Valley News at a Glance
Thomas installed as President of the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents
Former state senator Fred Thomas of Stevensville has assumed the office of President of the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA). Thomas was installed during a meeting of the board of directors of the association held in Traverse City, Michigan on October 3.
It is an honor to serve as an officer of PIA, a national association representing professional, independent insurance agents in all 50 states, said Thomas. PIA is an activist, grassroots organization that seeks to protect the business and professional interests of its members, the owners of independent insurance agencies throughout the nation. Our commitment to our customers and our communities is exemplified by PIAs motto, Local Agents Serving Main Street America.
PIA is at the forefront of the issues that affect our members and their clients every day, said Thomas. PIAs commitment to advocacy will continue unabated. Our association supports state regulation of insurance and opposes federal encroachment. We advocate both for agents and for small business on Capitol Hill, to protect and defend the livelihoods of our members. We partner with our carriers to improve the agent-company relationship. In addition, PIA must continue to develop innovative products and services that generate revenue for our members and our affiliates thats a win-win for all of us.
In addition to ongoing legislative initiatives, Thomas said another key priority is the impending launch of the PIA Professional Liability Insurance Company (PIAPRO), a PIA member-owned company formed by PIA Services, Inc. to offer errors and omissions insurance coverage exclusively to PIA members.
As E&O carriers continue to enter and exit markets, we concluded it was imperative to provide all of our members with a stable source of coverage, Thomas said. We decided to form PIAPRO a PIA agent-owned, PIA agent-controlled captive insurance company as a means to take control of our own destiny and ensure the success of PIA and its members for decades to come. PIA has been working with ALPS Risk & Insurance Services of Missoula, Montana, which is slated to manage the program.
Thomas built, operated and owned a very successful independent insurance agency in the Bitterroot Valley and served 16 years in the Montana Legislature. In 2008, Thomas was elected an officer of the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents, placing him in line to become national president of the organization. Thomas will serve a one-year term. He is currently Branch Manager of the Bitterroot branches of Western States Insurance.
As Montana Senate Majority Leader, Thomas led the successful effort in 2003 to remodel Montanas income tax code by cutting the tax brackets from a maximum of 11% to a maximum of 6.9% and cut capital gains from a maximum of 11% down to a maximum of 4.9%. This has contributed greatly to the creation of the more tax competitive environment Montana now enjoys, said Thomas.
Understanding people and motivating them is a key to success, Thomas says. I have used this in the insurance business, in the Montana Legislature and in all my leadership endeavors. This success is based on respecting others and their diverse opinions. It has served me well personally, in business and in public service.
Founded in 1931, PIA is a national trade association that represents member insurance agents and their employees who sell and service all kinds of insurance, but specialize in coverage of automobiles, homes and businesses. PIA members are Local Agents Serving Main Street America SM. PIAs web address is www.pianet.com.
Call for veterans names
Attention veterans: if you want your name inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Monument call Ron Toomer at 777-3834 (cell 544-0425), Al Sperry at 381-7899 or Ruth Decker at 369-1281.
Call for volunteers
A.ll A.bout Y.outh is looking for volunteers to work at Movies & More, mentors for the youth center to begin training, and people who are interested in participating on the board. Contact Sarah Armijo at 777-2214 for more information or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Hunter harvest totals up over last year in West-Central Montana
Elk and deer harvest and hunter participation was up from last year in the opening week of the 2010 big game season in west-central Montana.
During the first week of big game rifle season about eight percent of west-central Montana hunters harvested game6,142 hunters passed through the regions three check stations with 263 elk, 65 mule deer, 146 white-tailed deer and six black bears. During last years opening week 6,095 hunters reported 245 elk, 54 mule deer, and 132 white-tailed deer.
Regional elk harvest totals are up seven percent from last year and 13 percent from the five-year average. Mule deer harvest is 20 percent above last year and white-tailed harvest is 10 percent ahead. Harvest for both deer species is 30 to 35 percent below the five-year average, due largely in part to changes in hunter license opportunity.
Hunter numbers through the Darby check station in the Bitterroot Valley may be down, but hunter success is up with nine percent of hunters bringing home game. The station tallied 181 elk during week one, which is eight percent above last year and the five-year average and the most elk through the station during the first week of the season since 2003.
Many of these elk were harvested in the Big Hole Valley, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) biologist Craig Jourdonnais.
We had a big rush of elk coming out of the Big Hole in the first half of the week and now were starting to see it taper off, Jourdonnais said. Elk harvest out of the Bitterroot hunting districts has been slow but steady.
The Bitterroot elk that passed through the Darby station came mostly from the East Fork Hunting District (HD) 270. West Fork (HD 250) harvest totals are down due to limited hunter opportunity in response to elk numbers that are sitting below population objective. Mule deer harvest at the Darby station is slightly above last year but down 52 percent from the five-year average due in part to switching to a limited permit system for mule deer bucks in the West Fork (HD 250) and reducing antlerless Deer B licenses for mule deer in the Bitterroot.
In the eastern part of the region, the Anaconda check station is sitting above last years week one for hunter numbers and harvest, with 824 hunters, 36 elk, 7 mule deer and 8 white-tailed deer tallied so far.
At the check station near Bonner, which measures Blackfoot harvest, hunter numbers are up slightly from last year, while harvest totals are just below. The station tallied 46 elk in week one compared to 56 last year. Hunters checked 26 mule deer at Bonnerup from 20 in 2009 and 91 white-tailed deer compared to last years 106.
Lower white-tailed deer harvest in the Blackfoot is largely due to the elimination of the traditional first eight-day either sex season for whitetails in the valley. Although bucks make up a majority of this years recorded whitetail harvest, does and fawns still make up a part of the 2010 tally. Youth hunters 12-15 (and qualifying 11-year olds, see the regulations) and some special license holders can still hunt for antlerless whitetails in the Blackfoot.
Mild weather persisted during the seasons first week, with only slight snow accumulation in the higher elevations.
Hunters are reminded that they must stop at all check stations that they pass on their way to or from huntingeven if they have not harvested any animals.
Gone Pink and Made a Difference
During the month of October, Soroptimist of Hamilton, Hamilton Businesses, Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital and many local residents teamed up to make a difference in our community! We heightened the awareness of breast cancer, had lots of fun and raised money for the Aid for Mammography fund. This fund resides at Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital and assists women in-need with mammograms and other necessary procedures.
This week, a Soroptimist will visit all participating businesses to collect the donations to the Aid for Mammography fund that have been raised throughout the month of October. Please make checks payable to MDMH-Aid for Mammography.
The business that raised the most money will be awarded with a pizza party donated by Pizza Hut and an appreciation advertisement that is partially sponsored by Mildenberger Motors.
The total donations generated for the month will be match by Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital. If you have not been contacted by a Soroptimist to pick your donations, please call 396-9105. The funds will be counted this week and the winners will be announced before November 15th.
First Friday in Hamilton
Businesses in the Hamilton area are working to keep it local beginning on First Friday this week. Approximately 56 businesses have agreed to participate in a Buy Local Auction. Shoppers will be given an envelope, beginning this week. The idea is for people to collect their receipts between November 1, 2010 and July 22, 2011, which is Daly Days.
During Daly Days 2011, Hamilton United Business will sponsor a live auction featuring donated items from the various businesses throughout Hamilton. The amount of the receipts a shopper has collected during this time period can be used to bid on these fine items. This program is designed to reward consumers for shopping locally.
Hamilton businesses are also working to benefit the food banks in the area. On First Friday, patrons who bring in at least three non perishable food items to any participating business will receive $5 Turkey Bucks. These Turkey Bucks are the initial seed money for the Buy Local Auction in July.
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