News Briefs

Montana auctioneers hold convention this month in Bozeman


The 2018 Montana Auctioneers Convention is coming up Jan. 26–27 in Bozeman. Meetings will be held at the Best Western GranTree Inn.

This year there will also be a free seminar for convention attendees by AuctionFlex on Thursday, Jan. 25. This event will begin with an 11:30 a.m.-noon free lunch at North American Auction Company, followed by the seminar from noon-4 p.m. Make sure your travel plans include time to join this free seminar. Please RSVP if you plan to attend.

The convention program will begin Friday at 9:30 a.m. Featured speakers include John Hamilton ( and NAA President Scott Shuman. You won’t want to miss the educational and networking opportunities. The bid calling contest will be held Friday evening.

There will also be a marketing competition this year, a fun way to showcase your 2017 auction events and promotion of your company with a chance to win one of the five categories. Please also remember to bring any certificates you may have for the advertising auction. Please take a moment to contact your local and regional media outlets to collect certificates.

If you have any questions regarding the advertising auction, please contact Wade Afleck at (406) 876-2280 or


Lewistown Arts and Entertainment District Association meets on Friday


The next meeting of the Lewistown Arts and Entertainment District Association Board of Directors will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 12. The meeting will be held in the Brooks Building Conference Room, 207 W. Main St. The meeting is open to the public.

Agenda items include a discussion on the development and operation of a Klean Kart program, a membership update, the preparation of a cultural plan and specific plans for the new year.

Officers of the organization for the new year include Patty Thompson, president; Lyndia Sue Smitman, vice-president; Lorelei Miksch, treasurer; and Duane Ferdinand, secretary. Other board members include Esther Distad, Toni Gies and Tammy Pyrah. For further information about the meeting, call 538-8854.


Fergus County Commissionersto discuss Family Planning budget amendment


The Board of Fergus County Commissioners will hold their regular business meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 10 at 2 p.m. in the Fergus County Commissioners’ Office (712 W. Main St., Suite 210) in Lewistown. Items on the agenda include personnel announcements, claims, Family Planning budget amendment, resolution establishing the salary for the combined Sheriff/Coroner offices, and resolution transferring funds for SMDC Economic Development Loans.

This meeting is open to the public. 


Energy and telecommunications on agenda in Helena


The third meeting of the 2017-2018 Energy and Telecommunications Interim Committee of the Legislature is Jan. 16. The meeting will begin at 8 a.m. in Room 152 of the State Capitol.

The ETIC, at its third meeting of the interim, will continue its study of natural gas customer choice programs with a review of Montana Dakota Utilities response to a committee questionnaire and a review of western states’ customer choice policy. During the meeting, the committee will also conduct a programmatic review of integrated resource planning and electricity procurement planning, review qualifying facilities draft legislation and conduct a panel discussion on decoupling policy in the state.

Additional agenda items include energy storage technology, the Montana Energy Policy and the Call Before You Dig program.

If you have any questions, please contact Trevor Graff at (406) 444-4975 or via e-mail at This meeting is open to the public.


Benefit planned for local musician


On Saturday, Jan. 13, friends of Les LaFranier are putting on a benefit for him at the Eagles Club. Known to many around the area as singer and bassist for Mustache Pete, LaFranier was diagnosed  with cancer in August and is currently undergoing chemotherapy. Those interested in donating items for the silent auction should contact Carl DeBelly at (406) 839-4393. Those wanting to donate directly to LaFranier can send a check to P.O. Box 445, Lewistown, MT, 59457. 

All are encouraged to come to the benefit, which will feature live music by LaFranier and others. Food will be provided at 6 p.m. courtesy of Randy Sharpe. The silent auction drawing takes place at 9 p.m.


Port Authority to hold two meetings this month


Port Authority will have two meetings this month. One on Jan. 10 from 8-11 a.m. in the Medical Education Room at Central Montana Medical Center, strictly a planning meeting for 2018. This meeting is to brainstorm goals for the new year. No action items are on this agenda.

The next meeting is on Jan. 17 at 8 a.m. in the conference room at Stockman Bank. This will be the regular Port Authority meeting with the main agenda to cover planning meeting goals and miscellaneous old business.

Both meetings are open to the public.


Region 6 Citizen Advisory Committee will meet at Fort Peck Fish Hatchery


Securities Commissioner Matt Rosendale warns Montanans to watch out for a pyramid scheme making the rounds on Facebook and Facebook Messenger.


The scheme is being called the “Friendsgiving Network” on Facebook and involves recruiting friends to buy into the bottom of a pyramid for $100. Once the pyramid is filled up with new participants, the person at the top takes $800. The two people at the second tier of the pyramid each become the top of two new pyramids, and the process repeats. It is primarily operating within private group chats on the Facebook Messenger app.


The scheme, which is being pitched as a “tournament” or “friends helping friends” make money online, involves participants both in and outside of Montana, including Flathead County and likely Gallatin County.

As the State Auditor’s Office investigates the matter, Rosendale warns Montanans that the “Friendsgiving Network” is an illegal pyramid scheme.

“Pyramid schemes like these are against the law because they always fail once the pool of new recruits runs out. People at the top of the pyramids make money, but the newest participants lose everything they’ve put into the pyramid,” Rosendale said. “Montanans should not participate in these type of schemes, and remember: if an opportunity to make money sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

The Office of the Montana State Auditor is the criminal justice agency that licenses, regulates, investigates, and prosecutes securities matters in Montana in its role as Securities Commissioner. Rosendale encourages Montanans to report suspicious or suspected fraudulent activity to his office.

More information on pyramid schemes, securities fraud and how to report suspected fraud is available on the Commissioner’s website:


Winter Grazing 

Seminar Feb. 6–7 in Helena


Montana ranchers interested in topics such as post-wildfire grazing management, conifer encroachment in upland and riparian areas, or recruiting more young people into agriculture will want to attend the 2018 Winter Grazing Seminar, set for Feb. 6–7, at the Radisson Colonial Hotel in Helena, Montana.

“With speakers from all over Montana, as well as Oregon and Idaho, this year’s seminar has something for everyone,” said Stacey Barta, Rangeland Resources program coordinator with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. “It’s a great opportunity to meet with other producers and hear from these experts in a relaxed setting.”

The registration fee (discounted before Jan. 23) includes lunch on both days and a banquet on the evening of Feb. 6. A no-host social and vendor show will take place prior to the banquet.

This year’s Winter Grazing Seminar is hosted by the Lewis and Clark Conservation District. For more information, including an agenda and link to online registration, visit, or contact Chris Evans with the Lewis and Clark Conservation District at (406) 449-5000, ext. 112.


St. Rose of Lima releases new Masses, Word and Communion services schedule


Effective Jan. 6, the following churches have changes in Mass times and Word and Communion services:

• St. Mathias (Moore): Saturday at 4 p.m.; with “Word and Communion” every first and third weekends of the month.

• St. Anthony (Denton): Saturday at 5 p.m.; with “Word and Communion” every second and fourth weekends of the month.

• St. Cyril (Geyser): Sunday at 9 a.m.; with “Word and Communion” every first and third weekends of the month.

• Sacred Heart (Hobson): Sunday at 9 a.m.; with “Word and Communion” every second and fourth weekends of the month.

• St. Rose of Lima (Stanford): Sunday at 11 a.m.; with “Word and Communion” every fifth weekend of the month.


Writer’s Group to meet Saturday


The Lewistown Writers’ Group will meet Saturday, Jan. 13 at 1:30 p.m. Because the Library is closed for MLK Day, the meeting will be held at 216 Ridgelawn Ave. in Lewistown.

The Lewistown Writers’ Group is a collaboration of Central Montana writers who meets on the second Saturday of each month. It is a nonprofit resource for writers of all genres and skill levels. Members include published writers as well as some not-yet-published and others who like to write simply for their own enjoyment. If you like to write or think you would like to write, or just would like to be with people who do, come join us. If you have a piece finished or in progress that you would like to share, please feel free to bring it, along with about eight copies for the group.

The lead-in sentence for this next meeting is: “There’s never enough time in a day, groused the rabbit.” Have fun with this one.

For more information, please call Kathy at 350-1495.




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