BUSINESS NEWS

Paving

continues this week through the work zone on Hwy 2

What to expect:

During the day, traffic will be reduced to a single lane and controlled with traffic signals and a pilot car. Expect up to 15-minute delays. At night and on weekends, traffic will return to two lanes. In addition, speed limit is reduced to 35 mph at all times.

The Montana Department of Transportation is reconstructing five miles of roadway and a bridge over Swamp Creek on US Highway 2, approximately 15 miles southeast of Libby. Construction is anticipated to be completed in fall 2020.

Improvements include: Widening the travel lanes to 12 feet. Adding 4-foot shoulders on both sides of the roadway. Replacing a bridge over Swamp Creek with a wider single-span concrete bridge. Repaving the road surface of US 2. Using Geofoam blocks as part of the road base to limit the settling of the road.

The Montana Department of Transportation together with its construction contracting partners continue to take the COVID-19 pandemic very seriously. Construction projects on Montana’s roads and bridges are considered an “essential” operation and will continue moving forward as scheduled in 2020. Construction workers will continue several measures to help keep employees, contractors and the public safe during the construction season. Some of the measures include following social distancing and good hygiene guidelines, and not reporting to work if showing symptoms of illness. For more information visit https://covid19.mt.gov/

Submitted by Montana Department of Transportation

 

Montana

families

encouraged to apply for WIC

Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) Director, Sheila Hogan said today a program to support mothers and children is available and ready to help Montanans who may need food assistance, nutrition education, and breastfeeding support.

The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program provides healthy food and nutrition services to 15,000 moms and children each month, and DPHHS believes that many more are eligible due to the current financial strain many families are under due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

“Local WIC agencies across Montana are accepting new families and are eager to help those who could benefit from the program,” Hogan said.

At this time, WIC agencies are completing appointments over the phone for new, past and current participants. WIC has also recently updated the foods eligible on the program to provide more flexibility at the store.

In addition to food, the program also provides nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and a community of support from both experts and peers to thousands of moms and children monthly. Montana WIC has the ability to serve additional families who qualify.

“If you’re pregnant, a caregiver, or a new mom with children under 5, you can get the right personalized support for you and your family,” Hogan said. “This program is designed to help families and young children during an important time in growth and development.”

Households that are enrolled in the following programs automatically meet income eligibility for WIC: Healthy Montana Kids Plus (HMK-Plus) and Medicaid. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR. National School Lunch Program (free and reduced-price meals)

Local clinics can be found through an easy search at www.signupwic.com. More information may be found at www.wic.mt.gov or by calling 1-800-433-4298.

Current WIC recipients can check their benefits by using the WICShopper application, calling the number on the back of their card, or asking their clinic staff or store staff to provide them a benefit balance.

More information about WIC, including specific income guidelines, is available online at wic.mt.gov or by calling 1-800-433-4298. A family of four with household annual income of $47,638 would be income-eligible.

Local clinic information is at signupwic.com. The WIC state office can be reached by email at montanawicprogram@mt.gov, or by calling toll-free 800-433-4298. A WIC FAQ for common questions about the program is also available.

Submitted by DPPHS

 

Free personal use firewood gathering
continues in 2020, but
permit now
required

National Forests and Grasslands throughout the Northern Region will continue to offer free firewood and other forest product gathering for personal use for the remainder of 2020, but starting June 1 the agency is asking that the public first call to obtain a hard-copy permit in order to track harvesting and communicate important wildfire safety and collection information.

“As the impacts from COVID-19 continue to be felt across the country, we remain committed to providing services on our public lands and doing what we can to help those in need,” said Regional Forester Leanne Marten.

Those interested in collecting firewood and other forest products and botanicals need to first contact their local unit by phone and provide their contact details, and a free, hard-copy permit will be issued by mail.  In-person pickup at a local station may also be available, depending upon location, and will comply with the Center for Disease Control’s requirements for social distancing.  The permit will be valid between June 1 and December 30, 2020.

The free permits allow for the removal of downed timber or the cutting of standing dead trees for personal firewood under most conditions on National Forests and Grasslands within Montana, Northern Idaho and portions of North and South Dakota. They do not allow for the collection of more limited post and poles/rails or for any commercial harvesting.  Those permits will still require a fee.  They also do not apply to collecting products on other public lands such as Bureau of Land Management lands.  All permits — whether free or paid — help the USDA Forest Service track usage and ensure important information is conveyed to permittees regarding wildfire safety, suitable locations, collection amounts and any other restrictions.

Woodcutters can obtain permits for up to 12 cords of firewood for personal use.  A cord is the amount of tightly piled wood in a stack four feet high by four feet wide by eight feet long. Those collecting any forest product should use caution while driving on Forest Service roads at this time of the year.  Many remain snow covered and icy at higher elevations.  Roads at lower elevations are wet and muddy and the soft roadbed can easily be damaged by vehicle traffic.  Following strict wildfire safety practices outlined in the permit is also required.

The collection of many other forest products outside of firewood do not require a permit.  For example, up to five gallons of mushrooms can be gathered without a permit on all units throughout the region.  But the requirements for some products such as berries varies by forest, so it is still important to call ahead for updated local requirements.

For more information, contact the Supervisor’s Office or your local Ranger Station.

 

Women’s Golf League update

The Women’s Golf League had a fun day on June 3.  The game of the day was fewest putts.  Nancy Hull won the game for Group A, and Shirley Chase won Group B.  Group A net winner was Nancy Hull, and Group B was a tie between Phyll Mackey and Connie Stantus. Group A gross winner was Anna Guthrie, and Group B was Shirley Chase. All women are welcome to join us for a fun time each Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. at Cabinet View Golf Course.

Submitted by Shirley Chase