Swamp Creek construction begins

According to a July 10 DOT press release construction at Swamp Creek will soon begin.

Highway 2, one of the most well-traveled roadways in the Libby area, is being reconstructed by the Montana Department of Transportation. Noble Construction was awarded the $10.3 million project in May 2018 and will begin construction on Monday, July 23.

The 5.3-mile construction project will consist of grading, gravel, plant mix surfacing, seal and cover, Swamp Creek channel change, drainage features, a 56-foot bridge and signing. The anticipated completion of this project is August 2020.

Construction will occur between mileposts 48.5 and 53.8 on Highway 2 roughly 15 miles Southwest of Libby. Single lane travel can be expected, throughout the entire project area with traffic lights or flaggers to help facilitate safe traffic flow. Minor delays can be anticipated.

As a reminder, the posted speed limit for the Swamp Creek East project will be 35 MPH. Fines double in work zones.

The public is encouraged to contact Eric Drake, Noble Construction with any questions regarding the project at 293-1128.


Donations sought for Student Stand –Down

Kootenai Kiwanis will host a Student Stand-Down event at Asa Wood on Monday, August 20 at 4 p.m.

Similar to the annual VFW Stand-Down, the event will provide free supplies. Local students will be able to pick out school supplies at the stand-down for free.

Kiwanis is asking for contributions from local businesses and private donors to help purchase supplies including paper, pencils, notebooks, headphones, and backpacks.

Kiwanis is also accepting donations for their annual swap meet yard sale which will be held August 1 through 4. They are asking for no books or clothes and will pick up donated items.

Contact Trina at 283-1197 or Bri at 334-3117 to arrange donation for pick up or drop off of school supplies.


State of the City of Libby

Mayor Brent Teske presented at the Libby Chamber’s monthly luncheon on July 11.

Updates were given on the following topics:

The City’s preliminary engineering report for infrastructure are being updated and should be wrapped up in time for the city to apply for grants during next year’s funding cycle. The report requires updates to be made every five years.

An urban chicken ordinance has been proposed that would be similar to Troy’s. The proposal would allow up to five chickens but no roosters. It will be read at the next council meeting.

No parking signs on Mineral Ave. that did not allow vehicles on the street between 2:30 and 6 a.m. have been removed. It is hoped that this change will encourage not driving drunk to move illegally parked vehicles.

New garbage cans will be purchased to replace the custom painted ones that are downtown. They are getting old and no longer look attractive.

Parking on part of Second street may be changed to diagonal in order to accommodate additional handicap spots near the VFW.

Trees have been removed from the Mineral Avenue City Park , and benches, sod, new sprinklers and a picnic table are planned. In addition, the park may be renamed to Ferdinand Bockman Memorial Park in honor of officer Bockman who was killed in the line of duty in 1924.

Fire reduction projects have been completed at City hall, and a service window and door have been added to the front reception area. Also the council chambers have been rearranged, historical photos have been added and a mural will be painted behind where the council members sit.

A new controlled groundwater area is being established outside Libby City limits to prevent drilling in due to the creosote superfund site.


Hensler named Fisheries Manager

According to a FWP press release, Mike Hensler, a longtime fisheries biologist for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, is the new regional fisheries manager in northwest Montana.

Hensler began serving as the FWP Region 1 fisheries manager, based in Kalispell, on July 1.

“Mike has been one of FWP’s emerging leaders for a long time when it comes to both native fish conservation and recreational angling, and we are fortunate to have him step into this important leadership role,” FWP Region 1 Supervisor Jim Williams said.

Hensler is replacing Mark Deleray, another longtime FWP employee who moved to Bozeman to serve as the agency’s Region 3 supervisor. Deleray served 26 years in FWP’s Region 1, including four years as fisheries manager.

Hensler, a 1979 graduate of Flathead High School, has 28 years of experience as a fisheries biologist for FWP. Since 1992, he has led the management of operations at FWP’s Libby Area Office.

As FWP’s regional fisheries manager, Hensler said his overarching goal is to protect and maintain native fish species to the greatest extent possible and, where it is viable, manage recreational harvest fisheries that include many non-native species.

“It is my job to help my staff complete the necessary survey and inventory to make the best management decisions for the fish species in each waterbody or drainage in northwest Montana,” Hensler said. “Much of that includes maintaining positive and open relationships with our very diverse angling public, organizations and government agencies.”

The selection committee for the fisheries manager position included officials from FWP, the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes and Avista.

Hensler was born in Malta and his family moved around Montana and North Dakota before settling into Kalispell in 1973. After graduating from Flathead High School, Hensler attended Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, where he graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in biology in 1983. He received a bachelor of science degree in wildlife and fisheries management from Montana State University in 1985 and a master of science degree in wildlife and fisheries management from MSU in 1987. During college, Hensler worked seasonally as an FWP fisheries fieldworker in Kalispell, Bozeman and Libby before being hired as a full-time biologist in 1990.

“For as long as I can remember I wanted to work with fish,” Hensler said. “In high school, I got a chance to ride in the Dolly Varden, an old wooden mast and boom research vessel, with FWP fisheries biologist Laney Hanzel when hydroacoustic techniques were still very new. That was when I knew I wanted to be a fish biologist.”


DOT resurfacing project planned for Highway 2

The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) would like to notify the public and seek comments on a proposal to resurface about 3.4 miles of U.S. Highway 2 west of Happy’s Inn in Lincoln County.
The project begins 0.1 miles west of the junction with Old U.S. Highway 2 at reference post 65.6 and extends northeasterly for 3.4 miles, ending just west of McKillop Road at reference post 69.0.
Proposed work includes overlaying the existing roadway with new pavement, seal and cover (chip seal), fog seal, upgraded pavement markings, and signing and delineation upgrades. In addition, guardrail will be replaced and centerline and shoulder rumble strips will be added.
The purpose of the project is to enhance the safety of the traveling public and take a cost-effective action to prolong and preserve the existing pavement.
The project is tentatively scheduled for construction in 2020, depending on completion of all project development activities and availability of funding. No new right-of-way will be needed. Utility relocations will likely not be needed.
Members of the public may submit written comments to the Montana Department of Transportation Missoula office at P.O. Box 7039, Missoula, MT 59807-7039.