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Mortgage assistance help available

NeighborWorks Montana and Rural Dynamics, Inc. announced that they have been selected by NeighborWorks America to help fight home foreclosures in Montana, under a grant to the Montana Board of Housing. They granting agency is the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The deadline for accepting applications is July 22 at 5 p.m. Those interested in the program need to act quickly by contacting NeighborWorks Montana at www.nwmt.org or toll free 1-866-587-2244 or Rural Dynamics, Inc/CCCS at www.ruraldynamics.org or toll free 1-877-275-2227.

The program, the Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program (EHLP), was created when Congress provided $1 billion dollars to HUD, as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, to implement EHLP. The program will assist homeowners who have experienced a reduction in income and are at risk of foreclosure because of involuntary unemployment or underemployment, because of economic conditions or a medical condition.

Maureen Rude, NWMT statewide director of counseling and lending operations, said that a persistent cause of foreclosure in Montana is unemployment. “Families do fine when the adults are both working. But often when one worker loses a job, or someone’s hours are cut dramatically, the family mortgage is in trouble.”

Under EHLP guidelines eligible homeowners can qualify for an interest free loan which pays a portion of their monthly mortgage for up to two years, or up to $50,000, whichever comes first.

“The Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program will make it possible for struggling Montana homeowners to receive some much-needed assistance in paying their mortgages,” Rude said. She pointed out that medical issues that caused a family to fall behind on its mortgage also make a family eligible for the program.

The EHLP program will pay a portion of a successful applicant’s monthly mortgage and homeowners can use the money for missed mortgage payments or past due charges including principal, interest, taxes, and insurance. EHLP is expected to aid more than 150 distressed borrowers in the state.

Grant to increase library internet access

The Montana State Library announced today that the U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded the State Library a $1,829,473 grant to fund its “Enhancing Computer Centers at Montana Public Libraries” project, designed to expand broadband capacity and training in many of Montana’s public libraries.
The North Valley Public Library is a partner in the project.
The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, provides grants to support the deployment of broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas, enhance and expand public computer centers, and encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service.
“As Montana looks to provide more access to distance learning, libraries will play a critical role in providing affordable access for citizens around the state,” said Governor Brian Schweitzer.
“Today, everything – from finding jobs to applying for jobs, from conducting research to submitting your findings, is done on the Internet,” said Darlene Staffeldt, Montana State Librarian. “Montana’s low population density creates a situation that makes broadband service uneconomical or prohibitively expensive to many consumers.  With this grant, our goal is to change that reality and take the first steps toward making online access and information equally and readily available to all Montanans.”
In addition to the $1.8 million from the federal government, the Montana State Library, in partnership with 42 Montana public libraries, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) will provide an additional $867,231 in matching funds, bringing the total grant award to $2,696,704. The matching funds will be a combination of contributions from Montana State Library staff that will provide their time and expertise, as well as a variety of in-kind and cash contributions from a range of other Montana public libraries, and a cash grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“We are delighted that the North Valley Public Library will receive funding to expand our broadband capacity and computer training as part of this federal initiative,” said Seth Pollman. “The increased access to information will be a boon to our community, providing resources for people who may not otherwise have access to them.”
“Federal investments in connecting libraries to high-quality Internet service are critical to realizing the universal broadband access our country needs,” said Jill Nishi, deputy director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s U.S. Libraries program. “When libraries provide broadband to communities, they can deliver valuable online opportunities that help people find jobs, further their education, and access important government information. We hope that this BTOP award will help other public and private funders to understand the importance of investing in public technology access at Montana’s public libraries.”
“Last year, Montana public libraries saw nearly one million uses of their public computers.  What that tells us is that far too many Montanans do not have Internet access in their homes,” said Staffeldt. “In fact, we know that of those Montanans who do not have home Internet access, 67% rely totally on their local libraries to provide the Internet access they need and on which they depend. Clearly, our public libraries are critical access points to information.”
The grant allows the State Library to partner with 42 of Montana’s public libraries, which will make sustainable broadband enhancements available to 86% of the Montana population. Improved access to the disabled will be provided through a combination of ADA recommended software, hardware, and furniture, and through minor construction projects aimed at increasing accessibility of computing center facilities. The plan also includes increasing Montanans’ computer literacy by offering a combination of face-to-face and online courses for librarians and patrons.
At the North Valley Public Library broadband enhancements will include:

  • 8 new public computer work stations
  • 2 new children’s computer work stations
  • 1 new ADA (American Disabilities Act) computer work station
  • New computer work station chairs & accessories
  • New public printer
  • 6 wireless laptop computers (coming soon – not yet available)
  • Public training classes (coming soon – not yet available)

“The staff of the Montana State Library is absolutely committed to improving the lives of Montana citizens. I’m proud of what the State Library has brought home to the people of this state,” said Staffeldt. “Today we have made an important step in building a bridge to eliminate the digital and educational divide that we know exists in Montana and that keeps many of our citizens vulnerable and disenfranchised.”
On August 5th from 6-8pm, North Valley Public Library will host an Open House for the public to observe the new equipment and to ask questions of BTOP Technology Training Specialist, Seth Pollman. The North Valley Public Library is located at 208 Main Street, Stevensville.
For more information about the BTOP grant, contact Sara Groves, Marketing and Communications Coordinator, at (406) 444-5357 or via e-mail at: sgroves@mt.gov
For more information about the BTOP Open House at North Valley Public Library, contact Seth Pollman at 777-5061.

Events scheduled on Bitterroot Forest
The Bitterroot National Forest will host two recreational events later this month on the Darby Ranger District. Both events are occurring under a special use permit issued by the Forest.
On Sunday, July 17 the Bitterroot Land Trust is holding its third annual mountain bike tour. The 56-mile ride starts on Sleeping Child Road and heads up Skalkaho Road before turning on to Forest Roads #75 and #720 in the Sleeping Child drainage. All roads will remain open to vehicles and signs will be posted along the route alerting motorists of cyclists on the road.
The second event is occurring on Saturday, July 23 at the Lake Como Recreation Area. The third annual Lake Como Triathlon will begin at 8 a.m. and last until around 2 p.m. Participants will compete in a 0.9 mile swim, 12.6 mile bike ride and 7.7 mile run.  The event is open to the public but parking is limited, so carpooling is encouraged. All vehicles need a day or season pass to park in the Lake Como Recreation Area. The $5 day passes can be purchased on site, at all Forest Service offices, and at area retailers including Bob Ward’s, Mr. T’s in Darby and the Anglers Roost in Hamilton.
For more information contact the Darby Ranger District at 821-3913.

 

Diagnostic plant clinics scheduled
Need a plant doctor? Want to know what that pesky weed is growing in your yard?
The MSU Ravalli County Extension Office is offering a diagnostic plant clinic for landowners, gardeners and anyone with a question about plant diseases, insects, weeds or just what is wrong with my tree, shrub, etc!
The clinics are July 25, August 8 and August 22 at the Ravalli County Extension Meeting Room from 10 a.m. to 12 noon and 1 to 3 p.m. All clinics are on Mondays to accommodate the volunteers helping with the diagnostic work and to ensure that, if necessary, samples are sent to Bozeman in a timely fashion. Local, retired insect and plant specialists will work in the clinic along with Master Gardeners.
If you have a plant or insect problem, a good sample of the affected plant or the insect will help us diagnose the problem accurately and make a management recommendation for you. When bringing a plant, insect, or turf sample for diagnosis to one of the Plant Clinics, failure to provide an adequate sample or give complete information about the sample will greatly affect the quality of the diagnosis. When you submit a sample you will also be asked to complete a form about your plant or insect problem.
Things to consider when bring a specimen to the clinic:
• Select a plant specimen showing distinct disease symptoms. If it’s not practical to bring the entire plant, try to select several plants or plant parts that show the various stages of the problem; a plant showing the early stages of the disease, a plant that is severely affected and if possible include a healthy plant.
• Diagram or describe any apparent patterns of damage. The plant pathologists who make the diagnoses have to depend on you to know how the disease looked at the site when the sample was taken.
• Dig up the entire plant where practical, including its root structure. Try not to pull it out because diseased roots will be left behind. Wrap the roots in a plastic bag separate from the rest of the plant to prevent dirt from contaminating leaves and stems.
• Tree diseases can best be diagnosed by evaluating the junction of diseased and healthy tissue. Include twigs or limbs just beginning to show symptoms, but still alive. Old, dead limbs are useless
For more information, contact the MSU/Ravalli County Extension Office at 375-6611.

 

Bitterroot College Program growth leads to expansion
After two years of providing courses, the Bitterroot College Program of The University of Montana is growing so quickly it is expanding its facility. In fall 2009, the Hamilton-based BCP offered six college courses in which 29 students enrolled. This fall the program expects to enroll more than 200 students in 35 courses.
In addition to the BCP’s college programming, during the 2010-11 academic year the BCP served more than 300 students seeking workforce training in computer applications and business planning. Plus, another 150 students participated in cultural enrichment programming offered through the BCP’s lecture series, which included lectures on climate change, music appreciation and Montana history.
“There clearly is a demand in the Bitterroot for easier access to higher education opportunities,” said John Robinson, chair of the BCP Steering Committee. “We’re eager to grow and continue to provide additional services to our students.”
The BCP delivered all its college and workforce training courses from two classrooms at the Ravalli Entrepreneurship Center. While initially sufficient, the two classrooms are no longer adequate to handle BCP’s growing enrollment. UM has leased an additional 3,300 square feet of space at the center and will pay the costs of remodeling the new classroom space before autumn semester begins Aug. 29.
“With this expansion, we will have a dedicated computer classroom, a science laboratory and a lecture classroom,” said Victoria Clark, BCP interim director. “We are excited to provide our students and our community with an improved learning environment to enhance their educational experience.”
As in most college expansion projects, the BCP is counting on private support for part of the funding necessary to expand. The program has identified $50,000 in equipment and furniture costs for which it is seeking the community’s support. Individuals or businesses who make gifts at certain levels will have the opportunity to name rooms in the facility.
“This is the first fundraising effort for the BCP, and we’re looking forward to getting a lot of people involved in growing the program,” Clark said. “We think they will see the wisdom in investing in this invaluable community asset that directly impacts the county’s economic vitality.”
To give a tax-deductible contribution, call Clark at 375-0100, email victoria.clark@umontana.edu or make a donation online at http://www.umt.edu/bcp/donations.aspx.


Travelers’ Rest to host Salish-Bitterroot Youth Cultural Exchange
Traveler’s Rest State Park near Lolo will host two days of a youth cultural exchange this week that will pair middle school students from the Bitterroot Valley with youth from the Flathead Reservation to learn about the Salish history of the valley.
The first annual Salish-Bitterroot Cultural Exchange is a result of an extensive partnership led by Bitter Root Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) program. Bitter Root RC&D says the goal of the exchange is to connect the youth that now live in the Bitterroot Valley with the youth of the people who historically lived there (the Salish) to the common connection that they share on the landscape.
Twenty-four seventh grade students and many of their parents will spend four days with elders from the reservation and valley, sharing stories and places that will help the youth learn more about the history and culture of the Bitterroot Valley. The first two days of the camp will be held at Fales Flat group use area in the West Fork of the Bitterroot on the Bitterroot National Forest.
Travelers’ Rest State Park Manager, Loren Flynn, says that the public is invited to view the camp closing ceremonies at Travelers’ Rest State Park from 12:30 to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 16. Camp participants will also create a photo display of their experience that will be on display at the state park visitor center through the middle of August. The camp participants will also create the first phase of a replica Salish encampment in the riparian area along Lolo Creek as part of a service project at the park.
To reach the state park to take part in the closing ceremonies or to view the photo display, travel approximately ½ mile west of Lolo on Highway 12 to the park entrance. Travelers’ Rest State Park hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day June through August. The Holt Museum and Visitor Center at Travelers’ Rest is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day.
Other partners that have worked together to make this first annual Salish-Bitterroot Cultural Exchange possible include Bitterroot National Forest, Merging Waters Educational Center, Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribe (CSKT) Cultural Committee, CSKT Tribal Council, CSKT Education Department, Salish Kootenai College, The People’s Center Museum, and numerous other individual volunteers.

 

 

Obituaries

Marvin F. Bell

Marvin F. Bell, 94, of Hamilton, entered into rest April 17, five hours after the birth of his eleventh great-grandchild. He was surrounded by his wife of 69 years and many family members.

Mr. Bell was a long time resident of the Bitterroot Valley, as well as a very active and involved member of both the farming and ranching community and the business community.  He made enumerable contributions of his time and skills to ensure that many others could enjoy the life he loved here.

Survivors include his wife, Agnes; son Ron (Tanzy) Bell, daughter Pat (Jim) Rouse; seven grandchildren; eleven great-grandchildren; and many, many friends.

A celebration of Mr. Bell’s life will be held 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 16 at the Bell Family Lake Property (South edge of town). The family suggests that memorial contributions be made in Mr. Bell’s name to the Bitter Root Land Trust.

 

Rose M. Filcher

Rose M. Filcher, 80, of Eugene, went to be with God on Saturday July 9, 2011, following complications from cancer. She was preceded in death by her parents, and her husband John.

She was born November 14, 1930 in Stevensville, Montana to Eugene and Effie Mastel of Missoula Montana. She moved with her family to Yakima, Washington when she was 6 years old. She enjoyed working on the farm there, and enjoyed picking and eating wonderful Washington State apples and cherries! She loved her cousin Mary, spending many wonderful hours in play together. She returned to Montana with her family in 1947, and she enjoyed farm work again, milking cows, and raising chickens. She went to work in Stevensville dispensing sodas and cones to hungry or thirsty shoppers. One of those shoppers was John Filcher, whom she dated and married, and they established a little place on 6th street in Missoula, giving Rose the opportunity to establish a household, and raise a

Family.

She is survived by her two sons, Steven of Reno, and Jerry of Eugene, as well as six grandchildren and one great grandchild. She is also survived by her brothers George of St. Ignatius, and Tom of Lolo, as well as sisters Loretta of Missoula, and Shirley of Polson.

She moved with her family to Eugene, Oregon in 1973 and enjoyed the vast Willamette Valley, as well as trips to see the Pacific Ocean. She missed being around children, which was really her life’s work, and so she accpeted a job at Whittaker Elementary School, working in the library, and as an assistant teacher, a job she really enjoyed. She worked at Whittaker school for 16 years, retiring for health concerns.

She enjoyed many good retirement years with her husband John, friends and family. She traveled a fair amount, enjoying significant events in her grandkids’ lives, like high school and college graduation ceremonies, and a wedding. She would visit Montana in the summer time, spending time with friends and family there, enjoying outdoor Montana recreation and fishing. Sometimes she would travel to Arizona in the wintertime, taking on the role of a snow bird, visiting with family there.

Visitation services will be in Springfield at Buell Chapel on Wednesday, July 13th. Final services and burial will be in Stevensville on Saturday, July 16th.

 

Theodore ‘Ted’ Neuman

Theodore ‘Ted’ Ralph Neuman passed away unexpectedly July 4, 2011 in Stevensville, Montana, taking care of the land he loved.

Ted was born January 5, 1923 in Roundup, Montana to William H. Neuman and Elsie Mae (Sealey) Neuman. He graduated from Roundup High School in 1941 and in the fall of that year entered Carroll College in Helena, Montana. Upon the invasion of Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the US Navy and Marine Corps. He was accepted as a Naval Cadet and stationed in Pensacola, Florida for training as a Navy pilot. After graduation, he flew PBY Catalinaís for reconnaissance and air-sea rescue missions on the Atlantic coast and in the Aleutian Islands. Near the end of WWII he was stationed on an aircraft carrier bound for Japan when the war ended. After an honorable discharge from the Navy he returned to Montana and took a job as a tour bus driver for Yellowstone National Park and worked for several years taking tourists all around the Park. He then returned to Montana State College in Bozeman, Montana to resume his education and graduated in 1951 with a degree in Agricultural Engineering.

While attending college he met the love of his life, Rosemarie Schneiter from Belgrade, Montana. They were married in Bozeman, Montana on November 26, 1953. Ted worked for many years as a Design Engineer building dams and reservoirs across the state of Montana. Ted, Rosemarie and family moved to Stevensville in 1969 and purchased a farm NE of town where they settled in to raise cows and kids. Ted became a Registered Land Surveyor and had his own business. For many years he worked up and down the Bitterroot Valley.

Ted was a self-taught musician who influenced not only his family but many others to learn and enjoy Old Time music. The Neumans played as a family many times together in a variety of venues. After the children grew up and left home, Ted and Rose continued playing music and were active members of the Old Time Fiddlers Association. Ted is preceded in death by his parents, sister Sr. Mary Carmella, brothers John and Jim. He is survived by his wife Rosemarie; children: Irene (Ed) Cornelius, Oregon, Laura (Charles) Vashon Island, Washington, Dan (Tonya) Missoula and Tim (Theresa) Great Falls, nine grandchildren, three great grandchildren, sister Helen Hughes of Wolf Creek as well as several nieces and nephews.  Ted will be greatly missed as a man, husband, father, grandfather, musician, friend and patriot.

A memorial service was held Saturday, July 9, 2011 at the Stevensville Senior Center, 100 Mission St., Stevensville, MT.

In lieu of flowers, please make remembrances to American Legion or VFW.

 

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