Lemonade on the Lawn
The Libby Friends of the Library (LFOL) will kick off its summer program, “Lemonade on the Lawn,” by hosting a Montana Conversations program “Montana Towns: Then, Now, Tomorrow” with storyteller Hal Sterns on Wednesday, June 5.
The program will be held at the Libby Library at 12 noon. The presentation is free and open to the public, with lemonade and cookies provided (you can bring your own lunch if you wish). Funding for the Montana Conversations program is provided by Humanities Montana through grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Montana’s cultural Trust, and private donations.
A state of extremes with high mountains, great plains, half the population in five communities and ten others with another one-third of our residents. What about the other towns: 134 incorporated and all small. After the big ones, these latter ones are often unique, often overlooked, yet personify so much of the Big Sky. So…why did these small towns come to be: gold, coal and oil, timber, cows and sheep, early trails, roads and rails. But time brings change. Why do some smaller towns hang in, others drift away, some invent new roles and others reinvent. Should we care? A discussion is well our worth our understanding the small places that are a big part of the Montana story.
An educator for 34 years, today Hal is an instructor for the University of Montana’s Lifelong Learning Institute and Humanities Montana. He has a particularly fond interest in sharing his passion for Montana and the West and education with community members, students, teachers and administrators. He has led tours coast to coast and lectured in over 40 states, Germany, England, Japan, Korea and Brazil.
For more information, please call the Libby Library at 406-293-2778.
Submitted by FOL
Increasing Troy Sewer Rates
A hearing on Troy’s five percent sewer rate increase was held by the Troy City Council last week at Troy’s City Hall. Attendees discussed whether more increases would be needed in the future as past increases have left the city short on compliance.
Residents were notified of the increase via a typed letter sent along with their May utility bills. In the letter, residents were told that June 1 would be the start date and that the new base residential rate will now be $39.98 versus $38.08 previously. The commercial rate will increase from $43.02 to $45.17.
Funds are still insufficient and do not meet requirements, despite a similar increase that took effect in 2018 when it was found that the city’s sewer net revenue from 2017 fell short at only $28,7000. This made maintenance of compliance on loans taken to fund building of the sewer hard to achieve.
The annual sewer revenue of 2017 was $256,100. A hefty amount, certainly, but not nearly enough to meet compliance. This year ‘s estimated ending balance, if in line with 2017, should be $268,000. This would mean the city would be short of compliance by $17,000. Even if the new five percent increase brings in similar revenue as 2018, Troy would be short around $5,000.
If the sewer revenues are not where they need to be in 2021, they can revisit increases if necessary. The Troy City Council is even considering placing money in reserve for major costs that might come along with the sewer system.
By Dawn Manchester, The Montanian
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is seeking public comment on a proposal to purchase a conservation easement that would protect approximately 22,295 acres of highly productive timberland and important fisheries and wildlife habitat scattered around Libby in northwest Montana.
The property is owned by the Stimson Lumber Company, one of the oldest continuously operating integrated wood products companies in the U.S. This conservation project is a collaborative effort involving Stimson, The Trust for Public Land, and FWP.
The proposed conservation easement, which would be held by FWP, would allow Stimson to retain these timberlands and continue to manage them using sustainable forest practices while protecting the valuable fish and wildlife habitat found on the property. This easement would preclude development, protect key landscape connectivity, and provide permanent public access and associated recreational opportunities.
FWP has scheduled a public hearing for June 12, 2019 at 6 p.m. in Libby at the Libby City Hall, Ponderosa Room, 952 E. Spruce Street. This event will provide interested organizations and individuals an opportunity to ask questions about the proposed project and submit public comment.
The property, which shares 133 miles of border with the Kootenai National Forest, currently provides over 1,100 days of public hunting access. The property provides high quality winter range for moose, elk, white-tailed deer, and mule deer. It also provides habitat for 43 Species of Greatest Conservation Need as listed in Montana’s 2015 State Wildlife Action Plan and includes federally designated critical habitat for three threatened species: Canada lynx, grizzly bear, and bull trout. Completion of this project would permanently secure free public access for hunting, hiking, fishing, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, and other outdoor activities.
In a 2007 study entitled “National Forests on the Edge,” the U.S. Forest Service identified national forests throughout the country facing the most increased risks and alterations from escalating housing development on private rural lands along their boundaries. The Stimson project lands were identified as a moderate risk area.
FWP is seeking comment on a draft environmental assessment that describes the scope of the project. The primary objectives of this project are to:
- Conserve important fish and wildlife habitat
- Continue sustainable commercial forest management
- Maintain public recreation access into the future
Following completion of the draft EA and review of the public comments received, the FWP Region One Supervisor will issue a decision notice that makes a recommendation to the Fish and Wildlife Commission on a course of action. The Commission will make the final decision on which course of action to take.
A copy of the draft environmental assessment is available at the FWP Region 1 office, 490 N. Meridian Rd., Kalispell; Montana State Library, 1515 E 6th Ave., Helena; FWP State Headquarters, 1420 E 6th Ave., Helena; the FWP website at http://fwp.mt.gov/news/publicNotices/ ; and available for viewing at local libraries. FWP asks that comments on this draft environmental assessment be submitted to either of the following addresses by 5 p.m., June 29, 2019: Kris Tempel, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, 490 North Meridian Road, Kalispell, MT 59901 Or firstname.lastname@example.org
Submitted by FWP