Cooperative seeks board nominees
Three seats on Flathead Electric Co-op’s Board of Trustees are up for election this year. Potential candidates must be members of the Co-op and live in the district they seek election to represent. The nominating petition requires 25 signatures from Co-op members who also live in the candidate’s district. Nominating petitions with a photograph and biography (100 words or less) are due to the Co-op by March 5.
Trustee seats up for election are currently held by: Duane Braaten – District 6 (West Valley, Marion), Jerry Bygren – District 8 (Bigfork) and Terry Crooks – District 9 (Libby). A district map showing exact boundaries is available on the Flathead Electric website.
Candidates will have the opportunity to give a three-minute speech to the membership at the Annual Meeting on March 21. Ballots will go out March 19 for a mail-in election. For more information or to obtain a nominating petition, call 406-751-4444.
Submitted by Wendy Ostrom Price
Locals make FVCC’s
Fall 2019 Dean’s List
Flathead Valley Community College officials have announced the names of students who made the Dean’s List for the fall 2019 semester. The following students are listed in alphabetical order by their home communities and completed at least 12 credits last semester in courses numbered 100 or above and earned a minimum grade point average of 3.5:
Marilee A. Parrish
Daniel J. Stark
Carrie L. Berkheimer
Lauren N. Burrell
Alexandria N. Crace
Ethan W. Hoff
Isabella R. Hollingsworth
Breeanna K. Runyan
Tanner J. Wood
Reymundo R. Ortiz
Submitted by Jill Seigmund
Ecology class in Libby on
Libby Hostel Base Camp in Libby, Montana will be sponsoring a unique Winter Ecology Outdoor Education Program on Saturday, Feb. 8 beginning at 9 am Mountain Time. The class will meet at the Venture Inn at 1015 W. 9th Street – U.S. Highway 2 in Libby, and begin with a short lecture on winter adaptations and survival techniques of mammals, birds, and coniferous trees and shrubs. The group will also discuss the art of tracking, scatology, and sign interpretation, with some focus on Canadian lynx, White-tailed Ptarmigan, Rocky Mountain elk, Long tailed weasel, Boreal owls, and Wolverine. We will then head to the field to examine several sites and habitats. Please come prepared for the day with proper layers, water, lunch, winter boots, snowshoes (may not need for all sites), ski or hiking poles, hats, gloves, binoculars, cameras, and sense of humor. We will visit private land locations, roadside stop and hops, birding viewpoints, riverside habitats, and undertake a few very short hikes of less than 1.5 miles round trip. Wrap up around 3 pm Mountain Time.
Accommodations may be found at: libbyhostelbasecampairbnb.com; the Venture Inn at: VentureInnLibby.com or Call 406-293-7711; or the Country Inn at: www.montanacountryinn.com or Call 406-293-2092. In each case, mention that you are taking this class, and get a discount on your room. The instructor has college education in both forestry and wildlife management, and over four decades of experience including wildlife research projects studying Canadian lynx, Wolverine, Fisher, Pine Marten, Boreal owls, and Northern Goshawks, among others. There is a $50.00 dollar per person fee for this class, payable to Libby Hostel Base Camp. For More Info, Email Brian at: firstname.lastname@example.org Or Call him at: 406-291-2154. Spaces Limited.
By Brian Baxter
Yaak Valley Forrest
announces start Black Ram project lawsuit
Citing dozens of environmental violations to the wildest section of the Kootenai National Forest, on January 24, 2020, the Yaak Valley Forest Council (YVFC) submitted a formal objection to the 95,000 – acre Black Ram project. YVFC Conservation Director Jane Jacoby noted the project’s potential to harm a delicate grizzly bear population, lack of treatments in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), and insufficient analysis were at the heart of YVFC’s concerns. “Given the size and sensitivity of the project area, it requires an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS),” said Jacoby. “If not here, then where?”
YVFC board chair Rick Bass says “The Kootenai National Forest’s assessment acknowledged that this project is “likely to adversely affect” grizzly bears. Yet the USFS also claimed that 2000 acres of regeneration harvests, many in critical core habitat, won’t affect bears significantly, and that Yaak grizzlies have no need for deeper analysis. We disagree.”
The Black Ram project faces further complications by recent litigation against USFS’s Northern Region and the location of the Pacific Northwest Trail over a decade-long failure by the USFS to complete a congressionally required comprehensive management plan. In October of 2019, a federal court judge also found the USFS at fault for “chronic deviations from “road” closures” required by the Kootenai Forest Plan and the Endangered Species Act.
Due to the ecologic value of the region, USFS’s failure to comply with the Forest Plan, and misrepresentations and vagueness in the document, the YVFC and hundreds of other commenters have requested an EIS.
For more information contact the Yaak Valley Forest Council (406)295-9736 or email@example.com.
Submitted by Robyn King
Landowners have until March 16 to apply for
access tax credit
Landowners have until March 16 to submit applications to Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks for enrollment in the Unlocking Public Lands Program to be eligible for up to $3,000 in tax credits.
The Unlocking Public Lands program is designed to provide recreational public access to state (Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation) or federal (Bureau of Land Management or United States Forest Service) land where no legal public access currently exists.
In exchange for access across the private lands, landowners will receive a tax credit in the amount of $750 per agreement and up to a maximum of $3,000 tax credit per year. Landowners decide how the public may cross their private property and may limit access to foot traffic only.
“Offering a tax credit in exchange for allowing public access across private land to reach public land is a unique and innovative way to increase public access,” said Jason Kool, FWP hunting access bureau chief. “We hope these opportunities and tax incentives may appeal to landowners throughout the state in a different way.”
While Montana contains nearly 29 million acres of public land, much of this land requires landowner permission to cross private land to reach the adjoining state or federal land.
More information about the program, including enrollment criteria and the application form, can be found at http://fwp.mt.gov/hunting/hunterAccess/unlockingPublicLands/.
Submitted by Joleen Tadej
Flathead Electric Cooperative achieves significant energy
savings in 2019
Flathead Electric Cooperative is pleased to report that it saved enough energy through efficiency efforts last year to energize 776 average-usage homes for a year. Energy efficiency is a valuable resource because energy savings the Co-op achieves is energy that doesn’t have to be purchased, which benefits us all. The following are examples of energy/money saving accomplishments for 2019:
Flathead Electric Co-op paid its members and program partners over $1.8 million for energy efficiency efforts that saved a combined total of 9,300 megawatt hours of electricity.
In the residential sector (which encompasses efficiency measures such as replacing heating systems, appliances, lights, windows, adding insulation and other weatherization measures), incentives totaled over $859,000 (almost double incentives paid in 2018).
In the commercial category (which primarily consists of lighting and custom projects with the Co-op’s commercial and industrial members), total incentives topped $911,000. Included in that amount were other efficiency efforts in the areas of improvements on the Co-op’s system, such as reconductoring electrical wire to prevent energy loss, which added up to over $37,000.
Since 2009, Flathead Electric’s efficiency programs have saved members and the Cooperative as-a-whole, over 109,000 megawatt hours, which is enough energy to power nearly 109,000 homes for a year. The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), the Co-op’s wholesale power supplier, supports Flathead Electric’s energy efficiency efforts with reimbursements for qualified energy efficiency measures for members. Additionally, Flathead Electric offers members a 3% fixed-rate loan to achieve higher efficiency in their homes.
To learn how you can save energy/money, call (406)-751-4483 and ask for the Energy Efficiency Team or visit https://www.flatheadelectric.com/save-money-save-energy/
Submitted by Wend Ostrom Price
Registration for FVCC Senior
Registration for Flathead Valley Community College’s annual Senior Institute opens January 30 at 8 a.m. The program provides opportunities for people ages 65 and older to enroll in academic credit classes, stay active during the winter and connect with other senior citizens.
Seniors can enroll in one of the program’s 26 classes on topics ranging from the arts to history to science. The cost to enroll for residents of Flathead or Lincoln counties varies from $62 to $72 per class. Out-of-district tuition rates apply to those residing outside of Flathead or Lincoln counties. The program will meet for six consecutive Fridays beginning Feb. 14 and concluding March 20. Students are treated to a free lunch and special program each Friday at 11:45 a.m. Classes follow lunch from 1 to 2:50 p.m.
Classes fill on a first-come, first-served basis. Students may register in person on January 30 or mail a registration form to the college.
Students who did not participate in Senior Institute last year or who have not taken other credit classes at FVCC in the past 24 months are required to submit an application for admission prior to registering for classes. College officials recommend completing the admission application prior to January 30 in order to save time during the course registration process.
A complete list of Senior Institute classes offered and the registration form are available online. For information and assistance, visit www.fvcc.edu/senior-institute, call 756-3822 or stop by the FVCC Registration Office in Blake Hall at 777 Grandview Drive in Kalispell.
Submitted by Jill Seigmund
Proud Denna Hutchison shows off her certification. Photo courtesy of Kate Stephens.