Montana News – Aug. 16, 2017

Bullock declares new fire emergency
Governor Steve Bullock today issued a new Executive Order declaring a fire emergency to exist in the state of Montana.
“We will continue to do everything we can to make sure folks on the ground have the resources they need to protect Montanans and their property until every single fire is put out,” said Governor Bullock. “Firefighters, emergency personnel, and volunteers are working hard every day, and on behalf of all Montanans, we thank them for their efforts.”
This declaration allows Governor Bullock to continue to mobilize additional state resources and the Montana National Guard to combat the fires, and to expend funds to meet the contingencies and needs that may arise from them.
Governor Bullock has participated in daily briefings with the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation and Disaster and Emergency Services at the Department of Military Affairs. He has also visited Incident Command teams at the Lodgepole Complex, Rice Ridge, and Sunrise wildfires.
Bullock originally declared a fire emergency to exist in the state of Montana on July 23, 2017.

Senators urge students to participate in Senate Youth program
Recognizing the value of supporting the next generation as they pursue public service careers, U.S. Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines are encouraging all Montana high school juniors and seniors to apply for the 2018 United States Senate Youth Program.
In the program’s 56th year, two Montana students will be awarded $10,000 scholarships to continue pursuing a higher education relating to politics, history or public affairs. They will also have the opportunity to join 102 other delegates for a week of leadership education and public service in Washington D.C. While in D.C., delegates will have the opportunity to meet with key policymakers and visit political epicenters from Capitol Hill to the State Department.
“This opportunity represents the best our nation has to offer in civic education,” said Tester. “I encourage all Montana students interested in public service to take advantage of this incredible opportunity.”
“The Senate Youth Program has afforded hardworking Montana students a unique opportunity to learn about our nation’s government firsthand,” Daines stated. “I look forward to meeting this year’s students who demonstrate what it means to have that Montana work ethic.”
Since its inception in 1962, the Senate Youth Program has provided a platform for motivated students to excel and continues to produce alumni that succeed in an array of public service careers from U.S. Senators and Congressmen to Foreign Service and Military Officers.
The deadline to apply is October 13, 2017.  Interested students can find more information about the application process and selection criteria at

FWP seeking volunteers from northwest Montana for Citizen’s Advisory Committee
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking up to 5 volunteer applicants to serve terms of 2-3 years on the Citizen’s Advisory Committee (CAC) for FWP that was established in 1996. The primary function of the CAC is to increase FWP’s awareness of emerging issues throughout the region by sharing the perspectives of the increasingly diverse constituencies.
This Citizen’s Advisory Committee meets approximately 5-6 times per year between the timeframe of late September to early June.  Meetings are typically scheduled for Wednesday evenings in the Kalispell area.  If selected as a committee member, your attendance at meetings is expected.
To apply, download the attached cover letter and application and return it electronically to Martha Abbrescia at .  Or, request the application be emailed to you by calling 752-5501.

U of M to develop new program for veterans
Missoula College of the University of Montana has received a $97,000 grant to develop the state’s first veterans studies course, which could launch as soon as next spring.
Approximately one in 10 Montanans has served in the armed forces, and they face unique challenges that often are not understood by many professionals in health care, social work, law, education, government, commerce and other industries. The grant, funded through the National Endowment for the Humanities and secured with the help of U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, will allow MC to design a class to help students understand the unique experiences of veterans and their families.
“Missoula College is thrilled to be identified as a recipient of this award from the NEH,” said Clint Reading, MC associate dean. “It will allow us to expand a much-needed area of study that will stimulate awareness of the veteran experience. In addition to the classroom study, the outreach component will be a wonderful way to explore the many positive contributions that our veterans provide to the community.”
The interdisciplinary course will explore the institutional, cultural and relational dimensions of the military/veteran experience through collaboration with other UM departments, such as English, history, political science, social work, public and community health and psychology. Only a handful of institutions across the country offer similar courses or programs, and the MC class will be the first of its kind at a Montana university.
The course will encourage enrollment of non-veterans and veterans alike to enrich it with diverse perspectives, experiences and questions. This also will provide Montana student veterans with an opportunity to better comprehend their own experiences in the context of a broader systematic study.
Lt. Col. Elizabeth Barrs, a graduate student pursuing a doctorate in history at UM, submitted the original grant proposal and will take the lead in developing the course curriculum. A retired Army veteran, she helped launch a similar program at Eastern Kentucky University.
For more information, call Reading at 406-243-7801 or

Montana Department of Transportation accepting comments on bridge work
The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) would like to notify the public and seek comments on a proposal to repair deteriorating steel components on bridges in multiple counties in western Montana. The majority of the bridges are located along the Interstate 90 corridor in Mineral and Missoula counties between reference post 33.0 and reference post 118.0.
The proposed work includes cleaning and painting of steel surfaces, repair of areas with section loss, crack repair, and repair of bearings. The purpose of the project is to repair and protect steel elements to extend the life of these bridges.
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 or utility relocations will be needed.
For more information, please contact Missoula District Administrator Ed Toavs at (406) 523-5802 or Project Design Engineer Chris Hardan at (406) 444‑9221. 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, or online at:

Beginners’ trapping course Aug. 26
A beginner’s trapping course is scheduled for August 26, 2017 from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm at 235 Martin Camp Road in Whitefish Montana.  This class is free!  To enroll, or for further information, please contact Ken Cordoza at 406-250-6038, or Tressa Schutter at 406-871-5638.  Lunch will be provided for participants.

Heenan files to challenge Gianforte in 2018
John Heenan, a small business owner and consumer protection lawyer from Billings, will seek the Democratic nomination for Montana’s lone congressional seat.
“Like many of you, I feel that Congress is corrupt and has put the needs of corporations and wealthy special interests ahead of working people and working families. Montana deserves a representative who will hold Washington accountable and put the interests of Montanans and their families first. As someone who has fought on behalf of Montanans in court against corporate special interests, I am running to fight for all of us whose voices are not being heard in Washington.
“I value hard work like most Montanans. I believe that people should not have to struggle to find a job if they are willing to work hard. People who work hard should not have to struggle provide for themselves and their family. As a small business owner, I have been fortunate enough to help create jobs in my community. But I know how difficult it can be to get a business off the ground.”