environmentalists and Native American tribes are bitterly opposed to the line because of worries over oil spills and that burning the fuel would make climate change worse.
Work finally started in April at the border crossing in remote northern Montana. That 1.2-mile section has now been completed except for some site reclamation activity, TC Energy spokeswoman Sara Rabern said.
The Calgary-based company has started site work for labor camps near Baker, Montana, and Philip, South Dakota, but it has not set a date to occupy them.
Montana officials have not yet received plans requested from the company to make sure it can prevent the camps from spreading the coronavirus, said Erin Loranger, a spokesperson for Montana Gov. Steve Bullock. The state expects to receive the plans before the camps are occupied, she said.
The company's three-year construction timeline was put into doubt following a May 15 ruling from a federal judge in Montana that cancelled a key permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The permit is needed to build the line across hundreds of streams, wetlands and other water bodies along its route.
The ruling affected all new oil and gas pipeline construction and was appealed by the Trump administration and TC Energy.
"We look forward to a resolution that allows us to advance our construction in 2020 without any further delay," Rabern said.
The work in South Dakota began amid high tensions between South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and two Native American tribes that have been outspoken opponents of the pipeline.
The governor is trying to force two tribes — the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes and the Oglala Sioux Tribe — to remove coronavirus checkpoints they have set up on federal and state highways in an attempt to keep infections away from their reservations.
The highways that the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes are monitoring connect to several potential construction sites of the proposed pipeline route, which skirts tribal lands. The tribe has a policy of not allowing vehicles from any oil company on the reservation and with the checkpoints set up, they would stop those vehicles.
Noem initially threatened to sue the tribes. This week she appealed to the White House to investigate the matter.
Members of several tribes in Montana and North Dakota traveled to the border crossing for a small protest against the pipeline earlier this month, said Angeline Cheek, an activist from Montana's Fort Peck Tribe and organizer for the ACLU of Montana.
Large protests against Keystone XL had been anticipated following the months-long protests, sometimes violent, against another oil pipeline project several years ago near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on the North Dakota-South Dakota state line.
Cheek said TC Energy appeared to be taking advantage of the pandemic "to run all over us" while public attention was focused on the virus.
National Weather Service Confirms Tornado Touchdown Near Whatley On May 20th
Estimated Peak Wind: 80 mph
Path Length: 0.8 miles
Path Width: 50 yards
Survey Summary: A brief tornado touched down just southeast
of Whately on the south side of Highway 2 around 9:17 PM on May 20th.
The first building it hit was a metal barn where the barn
doors were blown in and part of the roof was then lifted
with metal roofing thrown around 100 yards. A house next
to the barn lost some siding and a Cottonwood tree was
A second house was hit on the north side of Highway 2. The
house suffered minor roof damage were part of the metal roof was
peeled back. A south facing carport next to the house had the
roof completely ripped off with most of it being thrown to the
north. Some roofing was also found to the east of the house.
An aluminum boat located between the house and carport was moved
about 100 feet to the southwest. There was nothing but open
field beyond this house, but radar suggests it lifted shortly
after and was on the ground for no more than five minutes.
EF Scale: The Enhanced Fujita Scale classifies tornadoes into the
EF0...Weak......65 to 85 mph
EF1...Weak......86 to 110 mph
EF2...Strong....111 to 135 mph
EF3...Strong....136 to 165 mph
EF4...Violent...166 to 200 mph
Reduced Hours Will Continue At Opheim Port Of Entry
SWEETGRASS, Mont. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection will continue to operate six ports of entry in Montana and one in Idaho at reduced hours due an agreement signed by Canada and the United States to extend the “essential only” travel restrictions through at least June 22, or until the administration lifts the current travel restrictions.
With the “essential only” travel restrictions first imposed March 21 in response to the COVID 19 pandemic, cross-border travel significantly declined. Reducing the hours of operations at ports of entry along both land borders allows CBP to continue to provide service to these communities as the agency works to keep its employees safe from exposure and community spread.
The affected ports of entry include: Raymond, Opheim, Morgan, Turner, Del Bonita and Piegan in Montana, and Porthill in Idaho. The listed ports will continue to operate on the following temporary reduced hours:
• Raymond, Montana POE: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week
• Opheim, Montana POE: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, closed Saturday and Sunday.
• Morgan, Montana POE: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, closed Saturday and Sunday.
• Turner, Montana POE: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, closed Saturday and Sunday.
• Del Bonita, Montana POE: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, closed Saturday and Sunday.
• Piegan, Montana POE: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week.
• Porthill, Idaho POE: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week.
Additionally, CBP delayed the resumption of the summer hours schedule at the port of Wild Horse, Montana. Wild Horse will continue to operate on its’ winter hours schedule of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week.
The opening of the seasonal port of Chief Mountain, Montana has also been delayed due to the current travel restrictions.
“Non-essential” travel includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature.
The United States and Canada recognize it is critical they preserve supply chains between both countries. These supply chains ensure that food, fuel, and life-saving medicines reach people on both sides of the border. Supply chains, including trucking, will not be impacted by this new measure. Americans and Canadians also cross the land border every day to do essential work or for other urgent or essential reasons, and that travel will not be impacted.
California Man Admits Sending Methamphetamine Hidden In Peanut Butter Jar To Brockton, Montana
Story from www.billingsgazette.com
A California man on Thursday admitted to sending almost two pounds of methamphetamine hidden in a peanut butter jar and a piñata that were bound for the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.
Don Fred Baldwin, 47, of Merced, California, pleaded guilty Thursday in the U.S. District Court of Montana to a distribution of meth charge after mailing the drug in a package last November.
Chief U.S. District Judge Brian Morris accepted the plea and set sentencing for Sept. 17. Baldwin was detained, according to a press release from U.S. Attorney for Montana Kurt Alme.
Baldwin faces a minimum mandatory 10 years to life in prison, a $10 million fine and at least five years of supervised release.
Baldwin mailed a package on Nov. 7, 2019, from California to Brockton, located on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Law enforcement officers intercepted the package, obtained a search warrant and found meth hidden inside a jar of peanut butter and a piñata, according to court documents. The amount of meth totaled 776 grams, which is about 1.7 pounds and the equivalent of approximately 6,208 doses.
Baldwin told law enforcement when he was interviewed that he mailed the meth. He clarified later that he provided the meth to another person who mailed it to Montana.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Cassady Adams is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI, Fort Peck Tribal Criminal Investigators and the Merced, California, Police Department.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a U.S. Department of Justice initiative to reduce violent crime. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, violent crime in Montana increased by 36% from 2013 to 2018. Through PSN, federal, tribal, state and local law enforcement partners in Montana focus on violent crime driven by methamphetamine trafficking, armed robbers, firearms offenses and violent offenders with outstanding warrants.
American Legion Urges Public To Honer Country's Fallen By Lighting Of Candles Of Remembrance For Memorial Day
-- American Legion National Commander James W. “Bill” Oxford is urging the public to honor the country’s fallen military heroes at dusk on Memorial Day by lighting candles of remembrance and placing them on front porches.
“As we continue to follow stay-at-home guidance during the coronavirus pandemic, we must not fail to remember the men and women who fought for our freedoms,” Oxford said. “Memorial Day observances around the country and beyond are certain to be much different this year, but we can show our respects by lighting and displaying candles to remind everyone why we must never forget the meaning of this sacred holiday.”
The commander also suggests that families make signs expressing their gratitude for military sacrifice, photograph friends and family holding up the signs and sharing the images on social media. “We can remind everyone by showing our candles and sharing our messages that no matter the circumstances, we will never forget those who are no longer among us.”
“You can light a red candle to remember those who shed their blood in combat and made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country. A white candle can remind us all of the POWs and MIAs who are not yet home from wartime service. A blue candle can symbolize our eternal love of those who did come home but have since left us. Any way you choose, light a candle of remembrance, or three, for the fallen to let the world know that Memorial Day matters deeply to The American Legion, even if ceremonies and public observances are significantly changed this year.”
Stories and images from such Memorial Day observances can be posted on legion.org/legiontown as well as social media channels like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, tagging The American Legion National Headquarters. Participants are asked to use the hashtag #candlesofhonor so images and messages can be aggregated in social media.
The American Legion, www.legion.org, is the nation’s largest and most influential veterans organization.
Mainwaring Back In Custody In Billings
Story from www.billingsgazette.com
A man who walked away from the Alpha House prerelease center was apprehended Tuesday.
Jonathan Mainwaring was booked into the Yellowstone County Detention Facility on suspicion of felony escape.
Mainwaring was one of two men who walked away from the Billings prerelease center Monday night. He had been at the prerelease center as part of his sentence for a 1999 homicide in Glasgow for which he received a mitigated deliberate homicide conviction. Mainwaring was 16 at the time of the crime.
He had been paroled before, but his parole was revoked in July 2019 for absconding.
Details on the circumstances under which Mainwaring was taken back into custody were not immediately available Wednesday afternoon.
Alternatives Inc., the company that operates Alpha House, issued a brief press release at 1:16 p.m. Wednesday. The press release said that Mainwaring "was apprehended/self-surrendered on May 19, 2020, and is currently in custody."
Sundby, Enebo and McGee Included As Members of Task Force To Provide Feedback And Guidance On How To Reopen The 2020-2021 School Year
HELENA— Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen announced today that she has formed two task forces to provide feedback and guidance on how to open the 2020-2021 school year this fall in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Montana families and educators are looking forward to the new school year this fall with optimism,” Superintendent Arntzen said Wednesday. “As state leaders, we must support them. The Montana Learn and Montana Flex 2020 Task Forces will bring together students, parents, educators, and state and local leaders to provide families and schools with the resources that they need to succeed in the coming school year.”
The Montana Learn 2020 Task Force is made up of students, parents, educators, and community partners to assess what resources families and educators need to be successful in learning and teaching in distance or mixed-delivery models.
Local members of the Montana Learn 2020 Task Force:
Laurie Enebo – Glasgow Middle School Social Studies Teacher
Kristina McGee – Glasgow High School English Teacher
The Montana Flex 2020 Task Force is made up primarily of school administrators, education associations, and the Board of Public Education to review state and federal rules and statutes that need updating to provide schools with more flexibility.
Glasgow Superintendent Wade Sundby is a member of the Montana Flex 2020 Task Force.
The two committees will meet four times through Zoom in May and June to draft guidance to the Office of Public Instruction and education partners. The Montana School Safety Advisory Committee will review recommendations related to health and safety then provide guidance related to creating safe learning conditions for students and teachers.
Ultimately, the OPI will issue guidance this summer for a comprehensive approach to opening the new school year in the fall. Task force meetings will be recorded through Zoom and posted along with additional information on the OPI’s website. Members of the public can send questions and comments to OPICOVID19@mt.gov.
A list of task force members and additional information can be found at: http://opi.mt.gov/Families-Students/School-Topics/Re-Opening-Montana-Schools-2020
Concrete Drop Structure Fails On St. Mary Canal
GREAT FALLS — The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said in a news release that on Sunday, May 17, a concrete drop structure failed on the Bureau of Reclamation’s Milk River Project at St. Mary Canal, northwest of Browning on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.
The agency says that when the damage was reported, the canal was flowing approximately 200 cubic-feet-per-second (CFS) which is about 1/3 of the canal’s total capacity of approximately 600 CFS. No injuries were reported, and canal flows have been shut off.
This concrete drop structure is the last of five drop structures that use gravity and siphons to convey water through the 29-mile long St. Mary Canal to the North Fork of the Milk River. Water is diverted into the canal from the St. Mary River, near Glacier National Park.
The Bureau of Reclamation, along with stakeholders of the Milk River Project, are assessing the situation to determine the impacts to the water users and options for restoring canal operation. Currently, Fresno Dam and Nelson Reservoir are both at full storage levels and will be used to provide continued irrigation deliveries. Once a plan and schedule for the repair of the canal are developed, water deliveries will be assessed and communicated.
The majority of construction of the Milk River Project was completed between 1906 and 1940. The canal was constructed between 1907 and 1915 and is the primary water source for eight irrigation districts tribes, contract pumpers, and several municipalities downstream of Havre serving approximately 110,000 acres of land.
The agency website provides the following information:
The St. Mary's Diversion Dam, located on the St. Mary River 0.75 downstream from Lower St. Mary Lake, is a 6-foot-high concrete weir and sluiceway with a length of 198 feet and a total volume of 1,200 cubic yards. The St. Mary Canal begins at the St. Mary Diversion Dam on the west side of St. Mary River and crosses the river 9.5 miles below the diversion through a two-barrel steel-plate siphon 90 inches in diameter and 3,600 feet in length. Eight miles below the St. Mary crossing a second two-barrel steel-plate siphon, 78 inches in diameter and 1,405 feet long, conveys the water across Hall's Coulee. A series of five large concrete drops at the lower end of the 29-mile canal provide a total fall of 214 feet to the point where the water is discharged into North Fork Milk River. Design capacity of the canal is 850 cubic feet per second.
Valley County Refuse Board Votes To Assess Fees On People Who Use Refuse Containers Incorrectly
The Valley County Refuse Board voted to assess fees on people who use landfill containers incorrectly. The Refuse District is limiting the use of the container sites to the dumping of household garbage only. If a load contains any items other than daily household garbage, the scale and landfill must be used to dispose of those items. If a load weighs less than 400 pounds, a flat rate of $5.00 per load will be assessed. Anything in excess of that amount will be charged based upon tonnage.
Individuals not using the scale when required will be assessed fees according to the following schedule adopted by the Refuse District:
Pickup, single axle trailer- $100.00 per load
Tandem axle trailer, single axle farm truck- $200.00 per load
Tandem axle farm truck, triple axle trailer- $400.00 per load
The fees for not using the container sites properly will begin on June 1st.
After notice of a fee being assessed is given, failure to pay in a timely manner it may be deemed a theft of services and will be referred to the Valley County Sheriff's Office and could result in prosecution.
The following are not considered household garbage items:
Landfill hours are Monday through Friday from 7am to 4pm and Saturdays from 8am to 12pm.
If you have any questions you may contact the Refuse District at 228-4730 or call landfill manager, Brian Austin at 263-2879.
Glasgow Man Convicted Of Deliberate Homicide Walks Away From Pre-Release Center In Billings
One of two men who walked away from the Alpha House pre-release center in Billings Monday night was serving a mitigated deliberate homicide sentence out of Valley County for the killing of a man in 1999.
The man who walked away has been identified by the pre-release center as Jonathan Mainwaring. In 1999 Mainwaring killed Randy Detienne. Mainwaring beat Detienne to death after finding him in bed with Mainwaring's mother in Glasgow, The Gazette previously reported.
Mainwaring and another man, Jeramey Hill, both walked away from the Alpha House pre-release center in Billings on Monday night roughly within 15 minutes of each other, according to escape notification emails sent out Monday night by Alternatives Inc., the company which operates Alpha House.
Mainwaring was convicted of mitigated deliberate homicide for the 1999 killing of Detienne. Under Montana law, mitigated deliberate homicide occurs when "the person purposely or knowingly causes the death of another human being or purposely or knowingly causes the death of a fetus of another with knowledge that the woman is pregnant but does so under the influence of extreme mental or emotional stress for which there is reasonable explanation or excuse."
At the time of the crime, Mainwaring was 16. He was sentenced in 2005 to 30 years after violating the terms of his probation.
Hill is one of two men who walked away Monday night from the Alpha House pre-release center in Billings. Hill was serving the remainder of a sentence for burglary.
Alternatives stated that Hill walked away at approximately 9:17 p.m. and that Mainwaring walked away at approximately 9:32 p.m. Monday night.
The public should not approach either man, who could face a 10 year sentence for felony escape, according to Alternatives Inc. Information concerning either man's whereabouts should be reported to law enforcement immediately.
Mainwaring was also sentenced in Yellowstone County in 2005 for assault on a minor according to the Montana Department of Corrections. Gazette records show the assault on a minor conviction came after Mainwaring hit his girlfriend's 20-month-old infant hard enough to fracture the baby's skull. Mainwaring had been recently released from state custody when the assault occurred, according to Gazette records.
Hill was serving out a Cascade County burglary sentence, according to Alternatives. Hill's information page on the Montana Correctional Offender Network website shows he was convicted of burglary five times from 2014 to 2016. Four of his burglary convictions came out of Cascade County, with the fifth coming from Gallatin County.
Mainwaring arrived at Alpha House on March 3 and Hill arrived there in February.
Mainwaring is described as a Native American man standing 6 feet tall and weighing 180 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes and was born in Glasgow.
Hill is described as a Caucasian man standing 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing 180 pounds. He has blonde hair and blue eyes and was born in Great Falls.
Governor Bullock Announces Montana Will Move To Phase Two of the Reopening Of The Big Sky Plan on June 1st
MONTANA – Governor Steve Bullock today announced the state will move to Phase Two of the Reopening the Big Sky plan and will lift the 14-day out-of-state travel quarantine beginning June 1 as Montana continues to have the lowest number of positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations per capita.
“Montana has been an example for the rest of the nation in our response to this global pandemic. I have no doubt that we can continue to be that example, but only if Montanans, businesses, and visitors alike continue to take seriously the responsibility we all have in protecting others,” Governor Bullock said. “As we continue with the next phase in our reopening, our goal together as Montanans for the foreseeable future is to mitigate the spread of the virus.”
“The individual actions of Montanans have collectively made a difference. Staying 6-feet away, washing hands, wearing masks while in public, and staying home when sick, have all contributed to us being able to move forward with the plan to reopen Montana. We are at an important milestone and if each of us continues to do our part to prevent the novel coronavirus from spreading, we’ll stay on the path to fully reopen Montana,” John Felton, Yellowstone County Health Officer and President/CEO of RiverStone Health, said.
“Since this COVID-19 emergency began Governor Bullock has consistently listened to city and county governments around the state as he has formulated a strategy to respond. And that strategy has worked. Thanks to Governor Bullock's leadership, Montana has escaped the tragedies other states have experienced. We are fortunate to have him at the helm as we reopen Montana. We are thankful for his commitment to ensure we will keep Montana safe during the summer months as we rebuild our economy,” Cynthia Andrus, Deputy Mayor, City of Bozeman, said.
“We are grateful for Governor Bullock’s diligence as he works to reopen Montana safely and continues to and consider the unique concerns and challenges in tribal communities including a large population of elderly Montanans and families in multi-generational households. The Blackfeet Tribal Business Council appreciate Governor Bullock has respected tribal sovereignty and decisions to put in place more restrictive measures to keep tribal communities safe and has supported our efforts to contain the virus through increased testing,” said the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council.
In consultation with public health and emergency response officials, Governor Bullock outlined the following indicators which allow Montana to move into Phase Two beginning on June 1:
• A downward trajectory of positive tests as a percent of total tests within a 14-day period.
• The current ability to contact and trace, along with plans to add additional contact tracers to the existing workforce.
• Ensuring that health care workers have the supplies they need to treat COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.
• Ramping up testing capacity to eventually meet a target of 60,000 tests a month and prioritizing testing for vulnerable Montanans and tribal communities. A total of 5,600 tests were conducted last week. Increased testing continues with sentinel testing efforts in nursing homes and assisting living facilities, testing events in tribal areas, and drive through testing being conducted at a few sites.
Under Phase Two, effective June 1, avoid gatherings in groups of more than 50 people in circumstances that do not readily allow for appropriate physical distancing. Groups larger than 50 people should be cancelled unless physical distancing can be maintained. It is recommended to continue to social distance in gatherings of any size.
Under Phase Two, effective June 1, restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries and casinos remains in the same operations status as Phase One, but with an increase to 75% capacity. Gyms, indoor group fitness classes, pool, and hot tubs can operate at 75% capacity and only if they can adhere to strict physical distancing and they exercise frequent sanitation protocols. Concert halls, bowling alleys, and other places of assembly may operate with reduced capacity and if they adhere to strict physical distancing guidelines.
All businesses are required to follow the social distancing and sanitation guidelines established in Phase One, and Montanans are strongly encouraged to continue sanitation practices, including hand washing and wearing masks in public places like grocery stores.
“Social distancing, wearing a cloth mask, washing your hands, and sanitizing are all part of our new normal. If not for you, do it for others, especially for the most vulnerable among us,” Governor Bullock said. “Not following these guidelines could put us in a position where we have to go backward, instead of being able to continue to move forward.”
Vulnerable Montanans should still continue to stay home when possible during Phase Two. Visitation at nursing home and assisted living facilities remains suspended except for certain compassionate care situations.
Effective June 1, the 14-day travel quarantine for out-of-state travelers and residents arriving from another state or country to Montana for non-work-related purposes will be lifted. The Montana National Guard will continue to conduct screenings in airports and train depots and refer anyone with COVID-19-related symptoms to local public health officials.
To support Montana’s destination communities, the state will assist with establishing the following protocols:
• Surveillance testing of employees.
• Enhanced contact tracing resources deployed to these areas as requested by local authorities.
• Ability to surge personal protective equipment to impacted health care systems.
• Guidelines for operation for business that see high-tourist activity.
Montana’s gradual and phased plan to reopen began on April 26 with Phase One which allowed schools, places of worship, main street and retail businesses, and restaurants, breweries, and bars to reopen under social distancing guidelines. Governor Bullock also provided additional guidance to allow gyms, movie theaters, and museums to reopen under the first phase on May 15.
Governor Bullock and his Coronavirus Task Force will continue to monitor cases closely and carefully to analyze Montana’s work to contain the virus.
The Directive and its Appendix with reopening guidelines are attached and are posted online at covid19.mt.gov.
Valley County Refuse District Expected To Start Enforcing New Landfill Rules This Week
The Valley County Refuse District is expected to approve the assessing of fees upon Valley County residents who dump items other than household garbage into container sites at the Valley County Landfill.
The new rules limit the use of the container sites to the dumping of household garbage only. If a load contains any items other than daily household garbage, the scale and landfill must be used to dispose of those items.
When a resident takes the garbage across the scale and weighs less than 400 pounds, a flat rate of $5.00 will be assessed. Anything in excess of that amount will be charged based upon tonnage.
Individuals not using the scale when required will be assessed fees according to this schedule:
Pickup, Single Axle Trailer- $100 per load
Tandem Axle Trailer, Single Axle Farm Truck- $200 per load
Tandem Axle Farm Truck, Triple Axle Trailer- $400 per load
After notice of a fee being assessed is given, failure to pay in a timely manner it may be deemed a theft of services and will be referred to the Valley County Sheriff's Office and could result in prosecution.
What is Household Garbage- It is waste which is generated in the day to day operations of a household. Solid waste comprising of garbage and rubbish (such as bottles, cans, clothing, compost, disposables, food packaging, food scraps, newspapers, magazines, yard trimmings, etc.) that originates from private houses and apartments.
The following items are not considered household garbage items:
The Valley County Refuse Board will be meeting at 5pm on Tuesday to make the final decision on assessing fines on those residents who don't follow the new guidelines.
The picture accompanying this story is from the Fort Peck Container Site this weekend. A person or persons dumped this non household garbage in the container site on Sunday. Each time this happens it costs the taxpayers of Valley County because the Refuse District then has to pay to have the container dumped. The non-household garbage put in the container site should of been brought across the scale at the Valley County Landfill.
Governor Bullock Orders Flags Flown At Half-Staff On Friday
I hereby order all flags flown in the State of Montana to be displayed at half-staff on Friday, May 15th, 2020 to commemorate Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week.
Montana’s peace officers are dedicated public servants who work tirelessly each and every day to serve our communities. On this day, we honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty to protect our loved ones and the citizens of Montana.
Dated this 14th day of May 2020.
Essential Items To Be Given Away Thursday Night To People Affected By Covid-19
There will be donations of totes filled with essential items Thurs. May 14th from 4 – 7p.m. at the Glasgow Fire Department located on 3rd Ave. South. These are available for pick-up for anyone affected by the COVID-19 emergency such as seniors on fixed incomes, low-income families & anyone in need of the items in the totes.
The totes will have such items as laundry soap, dish soap, bleach, household cleaners, paper towels & hygiene items such as shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, bath soap as well as a first aid kit.
Please stay in your vehicle & totes will be delivered to you & please follow the marked designated pick-up line. This is made possible through generous donations from TC Energy, MARCO & various community members.
If you have any questions contact Becky Erickson at 263-8119
Glasgow School District Reaches Wage Agreement With Teachers And Certified Employees
The Glasgow School Board voted to approve wage agreements with certified and classified staff at a board meeting on Wednesday evening.
Last Tuesday, Glasgow School District voters approved a General Fund Levy increase of $124,940.89. This money will be used in part to increase salaries for employees of the district.
The wage agreement for teachers and classified staff looks like this:
1. One time payment of $780 per teacher
2. 3.75% increase on the base wage
3. One time payment of unspent money due to COVID savings from the 2019-20 budget. That one-time money will be using the calculations on the salary matrix as to how it will be distributed to teachers.
1. One time payment of $365 per staff member
2. 3.75 % increase on the base wage.
3. Have the option to roll over 2 personal days into the next school year.
Incorrect Primary Election Ballots Mailed To 56 Voters In Valley County
Valley County and the State of Montana have identified a systemic error that has resulted in 56 primary election voters receiving an incorrect primary ballot. The 56 voters are within a limited geographic area, that includes all active voters residing along the Glasgow city limits, from Fair Street up through Kilty Drive, on the SW side of Highway 2 only.
The impacted voters will be contacted directly by the Valley County Election Office and issued a corrected ballot. None of the ballots have been counted at this time, and the issue will have no effect on the validity of the primary election.
Tester, Daines Back Bills To Aid Montana Ranchers On Meat Prices
Story From KTVQ.Com
Montana’s two U.S. senators are behind efforts to boost the prices paid to Montana ranchers, who’ve been hit hard by market forces during the Covid-19 crisis.
U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., is a lead sponsor of a bill introduced Tuesday to require large meat-packers to buy at least 50 percent of cattle on the cash market – a move he says will make it harder for the packers to manipulate prices and will raise overall prices paid to feed lots and, ultimately, ranchers.
“This is something Sen. (Chuck) Grassley and I have been working on for a long time,” he said of the other lead sponsor. “There is too much consolidation in the packing industry and I think this gives (us) the ability to really moderate those prices better.”
Montana’s other senator, Republican Steve Daines, is a co-sponsor of the bill.
“As fewer cattle are sold on a negotiated cash basis, this bill will help support price discovery and increase transparency in the cattle markets and help ensure that Montana ranchers are treated fairly in the marketplace,” Daines said.
Daines, like Tester, also is on board with language to allow Montana meat processors to sell their product across state lines and reinstatement of country-of-origin labeling for meat, which was abolished in 2015.
Yet whether any of these measures advance in the Senate remains to be seen.
Tester told MTN News that he hopes bipartisan pressure on the GOP leadership can help bring these bills or language to the floor for consideration.
“This helps everybody,” he said. “This not only helps the cattleman and the small- to medium-sized feeder, in particular, in every state of the union, but it also helps the consumer. It’s about putting pressure on leadership so they’ll take it up.”
Tester said there will be a bipartisan bill this week to reinstate country-of-origin labeling for meat.
Claims from the big meat-packers that they can’t track meat from other countries when it’s processed is “a bogus argument,” he said.
“Now, more than ever before, it’s time to reinstate COOL,” Tester said. “Consumers have the right to know, and cow-calf feeders and operators have the ability to make some profit off that. …
“You can look at me; I eat a lot of meat. And if I knew it was coming from the United States versus Brazil or Argentina, I’m picking up that package that has `made in the USA’ every time.”
GNDC & Missouri River Country Tourism Local Challenge Bingo Game
Great Northern Development Corporation (GNDC) has partnered with Missouri River Country Tourism on the “Local Challenge” to encourage Northeast Montana residents to support local businesses while practicing social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal of the GNDC Local Challenge is to also encourage supporting small businesses.
GNDC Local Challenge Bingo encourages everyone to safely support local businesses at a distance in a new and creative way. Participants who complete a bingo on the 5x5 card become a “Local Champion” and can enter to win one of three Staycation Prize Packs featuring event tickets, gift cards to local establishments and a staycation in the 6 county region (Daniels, Garfield, McCone, Roosevelt, Sheridan and Valley).
Here’s how to play!
Download your bingo card on the Great Northern Development Corporation website, www.gndc.org then follow Great Northern Development on Facebook on social media for daily inspiration.
Every time you safely support local businesses in the 6 county region (Daniels, Garfield, McCone, Roosevelt, Sheridan and Valley) in the select categories through June 1, 2020 you can check a square off your bingo card. Be sure to post your purchase on social media and say “I support (name of business)”. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #GNDCLocalChallenge and challenge three friends to do the same.
Some easy ideas for the Local Challenge are ordering takeout or delivery from a local restaurant, purchasing gift cards from local retailers or restaurants online, purchasing season passes to our local attractions and museums, booking future services at salons and spas in the 6 county region (Daniels, Garfield, McCone, Roosevelt, Sheridan and Valley) — and more! The ways to support local businesses safely from your home are endless.
When you get a Bingo (5 in a row – vertical, horizontal or diagonal), you become a Local Champion and can complete the GNDC Local Challenge Bingo Contest redemption form (email email@example.com) and your entry will be completed. GNDC will hold a live Facebook drawing on June 1, 2020 at 5:00pm.
Fort Peck Tribal Executive Board Reschedules Community Covid-19 Testing
The Fort Peck Tribal Executive Board has determined that the rapid anti-body testing that was available to the Tribes did not provide the accuracy and reliability necessary to adequately serve the constituents of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Due to these issues, the schedule for Community Covid-19 testing by the Fort Peck Tribes will be rescheduled to the month of June.
The Fort Peck Tribes are working to identify alternative tests so that the Fort Peck Tribes can facilitate widely available, reliable and accurate testing for Covid-19 within the community. This includes continued collaboration with Northeast Montana Health Services, and exploring the potential use of the test available through Abbott Labs in a continuing response to the risks posed by Covid-19.
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