Montana reaches 71 COVID-19 cases

  • Updated 

Montana reached 71 known cases of COVID-19 by Thursday morning, according to test results announced by the state.

That’s a rise of three cases from the night before. Numbers released by the state Thursday morning capture test results that come in after the state’s 4:30 p.m. press release Wednesday. About 2,200 people have been tested at the state public health lab in Montana.

Two smaller, more rural counties in northwestern Montana, Glacier and Lincoln, picked up their first case of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, over the last two days.

So did Hill County, with a larger population center of Havre. Cases are identified by county, not town, because of concerns about patient privacy, so it’s not possible to narrow down a patient’s precise location within a county.

Gallatin County still has the most known cases in the state by almost double the next closest county, at 24.

Yellowstone County has 13, Missoula has six, Cascade and Flathead each have five, Butte-Silver Bow and Lewis and Clark each have four, Madison and Broadwater have two, and Jefferson, Ravalli, Roosevelt, Hill, Glacier and Lincoln each have one.

The state also reported its first hospitalization from the coronavirus Wednesday. The hospitalization figure could include hospitalizations when the test was performed after the patient was admitted to the hospital. An official said the state could not provide more information about the hospitalization because of privacy reasons.

Gov. Steve Bullock has issued an order of emergency in Montana and public K-12 schools are closed, as are universities. Businesses like bars and gyms, where people congregate, are closed, though some can offer to-go options.

The governor has also prohibited nonessential social and recreational gatherings of more than 10 people outside a home or place of residence, if a distance of at least 6 feet between people cannot be maintained. He also told stores to follow rules keeping people 6 feet apart, though he exempted essential places like grocery stores, health care facilities and pharmacies.

Also this week, Bullock said counties could choose to conduct the June 2 by mail. (Click to Source)




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School and business closures extended until April 10; 52 positive COVID-19 cases in Montana

  • Updated 

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock on Tuesday extended his orders closing public K-12 schools and some businesses where people congregate until at least April 10, in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus in Montana.

Bullock issued his school closure order March 15, initially set to expire two weeks later, which would have been this Friday. On March 20 he issued another order shuttering bars, gyms, theaters and other businesses where people gather, and banned restaurants and breweries from dine-in scenarios while allowing delivery and to-go orders. He tied that order to the end date for the school closures, but acknowledged at the time it was likely that both would be extended.

“The obligation to control this spread is on each and every one of us, each and every day,” Bullock said on a call with reporters Tuesday. ” … We do continue to see an increase in cases each day, and that is expected.”

Montana added seven additional known cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday morning, bringing the state’s total number of cases to 52.

Gallatin County, which on Sunday said it had evidence of community spread of the coronavirus, now has 19 cases, more than double anywhere else in the state. Community spread means people who contracted the virus had no known contact with other sick people or close contacts with sick people.

Yellowstone County has eight cases, Missoula has six, Flathead four, Butte-Silver Bow, Cascade and Lewis and Clark each have three, Madison has two, and Jefferson, Ravalli, Broadwater and Roosevelt each have one.

On a call with reporters Tuesday, Bullock said even the April 10 timeline for the closure orders to lift could be shortened or lengthened, depending on how the virus continues to spread in Montana.

Public health officials nationwide have been urging people to take severe and swift action to limit the transmission of COVID-19, using dire language to describe potential outcomes if social distancing guidelines are not followed. While President Donald Trump, in conflict with those warnings, said Tuesday he “would love to have the country opened up, and just raring to go, by Easter,” it’s fallen to governors and local governments to implement closure orders.

By Tuesday, cities, counties and governors in an estimated 17 states have urged residents to stay at home or implemented large-scale shutdowns of nonessential businesses, which affects about 167 million people nationwide, according to a tally by the New York Times.

model built by data scientists, engineers and designers working with epidemiologists, public health officials and political leaders to help understand how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect their region shows that Montana could reach a point of no return to prevent hospital overload sometime between April 14-19.

Bullock also issued a directive Tuesday prohibiting nonessential social and recreational gatherings of individuals outside a home or place of residence of greater than 10 people with a distance of at least 6 feet between individuals.

“This is a bit more restrictive (than his previous direction on gatherings) and we’re asking Montanans to comply,” Bullock said. Violations of that and the closure orders can be enforced by county attorneys.

Day cares are still open, Bullock said, because they serve a critical role in caring for the children of essential workers like health care providers, emergency responders and more.

As some businesses have closed and restaurants have reduced operations, many Montanans are finding themselves out of work. While Bullock eliminated the weeklong wait period for people to receive unemployment benefits, the state system to access them has been overwhelmed. Bullock said that since March 16, more than 15,000 people had filed claims.

While the chief justice of the state Supreme Court asked that nonviolent inmates be released from county jails, Bullock said Tuesday he has not made a determination about any changes at the state prison in Deer Lodge or other facilities like the prison in Shelby run by a contractor.

Montana has a primary election June 2, and several candidates have called for a vote-by-mail election. Bullock said Tuesday he would have a decision on any possible changes to that election soon, made under the power he has in the emergency declaration he issued March 12.

Bullock said the state is aggressively seeking to increase its critical inventory of supplies and that he got an additional 50,000 N-95 masks through a mutual aid agreement with North Dakota. Those will be distributed all across the state soon. He also issued orders Monday that should open up options for hospitals to increase their capacity in the event of a surge of patients.

“We’re doing everything we can in our capacity to prepare to take care of critically ill patients if we end up getting numerous COVID-19 patients in our hospitals and ensure there’s hospital space and supplies to respond,” Bullock said.

The state public health laboratory is also getting an additional 4,000 swabs for testing. Bullock said a week ago the state tried to order from a private supplier and that order was canceled because of overwhelming demand.

The reality of the situation, Bullock said, is that supply capacity depends on access to private supplies and if those hit a bottleneck the state must rely on the federal government honoring its requests for additional supplies.

Montana’s federal delegation and attorney general also reported Trump announced the state will get an extension for when people will need REAL ID-compliant drivers licenses to be able to board airplanes or access federal facilities such as federal agency office buildings, federal courthouses, military bases and nuclear power plants. The deadline had been Oct. 1, and the new deadline will be announced in the future.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also announced Monday that the state’s 14 community health centers will receive $810,430 to address screening and testing needs, get medical supplies and increase tele-medicine capacity. Last week both the state and federal government, as well as private insurance companies, took actions to increase access to tele-medicine options to ease access to care for people while keeping people who may spread the virus out of health care facilities. A list of funding by facility is attached to this story online. (Click to Source)



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COVID-19 Cases Would Strain State Resources, Health Officials Say

  FEB 27, 2020


There are currently no reported cases of the new coronavirus in Montana. This, however, may only be temporary. State public health officials say they’re preparing for the worst.

The COVID-19 virus continues its steady march. One by one, more countries are reporting new cases. At the time of this recording, California Governor Gavin Newson says at least 33 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and that state is now monitoring over 8,000 others.

That’s in contrast to Montana where state health officials say a total of 24 people returning from mainland China have been monitored for coronavirus exposure. Nine are still being monitored; the rest are cleared and healthy.

So far, so good. That, however, could change on a dime.

“A single case of something like this, right now, based on what we know, would be very disruptive and would be hard to deal with,” says Jim Murphy, who leads the Montana Health Department’s Communicable Disease Bureau.

Murphy says even one COVID-19 diagnosis would require an extraordinary amount of resources

“[Resources] To isolate a person for a fairly long time until their illness resolves and they clear the virus. And then the investigation that would go along with that, identifying who is at risk and monitoring those people under quarantine — and that would be a strict quarantine — would require a lot of resources than even the largest health jurisdiction in Montana.”

Ellen Leahy is Director of the Missoula City-County Health Department. Last spring an outbreak of whooping cough had Leahy’s staff scrambling to keep pace. The department hired extra public health nurses to help chase down leads. Leahy says the response to a hypothetical coronavirus epidemic would dwarf that effort.

“Because it’s a novel virus – a new virus – theoretically, and probably in reality, the majority of people are susceptible. With pertussis at least you had folks who had some immunity. But with a new virus you have to theoretically consider that your whole population could get it.”

Montana’s public health officials are gathering around tables and connecting via teleconference to wargame COVID-19 strategies.

COVID-19 is caused by a member of the coronavirus family that’s a close cousin to the SARS and MERS virus that have caused outbreaks in the past.

Leahy says they’re closely monitoring the current outbreak to glean any information about its spread and incubation period. Her Missoula team is already preparing a basic incident command structure.

“So we have an incident commander, an infectious disease specialist. We have a public information officer. We have someone assigned to just researching the literature and keeping us all apprised.”

That kind of pre-planning is critical, according to Montana Communicable Disease Bureau chief Jim Murphy.

“A single case in Montana would have a lot of attention from our federal partners at the Centers for Disease Control. The state health department would be heavily involved. But at the end of the day the local jurisdiction would have an awful lot of responsibility. They would be the lead on the investigations that would identify other people that may be at risk. They would be the lead on implementing quarantines, for instance.”

Murphy says Montana’s local health agencies, overseen by health boards have broad authority to issue mandatory patient isolation and quarantine orders.

“Our law does allow us to use law enforcement options if we have to. If we think somebody is going to be noncompliant, or we think the risks will be too high, we can be a little more strict with those orders.”

But Murphy says he believes most sick Montanans would never intentionally endanger anyone else and would voluntarily comply with isolation or quarantine order.

How could COVID-19 affect school schedules? Missoula health official Ellen Leahy says that would be a tough call, and one made on a case-by-case basis.

“When you close schools you’re trying to balance between how likely is it that people have been exposed at school and they’re going to get it, versus how likely if you take the children that perhaps were not infected or exposed and you send them home or to daycare or somebody else’s house – have you really, really cut down contact? That’s a hard question to answer.”

And for the time being Montana health officials say they don’t have all the answers.

The COVID-19 virus is not in Montana yet – and they want to keep it that way.

While there is no vaccination or cure, experts say knowledge truly is power. Public health officials urge Montanans to lean on credible sources of information during this public health emergency; to resist the urge to fall for baseless rumors, conspiracy theories and get-rich-quick scams.

“The medical guidance on this is going to be critical,” says Rich Rasmussen, president and CEO of the Montana Hospital Association. “Don’t just pick up an ad you might see in your social media feed, but actually do some research, look at what the Department of Public Health has put out on their [coronavirus] site. Look at what the Centers for Disease Control  has put out on their site. Those are the most credible sources and that’s who we should be looking to and listening to as we try to protect ourselves and our families.”

Federal health officials say the immediate health risk of COVID-19 is low. (Click to Source)

Montana DPHHS Coronavirus Information


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New beginning for Lake County Drug Court graduates

These young men need the Gospel of Jesus to be free from Addiction

Lake County Judicial Court Drug Court Judge James Manley shares a laugh with Drug Court graduates and CSKT members, Bradley Cannon, 22, and Dale Joseph of Elmo. Graduates completed the yearlong day-to-day program. “It was hard in the beginning,” said Joseph. He added that the past four months got easier. “I’m so happy now. I didn’t really think I’d do this.” Joseph was proud to announce he received his driver’s license a week before graduation. His plan is to complete his HiSet test and work for the Tribes. Cannon said he kept his mind set on “not giving up” and praises the support he got from the program team and his family. “The counselors really cared,” said Cannon. The next step for him is to get a job wild land firefighting. (Click to Source)

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Lawmakers just said no to recreational marijuana in Montana

  • Updated 

A bill to legalize recreational marijuana use for Montanans 18 and older failed to advance Thursday from a state House committee.

Rep. Tom Winter, D-Missoula, tried to assure the House Taxation committee that his House Bill 770 served as a reaction to, not a model of, mistakes made in other states that have legalized recreational marijuana. By his own estimate, Winter said, the bill would bring Montana $35 million to $55 million in annual revenue with a 32 percent tax on retail marijuana sales.In opposing the bill, Sgt. Kurt Sager and Lt. Jim Sanderson of the Montana Highway Patrol relied on statistics from recent impact reports that found increased traffic deaths and hospitalizations in Colorado related to marijuana after it was legalized for recreational use in that state.

Sager called Winter’s bill a “nightmare” for all Montana citizens and said the economic cost of a spike in marijuana-related traffic deaths alone — which he estimated could reach 30 to 65 per year — would ultimately outweigh new tax revenue.

“When you take somebody’s life on the roadway because you’re under the influence of anything, that is a homicide,” Sager said. “You are killing someone else. If we increase the number of people that are driving impaired on the roads in the state of Montana, we are going to increase homicide.” (Click to Source)


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Montana just endured one of the nation’s most exceptional cold spells on record


There’s a kind of cold that’s legitimately dangerous. It can causes frostbite in minutes to unexposed skin. In parts of the Lower 48 states, such extreme cold is not uncommon, for a few days to at most a week.

But over the entire month of February and even into March, such exceptional, life-threatening cold never departed parts of Montana. Temperatures averaging 20 to 30 degrees below normal gripped huge areas in the state, as well as parts of the Dakotas.

These places are normally cold but this chill was unlike anything seen in the contiguous United States in decades, for both its intensity and its duration.

The February temperature departures from normal were stunning. Several major climate locations averaged 27 to 28 degrees below normal, which were the most extreme in the Lower 48 for a full month since January 1969, according to Alaska-based climatologist Brian Brettschneider.

Great Falls, Montana, was at the heart of it. The mercury didn’t rise above zero on 11 days and dropped to zero or below on 24 nights. Only the first day of the month topped freezing. Its average February temperature finished 27.5 degrees below normal.

The punishing and unrelenting cold continued into March. On March 3, the low temperature tanked to a bone-chilling minus-32 in Great Falls. Combined with a high of minus-8, the day finished a whopping 50 degrees below normal. The city concluded its longest stretch on record below freezing on March 7.

“For February 3rd through March 4th, Great Falls, MT averaged 32.3F below normal,” Sam Lillo, a PhD student in meteorology at the University of Oklahoma, recently tweeted.

While the cold in February was remarkable for its persistence, the brutal Arctic blast to begin March delivered the most intensity. Almost two dozen official stations in Montana broke monthly records during the early-month Arctic invasion, with widespread readings in the minus-30s to minus-40s.

An all-time record state low for March of minus-46 was also likely established. Icing on a cake long frozen.

A comparison of this historic cold snap to unusual 30-day cold streaks in other parts of the country shows that in most locations, there is no historical record of cold so extreme lasting so long. Only portions of the northern and central Plains into parts of the Midwest have seen anything like it in modern history.

So what was the driver behind this abnormal cold? Turns out we can largely blame a meandering high pressure that delivered Alaska record warmth during February.

“It was a warm January and February with high pressure off the West Coast,” Erik Gustafson, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Great Falls, said in an interview. Then that high pressure shifted toward Alaska, which “allowed extremely cold air to come down the Rockies, in round after round.”

The repeated Arctic outbreaks delivered Montana “northeast winds behind fronts, and this reinforcing wind holds the cold in,” Gustafson said. Thanks to these regular intrusions, cold air was “stuck in valleys and against the mountains with no place to go.”

Although the heart of the extraordinary cold was centered in parts of Montana and adjacent Canada, impressive cold was also observed to the east in the Dakotas.

A number of places saw one of their top five coldest Februaries there, including Minot, Bowman and Williston. Fargo has now had 62 days in a row with temperatures at or below freezing through Sunday, which is eighth longest on record for that city.

While temperatures are still cold in the Northern Plains, the pattern has shifted a bit. A less extreme version of colder-than-normal weather may persist into the next week or so. Beyond that, there are signs of closer to normal or even a few days above normal later this month. (Click to Source)

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Drug Court offers second chance

Feb 7, 2019


Participants of 20th Judicial District Drug Court get sober, contribute to the community, and rebuild their lives

Char-Koosta News

POLSON — Treatment plans, felony charges, and emergency life events were discussed on a case-by-case basis in the conference room of the 20th Judicial District Drug Court. Each Thursday afternoon, a team made up of healthcare and legal professionals review the progress of its 17 clients.

The final verdict on each case rests solely in the hands of Lake County Judge James Manley who announced milestones for the court. “We have two new graduates,” he said. “That’s a major accomplishment because this is no walk in the park. It’s harder to complete this program in some cases than it is to complete probation.”

In order to complete the roughly yearlong program, clients are administered individual treatment plans. They are required to attend individual and group counseling sessions each week, along with urinary drug tests. Clients are required to obtain adequate housing, employment, and complete community service projects as well as pay off all court fines.

Dolores Joseph, a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, was amongst the first individuals to rise to that challenge. After serving a year and a half in Drug Court, Manley said Joseph is the program’s third graduate. “When you get past the addiction, you can see that there are good people in this program who are capable of good things. It takes tremendous willpower to accomplish what Delores has and it’s admirable.”

“We went from processing an average of 220 cases a year to almost 600 cases in 2014 alone… It was clear the criminal justice system wasn’t working.”

— Lake County Judge James Manley

Joseph said her journey began with a referral to the Montana Chemical Dependency Center in Butte where she stayed for 30 days. “Before I could even start the program I needed to get clean from alcohol and drugs. When I finished my 30 day stay, it became about staying clean and that’s where the work really started,” she said.

During her time in the program, Joseph regained custody of her three children and began working at the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Lands Department. She found adequate housing for her family and even adopted an infant relative. For her community project, Joseph helped clean and cook during the annual jump dance ceremony in Elmo.

The Drug Court program monitors its participant’s progress on a day-to-day basis and Joseph said she experienced difficulties during her time. “It was a hard program, it really was,” she said. “Going to group every week gave me something to look forward to. It takes a lot of willpower to be successful. I had my troubles but I got back on track and I kept going.”

Looking back on her journey, Joseph said the program had a lasting impact on her life. “My life was completely different before the program, I didn’t even have a life,” she said. “Now, I wake up happy every day. I’ve regained the self-confidence that I lost because of my addiction. I’m happy to have that part of my life behind me. Don’t do drugs, that’s all I have to say.”

Aside from receiving access to addiction treatment resources rather than a prison sentence, completing the program means Joseph is no longer on felony probation and her drug-related felony charges are wiped from her record. The program monitors its graduates’ progress in six-month terms. “This gave me a second chance,” she said. “I’m thankful for that. I’m going to continue doing everything I learned here and take it day-by-day. I’m going to stay sober.”

Judge Manley said addiction became the center focus for the Lake County District Court during a spike in felony cases. “We went from processing an average of 220 cases a year to almost 600 cases in 2014 alone,” he said. “Almost every, single, case I tried was drug related. Something needed to change. It was clear the criminal justice system wasn’t working.”

In search of other options, Judge Manley said he toured drug court programs throughout the state. “Lake County had a 75 percent recidivism rate meaning people were reoffending – especially in drug related cases,” he said. “Billings has an amazing drug court and their recidivism rate is 25 percent. That to me says this can work.”

The 20th Judicial District Court was established in 2017 through a combination of a $50,000 Gianforte Family Foundation grant and a $399,000 three-year grant funded through the Department of Justice. “Our budget is small so a lot of the specialists working with us are basically volunteering to be a part of this,” Judge Manley said.

One volunteer on the Drug Court team is Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Council representative Carole Lankford. She said the rate of Native Americans whose drug related felony cases are processed through Lake County inspired her to join the team.

“We have 17 clients in Drug Court and I would say 70 percent of them are Native Americans,” she said. “We have a major drug problem in this area and it’s affecting all of us whether you’re tribal or not. A lot of the people here need help with their addiction and that’s what this is about. I’m thankful the Tribal Council allows me to be apart of this.”

The 2017 “Addressing the Impact of Drugs” study released by Montana’s Department of Justice reports that drug related offenses in the state jumped 559 percent since 1980. Forty percent of all felony convictions in Montana are for possession or distribution of drugs or felony DUIs. In the study’s introduction, Attorney General Tim Fox stated: “The data is clear: Our state is in the midst of an epidemic.”

Judge Manley said his experience processing Drug Court cases over the past year has provided new insight on the drug epidemic. “A lot of our clients are coming from very difficult circumstances and that’s the underlying issue of their addiction,” he said. “I’m a believer that you can’t punish someone into overcoming their addiction any more than you can punish someone into overcoming their mental health issues.”

Drug Court Coordinator Jay Brewer is a chemical dependency counselor who works directly with the clients on a daily basis. He said the key to the program is in its approach. “Our goal is to help our clients become functional members of the community,” he said. “That is what successful rehabilitation is going to look like.”

Brewer said the program works with individuals on a case-by-case basis. “Each of our clients has individual issues that need to be addressed in order to reach their goals and we’re able to work with them on that level,” he said. “We require them to find work with a livable wage so we help with voc-rehab, we help with CPS cases, we help them with their legal issues, and we help them find housing. Whatever is going to help them be successful we are here to do.”

Chief Criminal Deputy County Attorney James Lapotka is also a member of the Drug Court team. He encourages people to seek help with their addiction outside of the judicial system. “If people are struggling with substance abuse, you don’t need to get a felony before you seek help,” he said. “There are resources like the Western Montana Addiction Services or Tribal Health and they can help you get a referral.”

For more information on the 20th Judicial District Drug Court, call 1 (406) 885-1306 or email:  (Click to Source)

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Telling On Themselves: Rural Cleansing in Idaho and Montana


I just love it when someone slips up, and tells us country folk what’s really being planned for us.

Rural cleansing is the purposeful removal of rural citizens from the countryside and the relocation of rural populations into urban areas. Many public officials and media pundits scoff at the mere suggestion that rural cleansing is taking place, but the problem, you see, is that there are people who have inadvertently left tell-tale clues we can use to piece together things for ourselves.

One of the most startling clues I’ve run across lately comes from a July 1, 1998 newspaper article in The Montanian, which is published in Libby, a tiny rural town in Northwest Montana.

Did She Just Say That?

In the article, Libby County Commissioner, Rita Windom, informs us that she and other commissioners were approached by Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks (FWP) state land manager, Darlene Edge, with a proposal to cooperate in driving rural residents out of the Montana countryside into cities. When commissioners responded with horror, Windom says Edge replied

“Can’t you see we are doing you a favor by forcing people to move from rural areas into the urban areas. That way you can close roads…Why don’t you work with us and move these people out of the rural areas and into the urban areas so cities can shoulder more of the responsibilities and the county can save money?”

This exchange took place in a meeting regarding a document called The Wildlife Program Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), of which only 300 were published. According to Windom, there was very little public input because the few public meetings held were so poorly advertised.

But was this just an isolated, though shocking, incident? Did this public policy only affect Montana?  I don’t think so.  I’ll tell you why.

Sometime around 1997 I called a Boundary County, Idaho resident from Washington State regarding possible job openings in my field in Boundary County.  Her answer was that the woods had been shut down and 300 families had left.  She continued on to tell me she had seen a public land management agency document outlining a plan to empty North Idaho of people and turn the entire area into a wildlife corridor.  Naturally, she was outraged.

About ten years later, another reliable eyewitness told me that the same document had arrived at his home first.  The document was marked not for public view.  He had purchased a house that had previously been occupied by a public land management agency employee who had moved.  My source had opened the document and read it.  He confirmed that it said what my other friend had previously described to me.  In fact, he had lent her the document, which is how she happened to know what was in it.

I was never able to get my hands on that document, but when someone sent me a camera shot of the above article in The Montanian describing much the same policy being announced at much the same time as the eyewitness accounts, I wasted no time in getting a copy of the article.

Other evidence for believing that this article in The Montanian represents policies that affect Idaho, as well as Montana, is that, not too long ago, at a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service public meeting about listing the wolverine on the Endangered Species list, we were told that Idaho and Montana are now considered to be in the same management region by the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  The land and wildlife management policies are pretty much the same now.  This is why huge blocks of land, taking in N.W. Montana, Northern Idaho and N.E. Washington, are included in management plans for grizzly habitat, caribou habitat, wildlife corridors, etc.

Where Did Rural Cleansing Come From?

Commissioner Windom remarks, in the Montanian article, that the Draft EIS that had upset her and other commissioners was the product of five to six years’ labor by the FWP. That puts us back to around 1992, or a year later, when the Rio Earth Summit trotted out the document, Agenda 21: the Earth Summit Strategy to Save Our Planet, and other supporting documents, for our enjoyment.

Documents and resolutions introduced at the Rio Earth Summit had been in the works for years before being introduced to the world.

Policies leading to rural cleansing are found in the document, Agenda 21: the Earth Summit Strategy to Save Our Planet, but another important source is associated with one of the other documents introduced at Rio.  That was the Convention on Biological Diversity.  It has been shown that the Wildlands Project is the central mechanism by which the Convention on Biological Diversity is to be implemented.  The Wildlands Project calls for humans to be removed from one-half of the American land mass, and to create uninhabited corridors for wildlife to move freely from Alaska to Yellowstone Park, or farther south.  It was written by radical environmentalists working in United Nations nongovernmental organizations with the full knowledge and aid of U.S. federal agencies such as U.S. Forest Service, BLM, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, EPA and others.

It appears that the Wildlands Project is now being implemented, under another name, in Idaho and the West through the Western Governors Association’s Wildlife Corridors Initiative (WCI).  To learn more about that, please see my blog, Infiltration of LittleTown U.S.A.: The Wildlands Project and Agenda 21 in Idaho.  Particularly, pay attention to the section subtitled “Nudging Us into the Cities.”

If we are paying attention, we can catch public officials and media pundits additionally telling on themselves by their perpetual use of disinformation.  One common bit of disinformation used to mislead the public is the repeated statement that Agenda 21 is an outdated and nonbinding document.  You can always tell a trained operative when statements similar to this come out of their mouth. Here is an article displaying this strategy: How the U.N.’s Agenda 21 Affects Kootenai County, Idaho.

Just two to three weeks ago, I submitted a comment on the above article.  I commented that Agenda 21 is no outdated or irrelevant document, because in 2012, the United Nations held another summit called Rio+20, in which the members reaffirmed Agenda 21 as the working document for the 21st century.  They also reaffirmed their commitment to the Convention on Biological Diversity.  The webmaster declined to publish my comment.

To back up my comment, here is a quote found on Wikipedia’s entry for Agenda 21:

“Rio+20 (2012)
Main article: United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development
In 2012, at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development the attending members reaffirmed their commitment to Agenda 21 in their outcome document called “The Future We Want”. 180 leaders from nations participated.”

Bringing it Home

When the Wikipedia entry calls the Agenda 21 document a voluntary and nonbinding action plan, the writer fails to outline the process whereby former President Clinton issued an executive order and created the President’s Council on Sustainable Development (PCSD), which then formed policies and plans to implement Agenda 21 under soft law. Sustainable Development is the term used at United Nations and national levels to describe the goals of Agenda 21.  The PCSD generated documents and guidelines, notably Sustainable America: A New Consensus for the Prosperity, Opportunity and a Healthy Environment for the Future, used by federal agencies, such as the Forest Service, EPA and others, to form policies.

These guidelines have become the overarching vision for our nation, not only for federal agencies, but also for city planners, corporate trade groups, and environmental groups, as this excerpt from Sustainable America shows.

Federal grants, monies, and other inducements, have drawn local and state governments into that implementation.  I’m sure many of those public officials were ignorant of the consequences of accepting those grants at the time.  Some are either still ignorant or too stubborn, or maybe even too complicit, to admit that they were duped.  When soft law becomes the new normal, it can be upheld by case law.  These practices are also now being codified in piecemeal legislation, comprehensive land use plans and zoning regulations.

There You Go Again

Now you will be told that county comprehensive land use plans, likewise, are nonbinding documents with no real clout.  Oops—wrong again.  For example, the U.S. Forest Service uses comprehensive land use plans when writing forest plans for your region.  If your plan just happens to agree with their goals (and what are their goals? why, Sustainable Forestry, of course) the plan serves as cover for their management policies, because the Forest Service claims that they have coordinated with your county, as required by law, by having read and taken under consideration your comprehensive land use plan.  See this video and hear F.S. employees state this over and over again, as they are being questioned regarding their latest forest plan for Idaho.  I have also read that comprehensive land use plans can be used as a basis for zoning regulations and other county ordinances.

This is why various groups want to embed statements that are conducive to Sustainable Development in your county comprehensive land use plans.

Though the disinformation campaign strategy in Idaho is still one of denial and Alinsky-like mockery of Agenda 21 conspiracy theorists, as exemplified in this Spokesman-Review article, the strategy is now shifting elsewhere.  Rosa Koire, speaking of California, describes how the charge of conspiracy theory is there giving way to the position that Agenda 21, and its related documents and policies, are real, but that these policies are the only feasible and just way of coping with global problems such as climate change, overpopulation, poverty and environmental degradation.

It’s the New normal, Just Accept it.

It’s no surprise, then, that FOX News just published an article entitled Foundations plan to pay news media to cover radical UN agenda. The article describes how a cadre of journalists is being trained to win the public over to U.N. Sustainable Development policies.

Comic Relief

That’s why I just chortle when I find articles like this one, from The Montanian, containing past candid (though Kafkaesque)  quotes from officials who hadn’t yet sufficiently learned to dissemble.  I hope you will read the entire article, as it has additional interesting comments about the changing use of conservation easements and the way Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks was circumventing the public and county commissioners to get its way. The article is reprinted by the gracious permission of The Montanian Newspaper.

And just so we can do a little mocking of our own, let me refer you to this funny, short short video called My Daughter’s New Agenda 21 Bedroom

But, then again, after having a good chuckle, let’s move past the mockery and get down to the debate–if we can get one.  If journalists are going to try to convince us that Sustainable Development, as envisioned by members and advisory groups to the United Nations, is the best path for America, we need to be ready to engage in a logical and reasonable discussion.  And that will be a serious conversation, indeed.

The Montanian.  “FWP plans big changes in hunting and rural living.”  Libby, Montana: July 1, 1998.

*Sorry, the print on the first page is small.  After posting this, I realized I had made a transcription of the first page of this article.  If you scroll down, past the header front page at the bottom, you will see page 1 transcribed.  Page 2 is large enough to read easily.  When I got this article from microfiche, the greater amount of print on page one inhibited our ability to make the print larger and, thus, more readable.




FWP plans big changes in hunting and rural living

Social Engineering is in the Works

The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks has big changes planned for the way it manages wildlife, hunting and rural living patterns. And even though the proposed changes could impact hunters, property owners and anyone who enjoys the outdoors, most Montanians are unaware of the changes.

Lincoln County Commissioner, Rita Windom, says she has only recently learned about the plan, entitled “Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement.”
“This is a document that should mean something to everybody,” Windom said Monday, June 29. “They only printed 300 copies of this document, and they only printed 250 of the actual EIS (Environmental Impact Statement). They had seven meetings in the state of Montana and I happened to get a hold of [it, because of] a meeting I had gone to back in 1992.”

Windom said the plan outlines big changes.  “We were just horrified because it changes the way lands are managed and…it dramatically (effects) counties,” she said.
“This document is called “The Wildlife Program Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement.” The Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks prepared it. They’ve been working on it for five or six years at a cost of $600,000,” she said.

“There are five alternatives and they don’t list the preferred ones, which is unusual.”
Windom said she is concerned about the lack of public input into what are potentially major changes.

“One of the scary things about this document is that…the public input doesn’t go to the game commission for review (and) it doesn’t go to the people. Pat Graham, Director of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, is the decision maker. He gets to select which alternatives or a combination thereof.

“[The plan] allows some public comments…at meetings. [But] they were so ill advertised. They had the biggest one in Libby, which was the one we demanded, and we only had nine people. The meeting was May 26.”

Windom says the plan would allow FWP to sell more non-resident hunting licenses while reducing the number of licenses available for Montana residents.

“They are going to ask the Legislature to change the way they do hunting licenses. They want to allow more non-resident licenses in their formula for licenses. The way I understand it is that there will be fewer for resident hunters,” she said.
Worse, the non-resident licenses will be sold to the highest bidder.

“It will be all market-based, highest bidder. We think that is pretty unfair,” she said.
Windom says the plan goes way beyond the management of just wildlife. It also includes plans to manipulate human population in rural areas.

“They are saying they want social changes. They talk about the increasing importance of environmental concerns nationally, and the increasing reliance on referendums and grass-roots politics for political change. They [FWP] say that social and economic values towards natural resources are becoming less consumptive…nationally. The emergence of the animal rights movement exemplifies national pressure to shift to a less consumptive use at state and local levels,” Windom said, citing the plan.

Windom said she is disturbed that FWP is allowing national trends to dictate its policy.
“What is the reasoning behind allowing an animal rights movement to dictate policy on how we use Montana lands?”

Windom read aloud from Alternative 3 of the plan: “Land owners would increase, through expanded access, incentives and habitat programs. Local governments would benefit from expanded payments including those in lieu of personal property tax.” That means to me, currently we have conservation easements and they pay personal property tax on buildings, farm equipment and livestock. They they pay a payment in lieu of taxes on real estate, very small…. [FWP] is going to change the use of the land and take the personal property off the land on conservation easements, which would mean ranchers and farmers could no longer use the land the way it is currently being used. That is a big departure in the way we have known conservation easements in the past,” Windom said.
Windom said the plan would in essence tax rural property owners for the wildlife on their property.

“This is even more scary. Local governments would benefit from expanded payments, including those in lieu of personal property tax, however new initiatives pertaining to wildlife on the urban interface may [a]ffect some local residents through tax assessments, meaning that those who choose to live in the countryside would have to pay a tax to Fish, Wildlife and Parks so they could manage more effectively the wildlife there.”
Windom said one FWP employee told her the plan is designed to push rural residents into urban areas.

“When I was in Thompson Chain of Lakes meeting, Darlene Edge (FWP state lands manager) told me she didn’t understand the attitude of county commissioners. She said, “You are so reluctant to work with us on these issues…can’t you see we are doing you a favor by forcing people to move from the rural areas into the urban areas. That way you can close roads…you know your timber receipts are declining. You are going to have less money to work with. Why don’t you work with us and move these people out of the rural areas and into the urban areas so cities can shoulder more of the responsibilities and the county can save money,” Windom said.

“He said the general public knew about this before the game commission,” Windom said. “The game commission really doesn’t get any input in it.”
Windom said FWP is working to circumvent negative public opinion of the plan in at least one area.

“We had a situation up in the West Kootenai some months ago where they [FWP] came up and wanted to do a conservation easement, and the people were…

*Read the rest of the article on page 2 above (Click to Site)

Drought disaster declared in Montana along with neighbors North and South Dakota as hot and dry conditions has caused significant injury to crops


Photo The Nation
Governor Steve Bullock issued an executive order on Friday declaring a drought disaster in 31 counties and six Indian Reservations.
According to a press release, a widespread drought in eastern and central Montana has caused significant injury to crops including livestock forage.
The effects are imposing economic hardships on many farmers and ranchers. “High temperatures, extreme drought, and worsening fire conditions are affecting Montanans in many corners of our state,” Governor Bullock said.
“We’re doing everything we can to minimize the economic impact of these hot and dry conditions and help folks get back on their feet using all resources available.”
The order includes the following counties and reservations: Blaine, Big Horn, Carter, Choteau, Custer, Daniels, Dawson, Fallon, Fergus, Garfield, Golden Valley, Hill, Judith Basin, Lake, Lincoln, McCone, Musselshell, Petroleum, Phillips, Powder River, Prairie, Richland, Roosevelt, Rosebud, Sanders, Sheridan, Treasure, Valley, Yellowstone, Wheatland, Wibaux Counties, and the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation, Crow Indian Reservation, Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, and the Flathead Indian Reservation. (Click to Site)

Largest earthquake in years: M5.8 earthquake rocks Northwest of Yellowstone national park in Montana

I felt the quake in Hot Springs Montana about 12:30 AM MDT on July 6 2017.

A moderate earthquake with magnitude 5.8 (ml/mb) was detected on Wednesday, 9 kilometers (6 miles) from Lincoln in Montana.

The M5.8 earthquake is the largest earthquake in years hitting the region of Yellowstone national park in Montana. It was felt in Oregon and Washington state.


A moderate earthquake with magnitude 5.8 (ml/mb) was detected on Wednesday, 9 kilometers (6 miles) from Lincoln in Montana.

The temblor was reported at 23:30:16 / 11:30 pm (local time epicenter, July 6, 2017 @ 6:30 am UTC). The epicenter was at a depth of 4.3 km (3 miles).

The strong M5.8 earthquake was followed by two moderate quakes of M4.5 and M3.9

Here a few reports about the strong shaking:

Seeley Lake, Montana / MMI V (Moderate shaking): House shaking, fixtures moving,heard structure making cracking noise,pet bird would not calm down in her cage. Mild Aftershock.
Whitefish (217.9 km NNW from epicenter) [Map] / MMI V (Moderate shaking): Lasting about a minute.
Missoula, Mt / MMI IV (Light shaking): Thought my buddy was shaking the bed, light rumble then a few good jolts, nothing compared to the nisqually quake but enough to grab your attention.
Placerville Idaho / MMI IV (Light shaking): Shook bed. Moved bed enough to disconnect a plug-in. Outside deck moved and creaked. Felt slight aftershocks.
Stevensville / MMI V (Moderate shaking): Strong rolling shake with strong afterquake shortly after.
White Sulphur Springs / MMI IV (Light shaking)
Missoula, MT / MMI IV (Light shaking)
Grantsdale, MT (165.8 km SW from epicenter) [Map] / MMI III (Weak shaking): Felt it in 2 distinct waves @ 5 secs each, separated by @ 40 secs. Heard deep rumbling both times. Light items swayed. The dog came over to lean against my legs!
Bonners Ferry / MMI IV (Light shaking): Working late when the map started shaking at about 11:30pm PDST, then it intensified after about 10 seconds to moderate shaking, then down to a rolling motion, and dissipated after about 30 seconds.
(12.8 km W from epicenter) [Map] / MMI V (Moderate shaking)
Butte / MMI V (Moderate shaking)
(108.7 km SSW from epicenter) [Map] / MMI V (Moderate shaking)
Whitehall / MMI VI (Strong shaking)
(293.3 km SSE from epicenter) [Map] / MMI V (Moderate shaking)
St Maries Idaho (322.3 km E from epicenter) [Map] / MMI V (Moderate shaking) (via app)
Bozeman,MT / MMI V (Moderate shaking): Working on a laptop in bed and everthing started shaking- headboard rattling against the wall. Walked out into living room and kitchen. Items displaced and pendant lights swaying back and forth
Helena / MMI IV (Light shaking) (Click to Article)