ServeMontana award nominations open
The Governor’s Office of Community Service is accepting nominations for the eighth annual ServeMontana Awards, the office announced last week.
The ServeMontana Awards recognize and thank Montanans for their everyday contributions to their community and civic life through service and volunteerism.
“Montanans who serve others show the best of what our state has to offer – its people,” ServeMontana Executive Director Dan Ritter said. “This honor recognizes their tireless efforts help make Montana a better place to live for everyone.”
The public is encouraged to nominate individuals of all ages and backgrounds, organizations, and groups. All services must be performed in Montana or by Montanans, and applications are due by March 31, 2018. Nominees should:
Volunteer in ways that cause a lasting change in people’s lives.
Demonstrate a strong commitment to serving their community.
Engage in service that greatly benefits others.
Exhibit leadership in their service.
Represent determination and perseverance.
To apply, or for more information, visit Winners will be honored at a ceremony at the Montana State Capitol on May 25, 2018.

Senator’s bipartisan bill signed into law will recruit, train, and equip Montana firefighters
President Trump, last Wednesday night signed Senator Tester’s Fire Grants Reauthorization Act into law.
This law reauthorizes two critical grant initiatives, the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant. AFG grants provide rural fire departments with the resources they need to properly train and equip firefighters for emergency situations. SAFER grants provide funding directly to professional and volunteer fire departments to help increase and maintain the number of trained firefighters in rural communities. Montana fire departments have received more than $2 million over the past year in AFG and SAFER grants.

Better Business Bureau warns of
utility scam
Better Business Bureau Northwest and Pacific have received multiple reports of scammers calling residents and businesses claiming to be with the local power company and threatening to shut off their power if they don’t pay up.
Utility company imposters will typically reach out by telephone or knock on your door claiming to be a representative from the local water, electric or gas company. The scammer informs you that payment is overdue and the utility will be shut off if you don’t pay immediately.
How to spot this scam:
If a caller specifically asks you to pay by prepaid debit card or wire transfer, this is a huge warning sign. Your utility company will accept a check or credit card – payment methods which are easier to track and later dispute if necessary.
 If you feel pressured for immediate payment or personal information, hang up the phone and call the customer service number on your utility bill. This will ensure you are speaking to a real representative.
Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of a scam should contact their local law enforcement and report it to BBB Scam Tracker at

Local Co-op offers 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 the Co-op’s service territory. 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.
For more information or to apply, visit:
Planning for on-farm success series to be held in Troy
A series of winter workshops in Troy will help beginning Farmers and Ranchers interested in starting a new business or adding a new enterprise. Planning For On-Farm Success offers expert presenters, experienced producers, and ag professionals to help participants understand and develop the tools they need to launch a successful new enterprise.
The workshops, hosted by the Troy Farmers Market and the Yaak Valley Forest Council in partnership with the Community Food & Agriculture Coalition and MSU Extension, will be offered Tuesday evenings 5:30-8:30, from January through February on the following topics:
· Jan 9: Farm Strategic Planning
· Jan 16: Researching Your Market
· Jan 23: Farm Marketing & Promotion
· Jan 30: Managing Your Financials
· Feb 6: Financial Decision-Making
· Feb 13: Financing Your Farm
· Mar 20: Managing Farm Risks
Participants will learn about local resources, network with local producers and service providers, and get hands-on support working on their own business plans. Workshop registration is $20 each or $100 for the full seven-part series, which includes the Planning for On-Farm Success workbook. To register and learn more about topics and presenters, visit or contact Shawna at Shawna or 406-295-9736.

Old Libby Asbestos claims to be filed
before Feb. 25
Anyone diagnosed with an asbestos related disease form exposure to Libby Amphibole more than three years ago who has not contacted a lawyer is encouraged to do so according to the Law office of McGarvey, Heberling, Sullivan and Lacey.
Typically someone diagnosed would have three years to file a claim but in this case, W R Grace’s bankruptcy has extended the timeframe so anyone who was diagnosed more than three years ago can still file a claim, but only if it’s before Feb. 25, 2018.