Valley News at a Glance
Bitterroot Forest announces new Forest Fire Management Officer (FMO)
Acting Forest Supervisor Barry Paulson recently announced the selection of Rick Floch as the Bitterroot National Forestís new Fire Management Officer (FMO).
Floch began his career with the Forest Service on a fire lookout in Oregon in 1970. He worked in fire and timber programs throughout Oregon and Washington then moved to the Bitterroot National Forest in 1993. He has been the Forest's Assistant Fire Management Officer since 2003. In addition to his responsibilities on the Bitterroot NF, Floch also serves as an Operations Section Chief on the Northern Rockies Type I Incident Command Team.
Floch is pleased with his new assignment, saying, "I have long respected the caliber of people working in fire management on the Forest and in our County's Volunteer Fire Departments. I look forward to working with them during the upcoming fire season, and in efforts to further improve our preparedness for future years."
Previous Bitterroot NF FMO Jack Kirkendall has accepted a new position working for the national Fire Staff Group but will remain stationed here in the Bitterroot. Prior to starting his new responsibilities, Jack was awarded a prestigious national award, the 2006 Paul Gleason Award, in recognition of his innovative leadership.
"The cool thing about this whole deal is the affirmation that giving folks I've worked with the opportunity, as I have had, to learn and to lead fosters an innovative leadership environment," said Kirkendall.
New fire starts show up on Bitterroot face
Although brief, the lightning storm that passed across the north end of the Bitterroot Valley on the evening of June 28 generated three new fire starts.
McClain Fire received immediate attention from Forest firefighters on Thursday evening and was caught and declared out at less than 1/10 acre in size.
An unnamed start in Tie Chute, just south of the Carlton Creek drainage northwest of Florence, was reported by air patrol on Friday morning. Stevensville Ranger District firefighters responded to this start which was described as a single tree struck by lightning from which fire was beginning to spread.
An unnamed start on Saint Mary's face west of Stevensville showed up intermittently after the storm passed through on Thursday evening and had shown no signs of activity by mid-day on Friday. Fire crew members hiked in to the location of Thursday's smoke to ensure that no active fire was lingering in the area.
"With increasing fire activity on neighboring Forests, we expected wildfire activity on the Bitterroot to begin picking up," said Forest spokeswoman Nan Christianson. "Conditions are drying out quickly on private and public lands, and near-term weather forecasts do not hold the promise of any additional moisture."
These recent fires bring the total of wildfires on the Bitterroot NF to 11 for the year; six are lightning caused and five are human caused.
It is especially important for Forest visitors to remember that fireworks are not allowed on National Forest System lands. Fire danger is considered moderate to high, and the potential for fires to start and spread quickly cannot be underestimated, especially as conditions continue to warm up and dry out.
A new law aimed at bringing Montana families together and honoring wounded U.S. military veterans offers some youths, senior citizens, and Purple Heart vets the opportunity to fish, hunt most game birds, for free in Montana.
The new opportunity, signed into law May 8 by Gov. Brian Schweitzer, provides free Conservation Licenses to resident minors who are at least 12 years old and under 15, and to residents 62 or older. The free Conservation License allows youngsters and seniors to fish and hunt game birds, no including wild turkey in Montana.
The law also provides Montana residents, and some nonresidents, awarded a Purple Heart in service with the U.S. Armed Forces similar opportunities to fish and hunt game birds with a free Conservation License. For nonresidents to qualify, they must be on a trip arranged by a nonprofit organization that uses fishing and hunting as part of the rehabilitation of disabled veterans.
"This free opportunity to enjoy fishing and bird hunting is Montana's way to tie the generations together, and to pay a small tribute to the troops that have already made the ultimate sacrifice," said Jeff Hagener, director of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.
Eligible resident youths and seniors can obtain their free Conservation Licenses at any FWP license provider, including via the Internet for those who have previously obtained an ALS number. This free opportunity will be available through Feb. 28, 2008.
Resident Purple Heart recipients must present their DD 214 at an FWP office to obtain a free Conservation License, and eligible nonresident Purple Heart recipients on a fishing or hunting expedition arranged by a nonprofit group obtain their free license from FWP's Helena headquarters.
Anyone eligible person who purchased a Conservation License on or after May 8 will automatically receive a refund by mail from FWP Licensing in Helena.
Area students receive UM scholarships
Students from Corvallis, Florence, Lolo and Stevensville have been awarded scholarships from The University of Montana.
A $1,875 Elizabeth Jestrab-Chaffee Memorial Scholarship went to John Wax of Stevensville. Wax is a senior at UM majoring in psychology and biology. He is a 2003 graduate of Corvallis High School and the son of Gordon Wax of Stevensville and Connie Wax of Bellflower, CA.
The memorial scholarship was established in 1989 through Elizabeths will in honor of herself and her family.
Jessica Adair of Corvallis and Kaitlin Hall of Florence each received a $1,000 William Enderlein Scholarship.
The scholarship fund was established in 1997 through the estates of Philip and Esther Enderlein in memory of their son.
Adair is a 2007 graduate of Corvallis High School. She plans to major in history education at UM. Her parents are Rachel and Robert Adair of Corvallis.
Hall graduated this year from Florence-Carlton High School. Her major at UM will be radiologic technology. She is the daughter of Randy and Donna Hall of Florence.
A $3,000 James and Olive M. Rector Memorial Scholarship went to Shannon Reinhardt of Victor.
Reinhardt is a 2007 graduate of Victor High School and the daughter of Greg and Debbie Reinhardt of Victor. She plans to major in business management at UM.
The scholarship was established in 1967 by Ann Rector Williams in memory of her parents.
Brandon Baney of Stevensville and Jared Wolf of Lolo each received a $1,000 Excellence Fund Scholarship. The Excellence Fund is UMs annual-giving program.
Baney is a 2007 graduate of Stevensville High School. He plans to major in broadcast journalism at UM. His parents are Duane and Karla Baney of Stevensville.
Wolf, a 2007 graduate of Big Sky High School, will major in administrative management at UM. He is the son of Tom and Patti Wolf of Lolo.
CHIP income guidelines increase
The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services has announced new higher income guidelines for the states Childrens Health Insurance Plan (CHIP). The new guidelines are effective July 1.
CHIP provides free or low-cost health insurance for children up to age 19 who are not eligible for Medicaid and whose families cannot afford other health insurance.
The 2007 Legislature and Governor Brian Schweitzer approved the increase from 150 percent to 175 percent of the federal poverty guideline. Under the new guidelines, children from a family of four with an annual income of $36,138 may be eligible for CHIP. That means a family can earn $5,163 more than under the previous guidelines and still qualify.
We know the need is there, because many families applied for CHIP in the past only to find out theyre above the income limit, said Jackie Forba, CHIP Bureau Chief.
DPHHS estimates an additional 3,000 children may be eligible for CHIP under the new guidelines.
Families who earn more than the guidelines should still consider applying for CHIP because additional income adjustments are made based on the number of family members working and if they pay for child care.
Now is a great time to apply for CHIP, Forba said. We have no waiting list so coverage can begin as soon as the first of the month after a child is determined eligible.
According to DPHHS, 16 percent, or approximately 37,000 Montana children, do not have health insurance. It is estimated about half of those children may be eligible for CHIP or Medicaid.
CHIP applications are available at participating doctors offices and hospitals, as well as local public health departments, Offices of Public Assistance, community health centers, Head Start locations, Indian Health Services and Tribal Clinics.
To download an application or learn more about CHIP, visit www.chip.mt.gov or call toll-free at 1-877-KidsNow (1-877-543-7669).
MDT reports motorists still not buckling up
More than 850 seat belt citations were given to Montana motorists during last months Click It or Ticket mobilization that took place between May 21 and June 3, according to the Montana Department of Transportation. Through June 11 of this year, the Montana Highway Patrol reports that failure to wear a seat belt was a factor in 96 fatalities, an increase of more than 20 percent over the same period in 2006.
Its unfortunate that so many people do not take buckling up more seriously, said Director of the Montana Department of Transportation, Jim Lynch. Too many of our relatives and friends continue to die on our roadways. Thats why Montana law enforcement participates in mobilizations to remind motorists that seat belts prevent deaths and injuries.
In 2006, 219 drivers and passengers died in crashes on Montana roads. More than 70 percent of them were not wearing their seat belts.
Its alarming that many people are still not buckling up, a simple act that can protect motorists and reduce fatalities in crashes, said Colonel Paul Grimstad of the Montana Highway Patrol. It is important for people to know the unnecessary gamble they are taking by not wearing their seat belts.
The added patrols were funded by a grant from the Montana Department of Transportations Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP). The STEP program is designed to give law enforcement additional resources to focus on traffic safety, especially deterring impaired drivers and encouraging the use of seat belts.
A short portion of the Guide-Rye Road, #311, will be closed on Thursday, July 5 in order for a contractor to complete some needed repair work. The road will be closed from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. for one day only. Call the Sula Ranger District at 821-3201 for additional information regarding alternate access routes into the area.
Wedding - Clevidence/Bergren
Dan Clevidence and Julia Bergren were united in marriage on Oct. 7, 2006 at Fifth Avenue Christian Church in Havre. Parents of the bride are Richard and Garnet Bergren of Havre and the parents of the groom are Dave and Nola Clevidence of Stevensville. Currently Julia and Dan reside in Billings, where Julia is employed by Prill Dental as a Dental Hygienist and Dan works at Napa Auto Parts as an Assistant Store Manager.
Hannah Grace Tully
Hannah Grace Tully was received in heaven as God's newest angel in the early morning hours of June 25, 2007. She was the infant daughter of Kevin and Kristi (Roberts) Tully. Hannah passed at Community Medical Center of Missoula. She was born June 15, 2007 at the Medical Center.
She was preceded in death by her maternal grandmother Mary Roberts and her paternal great grandfather Leonard McNees.
Hannah is survived by her parents, Kevin and Kristi (Roberts) Tully of Stevensville; her aunt Tina Davis of Fort Branch, IN; her uncle Paul Tully of Northville, MI; paternal grandparents Alice and Alfred Tully of Missoula and her maternal grandfather Donald Roberts of Fort Branch, IN. She is also survived by her paternal great grandmother Helen McNees of St. George, UT.
Graveside committal services were held Thursday at the Three Mile Cemetery (Sunnyside) under the direction of Pastor John Luhman.
Memorial donations maybe made in Hannah's name to the charity of the donor's choice.
Arrangements are under the care of Whitesitt Funeral Home of Stevensville.
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