Elk Creek FEMA Grant Update

The Lewis and Clark County Disaster and Emergency Services Division has applied for a $75,000 Advanced Assistance Grant through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in response to the two Elk Creek flood events in Augusta in 2018 and 2019.

Elk Creek presents a dilemma because there have been no hydrological or hydraulics studies done on it and we truly don’t know why it has started to present the problems it has. While this grant cannot be used for “dirt moving,” it can be used to create mitigation plans or conduct studies. If Lewis and Clark County is awarded the grant, it will be used to conduct a Hydraulics and Hydrological (H & H) study on an approximate three-mile length of Elk Creek from Augusta Clemens Road to just east of Augusta on Highway 21.

These studies are expensive; fortunately, there is already LIDAR data available through the Montana Department of Transportation when they flew the area in 2018 for bridgework. They covered a wider area than actually needed, but for their purposes, didn’t have to process it all. Because it’s State data, the County can use it, but we have to pay to have it processed. That is where this grant would come in. 

The goal is to hire an engineering firm to take the MDT LIDAR data, translate it to a map and conduct additional ground surveys to provide a complete study. The ground surveys, called terrestrial surveys, need to be done to provide a more complete picture. To better understand why, think of a paper towel roll sitting on the floor. Looking down on it from above, it might look like a flat, solid piece, perhaps with curvature to the top. Unless you change your view, you’d never know it’s hollow. The terrestrial survey will identify the “hollows” and add them to the surface the model will be built on.

Once the model is functional, it will be public information. It can then be used to identify projects that will help alleviate flooding in Augusta. It can be used to predict what and where flooding will occur and more importantly, used to validate project effectiveness and to permit projects. Landowners will be able to use it for the same purpose.

To assist with potential projects identified through the study, the County will likely apply for additional FEMA grants.

The County is awaiting official notification of award.

Get election information from trusted sources

The Lewis and Clark County elections is hearing from people who are concerned about the security of the upcoming election. It can be hard to get accurate information about how elections work; conversations happen at the national level, but elections are administered locally with different laws in each state. Adding to this confusion, we know from our election security training that foreign entities are deliberately spreading disinformation about our elections through social media, and citizens are unknowingly sharing misleading posts. We want to remind our citizens that they should get their election information from trusted sources, like their local county election office or the Montana Secretary of State’s Office.

Lewis and Clark County is conducting the election by mail with in-person voting also available October 2 through Election Day. This best fits with the CDC’s advice to reduce the number of voters who congregate indoors and to offer a variety of voting options for a longer period of time.

Here’s how it works for voters:

  • Ballots will be mailed starting October 9, 2020. Ballots are not mass-mailed. We only send ballots to active and provisionally registered voters, which means we have already verified their registration application and have their signature on file.
  • Return postage is prepaid. You should mail your ballot back at least one week before the election or drop your ballot off in person. The instructions mailed with your ballot will list these options.
  • Ballots will continue to be mailed out daily as new registration forms and updates are processed. Within a week of the election (starting October 27), you should appear in person at the elections office if you have not voted yet.
  • In-person voting is available October 2 through Election Day, November 3. At the in-person location you can:
    • Vote/Drop-off the ballot you received in the mail.
    • Request and vote a ballot.

Here’s what we do in the elections office:

  • Voter registration lists are maintained for accuracy according to state law. Additional outreach will be done before Election Day to target people with recent address changes or outdated voting information.
  • Deceased persons are regularly removed from the rolls based on familial contact, local obituaries, and state and local government death records.
  • Ballots are inventoried and tracked. We know how many blank ballots we ordered. We track each ballot issued and each ballot returned.
  • The signature on every single returned ballot is verified by trained staff. If there is an issue, the voter is notified about how to resolve it.
  • Accepted ballots move through a series of reconciliations, each completed by a different staff person. Staff must sign off on their work and check the work from the preceding step. Anytime voted ballots are removed from envelopes, two staff must be present.
  • We will not hesitate to refer allegations of fraud for investigation; we carefully file all the envelopes we receive in case we need to access one and provide it as evidence.
  • Ballots are counted on tabulating machines that are not connected to the internet, are stored in a room with a security sensor, and have tamper proof seals over all ports. They are tested prior to and on election day and are audited after the election. Staff that operate the machines sign off on reports showing how many ballots they received and counted. Results are not released to the public until after voting closes at 8pm on Election Day.

We hope that voters will take advantage of the opportunity to vote early, and especially to register and receive their ballot through the mail. This will reduce the number of people that need to vote in-person on Election Day and will therefore reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission to voters and election workers. For some voters, appearing in-person will be the best or only option. Our in-person operations will be socially distanced and operated according to public health guidelines. On Election Day, we will make a “park and vote” option available so you can request and vote your ballot from your vehicle. We will also have a drive-through/walk-up ballot drop off available at the City-County building once ballots have mailed out.

Visit www.lccountymt.gov/car/elections for more trusted voting information.

Gilman Road Realignment near Augusta

After many years in the making, the Lewis and Clark County road and bridge crew successfully realigned Gilman Road in Augusta this summer.

Augusta’s own Lewis Arrotta oversaw the project, with help from Doug Gull and Kelly DelaHunt as well as Larry Chapman, Assistant Road and Bridge Superintendent.

Taking three weeks, coordination with everyone involved was key. First, old fences were moved and a survey crew staked the centerline. Once utility companies marked their lines, the County was stripping topsoil the next day.

New culvert crossing and approach culverts were installed and lot’s of dirt was moved. The realignment called for the existing roadway and railroad bed to be cut down and that dirt placed in the new alignment. The material was graded, watered and compacted in place. It took about a week to achieve subgrade.

The crew than hauled pit-run base material from the Augusta Water and Sewer District. Prior to this project, the County had entered into a five-year contract with the Water and Sewer District to obtain these materials for road use. This has been a big win for both side as the County needs the material the Water and Sewer District has no use for.

Hauling these materials out of Helena or Great Falls would have been cost prohibitive. The County will pay $4,445 for 1,270+ cubic yards (127 dump truck loads) of material, which would have otherwise cost approximately $30,000. Because it was affordable, the County was able to do these improvements.

Once the material was hauled, it was crushed with a PTH tractor to make a suitable road surface. It was then sprayed with magnesium chloride to lock the crushed gravel together and keep down the dust from the new construction. Finally, new fences were installed.

The County would like to thank all the landowners who were so cooperative. Many had to move livestock until the new fences could be reinstalled, and everyone was more than accommodating.

County Commissioners COVID-19 Update to our Communities

This photo was taken pre-COVID-19 pandemic. The Commissioners follow CDC and Lewis & Clark Public Health recommendations and protocols, including social distancing and wearing masks.

May 21, 2020

Dear Lewis and Clark County Community,

We are several months into the COVID-19 pandemic and how our world has changed! While there are still many uncertainties, we continue to look for solutions on how to navigate these uncharted waters. However, one thing remains the same: Lewis and Clark County government continues to operate and figure out how to balance accountability to the taxpayers with the health and safety of the community and our employees.

The operation of government has never ceased as we work to comply with the CDC, Lewis and Clark Public Health, and the Governor’s directives. Navigating the challenges of finding a balance and putting new protocols in place has come with one constant directive from the Commissioners: be kind, be generous, and be thoughtful.

On May 20, County elected officials met to discuss the challenges each has faced in this pandemic, as well as future planning efforts. We want ensure that despite being separate elected offices, the County is working together as a team. With direction from Lewis and Clark Public Health, “adapt and overcome” is the common theme.  

Leo Gallagher, County Attorney, said they are seeing a record number of filings, although trials for most of April and all of May and June have been vacated due to difficulties summoning a jury in the midst of COVID-19. Criminal trials are now set for later in the summer, including several high profile cases. This will result in a huge workload the second half of the year. At the same time, the Civil Department is assisting Public Health in upholding its and the Governor’s COVID-19 directives and responding to inquiries, along with helping the Commissioners move forward with several controversial issues.

With all the trials later this summer, Clerk of Court Angie Sparks said they are determining how to safely bring in and select jurors, and prevent crowding in courtrooms. Many options are under consideration, including but not limited to larger venues or bringing in fewer people at a time. Each option comes with challenges and staff are working hard to find solutions.

Sheriff Leo Dutton and his office have been part of the Unified Health Command alongside Lewis and Clark Public Health, Helena Police Department and St. Peters Health. Taking a balanced and thoughtful approach, they have worked closely with Public Health to educate the public and help enforce the Governor’s and Public Health orders. Keeping COVID-19 out of the Detention Center also continues to be a high priority. Protocols are in place and continue to evolve but this is an ongoing concern. Alternative locations have been established should an inmate become infected and isolation required, but thankfully this has not yet been necessary.

On the education front, County Superintendent of Public Schools Katrina Chaney, shared some anecdotes from her work with rural schools. Wolf Creek reports it has had almost 100% participation with online learning. Kids, teachers and parents throughout the county are all working incredibly hard. While it seems kids are keeping up, it is still too soon to know the academic effects of three months of virtual learning.

Clerk and Recorder/Treasurer Paulette DeHart oversees Elections, Motor Vehicles, Property Taxes, Recorders and Treasurers offices. COVID-19 has effected all these operations, yet they continue to adapt.

The June 2, 2020, Primary Election was changed to mail ballot only, and staff has been working to ensure it goes smoothly and social distancing is practiced for those that do come into the Elections office. Looking past the Primary, the General Election will pose challenging if it remains a polling place election. Several hundred election judges are needed and are typically over the age of 65. With this population being high risk for COVID-19, few may wish to participate and finding enough election judges may be difficult. Some solutions could include consolidating locations so fewer judges are needed and going to bigger venues where social distancing will be possible. These decisions won’t be made for another few months.

Motor vehicles has been operating throughout the pandemic, but with reduced in-person services. With Phase One of the reopening, one appointment-only window and two regular windows are now open, with a third soon to be. As with everything, maintaining six feet between staff and customers, sanitizing, hand washing and wearing masks can help keep everyone safe.

The Commissioners continue moving forward on many issues such as Part 2 Zoning, Rural Improvement District decisions and the budget approval process and are working hard to ensure the public is still able to participate. Staff are evaluating the Last Chance Stampede and will make a decision in the coming weeks as to whether or not it will be held. In looking at the budget, revenues are down; however, so are expenditures. The finance office is looking closely at the budget, working with departments, and more information will be forthcoming as the budget process moves forward this summer.

As an organization, staffing is a challenge across the board. Many employees have children at home doing online learning. Some employees are immunocompromised or live with someone who is immunocompromised and must keep themselves and their families safe by social distancing and continuing to stay at home. Essential services such as law enforcement have had to find creative ways to overcome these challenges and our HR department has been excellent in helping us all navigate. We want to work with employees to make sure they stay safe, yet also must find ways to continue to get the work done.

The Commission has been involved and doing everything we can to support Public Health, Disaster and Emergency Services and all the others. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and during the lull we seem to be in, we are all taking a hard look at how we move forward, particularly if we see an uptick in cases again.

While we face many challenges, not much is impossible. With an organization full of dedicated employees who want to serve, we will keep moving steadfastly forward and ultimately come out stronger and more resilient.

Know that we care about you and will do all we can to keep our communities safe.

In community spirit, 

Lewis and Clark County Commissioners

Susan Good Geise

Jim McCormick

Andy Hunthausen

Mail ballot elections: What you need to know

In March, the Governor issued a directive allowing counties the option to conduct the June 2 Federal Primary election under Montana’s well-established mail ballot election laws. All 56 Montana Counties chose to conduct the election by mail ballot.

This is the first time a statewide election has been conducted by mail ballot. Across the nation, people are talking about moving to mail ballot elections and wondering: how do mail ballot elections work? 

The first thing to know is that in Lewis and Clark County, and indeed counties across Montana, we are accustomed to conducting elections by mail ballot. In fact, even in elections where polling places are open, most Montanans cast their vote absentee-by-mail. 

There are laws and procedures in place that account for every ballot issued, received, and counted. These processes also ensure that every person’s ballot is secret. Most importantly, these processes are open to public observation.

When someone registers to vote in Montana, a voter record is created by their county in the statewide election management and voter registration database. Every application received from a voter is scanned into this system. 

A few weeks before election day, ballots are mailed to all registered voters with an Active voting status. Mailed ballot packets include the ballot (or ballots in a primary election), instructions, a ballot secrecy envelope, and a return envelope with the voter’s affirmation.

Voters are instructed to seal their voted ballot in a ballot secrecy envelope. The voter then signs the affirmation on the return envelope and encloses the ballot secrecy envelope within the return envelope. The return envelope, signed with the enclosed ballot, must be received at the elections office or designated drop-off location by 8pm on Election Day.

In Lewis and Clark County, we set a goal of processing returned ballots the day they are received. Voters can track the status of federal election ballots online with the state’s My Voter Page service at https://app.mt.gov/voterinfo/. The online tracking service is updated every night, so if we receive and process your ballot on Monday, you will be able to see that on My Voter Page on Tuesday.

When voted ballots are received at the elections office, we compare the signature on the voter’s affirmation to the signatures scanned into the voter’s record. If the signatures match, the ballot is accepted for further processing. If the signatures do not match, or there is no signature, the voter is notified and must resolve the issue by showing ID and providing an updated signature. This signature is then applied to their voting record to assist with future signature verification.

The status of returned ballots is tracked in our election management and voter registration database. After processing batches of accepted ballots, we print a report from that database. Now we begin a series of reconciliation steps. First, staff ensure that each envelope reflected on the report is included in the batches, and vice versa. This is a double check to make sure the staff who processed the ballots in the system did everything correctly.

In the next reconciliation step, the secrecy envelopes may be separated from the signed return envelopes. Two staff are required for this step. As they work, they complete a report of the total number of return envelopes from their batches, and the total number of secrecy envelopes removed. They are also making sure that each return envelope only contains one secrecy envelope. If they encounter anything other than one secrecy envelope per return envelope, they check-in with supervisors. They document their work on reports.

Once the secrecy envelopes are separated from the return envelopes, we cannot tie a particular ballot to a voter. We can still tie the reconciliation reports together, so we have a documented paper trail accounting for each ballot received.

Starting three business days before Election Day, the ballots can be removed from the secrecy envelopes. The Election Judges who do this job complete reconciliation reports documenting how many ballots were removed from secrecy envelopes to be delivered to the tabulators that count the votes.

Starting one day before Election Day, the ballots are tabulated, which means the votes are counted. The tabulators also complete reports showing how many ballots they received and counted. Though results are tabulated the day before Election Day, they are not released until voting closes at 8pm on Election Day. 

In the end, we are able to tie the reports from the final step, tabulation, back to the first reconciliation reports from the election management system, without being able to tie the votes on a single ballot to a single voter. 

Most importantly, the steps to protect the secret ballot make these processes transparent and open to public observation

Reminders in case of flooding in Augusta this spring

In the event of another spring flood event in Augusta this year, Lewis and Clark County has several reminders for the public, as well as what resources will be available.

If water begins to flow across roadways, it is important the public obey all traffic signs and not go around barricades put up by law enforcement and road crews. Often, it is impossible to know the condition of the road underneath the water and these closures and detours are in place for public safety. Roads covered by water could collapse. Additionally, the average vehicle can be swept off the road in 12 inches of moving water and attempting to drive through it could stall your engine and cause irreparable damage.

When water is flowing down Main Street, it is also important to avoid the area. Driving through floodwater creates wakes that can push water into businesses, creating more damage than they already will have to deal with. If driving through this area is unavoidable, please slow down.

While the County no longer provides sandbags, there are approximately 12,000 still available from prior years. They are located at the Augusta Volunteer Fire Department at 408 Manix St. If necessary, sand will also be available in the parking lot, donated by the Elkhorn Community Organizations Assisting in Disaster.

Remember, do not drink, cook or wash with water from a private well that has been flooded. It can make you sick. Twenty test kits will be delivered to the Augusta volunteer fire department ahead of time for distribution if needed, and Lewis and Clark Public Health will coordinate collection and sampling. If you have questions about the safety of your well, contact the Lewis and Clark County Water Quality Protection District at 406-457-8584.

The Elkhorn COAD will have bottled water available again if wells become contaminated. The water will be at the Volunteer Fire Department ahead of time in the event of road closures preventing volunteers from getting the water to Augusta.

Avoid contact with floodwaters. All floodwater should be considered contaminated by sewage/wastewater, pet and livestock waste and other pollutants. People working in floodwaters should take precautions to avoid ingestion or contact to the extent practicable.

If COVID-19 is still a community concern, people are reminded to practice social distancing protocols should they need to pick up water or sand. This means staying at least 6 feet away from one another. Remember, health care services could be at capacity due to COVID-19 and people should do all they can to lessen the strain on services.

Finally, please remember that stream permits are required for planned projects. In the event of flooding and loss of life, property or crops is imminent, an emergency notice needs to be filed with the Lewis & Clark Conservation District, 790 Colleen St., Helena, MT 59601, lccd@mt.net or call 406-449-5000 ext. 5. Work can be done to address the immediate emergency and the notice should be filed within 15 days after doing work.

Lewis and Clark County Primary Election to be Conducted by Mail Ballot

The Lewis and Clark County Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to request the June 2, 2020 Primary Election be conducted by mail ballot in accordance with a directive issued by the Governor last week.

Under normal circumstances, the June 2 Primary election would be a polling place election. In a polling place election, ballots are only mailed to voters who have signed up to receive absentee ballots; voters who haven’t signed up for an absentee ballot must go to the polls in person on election day to vote. After consulting with public health experts and emergency management professionals, the Governor determined polling places pose risks for the health and safety of all Montanans.

In the directive, Governor Bullock clarified that in-person voting would still be available, “To be clear: in counties with mail ballots, in-person voting is still permitted. The hope in giving counties the option to invoke mail ballot procedures is to shift the presumption: the default would be that Montanans can vote without leaving home, while the option to vote in-person remains. The opposite presumption exists now, and could pose serious public health risks under the trying and unprecedented circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak.”

The directive further states that postage will not be required for voters to return mail ballots, while giving counties the ability to seek reimbursement for these costs. Additionally, the directive requires counties to establish, implement, and enforce social distancing policies for all in-person voter interactions.

“We are taking this pandemic very seriously and looking at all available options for doing County business during this difficult time,” said Lewis and Clark County Commission Chair Susan Good Geise. “Elections are essential and critical and by making the decision to do a mail ballot election, we are encouraging everyone to vote despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This decision protects voters, election judges and staff while still allowing the publics voice to be heard.”

The decision means anyone actively registered to vote in Lewis and Clark County will automatically be mailed a primary ballot on May 8 to the mailing address on file with the elections office. Those who are not registered, or who need to update their address, have until May 26 to mail in a Montana Voter Registration Application. Registration can be verified online at www.MyVoterPageMT.com or by calling the county elections office at 406-447-8339.

While the shelter in place order is in effect, the elections office is still open, but is limiting occupancy. In accordance with state and federal guidelines, the office recommends citizens take advantage of options to conduct business by phone, email, fax, or mail. More information is available on the office’s website at www.lccountymt.gov/car/elections.

“We appreciate the actions and support of the County Commissioners and Montana’s Governor and are working swiftly to plan for socially-distanced in-person voting,” said Paulette Dehart, Treasurer/Clerk and Recorder and Election Administrator “From line-management to drive-up options, we are thankful that we can provide services that are safe for our voters and our staff.”

For more information about upcoming elections, contact Audrey McCue at 406-439-3592 or amccue@lccountymt.gov.

Lewis and Clark County Court Schedules Modified

Changes made following First Judicial District Court order

Helena – The Lewis and Clark County courthouse is going to see some changes and limitations in regards to in-court proceedings due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Court Order #SB-2020-14 from the First Judicial District Court, it has become increasingly difficult for parties, counsel, court, clerk of court, pretrial services, probation and parole, and detention center staff to be present in the courtroom while strictly following public health recommendations to mitigate the virus.

Pursuant to the Montana First Judicial District Local Court Rules, Parties are encouraged to file documents by email to clerkofcourt@lccountymt.gov. Staff will follow-up with parties for payment. The filing of the Original Document is waived until May 1, 2020, pursuant to the Court Order.

Additional information about online or phone services offered by the Clark of Court can be found online at https://www.lccountymt.gov/cdc.html

Community Letter About Preparedness for COVID-19

A letter from the Lewis and Clark County Commissioners

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Dear Lewis and Clark County Community,

Over the last few weeks we have witnessed our community taking quick actions to contain the spread of COVID-19. While we don’t know whether or not we will have a confirmed case in Lewis and Clark County, it’s important we strive to keep us all as healthy and safe as possible.

As we all strive to understand what is happening and keep up with the ever changing information, the response can feel like too much to some, while for others it feels too slow. Without physical evidence of an emergency like flooding or fire, it’s hard to comprehend the need to respond so quickly.

Lewis and Clark County has an Emergency Operations Plan that includes planning for infectious disease outbreaks. We’ve worked closely with Lewis & Clark Public Health, state and county Disaster and Emergency Services, law enforcement, community stakeholders and others to plan and drill for emergencies like this, hoping it would never arrive, but knowing we need to be prepared. We are all in communication and doing all we can to support the ongoing efforts of our Public Health team.

While Lewis and Clark Public Health and the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services remain in the lead on this public health emergency, Lewis and Clark County government is actively working to support their efforts while keeping critical County services operational. We are taking steps to protect the health and safety of our employees. We are communicating with our first responders, on whom we will all depend as this continues to develop in our community, to ensure they are safe and have what they need. We’ve suspended non-essential travel and training, we’re examining our leave policies to ensure our sick employees stay home and those with children not in school can work remotely, and we’re working to adapt to provide services through virtual methods. 

There may come a time when some services are suspended, but as of now, we are working to adjust our operations to continue to serve our community.

The best way to stay up-to-date on all this is to check our website often. You can also follow our Facebook page at Lewis and Clark County Government (@LCCoGovernment) for updates.

We need your help to contain this and can’t emphasize enough how important it is to follow the Public Health Guidelines:

  • Cover your cough. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then throw the tissue away. If you don’t have a tissue, cough into your elbow.
  • Don’t shake hands. Avoid unnecessary contact by not shaking hands, hugging or kissing as greetings. Find other, non-contact ways to say hello.
  • Leave space. Maintain a 6-foot radius between yourself and others in public spaces. (Droplets that may carry influenza and COVID-19 can commonly travel up to 6 feet.)
  • Think it through. If you would normally reconsider attending an event during flu season, reconsider it now. People over 60 and those with pre-existing respiratory, cardiac conditions, or who are immunocompromised should avoid all large gatherings. 

Know that we care about you and will do all we can to keep our community safe.

In community spirit, 

Lewis and Clark County Commissioners

Susan Good Geise

Jim McCormick

Andy Hunthausen

Teepee Burner in Lincoln receives 2019 Historic Preservation Award

Sitting among the trees along Highway 200 on the west side of Lincoln, Montana, the Delaney Sawmill TeePee Burner at the Blackfoot Pathways: Sculpture in the Wild has become a familiar piece of the landscape. It has also become the symbol of the future of a community that once relied on the logging and mining industries.

In summer 2019, the TeePee Burner received the Lewis and Clark County Heritage Tourism Council’s Historic Preservation Award, which recognizes historic preservation contributions in the City of Helena and Lewis and Clark County.

The Teepee Burner received the 2019 Lewis and Clark County Historic Preservation Award.

Originally used to burn scrap wood at the old Delaney & Sons Sawmill on the Landers Fork, it burned day and night, lighting up the sky. When the sawmill closed in 1971, the Teepee Burner was left on the landscape. Framed with iron and steel and skinned with sheet metal, it weighs in at 20,000 pounds, stands 90 feet tall and is 45 feet across.

While the fate of the Teepee Burner may have been to languish in place, that changed with a vision from Ireland’s Kevin O’Dwyer when he visited Lincoln in 2011. Having directed two sculpture symposia in his home country, his sculptures involve re-imagining industrial structures as artwork, with a strong emphasis on memory. He considers his installations to be memory pieces that function not only as works of art, but conduits, transferring memory and knowledge to future generations.

O’Dwyer gives a tour to Lt. Governor Mike Cooney before the 2019 BPSW fundraising banquet.

Following O’Dwyer’s vision and the creation of the sculpture park, the Teepee Burner was taken apart and moved to the site in September 2014. O’Dwyer proposed re-creating the orange glow of the Teepee Burner locals recounted to him using photovoltaic cells, sensors and LED lighting.

Interior features include black and white archival photographs of the area’s historic logging industry printed on steel plates.

Inside the Teepee Burner.

Several members of the community donated time and labor, while others donated funds. The Teepee Burner serves as a community-gathering place and performance space, as well as an art installation among others in BPSW.

O’Dwyer said of the award, “It’s wonderful to receive an award for this iconic piece of Montana’s industrial heritage! I’m especially delighted that Lewis and Clark Co. Heritage Tourism Council has acknowledged “re-purposing” of the TeePee Burner into an art installation, education facility and acoustic music venue, and a place for storytelling and sharing the history of the Delaney Saw Mill and the logging history of the Blackfoot Valley.”