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The Glacier County Commissioners met May 14 in Browning and approved two funding requests and a bid for a vehicle seized by the Glacier County’s Sheriff Office. 

On hand for the meeting were Commissioners Michael DesRosier and Tom McKay, Treasurer Don Wilson and Human Resources Director Mike Kittson. Commissioner John Overcast had a doctor’s appointment and with Melanie Heavy Runner on vacation, Kittson took the official meeting minutes.

Blackfeet Extension Agent, Montana State University Extension Service, Verna Billedeaux appeared and discussed the upcoming 4-H Fair at Charging Home Stampede Park and asked for the county’s continued support. 

In recounting her 24 years with the program, Billedeaux said she started with just three members in 1995 and grew the program to 103 members in a few years. Back then, her membership would attend the Marias Fair each year, but issues arose over families spending money for travel and lodging, among other things. Finally, she said the families had enough and her membership declined to 29.

In response, her board voted to hold their own fair, and this year marks the 10th anniversary of the 4-H Fair in Browning. Her membership is back up to 103, and the program enjoys family support. In addition, the local attraction features up activities that encourage other kids to get involved.

Commission Chairman Michael DesRosier noted the county supports both the Marias Fair in Shelby and the 4-H Fair in Browning. He added Glacier County also contributes in-kind services, such as road improvements, for the Browning 4-H Fair.  DesRosier said he would like to see it grow into a fair for Glacier County, but “for now 4-H is great to showcase our kids.”

Billedeaux said her program receives $5,000 from Glacier County and from the Blackfeet Tribe, as well as selling advertising banners to local businesses that amounts to around $7,000 annually. “It’s a nice, safe place for the kids,” she said. “We get support from all over.”

The Commissioners approved $5,000 in funding as well as some in-kind work. Glacier County has provided $5,000 in funding for the event since 2016. From 2010 to 2015, Glacier County donated $2,500 to the fair. Glacier County also contributes $2,500 annually to the Marias Fair.

Glacier County Treasurer Don Wilson said he thinks there may be mill levies available that could be used to support her program, like the levies that are now being sent to the Soil Conservation Service. He said he would contact the Montana Association of Counties to learn more about such possibilities.

Glacier County Sheriff’s Captain Tom Seifert presented a pair of sealed bids as a result of the county’s first online auction of surplus equipment. DesRosier commended Seifert and the GCSO on their handling of last week’s shooting incident prior to opening the bids. “It speaks highly of the personnel,” DesRosier said. “I think we have one of the best sheriff’s departments in Montana.”

Captain Seifert thanked the Commissioners and recommended they watch the video once the matter has been adjudicated. “We’re a group of small communities, but we’re not immune from big city problems,” Seifert said.

The bids presented were for a 2000 Dodge pickup that was a drug seizure acquisition. “The only part worth anything is the engine,” Seifert noted. Bids were received from Brandon Matthews for $538.67 and Cut Bank Auto Body for $825. The Commissioners accepted the higher bid.

Buoyed by the successful online offering, Mike Kittson said he is working to put other surplus items up for auction on the county website.

Eileen Henderson introduced herself as head of the Safe On All Roads (SOAR) program, as well as the Glacier County DUI Task Force. She asked the Commissioners to continue supporting the Task Force.

“We do high visibility campaigns,” she said, adding the Montana Department of Transportation pays her wages while the Blackfeet Tribe supplies office space. New to the job, Henderson has been meeting with stakeholders such as the Commissioners, Sheriff’s Department, Crystal Creek Lodge and the Tribal Council to get them on board.

Henderson said she looked over the former director’s impaired driving program and offered to provide it to the Commissioners, but said she wasn’t able to determine how much the program received from the county. She said the state’s contribution was $20,000, and Wilson said he will get her any reports that might help. The Commissioners approved funding the program at the previous level.

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