Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

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  • Pepper Trail: There's So Much Worth Saving

    JONATHAN ROMEO, Writers on the Range|Apr 10, 2024

    Climate change was primarily perceived as a distant threat for a long time. But Oregon biologist Pepper Trail, 70, who often writes for the opinion service Writers on the Range, said he and other close observers have noticed climate shifts for decades. He’s seen it in the premature blossoming of flowers, the diminishing snow caps on mountains, and, most strikingly, the increasing frequency of wildfires scorching the landscapes around him. “I’m a naturalist,” Trail said, “and like many who have been sounding the alarm for years, I’m increasingl...

  • Guest Editorial: Montana's Future is at Risk

    DR JOHN E CECH, Carrol College|Apr 3, 2024

    As of the writing of this guest editorial, there has been a 30 percent decrease in FAFSA submissions by students and their parents across the United States compared to last year. In Montana, the decline is also substantial at 25 percent. What is FAFSA, and why is it important? FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and students must complete it before applying for federal grants, work-study, and loans. Colleges and universities use student FAFSA data to determine their federal aid eligibility. It is administered by the U.S....

  • You're Not the Boss in Wilderness

    JOHN CLAYTON, Writers on the Range|Feb 21, 2024

    When my friends and I encountered the fresh grizzly bear scat, we were deep in Wyoming’s Teton Wilderness, 20 miles from a trailhead. I’d seen grizzlies before—from the car. But this experience was on a whole other level. I felt vulnerable, nervous. I also felt fully alive. That feeling owes much to the Wilderness Act, which became law 60 years ago, in 1964. When President Lyndon B. Johnson created a nationwide system of wild landscapes “untrammeled by man,” it gave physical expression to an unusual attitude toward land. The attitude could be...

  • DPHHS Announces New Hiring Incentive, Historic Pay Increases at Health Care Facilities

    JON EBELT, Montana DPHHS|Jan 24, 2024

    Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) Director Charlie Brereton today announced one-time incentive payments and targeted, historic wage increases to recruit and retain employees at Montana’s state-run healthcare facilities. The new effort is designed to reduce reliance on contracted clinical staff and demonstrates DPHHS’s continued, strong commitment to reforming and investing in the facilities that serve Montana’s most vulnerable patients. Dir. Brereton announced the Hiring Incentive Program for direct patient care positions a...

  • The Window of Opportunity is Closing

    JON STONE GOFF, High Peaks Federal Credit Union|Nov 29, 2023

    The opportunity to serve as a volunteer on the High Peaks Federal Credit Union Board of Directors is one of the most significant differentiating factors that separates credit unions from traditional banks. They set the direction of the credit union and collaborate with the CEO to manage it according to the wishes of the membership. Credit unions are owned by their members, which allows them to have a say in how their financial lives are run. Instead of serving corporate stockholders, the Board...

  • Last Mural Update for the Year Installed at K-Bar

    JOHN KREIS, Whitehall Chamber|Nov 22, 2023

    The final two faded wood panel murals have been replaced with two vibrant, bright, beautiful new murals at the Rocky Mountain Bank and the Billsgary building (K-Bar). The murals were again beautifully created by local Whitehall artist Kit Mather. Kit committed her entire summer and portions of her fall to their completion! The murals were both put in place by Tim Geary and his crew. Tim gave his equipment and labor to ensure that the murals would be put in place securely and safely. Besides Tim,...

  • DPHHS Urges Providers to Monitor for Possible Cases of Lead Poisoning in Children

    JOB EBELT, Montana DPHHS|Nov 22, 2023

    Federal, state, and local officials are urging medical providers to be on the lookout for possible cases of lead poisoning in children after at least 22 toddlers in 14 states were sickened as of November 7, 2023, by lead linked to tainted pouches of cinnamon apple puree and applesauce. The following were recalled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) due to reports of elevated levels of lead found in certain units of the products: • WanaBana brand apple cinnamon fruit purée pouches • Schnucks brand cinnamon applesauce pouches • Weis b...

  • JVCF Celebrates Short and Sweet Grant Awards

    JOHN KREIS, Whitehall Community Member|Nov 15, 2023

    The Jefferson Valley Community Foundation was pleased to present several community awards to community non-profit organizations at their annual Short and Sweet awards night at the Whitehall Community Center on November 8 at 7 PM. The following grants were awarded that night: • Whitehall Middle/High School: $2,500 for tools and job box for FFA, that grant being the Barrick Co. Grant. • Whitehall Garden Club: $750 for seedlings for Arbor Day. • P.U.L.S.E.: $3,200 to finish the community room...

  • Op Ed: Talking Actual Property Tax Numbers

    LLEW JONES, Representative, Appropriations Chair|Oct 25, 2023

    Montana collects $2.1 billion in property tax, with allocations as follows: 56% to schools, 28% to counties, 11% to cities/towns, and 5% to special districts. The 6 statewide university mills stay at the state, while the 95 statewide school mills are redistributed to local community schools, accounting for 35-40% of the $1.1 billion annual state school funding distribution. According to the latest Department of Revenue (DOR) appraisal, Montana properties have a total market value of $259 billion, spread across 18 tax and rate classes....

  • JVCF Grant Evaluation Begins

    JOHN KREIS, Jefferson Valley Community Foundation|Oct 18, 2023

    The Jefferson Valley Community Foundation (JVCF) has begun the evaluation of grants that have been applied for and have met the deadline and the grant standards. Every year the JVCF awards monetary grants to nonprofit organizations that have worthy projects and need financial help for completion of their project. The grant deadline has come and gone and grant applications have been submitted. Last year, the following nonprofits received grants: JV Sportsmen, JV Search and Rescue, Whitehall Food Bank, Whitehall Chamber of Commerce, Town of White...

  • DPHHS Encourages Montanans to Prepare for Respiratory Illness this Fall, Winter

    JON EBELT, Montana DPHHS|Oct 11, 2023

    As Montana gears up to enter another respiratory illness season, the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) encourages Montanans to take precautions to help protect against severe symptoms from COVID-19, influenza, pneumococcal pneumonia, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections. The number of people ill due to respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, influenza, pneumococcal pneumonia, and RSV, is currently low across most of the United States but has increased in recent weeks. Montana has already begun seeing...

  • Rail Safety Week Seeks to Raise Awareness, Prevent Railroad Crossing and Trespass Incidents in Montana

    JOHN ALTHOF, Montana Operation Lifesaver, Inc.|Sep 20, 2023

    Every year, 2,100 North Americans are killed or seriously injured when they engage in unsafe behavior around tracks and trains. Montana Operation Lifesaver is joining Operation Lifesaver Inc. (OLI), Operation Lifesaver Canada, and the Mexican Association of Railroads (AMF) from September 18-24 to observe Rail Safety Week in North America and urge the public to help #STOPTrackTragedies. "Rail Safety Week focuses awareness and education activities around the country into seven exciting days....

  • Op Ed: Focus on Property Tax Solutions, Not Pollical Soundbites

    REPRESENTATIVE LLEW JONES, Appropriations Chairman|Sep 20, 2023

    Montana is facing a growing housing crisis, driven by an influx of out-of-state home buyers and telecommuters. This is pushing up prices, making it difficult for Montanans to find affordable housing, and increasing residential property taxes. A solution I propose for consideration is to change the way property taxes are calculated for vacation homes and short-term rentals. Currently, all residential properties are taxed at the same rate, regardless of whether they are owner-occupied, rented out long-term, rented out short-term, or vacation...

  • Dear Editor: The Sign

    GERALD JOHNSON|Sep 13, 2023

    Dear Editor, This is a story about THE SIGN and so much more. It started pretty much like any other day, then took an unexpected turn. Or maybe, not so unexpected. On the road to Butte, headed up the pass, I pull into the rest area. A familiar shade of green is illuminated by the sunlight. Woah! What? I was kind of shocked - laying in the mud, half of it suffocated beneath the trash dumpster was THE SIGN. JESUS CHRIST 2020 is all that was visible, but I knew what the hidden words under the dumpster were. I thought how symbolic is that? The...

  • More Updated Murals Almost Ready

    JOHN KREIS, Whitehall Chamber|Sep 6, 2023

    The ongoing project of the Whitehall Murals Restoration is still alive and vibrant! This year the murals at the Rocky Mountain Bank and the Billsgary Center (K-Bar) buildings will be replaced this fall. It is expected that both murals will be replaced before the good weather ends either in late September or early October. The new murals will be very similar to the previous murals although some changes have been made to make them more historically connected to the Lewis and Clark Journals and more vibrant in color. One change from the original...

  • There's Such a Thing as Trail Etiquette, Folks

    MARJORIE SLIM WOODRUFF, Writers on the Range|Sep 6, 2023

    The uppermost switchback on the Bright Angel Trail in Grand Canyon National Park is eight feet wide. Yet the last time I hiked out, I was stymied by a group of young hikers walking down shoulder to shoulder, tapping on their phones. Even when I said, “Ahem, excuse me,” I was unceremoniously nudged out of the way — not on the cliff side, but still. It shouldn’t need mentioning, but while walking on a rocky trail where one may fall to one’s death, it is best not to be watching one’s phone. And in case you were wondering, uphill has the right of w...

  • Memorial Rod Run Brings 78 Classic Beauties

    AL JOHNSON, Rod Run Coordinator|Aug 2, 2023

    The annual Bill Baycroft and Bob Casagrande Memorial Rod Run during Frontier Days was a huge success, bringing in nearly 80 gorgeous vehicles to Legion Park. The following awards were given. • Bill Baycroft Award: Tom Walund of Butte. • Bob Casagrande Award: Terrie Casagrande of Whitehall. • People's Choice Award: Dale Olson of Butte. • Truck Award: Kelli Thennis' 56 Chevy truck. • Rat Rod Award: Ric Pestel's 29 Nash Sedan. • Long Distance Award: Jim Tebay's 52 Plymouth Coupe. Top 10 Entries:...

  • West Nile Virus Detected in Montana

    JON EBELT, Montana Department of Health and Human Services|Jul 26, 2023

    State and local health officials are reporting the first West Nile Virus (WNV) detection of the year in mosquitoes sampled from Blaine County. No humans or horses have tested positive for WNV yet this season. Infected mosquitoes can transmit WNV when they bite, and the increased risk of WNV transmission to humans and horses is expected to continue through October – or as long as mosquitoes are active in the state. While no human cases of WNV were reported in 2022, in previous seasons Montana has reported over 50 human cases in a single s...

  • Too Many Tourists Follow a Leader

    MARJORIE SLIM WOODRUFF, Writers on the Range|Jul 19, 2023

    A spectacular picture recently appeared on social media of a young lady in Arizona. She was poised on the edge of a cliff emblazoned with sunset colors. Immediately her online followers clamored to know where the picture was taken, so “I can get one just like it.” Turns out that it was taken on an off-trail route at the end of a potholed dirt road on the Navajo Nation, and required a permit to even enter the area. Also, I bet she did not climb to that precarious perch on that cliff wearing those fancy shoes. A local guide lamented that the are...

  • Dear Editor: Mosquitoes vs 4-way Stops

    JOE DILLON|Jul 12, 2023

    Dear Editor, It's too bad the town of Whitehall isn't as enthusiastic about controlling mosquitoes as it is about controlling traffic with dubious four-way stops. Joe Dillon Whitehall, Montana...

  • Public Health Officials: Rabies Remains a Threat

    JON EBELT, Montana DPHHS|Jun 28, 2023

    State and local public health officials are reminding Montanans to be aware of the risk of exposure to rabies as summer approaches. The risk for potential encounters between humans and wild animals increases during spring and summer because of the time spent hiking and engaging in other outdoor activities. On June 13, 2023, DPHHS received the first report of a rabid animal this year. A striped skunk in Powder River County tested positive for rabies. In 2022, 13 animals submitted for rabies testing to the Montana Department of Livestock (DOL)...

  • Ease Your Stress at Sage Wellness Center

    JOHANNA PAULSTON, Sage Wellness Center|Jun 7, 2023

    Did you know that stress, in one form or another, is the cause of 80-90% of chronic diseases? Think of stress like the layers of an onion. There are layers made up of physical stressors. These include dehydration, poor nutrition, lack of movement and sunlight, poor sleep, and exposure to toxins and radiation. Then there are the mental, emotional, and spiritual layers. These include financial strain, traumatic events, toxic relationships, family stress, work or school stress, and loneliness. We a...

  • JVEMS Wins EMS Service of the Year Award: DPHHS Honors Responders for Life-Saving Heroics

    JON EBELT, Montana Department of Health and Human Services|May 31, 2023

    The Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) honored Montana Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel from White Sulphur Springs, Great Falls, Whitehall, Bozeman, Miles City, and Anaconda during an awards ceremony at the Capitol Rotunda Wednesday, May 24. The event included an address by Lt. Governor Kristen Juras to representatives from the Meagher County Volunteer Ambulance, Montana Medical Transport of Helena and Great Falls, Jefferson Valley EMS, Gallatin County Dispatch,...

  • Second Mural Update in the Works at Town Hall

    JOHN KREIS, Whitehall Chamber Murals Project|May 24, 2023

    Following the successful creation and placement of the beautiful mural at Jefferson Fresh Foods the Whitehall Mural Restoration Project is moving forward strongly in 2023! At this point, it is expected that this year the faded murals at Rocky Mountain Bank and the Billsgary(K-Bar) building will be removed and new vibrant murals will replace them. This repainting and reconstruction is currently underway and progress has been dramatic. The Murals Project would like to sincerely thank Mayor Mary Janacaro-Hensleigh and the Town of Whitehall for...

  • Dear Editor: Fess Up, Town Hall

    JO ANN SPAULDING TEBEEST|May 24, 2023

    Dear Editor, We have been reading and hearing about the issues of the Whitehall Saddle Club and the Town of Whitehall. So just show the real reason the town is pushing this. There are so many rumors being floated around. Rumors are that the town will be getting a substantial amount of money for the development of the recreation area. Rumors are, developing an RV area? (There is already parking in the park for that, also the town would be competing with other local RV parks in the area). That is...

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