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Latest Local News

Billings Gazette Reports On Montana Nursing Homes Facing Financial Crisis

Monday, January 17th 2022

In a news story on Sunday, the Billings Gazette reported that nursing homes across the country are facing financial ruin while fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

www.billingsgazette.com

The story reports that nursing homes have notably struggled with anemic Medicaid rates and a slowly declining number of residents. But the rising cost of materials, wage pressures and the tapering off of government relief funds has left more than half of nursing home administrators unsure if their facilities will survive the coming months.

The Billings Gazette quotes Valley View Home facility administrator Wes Thompson as saying "Valley View Home in Glasgow can old on for only two or three more months without federal support. After that, Thompson said he will consider a volunteer closure.

Kltz/Mix-93 reached out to Wes Thompson and he replied with this statement:


I just finished having a Resident Council Meeting with our amazing residents in order to inform them of the upcoming publication from the Billings Gazette. I informed the residents that we didn't divulge further information about local and county support for a reason and the reason is because we can't allow State and Federal levels to assume that the local region will continue to support the financial struggles of long-term care facilities State and Nation wide. Nursing home staffing reports and census reports are submitted monthly so there is no secret to them how amazingly difficult it is for non-profit nursing homes to survive.

Valley View Home is a perfect model to be used as an example setter. We came in with specific objectives and goals in 2018 and by the end 2019 we miraculously overachieved our objective and we accomplished something Valley View hasn't done in well over a decade financially. Of course our pandemic crushed us since then but the fact remains that by meeting our communities targets and meeting their needs it worked and it will work again.

Valley View Home may be small but we have become more involved with most facilities in Montana and nationwide. We held meetings with the FTC and the GAO senior analysts division educating them on how the reimbursement levels have not increased but the CMS and CDC Guidelines have continued to increase dramatically and worse is the constant change and amendments to said regulations. We at Valley View taught our State billings specialists on how to appropriately bill for certain residents and they changed their methods to meet our needs State wide. We held meetings with the Governors office and will be meeting with them again this Wednesday with a robust new reimbursement model proposal.

Most importantly, it is evident that significant financial stability needs to occur immediately. Health services support personnel are valuable but the overwhelming price gouging for staffing has caused a butterfly effect that won't be calming down anytime soon. It is obvious why more and more nursing personnel chose to travel. The pay is immensely better and there is no personal investment or responsibility required while working in different facilities. Our facilities simply cannot compete. My last phone meeting involved 11 of us administrators and CEOs discussing this with one of our Senators. Fortunately my Board of Directors prepared me for the ultimate question being "what are we to do?" They told me to actually have a plan recommendation because nobody else will besides "please give us money now". During the meeting no one spoke to the ultimate question so we did and all listened, and all of them agreed with our recommendation moving forward.

This recommendation was submitted to our Governor and the meeting was quickly scheduled. What does this mean? It means that we are again meeting our community needs. When the original "Vote Yes Valley View" campaign was put into place one of those goals was to keep knocking down doors to our State and Federal legislators. We at Valley View Home led the drive for many facilities and we will continue to lead this. Mrs. Rose Hughes, MHCA President, and I have discussed this and she will be fully supportive and participate next week.

If there is a question of why is Valley View leading this then the answer is strong and stable. We have a leadership team that will not stand quiet and hope for the best. We see the near and far future outcomes and we have very strong board members who continuously work for us behind closed doors in order to open those doors for us to be heard. My fellow administrators are all eager to participate and support our efforts as it will help us all.

And lastly to date, every correction and recommendation we have provided to State regarding the reporting or billing procedures have been completed. Our state proved to hear us and work with us because they know we are a viable source of concrete data and information. We believe this relationship will continue even for our little facility in the middle of nowhere. I want to conclude my response with the following. Valley View Home is community based and we work for all of you. If anyone would like to discuss our situation or if you just have questions please don't hesitate to contact me because we are not going anywhere!


Fire Department Responds To Structure Fire In Glasgow

Sunday, January 16th 2022

Statement from Glasgow Fire Department:

We responded to a structure fire in a single family dwelling in Glasgow on Sunday morning around 1:30am. The Glasgow Police Department and Valley County Sheriff’s Office were able to assist in evacuating one occupant from the home and made sure to close the door behind them.

Upon Fire Command’s arrival there was smoke showing from the basement. Crews performed a 360 then made entry to the home. Once inside, a chair was found on fire with minimal flames.

The quick thinking from law enforcement to close the door behind them made a bad situation from getting much worse. Had the door been left open, the house would’ve been fully involved in flame before our arrival.

Along with Glasgow Police Department and Valley County Sheriff’s Office we were assisted by FMDH STAT Ambulance, MDU and Northwestern Energy. Fire Command, Engine 3, Engine 1 and truck 719 responded with 10 members.

Two Valley County Men Appointed To State Board

Sunday, January 16th 2022

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte has appointed two Valley County men to the Private Land and Public Wildlife Board.

Eric Albus of Hinsdale and Lee Cornwell of Glasgow, were appointed to the Private Land and Public Wildlife Board.

Albus is the owner and operator of Milk River Outfitters and Cornwell is the owner of Cornwell Ranch. The term for Albus runs through July 2025, while Cornwell’s term runs through July 2023.

Incumbents File For Re-Election In Valley County

Friday, January 14th 2022

January 13th was the first day for candidates to file the necessary paperwork to be on the ballot for elections in 2022. Several incumbents filed for re-election in Valley County on the first day.

Tom Boyer-Valley County Sheriff/Coroner
John Falhgren- Valley County Commissioner
Christina Hillman- Justice of the Peace
Dylan Jensen- County Attorney
Brenda Anderson-Treasurer
Marie Pippin- Valley County Clerk and Recorder

Also filing for Special Districts in Valley County:

DeLee Hustad- North Valley County Water and Sewer District
Russell Kolpin- North Valley County Water and Sewer District
Nick Chiechi- North Valley County Water and Sewer District
Melinda Stewart- St. Marie Rural Fire District Director
Joseph Yoeman- Fort Peck Rural County Water District Director

$591,874 In Federal Funding Approved For City Of Glasgow To Use On Water Transmission Project

Friday, January 14th 2022

Senator Jon Tester has announced that American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding has been approved for a project in Glasgow.

$591,874 has been approved for the City of Glasgow to use on its Glasgow Transmission Main Replacement. This is a project that could cost up to $9 million and will retrofit the city water transmission line which runs from east of Glasgow near Whatley to the Glasgow Water Treatment Plant.

A press release from Senator Tester stated: Senator Tester worked with Montana small business owners, Republican and Democratic local elected officials, and public education leaders to ensure the American Rescue Plan delivered for Montanans. These resources have been utilized by Montanans to reopen businesses, schools, and our state’s economy as we fought back against COVID-19.

Senator Tester further stated: Now as water and various infrastructure funding begins to get rolled out to local communities after numerous delays by state officials, it’s important to remember that the state is using this funding exactly as it is intended by Congress. State officials have not found a creative or new way to spend American Rescue Plan resources—on the contrary, they are using them for the exact purpose Senator Tester and countless Montanans intended when they worked together to craft the American Rescue Plan. For example, Tester secured $1.89 billion in State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds for Montana in the American Rescue Plan, which can be used for water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure projects.

Supreme Court Blocks Workplace Vaccine Rule, Allows Healthcare Worker Mandate

Friday, January 14th 2022

The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked the Biden administration's vaccine-or-test rule for businesses with at least 100 workers for now, but granted a separate request from the Biden administration to allow its vaccine mandate for health care workers to take effect.

In an unsigned opinion on the vaccine-or-test rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the high court said a slew of GOP-led states, businesses and nonprofit organizations that challenged the rule are "likely to prevail" in their challenge to the requirement.

"Although Congress has indisputably given OSHA the power to regulate occupational dangers, it has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly," the court said. "Requiring the vaccination of 84 million Americans, selected simply because they work for employers with more than 100 employees, certainly falls in the latter category."

The three members of the court's liberal wing, Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented.

The high court, though, gave the green-light to the requirement that health care workers in facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding must be vaccinated, siding 5-4 with the Biden administration pending further proceedings.

"The challenges posed by a global pandemic do not allow a federal agency to exercise power that Congress has not conferred upon it," the Supreme Court said in its second unsigned opinion. "At the same time, such unprecedented circumstances provide no grounds for limiting the exercise of authorities the agency has long been recognized to have."


Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett dissented.

Tickets Now on Sale as Fort Peck Summer Theatre Announces 2022 Season

Friday, January 14th 2022

Artistic Director Andy Meyers, returning for his 12th season, is happy to be moving full steam ahead with plans for the 2022 Fort Peck Summer Theatre season. Following last season’s popular rep style schedule, the season will feature a mix of rotating performances.

Forever Plaid (June 3 – July 2)
This popular and affectionate musical homage to the close-harmony 'guy groups' that reached the height of their popularity during the 1950s, follows a quartet of high-school chums in their cherry red ’54 Mercury, and their earnest dreams of recording an album and appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show.

The Complete History of America + Patriot Musical Revue (June 10 – July 9)
600 years of American history in 6000 seconds! Performed by 3 actors, this is a comedic ninety-minute rollercoaster ride, spoofs and revels our nation’s chronicle and pop culture. This comedy is paired with a Patriotic Musical Revue featuring more than a dozen American standards.

The Bridges of Madison County (June 17 – July 10)
Based on the best-selling novel and subsequent Oscar winning film starring Meryl Streep and Clintwood, The Bridges of Madison County captures the lyrical expanse of America’s heartland along with the yearning entangled in the eternal question, “What if…?” Winner of multiple 2014 Tony Awards, this sweeping romance about the roads we travel, the doors we open and the bridges we dare to cross will leave audiences breathless.

Seussical (July 29 – August 14)
Back by popular demand, The Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant and all the citizens of Whoville come to life on the FPST stage! Featuring special effects, infectious music and a TON of heart, this high energy musical based on the imaginative world of Dr. Seuss, is perfect for the entire family.

Wait Until Dark (August 19 – September 4)
In the Oscar-nominated film version, Audrey Hepburn stars as Suzy Hendrix, a blind woman who must use her wits to outsmart crooks and solve a mystery unfolding right before her eyes. The climax has been heralded as “one of the most thrilling moments of theatre to hit the Broadway stage!”


TYA Tour: The Country Mouse and the City Mouse
Ernie and Ernest have been best friends for as long as they can remember. As pen pals they eagerly exchange letters almost every day, which travel nearly 5,000 miles between their homes in Montana and London. Though their daily routines are very different at times, they share what is most important: love of family & home and the value of having fun, as they learn about culture, sports, food, and history!

The Annual Performing Arts Camp will take place August 2 – August 11, culminating in the much-anticipated Showcase Performance.

Please continually visit our website, fortpecktheatre.org, for updates, ticket information and published schedules or call 406-228-9216 during office hours M-F 12:30-4:30 pm.

FWP Seeking Information On Bull Elk Shot And Left To Waste South Of Chinook

Thursday, January 13th 2022

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Region 6 game wardens are seeking any information regarding a bull elk that was shot and left to waste near Warrick, approximately 50 miles south of Chinook.

On January 1, game warden Haden Hussey received a call concerning a dead elk on the Biebinger Ranch located four miles west of the Lloyd Rd and Warrick Rd intersection. Upon further investigation, Warden Hussey found a trophy five-point bull elk that had been shot and killed with a high-powered rifle. The elk was left to waste in the field.

Anyone with information about this is encouraged to call Warden Hussey directly at 406-942-2191 or call FWP’s 24-hour wildlife tip line at 1-800-TIP-MONT (1-800-847-6668). The 1-800-TIP-MONT program is a toll-free number where one can report violations of fish, wildlife, or park regulations.

Callers may remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward up to $1,000 for providing information that leads to a conviction. Thank you for your help!

Glasgow City Council To Meet Tuesday, January 18th

Thursday, January 13th 2022

Hi-Line Sportsmen Plan 6th Annual Conservation Dinner February 19th

Thursday, January 13th 2022

Save the date and plan to attend the 6th annual conservation fundraising dinner hosted by the Hi-Line Sportsmen on Saturday evening, Feb. 19 at Glasgow’s St. Raphael’s Parish Center gymnasium.

The “keep-it-local” conservation group will once again offer a wide variety of guns and one-of-a-kind items available to win on raffle or auction.

The evening is a celebration of fellowship and our common commitment to improving the wildlife, habitats, and outdoors opportunities across northeastern Montana. It’s also an evening to eat a perfectly roasted prime rib dinner with shrimp and all the fixings.

Tickets for the banquet cost $35 per seat and are capped at 160. Deadline to purchase early-bird tickets—which include a chance to win two tickets to the headline concert at this summer’s Northeast Montana Fair—is Feb. 10.

Doors open on Feb. 19 at 4:30 p.m. for drinks and games. A prime rib dinner with all the trimmings will be served starting at 6 p.m. Nearly a dozen rifles, shotguns, and handguns will be auctioned or raffled over the course of the evening. Other premium items include the final spot in this summer’s Catfish Classic fishing tournament, an evening in Stoughie’s Party Bus, a bundle of golf and pizza from Hi-Tech Golf, and wooden flag art from Montana Reclaimed Design.

One of the highlights of the annual banquet is the presentation of Hi-Line Sportsmen Scholarships. Since its inception, the group has awarded $16,000 in scholarships to Valley County high school seniors, and again this year the scholarship fund will be augmented by proceeds from the auction of an engraved gun donated by Karen Jackson and Joe Younkin.

All funds from the banquet stay in the local community. Hi-Line Sportsmen is a non-profit conservation group committed to improving wildlife habitat, sportsmen access, and passing on sporting traditions in Valley County and neighboring communities.

For more information on the Feb. 19 banquet and Hi-Line Sportsmen, visit the group’s Facebook page or call Jennifer Jackson at 263-7339.

Candidate Filing For 2022 Election Begins Thursday

Wednesday, January 12th 2022

Thursday is the first day for candidates to file elective office for the 2022 elections in Valley County and statewide. The final day to file for public office is March 14th. Elections will be held in June and November.

There are several Valley County elected offices up for election in 2022:

Valley County Commissioner (Incumbent is John Fahlgren)
Valley County Clerk and Recorder (Incumbent is Marie Pippin)
Valley County Sheriff (Incumbent is Tom Boyer)
Valley County Justice of the Peace (Incumbent is Christy Hillman)
Valley County Treasurer (Incumbent is Brenda Anderson)
Valley County Attorney (Incumbent is Dylan Jensen)

Nearly $700 Million Distributed To Montana Elementary And Secondary Schools In Pandemic Relief

Wednesday, January 12th 2022

The Montana Office of Public Instruction is reporting that nearly $700 million has been distributed to Montana Elementary and Secondary Schools as part of pandemic relief.

The funding has come in several different stages and Valley County Public Schools have received over $5.5 million in federal funds since the pandemic began in 2020.

Glasgow School System- $2.118 million
Frazer School System- $3.2 million
Hinsdale School System- $540k
Opheim School System- $168k
Nashua School System- $348k
Lustre Elementary- $166k

Tax Filing Season Begins January 24th

Tuesday, January 11th 2022

This year's tax filing season will begin on Jan. 24, 17 days earlier than in 2020, the Internal Revenue Service announced Monday.

The IRS is warning that a resurgence of COVID-19 infections on top of less funding authorization from Congress than the Biden administration had requested could make this filing season particularly challenging.

"The pandemic continues to create challenges, but the IRS reminds people there are important steps they can take to help ensure their tax return and refund don't face processing delays," IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said.

The IRS will send letters to recipients of the impact payments and the advance Child Tax Credit payments and taxpayers can also check for the amounts they received on the website IRS.gov.

The deadline for tax returns to be filed is Monday, April 18 this year, three days later than the normal April 15 deadline for filing taxes. The later date is a result of a Emancipation Holiday in the District of Columbia. By law, Washington, D.C., holidays impact tax deadlines for everyone the same way federal holidays do.

April 18 is the deadline for filing tax returns or requesting an extension. which gives taxpayers until Oct. 17 to file their returns for 2021.

Jason Schultz Arrested After Standoff With Valley County Law Enforcement

Monday, January 10th 2022

44-year old Glasgow resident Jason Schultz was arrested Sunday after a nearly 4 hour standoff with law enforcement officers from the Valley County Sheriff's Office and Glasgow Police Department.

Valley County Sheriff Tom Boyer told Kltz/Mix-93 News that Schultz was arrested without incident after he left the building he was in and was apprehended in a vehicle on the south side of Glasgow at approximately 4pm.

The Valley County Jail Roster states that Schultz is facing charges of Intimidation, Criminal Trespass To Property and Assault With A Weapon.

Here is a statement from Valley County Sheriff Tom Boyer:

A joint effort between the GPD and the VCSO resulted in the execution of the arrest warrant for Jason Schultz on January 9th. Because weapons were involved, the Special Response Team was activated including the use of an armored vehicle to further protect the officers engaging with Schultz.

The teams response was professional effective, ensuring the safety of the community and themselves.

Schultz remains in custody at the Valley County Detention Center pending an appearing before the Justice of the Peace.

COVID-19 Message From Valley County Health Department

Thursday, January 6th 2022

This message was posted Wednesday on the Valley County Health Department Webpage:

You will see on the Montana COVID map tomorrow the addition of 11 positive persons who were tested yesterday. If you attended any gathering of any size over the past weekend or holiday, you were highly likely to have been exposed to COVID-19.

If you have since worked with or reside with anyone who attended any gathering of any size over the past weekend or holiday, you are highly likely to have been exposed to COVID-19.

If you have any symptom – any symptom that you are calling a “cold” – it is just as likely to be COVID.
If you have MILD symptoms, AND/OR you know that you were in contact with a COVID+ person, AND/OR you attended a group gathering of any kind five (5) or more days ago, call us at 228-6261 to schedule a free rapid test. Optimal testing is done FIVE (5) days or more after your exposure.

Testing is available at the following locations:
Glasgow School District students and staff – call 406-228-2406
For any concerning symptoms, call for an appointment:
Glasgow Clinic – call 406-228-3400
Sugg Primary Care – 406-228-8013

2021 Was Driest Year On Record For Glasgow

Tuesday, January 4th 2022

The National Weather Service office in Glasgow reported that 2021 was officially the driest year on record for the city of Glasgow

Glasgow received above normal precipitation this month but it fell just below our previous record set in 2017. Normal annual precipitation in Glasgow is 13.44 inches, which means we only reached 49% of normal this past year.

Malta had its second driest season, Wolf Point was third dries, Jordan fourth and Sidney had its fifth driest season.

2021 - 6.63 inches
2017 - 6.64 inches
1984 - 6.74 inches
1934 - 6.83 inches
1990 - 6.84 inches
1971 - 6.9 inches
1958 - 7.07 inches
1960 - 7.3 inches
1988 - 7.48 inches
1983 - 7.56 inches
1968 - 7.65 inches
(Stats courtesy Patrick Gilchrist, National Weather Service office, Glasgow)

Corps of Engineers Hosting Master Plan Meeting January 20th

Tuesday, January 4th 2022

The United States Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, will be hosting a virtual public scoping meeting for the Fort Peck Dam and Lake Master Plan on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022 at 7 p.m. MST; 8 p.m. CST.

This meeting will commence the public scoping comment period for the update and revision of the Fort Peck Dam and Lake Masterplan and the associated Environmental Assessment. The USACE, Omaha District encourages the public to provide comments through Feb.16, 2022 regarding management of public lands, as well as environmental, cultural, and recreational resources at the Fort Peck Project.

A Masterplan is a high-level, strategic document that describes how the U.S. Corps of Engineers will operate and manage public lands. The existing 2008 Fort Peck Dam and Lake Masterplan must be updated to meet current regulations, policies, regional needs, and to better reflect current recreational needs – while providing stewardship of the project’s environmental, cultural, and aesthetic resources. The development of an updated Master Plan will assist USACE in providing proper management and stewardship of the project’s resources for present and future generations.

In addition, an update to the Shoreline Management Plan and a proposed Integrated Pest Management Plan will also be developed. This input will help shape the Masterplan update and revision process so USACE may identify how to better manage the area while protecting its natural, cultural, historic, and manmade resources.

In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), USACE will also complete an Environmental Assessment (EA) to address potential environmental effects associated with the Master Plan update and revision.

Due to public health and safety concerns associated with COVID-19, this initial public scoping meeting will be held virtually via WebEx. The public can join the meeting at the following this link or call in audio-only by at: 1-844-800-2712 and when prompted, enter in access code: 2763-773-0260.

Public comments during this initial scoping period can be emailed to: NWO-Master-Plan@usace.army.mil, or by U.S. Mail at:

US Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District

Operations Division, Natural Resources Section

ATTN: Fort Peck Project Master Plan

1616 Capitol Ave.

Omaha, NE 68102

Opheim Student Offered Appointment To West Point

Tuesday, January 4th 2022

Daines Announces Cole Taylor of Larslan Receives Offer of Appointment to United States Military Academy West Point

U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines today announced academy nominee Cole Taylor of Larslan, Montana, has been offered an appointment to the United States Military Academy West Point.

“Cole’s appointment to West Point has been well-earned through his commitment to his studies and sense of leadership,” Daines said. “Cole has a bright future ahead and will continue to make Montana proud. Congratulations, Cole!”

Cole currently attends Opheim High School. He is the Class President, Student Council President, an Eagle Scout, President of his FFA chapter and member of the National Honor Society. Cole is also active in football and is the owner and operator of his own business. In July 2021, Cole met Senator Daines at the U.S. Capitol while visiting as part of the American Legion’s Boys Nation.

Doug Stebleton Book Signing

Monday, January 3rd 2022

Glasgow native Doug Stebleton is back in town this week, and is doing two book signings for his new book "It's A Wonderful Time."

Doug was under Live Under The Big Sky a few weeks ago just before the book's debut. Stebleton promotes it as Back To The Future meets Midnight In Paris on the set of It's A Wonderful Life.

Doug will be doing one book signing on Friday, December 31st from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. at The Loaded Toad and on Monday, January 3rd from 4-7 p.m. at Sam And Jeff's. You can also visit https://www.hollywoodtimetravel.com for more information.

Valley County Health Department Schedule

Saturday, January 1st 2022

From the Valley County Health Department:

Beginning Wed. Jan. 5th from 4 - 5:30p.m. you may receive Covid-19 vaccine for ages 18+: 1st, 2nd, or 3rd dose of Moderna or the 1st dose of J&J or BOOSTER dose of Moderna or J&J.

COVID-19 vaccine
Moderna -- in stock
J&J – 30 doses in stock.

FLU vaccine
HIGH dose flu vaccine for age 65+ - in stock
Quadrivalent for age <64 – in stock.

Please wear a facial covering or mask & short sleeves & bring your COVID vaccine card with you. If stairs are a problem, please call ahead to arrange a vaccine outdoors.

Appointments needed for Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 – 11, call (406) 228-6261 to schedule.

Man Killed In Farm Explosion North Of Wolf Point

Friday, December 31st 2021

From Roosevelt County Law Enforcement
At 1600 hrs on 12/29/21, Roosevelt County dispatch received a report of a large explosion at a farm approximately five miles north of Wolf Point on Hwy 250. Emergency personnel responded and discovered an outbuilding had been destroyed when a large amount of leaking propane ignited inside the structure.

The resulting explosion caused nearby soil to collapse and fill the interior of the building, killing one adult male who was inside at the time.

Temperatures of approximately -25F slowed recovery efforts, but the victim's body was eventually recovered by the Wolf Point Volunteer Fire Department and several other agencies. The victim's name was released on Friday morning; he was identified as Payden Nygaard, a 34-year-old Wolf Point man.

- Roosevelt County Sheriff/Coroner Jason Frederick

Interview Committee Recommends Brian Austin For Vacant City Council Seat

Friday, December 31st 2021

A interview committee is recommending Brian Austin be confirmed by the Glasgow City Council to fill a vacancy in Ward 3 on the Council.

Austin was one of 4 candidates interviewed on Thursday and will be the recommendation to the full council on Monday who will make the final decision.

The other candidates interviewed included Todd Young, Dave Pippin and Sara Hitchcock.

The interview committee included Rod Karst, Butch Heitman, Dan Carr and Myron Malnaa.

If confirmed by the full council, Austin would serve the remaining 2 years of Rod Karst’s term in Ward 3. Karst was elected Mayor in November and had to resign his council seat.

Kiwanis Salvation Army Bell Ringing Project Raises Over $3,700

Friday, December 31st 2021

Thanks to all who helped with this year's Kiwanis Salvation Army Bell Ringing Project. Local churches took the first weekends raising $940.15, $883.29 and $478.90; and Kiwanis took the last few days leading up to Christmas and raised an additional $1461.40 for a total this year of $3,763.74.

This money is used locally to assist families and individuals in need. Rocky Zimdars was the Kiwanis chair of this project this year.

Thanks to all who helped ring the bell, and to those who made contributions. Thanks also to Reynolds Market for hosting us in their newly constructed entryway.

New Year’s Eve Rides Available

Thursday, December 30th 2021

Local Wrecker Services, Search & Rescue/Fire Departments with the support from the DUI Task Force will be giving rides again this New Year’s Eve.

Randy Isakson 406-263-2193, Bryce Lawrence 406-230-1771, Tom Pewitt 406-263-2154, Chris Leckie 406-480-2916, Johnathan Jacka 406-263-2345 & in the Fort Peck/Nashua areas : Doug Cook 406-263-1249.

Montana Highway Patrol Focusing On Enforcement Of Impaired Driving This Weekend

Thursday, December 30th 2021

The Montana Highway Patrol (MHP) will be teaming up with 11 other states to focus on the enforcement of impaired driving during this New Year's Eve weekend, as part of the Western States Traffic Safety Coalition (WSTSC).

Last year, five people were killed in crashes in Montana over the New Year's holiday. To achieve the goal of zero deaths this year, the Montana Highway Patrol encourages Montanans to plan ahead for a sober ride home this New Year's Eve and to never drive impaired or high.

“We want everyone in Montana to enjoy the holiday and bring in the New Year safely. Our troopers will be on the look out for people endangering themselves and the lives of others by driving under the influence,” MHP Colonel Steve Lavin said. “One preventable fatality is too many. Plan ahead and don’t drive impaired.”

Nationally an average of 300 people have died in impaired driving crashes between Christmas and New Year's Day over the last five years. Last year, there were over 10,000 people killed nationwide in impaired driving crashes accounting for nearly one-third of the yearly driving fatalities. This loss of life is 100 percent preventable.

In addition to MHP, the WSTSC includes the Arizona Department of Public Safety, California Highway Patrol, Colorado State Patrol, Idaho State Police, Nevada Highway Patrol, Oregon State Police, South Dakota Highway Patrol, Utah Highway Patrol, Washington State Patrol, and the Wyoming Highway Patrol.

Additional K9 Grant Awards To Fight Drug Trafficking

Wednesday, December 29th 2021

HELENA – Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen today announced the final round of grant awards that will help local law enforcement agencies obtain and train new canine units to crack down on illegal drugs being trafficked into Montana. Following the 18 initial $10,000 grants approved by the selection committee in October, five new agencies will receive funding and 14 will receive additional funding.

Twenty-three agencies have now been approved to receive a total of $300,000 in grant funding through this program. All of the funds appropriated by the legislature for this purpose have now been dispersed.

“Montana is being flooded with dangerous drugs like fentanyl and methamphetamine that come across the southern border. After their training is completed, these K9s will be an asset in helping law enforcement keep our communities safe by keeping drugs off the streets,” Attorney General Knudsen said.

Announced in August, the grant program reflects Attorney General Knudsen’s commitment to getting resources out of Helena and into the hands of local first responders and law enforcement.

The following new applications for grants have been approved:

Fort Peck Tribal Police Department – $13,000
Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office – $14,000
Montana Highway Patrol – $20,000 (two canines)
Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office – $13,000
Valley County Sheriff’s Office – $10,460

The following agencies will receive additional funding to support costs of the K9 and training not covered in their original $10,000 award:

Billings Police Department – $5,000
Bozeman Police Department – $3,132
Carbon County Sheriff’s Office – $4,900
Cascade County Sheriff’s Office – $3,303
Columbus Police Department – $3,500
Dawson County Sheriff’s Office – $3,589
Hill County Sheriff’s Office – $760
Lake County Sheriff’s Office – $4,648
Meagher County Sheriff’s Office – $3,313
Missoula County Sheriff’s Office – $4,000
Missoula Police Department – $10,000
Musselshell County Sheriff’s Office – $3,000
Rosebud County Sheriff’s Office – $3,500
Sidney Police Department – $5,000

During the 2021 Legislative Session, Knudsen secured funds in House Bill 701 for the Montana Department of Justice to administer a grant program helping law enforcement agencies purchase and train new drug detecting canines to replace those that were trained to detect marijuana after voters last year passed an initiative legalizing the drug. Representative Mike Hopkins carried the legislation implementing the initiative, while Representative Barry Usher sponsored the amendment containing the funds.

Methamphetamine and other drugs trafficked into Montana contributed to a 91 percent increase in violent crime from 2013 to 2020, Montana Board of Crime Control statistics show. Attorney General Knudsen is committed to reversing this trend and putting the Department of Justice’s focus back on public safety.

Fuhrman Scholarship Recipients

Tuesday, December 28th 2021

In just 11 years, 26 students have received help with college expenses thanks to the Clarence and Charlotte Fuhrman Memorial Scholarship Fund. The couple farmed near Opheim and provided the scholarship to benefit graduates from all Valley County high schools. They entrusted the Valley County Community Foundation to administer the fund.

VCCF Chair Doris Leader of Nashua announced this year’s three recipients:

Montana Technological University senior Jesi Kennedy is majoring in cellular and molecular biology and will graduate in May, 2022. She has submitted applications to medical schools studying dermatology or primary care with an emphasis on rural healthcare. She graduated from GHS in 2018.

2014 GHS graduate JoLynn Reyling continues her studies in dentistry. This past July, she started dental school at Roseman University of Health Sciences in South Jordan, UT. She plans to graduate with a Doctor of Dental Medicine in 2025. The Purdue University graduate is currently a licensed and practicing dental hygienist in Montana and Utah.

Brook Westby is in her third year of nursing studies at Carroll College. She plans to return to Glasgow and work at Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital where she was employed as a certified nursing assistant this summer. She is a Glasgow High School graduate and attended Opheim elementary and junior high schools.

The Fuhrman Scholarships are awarded annually. Among the requirements are a three-year residence in Valley County, graduation from a Valley County high school, home school or GED, participation in school and civic organizations, completion of at least one year of study beyond high school and a 2.8 scholastic average. Applicants must also establish a monetary need for the scholarship.

More information is available through the VCCF website, www.valleycountycf.net. Applications for the 2022 Fuhrman scholarships are due June 17, 2022.

Hunting Regulations Out For Public Comment; Public Meetings Planned For Northeast Montana

Monday, December 27th 2021

GLASGOW – Hunting regulation proposals for the 2022/2023 seasons were approved for public comment by the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission last week and are now out for review and comment online through January 21, 2022. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks will hold public meetings throughout the state to provide information and answer questions.

Montana hunting season regulations are adopted biennially for most game species. Review the proposals and comment online at fwp.mt.gov/regproposals. Comments can be submitted at the same site through January 21 or by email to fwpwld@mt.gov.

This is a second phase of season setting for the 2022/2023 hunting regulation proposals. Earlier this fall, in an effort to simplify regulations, FWP biologists offered proposals that combined some hunting districts, reduced some license and permit types, and eliminated hunting district portions. FWP staff held informational meetings around the state, and the public was invited to submit comments on those initial proposals. FWP adjusted proposals based on public comment and presented them to the commission at their December 14 meeting. In addition, the commission also considered proposals from outside entities.

These draft regulations, approved by the commission last week, are now out for review and comment. FWP will hold public meetings between now and January 13 to provide information and take questions. Comments should be submitted online or by email.

In northeast Montana (Region 6), FWP will host 5 meetings, all 6-8 p.m.:
Jan. 4: Havre-Great Northern Inn (1345 1st street St., east Havre)
Jan. 5: Online meeting-hosted by FWP and the R6 Citizen Advisory Council (Login information will be available the week of the meeting at: fwp.mt.gov/aboutfwp/public-comment-opportunities/reg-proposals/meetings)
Jan. 10: Plentywood-Sheridan Co. Library, Jubilee room (100 W. Laurel Ave.)
Jan. 11: Glasgow-Cottonwood Inn (54250 US Hwy 2)
Jan. 12: Malta-High school cafeteria (1 South 9th St. W)

Note: If you are interested in attending a meeting but cannot make one in-person, please consider the online Zoom meeting Jan. 5

The commission will make a final decision on the 2022/2023 hunting regulations at its meeting in February.

State Of Montana Looking For Those Interested In Participating In Montana Drought Plan Process

Monday, December 27th 2021

The State of Montana is looking for stakeholders who may be interested in participating in the Montana Drought Plan process. Eastern Montana has fewer participants, but it is obviously an important topic.

If you represent an entity impacted by drought (Ranching, farming, insurance, water, utilities, fire, ecological, etc) and are interested in the process, please visit https://www.mtdroughtinfo.org/.

Ice Fishing Safety Tips From FWP

Friday, December 24th 2021

It’s that time of year when ice anglers and other recreationists will be heading out to Montana's “hard” waters for the winter season. Everyone needs to be safe around ice, whether ice fishing, ice skating, hunting, snowmobiling, or just taking a walk. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks reminds folks that safety should be the number one concern during a day out on (or near) the ice. For more information, please go to https://fwp.mt.gov/fish/ice-fishing/safety

When on the ice, remember:
• Plan ahead…check the weather for changing conditions, tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to return, and plan to bring a friend for company and safety!
• Anglers and other recreationists should be familiar with the water body they plan to fish or recreate on. The safest folks are those who pay as much attention to the changing conditions of the ice as they do to the fishing, skating, or snowmobiling conditions.
• If you have even the slightest doubt about the safety of the ice—stay off it and keep pets away from it as well. Nothing is ever worth a fall into frigid water.
• Blue or “clear” ice is usually hard. Watch out for opaque, gray, dark or porous spots in the ice that could be weak, soft areas. Ice also tends to thin more quickly at the shorelines.
• Note areas on the ice that look “different”…they usually are! Many times, thinner areas of ice (caused by springs, gas pockets, sunken islands, points, etc.) have a different color or look to them. Use extreme caution or stay away from these areas!
• The following are recommended MINIMUM ice thickness guidelines (for good, clear ice): Remember, NO ICE is 100% safe!
Under 4 inches: STAY OFF!
4 inches: ice fishing or other activities on foot
7 inches: snowmobile or ATV
10 inches: car or small pickup
12 inches: medium truck

not recommended, but if you must, proceed at your own risk!
for white ice or “snow ice,” double the above minimums
• Test the ice ahead of you with an ice spud bar or an auger.
• Watch for pressure ridges. These are areas of open water or thin ice where the ice has cracked and heaved due to expansion from freezing.
• Don’t leave children or pets unsupervised on the ice.
• Lakes and ponds do not freeze at the same thickness all over. Some ponds have windmills to aerate water for fish survival, and ice may be thin near these areas.
• Moving water—rivers, streams and springs—weaken ice by wearing it away from underneath. Avoid going on ice on rivers and streams, or where a river or stream enters a lake, pond or reservoir.
• The least safe ice usually occurs early and late in the season, when the weather is warmer and less predictable.
Some other common ice-safety reminders to keep in mind include:
• Search for videos on ice safety and “what to do” if you should fall through the ice. One can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gOW8ZaYqHA

• Consider changes in the weather (and ice conditions) during the prior 24 hours.
• It's OK to wear a life jacket (PFD) or carry a throwable floatation device while out on the ice — safe ice anglers and recreationists do it all the time.
• Dress warm but practical. Many styles of ice fishing jackets and bibs provide extra buoyancy to help keep you afloat if you do fall through.
• Before you leave the house, tell someone where you plan to go and when you plan to return.
• Carry a pair of ice picks (long spikes on a heavy string around your neck). If you break through the ice, you can use the spikes to grip the ice and pull yourself out of the water.

FWP wishes all anglers and recreationists a safe, adventurous, and successful season!

Possible Black Bear Sighting Near Malta

Friday, December 24th 2021

Officials with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks say a possible black bear sighting was recently reported near Malta.

A press release says that in the last month, several people reported and sent in photos of what appear to be black bear tracks at locations between Malta and Dodson.

So far, the bear has apparently had no negative encounters with humans.

FWP says that bear encounters are rare in most of Region 6, but there are known black bears present in the Bear Paw and Little Rockies mountain ranges. More recently, there have been the reported sightings near Malta.

Black bears are occasionally found wandering far from their traditional areas, and preventive measures should always be taken to prevent wildlife encounters.

It is important for people to secure garbage inside a garage or secure shed, bring pet food in at night, clean up livestock food, and bring in bird feeders and clean up spilled seed.

It is unlawful to intentionally or inadvertently feed bears. Feeding bears can make them food-conditioned and more dangerous to humans. Preventing bears from becoming food-conditioned also helps prevent officials from having to euthanize them in the interest of public safety.

COVID-19 Leading Cause Of Death Among Native Americans In 2020

Friday, December 24th 2021

COVID-19 was the leading cause of death in 2020 among Montana’s native population, despite the state’s seven reservations instituting stricter public health mitigation measures compared to the rest of the state, according to a December report released by the Department of Public Health and Human Services.

The report found COVID-19 was responsible for 251 of the 1,022 total deaths among Montana Native Americans in 2020. Heart disease was the second leading cause of death, accounting for 119 deaths. Comparatively, there has been an average of 676 deaths each year during the previous five years for Native Americans in the state.

For Montanans at large, COVID-19 was the third-leading cause of death, according to the report.

While Native Americans only make up around 7 percent of the state’s population, they accounted 32 percent of the deaths and 19 percent of cases in the state from March to October of 2020.

As noted in a Montana Budget and Policy Center report cited by the Great Falls Tribune, the disparities are not random.

“Due to a long history of racist public policies, ongoing settler colonialism, and underinvestment, Montanans who are American Indian disproportionately experience underlying health conditions and economic challenges that heighten the risk of the pandemic,” said the June report.

The DPHHS report acknowledged these disparities: “American Indian communities have higher levels of social vulnerability, such as a living in shared housing, difficulties accessing timely health care, and lower household incomes, which may increase the risk for infection.”

As of Thursday, 2,895 Montanans have died from COVID-19 related issues and 195,669 residents have tested positive for the infection. On Thursday, the state reported 264 new cases.

The state’s vaccination rate has remained stagnant for months hovering around 50 percent — compared to a vaccination rate of around 98 percent on the Blackfeet Reservation.

The Great Falls Tribune reported that as of Tuesday, the Blackfeet Nation reported 56 total COVID-19 deaths among reservation residents with seven active cases and two active hospitalizations; the Fort Belknap Indian Community on Tuesday reported 13 total COVID-19 deaths on the reservation and three active cases. And as of Thursday, the Northern Cheyenne Tribe reported 51 total COVID-19 deaths and no active cases.

Montana DEQ Hosting Public Meeting Regarding Proposed Exploration Project Near Zortman

Thursday, December 23rd 2021

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality is hosting a public meeting on Jan. 4 at 4 p.m.to hear comments on a draft environmental assessment for a proposed exploration project near Zortman, in Phillips County.

The new exploration project is proposed by Luke Ployhar on private land at the former Zortman Mine. The proposed project is not a full-scale mine and the operator would have to apply for a separate permit and undergo a separate environmental analysis should he wish to operate a full-scale mine.

The public meeting will include a brief presentation on the proposed project and allow time for questions, followed by official public comment. The meeting will be held online via Zoom or by phone. DEQ is working to identify a location near the site of the proposed project where individuals may access the meeting remotely. Once a location is finalized, details will be shared at the link below.

To access the online meeting via Zoom or for a call in number, visit: https://lukeployharexploration.eventbrite.com.

Participants may sign-up in advance for comment using the link above or may sign-up during the meeting.

Comments on the draft EA will be accepted through Jan. 11. To submit comments or view the document, visit the DEQ website at: https://deq.mt.gov/News/publiccomment-folder/news-article1.

An exploration license authorizes activity for the purpose of determining the presence and extent of an ore body. It does not authorize mining. If a proposed project meets the requirements of Montana law, DEQ must issue the exploration license.

Tester Announces $790,000 In Funding For Glasgow Airport

Thursday, December 23rd 2021

Following the passage of his bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), U.S. Senator Jon Tester announced he secured approximately $790,000 in Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funding for Glasgow Valley County Airport over next five years as a part of the law. Tester also today announced the first allocation of these funds, $159,000, for Fiscal Year 2022.

“Glasgow Valley County Airport is essential to keeping Glasgow connected and Valley County’s economy strong,” said Tester. “This funding from my bipartisan infrastructure package will ensure that our airports can make urgently needed repairs, continue to grow and support Montana travel, and create good paying jobs in the process.”

The funding Tester announced today is a part of approximately $144 million for 69 Montana airports he secured through his bipartisan infrastructure law. The funding will be awarded over five years through FAA Airport Improvement Grants, which can be used to construct or repair runways and taxiways as well as make terminal and gate improvements. Tester was the only member of Montana’s congressional delegation to vote for the legislation.

Tester worked across the aisle for months to negotiate this agreement with a group of five Republicans, four Democrats, and the White House. Tester’s law is projected to create more than 800,000 American jobs and lower costs for businesses by making targeted investments that will strengthen our nation without raising taxes on working families.

As a lead author of the bill, Tester made sure that the law does not raise taxes. He secured significant wins for Montana in the law, including $2.82 billion for Montana’s roads, highways and bridges; up to $100 million for the Milk River Project and $1 billion to complete all authorized rural water projects through the Bureau of Reclamation; $42.45 billion for broadband deployment to low-connectivity areas across the country; and $3.37 billion to reduce wildfire risk nationwide, among others. Tester also worked to ensure that all iron, steel, and construction materials used for these projects must be made in America.

Valley County Sheriff's Office To Host Citizen Law Enforcement Academy

Wednesday, December 22nd 2021

The Valley County Sheriff’s Office will be hosting a Citizen Law Enforcement Academy beginning in February 2022. This course is an opportunity to take a behind the scenes look at the various functions of the judicial system and offer insights on how law enforcement officers perform their duties and serve the community. The eight-week course will consist of classes, lecture, and hands-on experience offering participants valuable insight into the operations of the Sheriff’s Office. Ride-A-Longs will occur at the end of the academy and lastly a graduation ceremony and certificate of completion will conclude the course.

Our goal is to educate the public with the intent of creating a more informed citizen, debunking myths about law enforcement and to open the lines of communication between civilians and officers.
Additionally, graduates of the Citizen Law Enforcement Academy will have the opportunity to apply to be a Reserve Deputy with the Valley County Sheriff’s Office. One of my goals as Sheriff has been to revive the Reserve Deputy program. It has been a number of years since the Valley County Sheriff’s Office has had any Reserve Deputies. I am excited about renewing this program and having more involvement from the community.

The CLEA course is free of charge and open to anyone without a criminal history who is 18 years of age or older. An application will be available at the Valley County Sheriff’s Office. Classes will be held at the Valley County Courthouse beginning in February. Classes will be 2-3 hours long and are scheduled to begin at 6:05pm on a weeknight (tbd). One class will be planned for a weekend day.

If you have any questions or want more information please contact Sheriff Boyer at 406.263.8920 or by email at tboyer@valleycountymt.gov .

Local Groups Providing Rides On New Year's Eve

Wednesday, December 22nd 2021

The holidays have arrived. As you make plans to celebrate with friends and family, also make plans to have a safe ride home by designating a sober drive. On New Year’s Eve, Valley County Search and Rescue, Glasgow and Long Run Fire Departments, and Local Wrecker Service Companies will be providing rides home throughout the night. Don’t spend your holidays in jail, or worse, in an ambulance.
Increased patrols in Glasgow and Valley County will be out in the weeks leading up to Christmas and through the New Year’s holiday watching for impaired drivers and educating motorists as part of their commitment to keeping Montana roads safe for everyone.

“The holidays are a wonderful time for everyone to enjoy. Unfortunately, they can also be a deadly time for some Montana families," said (Undersheriff Chris Richter). “It’s up to all of us to celebrate responsibly, and that means never driving impaired, always wearing your seat belt, and making sure your friends and family do the same.”

In data collected by the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) as of December 13, 2021, there have been 231 lives lost compared to 198 fatalities for this same period in 2020. Of those deaths, 130 have been due to impaired driving, and 118 have been due to improper restraint.

Consequences of drunk driving include a DUI on your record, a revoked driver’s license, mandatory classes, possible jail time, probation, and up to $10,000 in fines. Report suspected impaired drivers by dialing 911, and always wear your seat belt, as it continues to be the best defense against impaired drivers.

This is a Vision Zero message from the Montana Department of Transportation. This and other enforcement and educational campaigns are strategies to reach Vision Zero – zero deaths and zero serious injuries on Montana

Karst Sworn In As Mayor Of Glasgow

Tuesday, December 21st 2021

Glasgow Mayor Becky Erickson gave the oath of office to incoming Glasgow Mayor Rod Karst on Monday at the regular Glasgow City Council meeting.

Karst will take over officially on January 1st as the top elected official in the City of Glasgow.
He was elected Mayor in November when he defeated Todd Young.

Erickson will retire after 8 years as Mayor of Glasgow and before being elected Mayor she served several terms on the Glasgow City Council.

Also given the oath of office on Monday were City Council members elected in November, Stan Ozark, Doug Nistler and Dan Carr.

T-33 Aircraft At Valley County Pioneer Museum To Be Renovated

Tuesday, December 21st 2021

The City of Glasgow and Valley County Historical Society have received a Montana Tourism Grant in the amount of $32,500 which will be used to renovate the T-33 Aircraft Display in the front of the Pioneer Museum in Glasgow.

While the State of Montana is contributing a large amount of the cost of the renovation, area entities have stepped up to provide the additional funding to complete the $60,000 project. The other entities include City of Glasgow, Valley County Historical Society, Glasgow TBID, Two Rivers Economic Development, Glasgow Area Chamber of Commerce, Friends of the Pioneer Museum, Valley County Museum Board and Missouri River Country.

The T-33 Aircraft was used at the former Glasgow Air Force Base and has played a large part in the history of the community. The aircraft is on loan to the City of Glasgow from the US National Air Force Museum.

The expected start date of the project is spring of 2022 with completion date in September of 2022. All work done on the project will be done at the Pioneer Museum.

Valley County Unemployment Rate 1.6% In November

Monday, December 20th 2021

Governor Greg Gianforte Friday announced Montana’s unemployment rate decreased 0.3% in November to 2.8%, tying the lowest unemployment rate ever recorded in the state. Strong job growth continued in November, with over 3,000 jobs created.

The unemployment rate in Valley County was 1.6% compared to 1.8% in November of 2020.

“Montana is closing out the year with yet another month of record-setting employment and strong growth in our labor force,” said Governor Greg Gianforte. “As we enter a new year, we’ll continue enacting our pro-jobs, pro-growth agenda to complement the unmatched work ethic of Montanans.”

Since Governor Gianforte was elected in November 2020, Montana’s unemployment rate has dropped from 4.5% to 2.8%, matching a record low from February 2007. Montana’s unemployment rate is well below the national rate of 4.2%.

Meanwhile, Montana’s total employment, which includes payroll, agricultural, and self-employed workers, grew by 3,069 in November, which is the fastest job growth recorded for the year.

For the third consecutive month, the number of employed Montanans hit a new record high of 528,142. The number of unemployed Montanans also continued to drop, hitting 15,403 – the lowest number of job seekers without work since 2007.

The number of available workers in Montana’s labor force, a critical metric of concern during the current labor shortage, increased by 1,543. Montana’s labor force has grown by more than 10,000 workers since the governor took office in January.

Private payroll employment increased by 3,100 jobs, with construction, retail, healthcare, and professional services posting meaningful job gains of 500 jobs or more. Public sector payroll employment posted a small decline for the month.

Man Arrested For Leaving Vehicle On Railroad Tracks To Be Hit By BNSF Train On Friday

Monday, December 20th 2021

A man has been arrested in Phillips County after apparently leaving the car he was driving on a railroad track in Malta where it was hit by a train.

At about 1:30 a.m Friday, a westbound BNSF Railway train traveling through Malta hit the car dragging it 600 yards down the tracks, Phillips County Sheriff Jerry Lytle said in a statement.

“There was no one in the vehicle at the time of the crash,” the sheriff said.

The man believed to have been driving the car was arrested and jailed on suspicion of creating a hazard, criminal endangerment, criminal trespass, disorderly contact and driving under the influence of alcohol.

Hawkan Haakanson is currently incarcerated in the Valley County Detention Center.

Glasgow School Superintendent Addresses Social Media Post Threatening Schools Across The Country

Friday, December 17th 2021

Dear Families,

The Glasgow School District has become aware of a troubling post that has been shared widely this week on the social media platform TikTok. The post refers to a threat to school safety “for every school in the USA, even elementary,” on Friday, December 17.

The post appears to be part of a national TikTok trend and did not originate in our school district. We have heard reports from other districts that the same post is circulating in their schools. While we do not believe the threat to be credible, we are closely monitoring the situation and taking it seriously.

Additionally, the district has been in contact with the Glasgow Police Department regarding the post. We may have an increased police presence in and around our buildings on Friday as an added precaution.
This situation serves as a good example of why it is important to avoid sharing posts online that refer to school safety threats. Even if they are not credible threats, they can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety for our students, families, and staff. We ask our families to monitor their children’s social media activity and speak with them about proper behavior online.

If you or your child become aware of any potential threat posted to social media or anywhere else, please notify a school staff member or trusted adult right away.

As always, thank you for your partnership as we work to ensure a safe, secure, and positive learning environment for our students.

Sincerely,
Wade O. Sundby ~ Superintendent
Glasgow School District

Retail Beef Prices At Record Highs; Up 21% Over The Past Year

Friday, December 17th 2021

https://www.kulr8.com/news/retail-beef-prices-at-record-highs-up-21-over-the-past-year/article_92d7cec4-5e83-11ec-903d-33558bacf573.html

Retail beef prices are at record highs according to Colter Brown at Northern Ag Network. This comes even as ranchers have been making less money for their cattle over the past couple of years.

"This is probably the biggest issue in the cattle industry right now because it stretches into a lot of different factors," Colter said. "There's frustration amongst ranchers at this point given what they've seen the last few years of higher beef prices and lower cattle prices."

"Retail beef prices are at record highs," he added. "Consumers are paying more for beef than they ever have."

Brown said the issue of lower cattle prices has a lot to do with the fact that there are more cattle to process than space to process them. However, things are changing.

"Cattle prices have been trending higher, particularly the back half of this fall," Brown said.

Brown said the next couple of years are looking good for cattle producers. One of the reasons is the high demand for beef.

"Beef demand right now is at 30-year highs," Brown said. "Domestically, people love beef. The quality is excellent. They want to buy it. And then, on the export market, we've already broken the annual record for beef exported in a year. And so, we'll export $10 billion worth of beef by the end of the year. So, it's extremely strong to have that demand, both at home and abroad."

Brown also said dozens of meat processing facilities have opened up in Montana in the last 18 months.

"We're processing more cattle in Montana than we have in years," Brown said.

Phishing Scheme Targeting Customers Of Nemont

Friday, December 17th 2021

Nemont is aware of a new phishing scam that is impersonating helpdesks@nemontel.net asking for your username and password. Please do no reply with your username and password information. The attacker is hoping to deceive you into thinking this email originated from Nemont, but it did not.

Nemont will never ask you for username and password information via email. Please call 800-636-6680 if you have any questions or concerns.

Montana Livestock Brand Re-Record Deadline Dec. 31

Thursday, December 16th 2021

Livestock brands in Montana are employed to identify livestock, prevent theft, and used for disease traceability purposes. They are also treasured items that are a part of family histories and symbols of pride and recognition for livestock producers.

But brand owners who have not yet re-recorded their brand with the state of Montana are coming up against a Dec. 31 deadline to which they are required to complete for them to retain ownership of their brand(s) for the next decade.

Every 10 years, the Montana Department of Livestock conducts the re-recording of brands. The department began the effort on January 1st of this year.

Ethan Wilfore is the administrator of the brands enforcement division within the livestock department. He stressed the importance for brand owners to submit their re-record form or notice and payment ($175/brand) that must be received and/or postmarked on or before Dec. 31, 2021. You can also submit your form and payment online.

“The purpose of the brand re-record is to make sure that all brands are still being used,” explained Wilfore. “We need to re-record them every 10 years. So, every year that ends in a "1", obviously 2021, you need to re-record your brands. This is to make sure all of our records are cleaned up and we know those brands are still being used.”

The $175/per brand re-record fee ensures ownership of the brand for the next 10 years. The brand fees help the department function and assist the brands enforcement division in protecting livestock producers and herd health. It’s important to point out that the $175 per brand payment is made just once every 10 years.

“When you pay for your re-record fee, you are helping pay for the functions of the department for the next 10 years,” said Wilfore. “Specifically, the brands enforcement division. All our records and everything that are kept here in Helena. Our brand inspectors, law enforcement officers and such.”

Wilfore explained that brands play a critical role in Montana’s number one industry.

“Livestock theft still exists,” said Wilfore. “We have brand inspectors at the livestock markets that make sure that the folks bringing those animals into sell are the rightful owners. Because fraud still happens, and we are there to make sure that the producers are protected in the state.”

As of this Monday Dec. 13, an estimated 42,000 out of Montana’s 56,000 livestock brands have been re-recorded. For brand owners, that have not yet completed the re-record process the Department of Livestock is here to help.

“If the brands are not re-recorded by midnight on Dec. 31, 2021, then the brand is no longer on record with the department meaning it can no longer be used and it is not your brand anymore,” Wilfore said. “At that point, it is inactive and no longer their brand. There is no grace period. If someone loses that brand, they can reapply for it. But it is considered a new application at that point and there's no guarantee that they would get that brand back.”

The livestock department has been working for over two years in preparing for the brand re-record. Sending mail notifications, getting the word out on multiple media platforms and more. Even with less than three weeks before the end of the process, the department is making a final push to make sure no one is left behind.

If one is uncertain if your brand has been re-recorded or possibly have a situation where a brand is in the name of a deceased relative do not hesitate to contact the Montana Department of Livestock immediately.

Contact the Brands Enforcement Division at (406) 444-2045 or by email: brands@mt.gov.

Local Airports Receive Federal Funding From Infrastructure Bill

Thursday, December 16th 2021

Following the passage of his bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced he secured $28,610,817 in Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Fiscal Year 2022 funding for 69 Montana airports as part of the law.

“Montana’s airports are essential to keeping our state connected and our economy strong,” said Tester. “This funding from my bipartisan infrastructure package will ensure that our airports can make urgently needed repairs, continue to grow and support Montana travel, and create good paying jobs in the process.”

Tester secured approximately $144 million for 69 Montana airports through his bipartisan infrastructure law, which will be awarded over five years through the FAA’s Airport Improvement Grants, which can be used to construct or repair runways and taxiways as well as make terminal and gate improvements. Tester was the only member of Montana’s congressional delegation to vote for the legislation.

Tester worked across the aisle for months to negotiate this agreement with a group of five Republicans, four Democrats, and the White House. Tester’s law is projected to create more than 800,000 American jobs and lower costs for businesses by making targeted investments that will strengthen our nation without raising taxes on working families.

As a lead author of the bill, Tester made sure that the law does not raise taxes. He secured significant wins for Montana in the law, including $2.82 billion for Montana’s roads, highways and bridges; up to $100 million for the Milk River Project and $1 billion to complete all authorized rural water projects through the Bureau of Reclamation; $42.45 billion for broadband deployment to low-connectivity areas across the country; and $3.37 billion to reduce wildfire risk nationwide, among others. Tester also worked to ensure that all iron, steel, and construction materials used for these projects must be made in America.

Area Airports and their funding:

Sidney-$1,006,615
Wokal Field/Glasgow-$159,000
Glendive-$159,000
Wolf Point-$159,000
Malta-$110,000
Plentywood-$110,000
Poplar-$110,000
Scobey-$110,000

Valley County Sheriff Deputy Charlie Tihlarik Graduates From Montana Law Enforcement Academy

Wednesday, December 15th 2021

Sixty-one new officers who will serve in 41 agencies across the state graduated Tuesday from the Montana Law Enforcement Academy (MLEA), which is part of the Montana Department of Justice. MLEA provides basic and advanced training for state, county, city, and tribal law enforcement officers throughout the state.

Attorney General Knudsen addressed the class and was in attendance to congratulate the new officers as they received their awards and diplomas.

“Dangerous addictive drugs like methamphetamine and the violent crimes that go along with them are destroying lives and livelihoods, wreaking havoc on communities and tearing apart families,” Attorney General Knudsen said. "The graduates here today have stepped up to do something about that problem and they need our support. I’m committed to working with them and their agencies to get crime under control in Montana. That means putting the focus of the Attorney General’s office where it belongs – upholding public safety, and working with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to do it.”

The number of homicides, rapes, robberies, and violent assaults in Montana has increased 91 percent from 2013 to 2020, according to the Montana Board of Crime Control.

Charlie Tihlarik of the Valley County Sheriff's Office was one of the 61 officers who graduated from the Montana Law Enforcement Academy.

Montana FWP Seeking Public Comment On Open-Water Fishing Contests

Wednesday, December 15th 2021

https://hilinetoday.com/fwp-seeks-public-comment-on-proposed-2022-fishing-contests/

Story credit to www.hilinetoday.com

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is seeking public comment on open-water fishing contests proposed for the 2022 season.

Participants must comply with state fishing regulations, including daily and possession limits.

Applications for fishing contests may be approved, approved with conditions or denied by the FWP Fisheries Division in Helena. Conditions placed on contests may help to minimize fish mortality, regulate harvest, reduce user conflicts and require additional access site maintenance when needed.

Proposed fishing contests on the Hi-Line include:

May 13-14: Crooked Creek Walleye Classic at Fort Peck Reservoir
May 21-22: Fort Benton Spring Classic Fishing Derby on the Missouri, Marias and Teton Rivers
May 21-22 and September 24-25: N.B.A.A. Qualifier at Fort Peck Reservoir
June 4: 23rd Annual Milk River Catfish Classic
June 4-5: Rock Creek Tournament at Fort Peck Reservoir
June 11-12: Fresno Challenge at Fresno Reservoir
June 11-12: MT Pikemasters Public Tournament at Fort Peck Reservoir
July 7-9: 35th Annual MT Governor’s Cup Walleye Tournament at Fort Peck Reservoir
July 16-17: Tiber Tournament on Lake Elwell
July 16: 22nd Annual Women’s Fishing Contest at Fort Peck Reservoir
August 6: Fishin’ for the Cure at Fort Peck Reservoir
September 10-11: MT Bass Nation Qualifier at Fort Peck Reservoir

Information on the proposed fishing contests can be found on the FWP Fishing Contest webpage, https://fwp.mt.gov/fish/regulations/contests or by calling 406-444-2449.

All comments must be received on or before January 13th, 2022. Comments can be mailed to FWP Fisheries Division, Attn: Fishing Contests, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701, or emailed to FWPFishComments@mt.gov.

Gasoline Prices Fall Slightly In Montana

Tuesday, December 14th 2021

According to AAA, gasoline prices in the United States fell 9 cents in the last month and currently are at $3.32 per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline.

Gasoline prices fell slightly in Montana from $3.40 per gallon a month ago to $3.38 per gallon currently.

AAA is reporting that the cheapest gasoline in Montana can be found in Eastern Montana with gasoline priced at $3.19 per gallon in Valley County.

One year ago, gasoline prices in Montana were at just $2.22 per gallon.

Valley County COVID Update

Tuesday, December 14th 2021

Valley County currently has 23 active cases of COVID-19 according to the latest report from Montana DPPHS.

The Valley County Health Department is reporting a man in his 70's passed away from complications of COVID this month. The state is reporting 30 deaths in Valley County due to COVID-19.

Valley County currently has 3013 eligible citizens fully vaccinated against COVID. That is an increase of 13 from last week and over 80 in the last two weeks.

Glasgow Soroptimist Club Donates $5000 To Milk River Incorporated And Eastern Montana Mental Health Center

Friday, December 10th 2021

Pictured: Maggan Walstad; Michelle Eliason & Teresa Tade
Committee members not pictured: Judy Idler and Jan Plant


Soroptimist of Glasgow’s Project Smile committee has transitioned their focus from women’s dental needs to helping to provide basic human needs to members of our community by donating to two worthy organizations.

A donation of $5,000 each to Milk River, Inc and Eastern Montana Community Mental Health Center will offer hope and assistance to many deserving members of our community. This is a way to give back to our community from their generous support of our Thrift Shop that makes it possible to impact people’s lives in a positive way. Thank you to our community for your continued support!

Fatalities Identified In Vehicle VS Train Accident In Valley County

Wednesday, December 8th 2021

Valley County Sheriff Tom Boyer has told KLTZ that at 12:09 p.m. on Monday, December 6, 2021, there was a vehicle vs train accident on Tampico Highway and Liberty Road.

The married couple killed Monday in Valley County when a train struck their pickup truck at a railroad crossing have been identified.

Dillon Cassel, 32, and Biaka Cassel, 27, died west of Glasgow where the railroad intersects with Tampico Highway, Valley County Sheriff Tom Boyer told the Billings Gazette.

The two were turning onto Tampico Highway, also known as Route 246, from Liberty Road when a BNSF Railway freight train going 65 mph collided with their vehicle. Both were killed on impact, Boyer said. The force of the impact caused Dillon Cassel, who was driving the truck, to be ejected.

The crash, which is still under investigation by Montana Highway Patrol, occurred around 12:10. Neither drugs or alcohol are considered to be factors in the wreck, according to a preliminary report from MHP. Snow was packed onto Liberty Road, which rises about six feet as it approaches the railroad crossing.

The rail crossing doesn't have traffic control and is about 8 miles west of Glasgow. Sheriff Boyer said the couple recently moved to the Glasgow area.


Glasgow City Council Accepting Applications For Vacant City Council Seat

Tuesday, December 7th 2021

The Glasgow City Council will accept applications to fill the upcoming City Council Vacancy in Ward III, that will run until December 31, 2023.

Applications can be picked up at the Glasgow City Clerk’s Office, 319 3rd Street South, Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Applications will need to be returned by 5:00 p.m. on December 23, 2021, to be considered for the position. Any questions related to the position can be directed to City Clerk Amundson, by calling (406) 263-0617 or by email at samundson@cityofglasgowmt.com.

Glasgow Man Dies After Three-Vehicle Crash Near Jordan

Monday, December 6th 2021

Story Credit to krtv.com
https://www.krtv.com/news/accident-crash/glasgow-man-dies-after-3-vehicle-crash-near-jordan

A 75-year-old man died after he was involved in a three-vehicle crash on MT Highway 59 on Friday, December 3, 2021, according to the Montana Highway Patrol.

According to the MHP, the Glasgow man was northbound at about 2:35 p.m. near mile marker 59, and a semi-truck and minivan were southbound.

The front of the man's vehicle struck the trailer of the semi and bounced off, and then hit the minivan.

The man was taken to Holy Rosary Hospital in Miles City and then airlifted to St. Vincent's Hospital in Billings.

The man was wearing a seatbelt, according to the MHP, and impaired driving was not a factor in the crash.

The name of the man has not yet been released.

Road conditions at the time were dry.

No injuries were reported to the drivers of the semi-truck and minivan.

Record Numbers Of Harvested Mule Deer At Region 6 Check Station

Monday, December 6th 2021

With the general hunting season now closed, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Region 6 Officials have released the preliminary final numbers from the Havre Check Station.

The 2021 season saw record numbers of hunters and harvested mule deer.

841 mule deer were checked over the eight weeks. That is a seven percent increase from last year and a 60 percent increase over the long-term average.

Another animal that saw a significant increase was sharp-tailed grouse. 165 were checked this year, up 53 percent from the long-term average. 97 grouse were checked last year.

Other animals that had increased harvest include Hungarian partridge, 78 Hungarian partridges were checked, up 35 percent from the long-term average.

97 ducks were checked, up 74 percent from the long-term average.

The number of hunters that visited the station this year was 2,105, up from 1,813 last year and 24 percent above the long-term average.

Animals that saw decreased harvest this year compared to the long-term average include:

Antelope (193 checked, 24 percent below long-term average)
White-Tailed Deer (138 checked, 10 percent below long-term average)
Elk (39 checked, 1 percent below long-term average)
Pheasant (479 checked, 38 percent below long-term average)

Glasgow Speech And Drama Team Wins Speech Sweeps At Medicine Lake Meet

Monday, December 6th 2021

Glasgow takes the Class B Speech Sweeps for the Third Week in a row at the Medicine Lake meet. The team is set to compete at the Laurel Invitational on December 11th:

Fynn Sukut 1st Place Impromptu
Mason Swenson 2nd Place Memorized Public Address
Samantha Combs 6th Dramatic Oral Interpretation
Harley Edwards 4th Dramatic Oral Interpretation
Chase Tarum 2nd Place Humorous Oral Interpretation
Gabriel Proctor 1st Place Humorous Oral Interpretation
Hailee Richardson 7th Place Humorous Oral Interpretation

Glasgow City Council Meets Monday At 4:30

Monday, December 6th 2021

Wolf Point Man Accused Of Defrauding Farm Service Agency

Sunday, December 5th 2021

A Wolf Point man is accused of defrauding the Farm Service Agency and a Wolf Point bank of more than $269,000.

Hunter Anton Olson is charged with conversion of secured property, bank fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Court documents claim he forged signatures and fraudulently sold crops.

The Farm Service Agency provides loan money for minority farmers, women farmers and beginning farmers. They lost over $229,000.

Olson is facing a maximum penalty of 57 years in prison, a $1,750,000 fine and 12 years supervised release.

Glasgow With Its 3rd Warmest Meteorological Autumn In 2021

Friday, December 3rd 2021

Glasgow had its 3rd warmest meteorological autumn (Sep-Nov) with an average temperature at 50.2 degrees.

The warmest autumns are 1953 and 1963. Glasgow also had its 3rd driest autumn (Sep-Nov) with only 0.47 inch of precipitation.

There was only a trace of snow. It is only the 4th time Glasgow has made it through November in a season without measurable snow. The other years with only a trace of snow through November are 1923, 1939, and 1953.

Lack Of Snow Plow Drivers Could Mean Delay Of Clearing Snow From Roads In Montana

Friday, December 3rd 2021

Montana's Department of Transportation warned residents Thursday that it could take longer to clear snow from highways this winter because the state has been unable to hire enough snow plow drivers.

The department is advertising for 89 temporary, part-time jobs for snow plow drivers and road maintenance workers.

"MDT is facing significant staffing shortages in a number of areas across the state and will work proactively to clear Montana's highways by shifting crews to the affected areas, when possible," the department's maintenance administrator Jon Swartz said in a statement.

The state has about half of the snow plow operators it needs for full staffing, Swartz said. To help with the shortage, the department is enlisting employees with Commercial Driver's Licenses to help with plowing as it continues to try to hire workers.

"Our snowplow operators work day in and day out, including weekends and holidays while putting in 12-hour shifts or longer, and do their best to keep the 25,000 lane miles of roads open for the traveling public," Swartz said.

Snow plow drivers are paid $22.34 an hour.

The department has 16 openings in Butte, 14 each in Kalispell, Missoula and Livingston, a dozen in the Helena area, 10 around Great Falls and six in Bozeman.

In some areas, the state is willing to train applicants and help them get commercial licenses, Swartz said.

"We want the traveling public to understand why it could take longer this season to clear highways during winter storms," Swartz said.

He added: "Knowing this helps motorists to plan ahead and adjust or even delay travel plans. This can increase safety for everyone and allow more time for our snowplow operators to clear the roads."

FMDH Foundation "Tree of Life" Has Been Lit

Friday, December 3rd 2021

The FMDH Foundation 'Tree of Life' has been lit!

How it works:

With each gift, you can remember or honor a special person or event in your life.
The names of the honorees are written on recognition cards and hung, as a loving tribute on the tree.
An acknowledgement card will be sent to whomever you request.
The tree will remain lit until the New Year. It is a great way to pay tribute to our loved ones, and a very thoughtful present that continues to give even after the tree is taken down.
We have gifted over $70,000 to Valley County this year to ensure that you and your loved ones will receive the best care in rural America.

Our warmest thanks go out to you and we wish you and yours the most joyous of holiday seasons.
Items gifted in 2021:

Training Manikins for ED
$25,000 towards Hinsdale Ambulance
Electric lift for Milk River Inc.
UV Lantern Cleaning System for EMS
Lateral Trainer for Cardiac Rehab
Bladder Scanner for FMDH
$24,000 given out in Scholarships.
Audrey and Gerald Feda Scholarship established this year with their generosity, first one to be given out in 2022.

Federal Judge Blocks Vaccine Mandate For Health Care Workers

Thursday, December 2nd 2021

https://montanafreepress.org/2021/12/01/federal-judge-blocks-federal-vaccine-mandate/

A federal district court judge in Louisiana on Tuesday issued a preliminary injunction against a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for health care workers issued by the Biden administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). Health care entities across Montana were planning to implement the requirement for their workers on Monday, Dec. 6.

The temporary block of the mandate comes in response to a lawsuit filed by Montana and several other states earlier in November. On Monday, a separate federal judge blocked the requirement for health care workers in 10 other states, but did not halt the mandate nationwide.

In his 34-page ruling, Judge Terry Doughty, appointed by former President Donald Trump in 2017, said the federal government does not have authority to implement the mandate, which would have applied to approximately 17 million employees of facilities that receive Medicaid and Medicare funding. The ruling blocks CMS from enforcing the mandate until the case is resolved.

The government’s mandate, the court wrote, appears to exceed the constitutional powers of the executive branch and did not properly follow the rulemaking process for an administrative agency, making it likely the plaintiff states would succeed on the merits of the case.

Additionally, the court sided with the plaintiffs in disputing the federal government’s argument that vaccines will decrease the transmission of COVID-19 and therefore increase patient safety in health care establishments.

“[I]t is important to preserve the status quo in this case. The liberty interests of the unvaccinated requires nothing less.”

“Although CMS spent pages and pages attempting to explain the need for mandatory COVID-19 vaccines, when infection and hospitalizations (sic) rates are dropping, millions of people have already been infected, developing some form of natural immunity, and when people who have been fully vaccinated still become infected, mandatory vaccines as the only method of prevention makes no sense,” Doughty wrote.

The judge also wrote that the CMS mandate is overly broad in its application to employees, quoting from another court’s recent decision halting the Biden administration’s vaccine requirement for large businesses that called that rule “a one-size-fits-all sledgehammer.”

In a statement Wednesday morning, a CMS spokesperson said the agency is reviewing both of the recent injunctions from federal courts in Louisiana and Missouri and, while declining to comment directly on the litigation, reiterated that it is committed to protecting the health of patients and workers.

“Staff in any health care setting who remain unvaccinated pose both direct and indirect threats to patient safety and population health. That is why it is critical for health care providers to ensure their staff are vaccinated against COVID-19,” the spokesperson said.

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen and Gov. Greg Gianforte released separate statements Tuesday afternoon praising the court’s decision.

“In the past weeks, I’ve heard from healthcare workers across our state whose jobs were being threatened if they did not comply with President Biden’s overreaching federal mandate,” Knudsen said. “With the CMS mandate now blocked in Montana until the case is decided, medical facilities have no reason to threaten their employees if they don’t get the vaccine.”

The court’s decision came a day after Knudsen addressed hospital employees and community members opposing the vaccine requirement at Sidney Health Center. The hospital’s CEO had announced earlier in November that it would comply with the new federal requirements starting next week, sparking vocal opposition from some staff members and local residents.

Unvaccinated health care workers in Montana “can now breathe a sigh of relief,” Gianforte said. “Not only is the president’s mandate unconstitutional, but it would devastate Montana health care providers already struggling with a long-standing worker shortage.”

The Biden administration, in announcing several separate measures to boost vaccination rates through federal rules and contracting requirements, has said the mandates are necessary to protect Americans from serious illness, hospitalization and death caused by the coronavirus.

Hospitals across the state had said they intended to begin implementing the CMS requirements on Monday by tracking employee vaccination status and confirming that workers had received at least the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to avoid compromising critical federal funding.

In a statement Tuesday night, Billings Clinic spokesperson Zach Benoit said administrators will “continue to closely monitor the situation for developments.”

“Billings Clinic’s top priority, and the most important focus, will always be to ensure that we are ready to serve our patients throughout our region with high quality, compassionate care, whenever they need us,” Benoit said.

The CMS rule would have allowed employees to apply for religious or medical exemptions to the mandate, an option some opponents of mandatory vaccination said offered insufficient protection for individuals’ right to make their own medical decisions.

In his decision, Judge Doughty reflected on that personal liberty while acknowledging that the case would “ultimately be decided by a higher court than this one.”

“However, it is important to preserve the status quo in this case,” he wrote. “The liberty interests of the unvaccinated requires nothing less.”

Pause On Student Loan Payments Lifted In February

Thursday, December 2nd 2021

Student-loan borrowers have had a reprieve from making payments during the pandemic, but that's set to end in 2022. Starting in February, the pause on federal student-loan payments will be lifted for the first time since the pandemic began in March 2020.

Greg Harper, a financial capabilities counselor at Rural Dynamics, a Great-Falls-based financial nonprofit, has a plan of action for anyone with student debt.

"I recommend that they reach out to their loan servicer, online or by phone, to discuss options right away," he said. "Find out what payment that they will be responsible for and when will it be due. So, first of all, I don't want them caught off guard."

Nearly nine in 10 fully employed student-loan borrowers have said they don't feel financially secure enough to start paying off their loans again, according to the Student Debt Crisis Center. An estimated 100,000 Montana borrowers owe an average of about $30,000, both in federal and private loans.

Harper broke down how much of someone's budget should go toward student-loan debt.

"Debt service, minimum payments combined, should be no more than about 15% of your net spendable income," he said.

Harper added that each person's plan for tackling student loans should be based on their individual circumstances.

"That's the big question, right? It's not a black-and-white issue," he said. "So, it really is to cater to their specific situation, make the proper recommendations based on that."

Collected Taxes On Beer, Wine and Liquor In Montana Continue To Increase

Thursday, December 2nd 2021

Collected taxes on beer, wine and liquor in the state of Montana continue to increase. In 2020, the state saw the biggest jump from the year prior.

Fiscal Year 2020 was up 14.34% in volume and 18.03% in dollars over Fiscal Year 2019 for liquor. Fiscal Year 2021 is reported to be trending only slightly higher than Fiscal Year 2020 with volume up 0.73% to prior year and dollars up 2.63% for liquor.

However, beer and wine appear to be trending along normal growth lines.

The month with the most collected taxes is January, and the Department of Revenue says this could be related to holiday consumption and celebration but cannot be certain.

“One could make the assumption that it is due to people purchasing alcohol for the holidays,” said Czelsi Gómez, public information officer for Montana Department of Revenue.

Valley County Health Care Facilities Receive Funding From American Rescue Plan

Thursday, December 2nd 2021

U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced $67,593,771.06 in Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) funding for Montana rural health care providers and suppliers through the American Rescue Plan to help mitigate the high cost of health care through the COVID-19 pandemic.

308 Montana providers and suppliers will receive payments through this funding.

Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital will receive $729,128 while Valley View Home will receive $90,172.

“Rural health care providers are essential to keeping Montana’s small towns and communities strong,” said Tester. “These providers were already operating on tight budgets before the pandemic, and the last eighteen months have only made their jobs harder. This funding will help providers cover costs and keep providing top of the line care for Montanans in every corner of the Treasure State.”

HHS funding will be distributed through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and will be issued to providers and suppliers who serve rural Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Medicare beneficiaries. Payments will be received by 308 Montana providers and suppliers with an average payment of $220,175.15.

This funding will help health care providers keep their doors open, address workforce challenges, and make up for the lost revenues and increased expenses caused by the pandemic. Providers can use these funds for salaries, recruitment, or retention; supplies such as N95 or surgical masks; equipment like ventilators or improved filtration systems; capital investments; information technology; and other expenses related to prevent, prepare for, or respond to COVID-19.

The only member of the Montana delegation to support the American Rescue Plan, Tester has fought to support Montana’s health care providers throughout the pandemic. He secured $2.5 million in funding for the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services to help vaccinate eligible children through last December's government funding and COVID stimulus bill, and more than $1 million in CARES Act funding to support health care workings in the Billings and Missoula areas. Additionally he secured funding for Montana telehealth programs in the CARES Act, and successfully fought for those provisions expanding access to telehealth to be made permanent.

Montana State University Features Nashua Student In Latest Television Commercial Highlighting WWAMI Program

Tuesday, November 30th 2021

Montana State University has released its latest television commercial, which highlights the WWAMI program and the university’s work to help solve the shortage of health care providers in rural Montana.

The acronym, WWAMI, stands for the states served by the UW School of Medicine: Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho.

The commercial follows Chloe Koessl, a student from Nashua, Montana, who was nearly killed in a car accident in high school. Local physicians saved her life and inspired her to pursue a career in medicine.

Koessl majored in cell biology and neuroscience in the College of Letters and Science at MSU and graduated in spring 2020. She was accepted into the WWAMI program and is a now enrolled as a first-year medical student. WWAMI’s mission, to train physicians to serve rural communities, aligns with Koessl’s dream of becoming a physician in rural Montana.

“Chloe’s story highlights the importance of critical care in rural Montana,” said Julie Kipfer, director of marketing for University Communications. “Without the rural physicians who were able to stabilize her, Chloe may not have survived that accident. Montana State is committed to helping rural communities by training physicians with a passion for serving those communities.”

WWAMI is a cooperative program with the University of Washington School of Medicine and the states of Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. It allows Montana students to attend their first two years of medical school at MSU’s WWAMI campus at Bozeman Health and receive their medical degree from the University of Washington after completing clinical training in both Seattle and Montana.

“Many Montana communities lack an adequate number of primary care physicians,” said Martin Teintze, director of the Montana WWAMI program. “The WWAMI program makes medical school accessible to Montana residents and encourages graduates to locate in underserved areas.”
Kipfer served as executive producer for the commercial, while Dennis Aig, professor in the College of Arts and Architecture’s School of Film and Photography, was producer. Phillip Baribeau of Implement Productions and a 2004 MSU alumnus, was director of photography, director and editor. Wes Overvold of Implement Productions was assistant camera and editor. MSU alumnus Korey Kazcmarek was cinematographer. Addison Rafford, current MSU student in the School of Film and Photography, was production assistant.

To view the new commercial, visit https://vimeo.com/651171371/6b762b58f8

American Red Cross Heading Into Holidays With Lowest Blood Supply In More Than A Decade

Monday, November 29th 2021

As a result of low blood donor turnout in recent months, the Red Cross is heading into the holidays with its lowest blood supply in more than a decade at this time of year. The ongoing effects of COVID-19 and a summer spike in delta variant cases significantly challenged the nation’s blood supply heading into the fall. The pandemic also resulted in fewer blood drives at schools and colleges, contributing to a 34 percent drop in new blood donors from last year ? one of the largest year-to-year decreases and one that could threaten essential medical care for patients. Locally, the Idaho and Montana Red Cross Region has experienced a 12 percent decrease in new blood donors this year.

Don’t wait. Humanity needs you to help patients enjoy all the holiday season has to offer. Make an appointment to give blood as soon as possible by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

As a thank-you, all those who come to give Nov. 29-Dec. 16 will be automatically entered for a chance to win a private screening for the winner and 50 of their guests of the epic new film “The Matrix Resurrections.” Plus, those who come to give Nov. 29-Dec. 16 will also get a $10 Amazon.com gift card by email, thanks to Amazon.

There are opportunities in Valley County to donate blood this week:

Glasgow
12/1/2021: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., Frances Mahon Hospital, 621 3rd St. S.

Hinsdale
12/1/2021: 12:30 p.m. - 6 p.m., Hinsdale Legion Hall, Legion Hall



Valley County Sheriff Tom Boyer Announces Re-Election Plans

Friday, November 26th 2021

Valley County Sheriff Tom Boyer announced Wednesday that he will run for re-election in 2022. Boyer is finishing up his 3rd year as Valley County Sheriff and his 4-year term will end in 2022.

Boyer was elected Valley County Sheriff in 2018 as a write-in candidate defeating Joe Horn 2243-1459.

Here is the press release from Sheriff Boyer:

I am honored to serve as your elected Sheriff of Valley County. Over the past three years we have made tremendous strides in our office. I am genuinely excited about our current group of sworn and non-sworn employees and feel that we are in a great position moving forward. I am grateful to serve alongside the best group of individuals Montana has to offer.

One thing that will not change is my commitment to serving you, the people of this county. I have taken an oath to uphold the US Constitution and Constitution of the State of Montana. I will continue to be an administrator who diligently strives to build up this team, treat all people equally, maintain fiscal responsibility, and work to maintain this office as something you can be proud of.

As we enter 2022, I am pleased to say I will be running for a second term as your County Sheriff and Coroner. Thank you for the trust you have placed in me and thank you for trusting me with the future of law enforcement in Valley County.

State Of Montana Announces Fall School Enrollment Numbers Highest In Twenty Years

Wednesday, November 24th 2021

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen announced Montana's fall 2021 student enrolment numbers Tuesday. The Office of Public Instruction (OPI) collects enrollment data per Montana statute from school districts each October and February. The enrollment numbers are defined in the state funding allocations for Montana school districts according to MCA guidelines.

“These preliminary enrollment numbers reflect that Montana is seeing students return to our public schools from the 2020-21 year when the pandemic dramatically impacted our schools, communities, families, and children,” State Superintendent Elsie Arntzen said. “Through the previous school year, flexibilities were provided for teachers and school leaders. Montana embraced a greater understanding of learning opportunities for all of our students. It is our constitutional goal to develop the educational potential of every student,” Arntzen added.

• Combined public, private, and homeschool enrollment was the highest in twenty years. Enrollment of all Montana was 165,336.

• Montana has seen a 2.5% increase in public school enrollment, with 149,334 students enrolled. This reflects the highest public-school enrollment in 19 years.

• Private school enrollment increased from 7,600 to 8,364, marking an increase of 13.6%; the highest private school enrollment in 14 years.

• Montana’s homeschool registered enrollment declined from 9,668 to 7,368 students, a decline of 25.3%. This is the second-highest enrollment in the last 30 years, with last year being the highest.

This data is considered preliminary and may change slightly over the next few weeks as school districts have until December 31st to change or certify their data.

Boy Scout Christmas Trees For Sale!!

Wednesday, November 24th 2021

No farm-raised trees this year, but there are plenty of hand-cut Douglas firs available

Occurring annually since 1976, our hometown Glasgow-area Boy Scout Troop
861 has sold both hand-cut and farm-raised trees at a variety of locations in Glasgow. This scout fundraiser stays 100% local to support the troop activities and scout camps.

This year, the Scouts will again be selling trees at the east end of the Fairgrounds, just inside the fence near the Boy Scout Food Booth. Sales will start on Friday, Nov. 26, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Sale hours after the first Friday will be:
• Saturdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
• Sundays 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
• Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. until sold out

Due to the nationwide shortage of farm-raised trees, there won’t be any specialty varieties available this year, but hopefully they’ll return in 2022.

However, luckily for the community, the Scouts put in extra work this year--hand-cutting over 200 Douglas fir trees out of the Moccasin and Judith Mountains. There are great-looking trees ranging in size from 6 ft-15 ft. All trees, regardless of size, are $35. Pine boughs will also be available.

Come on down to the Fairgrounds to get your Christmas trees while they’re available. The Scouts hope to see you there, and thank you for your support!

Montana SBA Lends 323 Montana Small Businesses Over $186 Million

Wednesday, November 24th 2021

The Montana District of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Tuesday announced “non-COVID” loan data for fiscal year ended September 30, 2021, showing 323 Montana small businesses received over $186 million.

Of these loans, 277 for $158,922,700 were made through SBA’s 7(a) Guaranty Loan Program which provides short- or long-term financing for small business start-up or expansion needs. 46 loans totaling $27,669,000 were made through SBA’s 504 Certified Development Company program, providing long term fixed rates financing for land, buildings, and equipment.

Yellowstone Bank was the leading SBA lender in Montana for FY21, with 52 loans totaling nearly $28.5 million followed closely by Glacier Bank with 46 loans. Stockman Bank, Bank of Bridger, Capital Matrix, Dakota Business Lending, Wells Fargo, Three Rivers Bank, Big Sky Economic Development and Valley Bank of Ronan round out the top 10.

Updated Covid Numbers For Tuesday, November 23rd

Tuesday, November 23rd 2021

Numbers announced by the Montana Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday morning showed 687 new cases of the coronavirus. There are currently 5,996 active cases in the state, with 262 hospitalizations.

Area county cases:
Valley County - 60
Roosevelt County - 67
Phillips County - 17
Daniels County - 5
Sheridan County - 8
McCone County - 7
Garfield County - 9

515,553 Montanans have been fully immunized, which is a 50% mark. Valley County is showing 42% fully vaccinated, or 2,932 individuals of the 6,931 eligible.

The Valley County Health Department will have COVID vaccine for Moderna 2nd doses, by invitation only this coming Wednesday, November 24th. There will be no Walk-in Clinic this week.


Community Cash Program Underway

Tuesday, November 23rd 2021

The Glasgow Chamber of Commerce & Agriculture's Community Cash program is underway, with participating lenders: First Community Bank in Glasgow/Hinsdale, Independence Bank in Glasgow, and Bank of Glasgow.

Community Cash participants may borrow up to $1,000 at participating institutions; the loan is payable in 10 monthly installments and there is NO interest charged. Only a $10 application fee is required.

Community Cash may be used until December 31st, 2021. Unused script will need to be turned in to the bank by January 7, 2022 to receive full credit.


Volunteers Needed For Block Of Bucks On December 3rd

Sunday, November 21st 2021

Volunteers are needed to help on collection day for Block Of Bucks, on Friday, December 3rd. Please contact Linda Sundby at 480-5339 to sign up for a shift. Each shift is 1 hour. The collection boxes will be at the corners of D & G and the U.S. Post Office.

All money collected is used to purchase warm clothing for children, infant to 17 years.

Soroptimists, with the assistance of volunteers oversee the shopping spree on Saturday, December 4th. Volunteers are needed to help on this day as well to help with the shopping. Any amount of volunteered time given would be greatly appreciated. Volunteers are asked to please check at the Elks by 8:45 a.m.

NorVal Electric Co-op Ordered To Pay Over $2 Million For GM's Sexual Misconduct

Sunday, November 21st 2021

Story Credit To: Billings Gazette

A Hi-Line electric cooperative has been ordered by a Valley County district judge to pay more than $2 million to the victim of a years-old sexual harassment complaint against the company’s general manager.

NorVal Electric Co-op in Glasgow has been ordered to pay its former office manager and financial officer, Shalaine Lawson, $1,631,834 after Judge Yvonne Laird upheld a ruling by the state’s human rights commission finding NorVal’s general manager, Craig Herbert of Glasgow, sexually harassed Lawson while she was his direct subordinate and then retaliated after she made a complaint.

The final judgement means NorVal will have to pay the damages plus interest, costs to Lawson of $48,258 and attorney’s fees of $519,837 plus costs or fees incurred trying to collect on the final judgment. After interest is factored in, the total cost to NorVal will likely top $2.4 million.

Herbert remains NorVal’s general manager.

Lawson brought her complaint to the HRC after she confronted her boss and the cooperative's board about a long-running string of sexually inappropriate comments and touching by Herbert that started in early 2017. Instead of addressing the matter, NorVal’s board deferred to Herbert who retaliated against her, according to the findings of fact from the commission.

In February, Judge Laird affirmed the HRC’s decision. Laird also increased the award Lawson was owed from the company by recalculating front pay damages— meaning wages Lawson would have earned had she been allowed to remain with the company.

Beginning in 2017, Herbert began making inappropriate comments and suggesting he wanted to have an affair with her. On occasions he would touch her by “popping her back” or hugging her, and he often made comments about her sex life. In late 2017, while attending a work-related conference, Herbert invited Lawson to his hotel room for a meeting. Lawson refused and days later confronted Herbert about his conduct.

NorVal’s policy for making a complaint about sexual harassment required the employee to report any complaint to their immediate supervisor or the general manager if the supervisor is the offender. Lawson said she was left with no recourse. Still, she continued trying to resolve the matter and “move on” by involving the board of directors. After everything failed, she made a complaint to the Montana Human Rights Bureau, which investigated.

The case has gone on for years with the HRB complaint being filed on Nov. 24, 2017, and the final judgement from Laird coming just this past Tuesday — a span of four years.

In addition to the compensation owed Lawson, Laird also ordered NorVal: to amend its harassment policies and procedures so the company can identify, investigate and resolve discrimination complaints; train employees on preventing and remedying discrimination; and obtain approval from the Montana HRB for all of its harassment policies, procedures and training.

NorVal has 30 days to file an appeal to the Montana Supreme Court, otherwise they have 90 days to pay on the judgment.

Montana FWP On Pace To Collect Record Number Of CWD Samples

Friday, November 19th 2021

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks staff is on pace to collect a record number of chronic wasting disease samples from deer, elk and moose this year.

Between July 1 and Nov. 12, FWP staff collected 3,147 CWD samples, of which 1,613 were from the 2021 priority sampling areas located in northwestern, northcentral, southwestern and southcentral Montana. This is above last year’s 2,966 collected samples within that same time period. In addition, hunters have submitted 239 samples this year, down from 430 hunter-submitted samples at this time last year.

The samples were tested at the Montana Department of Livestock’s Veterinary Diagnostic Lab in Bozeman. Average testing turn-around time is currently seven days, which is quicker than previous years.
“Hunters expect quick results when they get their animals tested for CWD and the Department of Livestock has provided that,” said FWP director Hank Worsech. “We’re grateful to have this in-state capacity for testing.”

So far 64 animals tested positive or suspect for CWD. Here is a breakdown of positive and suspect results by species:
• White-tailed deer: 47
• Mule deer: 16
• Elk: 0
• Moose: 1

CWD is a contagious neurological disease that infects deer, elk and moose. It is always fatal and there is no known cure. It was first found in Montana in 2017. It is not known to infect humans, but it is strongly recommended that people not eat meat from infected animals and to have their harvested animals tested before eating them if they were taken from an area where CWD is known to exist.
FWP covers the cost of testing hunter-harvested animals for CWD. Hunters should look online for information on how to take a sample themselves and submit it for testing or bring animals to a CWD check station of FWP regional office for sampling. Sample submission is voluntary throughout Montana

Fort Peck Tribes To Receive $323,860 From Department Of Justice

Friday, November 19th 2021

Four tribes in Montana are receiving more than $3 million in Department of Justice grants to improve public safety and to serve crime victims.

A release sent by the Department of Justice (DOJ) says the grants total $3,081,878 and are being awarded to:

Blackfeet Tribe of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation: Tribal Youth Program, 508,245.

The Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy’s Reservation: Tribal Justice Systems, $899,813.

Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Indian Reservation: Children’s Justice Act Partnerships for Indian Communities, $450,000.

Fort Peck Assiniboine Sioux Tribes: Public Safety and Community Policing, $899,960; and Children’s
Justice Act Partnerships for Indian Communities, $323,860.

The grants are among 137 grants to 85 American Indian and Alaska Native communities, totaling $73 million, that was announced during the virtual White House Tribal Nations Summit.

These funds are designed to help enhance tribal justice systems and strengthen law enforcement, improve the handling of child abuse cases, combat domestic violence and support tribal youth programs the DOJ said.