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Sidney , Montana
December 16, 2009     Sidney Herald
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December 16, 2009

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1 1 W DNESDAY, DEC. 16, 2009 SIDNEY HERALD USDA Rural Development state director reviews programs during top in Sidney BY BILL VANDER WEELE SIDNEY HERALD Matt Jones, state director for the USDA Rural Develop- ment, had some good news to share during his trip to Sid- ney Thursday. Jones, in his first year in the position after being ap- pointed byAPresident Obama, says Montana obligated over $250 million in loans and grants last year. "Our program has a signifi- cant amount of revenue right now. But they aren't ear- marked. If there are projects, they need to come tous," Jones said. Grants are available for as much as $500,000 for renew- able energy or $250,000 for en- ergy efficiency projects. The grant can be for up to 25 per- cent of the project's cost and can be made to businesses and agricultural producers. J_nds for loans are also available for moderate to very low income buyers. Moderate is the adjusted me- dian income, which is about $37,000 in Richland County Very low income is 50 percent of the adjusted moderate lev- el. The home isn't required to be the buyer's first house. "It has been real popular across the state," Jones said of the USDgs home pro- grams. "It just hasn't taken off here as much as in some areas." Another area Jones dis- cussed was community facili- ty program which is available for government entities or non-profit groups. Sunrise Manor, Savage, was a recipi- ent through that program. Funds can be used for such items as fire trucks, police ve- hicles and hospital improve- ments. A special program is now available for library projects. Jones and Kirk C. Keyor, area specialist for USDA Rur- al Development, came to the area to talk to local bankers as well as speak at the Sidney Kiwanis Club meeting. Jones explained that hous- ing is by far the biggest vol- ume for the department. Last year, the Montana depart- ment worked with 1,198 fami- lies and loaned more than $178 million. Jones said there are currently 106 open loans in Richland Count~. "Historically, we've had a pretty good involvement with our housing program in Rich- land County, but it has tam- pered down," Jones said. As far as the department's business program, Jones is enthused about the new Rur- al Energy for America Pro- gram where loans and grants are available for renewable energy and energy efficient projects. Sidney High School senior stays involved BY LOUISA BARBER SIDNEY HERALD Tracking down Blair Troudt, 18, these days is pret- ty tough to do. She's one busy high school senior. On top of a full load of classes that include business procedures, calculus, Eng- lish, government, French, and anatomy and physiology, the Sidney High School stu- dent is highly involved in ex- tracurricular activities. She's secretary for Key Club and National Honor Society, vice president of the senior class, basketball manager and par- ticipates in FCCLA, Business Professionals of America and track. And if that wasn't enough, she swims and plays soccer during the summer as well as lifeguards. As a busy student, it's only fitting Troudt, the daughter of Lee and Renee, would 0ffer this as her advice to upcom- ing seniors: "Get in as many clubs as you can because it makes high school a lot more fun. It makes it go by really fast." Troudt took a trip for a week during summer 2008 to the California Technical In- stitute in Los Angeles, Calif., with her friend Brandi Wilkinson and their science teacher David McDonald to participate in the spitzer pro- gram. They prepared for months prior. She and Wilkinson, examined super novas through telescopes and learned other complicated in- formation. "It was fun," Troudt said. "I learned so much while I was there. It was a lot of intense computer cal- culation." The senior is set to graduate in the spring with hopes to at- tend Yale University or the University of Chicago- the former her preference. Troudt said after visiting the Ivy League institution, the school felt right. "I just felt like Yale was a good fit for me. It's real- ly big but I enjoyed it. The peo- ple are extremely nice, and they have classes that I want Blair Troudt is involved in Key Club, National Business Professionals of America and track. to take," she said. She had also considered Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash., and visited the campus as well. Her grade point average of 4.0 puts her at the top of her class. Her ACT score could quite possibly be the highest Sidney High School history Her drive for academic suc- cess will surely come in handy as Troudt says she'd like to become a doctor in pe- diatrics. "I enjoy working with kids, and medical just is LOUISA BARBER I SIDNEY HERALD Honor Society, FCCLA, always interesting to me. I think it'd be the best way to help children," she said. Troudt said she'll miss high school upon graduation but looks forward to furthering her education. She offered this is a last bit of guidance: "Make sure you do your homework. A lot of kids don't. Basically that's all I do. I do my homework and make sure I do the best I can on it." BY BILL VANDER WEELE SIDNEY HERALD The Richland County com- missioners are considering helping pay to replace the front deck and steps of the Fox Lake Center in Lambert. Wally Daeley, representa- tive for Lambert's senior cen- ter, said the steps were in- stalled in 1983 and the wood has deteriorated. "It's getting to the point of someone possibly falling through them," Daeley said. "If someone has an accident, we're in deep trouble." Daeley estimates the proj- ect would cost about $6,000. The Sidney Herald will close at 3 p.m., Wed., Dec. 16 forour Christmas Party. During the past five years, the center has paid for a new furnace without the county's assistance. "We don't ask for things," Daeley said. Lambert's seniors would like the project to be paid for 70 percent by the county and 30 percent from the center. "We're looking at the long term so we don't have to fix this over and over," Daeley Happy Birthday. said. "The building is in good shape other than this." Commissioners asked Dae- ley to bring some firm num- bers for the project before committing to the repairs. I don t see why we won t be able to help you," Rehbein said. BILL VANDER WEELE I SIDNEY HERALD Matt Jones state director for USDA Rural Development, center, discusses program with local bankers. Event attracts good crowd despite weather FROM PAGE IA town Sidney," learning facts along the way like the first bank, the post office, the first law enforcement officers and, of course, the Northern Pacif- ic that brought with it oppor- tunities. "We thought this would be a way for us to introduce people to go down and in a fun, his- torical live performance," Turner said, noting the re-in- actors portraying townspeo- ple (they included Dan Klein- man, Carrell Evans, Jamie Pelvit, Alicia Sparks and Jay Witte). In previous years, the Mon- Dak Heritage Center had "Ethnic Christmas," which were themed Christmases from various cultures. But the board members decided to make a change. And appar- ently for the better as there seemed to be several positive reviews. "This is always such a hec- tic time of year, and we just appreciate all the people tak- ing the time to bake things- our members - and people who come out and support us in this manner," Turner said. "It's just a great family event." The next event at the her- itage center is scheduled for Jan. 24, with a free concert by the Cotton Wood Blue Grass. Community's donations give people helping hand FROM PAGE IA the county's support with its stocked shelves of canned and boxed goods, sugar and flour, juices and a freezer with meat processed locally and frozen loaves of bread. Those who request help are given a large box with both food and necessities. "We say a prayer first so we don't leave anything out," Markwald said. They're given soups, fruit and vegetables, beans, ramen noodles, mashed potatoes in a box, peanut butter and jelly, maca- roni and cheese, tomato prod- ucts, cereal, and soaps, sham- poos and deodorant- when available - among other things according to the recipi- ent's needs. Food bank volunteers are grateful for any kind of pro- duce when in season as well as donations of tooth paste and other hygiene products (four-packs of toilet paper, for example), shampoo and con- ditioner. Canned and boxed items are always welcome. Currently, Markwald and the six-member board been busy preparing 120 bbx- es for senior citizens and dis- abled for the Christmas Coali- tion. She expects to see an in- crease in people using the food bank during Christmas. "I can't imagine what this journey would be like with- out them (community)," Markwald said. "If they did- n't step up and help out, this would be an insurmountable task." For those who would like to donate unexpired items, call . the food bank at 433-8142 and leave a message. Food bank workers request items not be left outside the door in freez- ing temperatures as they can't be used. Money dona- tions are also accepted that go toward purchasing needed products. reporter@sidneyherdd.corn