FWP looks to improve customer service with

changes to 2020


Hunters and anglers can expect a few changes this year when they buy their 2020 licenses starting March 1.

The most visible change Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks customers will see is a change to license paper. Starting this year, both licenses and carcass tags will be printed on normal-sized paper, and license buyers will be able to print them at home.

For years, FWP licenses and tags have been produced on weather-resistant paper. However, this paper is not only expensive, but requires printing technology so outdated that it’s almost impossible to replace. The switch to standard 8.5 by 11-inch paper will provide significant savings and ultimately be easier for customers.

What this means is hunters won’t have to wait for special permits or licenses to come in the mail from FWP, but rather will be able to print them at home or at their local license provider.

This change also will reinforce the ability in Montana to have your license electronically on your mobile device and not printed out in your pocket. While carcass tags still need to be printed out, other licenses, such as a fishing license, do not. If checked in the field, this electronic version of your license is perfectly legal.

FWP recommends that people carry small plastic bags with them while hunting, and place validated carcass tags in the bags before attaching them to an animal. Small plastic bags ideal for this application will be available at all license providers, but any small sandwich bag will work.

Additionally, in 2020, hunters applying for licenses or permits will be able to do so online or at an FWP office. Mail-in applications will no longer be accepted.

With modern technology, the number of online applications continues to steadily grow. Eighty-six percent of Montana hunters now choose this method.  The small percentage of mail-in applications creates a time-consuming, expensive and inefficient delay in the license-drawing process. Mail-in applications must be entered manually in the licensing system, leaving room for human error and delays.

Customers who still look for written guidance to help them through the application process will be able to find information sheets online or at an FWP office in the coming weeks. These information sheets will not be accepted as applications.

This simple change means that drawing results will now be available two weeks after the application deadline, rather than six weeks, allowing hunters to begin making plans for the upcoming season that much earlier.

Submitted by Montana FWP



announces new Early Childhood and Family Support


Director Sheila Hogan announced today that a new division within the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) has been created to better coordinate existing services for children and families.

“This is an exciting opportunity to improve how we’re providing services for children and families in Montana,” Director Hogan said. “The new division will strengthen relationships within the department and with key stakeholders across the state. By working together, we are better able to provide a healthy start for our youngest children.”

The new Early Childhood and Family Support Division (ECFSD) consolidates several programs within DPHHS to improve collaboration and align funding, priorities, and practices.

Hogan said it also creates operational efficiencies and supports the DPHHS strategic plan to ensure all children and youth achieve their highest potential.

The ECFSD brings together child care licensing, early childhood services including financial assistance and quality improvement, early intervention services for young children with developmental delays, child nutrition programs, home visiting, and child, adolescent, and family health programs.

Specifically, it includes all current programs within the Early Childhood Services and Family and Community Health Bureaus, Child Care Licensing, No Kid Hungry, Montana Milestones/ Part C Early Intervention, Family Education and Support Program, and the Montana Children’s Trust Fund.

Jamie Palagi, who has served as the DPHHS Human and Community Services Division Administrator for the past eight years, will lead the new division. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Family Science and Child Development and a master’s degree in Human Services leadership and has worked with or on behalf of children and families for over 25 years.

Palagi stressed the new division is an opportunity to focus on quality early childhood efforts and family supports. “I see this as an opportunity to partner with communities, providers, and families to ensure children have what they need to thrive,” she said.

DPHHS recently published an early childhood needs assessment and strategic plan, identifying strengths and opportunities for improvement across the state related to children’s services. The strategic plan will guide some of the work of the new division over the next several years. Programs and services will continue as staff in the new division transition. DPHHS will work with staff, providers and consumers over the next several months as the new division comes together.

Submitted by Chuck Council


Flathead Electric Co-op provides scholarship opportunity for student teachers

Flathead Electric Co-op is accepting applications for its $500 spring student-teaching scholarship between January 1 and January 31. The scholarship opportunity is provided for students completing their education degree while student teaching in Montana. The funding will be distributed in February.

To be eligible, the candidate (or their parent or legal guardian) must be a member of Flathead Electric Cooperative (served by the Co-op at their primary residence), and they must be attending an accredited post-secondary education institution in Montana. FEC offers scholarships for student teachers in both the spring and fall. FEC scholarships are funded through unclaimed capital credits which are dedicated for educational purposes by Montana statute.

FEC For more information or to apply, visit: www.flatheadelectric.com/scholarships.

Submitted by Wendy Ostrom Price



Extension of river

closure to boat traffic through Feb. 8

The Boundary County Board of Commissioners voted Monday to extend the current restriction of boat traffic on the Kootenai River until February 8th, 2020.

BNSF continues their environmental cleanup of the river following the accidental release of diesel fuel into the water as a result of the train derailment on January 1st, 2020. As part of the containment and cleanup effort, over 6,000 feet of containment boom have been deployed on the river to isolate and direct released fuel for recovery, while also protecting sensitive environmental areas. Dozens of specialists are on the river conducting environmental cleanup operations, sampling, and monitoring.

Public boat traffic would disrupt these efforts, so county officials request the cooperation of the public in refraining from boating on the Kootenai River from the Deep Creek Boat Launch in Bonners Ferry upriver to the Montana border.

Further, the Rocky Point Boat Launch is closed to all non-emergency vehicles and vessels for the same period of time.

Submitted by Boundary County, Emergency Management