Proposed pavement preservation for US 2 near Happy’s Inn

The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) would like to announce and invite the public to comment on a proposal to resurface about 7 miles of US Highway 2 (US 2), 36 miles southeast of Libby. The project begins at the bridge over McKillip Road, and extends east for approximately 7 miles, ending one mile east of the ACM Road intersection.

Proposed work includes milling the existing surface, applying a new overlay, and finishing with a seal and cover (chip seal), upgraded pavement markings, and new signage. The purpose of the project is to preserve the existing pavement.

The project is tentatively scheduled for construction in 2024, depending on completion of all project development activities and availability of funding. No new right-of-way or utility relocations will be needed.

An important part of properly planning for future projects is partnering with the community. The Montana Department of Transportation welcomes the public to provide ideas and comments on the proposed project. Comments may be submitted online at or in writing to Montana Department of Transportation, Missoula office, PO Box 7039, Missoula, MT 59807-7039. Please note that comments are for project UPN 10232000.

The public is encouraged to contact acting Missoula District Preconstruction Engineer Joel Boucher at 406-544-6107 or Project Design Engineer Nate Walters at 406-523-5833 with questions or comments about the project.

Alternative accessible formats of this document will be provided on request. Persons who need an alternative format should contact the Office of Civil Rights, Department of Transportation, 2701 Prospect Avenue, PO Box 201001, Helena, MT 59620. Telephone 406-444-5416 or Montana Relay Service at 711.

Submitted by Lori Ryan, Public Information Officer

St. John Lutheran Church Celebrates 110 Years of Blessings

Submitted by Alan Gerstenecker and Freda Howard


In the early years of the 20th century many Libby families were of German ancestry and were professing Lutherans. It was only natural they would band together. On August 10, 1909 the first worship service was led by Rev. Emil Ziegler of Kalispell. That service and others that followed were held at the Presbyterian Church. Fifteen people attended that first service.

Paul E. Rohlfing was ordained and installed as their first resident pastor on September 1, 1912. That service took place in the First Methodist Church  which was located at 8th St. and Montana Ave.

On March 3, 1913 the congregation was officially organized by Rev. Rohlfing with seven members signing the church’s newly adopted

constitution. Services were conducted in English and German until 1918. The German services were discontinued in compliance with a request from the Mont. State Council of Defense.

The first sanctuary was built in 1924 at the corner of 10th St. and Montana Ave. In 1925 the congregation joined what was then known as the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Missouri, Ohio and other states. It is now known as the Lutheran Church

Missouri Synod with its headquarters in St. Louis. The Synod maintains seminaries, universities and elementary schools across the U. S. and the world. The present sanctuary was built in 1951 at 1017 Mont. Ave. and was dedicated on Feb. 17, 1952.

The first unit of their school was built and dedicated in 1956. A gymnasium was added in 1957. Because of Libby’s economic downturn the

school was eventually closed. In 2005 the building and grounds were sold to the Kootenai Valley Christian School.

St. John’s has been served by 19 pastors, from the earliest days of the Revs. Ziegler and Rohlfing to Rev. Steven Thomas, the current one. He has faithfully served since 2011.

For more info about St. John’s, attend a 10:30 Sunday worship or call the office at 406-293-4024 Mon.-Fri. 9:00 to 1:00.

The church will have a special celebration on April 30, 2023.


Town Pump offering library grants to Keep Kids Reading


Submitted By Paul Tash


The Town Pump Charitable Foundation is offering $1,000 grants to public libraries in Montana to help fund summer youth-reading programs.

Last year the Town Pump Charitable Foundation awarded 100 of the $1,000 grants statewide as part of its Keep Kids Reading grant program. Grants can be used for books, supplies, snacks, staffing, guest speakers, prizes, and other elements needed for a successful summer reading program. Libraries can apply March 1 through April 15 at using the Keep Kids Reading application, and grants will be awarded in early May.

“School children who don’t read over the summer months will lose, on average, two months of their reading skill levels,” said Bill McGladdery, director of corporate communications for Town Pump. “Many Montana libraries increase youth-reading programs in the summer months to help prevent this ‘summer slide,’ and the Town Pump Charitable Foundation is pleased to support these very important programs.”

Summer youth programs also help children develop an awareness of what their local library offers, he added. Many libraries are using the theme “All Together Now” for their summer reading programs.

Fish and Wildlife Commission Gains Two New Members

By Amanda Eggert, Montana Free Press


Ravalli County Commissioner Jeff Burrows and Bozeman-based campground owner Susan Kirby Brooke are officially joining the Fish and Wildlife Commission, the governor-appointed body charged with establishing hunting and fishing regulations and reviewing Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks land acquisitions. The Montana Senate on Friday confirmed Burrows’ and Brooke’s nominations as well as the reappointment of two sitting commissioners.

Burrows is assuming the position previously held by Jana Waller, who’s moving out of state and did not reapply for another term. Burrows is an environmental engineering graduate of Montana Tech who previously worked for the U.S. Air Force in Colorado Springs as a civilian engineer. He has served on the Ravalli County Commission since 2012 and in January assumed another four-year term in that seat. Burrows also serves on the Montana Forest Action Advisory Council and the Ravalli County Collaborative, both of which engage in natural resource management issues.

Brooke will take over the seat formerly held by Pat Byorth. She grew up on a Madison Valley ranch and previously served on the Board of Environmental Review, the quasi-judicial body that adjudicates disputes between the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and the industries it regulates, and on the Reserved Water Rights Compact Commission, which was tasked with helping the state negotiate compacts with tribes possessing federally reserved water rights.

Questions from committee members during a Tuesday hearing on their nomination shed some light on how Burrows and Brooke intend to approach their positions on the commission, an essentially all-volunteer body that tends to draw heated public comment.


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Governor Gianforte Announces State Topped Forest

Management Goals for Second

Consecutive Year

State treated 31,000

forested acres in 2022, nearly tripling 2020 total


Together with Amanda Kaster, director of the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC), Governor Greg Gianforte today announced the State of Montana increased active forest management in 2022, nearly tripling the number of forested acres treated in 2020.

“Creating healthier, more resilient Montana forests through active management is one of our top priorities, and DNRC continues to deliver results for the people of Montana,” Gov. Gianforte said. “We’ve made incredible progress over the last two years to increase the pace and scale of forest management in Montana, and we’re not done yet.”

In 2022, DNRC placed over 31,000 forested acres under active management. Since Gov. Gianforte took office in 2021, the state has treated approximately 56,000 forested acres. In 2020, the state treated approximately 11,000 forested acres.

Management projects include mechanical treatments, such as thinning or logging, prescribed fire, and forest restoration.

To increase the state’s pace and scale of active forest management, the governor’s Budget for Montana Families invests $10 million per year in forest management.

“Addressing the forest health crisis in Montana will take investments, and I’m proud our budget makes those investments,” the governor said.

Cross-boundary agreements on federal, state, and private land continue to drive management to protect Montana communities and natural resources from the increasing risk of catastrophic wildfire and other forest health issues.

DNRC also uses a variety of programs and authorities, including Trust Lands Management, Good Neighbor Authority, the Montana Forest Action Plan, and state and private forestry funding, to improve and expand active forest management across Montana.

“Montana remains a leader in setting the example for cross-boundary projects and cooperation to reach our forest management goals,” said DNRC Director Amanda Kaster.

“Forest management is a top priority for DNRC, and we look forward to expanding our partnerships to continue this important work.”


Submitted Kaitlin Price, Office of the Governor, Cassie Wandersee, Department of Natural Resources and Conservation