NEWS BREIFS

Dorr Skeels Campground closed at night due to vandalism

Per a USFS press release, campground violations and vandalism at the Dorr Skeels Campground and Day Use Area have resulted in new hours at the site. Gates will now be locked from 10 p.m. until 8 a.m.

Forest officials would like to remind visitors to the area to be mindful of their impacts and to be respectful of other users to the area and facilities.

The following are issues and concerns at the site:

Dogs on a leash: Possessing a dog not on a leash or otherwise confined (36 CFR 261 8(d)). There is a $25 fine for violating this prohibition.

Bringing in or possessing in a swimming area an animal (No pets on the beach), other than a service animal (36 CFR 261 16(k)). There is a $50 fine for violating this prohibition.

Littering: Failing to dispose of all garbage, including any paper, can, bottle, sewage, waste water, or material, or rubbish either by removal from the site or area, or by depositing it into receptacles or at places provided for such purposes. This includes all pet waste (36 CFR 261 11(d)). There is a $150 fine for violating this prohibition.

Cutting or damaging timber: Cutting or otherwise damaging any timber, tree, or other forest product, except as authorized by special use authorization, timber sale contract, Federal Law or regulation (36 CFR 261 6(a)). It is a $150 fine for violating this prohibition.

Reminder: This is Bear Country. The Kootenai Forest has instituted a mandatory Food Storage and Sanitation Special Order pursuant to 36 CFR 261.50 (a)(b).

See more at https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/kootenai/learning/safety-ethics.

Any violation of the prohibitions of this Part (261) shall be punished by a fine of not more than $5,000, $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for not more than six months or both pursuant to Title 18 U.S.C., section 3571 and Title 16 U.S.C., section 551 and, unless otherwise provided.

If you have any questions, contact the Three Rivers Ranger District at 406-295-4693.

 

 

Health officials offer tips during smoky conditions

Montana’s air quality has worsened this week due to fires burning in Oregon, California, and locally.

According to a press release from DPHHS, state public health officials are urging people across the state to take precautions as the potential for poor air quality reaches unhealthy levels in the coming days.

The Department of Environmental Quality’s Air Quality Bureau is predicting weather that could bring prolonged wildfire smoke exposure to communities in the state. Smoke levels can rise and fall depending on weather factors, including wind direction.

“The wildfire smoke in the area may increase one’s health risk, especially for older adults, young children, and people with asthma, respiratory, or heart conditions,” said DPHHS State Medical Officer Greg Holzman.

Public health officials urge all Montanans to take the following precautions to avoid health problems during smoky conditions.

Reduce the amount of time spent outdoors. This can usually provide some protection, especially in a tightly closed, air-conditioned house in which the air conditioner can be set to re-circulate air instead of bringing in outdoor air.

Reduce the amount of time engaged in vigorous outdoor physical activity. This can be an important and effective strategy to decrease exposure to inhaled air pollutants and minimize health risks during a smoke event.

Reduce other sources of indoor air pollution such as burning cigarettes and candles; using gas, propane, and wood burning stoves and furnaces; cooking; and vacuuming.

Individuals with heart disease or lung diseases such as asthma should follow their health care providers’ advice about prevention and treatment of symptoms.

For more information about your community’s air quality, visit https://todaysair.mt.gov or to learn more about wildfire smoke and your health visit https://dphhs.mt.gov/airquality.

 

LCCF begins accepting 2018 grant applications

According to a press release from the Lincoln County Community Foundation (LCCF), the group will begin taking applications for grants from eligible 501c3 non-profits in south Lincoln County between August 1 and August 31.  The grants are funded with the earnings from an endowment held with the Montana Community Foundation.

Each year the local Lincoln County Community Foundation  board goes through an application process to select grant recipients for about $9,000 in local grant monies.

Last year’s recipients included the Libby Girl Scouts, Kootenai Winter Sports, Troy Food Pantry, Yaak Valley Forest Council, Libby Cross Country Ski Club, Cabinet Peaks Medical Center, and Historic Hotel Libby.

In total, LCCF has given over $190,000 in grants to south Lincoln County Non-profits. This has been possible with a little over $200,000 in the LCCF endowment fund. The amount given will soon surpass the amount in the endowment.

Should you wish to donate to the LCCF it can be done in several ways.  A donation of cash, a planned gift such as a life insurance policy, or part of an estate in your will are possible ways.  There are tax advantages for planned giving and for corporations to donate to LCCF.

Should you wish to donate, please contact Paula Darko-Hensler at pdhensler@gmail.com and LCCF would be happy to visit with you about giving.

For a grant application, please visit mtcf.org.

 

Final adult library event of the season offered Aug. 15

The Library Summer Reading Program, with the overall theme of “Libraries Rock” is coming to an end.

According to a press release from the Libby Friends of the Library, they are sponsoring their last event for adults on Wednesday, August 15 from 5 until 6 p.m. The event will be held on the lawn between the Libby Library and the Courthouse. The program, which is free, will be “Music Trivia.”

The public is invited to come and find out just how much they know about all things musical, while drinking a glass of lemonade and munching on some popcorn provided by the Libby Friends of the Library.

Bring your favorite lounge chair or blanket to sit on (folding chairs will be available while supplies last).

 

KRMC faces civil lawsuit

By Moira Blazi

The civil lawsuit brought against Kalispell Regional Healthcare and Kalispell Regional Medical Center in May of 2017 by the federal government and realtor Jon Mohatt, has finally reached the settlement phase.

“There are reports of Kalispell Regional setting aside monies for a settlement, at least 21 million, but we expect the settlement to be for a lot more than that,” said lead counsel, Brian A Vroon. “This settlement focuses on physicians employed by Kalispell Regional and should be finalized in 45-60 days,” he said.

The original complaint brought well documented allegations of Medicare/Medicaid fraud through violations of the federal STARK laws, which require physicians to be compensated for actual work performed as measured by Work Relative Value Units (wRVUs). Some Physicians, including orthopedic, gastric and other specialty surgeons, as well as others who were employed by the hospital were highly compensated for referrals made to the Regional Medical Center, a clear violation of federal law.

Most of these physicians, at the same time, saw patients for fractions of the time they were contracted to do so. Many of the patients, about a third, were Medicare, Medicaid, or Tricare recipients whose bills were paid by the federal government with taxpayer dollars. Illegal payments were made as “bonuses,” Management,” or, “Director” fees and the like. Although the hospital appeared to be taking a loss on these payments, they made up, in many cases more than double that amount in fees for referred tests and procedures, many of which may have been unnecessary.

There has been some speculation as to the involvement, if any, of Cabinet Peaks Medical Center and local doctors in this scheme but there is no connection.

“If someone comes in who is having a stroke, we may telemedicine with doctors in Kalispell, and although they sometimes help us with trainings, we are a ‘stand alone’ institution,” said Kate Stephens, Cabinet Peaks’ Foundation Director.

Regarding a local physician who was mentioned in the original 91 page Complaint, Stephens told The Montanian, “He is no longer employed by Kalispell Regional.”

Stephens said that CEO and CFO management contracts may sometimes include work with Kalispell Regional,  but “those chief officers do not report to Kalispell, Cabinet Peaks sustains itself, and is not linked financially to Kalispell Regional in any way.”