Voices Of Montana

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Recent VOM News

Property Tax Assessment Alert

Property Tax Assessment Alert

Property Owners should have recently received their notice of new appraised values.  Owners of residential, commercial, and agricultural properties receive a revaluation of their properties from the State of Montana every two years. The notice you receive shows those new values as well as the value of the property from ...
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There has been some movement with the Keystone Pipeline

There has been some movement with the Keystone Pipeline

We talked with Alan Olson, Executive Director of the Montana Petroleum Association about what the recent 9th Circuit Ruling means and where the project goes from here ...
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DC Update with Our Congressman

DC Update with Our Congressman

There has been quite a bit happening in DC this week. We got an update from Congressman Greg Gianforte on the Affordable Clean Energy Rule as well as took your calls ...
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New Solution in Dealing with Industry By-Product Water

New Solution in Dealing with Industry By-Product Water

The Problem: Industry (Oil & Manufacturing) has too much By-Product Water Encore Green Environmental Solution: Clean the By-Product Water and use it to grow vegetation. If we do, then everyone wins! Encore Green Environmental works with Landowners, Oil Companies, Manufacturing Plants, Government Regulators, Policy Makers, Environmentalists, and Concerned Citizens, we will be ...
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MT State Parks Foundation and How They Support Our State Parks

MT State Parks Foundation and How They Support Our State Parks

There is a lot of work that goes into maintaining our great State Parks. We took your calls and talked with Coby Gierke, Executive Director about the Montana State Parks Foundation and how they support our State Parks, what projects they are currently working on, and how you can have ...
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LWCF: Congress voted to permanently reauthorize LWCF but the bill signed by Trump didn’t include mandatory funding… find out what this means to Montana

LWCF: Congress voted to permanently reauthorize LWCF but the bill signed by Trump didn’t include mandatory funding… find out what this means to Montana

For more than 50 years, The Land and Water Conservation Fund has been America’s most important conservation program, responsible for protecting parks, trails, wildlife refuges and recreation areas at the federal, state and local level. LWCF does not use any taxpayer dollars – it is funded using a small portion ...
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Miss Montana: How the program changes lives for the positive

Miss Montana: How the program changes lives for the positive

As her current reign comes to a close, we spoke to the current Miss Montana, Laura Haller, What has the past year meant to her and about being the first Miss Montana to receive the STEM scholarship from the National Miss America Pageant. We also discussed the upcoming Miss Montana ...
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Congressman Greg Gianforte

Congressman Greg Gianforte

We took your calls as we talk with Congressman Gianforte on the various events he is attending over the weekend as well as what is currently happening in DC ...
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Challenges Facing Rural Law Enforcement

Challenges Facing Rural Law Enforcement

This was a unique opportunity to discuss the Challenges Facing Law Enforcement in Montana. The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) are two of the largest granting entities within the U.S. Department of Justice. For the first time the directors of BJA ...
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Why is weed control important and What are Integrated Weed Management Best Practices

Why is weed control important and What are Integrated Weed Management Best Practices

Integrated Weed Management (IWM) is an way to manage weeds utilizing multiple control tactics. According to IntegratedWeedManagement.org, "Herbicide application is the main weed control strategy used. Reliance on this one method has led to the development of herbicide-resistant weeds. There are a limited number of herbicides available to use and ...
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Great things came out of the VP Visit, We heard about it with US Marshall, Rod Ostermiller

Great things came out of the VP Visit, We heard about it with US Marshall, Rod Ostermiller

We looked forward to having US  Marshall Rod Ostermiller in the studio to give his first hand account of meeting with Vice President Mike Pence to discuss the Meth Epidemic in Montana ...
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We caught up with Superintendent of Public Instruction, Elsie Arntzen

We caught up with Superintendent of Public Instruction, Elsie Arntzen

What is available for teachers and students during the school year. What resources are available for parents. And, how are things going out on the Campaign Trail. Photo Credit: The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction ...
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Dr Al Olszewski, State Senator, Former State Representative, and Candidate for Governor

Dr Al Olszewski, State Senator, Former State Representative, and Candidate for Governor

Learn more about Dr. Al Olszewski and why he feels he is the best option to be the next Governor for Montana. Dr. Al is a third-generation Montanan and native of Great Falls. He graduated from Carroll College in Helena, completed medical school at the University of Washington. He went ...
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The People’s Compact

The People’s Compact

In this podcast you will hear from Catherine Vandemoer, Ph.D. the Chair of Montana Land and Water Alliance.  Topics of discussion include the objectives to the CSKT Water Compact, How it differs from other Tribal Water Compacts, and how it impacts not only the entire State of Montana but also ...
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Re-districting. What does this mean and how does it affect you? Jeff Essmann joins VOM to answer your questions.

Re-districting. What does this mean and how does it affect you? Jeff Essmann joins VOM to answer your questions.

It is time for Montana’s ten-year Legislative Re-districting process, meaning that Montana will soon create new boundaries for state Legislative Districts.  The lines are redrawn every 10 years following the U.S. Census because Federal Law stipulates that districts must have nearly equal population.  Drawing the new state legislative district boundaries ...
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Who wouldn’t want to win thousands or even millions of dollars? There are plenty of tips to protect your self from Sweepstakes/Lottery Scams, find out more during the AARP Fraud Watch Friday

Who wouldn’t want to win thousands or even millions of dollars? There are plenty of tips to protect your self from Sweepstakes/Lottery Scams, find out more during the AARP Fraud Watch Friday

Who wouldn’t want to win thousands or even millions of dollars, or the chance to go on a luxury vacation? There are many legitimate sweepstakes and contests out there, and the idea of winning some fabulous prize can be mighty alluring. Con artists get that, and they exploit your eagerness ...
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Summer is a deadly in Construction Work Zones! MT Contractors Assn Exec David Smith says their members take that very seriouslyo

Summer is a deadly in Construction Work Zones! MT Contractors Assn Exec David Smith says their members take that very seriouslyo

Summer brings “Road Construction Season” in Montana!  Combine that with a few million visiting Tourists and it’s a dangerous time for motorists facing more challenging commutes and increased distractions.  Nationally there are 158,000 work zone crashes a year…one every 5.4 minutes…with nearly 800 deaths,  The new Executive Director of the ...
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Find out how things are in the banking industry and the economic climate in Montana with Bill Coffee CEO of Stockman Bank

Find out how things are in the banking industry and the economic climate in Montana with Bill Coffee CEO of Stockman Bank

Colter Brown took  your calls as he interviews Bill Coffee, CEO of Stockman Bank. We found out how things are in the banking industry and much more in this half of the program ...
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  • 9:00 AM-10:00 AM
    January 12, 2017

    The U.S. Forest Service recently decided to reroute a road in the Bridger Mountains near Bozeman rather than engage in a costly court battle with a landowner to obtain a prescriptive easement across his property. For many access advocates, that rational agreement represents a slippery slope.

    The decision to negotiate rather than litigate stands in stark contrast to an access dispute between a small landowner on Indian Creek south of Ennis and the USFS. In October, U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon issued an opinion in which the USFS prevailed with a finding that it has a prescriptive easement for a trail running through the front yard of the 80-acre property. Unfortunately, the landowner spent over a million dollars of their own money, and the USFS spent millions of taxpayer dollars on the litigation. This is the slippery slope that we should all be concerned about.

    Consider the fact that the USFS had a letter of agreement from the landowner giving the USFS an easement across the property not by prescription, but by a grant from the landowner. The letter of agreement established a new trail location and required the landowner to pay for construction of the new trail and two new bridges. According to Madison District Ranger Mark Petroni (Feb. 10, 2006), “They (the landowner) have offered to partner with us to acquire an easement across their property, assist with acquisition of an easement across their neighbor the CB Ranch and help fund NEPA (environmental review) and construction of a new trail location that avoids their lawn. This potential partnership is too good to pass up.”

     Despite the fact that the landowner maintained the trail and existing bridge, never once denied access to the Lee Metcalf Wilderness Area, and never suggested that access would be denied in the future, the USFS ended its good neighbor policy on Sept. 1, 2011, and pursued a prescriptive easement instead. It filed a statement of interest stating that, “The United States of America states that it has and claims an easement for the Indian Creek trail 328 over and across” the private land. Based on that statement of interest, the landowner sought to clarify or “quiet” its title.
    Establishing a prescriptive easement requires that the USFS must show open, notorious, exclusive, adverse, continuous and uninterrupted use by the public on private land without permission from the landowner. Historically that has been a high bar, but the judge lowered that bar in the Indian Creek case granting the prescriptive easement based on a USFS Trail Registers from 1969 and from 1970 showing only 30 users per year. Moreover, the Indian Creek landowner posted signs notifying trail users that they were crossing private property with “gratuitous permission.”

    The message to all landowners is clear: If you allow even a few people to cross your property to access public land, you may find yourself in court spending millions on lawyers and losing control of your property. With that message, it is reasonable to expect that many landowners will stop allowing access.

    To see how far the USFS is willing to push its interest in access across private property, consider the advice from District Ranger Alex Sienkiewicz (Yellowstone Ranger District) posted on July 7, 2016, on the Facebook page of the Public Land/Water Access Association: “NEVER ask permission to access the National Forest Service through a traditional route shown on our maps EVEN if that route crosses private land. NEVER ASK PERMISSION; NEVER SIGN IN (concerns—come see me)… Whatever past (district rangers) or colleagues have said, I am making it clear, DO NOT ASK permission and DO NOT ADVISE publics to ask permission… By asking permission, one undermines public access rights and plays into their lawyers’ trap of establishing a history of permissive access.” Landowners beware!

    Access disputes will continue as a growing population pushes for more access across private lands. The dilemma facing public land management agencies is whether to pursue litigation or negotiation. Not only is litigation costly to landowners and the government, it tears at the social fabric of cooperation among landowners, federal and state agencies, and public land users that has been the tradition in Montana. Let’s hope that the Forest Service’s decision in the Bridger Mountain case does set precedent.

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  • 9:00 AM-10:00 AM
    January 13, 2017

    Eight years ago it came to our attention in Washington County MD that a non-profit group (Virginia Council of Churches) had been bringing refugees into the city of Hagerstown (county seat) for a couple of years. Some problems arose and citizens started to take an interest and ask questions about how this federal program works. Our local paper had no interest in finding the facts, so we decided to find them ourselves.

    Check it all out refugee resettlement 

    One of the many startling things we found out about this very quiet effort is that these non-profit groups bring to the US on average each year 15,000 (FY90-FY03) Muslim refugees from the Middle East, Africa, the Balkans, etc, almost completely funded by the US Government through grants and contracts to these non-government agencies. Of the 168 refugees brought to our county since 2004, 125 are Muslim. Although we all have sympathy for persecuted and suffering people there are real questions to be answered about the wisdom of this policy.

    It turns out that there are hotbeds of this refugee resettlement controversy throughout the US.  We have identified some of those.   Because the issue is much more complicated than we initially realized, we have set up this online community organizing center at https://refugeeresettlementwatch.wordpress.com/ .

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Montana News Headlines

On Voices of Montana

  • Petroleum Association on President Trump’s Keystone Permit

    Today on Voices of Montana Alan Olson, Executive Director of the Montana Petroleum Association, was asked about the efficacy of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline now that President Donald Trump has issued a new permit to cross the Montana/Canadian Border. Hear Alan Olson’s response Listen to the Entire Show Here
  • Save Colstrip and the Mueller Report

    Greg Gianforte called us live from the swamp to update us on the Mueller Report. Colstrip United Representatives discussed the “Save Colstrip Bill” Senator Tom Richmond (SD 28), and Senator Duane Ankney (SD 20) joined us. Click To Listen
  • Working through issues on Colstrip Power Plant

    Today, we heard Public Service Commissioner Roger Koopmans’ thoughts on Colstrip. The PSC, NorthWestern Energy and the Montana Legislature are working through some issues that revolve around Colstrip Power Plant. Click To Listen      
  • Does the state of Montana really need to expand Medicaid Insurance?

    We started with John Doran, VP of External affairs and Chief of Staff with Blue Cross Blue Shield as he gave us his ideas on Medicaid expansion. Also joining us on the show was Tom McGillvrey with the Montana State Senate and Senator Dr. Al Olszewski, who also spoke on …
  • The Columbia River Treaty

    The Columbia River Treaty between Canada and the United States is an agreement that was reached in 1964 to manage flood risk and hydropower. Canada was compensated in the agreement by receiving half of the value of the electricity generated from the Libby Dam. Eureka Senator Mike Cuffe was on …

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