season hits the midway mark
Montana’s general hunting season is hitting the midway point and the overall harvest is expected to increase with the onset of the deer breeding season in the coming weeks.
So far in 2021, there have been fewer hunters reported but a higher percentage of success among those coming through the regional check stations in northwest Montana. A total of 4,529 hunters have been reported at the four weekend stations this year, compared to 6,020 two years ago. The overall game harvest this year was 602 animals checked compared to 625 in 2019. The white-tailed buck harvest is lagging behind the 2019 pace, while the mule deer and elk harvests are slightly higher. The overall white-tailed deer harvest was almost identical to 2019 figures through the same period of time.
FWP did not operate game check stations on weekends during the 2020 season. The counts at the stations represent a sampling of the harvest and do not represent the complete number of animals taken.
Check stations are open on weekends during hunting season from 10 a.m. to approximately 1.5 hours past sunset. The regional game check stations are located at U.S. Highway 2 West of Kalispell, Montana Highway 83 north of Swan Lake, Highway 200 west of Thompson Falls, and Highway 93 near Olney.
Hunters must stop at all check stations that they pass, even if they have not harvested any animals.
A table below summarizes the results through the first three weekends of the season at four check stations. The Canoe Gulch station in Libby has been replaced with a voluntary chronic wasting disease sampling station on Highway 2 south of Libby.
The deer breeding season, known as the “rut,” typically begins in early-to-mid November. The arrival of winter weather would also bode well for hunters as snow cover improves the ability to track animals.
The general deer and elk season runs through Nov. 28, 2021.
Submitted by Dillon Tabish, FWP
DPHHS launch new program to
Together with the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS), Governor Greg Gianforte today announced a new, statewide $3.8 million program to help eligible Montanans pay for water and wastewater expenses.
“This program will go a long way to help ensure Montanans maintain access to water at their home, without worrying about disruptions to service,” Gov. Gianforte said.
Data gathered from the larger cities across the state indicate that many households are 60 or more days past due with amounts ranging anywhere from $50 to $1,000.
Gianforte said the funds will allow the state to provide some relief in the monthly costs related to home drinking water and wastewater costs for eligible households.
DPHHS Director Adam Meier added, “The program addresses an important need in our state. We believe it’s going to make a big difference, and we’re excited to offer this opportunity.”
The funding is available through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Based on the recommendations from Montana’s ARPA Health Advisory Commission, Gov. Gianforte devoted $1.68 million for the new program on June 28, 2021. An additional $2.1 million dollars is allocated to the program through the Consolidated Appropriations Act.
To prepare for the new program rollout, DPHHS changed its eligibility system and only recently received federal guidance regarding program eligibility. Now that those pieces are in place, the agency is coordinating the rollout of this program with the existing Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
Meier said DPHHS has made it easy for Montanans to apply by creating one application for both LIHWAP, and LIHEAP and Weatherization programs.
The statewide network of Human Resource Development Councils will receive and approve applications for LIHWAP. DPHHS has entered into vendor agreements with nearly 100 public water system operators across the state to initiate payments. DPHHS continues outreach to encourage other public water system providers to participate in the program. Water system providers may elect to participate in the program at any time.
To qualify for LIHWAP assistance, Montanans must meet these requirements:
Be responsible for paying water and/or wastewater (sewer) bill.
Have an active water and/or wastewater (sewer) account or have an obligation to pay through a rental agreement.
Be a United States citizen or legally admitted for permanent residency.
Households must also be connected to a public water system.
Applicants are required to meet income and resource guidelines. For example, a family of four with an income of less than $52,465 is eligible.
To apply for assistance, Montanans can submit a combined LIHWAP and LIHEAP application. An application can be found at liheap.mt.gov or by contacting the local LIHEAP eligibility office. A list of LIHEAP offices is here Energy Assistance (mt.gov).
Applicants needing assistance to complete an application may call 1-833-317-1080.
Submitted by Department of Public Health and Human Services
FVCC CARES Program provides funds to all FVCC Students
Flathead Valley Community College is proud to announce that grant funding is available for all students for their spring semester through the Department of Education.
The program, locally called ‘FVCC CARES,’ provides grant funding for all students as part of a federal support program stemming from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Act. Amounts vary depending on credit load and income, but range from $110 to over $2,000 per student.
“We appreciate that the Department of Education has provided this funding. At FVCC, we determined all students should receive funds to support college expenses for Spring semester,” says FVCC President Jane Karas. “This is an unprecedented opportunity—ensuring all students receive financial support and allowing them to take additional classes means students can complete their education in less time to benefit the local workforce or to continue their education.”
FVCC Vice President of Finance and Administration Beckie Christiaens explains that funds will be distributed between March 25, 2022 and May 12, 2022 to all students, as long as they have submitted the CARES application at fvcc.edu/cares. The grants do not require repayment, however students must complete the short CARES application to receive the funds.
“We are thrilled to offer this additional level of financial support to FVCC students of all ages, backgrounds, and income levels,” says Christiaens.
President Karas adds that additional funding for all students may create new opportunities for local students who were not previously planning to attend or return to college.
“FVCC CARES funding allows new and returning students to take classes this spring with additional financial support. This will benefit our many students who are in workforce training programs in areas such as health care or industrial arts and students in transfer programs,” says Karas.
To learn more or apply for FVCC CARES funds, please visit fvcc.edu/cares.
Submitted by Flathead Community College